My struggle to find the perfect running shoes has been going on for at least 10 years, ever since I first decided to become a ‘proper’ runner.
For some reason, no matter how hard I try, I can’t seem to run more than eight kilometres without suffering a blister or two.
I’ve tried wearing different shoe brands in different sizes, various thicknesses of socks and countless plasters and tapes. The amount of gait analysis sessions I’ve had is ridiculous.
But, for the past few years, I’ve concluded that ASICS, a brand that has been making marathon shoes since the 1950s, produces models that lead to the least amount of pain.
But still, I rarely get through more than 45 minutes of jogging totally blister free.
So I was a bit skeptical that lululemon’s Blissfeel 2 running shoes would top any of the many specialist and carefully fitted footwear that I had tested before.
However, after trying them out on several runs of around five-to-six kilometres, I am being forced to rethink my theory that only ‘serious’ long-distance running brands can make decent running shoes.
Fusing yoga and activewear
Lululemon has always been a label that I liked the look of, but hadn’t actually tried.
To be honest, I never thought of them as a brand for runners. I associated the Canadian label with trendy and stylish yoga wear, not practical and hard-wearing running gear equipped to withstand sweaty races and endless poundings up and down the Abu Dhabi Corniche.
So, I was pleasantly surprised to find that the Blissfeel 2s were not just nice to look at, but also exceptionally comfortable.
They caused no aches, rubs or irritation right from the very first wear. Just as cushioned, springy and supportive as my specially fitted ASICS trainers, I forgot I was wearing different shoes at all.
New to the UAE from March, they are available in six color schemes. I went for the brightest option of Solar Orange, which I would describe it as more of a bold red.
In my opinion it’s a brilliant, head-turning shade. However if you’re more of a neutral tones person, there are other, more subtle looks available such as pastel pink and grey.
Stylish yet practical
Designed just for women, the upper is smooth and seamless, while the thick foam provides plenty of bounce.
They’re springy and light, but still make your ankle feel secure and stable. In short, they deliver everything you would want from a good pair of running shoes.
Mine feel precisely true to size, so if you prefer to run in trainers that are on the bigger side, I would go a size up.
I can’t say for sure how they would hold up for 10 kilometres or more. But for short-ish runs on the treadmill and dry roads, they hit the spot.
As with all sturdy running shoes, the sole is noticeably thicker around the heel, but not so much that it becomes unsightly.
Ideal for running, the gym and leisure time, I have worn mine for everything from travelling to trips to the mall. They really do suit all kinds of occasions.
Being able to wear them outside of your workouts adds extra value for money, and despite the rising temperatures outside, I am now actually looking forward to my runs more than ever.
It’s equally reassuring that the ambassadors for the range are serious athletes. Rather than the model-esque yoga influencers who you might normally link with chic sportswear, Kuwaiti national athletics team member Fatemha Al-Failkawy is an outspoken fan.
Finally, the price point is refreshingly affordable.
Available online and in lululemon stores for Dh660, they’re a considerably cheaper option than the latest ASICS models that sit at around Dh835-880.
After all, with experts recommending that runners change their shoes as frequently as every 300 to 500 miles, which equals every four to six months for those who run 20 miles per week, the benefit of discovering a slightly less pricey new favorite running shoe should never be overlooked.
To find out more about the Blissfeel 2 women’s running shoe, visit lululemon.me.
Harriet Shephard is an Abu Dhabi-based copywriter and freelance journalist with a particular focus on fitness, travel and lifestyle, which, along with good food, also happen to be her main passions when she's not typing away at her laptop.