Marathon runner, Robyn Jordan traded in her Kinvaras to see how the Ride ISO would stack up in preparation for the Gold Coast Marathon earlier this month and the Melbourne Marathon in October. Here’s what she thought.

 

 

 

I am the worst kind of runner when it comes to shoes. I find a pair I love and I wear them into the ground, literally. My last pair of Kinvara 8’s had 1,350km on them before I begrudgingly accepted they needed replacing. I vividly remember running the last 5km of the Three Waters Marathon in April, promising my feet some new shoes if they could just hold pace for the next 25 minutes, they did and I rewarded them with a shiny new pair of Kinvaras (my go to shoe).

 

Predominantly a marathon runner, with a little dabbling into the ultra-scene, most of my kilometres are on suburban paths. However, I am adventurous at heart and am known for diverting into swamps, taking shortcuts through bushland, and when I am pretending to actually train for a trail race, I’ll hunt out non-technical trails near home. All in my road shoes. With year round 80-100km weeks mostly before sunrise and in all weather, my shoes take a beating.

 

In the last three years I have not deviated from my tried and tested Saucony Kinvara, I started with the 6’s and nine pairs later, I am in what will be my last pair of the 8’s before I move into the 9’s. Needless to say, when I was asked to try the Ride ISO’s I was a little hesitant – it’s a completely different shoe. For years, my training friends have been begging me to add a different shoe into the rotation (apparently Saucony Peregrine for trails don’t count) so when the day came I nervously unboxed my shiny new Ride ISO and tentatively slipped them onto my feet.

 

The first thing I noticed was how they seemed to mould to my feet instantly, especially around the heel. Not in an overly padded claustrophobic way, more like my feet were getting a nice gentle hug, a kind of “we got you girl” hug. After wearing them around the house for a few hours, I took them out for a short 8km run, the hugging sensation remained, and surprisingly, I liked it. My feet felt supported but not suffocated and the shoe felt firm on landing and responsive on take-off but soft enough I never noticed that dodgy foot bone which likes to give me grief. I didn’t feel like the shoes needed to be worn in they handled well from the start.

 

The second thing I noticed was how sleek and stylish they appeared to be. Truthfully, I have always hesitated to wear my running shoes for anything other than running… because they just don’t quite look right. In a true testament to their comfort and style, I still had these babies on later that evening – I had finished my quick run, had a coffee catch-up with a friend, where we both gushed over my shoes, stopped at the grocery store, took my kid to the park, and was still wearing them. With strong legs (lacking length) I prefer a lighter coloured shoe, however these didn’t seem to chop my legs in half like other darker shoes have before, probably because they are so sleek and are not remotely bulky. (Saucony have since released a White Noise version, which I am lusting over.)

 

A few days later as I was getting ready for my long run, I decided seeing as I didn’t get struck by a bolt of lightning and chaos on my first run, I would give the Rides a try on a longer effort and haven’t my friends been telling me to wear a more cushioned shoe for longer runs? Again I noticed how they hugged my feet perfectly, they felt light, responsive, firm but cushioned (you’re not going to feel like you’re running on pillows but your feet will be very happy). As the run progressed they grew more responsive, I noticed no tightness on my feet and plenty of room in the show box for my wider foot and 25km later I was home one very happy runner.

 

At 241 grms these are heavier than my normal go-to shoe (the Kinvara 9 weighs in at 184grm), so I labelled these my recovery running, and long running training shoe. I told myself I would start sharing the load, rather than simply running one pair into the ground. That turned out to be a lie. As the weeks have passed I find I am reaching more often than not for my Ride ISO, I have logged tempo kilometre after tempo kilometre at goal marathon pace and have even thrown down a few quicker parkruns in them, proving they are not just a heavier more cushioned long running shoe as I first thought.

 

There are nearly 350km in these shoes now and they are retaining their comfort and their responsiveness with no obvious signs of wear. I have two marathons left in my calendar this year, Gold Coast Airport Marathon and the Melbourne Marathon. I will definitely be continuing to do my longer runs and even my tempo runs in the Ride ISO as I have found a remarkable difference in how my feet and calves feel having made the change.

 

Follow Robyn’s journey: @its_just_robyn