Trainers on trial

We’ve been sporting a few different pairs of runners this month, from super-light Saucony Kinvaras to the female-specific Puma Faas 600S, and Liberty-print Nike Air Max. What did we reckon? We reckoned this.

Saucony Kinvara 4
For: Those who like a lightweight, minimal shoe

Saucony Kinvara 4Kinvara

The lightweight, minimal Kinvara has a bit of a cult following among runners. Those who wear them don’t just wear them, they RAVE about them. I’d tried on a previous incarnation of the Kinvara and I didn’t get it, they didn’t seem that comfy to me. But slipping on the latest version, the Kinvara 4, I went up another half size and I just knew they were ‘The One’. They’re ridiculously light (around 190g), yet still have enough cushioning for a comfortable, fast run. The flexfilm upper kind of moulds to your foot and again, is so light, it’s like wearing netting on your feet. I would like a bit more room around that knobbly knuckle bit that sticks out at the side of your big toe, but otherwise I find them the perfect mix of minimal features and cushioning. They’re not for everyone though, heavier runners, those who need a bit of support and those who like cushioning, may find them too flat, close to the ground and, well, minimal. And, as they’re very light they may need replacing more often than chunkier models. Good job I’ve just bought the black ones as well then.
Verdict: Very lightweight, natural motion shoes. I am naming my first born Kinvara.


Puma Women’s FAAS 600 S
For: A traditional stability shoe for heel strikers
Womens Faas 600-1Puma FAAS 600 S

To be honest, until recently I associated Puma with football boots, Usain Bolt’s spikes, and a rather nice blue and pink windcheater I had in year 9. But they’ve been upping their game in the running shoe market recently. The Faas 600 S is Puma’s women-specific offering, designed to fit a women’s smaller, lighter foot shape.

A moderate stability shoe, it’s perfect for bashing out the miles in everyday training. It’s made for over pronators (when your foot rolls in as you run) and has slight build ups in the sole to slow down the rate of pronation *.

I usually wear a neutral shoe, so the 600 S offers more cushioning than I’d normally plump for but it still manages to be pretty lightweight. There’s additional heel support to provide a snug ride – women tend to have a narrower heel to forefoot ratio than men. I found the sizing on the roomy side, so while I usually go up a half or full size in trainers, actual my normal shoe size would have been fine. It’s not the jazziest shoe about but it’s certainly comfy and the long-lasting, durable sole means it should see you through months of marathon training. Check out the ‘Glow‘ version, £90, to make sure you’re seen in the dark.
Verdict: Reasonably priced everyday stability shoe. For more details watch this video with GB International Marathon Runner Susan Partridge


Nike Air Max 1 iD Liberty Print
For: Customise your own trainers and look cool as tabs, like us.

Nike iDnike id 2

A kid on the street told me these were sick the other day. Yeah, down wi’ the kidz blud. Best bit is, designed ’em myself innit? Fancy having a go? Get on over to Nike iD and have a play. Pick the trainer base you want – from a fashion shoe like a high top to a serious running shoe such as the LunarGlide – then choose the colours, patterns, and fabrics you fancy. You can even add words and names. Go mad. Your customised shoe will be delivered to you in around four weeks.

I could have gone for some modern runners, but I was after something for wearing everyday so plumped for Air Max. Compared to today’s trainers they feel pretty darn heavy and so far off the ground it’s like wearing those high tops with an inbuilt heel. Running in them would be like having iron blocks on your feet. But while I wouldn’t actually recommend them for any serious exercise, if you’re hanging round bars, shopping, generally pretending to be a hipster… by jingo they rock.
Verdict: You know when you think I’d love these trainers if they just came in pink, yellow, polka dot, leopard print? Yep, that.


*(Recent studies suggest that, for your average runner at least, shoes designed for pronators offer no more protection from injury than neutral shoes. We’re no experts but we reckon it’s all down to how they feel on your feet. If you over pronate and shoes for over pronators feel good, go for it. If not, don’t be afraid to try something else.)

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