When you run a lot of miles or are a heavier athlete, you want a comfy shoe. You’re not necessarily going to opt for the lightest weight, flattest and ‘fastest’ pair of kicks available. Save those for race day!
Shoe technology is constantly evolving. Every manufacturer is looking for ways to make their footwear better, or at a minimum, come up with a gimmick that gives them a new marketing campaign. In the case of the Ride ISO, I was immediately a tad sceptical. The reason being, I’d wear-tested a few pairs of the same brand over the years and never really got overly excited by what was on offer. Particularly when I compared them to other brands. I asked myself, what makes these any better than other runners in the market? Does the ‘ISOFIT’ lacing system really make a difference? And is the $200 RRP worth it? Well, after racking up plenty of miles in them, on varying terrain, here’s my verdict.
In terms of aesthetics, they look pretty cool. Mind you, there’s a bit of a Hoka appearance to them, thanks to the seemingly thick midsole. You sit ‘into’ the sole, which adds to the very comfy fit. Lacing them up I immediately noticed the snug feel and hugging nature of the upper. This is reassuring for someone like me that does a bit of off road training and also has a history of Achilles pain. I always look for a shoe that feels firm. When running, the neutral fit and 8mm drop make for a safe shoe, and thanks to the POWERFOAM they feel plush and cushy. But surprisingly, despite their slightly heavier weight and cushioned feel, they are also quite responsive. This makes them ideal as a daily runner and also for longer tempo sessions where you want something that gives back a little, but also some comfort and support so you don’t bash your legs up too much.
I’ve worn them for about 250km of running so far. This varied between long slow road miles, short, fast reps and long temps. There was even a bit of trail running thrown into the mix. Across all of these training runs, they performed really well. On trails they have enough grip and underfoot protection for shorter runs, on the road they were responsive and comfortable, however when it came to the really short stuff they were not ideal – that said, speed work is not what they were designed for. Essentially, if you want a very comfortable, neutral runner that’s made to last, then give these a try. I’ve long been a believer in sticking with what works for you, but in this instance, next time you visit the shoe shop it might be worth putting a pair of these on. The Ride ISO just might surprise you!