With marathon season here it’s a time of higher mileage and with lots of great new training shoes and equipment around we take a look at some of the latest gear
Puma – ForeverRun Nitro – £140.00
This new model from Puma really could be a game changer for the brand. Incorporating several new design features to stabilise the foot and control pronation, it also provides excellent cushioning thanks to an ultra-smooth riding dual-density Nitro foam midsole.
The midsole is made up of two densities of the brand’s nitrogen-injected foam; a softer core sits with a slightly firmer and more supportive outer rim. This allows the foot to sink into the core and help keep it stable.
A combination of features then makes up the new run guide system. A bevelled heel, segmented crash pad and external heel clip all combine to add stability to the foot. But it doesn’t stop there, a broader footprint in the heel and forefoot along with an outsole that wraps around the lateral side of the shoe adds an extra sprinkle of control.
The beauty of all these features though is the fact that the shoe feels very natural to run in, soft and welcoming and has a smooth ride. You really wouldn’t suspect it to be a control shoe at all, which is great as it leaves you to simply enjoy the run.
Another small attention to detail is a gentle forefoot metatarsal dome in the insole of the shoe. This helps spread the forefoot a little and creates natural stability.
It’s a great new shoe from the brand, feature-packed and performs very well.
Nike – Invincible 3 – £169.95
Nike’s super-soft ZoomX cushioned daily training shoe returns here with even more of that highly responsive midsole to create the brand’s most cushioned shoe to date.
ZoomX is the same material that’s used in racing shoes, the Alphafly and Vaporfly. Of course in those models the carbon fibre plates help create that racer feel, but it’s the ZoomX foam that contributes a great deal to the highly responsive performance.
In this updated version we see even more of the super-foam (now 40mm stack) for an ultra-cushioned ride. The midsole has also changed shape a little to give the large volume of cushioning a little more stability. It’s wider in the heel, midfoot and under the metatarsal heads (just behind the toes) to create a stable platform to push off from. An external heel clip also provides control but, strictly speaking, we’d still consider this a neutral cushioned model.
It’s a lovely ride, soaking up the miles with a little added ‘bounce’ on push-off. That said, this overall softer ride means when you want to pick up the pace you feel a little bit of that power is lost as it sinks into the shoe. So it’s for every day easier running where the shoe excels.
The Flyknit upper proves great support around the foot and has a textured feel to it that seems to make it a little ‘splash-proof’, although there’s no specific word from Nike on this finish.
HOKA – Clifton 9 – £130.00
The Clifton was the shoe that brought the HOKA brand into the mainstream running community, igniting the interest in higher stacked shoes and helping to coin the term ‘maximal-cushioning’.
Now, back after 9 seasons, the updated model sees a familiar shoe with a few changes to help it keep pace with the pack. Cushioning is increased with a 3mm higher stack in the midsole although rather disappointingly, it’s still a compression moulder EVA material. Interestingly the overall weight of the shoe is down a few grams, so it’s probably a case of more air injected into the midsole to make it softer yet increase the volume while reducing the weight.
The shoe does feel a little softer in that familiar, plush manner, but by comparison to other cushioning foams now available it does lack a little bounce.
The heel drop remains at 5mm (32/27mm in men’s, 29/24mm in women’s) and the overall shape and ride of the shoe are unchanged.
The upper has a newly engineered mesh design and feels the best yet, with a premium design and nice fit around the heel and Achilles.
Previous Clifton wearers will enjoy this update but will look forward to the next version hoping that a new, more modern and responsive foam will be added to this fan favourite.
Brooks – Ghost 15 – £130.00
The most established of the neutral cushioned shoes featured here, the Ghost 15 takes a good shoe and manages to make it slightly better with each update.
The cushioning now uses the brands DNA Loft v2 foam; a blend of rubber, air and less dense foam to provide a midsole that feels close enough to the previous version so as not to upset its loyal users, but also just a touch softer and with a little more bounce.
The ride remains very stable if not a little more so than the previous model, yet not too stiff or rigid. It’s a smooth very balanced ride.
The engineered air mesh upper is breathable and as always, a great fit with a slight stretch to it, it’s a very accommodating design too, coping with various foot shapes well.
It’s probably the shoe that many competitors aspire to compete with and for now, manages to be the best value all-around top performer in this category.
HOKA – transport – £120.00
Designed for use as a multi-function, everyday shoe, the Transport is a highly versatile shoe. Okay, it’s not for regular running use, but for the occasional run if required as well as wearing on a day-to-day basis, it’s a great option.
With a Vibram sole, the grip is great on any surface and the cushioning provides day-long comfort, A tough Cordura upper is extremely hard-wearing, meaning the shoe can stand up to the rigours of your daily routine.
A quick lock lace system allows you to slip easily in and out of the shoes which means you reach for them as a go-to option when dashing out of the house.
ON – Cloudsurfer – £150.00
Featuring the latest version of the brand’s Cloudtec cushioning, Cloudtech Phase, this model features cloud elements that compress and overlap with each other in a domino-like effect. Using this arrangement of clouds, the Helion foam and the removal of the previously used Speedboard has created the smoothest riding On running shoe to date.
The shoe instantly feels softer than any of the brand’s other models and is instantly easy to get along with. The ride is soft and smooth with an upper that’s equally as inviting.
A new, Dope-Dying process is used in colouring the upper, this saves 95% of the water used in the manufacturing process while all the polyester used is recycled.
Even with the high volume of cushioning the shoe comes in at just 245g (UK8) and with the great On fit, the shoe almost disappears around the foot.
Given the cushioning and lightweight the shoe can tackle any pace and distance, making it a versatile choice for a wide range of runners.
ON – Tank-T – £60.00
Super sleek and ultra-light this singlet is made to go fast. The Japanese fabric is finished in an ultra-minimalist design for a fuss-free fit that’s perfect for race day.
ON – Race Shorts – £70.00
When every second counts these ultra-light shorts are designed to be distraction-free and light as a feather. The highly breathable fabric features the classic split-leg design for the ultimate race feel.
Lululemon – SenseKnit Composite Running Jacket – £198.00
The SenseKnit range of apparel from Lululemon uses a seamless technology to balance warmth and breathability regardless of the level of activity. In terms of comfort, this jacket is second to none and one which will quickly become your go-to item whatever the weather.
Feature-packed, the jacket has thoughtfully considered everything you’ll need to be comfortable as you work out.
The tailored hood creates a perfect fit and includes a ponytail exit at the back, thumbholes create mitts in the sleeves for the cold and the hem has drop-in pockets that are perfect for gels and other small items you might need when on the go.
The jacket features all-around reflectivity and four-way stretch panels to help create the perfect fit.
Lululemon – SenseKnit Composite High-Rise Running Tight – 3168.0
Featuring the SenseKnit technology construction these tights have a flattering high-rise waistband for both a stylish and extremely comfortable fit.
There’s a rear zip pocket to keep items secure as well as stretch, drop-in pockets on the waistband. A neat gripper inside the waist maintains a perfect fit and zippers at the ankle aid easy removal.
Possibly the nicest running tights we’ve ever tried!
MAAREE – Solidarity High-Impact Sports Bra – £68.00
A good bra is every bit as important as good shoes when it comes to running and any high-intensity exercise.
The Maaree brand is one of the best around, winning countless awards for its high-impact sports bras. Featuring their own Overband Technology, this adjustable band runs across the top of the breasts, offering enhanced support and reducing bounce.
Available in 43 different sizes from 30 to 38 with a range of cup sizes to ensure a perfect fit, the bra also features a broad chest band to reduce digging in. The high coverage of the bra also means it can be worn as a stand-alone garment making it a versatile addition to your workout wardrobe.
JLAB – EpicAir Sport ANC – £99.99
The music keeps on playing with these smart active noise-cancelling earbuds. A wireless or USB charging case ensures up to 70 hours of playback time while the sweatproof means you can train as hard as you like. Users can customise the amount of noise cancelling depending on their training environment to either block external noise or allow the sound of traffic etc in the ‘Be Aware’ mode to keep you safe while on the roads.
The over-the-ear clip is a feature we like as it ensures the buds stay securely in place with no danger of losing one regardless of your activity level.
Bob & Brad – C2 Massage Gun – £89.99
Despite its lightweight design this massage gun manages to deliver a high-torque 3200rpm. The deep percussion action with 5 speeds and 5 different massage heads can target any body part with a tailored massage to help increase circulation, reduce muscle soreness and improve recovery. It’s quick and easy to charge via USB, has a long battery life and is super-quiet when in use meaning you can never be far away from some active recovery.
Gymporluxe – All-In-One Portable Gym – £195.95
Train from home without the need for full-scale body workout machines with this kit that takes up the minimum amount of space. Lightweight and portable, the kit is also great for use when travelling and is the lightest of its type on the market.
Able to recreate over 100 exercises from deadlifts to bench presses, the kit can provide up to 90kg of resistance.
The kit is easy to use as well as tailor the resistance and a wide range of videos are available to follow to give you the complete body workout.
HoverBar Tower – £129.99
When training from home many fitness routines now require the use of a smartphone or app. The HoverBar Tower now solves the issue of how to prop up your phone or tablet to enable it to keep in sight while you train.
No more balancing your phone on household items, the tower keeps your device at eye level throughout your workout.
It’s highly adjustable and keeps your device securely in place without any movement. Once set at your perfect viewing angle it stays there.
I’ve found it perfect for use when running on the treadmill, cycling on my Wattbike and also for doing floor-based exercises. It’s even proved very useful enabling me to use my iPad as a second screen when working on my laptop!
Beyond – Insulated double wall shaker – £19.99
This premium shaker takes things to the next level with double-walled insulation to keep the contents hot or cold. A large 735ml capacity is large enough for most people’s nutritional needs and the vacuum insulation ensures long-lasting temperate control. The food-grade stainless steel is easy to clean and there’s internal volume marking for easy mixing. The leak-proof cap and drinking spout make it as practical as it is stylish.