The Garmin Forerunner 735XT delivers everything you could want from a triathlon watch and more. It is designed for elite athletes and people who are serious about their training progress, but it is suitable for the more casual exerciser too. It provides wrist-based heart rate monitoring, all-day activity tracking, and will take you from one sport to another with just the touch of a button.
The 735XT is more than just a running watch. It records your stride length, time balance, and more while running (although many of the running metrics features are only available when the watch is paired with a chest-based heart rate monitor), and will calculate your VO2 Max and predict race times based on your training history. It also offers lactate threshold estimates but, again, you will need an additional chest-based heart rate monitor for this which is not included in your £399 purchase of the watch.
The Forerunner 735XT is smart and will connect to your phone seamlessly through Bluetooth to provide notifications from your phone, automatic uploads to Garmin’s online community, and live tracking of your training. Syncing the watch with your phone is very easy and has worked every time without any issues for me. The GPS signal is very strong and the watch links up very quickly so that you can get on with your sport without having to wait around for your watch to be ready.
As a multisport watch, the 735XT is not as advanced as some of its siblings like the 935, but it still provides excellent support. It has a triathlon function so that you can time your transitions and switch between sports with just one press of a button. This feature also translates to duathlons and brick workouts for your training. If you only run, then this watch is perhaps too unnecessarily advanced for you, and you'd be better suited to a Forerunner 235.
The all-day activity tracking is a fantastic bonus feature on this advanced watch. The wrist-based heart rate monitor works all day while you’re wearing it and will provide you with a resting heart rate, recovery heart rate, and a graph of activity over the last 4 hours. This is really useful for heart-rate zone training, especially as the stats provided after your workout will tell you how long you were in each heart rate zone while you were active. The watch also provides you with an estimated VO2 max which is great for serious athletes. Part of the all-day activity tracking also includes step count which can be a great incentive to move more, especially on rest days. The watch also syncs with apps like MyFitnessPal so that your daily calorie burn is automatically taken into account when you track your food for the day.
A Closer Look
The watch itself is light at 41g and the watch face is not as big as some of the other Garmin watches like the 235 or 935, so it is better suited for all-day wear. It has a rubberised strap for comfort, although once you're super sweaty after a tough workout, you don’t really want to keep it on as it gets a bit uncomfortable. The various displays are user-friendly and although the watch has a lot of features, they’re easy to find so you don’t feel like you're missing out on useful training information.
The battery life of this watch could be better, especially as it’s designed to be used for triathlons; I wonder whether it could last a full-length Ironman event.
On the whole, I am so impressed by this watch. Garmin has found the perfect balance between the casual running watch and the advanced athlete's companion. It gives more than its cheaper counterpart the 235 and is more user-friendly than the more advanced 935. It is perfect for serious triathletes but can also comfortably be used by people who may just be getting into the sport or who just like to swim, bike, and run. It has the option of more advanced training stats if you really want to go into them while keeping the useful everyday information at the ready.
Battery Life: 6
Technical Information: 9
Value for money: 10
Overall Score: 44/50
New Balance has a new pair of running trainers on the market and they're every bit as comfortable as they say they are. Retailing at £75 and with a version for both men and women, these trainers boast a modern 'bootie' design meaning they are super snug and slip on and off with ease. They are marketed as a running trainer, but they are as trendy and attractive as a pair of fashion trainers meaning they're perfect for all-day active use. New Balance emphasises the minimalistic design of these trainers, meaning they are very lightweight and include a breathable overlay which expands with the shape of your feet.
The sole of the shoe is reminiscent of the Nike Roshe Run trainer, with a thick heel meaning they provide lasting comfort and are great if you are on your feet all day. When it comes to actually running in them, the comfort is unbeatable. They are very soft and durable and the cushioned landing means that you feel like you're running on air.
I did find that these trainers come up small - I usually wear a UK Women's Size 7 but I found that this size for me was too tight and it made my toes go numb after a while. So I would recommend sizing up when buying these trainers.
The 'bootie' design is a new trend for a lot of trainers and I personally think it's fantastic. There is no separate tongue and instead the entire upper of the trainer provides a snug and supportive fit around your foot. It means that the trainer is more supportive and is easier to slip on and off. It also prevents your heel from slipping up and down which can be a real annoyance so it's good that you don't get that with these trainers. The heel tie also means you can easily slip these trainers on and off with just one hand which is a great benefit.
I am really impressed with how attractive these trainers are, especially as a lot of running trainers can be bulky and unappealing. They could easily double up as fashion trainers and could be worn at the gym, to a yoga class, or just out and about. They provide a very minimal level of support, so if you have specific needs for your running trainers - such as built-in arch support - then these trainers wouldn't be suitable for you to run in. They'd still be great for walking or for wearing on a day out, as the comfort they provide is fantastic.
VerdictOverall, I am really impressed with these trainers. They are very attractive and their bootie design means they are super comfortable and shape to your feet. They lose marks from me on the fact they come up so small and tight, and the fact that they are not high-tech running trainers so if you were training for a half marathon or marathon they would not be suitable. However, for all-day wear and shorter runs, they're perfect. The cushioning is fantastic and they are very lightweight. The thick sole means your heels don't ache after being on your feet for a long time. It's a 7 out of 10 for me.
It's that time of the year when suddenly it is a good time to go off road. Maybe you switch your road bike to a mountain bike. And maybe you hang up your trusted road shoes for some trail running shoes. If you have not spent anytime running off road then it is definitely a great experience. We recommend you give it a go.
We review Adidas Kanadia 7 Trail Running Shoes. And if you care the colour is Indigo/White/Yellow and they look like this:
Firstly let's get the price out the way. You can pick up a pair of these trainers for about £50 and you get a lot of shoe for your money.
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The sole and grip
The outsole features a special Adidas mud guard and their own high-grip Traxion technology. The grips feature a lock technology designed to offer a tight grip in all conditions. They have taken into account running on hard surfaces by somehow staggering the lugs for higher ground penetration and tight locks for soft ground. So what does that mean? Well on wet, slippy grass how we tested the trainers, you can be running at a strong pace without the slipping and sliding feel; enabling you to push harder and move faster than usual. Up and down hills on soft ground. They really do stick to the floor.
On man made flat surfaces however the stability is lost. If you are running a course that is on and off road then these trainers may not be the best choice. It is very hard to get the stability on and off road from a single pair of shoes. These are very much trail shoes and on a stony trail they are ideal.
The sole is very firm and stony ground is not a problem. If you are used to taking a road shoe on the occasional off-road run then the stability and protection from uneven ground will be a welcome surprise.
Overall it is a lot of shoe for not much money. And if you can stretch to a dedicated off-road shoe this is definitely a contender. But if you do need to have a multi-purpose on and off-road shoe for very occasional trail running then a softer soled pair of trainers that work better on road conditions may be a more appropriate choice.
These trail shoes are developed to offer support and performance on all the typical surfaces you will come across. From grass and typical gravel tracks. TO the beach for the ultimate stability test on loose shingle. Watch our short YouTube video to see some of the surfaces we test the shoes on.
An update as we test more
When you test a new product you always find things at a later date. You may find problems with something, or hidden gems that you really like. Here are a few post review features we would like to share.
Beach / Shingle
Most runners will steer clear of running on lose shingle, or the beach. Running on compacted sand is typically quite nice, but on very lose shingle the return with each stride is completely lost. Great HIIT training as your feet sink into the surface. Also good if you have injuries caused from heel striking. As long as you are careful you can build your muscles with almost no impact at the knees. But you will need a good pair of trail running shoes with plenty of ankle support. If your ankles are not appropriately supported it would be easy to twist your ankle from placing your foot down at an angle. The Adidas Kanadia trainers offer plenty of support and really help injury prevention.
A lot of trail running in on grass surfaces. But grass running itself is such a broad topic and so closely related to the weather. The Kanadia on dry grass are completely fine. But then most shoes on dry grass are fine. The real test is on wet grass. And apart from getting a bit soggy, they grips offer enough support to really provide a solid run.
Some shoes on gravel seem to pick up every stone and when you switch to a solid surface you clip clop away and risk sliding and falling. These do not pick up stones like some training shoes do, but the same is not said for wet mud
When running on concrete you really notice the change from the natural cushioning of the grass for example. I would defiantly not like to run too far on the road in the Kanadia. Limited cushioning and your feet seem to search for a safe place to root. Fine for a few K but anything more switch to road shoes.
Running shoes typically have a thick, circular lace, or a flat lace similar to the Adidas Kanadia 7 trainer. I have found the laces are very textured and although not highlighted as a feature by Adidas, they really do grip once tied. That means without any double knots or extra tight bows these trainers stay put once done up. That certainly is not a bad thing for any runner, especially when you are off road and may not actually see a lace that has come untied. The last thing you want when running down a steep hill in the rain is to discover your laces and flapping in the wind. Not only do they seem to be super functional, I have really grown to like their two tone colouring.
The magical Loop
Most trainers do not bother with the loop at the back to help put on your shoes. Unless you are in a triathlon speed is not normally a consideration for getting your footwear on in a hurry. The loop on heel to help put on your trainers I do think is missing from some footwear and for a pair of trail running shoes it is very useful. You may have driven to an off-road spot, and you are standing in the rain switching from your 'car shoes' to your 'trail shoes'. For me, it has certainly got some use.
So the mesh in these shoes is going to hold your feet still and let them breathe. But it certainly will not keep out the water. Some off-road shoes do offer a certain amount of waterproofing - but I typically find they end up holding the water in as your feet turn to water weights. Your feet will get wet in soggy conditions, but they will also dry out nice and quickly. And at the moment, it seems we can not escape the rain!
Adidas technical infoOne of the most beloved all around trail shoes is back lighter and more comfortable than ever. These women's running shoes are ready for any trail with a high-grip TRAXION™ outsole. They feature a waterproof mud guard and a ventilated mesh upper for comfort in any conditions.
- Weight: 238 g (size UK 5.5)
- Air mesh upper for maximum ventilation
- Waterproof bottom mud guard helps keep water and mud out
- Comfortable textile lining
- Engineered 3-Stripes panel for optimum linear and lateral support
- TRAXION™ outsole for maximum grip in all directions
Adidas Kanadia 7 Review
It is certainly thumbs up and feet down on the ground for these trainers. Nice quality, stylish and fast. Well as fast as your legs can move. They stick to wet ground enabling all that power to drive you forward.
As we move into the dryer months you may be looking for a trail shoe that does not work as well on wet ground. The versatile Kanadia with its grip to tackle multiple surfaces is an all year round appropriate pair of trainer.
The Ultimate Test
Mud runs... There are many of these out there now under various names. Tough Mudder. Nuclear Races. Bear Grills. Etc. A mix of very wet, boggy ground and obstacles. The perfect place to test the grip. On almost vertical wet mud banks straight into boggy water.
Two things that I was happy with. When walking through, well dragging your limbs through, waste-deep mud water the shoes stayed on. Excellent. I saw plenty of people with their footwear missing.
And secondly when climbing out of the bogs via a rope, or some kind person boosting you from below not sliding straight back in. Seeing someone sliding like they are ice skating is not uncommon. Many people opt for old footwear so they do not ruin their favourite running shoes. I say buy some new trail shoes for the occasion. They will wash up just fine and may just save your sliding face first into a ditch.
The New Balance Fresh Foam Zante Version 3 is the latest speed shoe in the New Balance Fresh Foam series.
New Balance Zante Key Facts:
Features Fresh Foam Technology
6 main models in the fresh foam series
The Zante is the “Fast” model
The third version in the zante series
3 CW ( Black/ Electric Blue, Black/ Thunder, Alpha Orange/ Outer Space)
Weighs around 250grams
Tight knit around the midfoot and tongue but has large holes in mesh in the toe box.
Padded Ankle collar
Hexagonal pattern on the outsole.
£95 RRP on New Balance website
What is New Balance Fresh Foam?
New Balance say that Fresh Foam technology is an “innovative midsole created from a single piece of foam that provides a plush, more natural ride”. Fresh Foam is a cut of foam with a variety of hexagonal concaves and convexes throughout the allow the runner to run with no discomfort. Fresh Foam is now used on a large selection of New Balance shoes, including winter boots and more casual, lifestyle models.
New Balance Fresh Foam Zante V3 Review
The Fresh Foam Zante Version 3 comes in three colourways; Black/ Electric Blue, Black/ Thunder, and I chose the Alpha Orange/ Outer Space version. I personally was drawn to the bright orange pair because they would be better for using at night, because they are impossible to miss and very, very visible. However, the black/ thunder colourway is also a great looking shoe. The New Balance logo also features 3M detailing meaning that it has reflective qualities, which gives even the black/ thunder colourway some visibility in darker conditions.
The first thing I noticed when I put them on for the first time was the fit. The various different patterns of the knitted mesh upper give a tight but true to size fit in the toebox, but some runners with wider feet may find them too tight. The various patterns also allow your feet to breathe when using them in hot weather. Unfortunately, I have only been able to use them in wet and damp conditions which gave me slightly soggy socks.
Fresh Foam is the standout feature on the shoe and it definitely delivers. The Fresh Foam Technology allows a comfortable ride but at the same time gives a barefoot feel to your run. Zante Version 3 also has a very supportive and comfortable heel counter which allowed me to use them for a longer distance than I planned. The Fresh Foam is designed to have a 6mm drop (differing between sizes and models) which adds the ability to run for longer distances without your feet getting sore. The honeycomb-like design on the Fresh Foam gives the runner extra comfort when running at higher speeds, which was great for practising my sprints.
The honeycomb design is also used on the shoe's’ outsole, adding good grip on some mixed terrain. The tread works particularly well on road and pavements which allowed me to change directions at high speed without slipping too much.
New Balance Fresh Foam Vs Adidas Ultra Boost
As a big fan of an Adidas everything, my immediate reaction was to compare the New Balance Fresh Foam Zante 3’s to my beloved Adidas Ultra Boost. Many people see the Ultra Boost as the most comfortable shoe on the market and is now marketed as a lifestyle shoe, as well as Adidas trying to put their Boost Technology in every other shoe they make.
The Fresh Foam is comparable to my Ultra Boosts even though I am biased towards my Ultra Boost. Even though the Zante Version 3’s that I have been testing focus on the comfort in the midsole, they excel over the Ultra Boost’s in the comfort in the heel, which has led to many users of the Ultra Boost having problems with their achilles (link to article). New Balance Fresh Foam Zante Version 3 gives me extremely good comfort and support in the heel which is something I’m not used to.
Something I was also not used to was the ease of purchase and price. My Adidas Ultra Boosts were £135 from Adidas, and I also had to be online and ready to shop for 9am before they instantly sold out in every size apart from 13.5 (Adidas have since made more pairs available on their store or other retailers). Zante Version 3 was £95 from New Balance and I didn't have to set an alarm to buy them. Although the New Balance Fresh Foam Zante Version 3 has so many positives, and were better to run in than my Adidas AlphaBounce or any Adidas Tubular, It’s hard to steer me away from my lifelong Adidas Addiction.
New Balance Fresh Foam Zante 3 is a great running shoe that focuses on comfort when running at speeds. The bright colours and details offer great visibility whether you run in the day or night. The shoe has an RRP of £95 which is a lot cheaper than the similar models from other big competitors. You can purchase them from New Balance’s website.
What are Hoka shoes?
Hoka shoes are the reason I’ve been two inches taller for the last month.
Hoka is the fasted growing shoe brand in the world, easily recognisable by their extra thick soles, which look like a platform.
Back in 2009, when Hoka was first released, minimalist shoes were all the rage, but Hoka went completely against that, challenging everything we know about running shoes. You could even call them, ‘maximalist’. But why?
The founders were two life-long runners, seeking stability from their running shoes that minimalist footwear just doesn’t offer after the miles rack up. They wanted a shoe that would enable a natural foot motion, with a super-cushioned sole to provide stability that helps create uniformity in running stride.
Originally loved by ultra-runners for helping them push through their super long runs - we’re talking a marathon and more here, the cushioned running shoe has now grown in popularity to see runners of all distances rebounding off their Hoka Meta-Rockers.
Fun Fact: Hoka One One, pronounced "Hoka O-nay O-nay", means "now it is time to fly" in Maori.
What is a Hoka Meta Rocker?
The Meta Rocker is the feature that has made this brand famous, it’s the reason for the thick soles and a more comfortable run.
Hoka say: “Our Meta-Rocker midsole geometry is specifically designed with a low heel-toe differential and a sculpted outsole to create a unique fulcrum effect, like a rocking chair, to encourage a guided gait cycle. This design supports a runner's natural form while promoting an efficient, smooth roll from initial impact to toe-off.”
So in plain English, it’s the tech that makes the sole of the Hoka Clifton 3 like a rocking chair, which helps support your run through the way it encourages you to land your feet.
Hoka Shoes Sizing
Somewhat ironically, I found the Hoka shoes quite small in their fit. Big on padding short on room. My regular shoe size is a 4, so when I buy my running shoes, I opt for 4.5. When I first slipped on the Hoka Clifton 3’s, they felt super snug and I was a little concerned they were going to pinch my toes. However, after my first run, the trainers gave a little give and fit perfectly. The Clifton 3 upper features a seamless design with a wide toe box which makes the fit really comfortable. Despite the high platform of the shoe, there is a minimal toe drop, which is good for runners who are concerned about shortening the achilles - although there is little to no concrete evidence to support this.
What's a really great design feature of these trainers is the loop to the back of the heel to help slip the trainers on and off easily. It's the largest loop I've had on any brand of trainers and makes these trainers really easy to get into and out of.
The shoes are so light, you’d forget you were wearing them if it wasn’t for the fact that you’re 2 inches taller!
Hoka Clifton Review
Time to fly. The very first run in these shoes I sung “we’re walking in the air” in my head for almost the entire duration, it was Christmas and there I was floating on the huge platform of cushioning in my new Hoka Clifton 3 trainers. I hope this conjures up a beautiful mental image for you. The run was easy, each step felt supported, the impact was cushioned and I finished up thinking it was a Christmas miracle I’d glided through my run so easily. After the first run I decided I was probably just a little festively tipsy still, surely these running shoes could not be that unlike anything I’d ever run in before?
Then there was run two. My second run was just the same, except this time there was no risk of festive tinted glasses. It was true. These running shoes were completely different to anything I’d ever run in. The cushion absorbs the impact of your stride meaning you feel as though you can run for longer - great for distance runners and the rocker helped to ease my hobbling run and provide a more smooth gait, which actually showed up in my feedback from my Wahoo Ticker X which gives your running technique a score using motion trackers and let me tell you with the help of the Clifton 3's, I’m smooth.
There is one setback of the Hoka trainers and that is speed. For shorter fast runs or sprints, I feel like my foot sinks into the cushioning and I can’t really get that push off the ground you need to pick up speed. But that being said, these are designed for ultra runners and I don’t know many runners who can sprint for that kind of distance!
You’ve got to be off your rocker…
Never judge a meta-rocker by its cover. At first, I thought I would look like a right wolly in these trainers and I wasn’t sure about this ‘meta-rocker’ business. But after actually running in these I am a changed woman. They really do change the feel of a run.
Where to Buy Hoka Shoes
There are lots of retailers who stock this increasingly popular brand, but for the latest styles I’d go direct to the Hoka website.
The Clifton 3 reviewed (RRP: £100) is the latest iteration in the multi-award winning Clifton lineage.
Check out our other reviews here.