There are millions of people out there better qualified than me to review running shoes. Possibly billions. Hell, there are penguins shuffling around Antarctica (and not those fancy university-educated penguins either; I’m talking about the ones who routinely get their heads stuck in stuff) who are probably more clued up about the different types of midsole and the benefits of gel cushioning systems. But here we are.
From time to time, because of this silly blog, I occasionally get running stuff sent to me; the idea being that I try it out and then talk about it on social media, maybe even writing a little review about it. More often than not, marketing/PR companies quickly realise that I’m not the sort of person they should really be sending their precious shiny stuff to. I’m the perfect storm of how not to promote a product. I’m lazy and an accomplished procrastinator, so chances are the campaign will be long-forgotten by the time I finally put pen to paper. If a product is, in my opinion, a pile of poop, then I’ll loudly and happily say so. Finally, even if I love a product, my grasp of the technical intricacies of running kit is on par with my grasp of ancient Cornish hag-flinging rituals, so it’s unlikely that anything I write will be of the slightest use to anyone. So in short,
Having said that, when I do find a product that makes me weep with joy (I’m looking at you, Nike Free Flyknit 4.0!), whether it was a freebie or not, then I’ll quite happily laud it forever and name my firstborn son after it (I’m looking at you, Bodyglide Watts!)
ANYWAY, A REVIEW…
The chaps at Asics recently sent me a couple of pairs of shoes to try out, which they’ve launched as part of their #PoundTheRoad campaign. These shoes (the Gel Glorify and the Gel Luminus) are exclusively available at Intersport.
Rather than being a completely new shoe in its own right, each of these is comparable to existing shoes in the Asics range. The Glorify (a cushioned shoe) is an analogue of the Asics Gel Nimbus, while the Luminus (a stability shoe) shares many features with the Gel Kayano. The USP of these new shoes is that they’re exclusive to Intersport and priced competitively against the existing line-up.
I’m really not convinced that this holds water. The Intersport models currently retail at £115, so still not a cheap (or even mid-priced) shoe by any standards. The Kayano and Nimbus on the other hand both have a rrp closer to £150, but because they’re available from tons of different retailers all keen to compete against one another, they can be had for as little as £90 if you shop around a bit.
One of the best ways to get a good deal on running shoes is to find a pair you like, and then pick some up from the previous season at a bargain price. Quite often, the only major concession you’ll be making is with the colourway and styling.
And that brings me to my main gripe about these shoes. It does feel as though, in return for (possibly) saving a few quid, you’re getting a pair of shoes that have been knocking around in the back of the shop since last Easter. Everything about these shoes, from the design to the ride, just strikes me as a bit inoffensive and generic; they feel like shoes made by committee. Imagine you’re on a cruise ship and are suddenly struck by the urge to get fit during your eight-week voyage round and round the Isle of Wight. These are the only running shoes they’d have in the onboard shop, shoved unceremoniously on a high shelf between a load of shuttlecocks and a commemorative Tim Henman Monopoly set. These are the shoes that would turn up under your Christmas tree after a conversation between your two favourite aunties.
“Eeh, our Justin has got into that joggling. He’s out at all hours doing marathons of the park”.
“Ooh, think of his poor knees. It doesn’t bear thinking about”.
“I know, I know. But he won’t listen. Maybe for his Christmas box, I’ll get him some of them fancy plimsolls they sell in town”.
“Like the ones that chap wears? Him in the Quorn adverts?”
“Oh, I do like him. Lovely manner about him, like he’d always be ready with a please and thank you. Always looks very clean”.
“You’re right. I just wish he wasn’t always in such a hurry”.
“Eeh, he does seem to rush about a lot. Think of his poor knees“.
Am I being overly unkind about these shoes? Possibly. I really wanted to like them for silly nostalgic reasons; the first couple of pairs of running shoes I ever had were Asics, and they carried me through that first tentative year quite nicely, thank you very much. So, when these ones didn’t completely blow me away, I suppose I felt a bit deflated.
I think the bottom line is that these shoes just aren’t for me. I’ve never tried the Asics Kayano or Nimbus, but I’ve read dozens of rave reviews about them in the last few weeks, and so if the Glorify and Luminus really are comparable to them, then it probably says more about me than it does about the shoe (although it doesn’t make them any prettier). It’s worth noting that I’ve grown accustomed to shoes that are quite a bit lighter than these, so I was always going to be an uphill battle to fall in love with them. Again, this says more about me than it does about the shoes, but 300g tends to be the tipping point where I start to feel that I’m running around with a small cow strapped to each foot.