Black running shoes: wear them at work, wear them to the shops, wear them to the gym and, oh yeah, wear them running too. They’re the ultimate all-round trainer, providing comfort and technical support in one stylish package. What’s not to love?
And here’s the cream of the crop, the six absolute coolest black running shoes money can buy…
The Ultra Boost is the original lifestyle running shoes. When it was first launched back in January 2015 it looked like nothing else on the market, fast forward two years and knit is everywhere, not just on shoes, but clothing too, and the distinctive Boost™ cushioning has found its way onto signature models by Kanye West and Stella McCartney, no less. To say the Ultra Boost has been a game changer for the sportswear industry is an understatement.
Substance and style
Killer aesthetics aside though, there’s some serious tech to back up the good looks. Adidas claim that Boost™ technology is not only softer, but returns more energy than any other cushioning material in the running industry. “We’ve checked all of the latest technologies and foam-based materials on the market from every other competitor right now,” says James Carnes, Adidas Head of Design for Sport Performance, “it’s better than all of them”.
Whilst self-promotion by any brand should be taken with a very large pinch of salt, Boost™ does set itself apart from similar technologies in key ways. A criticism often levelled at foam cushioning is that it quickly loses its spring, not so with the Boost™ platform. Adidas is confident that it will provide the same responsive ride “from the very first step, to a thousand steps later”, thanks to a unique construction which distributes load across thousands of individual capsules, rather than relying solely on one big lump of foam. Additionally, the unique foam used to make Boost™, so rare that it’s a limiting factor for production, stays consistent in hot and cool temperatures – giving the Ultra Boost a consistent ride, any time of year, whatever the weather.
But after all that, let’s not forget how damn pretty these shoes are. Just look at them. Beautiful.
Men's Adidas Ultra Boost | Offer price: £109 - for a limited time only
Brooks is a brand synonymous with build quality, but “lifestyle” probably isn’t the first word that springs to mind when you think of their shoes. Well, in 2017, they aim to change that with the Revel, a fully cushioned neutral running trainer with a “street style” flat-knit upper and slimline profile.
Bang for your buck
The Revel is right at the low-end of the Brooks range in terms of price point, but still delivers a supremely cushioned ride courtesy of the same BioMoGo DNA midsole used in premium shoes such as the Ghost and Ravenna. The compromise – and there has to be one – is that the Revel does not feature Brooks’ segmented crash pad sole, a technology designed to smooth the transition between heel and toe, but this is a small price to pay in return for such fantastic value for money.
Up top, the seamless upper is thicker than what you’ll find on most all-knit shoes and provides excellent support thanks to what Brooks is calling an “internal bootie”, a sock-like internal construction which surrounds your foot for snug, all-day comfort. Lovely.
ON are just about the most exciting new running brand around right now. I might be biased because I have a pair, but a quick glance down at my colleague’s feet before the weekly office run revealed no fewer than five pairs of ON, from eight pairs of feet - so it’s fair to say that they’re a brand rapidly gaining in popularity, and their latest offering, the all-black Cloud, doesn’t disappoint.
It’s ON’s most lifestyle-e shoe ever, with the addition of a black sole to complement the upper and laces. If ninjas wore kicks, they’d wear a pair of these.
Run on clouds
ON shoes use a revolutionary new cushioning system they call CloudTec®. CloudTec® is a series of distinctive rubber ellipses – or ‘Clouds' - on the sole of the shoe which compress as you land, then lock, forming a solid foundation for a powerful take-off. The best of worlds and - in a market where the word is overused to the point where it begins to lose all meaning – genuinely innovative.
Born from the Breaking2 project, Nike’s attempt to enable the first sub-two-hour marathon, the Zoom Fly is a lightweight race shoe with the comfort and styling of a dedicated training shoe.
The soft and quick-to-bounce-back Lunarlon foam midsole, which tapers to a sharp point at the heel for improved aerodynamics, houses a full-length carbon infused nylon plate, structured in a way that tips you forward as you transition from heel to toe, giving the sensation that the shoe itself is propelling you on – (sounds far-fetched, but I’ve tried them, it does). Additionally, the Zoom Fly combines a 10mm heel-to-toe offset with a bumper 33mm stack height to reduce strain on the Achilles tendon and help dissipate shock as the foot contacts the floor. Cushioned landing, firm push-off; this really is a shoe built to go long distances.
Up top, a seamless, reinforced Flymesh upper ensures lasting durability – two words not usually associated with flyknit shoes – and hugs your foot the more you tighten the laces, giving a sock-like fit with minimal chaffing. Add to this a striking oversized Nike swoosh, and now the addition the Darkside colourway, and it’s easy to see why the Zoom Fly Nike’s most popular shoes of the year.
Hoka have been making waves in the world of ultra-long distance running for a few years now with their brand of lightweight, hyper cushioned shoes.
While some people may find flagship model the Clifton a bit specialist in terms of aesthetics, the Hupana, with breathable knitted upper, is an on-trend trainer you can wear all day, from run, to workout, to running about town.
The Hupana employs Hoka’s three core design principles to deliver a supremely springy ride: an oversized foam midsole provides both excellent cushioning without compromising on weight; meta-rocker geometry, akin to that of a rocking chair, encourages a natural running gait and smooths the transition from heel to toe; and Hoka’s active foot frame stabilises by cupping the heel deep in the midsole, rather than on top of it. And all this at a price point considerably less than the other shoes on our list, bar one. Bargain.
OK, this one is from the left field, but bear with me.
Brooks is one of the few brands that update the entire shoe each year, rather than just changing the upper. And for 2017 they’ve given the Adrenaline GTS, already their most popular stability shoe, a serious facelift - without compromising on the super supportive, comfortable fit that has helped make them a firm favourite of runners the world over.
Old-school vibes, new-school technology
The GTS combines old-school styling with cutting edge modern sports footwear technology. A classic-look, engineered spacer mesh upper, with big and bold toe-bumper and heel window, provides stretch where you need it and structure where you don’t; the chunky, 80s-retro sole is segmented into individual ‘Crash pads’, which are able to move independently of one another to accommodate the foot landing unevenly; and Brooks’ Progressive Diagonal Rollbar is there to correct pronation and gently guide your body towards a more efficient gait cycle.
Brooks shoes are renowned for their build quality, so if you’re looking for a running shoe that can withstand the wear and tear of everyday use, the Adrenaline GTS 17 is the shoe for you.