Gyms are re-opening on Monday which means many of us will be dusting off our trainers – or looking for a new pair to kickstart a new fitness regime.
But could a pair of high tech sports shoes be the key to supercharging your workouts?
International brands including ADIDAS, On Running and Columbia Sportswear have debuted innovative gadgets and sports shoes that promise to help amateur athletes thrive in their exercise regime.
From insoles with motion sensors that analyse runs and also provide real-time coaching to high performance footwear made from sustainable materials, FEMAIL gives verdict on a selection of the most futuristic sports shoes available to purchase in the UK…
Saucony Endorphin Speed
Bridie said Saucony Endorphin Speed (pictured) are lightweight and the cushioning provided the necessary support for her ankle while running
PRODUCT DESCRIPTION: From tempo workouts to race day, the EndorphinSPEED claims to have technology that propels you forward and get more out of every stride. It combines a semi-rigid nylon plate with ultralight and springy cushioning.
BRIDIE SAYS: ‘These had a really fun, lightweight design and were easy to take on and off. I broke my ankle a few years ago and sometimes still get pain when I run, but the cushioning really protected me and I felt no pain.
‘They’re also great for working out and doing aerobics with lots of dancing or jumping. While they’re certainly more of a race shoe, they’re sturdy enough to take on a long hike in and still protect your feet.
‘I also thought the design was really fun and modern, and would happily slip them on to nip to the shops as well as the gym.‘
NURVV RUN – Sensors to capture every move as you run
Jake was impressed with NURVV Run (pictured), however he believes the data could be difficult to understand as an amateur runner
PRODUCT DESCRIPTION: NURVV offers runners an insight into their movement from the point of action. The two smart insoles have 32 precision sensors to capture every move.
JAKE’S VERDICT: ‘A nifty and extremely informative device designed to improve running technique, speed, and to also reduce the risk of injury – something which I found particularly useful considering I have just recovered from a sporting injury myself.
‘The gadget features digital insoles and a tracker that collects an impressive amount of data including everything from heart rate, pace, distance, foot strike, step-length, cadence, probation and balance – and certainly gives the popular GPS watch a run for its money!
‘The installation was relatively simple and just involved slipping the smart insole under the insole of the trainer, and attaching a tracker device on the side of the shoe. Then, once synced up on the app, you are ready (for the five and a half hours of battery power it allows) to go!
‘Given how advanced the device is, I was surprised that the tracker couldn’t be scaled down in size – perhaps in the form of a chip that could be inserted in the shoe – but given the amount of data it is able to store, this can quickly be forgiven.
‘At first, I was also concerned about the delicate appearance of the electronics in the insole along with the weight (albeit very lightweight) of the tracker, but neither of these proved to be an issue once the device was put into action.
‘While the smart gadget is aimed at anyone from amateurs to avid runners, I would say it is definitely more suited towards the latter – as while the information is interesting, some people may just not know what to do with it all and find it tricky to understand.
‘At £249.99 it is definitely on the pricier side, but would be money will spent for a runner looking to take their performance to the next level in the hope of hitting a new personal best.’
CLOUD X – Ultra lightweight but claims stability for any terrain
Latoya said Cloud X (pictured) is surprisingly lightweight and kept her feet dry while exercising outdoors on a wet day
PRODUCT DESCRIPTION: ‘The Cloud X are a lightweight and ultra-agile shoe that promises the wearer stability regardless of the workout and the terrain. It prizes itself on being made from innovative materials including superfoam.
LATOYA’S SAYS: ‘The Cloud X was surprisingly lightweight in comparison to my usual running shoes and very comfortable. I chose a morning with heavy rain to test them and feared they wouldn’t be waterproof.
‘However, the trainers kept my feet dry and had enough grip to offer support even on muddy terrain. I feel like they can be worn in any season.
‘The style of the shoe is quite eye-catching and can be easily coordinated with other active wear for a trendy look.
‘The only reason I wouldn’t give the Cloud X a full score out of five is because I have quite a high arch and after awhile my feet started aching. However, I do think for most people they would be worth the slightly expensive price.‘#
PRIMUS LITE III – Promises to let your feet ‘move in the most natural way possible’
Claire said Primus III (pictured) have a sleek design but were slightly too wide for her feet
PRODUCTION DESCRIPTION: The Primus trainer claims to be suitable for walks and workouts, while its minimalist design aims to let your feet move in the most natural way possible. Its description on its website reads: ‘Foot shaped (not shoe shaped), to let your feet do their natural thing. With sustainable materials.’
CLAIRE SAYS: ‘I liked the sleek, flat design of the VivoBarefoot Primus Litle III. They were easy to put on, and it does feel like the shoe is there to espouse the movements of your feet.
‘However, as I worked out with them, I realised that there was an issue with how wide the shoes were.
‘The Primus Lite III are designed to be wide so that your feet can do their thing. While it makes them very comfortable, it did feel like they were slightly too wide for me.
‘It might have been a sizing issue when I picked the shoes, however, my foot couldn’t fit in a size 4, and VivaBarefoot only do a few half sizes.
‘When working out, I appreciated the grip of the sole on my floor, however, the wideness of the shoe did make me think I wouldn’t want to go for a run with them, but could use them for mat exercises. ‘
ADIDAS GMR – Merges physical football and digital gaming
Hayley said ADIDAS GMR (pictured) didn’t ‘record’ stats from her run, after checking in the app several days later
PRODUCT DESCRIPTION: The Adidas GMR was released in collaboration with EA SPORTS FIFA Mobile and Jacquard by Google. The gadget promises players an experience that merges physical football and digital gaming.
HAYLEY’S SAYS: ‘I should point out that I am reviewing the adidas GMR insole and Jacquard tag purely from a runner’s perspective – if I was playing in a footy match (and a keen FIFA computer gamer), it would most likely be a different story.
‘My first mistake was getting myself psyched up for a run, only to discover I needed to charge the tag before I used it. I was also required to download two apps – one for the GMR tag, and one for FIFA21 (though I didn’t actually use the latter as every time I tried to launch it on my phone, I kept being redirected to a FUT Club Web App which eventually got on my nerves too much to persevere).
Once my tag was charged I inserted it into the insoles and, after removing my trainer’s original insoles (definitely do this, otherwise you feel like you’re walking on platforms), I set off on a short jog.
‘I made sure I wore my FitBit to compare the two results, and in fairness both showed the same distance travelled and a top running speed. Having not had a ball, the tag’s top ball speed and kick count was a little redundant.
‘However, I did find it annoying that, once I’d removed my shoes and gone upstairs with my phone, the tag no longer synced with my app as I was too far away from it. And, looking back on my app now several days later, it appears I didn’t ‘record’ my stats from the run, as they don’t show up. It also keeps telling me to connect to FIFA mobile, which is an irritating reminder of my previous incompetence.
‘All in all, if you’re just after a device to record your steps, distance and speed, this is way too much faff. It’s clever, and the tag was remarkably undetectable in my shoe despite my sensitive feet, but unless you whip your phone out mid-run you have no way of telling how far you’ve jogged or how quick you’re going, and it doesn’t appear to record your run automatically.’
Wool Cross X Shoes – Temperature regulating fabric to protect feet
Latoya said Wool Cross X Shoes (pictured) provided support but were uncomfortable after wearing for more than 30 minutes
PRODUCT DESCRIPTION: The Wool Cross X claims to be the world’s first high-performance sport shoe with a 100 per cent Merino wool lining. It is designed with micro-grip technology and temperature regulating fabric to protect feet and provide comfort on trails including mountains.
LATOYA SAYS: ‘The Wool Cross X Shoes were slightly heavier than I expected but they were easy to style with my outfit and provided the promised support.
‘The material kept my feet warm and were comfortable to walk in, however I noticed that after about 30 minutes the back of the shoes were rubbing on my ankle.
‘It became too uncomfortable to continue my journey without the risk of getting blisters.
‘I do think the shoes are fit for purpose however and maybe could perform better after being worn a few more times.‘
COLUMBIA SPORTSWEAR FACET 30 – Waterproof and claims to adapt to your foot
Bridie said Columbia Sportswear Facet 30 (pictured) were challenging to put on and felt uncomfortable because of the pre-tied laces
PRODUCT DESCRIPTION: The Columbia Sportswear Facet 30 claims to be a waterproof hiking shoe and a futuristic design that adapts to your foot thanks to the tight fabric it uses. Its key features include a Kinetic Lacing System and heel stabilising for optimal performance on trails.
BRIDIE SAYS: ‘Getting these on was more of workout than anything you can do in them.
‘Even though I went a size up, these shoes were very tricky to “slip” on as they had pre-tied laces which didn’t loosen much, meaning although there was plenty of space length wise they were tight around my foot.
‘This meant working out with them and doing any exercise was tough as they were not comfortable and distracted from any walking, hiking or running.
‘If they fit well they could be a great shoe, but they didn’t work for me.’
Ridge Flex WP – promises sure footed traction wherever you roam
keenfootwear.com, from £140
Raven said Ridge Flex (pictured) is ideal for those in search of reliable hiking boots for any weather condition
PRODUCT DESCRIPTION: The Ridge Flex claims to keep feet dry and comfortable in all conditions. It prides itself on having an outsole equipped with rugged 5mm lugs for sure footed traction wherever you roam.
RAVEN SAYS: ‘I really liked these boots. They were easy to slip on and extremely comfortable to wear – particularly with the ridge flex and added arch support that ensured comfort no matter what distance you’re walking.
‘The style isn’t something I would usually go for and I initially felt like my toes looked a bit bulky but the boots themselves weren’t too heavy and were actually really robust.
‘They also kept my feet dry and super snug because of the thick lining – so they did their job perfectly.
‘Overall I would really recommend them for anyone looking for comfortable and reliable hiking boots for whatever the weather conditions!’