I've been running in the New Balance Vazee Pace since I reviewed them a couple of years ago so I was delighted to update my trainer collection and test the new Fresh Foam Zante v3 reflective.
These trainers look exceptional and really stand out from the crowd. I love the solid reflective detail that just looks like part of the shoe. These trainers are great for running in the winter months as they are impossible to miss and reflective detailing on winter training apparel is really important.
A flash photo captures the reflective detail on the New Balance trainers
These are a really modern, fresh pair of trainers and could be worn just as well as a pair of fashion trainers for every day activity as well as being a high spec pair of running trainers.
Unfortunately, I found the ankle really stiff. After a month of wearing them they really started to cut into my ankle and cause some discomfort. I haven't heard this from any other runners so it's possible it is just my foot anatomy. I've not had this issue from any other New Balance trainers but they do really seem to cut in. I will explore more because everything else about this shoe is great.
One great thing about these trainers is that there is plenty of room for your foot and they do not feel restrictive on the forefoot. After road testing the Adidas Adizero Adios 3 Running Shoes for review and continuing to run in them after testing, I found the Adidas quite narrow and restrictive. I could have definitely done with a size up, but maybe they would still be restrictive. Side by side, you can see how much more space there is in the forefoot of the New Balance trainers. This is a big plus as having a toe box that is too tight can make for some really uncomfortable runs, but the New Balance shoes have it just right.
The sole of the New Balance Fresh Foam Zante v3 men's running trainers is actually quite stiff, but the grip on the road is amazing. When I run on wet concrete I can usually feel and hear a slip under the foot, but this is definitely reduced in these shoes which is a big bonus.
The RRP of these men's running trainers is £95 although they are currently on sale from the New Balance website for £66. I think this is a really reasonable price for such a responsive and attractive pair of shoes. Nike running trainers can cost you well over £100, so the New Balance price point is really competitive in comparison.
The Adidas Originals Tubular Shadow shoes are Adidas' latest addition to their ever-growing fashion trainer collection. The design of these shoes is a fusion of their famed tubular '93 runners and an updated, fresh style. These trainers take a classic and revamp them for modern tastes to compete with their contemporaries. The two-tone knit upper and contemporary wrap-around style is very popular at the moment making them one of the most popular trainers on the market right now.
The thick, rubber sole means that these trainers stay comfortable even when you're on your feet all day. The enclosed 'booty' style that is found on most trainers these days prevents rubbing and chafing and the specialised sock lining stops blisters from forming.
The knit-style upper is flexible and comfortable and makes these shoes feel like you've barely got anything on your feet at all. While not necessarily suitable for long-distance running, these trainers will certainly be your best friend for a tough gym session or more functional workout.
Adidas has clearly tried to specifically bring their classic 1993 runners into the 21st century. They've stayed true to Adidas style as these are fairly similar to the Boost trainers that proved to be very popular after the release of Kanye's Yeezy trainers. The knitted upper follows in the footsteps of something Nike has been doing for a long time in their fly-knit collection and is possibly a fashion that will fall out of favour in a few years. That said, they're a very chic, subtle pair of trainers with not too much going on and definitely very minimalistic branding. This means they'll go with most outfits and will add a stylish twist to any workout. The trainers are available in a range of monochrome colours like black, white, and grey, but the two-tone design means they're eye-catching and stand out from other standard monochrome shoes.
The price of £79.95 is actually very fair, considering a lot of trainers these days can set you back well over £100. These are fashion trainers after all as opposed to functional technical trainers, but it's still a very reasonable cost for such stylish, modern shoes. This price is direct from Adidas, and you'll find them even cheaper from other distributors.
The Adidas Originals Tubular Shadow shoes are a modern twist on a classic and stay true to the Adidas brand. They stay on trend perfectly and would not look out of place in any scenario. The comfort of the trainers is exceptional, even if you have particularly wide feet. They may not be the most technical trainers, but they do the job and look great while they do it.
These fresh, stylish trainers are available at £79.95 on the Adidas website
GRIPPY SHOES BUILT FOR TRAIL RUNNING.
I have been looking forward to testing the 2017 update of the Adidas Kanadia for quite some time. The Adidas Kanadia 8 features claims their men's running shoes and innovative design gives you traction and stability on the trail. The durable and supportive runner features a cloudfoam midsole that provides ample cushioning. A tough TRAXION™ outsole gives you multi-directional grip.
- Weight: 275 g (size UK 8.5); Runner type: neutral; Midsole drop: 8 mm (heel: 27 mm / forefoot: 19 mm)
- Synthetic and air mesh upper for maximum breathability
- Durable forefoot overlays
- Breathable mesh lining
- cloudfoam midsole for step-in comfort and superior cushioning; Enjoy the comfort and performance of OrthoLite® sockliner
- TRAXION™ outsole for maximum grip in all directions
8th generation shoe from Adidas. After 8 generations you may question what is left to improve.
I have purchased the same size as my Kanadia 7. And the length is just fine, however the front of the shoe is definitely pulling tight on my big toe area. I have fairly narrow feet. Photographed side by side the version 7 and 8.
They look almost identical from the bottom but I didn’t every have a problem with the 7s. Parking this issue aside they fit the back/heel area of the foot incredible well.
Photographed above. The Adidas Kanadia 7 and Kanadia 8 (below - pre run clean!)
I have been reading what other Adidas reviewers have posted about the Kanadia 8 and I have been surprised to people saying they do not have enough cushioning. When running on hard surfaces I could not believe how much spring there is with each strike. I do not heel strike, more of a forefoot runner so maybe that is where some of the complaints have been, but for an off road shoe the cushioning is truly amazing.
Photographed above their generous Cloudfoam sole. Plenty of technology into the cushioning more than enough for most runners.
I guess comfort comes down to everything else. Fit, cushioning heel support. As the shoes feel like I need to move to the next size up I am reluctant to say they are uncomfortable. But I don’t think Adidas would like a return of these now I have put them through their paces.
To test the grip, you need some really slippery surfaces. In their 2016 version I really put them through the paces and I will continue to update this post as I test harder.
So for me trail running is all about versatility. The Kanadia 7 testing included ice, hard surfaces. Sand. Even a Nuclear race. And if you don’t know the Nuclear races are where you are in and out of ditches and bogs, the biggest test to be if they stay on as you pull your legs out of knee deep bogs.
A typical off-road run for British countryside includes gravel pathways, concrete pathways, soft mud, grass and short sharp hills. Of course the beauty is for every run you can make it your own track.
Test one for the Kanadia 8 included ultra soft rained hills. Hard surfaces and gravel. Flat boggy ground. And slippy canal paths. I think for most runners these sorts of terrains will cover off your day to day.
Running on hard surfaces for Trail Running Shoes is maybe the greatest challenge. A shoe with spikes is arguable the best sole/grip to deal with soft mud. But as soon as you hit something solid then you will slip straight off it.
The sole of the shoe is where their years of development really take things with off road running to a new level. Their tough TRAXION™ outsole gives you multi-directional grip. Designed and developed (as we covered in our review of the Kanadia 7) to work in all directions. That covers up, down and on flat hard surfaces.
The biggest test for off road shoes is maybe pathways
Short, steep downhills on soft wet mud. The staple diet of trail running shoes
Wet Woodland. Puddles and soft slippy mud
Soft slippy mud
As an upgrade of the 7 to the 8 do you notice? On soft ground I would say there is not that much of a difference, but on hard ground the newer Kanadia 8 feel like a softer run. Less like you are wearing a barefoot shoe with no padding, to a more of a cushioned run that you would expect from a typical road shoe.
There are some amazing offers online for the kanadia 8. Especially if you are not fussy about the choice in colour. Finish off your run with some Sundried Roteck leggings for that perfect, sweat wicking performance keeping you running your best in all conditions.
Hailed as a cushioned running shoe, the New Balance 1080v5 have a lot to deliver on. The first thing you might notice is how light they feel when you pick them up. They weigh in at only 258g, which makes them feel light on your feet.
They pack in a lot of technology for a trainer. Sliding your foot in, it is hard to ignore the comfort factor. The feeling of New Balance’s foam is noticeable, as is the N2 cushioning. These two ingredients, mixed together make the trainer soft yet firm, cushioned yet flexible. The foam really helps cushion the sole of your foot when running, as well as absorbing any shocks from the pavement.
By design, cushioned running shoes have a softer midsole, and these have a lot of support in the heel. So depending on how you run will determine if these are the shoes for you or not. These suited my running style quite well and I found the level of support held up mile after mile. The uppers have a really breathable mesh that allows sweat out and cool air in, which helps keep your feet feeling fresh and dry. The asymmetrical heel counter helps offer good heel support, with the insole offering decent arch support. These are definitely made for those who run with a heel strike other than a forefoot strike.
The bottom of the trainers looks like a maze of interconnected hexagons. However New Balance came up with this design, it works. The grooves, the dips and the shapes all work harmoniously together to ensure you have a smooth run. I ran over gravel, stones and streets in these and the cushioning is fantastic.
The fit of the shoe is a little narrow; if you have wider feet these are not for you. They lace up well and in no way feel like they are going to slip off, allowing for maximum support. The shoes have a removable insole, but it does help with softening heel strikes.
The uppers are mostly made of fused mesh overlays, which does make them airy and adds to the lightness of the shoes. Not to mention it looks great!
Overall, it is a good trainer with a decent price tag. They are like running on air, in that you will be cushioned from heel strikes and they give decent support. Designed as a heel striking trainer, they do the job well.
The new Topo Athletic Runventure trail shoes are your new companion to let you tread lightly on the roughest trail. Featuring a very low, firm heel and flexible body, these trainers will keep you comfortable while you put your body to the test.
The Runventure trainers have the Topo signature wide toe box, allowing for the toes to move naturally and freely. This is particularly useful for the additional balance required in trail running as well as the agility to avoid sticks, stones, and other debris.
The Runventure has a 19mm platform which is partnered with a Thermoplastic Polyurethane (TPU) midsole plate for extra protection. TPU is more dent-resistant than metal as well as being lightweight, shock absorbent, impact-resistant and flexible even in colder climates, making these trainers absolutely perfect for everything that the trail throws at you. The heel-to-toe drop is 4.7mm which is one of the lowest you will find.
The Runventure trainers have a completely unexpected classic look, unlike my first pair of Topo trainers the Speed Trainer, these trainers have a mainstream design and come in two colour variations, black/turquoise or wine/grey.
The trainer slips on easily thanks to the large loop on the heel and is a snug fit, hugging the foot nicely through the heel whilst allowing a loose fit to the large toe box. Where the Runventure boasts a neutral ride there is no arch support which some runners may be more adapted to, however, the laces are easy to fasten tighter over the arch of the foot to add a little more support. The TPU through the centre of the sole means the trainer lacks flexibility from the heel to the arch, however, the ball of the foot and toes offer more flexibility and are capable of moving freely. The lugs (indentations in the bottom of the trainer for added traction and grip) are fairly small with just a 2mm drop which is unusual for a trail shoe, seeing as you would want more grip than ever during this sport. My foot feels very sturdy in the shoe, sturdy but not cushioned. There is minimal padding as Topo stick to their barefoot roots, the aim being to give the runner just enough protection whilst not detracting from their minimalist feel. Time to get them dirty.
Being a trail shoe, the Runventure is designed for technical terrains like mud, rocks, grass, woodland, and even mountains. During my adventure in the shoes, the first thing I realised was that when Topo say their 19mm platform doesn’t ‘sacrifice feel’, they really weren't kidding. When wearing these trainers, your feet are not very far off the ground, so you can really feel every bump and rock on your path, although the TPU protects your foot from any real discomfort this may cause. When it comes to getting down and dirty, the strong mesh upper protected my foot from getting a soaking through puddles and was fairly dirt resistant. Having said earlier that the lugs on these trainers are relatively small for a trail shoe, they still did their job and stood up to the test.
Are these shoes for you?
If you're into trail runs, yes. It will take a bit of getting used to the lack of cushioning, but that fits with Topo’s principle to get you running more naturally. Due to their barefoot style, it may take a while for your body to adjust and you may feel some pain/aching in your shins and calves after running in these trainers. It’s not quite the cushion you would expect from a trail shoe, but it's more than Topo’s other barefoot style trainers. It would be the perfect transitional trainer to take a barefoot runner into trail running or a trail runner into a barefoot stride.
The best thing about Topo is that their brand is evolving. This isn't their first trail runner and it certainly won't be their last. I look forward to seeing what improvements the Spring collection will bring.