Archive for Shoe Reviews

Rank Name Rating Info
Hi-Tec Silver Shadow OriginalReview

Asics Gel Kayano 15Review

Visit Site
Asics Gel Kayano 17: 100 Mile ReviewReview

Visit Site

Asics Torana

The Asics Torana running shoes were kindly supplied to me free of charge by SportsDirect.com to test, and I am grateful to them for this.

Now the first thing that strikes you about these shoes is the colour scheme, it has prompted a very much love it or hate it amongst my friends, me, I love it. I like a shoe that stands out, I am fed up with the stock silverish, whitish, greyish colour most shoes seem to be.

I have used this shoe for about a week, on a variety of terrains hand in a several different weather conditions, and so I feel pretty happy about giving opinions on it.

The shoe is billed as a trail shoe, and it seems to fit into the range where they are designed to allow you to run to the trail, run the trial and then run home. So, from this you can deduce it’s not a fully fledged off road weapon but more a cross over shoe.

So, with this in mind I decided to try the shoe on a variety of routes, firstly I did an off road run which had a long downhill stretch through some woods and a road climb back up. The wooded section is on a pretty good path and the shoes were providing plenty of grip through here, and equally on the road climb back they were giving good support. The only point I would make is that when I did go through a muddy patch the traction was not great, certainly not as good as my full off-road shoe.

Next test was to use them on a canal path, I did this run in the rain and I did expect the shoe to struggle a little if it was muddy. However, on a canal path the shoes were excellent, the combination of cushioning and grip were excellent. Also the road run to and from the canal path was dispatched with ease, and I certainly enjoyed the extra comfort of the Asics shoe over doing the same run in my other trail shoe.

After the encouraging performance on that run, I decided to try man made trail path, well the shoe coped on that with ease, and coming back along another canal path I forgot these were new shoes due to the comfort and grip.

Road running was something I thought that maybe the shoe would do, but not give me the stability of my normal road shoe. I was wrong, it was excellent, whilst I only did about 6km there were a couple of longish hills and at no point did I think I wish I had used my other shoes. I don’t know whether I would do a really long road run in them, but they aren’t designed for it although I reckon they would cope well.

THe overriding thing I have noticed about the shoe is that they feel fast, especially on mixed terrain runs.

For me, these shoes are ideal for canal path, summer trail running and where there is some road work in getting to the off road stuff. I do a lot of runs like that, and I certainly will be using them for those runs.

Would I buy a pair of these, yes, would I recommend them, yes if you do mixed terrain running.

Is there really an alternative to the Asics Kayano? Meet the Mizuno Wave Alchemy 10 and my long term test!

If you’re a long time Asics Kayano user like myself, it’s tempting to try and find an alternative that doesn’t require re-mortgaging every time you need a new pair. Damian told me recently that he was chatting to the staff in his local running store and mentioned I ran in the Kayano and they said it was effectively as close as a running shoe gets to being special shoes. Cheeky. They are the Rolls Royce of runners though.

Having discussed the conundrum of a suitable alternative to the Kayano with a wide range of sports shoe officionados, I had compiled the following list of possibilities…
Adidas Salvation 3
Mizuno Wave Alchemy 10
Saucony Pro Grid Omni 9
Stick with the Kayanos 😉

I have finally had the opportunity to try them all out.

I’ve previously bought a pair of the Sauconys and had found them lacking the support of the Kayano, so I’ve written them off as an alternative from personal experience. ‘Your mileage may vary’ as they say, but they didn’t work for me. My impression of them, ignoring the fact that the support structure wasn’t strong enough was that at £80, in comparison to the Kayano, you get what you pay for. They feel a little less sunbstantial and thinner in the tongue and forefoot area than the Kayanos do.

To ensure a level playing field with the remaining candidates, I started by setting the benchmark in a brand new pair of Kayano 17s. The store staff took a video me running on a treadmill with their gait analysis software, confirming the Kayano was a suitably supportive shoe for my running style and saved this video for comparison purposes.

Next up, the Adidas. The Salvations I tried were not the latest model. It appears that Adidas have completely redesigned the support structure for the fourth iteration of the Salvation and I was advised that if I needed strong support, stick with the 3. I did so. The video gait analysis revealed that the Salvation 3’s allow quite a lot of roll in of my ankles, particularly my right one and so we immediately wrote these off as an option too.

There was now nothing left but the Mizuno offering in the form of the Wave Alchemy 10. Initial impressions were of similar quality to the Saucony, one which is entirely resonable given their £85 price tag, in comparison to the £130 tag on the Kayano.

So, what did the video reveal? Well, we spent quite some time rolling the video back and forth to try and come to a consensus on whether the Mizuno or the Kayano were better suited to me! It really was difficult to tell the difference. I bought a pair and have now put about 80 miles on them.

What’s this Heel-Toe delta thing anyway?
Have a look at the image to the right here –>
I’ve done my best with the aid of paint(!) to show you what I mean by heel-toe delta. It’s essentially the drop in height between the heel and the toe when your foot is in the shoe. The Mizuno is considerably flatter in the sole than the Kayano and this means that you’re stretching your achilles and calf a bit more on the tail end of every stride.

Test results
I hadn’t noted that the heel-toe delta on the Mizuno shoe was so small in comparison when I was running on the treadmill. I noticed it was smaller, it felt different just standing in the shoes, but hadn’t realised how significant this would turn out to be. The Kayano has a steep heel-toe delta and I’ve been using them for about two years now (and over 2000 miles) so I’m very used to this aspect. After about four runs (mainly short three milers) I was really struggling with a range of pains including achilles tension which wasn’t good. I then added some heel gel support pads to the shoes (4mm ones seemed too high when I tried them, I ended up using 2mm inserts) and have been much more comfortable. I suspect that in the long term, the 4mm inserts will be better but that’s a test for another day.

Conclusion
At a retail price of £85, you may just find the Mizuno Wave Alchemy an appropriate alternative, offering the same level of cushioning and support, but at around 2/3rds the price of our beloved Kayano staple! Beware though, the heel-toe delta is as near as it gets to flat and this might leave you struggling as I did. Be prepared to try some heel inserts if you find you have problems. I’m able to use them, but I’ll still be buying Kayanos again next time I’m afraid.

Asics Gel Kayano 17: 100 Mile Review

Ratings
Overall
Ease of use
Value for money

Having been a long term user of the Gel Kayano 15, yet now unable to get hold of another pair, I’ve resorted to the 17s.

First impressions
They’re very white and won’t be for long! They also feel somewhat more heavy in the mesh areas, especially the toe box. The lining material around the heel is thicker and more plush and they’ve lost the strange wonky lacing pattern of the 15s.
The whole shoe looks very familiar, with the Duomax inner arch and the semi transparent center sole section too. There’s a little more mesh/less stretchy rubber at the sides compared to the old design and the heel cup feels reassuring solid, as I’ve come to expect with the Kayano.

The Fit
First impressions were that the whole shoe feels wider. Noticeably. It also feels heavier material wise and so less well ventilated. The heel cup feels solid and stable, yet larger than that of the old 15s. I have narrow feet. This may not be a good thing.

The first run
First run out was an inadvisable 11 miles to break them in. I had no choice, I had to get the miles in and my old 15s were well and truly beyond dead (and my knees were telling me so). It rained heavily, they got very wet. They didn’t feel like they fitted me, they felt way too wide. In fact, they felt loose all round my foot. My heel felt like it was wallowing around though and the toes didn’t really have anywhere to sit as there’s so much width in them. The knees survived the 11 miles though, so the legendary cushioning of the Kayano was obviously there!

The first 100 miles – review
Having played about with the lacing a lot (and I mean a lot, like maybe an hour of faffing about) I think I’ve now got them about right. I have to say, they now feel somewhat tight around the midfoot/lace area and still very wide around the toe box. The heel is now much better too, and the revised lacing strategy seems to have improved this somewhat. They’re now a lightly dirty brownish colour and as they’re so thick and not so well ventilated, smell like running shoes. Not nice, but for the winter/spring months at least my feet aren’t so cold!

Overall verdict
The ever reliable Kayano returns as the flagship model, with good cushioning, good support and a strong construction. The 17 is a heavier meshed model yet gains no discernible weight for this. If your feet are on the larger side, they will likely fit you well, but if you’re used to the Kayano with smaller feet, do make sure to give them a try and expect much fiddling with laces before you commit your hard earned premium-price-running-shoe cash.


Asics Gel Kayano 15

Ratings
Overall
Ease of use
Value for money

To say I swear by these running shoes would be an understatement. I’ve probably run best part of a thousand miles in the Asics Kayano range now. Granted they’re not the cheapest option in a structured shoe. In fact, by Asics standards, they’re virtually top line. But you can get deals on them, especially as Asics release two colourways per year and the old one is usually on sale. Try Sportsshoes.com for cheap options, that’s where I get mine from.

I’ve now gone through two pairs of Kayano 15’s and so naturally went for the Kayano range again, instead the 17’s as the 15’s are so old they’re no longer available. The 15’s sport a wonkey asymmetric lacing pattern. Ignore the bumph, they lace up in the same way any other running shoe does, it makes no discernible difference in my opinion. If you check the reviews on the Asics website, you’ll see a good few people complaining they’ve worn through the mesh on the toe box. 450 miles in each pair of 15’s and this was never a problem for me, I imagine that’s quite conclusive proof it’s not the trainer that’s a fault, nor the asymmetric lacing pattern.

They seem to wear well, in both senses. They offer a strong heel cup and adequate cushioning and support for the over-pronator. I find them to be a good sturdy fit and with a little tinkering with the lacing you can adapt them to your liking. (Again, I refer you to sportsshoes.com, have a look at their lacing advice page, it’s very good)

Having put about 450 miles on the first pair, I compared the used pair with a new pair and there was a startling difference in the support offered by the new shoes. I personally think they’re good for about 350 miles before you should think about replacing them. Not due to sole wear, due to the support structure breaking down, as I have found.

Here’s the comparison blog post if you’d like to have a look…

To sum up, they’re pretty much top line structured running shoes. But they’ve been intensively tested and stood up to the 1095miles.com daily battering admirably. I think that says a lot about the quality of a shoe.

You’ll notice I’ve said nothing of the style of the shoe, or the colour. Running gear is primarily functional when you’re running daily. They look good for a running shoe, that’s about all I can say. Oh and they have some sparkly reflective bits, which are, well, reflective essentially. Pretty good eh?

Verdict: Thoroughly recommended, especially if you can get them. Long lasting, well made, good fitting running shoes for the more discerning [and wealthy] runner 😉


Hi-Tec Silver Shadow Original

Ratings
Overall

If there is one thing you can guarantee, its that when buying kit I’m looking at the price first and foremost. I ran my couch to 5k in a pair of Adidas running shoes that were about 6 years old with the sole close to wearing through. So when Andy said I should buy a new pair of shoes to run in – there was no real alternative to dad’s favourite the Hi-Tec Silver Shadow.

I’ve owned this pair for about two months now. Apart from a tough few runs breaking them in (the backs caused some blistering, the arches felt very prominent) they are fantastic at just ‘being there’ and allowing me to concentrate on the run, not my running shoe. The only discomfort I have suffered was in the form of numbness. This has always been remedied by re-tying the laces. Completely my fault though – I generally slip the shoes on and off without touching the laces, so they eventually loosen.

Hi-Tec list the following features for the Silver Shadows:

  • Combination leather/nylon upper for support
  • Multi-density cushioned midsole
  • Heel counter for additional support
  • Carbon rubber outsole

I think that they sell the shoe a little short. They should also note that they are supplied with free laces, and a stylish blue cardboard box for storage of paperwork etc. In all seriousness, these are a no-frills shoe at an extremely no-frills price.

I would certainly reccomend this shoe to anyone starting out with running, even if it is as a stepping stone to more ‘structured’ footwear – I have yet to take the plunge upmarket and don’t intend to!

Hi-Tec Silver Shadow running shoes are available from discount sports suppliers such as sportsdirect.com priced at around £20.99.