Running on luxury
Brands have, for the first time, introduced top-line shoes that flirt with the Rs20,000 range. Priced on a par with entry-level luxury shoes, these are regular running shoes aimed at serious runners. If running is your thing and money isn’t an issue, you could buy one. Or consider other options.
Adidas UltraBoost Uncaged
The claim: “These men’s running shoes raise the bar for that best-run-ever feeling. Built with ultra-cushioned boost™, the revolutionary midsole returns energy from your foot-strike to propel you forward. A cage-free adidas Primeknit upper adapts to your foot through the gait cycle and delivers a clean, minimalist feel.”
Claim check: Ever since the first avatar of the UltraBoost was launched in 2015, it has been praised for its high-energy return—the best in any shoe available in the market. In the Uncaged version launched this summer, the energy return upon foot-strike feels great, especially during the toe-off in the front of the shoe. The moulded three-striped shoelace cage and the irritating fixed tongue have gone. Instead, you get a fully knitted upper, giving you a sock-like feel and more freedom to wriggle your toes. If you are a long-distance runner, this is a great pair to own. They also look pretty good, especially the white option.
Price: Rs19,999-21,999. These shoes come in a few variants, basically cosmetic colour changes placed on shelves as limited editions, and have been priced differently.
What else this money can buy: Registration for the TCS New York City Marathon, which has a fee of $358 (Rs22,500) for non-US residents. Or you can get an year-long training subscription to Mumbai’s biggest running training group, Striders, which costs Rs22,500.
Nike Air VaporMax
The claim: “With a flexible Flyknit upper placed directly atop a radically reinvented Air cushioning system, Nike Air VaporMax not only defies convention, it delivers a sensation underfoot that seems to defy gravity.”
Claim check: Two top designers collaborated and worked on this particular model in the iconic Air series from the American brand which was seven years in the making. Nike’s Vomero, Lunar, Pegasus and Free series are proven running shoes, but the Air shoes fall somewhere between lifestyle and active wear. Though the revamped Air VaporMax with the Flyknit upper is being touted as a running shoe, it will remain a lifestyle shoe. The air-filled sole beneath your feet feels steady and stable but the shoes themselves feel heavy, so the “gravity-defying” claim sinks rather quickly. Though Nike claims that the sole material is pretty tough, one cannot be too sure if it would survive the road test in India, where even the best tubeless tyres are flattened out at least once a year on average.
What else this money can buy: A decent entry-level bicycle from Schwinn, Schnell, B’TWIN or Firefox to mix up your fitness routine or cross-training on active recovery days.
The claim: “Its unique, consistent cell structure delivers soft, responsive cushioning without compromising weight, so you can float through your run.”
Claim check: Reebok has been looking to plug a gap in its line of running gear as far as high-end performance shoes are concerned. It tried reintroducing the Pump but it didn’t win too many fans. It went back to the drawing board and developed the brand new high-energy return FloatRide foam. Any runner will tell you that no shoe can help you “float” or fly through your runs, but this pair from Reebok makes that run a rather enjoyable experience. The shoes with the knitted upper fit snugly, and the plastic mould running through the sides and heel reduce the yawing and sliding movements mid-run. That it won the Runners World Best Debut of the summer speaks volumes about how far Reebok has come from the Pump days. Finally, it seems to have a winner in the high-end, high-performance running range.
What else this money can buy: It can get you an year-long gym membership or a half-yearly membership for Crossfit. Disclaimer: Gym/Crossfit memberships are indicative only.
Note: All three shoes are high on cushioning both in the heel and forefoot and the heel-to-toe drop is also on the higher side.