By Emily Kong
With most of us still trying to stay home as much as possible, I definitely have had more time at home, especially during the Circuit Breaker period. To break the monotony of countless days spent indoors, I try to make sure I slip in a jog during the day, often on the treadmill, coupled with some light weightlifting and High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT) every other day, which can be easily done by following YouTube videos or training apps. Hence, this season makes it the perfect time to review the following running shoes. Running enthusiast or exercise newbie, here are some noteworthy sneakers with improved running technology you can look out for.
1. ASICS GEL-CUMULUS™ 22
Softer, lighter and more flexible, the new and improved GEL-CUMULUS™ 22 is the latest addition to the ASICS family. The updated features include a FLYTEFOAM™ technology that makes the midsole softer, promoting a smoother transition from foot strike to toe-off — I could not wait to try them on for a treadmill test.
The fit of the shoe feels snug, very well-cushioned all around, and absolutely comfortable. The mesh upper is breathable with good support, and is particularly suitable for our crazy warm weather these days. The heels come with a generous amount of cushion and a springy feel to them. This was a welcome change from the typical lifestyle shoes I wear. I did not have any abrasion issues with the internal lining (I did have socks on), and for a D width foot like mine, the width was just nice and not particularly ‘baggy’ in the forefoot. I ran 5km easily without feeling any fatigue in my soles.
The signature GEL heel cushioning definitely supports heel strikers particularly well. However, as I am a forefoot striker, the heel to toe drop with this pair is more likely to be felt by me compared to a heel striker, since it is thicker in the heels. I did find the ride slightly uneven, but that being said, it works great for longer runs since I do try to move to heel strikes at those times — the shock absorption is also really good.
ASICS makes the claim that “the GEL-CUMULUS™ 22 running shoe is a recommended choice for neutral runners who want a soft, flexible everyday trainer with a great fit”, and I have to agree with that.
The ASICS GEL-CUMULUS™ 22 ($189) is available at asics.com.
2. Under Armour UA Charged Breathe Iridescent Shoes
I love the rainbow iridescent detail, and the open-hole mesh upper gives a lightweight and breathable feel. I generally do not like shoes with too thick of an upper sole as it can create hotspots or overheating in this weather of ours, and there is definitely enough room for the toes with this cut.
The asymmetrical lacing and forefoot strap provides really good lockdown support, and it does not feel loose or threaten to drop off during jumps and training. There is a little loop at the back to grab hold of to help with slipping the shoes on. The Charged cushioning feels firm and stiff, so it is probably not suitable for running or hardcore training, but it works well for home and basic workouts. However, the stylish appearance is definitely a head turner for running errands.
The Under Armour Charged Breathe Iridescent Shoes ($139) are available at underarmour.com.sg.
3. Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 37
The first thought that came to my mind after putting on the shoes was “this is really bouncy”! I felt like I was “lifted” off the ground with them. The upper is an engineered mesh with traditional lacing, and a tongue that sits flat and stays unnoticeable. I really like mesh tops for their light weight and breathable qualities.
The fit is true to size, even though it looks narrow. The Pegasus 37 comes with a 10mm Zoom bag in the front of the shoe, and the pressure of the bag is different between the men’s and women’s versions. Apart from the Zoom bag, the Nike Pegasus also comes with a React foam that is lighter and more responsive.
As a forefoot striker, the feel of the sole was even, and the forefoot bounce was particularly enjoyable. It definitely felt like an all-rounder, from short to long distances, since it is not excessively plush nor thick. If you are one of those who likes to match workout outfits with your shoes, this one is for you.
The Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 37 ($199) is available at nike.com.
4. New Balance FuelCell Prism
I received this pair in width size D, and it is wider at the front compared to the other pairs — this is rather roomy and will fit someone with broader feet. The upper is also made of mesh with the distinctive New Balance logo across it, and is the lightest of all the shoes I received for review. However, I felt the support in the heels had a hollow feel to it, and it gave a depression in the heels upon wearing.
Perhaps in exchange for how lightweight it was, it did not provide as good of a support for running as I would like. However, it was the most responsive for home HIIT workouts since it felt pretty weightless. The front provided sufficient bounce and cushioning for jump squats and star jumps, when most of the landing is focused on the ball of the foot. This is definitely my go-to for home workouts that do not involve any box jumps or lateral hops. However, as a disclaimer, appropriate trainers should be used according to the exercises.
The New Balance FuelCell Prism EnergyStreak ($189) is available at newbalance.com.sg and at all New Balance Lighthouse and Experience stores.