As a long time devotee of a certain brand that I will avoid mentioning here, I’ve been a little disappointed recently with their most recent running shoe offerings. I may be unusual (and possibly showing my amateur status) but I like to feel a lot of support around the arch and lower part of my feet, essentially if my toes are hemmed in then I’m happy!
I often feel a little bamboozled in sports and running shops about which brand of trainer to try and which style will best suit my feet/gait/running colour preference and have felt in the past that I’ve been given a lot of conflicting advice. Also, the expense of trainers has always made me feel weary of trying anything new. Preferring a “Well, they might not be perfect but I know them” style attitude then spending money on a pair of trainers that I would struggle to run in.
SO when the opportunity came to try a pair of shoes from a brand other than the one I always wore, I grabbed it. If I’m honest my technical understanding of running shoes is very limited, so although I will add technical bits at the end, this review will concentrate on my opinions of the grip, design and how they responded to water and muck!
To say I was excited when I received the parcel was an understatement. The grey and purple colouring was something I probably would have chosen myself and I was really impressed with how light they were. During the obligatory “breaking in around the house” session, the trainer felt supportive, my toes suitably held in place and very light. I couldn’t wait to get outdoors and run. At this point, a slight word of warning in that these trainers are slightly small. I usually wear a 7.5 for running trainers but feel that an 8 would have been more appropriate.
The big day dawned, bright, crisp and rather slippy under foot. I wasn’t one to let adverse weather conditions prevent me from running (hottest day of the year, 10 mile run anyone??) but even I questioned whether a run was a sensible idea.
Having been used to running with heavy quite bulky trainers, I was absolutely delighted with the effect of the lighter shoe. One thing that I was concerned about was the apparent lack of grip during the run. As I mentioned earlier, it was icy but even running on grass I didn’t feel entirely in control when placing my foot. It did make me wonder if some of the reduced weight had been as a result of a reduced grip. However, on subsequent dryer and warmer runs, I found that this initial lack of grip wasn’t an issue. I also found that despite not being at peak fitness, my pace was faster and running felt more comfortable.
In summary, these trainers are comfortable, supportive and great to run in. I found them to be great on short to medium length runs, providing a good level of comfort and feel for the road.
It was with some mourning of my previous life that I packed my new New Balance trainers into my suitcase the night before heading off on a hen-do to Marbella. Yet I battled through and, even though I was the person frantically stuffing clothing into my hand luggage at check in, I arrived at our destination complete with trainers and running gear.
Having previously trialled the shoes in icy February weather, I was interested to find out how they would compare in much more pleasant climes. The perfect opportunity arose the second morning to get out and run – the early morning weather was warm but breezy, while the hangover was persistent but relatively mild.
It was with some trepidation that I set off. Having run while hungover/feeling delicate before, I was expecting my legs to feel heavy and my feet to feel like I was running through treacle. It was therefore instantly noticeable when this was not the case. The trainers felt light and supportive on my feet. In fact, it was only because I was aware of writing a review that I noticed them at all. Although the run involved different surfaces including tarmac, cobbles and sand, I felt that the shoes were supportive but not restrictive. I also found that their lightweight nature meant my feet stayed cool and comfortable and the breathable fabric really was just so.
Overall, I’m not going to make claims that these trainers cured my hangover but they did help make a run the morning after the night before a lot easier.
Having worn them for many runs over the past few months, I am well and truly converted. This isn’t just coming off the results of a 10k race at the weekend (new personal best anyone), I really have been impressed by how supportive such a lightweight shoe has been.
As someone who has a tendency to fuss over their shoes, laces having to be just so etc, and who is usually very aware of wearing trainers while running I have been pleasantly surprised. I will be really interested to see how these trainers compare with my previous ones as I start to increase the miles in preparation for the Great North Run.
*Disclaimer: This was a collaborative post with New Balance and I was given the trainers in order to give an honest review. All words and opinions are my own.