K-Swiss Blade Foot Run Shoe Review
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If you are shopping for running shoes, and K-Swiss has never been on your consideration list, you might want to look into the brand’s latest additions.
Because of the history of the brand, I have always associated K-Swiss with tennis footwear and casual shoes (The Classic is one of those timeless favorites). But in recent years, the brand has made a strong push into running, training, triathlon, and recovery shoes; new sole technologies called Tubes and Blades are driving the growth in these categories.
As the name indicates, the Blade Foot Run leverages K-Swiss’ Blade sole technology, which is designed to deliver light and responsive cushioning. The name comes from the anatomically placed K-EVA ‘blades’ that are aligned to the angle of impact and critical flex points. While the rest of the Blade family is markedly more cushioned, the Blade Foot Run’s thin midsole still contains the Blade-Light technology its siblings have, but in minimalist form.
Many shoes in the minimalist category are so flexible that you can practically roll them into a ball. The Blade Foot Run is not quite this waifish. The midfoot forward is flexible, but the rest of the shoe is relatively firm. This may be positive or negative, depending on your taste. I thought this firmness contributed to what I felt is an overall positive attribute of this shoe: its substantial nature. It may sound counter-intuitive to refer to a minimalist shoe that way, but the Blade Foot Run feels really hearty. At 8.0 oz, it is not the featherweight that some of its competitors are, but in this case I think durability of the midsole, outsole, and upper reinforcing materials is well-worth the extra couple of ounces.
As you can see from the profile, the Blade Foot Run is a zero-drop shoe, intended for those who follow natural running form (i.e. mid- forefoot strikers). Given the 0mm heel-toe differential, I would not recommend this shoe for traditional runners, or those who are new to the natural running style (where a low-differential shoe may be better for the transition).
The Blade Foot Run was my first foray into the K-Swiss running line, and I was thoroughly impressed with the feel and performance of this shoe. I typically write a review after about 50 miles on a shoe, and I have put at least 150 on these. The primary reason for this is because, while I had already made up my mind that I liked the Blade Foot a great deal, I kept looking for that signature characteristic that sums up the shoe. And with each run I was at a loss. So I’ve come to the conclusion that there are simply several aspects of the shoe that work well together, making it a very well-rounded shoe for me.
The Blade Foot Run encourages a natural footstrike, and keeps you connected to the surface. But unlike some of the true lightweight racing flats on the market, the Blade Foot doesn’t leave you feeling like you may as well be running barefoot. The outsole has just enough substance and firmness to provide a nicely protected feel on the pavement. I enjoyed long runs in these shoes. K-Swiss incorporated what they call the GuideGlide midsole design, which works to center the foot for stability. Technologies like this are often difficult to test, but when I look at my shoe tread after the 150 miles, I do not see any wear signs of my usual slight supination, so I will give the GuideGlide credit for that. The upper is a combination of fine-gauge mesh for breathability, and a leather-feeling synthetic that snugly wraps the foot laterally keeping it firmly in place (I have a narrow foot, so the ability to achieve a snug fit is not always a given). The toebox was well-proportioned, with enough room for toe-splay, but a low and close enough fit to keep the foot from swimming. I did not experience any heel-slipping or rubbing on pressure points, they just fit well and quietly took care of business. I like that in a shoe. Lastly, I appreciated a couple of small features from K-Swiss: the tongue and heel have a grab loops, which are nice-to-haves, and I really loved the slightly-wavy Stay-Tied laces.
The Blade Foot runs true to size, though K-Swiss has a Fit Guide on their website that you can print out and step on, if you want to double-check for correctness. I ran in the Blade Foot a few times with my doctor-prescribed orthotics, without any issue. Because they fit my narrow foot so well, I would recommend to those who have extra wide feet to try them on in a store before ordering. The Blade Foot Run is available in a Men’s version as well.
I recommend the K-Swiss Blade Foot for natural runners who would like a zero-drop shoe with a little more substance. They quickly became a regular in my rotation, especially for longer runs.