• New Balance Fresh Foam Cruz Trainers Review

    New Balance Fresh Foam Cruz Trainers Review

    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.

    New Balance Fresh Foam Cruz Review Sundried Trainers

    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.

    New Balance Fresh Foam Cruz Running Trainers Review Sundried 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. 

    New Balance Fresh Foam Cruz Sundried Review Running Trainers FashionI 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.

    New Balance Fresh Foam Review

    Verdict

    Overall, 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.
    Posted by Alexandra Parren
  • Nike Metcon 3 Review

    Nike Metcon 3 CrossFit Shoes

    If you're looking for a new CrossFit shoe, look no further than the Nike Metcon 3 shoes. Perfect all-round trainers, you can run, lift, and jump with confidence in these shoes. We take a closer look at CrossFit's favourite trainer.

    Nike Metcon 3 Kettlebell CrossFit Trainers

    When it comes to CrossFit, you need a shoe that can do it all. One minute you'll be running, next minute you'll be on the floor doing burpees, then before you know it you're on the platform doing max rep snatches. That's where the Nike Metcon 3 shoes come in. 

    Practicality

    The first thing you need for CrossFit is a weightlifting shoe style heel. You need a solid base for your heels and something that feels like a weightlifting shoe that you're used to lifting in. With a drop-in mid-sole, the Nike Metcon 3 has a very sturdy heel and when you slip it on, it feels exactly like a lifting shoe. The clincher, however, is in the softer forefoot. When you're wearing the Metcon 3 you can almost feel the difference in the mid-part of the foot where the solid heel turns into a soft forefoot for running and sprinting. You would never run in your lifting shoes - it doesn't even bare thinking about - so you need a shoe that has the flexibility needed for running and jumping and the Metcon 3 has this. The front of the shoe feels just like a regular trainer, with the flexibility you'd expect for athletics.

    The sole of the shoe is made from rubber and the grip on the platform is exceptional. I've gone through numerous different shoes to find the perfect deadlift shoe. Converse (Chuck Taylors) gave me blisters and boxing boots didn't have enough support. The Metcon 3 trainers have incredible stability and I felt really steady on the platform. This is crucial when it comes to heavy lifts.

    There's even a textured rubber area in the mid part of the shoe to give excellent traction while climbing a rope. Nike really have thought of everything for this shoe, and it shows. CrossFit is a challenging sport - that's why we love it - so it's tricky to find the perfect shoe for all the different movements you'll be doing. Thankfully, Nike has everything covered.

    Nike Metcon 3 CrossFit training shoes review Sundried

    Fit

    For me, the only drawback to this shoe is the low heel. I would assume this design is so that you have more freedom of movement and flexibility while training, however I found it made the rear part of my foot feel very unsupported. The front of my foot felt great, very locked-in, but then my heel was slipping out the back a little. 

    I also found that during the first couple of sessions wearing them, my big toes ended up a little bruised. The front part of the shoe is pretty solid, and moving around doing burpee box jump-overs caused a fair amount of pain to my big toe. I understand that all trainers need to be worn in so I'm sure they'll be fine after a while, but just be warned.

    Size

    I'm usually a size 7 in trainers but for some shoes (especially New Balance trainers) I find I have to size up to a 7.5. The Metcon 3 trainers are very true to size and I have plenty of space in a size 7 so my advice would be to stay true to your size as it'll be a perfect fit. I definitely wouldn't have wanted them any bigger. They're also very generous width-wise so if you have wide feet you can be confident that these shoes will fit you well.

    Appearance

    Nike is a huge brand, we all know this, and all the big CrossFit stars from Mat Fraser to Sara Sigmundsdottir can be found wearing the Metcon 3 shoes. You feel like a real pro strolling in to train in these shoes. There are lots of different colourways to choose from and you can even customise and design your own with Nike iD. 

    Verdict

    You're never really going to go wrong with a pair of shoes from Nike, that's why they're one of the biggest brands in the world. They've really thought these shoes through and they're designed with true CrossFitters in mind. Being backed by the big CrossFitters gives these shoes a big boost but the flawless design and superior comfort stands alone anyway. The RRP is £114.95 but you can find most pairs on sale now at around £79.95 putting them in the same price range as a pair of Reeboks. 

    Posted by Alexandra Parren
  • Adidas Ultraboost ST Women's Shoes Review

    adidas ultraboost st womens shoes review sundried

    The Adidas Ultraboost ST women’s shoes are the ultimate combination of both style and substance, making for an attractive yet athletic pair of high quality running trainers.

    Fit

    The Primeknit upper is very reminiscent of Nike’s Flyknit technology and makes for an incredibly comfortable fit. As with the Nike Flyknit, Adidas’ Primeknit fabric is super soft and pliable meaning it fits around your foot like a sock and is fairly stretchy.

    I find that a lot of running trainers these days come up small and tight, however I found the opposite was true with the Adidas Ultraboost ST shoes and they actually come up a little large. For me this is a big bonus as your feet inevitably swell during a run so having a little extra room allows for this to happen without pain developing. It also means your toes are not pushing against the front of the shoe so you are less likely to develop blisters or damage your toenails. The Primeknit upper also gives a great locked-in feel and provides excellent support meaning your foot doesn’t slip around in the shoe, another big tick from me.

    Appearance

    I absolutely love the appearance of these shoes. Finding a pair of stability trainers that aren’t overly chunky and unappealing can be a struggle, but Adidas have really nailed it with their stylish and subtle design. The Primeknit upper looks modern and fresh and the colourways are muted and attractive. The minimalist design means that the Adidas Ultraboost ST women’s shoes don’t look like typical running trainers and I found myself wearing them as lifestyle trainers, too. I love how understated the iconic ‘three-stripes’ are as they blend in with the rest of the design.

    Performance

    The Adidas Ultraboost ST women’s trainers are surprisingly heavy at 294g, compared to 178g for the Nike Free RN Flyknit trainers and 245g for Hoka One One’s super chunky stability trainers, the Gaviota. However, this does not seem to affect their performance, and I find that stability trainers needs to be on the heavier side in order to provide the support I need.

    The main selling point of these shoes is the Ultraboost technology. Adidas teamed up with leading chemical company BASF to innovate their midsole cushioning, which is made of a solid, granular material TPU which they expand into a styrofoam-like material. This cutting-edge construction has completely changed the game when it comes to performance running trainers and they really do the job well. These shoes are incredibly springy and in fact don’t feel heavy at all. The locked-in feel from the impressive design means your foot and sneaker move as one allowing for an uninterrupted ride and excellent performance.

    The stability provided by the dual-density Boost cushioning gives great support and my feet definitely felt corrected when wearing these shoes.

    Price

    Considering the incredible appearance and performance of these shoes, I feel that the premium price tag of £149.95 is well-earned. It’s definitely on the higher end of the spectrum, however Nike’s latest running trainers are terrifyingly nearing the unheard of £200 mark (£194.95 for the Nike Air VaporMax Flyknit iD trainers) so in comparison this doesn’t seem so bad. 

    Verdict

    The Adidas Ultraboost ST Women’s trainers are an incredibly impressive pair of shoes. They are wholly unique in that they look great but still perform, providing you with everything you deserve from a pair of stability running shoes. The Ultraboost technology has taken a long time to develop but it’s definitely worth it, while the motion control and sturdy heel make for a fluid and bouncy ride. Their appearance is fantastic and the fact they double up as both running and lifestyle trainers means the premium price tag is well worth it.

    These trainers are for you if:

    • You overpronate/have flat feet
    • You run medium distances
    • You are also looking for everyday shoes

    These trainers are not for you if:

    • You have a limited budget
    • You prefer a barefoot ride
    • You do a lot of sprinting or are a marathon runner
    Posted by Alexandra Parren
  • Hoka Gaviota Women's Running Shoes Review

    Hoka Running Trainers Review Gaviota Sundried

    The Hoka Gaviota Women's Running Shoes are a stability trainer from our favourite long distance running trainer specialists. But are they right for you?

    Fit

    Upon first wearing the trainers, they feel very snug and comfortable. Hoka One One is a brand renowned for its springy, cloud-like trainers which are specifically designed for long distance running such as marathons and ultra marathons. The materials used are super soft and the trainer's upper is fairly flexible. The thick sole is very solid and gives good support. 

    I bought my pair a half size up from my regular shoe size, which is what I often do for running trainers due to the inevitable swelling expected during a run. However, these trainers are very tight and my forefoot was so squashed that the entire front half of my foot went numb. Having scoured through other reviews of these trainers, it appears I am not alone in this and it is a common problem for wearers of this particular shoe. I tried the usual trick of re-lacing the trainers to allow more room for my toes but unfortunately this didn't help. During my second run, after only 2 miles, my entire foot was so numb and in agony I had to physically remove the trainers and walk home barefoot feeling rather sorry for myself. I'm not sure if sizing up again would help in this instance as I'd worry it'd just give more room in the heel and not fix the problem of the tight toe box. 

    Hoka One One Gaviota Women's Running Shoe Review

    Appearance

    Stability trainers are notorious for not looking great. It always seems that the rule of 'style over substance' is hammered in when trying to buy trainers and you have to choose one or the other. Hoka One One trainers are quite outlandish and quirky at the best of times, which is why I was pleasantly surprised by the appearance of the women's Gaviota trainers. There are two colourways available: Dresden blue/Gold fusion or Paradise pink/neon coral. I bought the Paradise pink/neon coral pair and I actually really like their appearance. They are not too fluorescent and don't stand out too much, and instead have a subtle and pretty appearance. 

    Women's running trainer reviews Sundried Hoka

    Performance

    These trainers are beautifully light, weighing in at 245g. Compare this to the weight of the stability trainers offered by Nike - Nike Zoom 317g and that of Adidas- Vengeful shoes 292g. Hoka is a brand famous and well-loved for the performance of its long distance running trainers, and these are no different. For the couple of miles that I could manage before my feet went numb, I felt like I was treading on air and my stride definitely felt light and springy. 

    When it comes to stability trainers, you need a pair you can trust not to cause injuries or accentuate your poor posture. Stability trainers are designed for people who over-pronate; that is they suffer from fallen arches and/or flat feet and their feet fall inwards. Stability trainers like the Hoka Gaviota women's running trainers are designed to prevent the feet from rolling inwards and to stabilise your ride, reducing the risk of injury and allowing for a pain-free run.

    Sadly for me, I was not able to properly test these trainers on a long run because they sent my feet to sleep and crippled my toes!

    Running trainers Hoka One One Gaviota Review Sundried

    Price

    I bought my pair of Hoka Gaviota trainers from a local retailer for £114.99. They are currently available direct from the Hoka website for 120 Euros (on sale from 150 Euros) which works out at around £106. In theory, I definitely think this pair of trainers would be worth this price for their unparalleled support and comfort during very long runs. However sadly for me, due to not being able to return them, they will continue to gather dust on my shoe rack and burn a large hole in my wallet.

    Verdict

    I really wanted to like these trainers, and I can see a huge amount of potential in them if they fit you properly. I don't have wide feet at all, in fact I'd describe my feet as quite narrow, but I do have fairly long toes. The shoes are very comfortable for a few minutes, but sadly sent my feet to sleep and have caused what I'm hoping is not prolonged damage to my toes. Having read a lot of reviews by others, I can see this is not an isolated incident. Therefore, if you think these trainers are for you, definitely size up by perhaps two sizes. They are an attractive pair of carefully crafted technical trainers, I just wish I could wear them!

    These trainers are for you if:

    • You regularly run long distances
    • You are a marathon or ultra marathon runner
    • You over-pronate due to fallen arches and/or flat feet

    These trainers are not for you if:

    • You are a sprinter or short distance runner
    • You have wide feet and/or long toes
    • You do not have a big budget

    Read our review of the Hoka Clifton 3 Trainers.

    Posted by Alexandra Parren
  • ASICS Gel Phoenix 8 Womens Running Trainers Review

    Asics women's running trainers gel phoenix 8 review

    ASICS is one of the biggest footwear and clothing retailers in the fitness world. They lead the market with their high end running trainers and technical sports apparel. This review will look at the positives and negatives of the ASICS Gel-Phoenix 8 Women's Running Trainers and will hopefully help you decide if they are for you.

    Fit

    Upon first putting on the trainers they feel very comfortable. I did have to size up with these trainers by half a size, but I often do that with running trainers of any brand. The most noticeable thing for me with regards to the fit of the trainers is that the toe box is far too narrow. My previous trainers were the Phoenix 7s and the toe box was perfect and I never had any issues. The Phoenix 8 trainers have been redesigned and the shape of the toe box is now completely different. It bends more to the inside rather than being straight, so it has more of a point to it. What this results in is the trainers seeming to be a perfect fit when you do the classic big toe test (seeing where your big toe sits in the toe box) but the smaller toes get totally crushed. 

    I found that the first couple of miles of my run were great, very comfortable, but then my four smaller toes became very uncomfortable and squashed. After 4 miles they were in a lot of pain and I had to end the run prematurely. The front of the trainers is much more rigid than in the Phoenix 7 trainers and the upper is less flexible. I don't have wide feet so I've never had this issue before and I'm not sure if sizing up yet again would help. If you have short toes you'll probably be okay, but my second toe is actually longer than my big toe so I need plenty of space in the toe box. There's nothing worse than having squashed toes while running!

    Asics Womens running trainers review

    Appearance

    The colourways available for the ASICS Gel Phoenix 8 women's trainers are much more subtle and contemporary than those of the Phoenix 7s and are more aesthetically pleasing. Of course, if bright trainers are your thing then that's absolutely great, but I quite like the more understated look of the Phoenix 8 womens shoes. There are more blue tones and less bright pink ones which makes the shoes much more stylish and they are more likely to match with your activewear

    Asics Gel-Phoenix 8 Womens Running Trainers

    Performance

    The ASICS Gel Phoenix 8 women's trainers are specifically designed for those who over-pronate due to fallen arches or flat feet. The built-in arch support is second-to-none and not having to wear orthotics or arch supports is really important because after a few miles these are always prone to rubbing blisters or moving around in the shoes. Finding a good pair of supportive trainers can be really tough and running pain-free is paramount, so I am really pleased to have found these trainers. 

    If you run underprontated (or supinated) these are not the shoes for you. Additionally, if you prefer more of a barefoot ride, these are not the trainers for you as they have a super thick sole for maximum impact displacement which helps those who overpronate.

    Additionally, these are not really 'speed' trainers as they are relatively heavy and are designed with durability in mind for longer runs rather than short, quick bursts. With the design of the shoes, it would seem ASICS are trying to make these more multi-terrain trainers with thicker soles and more durability. What this does mean is they are well suited for heavier runners as they have great cushioning and robustness.

    Asics womens running trainers new gym shoes

    Price

    The RRP of the ASICS Gel Phoenix 8 women's trainers is £85, however you can find them for a cheaper price at other outlets or websites. Considering ASICS is known to be a high end retailer, this is a very reasonable price, especially if you find a discounted version. 

    Verdict

    I was disappointed with these trainers after enjoying so many good runs with my ASICS Gel Phoenix 7 trainers. It is a shame that the toe box has been redesigned in a way that crushes the toes to the point of pain, because they are otherwise fantastic trainers. My advice would be to buy the Phoenix 7 trainers instead because they still provide the stability, cushioning, and comfort for endless miles without any drawbacks.

    These trainers are for you if:

    • You have very narrow feet
    • You have small feet and/or short toes
    • You are a heavier runner
    • You are a distance runner
    • You overpronate and/or have fallen arches/flat feet

    These are not the trainers for you if:

    • You have wide feet
    • You have big feet
    • You have long toes
    • You prefer a barefoot ride
    • You underpronte/supinate
    • You run shorter distances
    • You run for speed
    Posted by Alexandra Parren
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