If this were a normal, non-pandemic year, there would have been one thing that would make running in the increasing heat of March and April bearable. And that is the fact that most races would have been over by now. And this would mean the freedom to train without the stress of an upcoming race day. While that’s not the case this year, March remains the perfect time of year to set new goals, create a training plan and stick to it with utter dedication. But, of course, to run well, you need good running shoes. With that in mind, we tried out three great running shoes that actually work really well in tandem. If you train thrice a week, there’s a pair of shoes for every day. Here we go!
Adidas Ultraboost 21 for racing
You know how after trying out umpteen pairs of denims you finally find one that fits you perfectly and you now want to live in them? Well, the Adidas Ultraboost is the running shoes version of that perfect pair of jeans for me!
The new Ultraboost 21 comes with even more boost (the tiny beads on the heel that provides the bounce and jump in this series of running shoes). According to the Adidas site, the Ultraboost 21 records a 6% increase in boost from the previous edition. While this means that the bounce should be much more than the previous pair, I’m not sure if I fully agree. Though there is enough bounce in the shoes, and they feel really comfortable, even for my longest run this year, the shoes definitely didn’t feel very different from the previous generation.
Adidas’ hallmarked torsion system, which lets you move your heel and forefoot independently, was actually debuted way back in 1988. The new torsion system uses LEP (linear energy push) to propel you with greater power while you sprint. The shoes actually work well in Indian conditions, since they’re good all-weather shoes that take the terribe condition of Indian roads and parks in their stride. The torsion system, coupled with outsoles made with rubber from the tire company Continental, makes them well-suited for uneven roads and even slightly slippery surfaces.
The Ultraboost 21 uses textile for 50% of the uppers (the portion of the shoes that cover your feet and toes). 75% of this textile, which is Primeblue yarn recycled from plastic collected from the ocean. This makes the shoes extremely comfortable and breathable. Even for long runs.
₹17,999; available at shop.adidas.co.in
Reebok Forever Floatride Energy 2 for daily training
First things first, Reebok makes absolutely amazing budget friendly shoes. Just like the brand’s other offerings, the Forever Floatride Energy 2 is a no fuss pair of shoes that are perfect for regular 5-10km runs. They are soft and responsive, but probably not what you’d use for a sprint session.
I had worn the original Forever Floatride Energy in 2019 and the new iteration is certainly an upgrade. Unlike the previous pair, the tongues of the shoes don’t slide around, and the uppers have a meshier feel, wrapping snugly to your feet. However, I’m not sure how comfortable I will be wearing these while running during peak summer, even with the ventilation holes on the toe cover. Reebok has changed the heel design as well, replacing the usual low padded collars with high swoops, to generate a better heel grip. The shoes use steam-moulded thermoplastic elastomer beads for the midsoles which gives a decent bounce. That said, they should not be compared to technically more advanced midsoles which come at a much higher price.
₹9,999; available at www.shop4reebok.com
Asics Novablast for long runs
Running shoes from Asics aren’t generally renowned for their innovative looks. But I have been quite impressed with their recent lineup, including the Metaracer and now the Novablast. The latter certainly look classy and stylish without being over-the-top.
What I also like about the shoes are the overall sleek feel to them as I hate running wearing chunky shoes. The shoes also have a breathable upper which I think will be very comfortable as the weather in Delhi gets progressively hotter. These are max-cushion, neutral support shoes. So stay away from this pair if your feet are overpronated or underpronated, or if you land on your feet in a different way from the norm while running.
Asics uses its new Flyte Foam Blast to create the midsoles and this ensures a good energy return. The shoes are quite bouncy and make long runs quite enjoyable, without really tiring out your feet. I have wider forefeet and the shoes fit well for that reason, without making my toes cramp up or hit against the uppers during the run. But for those with average sized/shaped feet, I would suggest trying out a pair that’s half a size smaller so that you get the best fit and actually benefit from the snug uppers.
₹12,999; available at www.asics.com