Tried and Tested – Sports Shoes
Whether you’re running long distances or heading out for a quick jog, wearing the correct shoes for your feet, gait and the terrain is paramount. We tried out some of the many different types of footwear out there.
Best for foot stability
If you’re one of the 70 per cent of the population who overpronate – your foot
arches roll inward or downward when walking or running, perhaps due to low arches or flat feet – then these shoes are designed to offer the stability needed. They have a Guidance TrussticTM system, which reduces the weight on the sole unit and links the forefoot and rearfoot. This enhances gait efficiency while increasing the shoes’ torsional rigidity to prevent them from twisting, which helps to stop overpronation and reduce the risk of injury. They certainly felt stable and helped to reduce knee pain – even after going on long-distance runs. Our tester liked the fact that these shoes were lightweight and breathable – due to an Ortholite X-40 sock liner and a two-layer jacquard mesh upper – as well as incredibly comfortable due to the Rearfoot and Forefoot GEL® Cushioning System.
Best for neutral runners
If you have normal pronation you can run in a wide variety of shoes; specialised neutral
running shoes offering cushioning and support are most suitable. The 361o Nemesis shoes have been designed to offer optimum comfort and cushioning for those with neutral pronation who run regularly, helping reduce the risk of injury. The upper comprises breathable engineered mesh with the open toe box design. Their ‘pressure-free’ tongues, flatter in design than usual, mean they don’t move about. The laces
are also a bit different: once tied, they become flat and feel secure, so you never need to double-knot them. Once on the go, they feel fast, due to QU!K Flex 4Foot Engineering, which provides for a natural and balanced toe-off and enhances ground contact for better acceleration. They have a QU!KFOAM midsole, too, which allows excellent cushioning, while the QU!KSpine shank makes your foot feel stable and supported. Available for both men and women, they are really comfortable to wear.
Best for beginners
Kalenji is Decathlon’s running-specific brand with several shoes in the Kiprun range. The Fast is ideal for those new to running. Their anatomic design makes them suitable
for all stride types, and the seamless technology at the forefoot reduces friction and therefore blisters. They feel light and ‘bouncy’ due to the EVA foam cushioning used
in the midsole and the rear cushioning technology in the form of a ring in the heel which helps offset the repetitive shock of the heel striking the ground. Ideal for short training sessions and long-distance races on roads and trails, they’re really grippy, even when it’s wet. Reliable, comfortable and excellent value for money.
Best for trails
If your running involves going ‘off-road’ through soft muddy trails or uneven terrain, you’re better off in trail shoes with a deep tread that offer better grip and support. They have an all-surface rubber compound, so gripped well on hard, soft, wet and dry grounds. The midsole uses a system called Vibe Technology, which works to attenuate vibrations and reduce load on the body. They have lots of room in the forefoot and plenty of flexibility in the toe area, and while they’re not waterproof, they are breathable, and feet remained comfortable, even after miles of running.
Best for kids
Nike Star Runner, £22, wynsors.com
With comfort at the fore, these trainers are ideal for running and everyday wear. Super light, they are perfect for youngsters – the full-length foam midsole makes them very comfortable to run in, so great for PE or cross-country runs. They look stylish, too, with mesh panel uppers and with synthetic overlays combined with leather for added structure. Elasticated laces and a touch tape fastening made them quick to put on and gave a secure fit. We also liked that the star-patterned rubber outsole gripped really well.