• 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
  • 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
  • On Running Cloudflyer Women's Running Shoes Review

    On Cloudflyer Running Shoes Sundried Review

    On Running is a really exciting brand that is breaking through to secure its spot among the biggest players in the sports world. I was lucky enough to be able to test out the On Cloudflyer stability running shoes and give my verdict.

    Size & Fit

    Even just looking at these running shoes on the floor before putting them on, they look small and compact. My normal shoe size is a Women's UK 7/US 9/EUR 40.5 and I am used to sizing up for running shoes which is standard practice.

    My current favourite running shoes are a pair of ASICS Gel Phoenix 7 which have served me incredibly well and I comfortably ran a full marathon in them with no discomfort, no blisters, and I could walk perfectly fine the next day (the sign of a great pair of shoes). My ASICS are a UK 8.5/US 10.5/EUR 42.5 and On suggest on their size guide that you should go half a size smaller than ASICS, so I dutifully went for a UK 8/US 10/EUR 42 for the Cloudflyers.

    In reality, the physical size and dimensions of these shoes are very close to my Nike Free Runs which are a UK size 7.5/US 9.5/EUR 41 so I maybe wish I had gone bigger and didn't size down. When wearing them, my feet did feel a bit squashed and I could only wear my thinnest socks with them. If you like a roomy shoe or have big/wide feet, I'd recommend that you should definitely size up. 

    On Cloudflyer Women's Running Shoes Review Sundried

    Comfort

    When I first put the shoes on, they felt very snug so I had to loosen the laces a fair bit. On first wear, they rubbed my heels and little toes quite substantially. However, I gave them a chance to wear in and this did subside after a while. To be completely honest, they are not the most comfortable running shoes I've ever worn and as you are about to find out, I had to give them a lot of chances to get it right.

    First test run

    I find that I have to run at least 2 miles but ideally more before I can really tell if a pair of running shoes is going to be comfortable or not. My first run in these shoes was 4 miles and I was really impressed with how they felt. I didn't experience any discomfort and I really enjoyed wearing them. Overall it was a very good run for me performance-wise and so I was left feeling very positive about the shoes.

    Second test run

    Unfortunately, on my second run wearing them I found that the arches of my feet started aching after a couple of miles and my toes felt squashed. It didn't cause blisters or any real pain, but my feet swell when I run (a common occurrence for many people) and so I don't like them to feel squashed. The aching on the bottom of my feet was perhaps them getting used to the more minimalist design of these running shoes. 

    The aching arches and squashed toes put me off quite a bit and I was left feeling disappointed at the end of my run, but I decided to give the shoes more of a chance and wait until I've done a few more runs to see if this pain disappeared once I was properly used to the shoes. Plus, I'm all too aware that we all have good runs and bad runs and that it might not be completely down to the shoes. For me, the perfect pair of running shoes are ones that I can forget I'm wearing so that I can focus solely on running and not pains in my feet. 

    Third test run

    My next run in the shoes was a bit longer at 6 miles as I wanted to see how they'd feel over a longer distance and duration. Thankfully, the aching arches didn't seem to be a problem on this run so hopefully my feet had already got used to them. My little toes felt squashed and slightly painful at the start of the run again, however this did subside after a while.

    After about 2 miles, I was running pretty comfortably in the shoes and was feeling happy with them. My last mile was on grass and this highlighted how hard the soles of the shoes are. My feet felt a bit battered and running on the grass was pretty uncomfortable, especially compared to my Nike Free Runs which I often use to do sprints in my local park.

    When I got home, the bottom of my feet felt very sore, that same soreness you get when you've been on your feet for a very long time. This made me wonder how my feet would feel running in these shoes for longer runs of over 10 miles. So, I decided to test it.

    Fourth test run

    I really wanted to like these shoes so I gave them a lot of chances. My fourth test run was 12 miles as I wanted to test the shoes over a much longer duration, especially as I am a distance runner and may well be running a marathon in these shoes. Actually, I am hoping to run an ultra-marathon next year but it is a trail run and after the pain I experienced wearing these shoes on grass, I don't know if they'd be suitable.

    On this run, my feet felt comfortable at first but then started to deteriorate. The arches of my feet ached as I don't think these shoes give quite enough ankle support for a pair of stability shoes, however this subsided after about 3 miles. 

    Unfortunately, after about 7 miles the bottom of my feet were hurting again like they did when I ran on the grass and this persisted until the end of the run. The lack of cushioning on these shoes while positive in the sense it keeps them light, unfortunately means they're not as good on longer runs.

    Sundried review On Cloudflyer running shoes women's

    Appearance

    I'd go so far as to say that the On Cloudflyer shoes are the best looking pair of running shoes I've ever had. They look very 'professional' and despite being stability shoes, they are very sleek, elegant, and compact. Other stability shoes I have owned have been overly clunky and look awful, both in design and the colourways available. 

    I like that On don't assume all women want bright fuchsia and purple running shoes and instead offer these shoes in a range of subtle, stylish colours. My friends and family also commented on how good these shoes look and I wouldn't feel out of place wearing them on a day-to-day basis as part of a casual outfit.  

    Performance

    Stability shoes, which are designed to give support for people like me who have flat feet and overpronate, can be very chunky and I find that this can slow me down. My current ASICS running shoes are guilty of this so it was a breath of fresh air to run in the Cloudflyer shoes which were so much more lightweight. Their selling point is that you're supposed to feel like you're 'running on clouds' and this was certainly true for me!

    Despite the discomfort mentioned above, these shoes helped me to run with very good form and encouraged me to be much lighter on my toes and lift my legs more when running. They actually felt like they were making me run faster! Perhaps this was just a placebo effect. Although, any good runner, physio, or coach will tell you that your running form starts with your feet and so having these shoes support me so well, perhaps they really did make me run faster.

    I wasn't sure how the grip would handle wet roads but these shoes were perfectly grippy and I felt confident running in the rain while wearing them. My second run in them saw me running over some gravel and I was very impressed with the grip, my feet didn't slip at all and I felt very confident running over different terrains.

    Verdict

    I had to give these shoes quite a lot of time to get used to them and to wear them in fully. My first run with them was awesome but then my second, not so much. As a distance runner, I need running shoes that are going to be very comfortable over countless miles and that I can forget I'm even wearing.

    I found these shoes to be a bit too snug so I'd recommend sizing up if you want to be super sure. The rigid upper rubbed my feet and the very solid soles felt a bit harsh so I would mark them down for comfort.

    However, I'm hugely impressed by their appearance and performance-enhancing qualities. When I received them, I was hoping they could replace my current running shoes and become my new go-to for my next few hundred miles of running. While they're ideal for shorter tempo runs and interval runs, they're not so good for long runs. So, I'll wear them for shorter runs and wear my ASICS for longer runs.

    I'd rate these shoes a solid 7/10 as I think they have the potential to be an amazing pair of running shoes, but the comfort (or lack thereof) let them down. 

    Posted by Alexandra Parren
  • New Balance 1080v5 Women's Running Trainers Review

    New Balance 1080v5 Womens Running Trainer Shoes Review Sundried

    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.

    Running Form

    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.

    Fit

    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.

    New Balance 1080V5 Women's Running Trainers Front and Sole

    Posted by Alexandra Parren
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