Tuesday, 13 June 2017

Running Gear: Trainers

Perhaps the most important part of any runner’s kit is their shoes. With that in mind I thought I’d share my current shoe selection with you. When investing in a new pair of running shoes it is important to know what you want from the shoe. Are they are to train in? Race in? Are they to run road? Trails? Or even fells? All these things need to be taken into consideration before you buy.

running gear trainers
First things first, it is worth knowing what kind of runner you are. The movement process your legs go through as you run is called the gait cycle. Each runner has a different gait cycle which lands the runner into one of three categories: under-pronators, neutral runners and over-pronators. If you do not know what type of gait cycle you have then try your local running shop – some will carry out a gait analysis for free!

I myself am a neutral runner and therefore look out for running shoes labelled as being neutral. Be careful though as running in shoes that are not designed for your gait can lead to injuries!
Being a neutral runner enables me to look for the more light-weight, stripped down, minimal support shoes. Runners that under or over pronate tend to need shoes with more support and corrective cushioning, which are therefore slightly heavier.

My current running shoe selection is made up of the following three pairs:

adidas adizero adios boost 3 top view

adidas adizero adios boost 3 side view


Adidas Adizero Adios Boost 3
The Adidas Adizero Adios Boost 3 has been my trusty workhorse for well over 8 months now. For the best part of those 8 months they were my only running shoe so I used them for everything! Treadmill, road running and trail running. I trained in them throughout the winter and completed my first 2 half marathons with them!
By now I must have racked up close to 1000 miles in them and they still have a fair bit of life left in them.
Looks: 4/5
I am a fan of the looks. They are quite sleek and neat with a modest boost midsole (unlike the Ultra Boost which has a rather ominous midsole). The combination of mesh and suede uppers and the ‘traditional’ trainer look gives them an overall feel of a classic timeless trainer.
Comfort/ride: 4/5
This is a very fast shoe meant for all distances. There is enough comfort for long distance runs ranging from half marathon to marathon distances. The ride is responsive and firm, whilst the shoe itself remains light (226g UK 8.5). The boost midsole offers good cushioning and does not feel too spongey or marshmallow-y underfoot.
Durability: 5/5
A very tough shoe indeed. I put them through their paces for the last 8 months including training solidly through the winter months as well as completing 2 half marathons in them (one of which was a trail run). After racking up somewhere in the order of 1000 miles, which is well past the point of retirement, I’d say they still have life left in them and I will remain to use them until the bitter end.
Fit: Narrow
As with all Adidas they run half a centimetre smaller than most other brands (including Nike, Asics and New Balance) therefore I would recommend getting at least half a size up from your normal shoe size. On top of this, the shoe itself is quite a narrow fit especially around the toe box area. I would not recommend this shoe for those with wide feet or those who like room for the toes to splay whilst running.
Price RRP: £119.95
But you might be able to pick last season’s colourways for around the £75 mark.
Summary:
A very durable and reliable shoe indeed. Good for those with speed in mind that still want a solid sturdy trainer.

nike flyknit rn motion top view

nike flyknit rn motion side view

Nike Flyknit RN Motion
The Nike Flyknit RN Motion are a relatively new addition to my running arsenal. I purchased them so I would have a new trainer to do the Manchester Half Marathon I made sure to train in them a good few weeks in advance! So far I have used these trainers exclusively for road running in dry conditions and I intend to keep it that way as I can’t quite bring myself to wear them out in the rain and mud!
Looks: 5/5
These trainers look the business. The one piece sock-like knitted upper is very "of the moment" and utilises Nike’s popular Flyknit technology. The hits of the volt colour makes the shoe pop and stand out from all the other runners on race day. The lace system offers very little in terms of adjusting the tightness and is more of an aesthetic. The speckled midsole is also a nice touch. I like the way they look on feet and sometimes wear them casually.
Comfort/ride: 4/5
This shoe offers a very comfortable ride. The midsole is spongy, more so than the Adidas Boost midsole. As a result of the spongy sole they do not feel as aggressive as the Adios Boost 3 but they do offer a continuous and very smooth ride. The Flyknit upper provides a snug fit without any heel slippage whilst allowing complete freedom of the foot inside the shoe (toe splaying and all!). This shoe doesn't offer much in terms of lateral (sideways) stability therefore you find your foot slipping sideways when turning or pivoting quickly.
Durability: 3/5 TBC…
I haven’t had these long enough or ran nearly far enough in them to comment of the durability of them so this is just a bit of a guess… The Flyknit material does not feel nearly as robust or durable as the suede and mesh upper of the Adios Boost 3. In my opinion they do feel somewhat thin and have potential for holes to develop rather quickly if used often.
Fit: True to size
Price RRP: £125 
For the most up-to-date model. 2016 model (pictured) can be picked up for around £80.
Summary:
A flashy modern up-to-date lightweight running shoe. For those who do not require much cushioning. A speedy comfortable smooth ride guaranteed.

merrell all out crush light top view

merrill all out crush light side view

Merrell All Out Crush Light
Again the Merrell All Out Crush Light, another relatively new addition to my running shoe collection. I bought these predominantly to do 10km trail runs that take place at Lyme Park on the last Sunday of every month. I researched a number of different trail runners but struggled to find a lightweight, low profile trainer with good grip. At last I found the Merrell All Out Crush – a lightweight trail runner that has become a favourite for those competing in events such as Tough Mudder.
Looks: 3/5
I’ll be honest I certainly didn't buy these trainers for their looks, although they are fairly low profile for a trail runner. Overall I’d say they are pretty average in appearance
Comfort/ride: 3.5/5
I initially had issues with these trainers. I found that after about 5km in them they began to give me blisters on my arches (but I do have slightly low arches). I managed to reduce the problem by putting an additional pair of insoles, however, this added to the overall weight of the shoes. With a further 30km of breaking in I can now comfortably complete a 10km trail run in them with no problem. I am yet to run further than 10km in these.
They are lightweight for a trail runner. The 5mm lugs offer good grip on various different surfaces (grass, mud, gravel paths etc.). They are also fine to run in on tarmac for short distances, however, after a few kilometres you begin the fell the effects of the stiff midsole and lugs underfoot.
Durability: 4/5
Having not had these for a vast amount of time and only really clocking up somewhere in the region of 60km in them I can’t comment too accurately on the long term durability. However, I have put them through two tough 10km trail runs with varying surfaces and they have performed well. They appear to be a tough shoe (something that you would expect from a trail shoe) and I imagine they will last me a long time.
Fit: True to size
Price RRP: £90
However you shouldn't be too hard pushed to find these for around the £45 mark.
Summary:
A good lightweight trail runner with good grip. Not the best looking but by no means the worst. Not the most comfortable but more cushioning means more weight! At a price of £45 I consider these to be good value, however, I would have been left feeling disappointed if I forked out the full £90 RRP for them.  

merrells adidas nike

So that's a guide to my current running shoe collection and how I've found each pair to perform. I hope this has been useful for anyone who's been eyeing up these models in particular or is looking for the next pair of trainers. 

What lightweight. neutral shoes would you recommend?
What do you look for when you're getting a new pair of trainers? 
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