A few weeks ago, I was invited to view the upcoming new shoe launches from Brooks Running – and there are some interesting new running shoes in the range. Pick of my favourites was the Hyperion, £90, their lightest and fastest road shoe. It has a stretch woven upper for a seamless sock-like fit and so I’m intrigued about trying it for triathlon as it should mean I can move straight from bike to running keeping transition to a minimum. It also looks fantastic. It is not a shoe for a beginner though as it relies on you being biomechanically strong. Or at least over a short distance. I’d use these for 5km and 10kms but no more. Not that they can’t be used for longer distances but you’d need to be a stronger runner than I.
Their big new launch is the Neuro, £115, which looks like very chunky and yet when you pick it up, it feels as light as anything. Aimed at those who want to run fast, the ‘pods’ on the sole are aimed at promoting neurological feedback so that the body adapts and creates improved biomechanics while also creating rapid energy return. It also has a hammock system that helps to wrap the underfoot to help better foot alignment. It looks kind of funky and sounds good in theory but the jury is out until I review them.
Neuro, second down
On the clothes side of things, I am a HUGE fan of their LSD Running Jackets, £49. These are absolute genius pieces of kit and I think EVERY female runner should have one. They are super light-weight, windproof and water resistant. Best of all, they pack away into the pocket and you can wear it round your arm. They are invaluable for taking on runs where you don’t know what the weather is going to do and even better for race start lines. I’ve worn it to loads of races and then tied round my arm and been completely unbothered by it, it’s so lightweight. It is one of the best pieces of kit that I own and they’ve no launched it in more funky colours.
And my other firm (excuse the pun) favourite is the Moving Comfort Rebound Racer, from £34, a fantastic running bra that keeps you feeling secure and goes up to a DD cup. it has front adjustable straps as well a a hook and eye back and looks good too.
October 23, 2014 at 9:43
Posted by Rachael Woolston
We may just be heading into winter but here’s a sneak peak at New Balance’s sports performance range for next season
Pick N’ Mix your performance running shoe
Consider yourself a speed queen? Then you’ll love the W1500v1, which feels as light as a feather at just 175g. It looks and feels like a minimalist shoe but actually has a 6mm heel drop. We love the look and the feel though and can’t wait to try them out. Aimed at those who need a little bit of stability. Which is most of us, right?
If you are not a minimalist or neutral runner, there is plenty to choose from in the NW Spring-Summer 2015 offerings. Their stability shoes have a 10-12mm drop but feel light in the hand rather than being clunky despite a chunky looking heel in some of the shoes.
Pick N’ Mix your performance running shoe
Here at Fitbitch, we are a lover of trail running, so what of their rugged shoe offerings? The shoe below might look like a hefty tractor but weighs 228g and has 4mm heel drop. It looks good but only time on the feet will tell us if it performs AND looks good.
Their shoes look great but we LOVE their performance clothing for Spring-Summer. It feels beautiful to touch, has all the quality that you would expert of performance wear combined with great style and colour. Roll on Spring we say!
OK, so we haven’t quite yet reached summer but at the press launch for Brooks Running and Moving Comfort UK, there is LOTS to look forward to
Fantastic, stylish but effective sports bras from Moving Comfort UK
Brooks have a special place in our heart, partly because of their good running logo, #runhappy, and because their offices in Steyning are quite near Fitbitch HQ.
When we go to a Brooks and Moving ComfortUK press launch, there are no expensive DJs pumping out the coolest of tunes, just people who are passionate about their running not just selling shoes.
And what a great range they have for us coming up in Autumn-Winter 2014-2015.
Our pick of the collections are the PureGrit trail shoes, which have been redesigned for this year with the help of running ultra supremo, Scott Jurek, as well as their Sprint Jacket. And we LOVE all of the fab, stylish AND effective sports bras from Moving Comfort UK (here’s hoping that they increase their range of UK sizes over the next few years).
Watch out for our individual reviews later in the summer.
Nike may once have held the monopoly on colourful, stylish looking trainers but Pearl Izumi, a US sports label which is gradually expanding in the UK, is hot-footing into this stylish but performance quality territory with these fine looking road running shoes.
The Women’s EM Road Shoe N2, £89.99 is aimed at neutral runners with a propensity to supination, which means that you land on the outside of the foot. It features the ‘E:Motion’ midsole, which is designed to help combat supination for better support and biomechanics. They also claim to be super light for better race conditions, along with the durability to last for long distances.
What we thought:
Despite looking chunky, these are suprinsingly light with a fantastic mesh upper which makes them both airy and comfortable to wear. But as a neutral runner, the mechanics of this shoe which presumably provide support for runners who supinate caused overworking of the muscles on the outside of the lower leg.
If you do supinate when you run though, these shoes may provide you with just the support you need without the heaviness and rigidity usually associated with other supportive shoes. And while a bit spongey if you are used to mimimalist shoes, they would be a perfect stepping stone for those wanting to try a shoe with less rigidity without moving into barely-there support before being ready.
What we love about them most is their light, airy feel combined with fantastic colours.
Review Note: Please be aware that choosing the right running shoe for you is very individual. Being aware of your running gait, and level of fitness as a runner will – or should – affect which shoe you choose. Always seek specialised running shoe advice even if you are a beginniner. Ideally, try to find a running shope that allows you to run round the block in them first.
Next week, we will post about ‘How to buy running shoes’ so check back or subscribe to our posts.
November 28, 2012 at 6:14
Posted by Rachael Woolston
Could this help your marathon training?
Could a training shoe help guard against the over pronation that can occur in the latter stages of a marathon, or a long training run?
That’s the premise behind the Brooks ST5 Racer, £75, a super lightweight training shoe that can be worn for races from 5k to marathon, but still provide the support that some runners may need.
The shoe contains a material in the sole which reacts when, or if, the foot rolls in to provide support when needed. This over pronation can typically occur in long distance races when people begin to tire and roll while running.
But do these shoes work?
It is hard to say without having video analysis of yourself while running at the end of a long distance race, but if you know that you do tend to do this, and end up suffering with painful ITB syndrome after a long race, they may be worth trying.
As for us, while these shoes were superlight weight, belying their chunky look, they did not feel right for us.
But as any runner knows, choosing a shoe is very personal. Or frustratingly, can even feel different depending on your fitness levels from one month to the next.
September 14, 2012 at 4:23
Posted by Rachael Woolston
While Grazia, Stylist, Marie Claire, Elle and The Observer magazine are full of this season’s new heels and winter boots, we are just as excited about the Autumn running shoe collection.
Back in July we were invited the view the Brooks Pure Collection range, which boasts three different shoes to suit runners from neutral to over pronation – the Pure Connect, Pure Flow (both £95), Pure Cadence, £100, and their trail shoe version, Pure Grit, £95.
These are cushioned shoes and so are not barefoot but are Brooks version of an entry level to minimalist running. They include a toe flex which allows the big toe to function independently for a a more efficient toe-off propulsion and are much lighter than other traditional running shoes on the market.
For runners used to supportive shoes, these will feel noticeably lighter and more natural and would be good for experienced runners who want to try something less supportive. For those used to a more minimalist shoe though they may feel too restrictive.
I have run in the Pure Cadence shoe for over a year, and while I liked them at first, I now find them too structued and they make my feet and ankles feel restricted. But the Cadence is their most structured shoe in the line so the other types might feel different.
Plus, Brooks are due to launch Pure Drift in Spring 2013, for a more natural feel.
Our other top picks are the Pure Grit, which has been developed with the help of one of the world’s greatest ultra runners, Scott Jurek of Born to Run fame. TheMen’s Running Editor was also raving about this shoe at the launch and we are currently reviewing these, along with the Racer St 5, £75
This latter shoe could be the answer for those training for a marathon as they are super light shoe, but feature cushioning that kicks in when you are tired.
As you run long distance, your muscles fatigue which can dramatically change your stride, gait and bio mechanics causing many runners to over -pronate. This is when the support of the Racer St 75, would kick in providing support.
Midway through my training for the Lake Garda Marathon in October, I will be reporting back.
All that tech stuff but what about how they look? We are loving the colour ranges, particularly those with our brand colour purple.
Weigh these in one hand with an IPhone in the other and the trainers feel lighter which is pretty incredible. Bright pink is not necessarily a colour I would associate with a serious racing shoe but this small quibble aside (they come in yellow too) these are perfect for someone making the transition to a racing shoe as they have more support than most without sacrificing weight gain. They make for an incredibly comfortable, cushioned ride and this last part is crucial. If you are trying lighter shoes for the first time then great, but if you are used to race shoes these could feel a little too cushioned.We loved them though – a Fitbitch favourite.
These were the lightest shoe we trialled and worn by the likes of Chrissie Wellington, we were expecting these to be super fast and they are. It feels like you are wearing nothing on your feet although they have just enough protection to make the difference between allowing you to feel the texture of the road without it being painful.
In addition to feeling lighter than pair of blister resistance running socks, these shoes are designed with an asymmetrical upper which means they lace up on a diagonal to work with the natural anatomy of the foot. Shame that for all that, the laces came undone a few times which is not great if you are going for a personal best. Other than this minor flaw, easily fixed by switching laces these are fantastic and look pretty snazzy too. This is a shoe that will help you get your personal best.
Prefer trail to roads? Well don’t worry because there are performance shoes for you too.
These are super light weight (around 3 ounces lighter than usual trail shoes) and feel like a second skin. They have quick release/tie laces, just requiring you to pull a toggle although tuck them between your laces otherwise they flap about. Their only design flaw, is partly a plus point too and that is their grip.
I tried these on very muddy, steep terrain and they were 100% secure in traction but picked up a lot of mud, which stuck resolutely making them rather less than lightweight. But can you get a shoe with good traction that also ‘releases’ the mud from the soles as you run? That aside I will be racing in these shoes, particularly now they’re not so gleaming-ly neon lime.
The Brooks T7 Racer, £65, as worn by Chrissie Wellington
Want to improve your personal best? Then race shoes could be the answer. But before you even consider taking your very next, very light stride into foot performance shoes read our guide …
Once the sole (ahem) preserve of club or elite athletes so called race flats have begun increasingly begun to crop up in running stores aimed at recreational runners. So, how do they differ from ordinary running shoes, and should you be making the switch?
The main difference is that racing shoes have little or no heel, and very little cushioning which makes them super light weight. And with less weight on your feet, they spend less time on the ground resulting in a quicker leg turnover and a faster time.
Which all sounds wonderful if you are chasing that elusive fast finish but it is not as straightforward as this.
Call them what you will, performance shoes or racing flats, these shoes are essentially minimalist shoes with all the controversy that surrounds this issue.
Essentially, it means that you need to be highly conditioned to wear shoes like this, which means having great foot strength, elasticity and good biomechanics.
So, if you’re a beginner, or what we like to call a rock n’ roll runner, someone who moves a lot from side to side, these are not for you and are more likely to result in injury. But what about the rest of us?
If you are conditioned, experienced runner then racing flats may well offer you the the chance to shave off a few pesky seconds to get that longed for personal best. If you are not sure whether you are conditioned enough, incorporate them into your training gradually.
Try them out on a short tempo run first and if your feet, ankles and knees feel OK a few days later, continue to build up your running in them gradually. If you want to race in them, start off with a 5k not a marathon.
One more thing…if they work for you expect to spend some money. With so little cushioning or structure they wear out after around 125-250miles.