NOOBS IN PARIS

From non-runner to running-addicted


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Airia One Shoes Review – Follow Up

This is a short follow up to my Airia One Shoes Review post, you can read it here.

After being inspired by the test of the Airia One shoes on the track, I decided to try them in a race. The race was a local 13.6 Km on a flat course. The only benchmark I had for comparison was a 10k I did in June 2014, with the time of 43:57.
Since there was no chip-timing at the start (only at the end…..duh!), I will use the time of my Garmin.

I started at a reasonably fast (but comfortable) pace and kept it up for the first 9Km.

The 10k mark registered my PB for the distance with the time of 43:37! And I had still plenty to give.
I finished the race with the unofficial time of 59:47, and pretty happy how I paced it.

Now, it is difficult to say where I am in the preparation compared to last 10k race and how much the shoes helped me in doing the PB.
Nonetheless it’s still a PB and I had a very good feeling with the shoes during the race.

I will keep using Airia One for short, flat races, and see where they will take me!

That's me posing for the paparazzi

That’s me posing for the paparazzi


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Airia One Shoes Review

airia_one_01bI was contacted by Swedish Company Airia to review their new Airia One shoes and of course I duly obliged. Saying yes to free shoes was easy but writing the review turned out to be quite challenging.
My main difficulty lies in the fact that the manufacturer claims that these shoes will make you run faster (up to 7% according to their tests). Now, I’m not among the fastest of runners, and being able to actually test this claim is quite difficult per se.

That said, onto the review…

First thing first, the package:

I loved the package, it reminded me of Apple packages with clean, minimalist design, a nice logo, nice font and attention to details. The box also contains a piece of paper that acts as a disclaimer, along the lines of “these shoes could alter your normal running gait, transition to them slowly”.
Also, the following quote is printed on the box: “Run like we were supposed to run”. So their claim is also of a natural gait.

The shoes:

The shoes are blatantly different from other running shoes. The first thing that strikes is of course the Aladdin-style, upward-pointing toe cap (notice the professionalism?), but the weirdness does not stop there: the heel is well rounded as you can see from the image below, moreover the shoe has a zero mm drop from back to front, and a 6mm drop from the outside to the inside (which in fact acts as an external support).
airia_one_03b
This for me is a very interesting fact since I am a supinator, that is, I under-pronate, and I am still wearing custom orthotic insoles with external support ….you can read my blog post about this issue here.
Although I’m pretty lucky in this case, I highly doubt a pronator would benefit much from this shoe. Just a guess, no scientific reasoning behind this idea.

The insole that comes with the shoe follows its shape, so it was not possible for me to fit my custom orthotics, although as previously stated in my case the shoe provides the same external support my custom insole has.

For a true in depth analysis about the biomechanics behind the Airia One, please refer to this very interesting post: http://www.runresearchjunkie.com/the-new-biomechanically-perfect-running-shoe-from-airia/
airia_one_02b


The test itself:

I decided to try the Airia One on the track for this first installment, on two separate occasions. The first time I was doing short and fast 200m repeats (if you’re familiar with Jack Daniel’s book, that’s an R pace), whereas the second time I did intervals, 5 x 1200 meters (again, for JD’s Running Formula, that’s I pace).
I ran the first set of 200m repeats in my Saucony Ride 7, which are long-distance shoes, so when I switched to the Airia One for the second set the new shoes felt extremely light.
I finished the second set with no problems.

My friend Claudio who helped me with the video shooting said that the first impression with the Airia One was that of better looking running mechanics, although I could not see much difference when I watched the two video clips later that day.
The reason could be that the biomechanics in the Airia One promote a mid-foot strike, and I feel that is also my natural kind of gait.


The feeling I had during the run was that of a much faster turnover and lighter feet. Of course I could have been biased by the “run faster” claim.
The fact is that they really felt natural to me and most importantly they didn’t cause any pain or discomfort, neither during the run nor the days after.

As for the speed, unfortunately, I could not really tell if the manufacturer’s claim is actually true. I ran the repeats at the same speed and the heart rate seemed to be the same.

The manufacturer says these shoes are for running only, and in fact they don’t feel very comfy hile walking or standing. So what happens once the shoes retire from running? I guess you just throw them in the bin.

The second test was with 1200 meter intervals and again, I could not tell if they actually increased my speed. This time around I did not concentrate so much on form and I think I was all over the place with mechanics.

To wrap it up…

Overall I am positively impressed with these shoes, as they match my gait and the feeling with speedier workouts was very good, although with that price tag ($190 or €237,50 for the European market) I am not sure I would have risked it.
Mind you, Airia gives a 30-day money back guarantee.

Here’s a brief summary of my experience with Airia One shoes so far

PROS’

  • Transition to these shoes was smooth for me
  • They are light
  • Good feeling with fast turnover
  • They look cool

CONS’

  • These shoes are for running (and fairly fast) only, so not much use once retired
  • Their external support could be unsuitable for some runners
  • Increased speed claim hard to prove
  • Hard to fit custom insoles
  • Price tag

It will be interesting to see how they behave in a race. I picked the first race in 2015, a flat 13,5 Km (8.4 mi) on January 6th to see if they will make me faster. I will write a follow-up then.

EDIT: Quick follow up to this post, Airia One tested in race.
airia_one_04b


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180 bpm – Part II

metronome_01This is a follow-up to my previous post about 180 bpm cadence, here’s the link to Part 1

I usually listen to drum’n’bass mixes during my runs, but I found a couple of alternatives for running to the music beat (and as close as possible to 180 bpm). Those alternatives come in the form of two smartphone apps, namely Spotify and Temporun. Continue reading

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