01 Jul, 2012

Black is Back… and Fast!

Black is Back… and Fast!

Excel-lence in a Shoe

Asics Gel Excel 33


Asics has chosen not to follow the currently popular minimalist trend. Instead producing a barefoot-like shoe with no height difference between the heel and forefoot, Asics has introduced the Excel 33, which is recommended for runners with neutral feet looking for a lightweight, flexible shoe that's protective enough for high-mileage training and races.


The midsole is thinner than usual on Asics shoes, but there is still a slight drop from heel to forefoot, which Asics believes is the best biomechanical position for your foot to reduce the load on the Achilles, calf and hamstring. The midsole cushioning is supplied by two different foam materials and visible Gel cushioning units in the heel and forefoot, while another key feature is the Propulsion Trusstic plastic bridge that extends from the arch into the forefoot.


On the road, the first impression was of a soft, smooth ride, but even better, the shoes feel like they want you to get up on your toes and go faster, which is what minimalist shoes claim to do. This is largely due to the bridge – you can clearly feel its bouncy snap-back strength when you flex the shoe – so you’re getting the overall forefoot workout (and benefits) of the minimalist approach, but with a bit more cushioning and support. Which means you can run further in the Excels than you would in a minimalist shoe, if your feet are used to a bit more cushioning and support.


Weight: 283 grams RRP: R1299 Available from: Sportsmans Warehouse, Totalsports, Runner Group, Sweat Shop and other independent stores.


From Footie to Flyer

Adidas adizero F50.2


The F50 is a popular football boot worn by big names like three-time World Footballer of the Year Lionel Messi of Argentina, so when adidas brought out a running shoe with the same name, it naturally led to some confusion. The reason for the same name is that the new running shoe is developed from the footie boot.


One of the key design features is the Sprint Frame, where the midsole rubber has been moulded to wrap up around the heel and increase stability and power transfer from toe to heel. But it’s the superb cushioning and smooth ride of the shoe that you notice when you run in them, and the roomy feel of the shoe. They just feel so right when you’re going at a fast pace, and even at a slower pace, they offer a comfortable and responsive ride. Also, while the upper may look solid and ‘hot’, it is ultra-breathable – a quick peak inside will show you how ventilated it really is.


During wear-testing, the shoe’s snap-back propulsion in the midfoot was really impressive, thus really giving you a spring in your stride. Lets just say these babies were built to go fast! So we recommend the F50 for faster-paced normal to mild pronators looking for fast training shoes or racing shoes. It’s a lightweight racing shoe, so don’t buy it for long distance training and running ultras.


Weight: 238 grams RRP: R1199 Available from: adidas Concept Stores, Sweat Shop and select other retailers.