I was asked to review a pair of running shoes from sportsdirect.
The brief was to choose any shoe up the value of £50 which these days tends to be at the budget end of the scale. Personally I don’t like to spend much more than that on a pair of road shoes so that was about right for me. Though I’m sure if they offered me £100 I would be happy to try them!!
My priority as a runner is the ultra distance (ultra is anything over marathon distance). I tend to run between 40-50 miles a week with half of that distance done on one off road run. For those runs I use trail shoes.
For my road runs they will be a mixture of easy, tempo and fartlek running so I’m looking for a shoe which I can use for all three types of run. I do some road races but I’m don’t bother with lighter racing shoes. I’m happy to run in the same shoe I train in.
So I’m looking for a reasonably priced shoe that can cope with the different type of road running I do.
I would say there are three things I look for in a road shoe (besides price!) …
I prefer to try on any running shoe before I buy but that wasn’t possible this time as I had to choose from the Sportdirect web site. I find if the shoe doesn’t feel comfortable straight away then it is unlikely it will become so as I run.
There have been times in the past when I’ve really liked a shoe and even though it didn’t feel quite right I convinced myself I’d grow into it and bought it. It is always a mistake so my rule of thumb now is if it doesn’t feel comfortable on first fitting try something else.
A number of years ago I had a long term calf injury. I was eventually fitted with some orthotics which made all the difference. So I normally look for a neutral shoe as I’ll be putting in my orthotics which alter how my foot sits.
I also have a bunion on my right foot so I need a fairly wide fitting otherwise it is very uncomfortable running any distance.
So I’m looking for some degree of support that will also accommodate my othotics and slightly deformed right foot!
The third factor is to find a shoe which doesn’t weigh too much. I’m not looking for an ultra light racing shoe but neither something that is on the heavy side.
There is a great selection on the SportDirect web site around the £50 range from a number of different manufactures. I was tempted to try a completely different manufacturer and shoe but I’m in the middle of a key stage of my training for the Lakeland 100 race in July and didn’t want to risk injury.
So I narrowed my search to Asics that I’ve used successfully for many years. I tend to buy whatever is on offer. I chose a pair of Asics Gel Oberon 5. I must admit I was attracted by the colour, not that I particularly like red as an Everton fan!, but because I tend to go for white and fancied something different.
Running with them
When the shoes arrived I was having an easy week after a long 35mile off road training run at the weekend. So ther first few runs were nice and easy which was ideal for getting used to them.
My first priority of comfort was a little disappointing as they felt a little tight around the front of my foot especially around my bunion. But I noticed that the laces were quite tight so once I’d loosened them they felt great.
I always find with new shoes the first few miles feel a bit strange and I’m conscious of my running style. These Asics were no different but within a few miles I was thinking about something else and realised that I was running without worrying about the shoes and how they felt.
That is a good sign for me. If I’m thinking about my shoes then it’s probably because something doesn’t feel quite right.
Over the next few weeks I got back into my normal pattern of Monday – Fartlek/speed session, Wednesday – faster tempo run and Friday – easy run.
The Asics felt really good on the speed and faster sessions. Again I was running freely without think about them too much. I find they are very comfortable and there is plenty of room around my toes.
I find that if they are tight it is the downhill sections that are sore but these are fine and I’m able to run downhill without feeling my toes against the shoe. I do tend to buy at least a half size bigger than my normal shoes which helps with this.
I feel the shoe is light enough for the faster sessions and I will also use these for a half marathon race I have coming up this Sunday.
I would say that the Asics Oberon 5 is a very good running shoe. It is reasonably priced at £50 and will do the job for different types of road running.
I would certainly buy another pair.