Karhu Forward Fulcrum Ride Shoe Review
Karhu has been in the shoe making industry for quite sometime. This spring, however, was the first time I have had the chance to put my feet in a pair of Karhu’s. Like our male tester, I was also given a pair of Forward Fulcrum Ride shoes. The Forward is a neutral shoe that incorporates Karhu’s 3-part fulcrum engineered design: the shoe is more efficient and more balanced, therefore enabling you to move forward faster. So what is Fulcrum? Fulcrum is Karhu’s own midsole substance that is mostly located in the heel and promotes a natural foot position. The fulcrum does, however, extend beyond the heel to the arch and forefoot area and is covered by a carbon plate. Traditional running shoes have dual density stability substance in the midfoot region on the side of the arch. Fulcrum technology is aimed at allowing for a more natural stride.
How else does the Forward achieve a more natural stride? First off, there is a slight angle from the heel to the forefoot, which causes you to have a quick heel-strike to toe-off transition, thereby creating a “naturally centered acceleration transition,” per Karhu. The first time I wore the Forward was on a tempo workout and I definitely had the feeling that my foot was moving forward more so than in typical heel strike shoes. Secondly, the midfoot has an extremely close fit that provides efficiency via decreased pronation and supination without a lot of pieces of hard plastic, thereby making it more efficient.
The Forward has a seamless one-piece upper that hugs your mid and forefoot. I was completely comfortable with the size of the forefoot, because I have narrow feet. However, I could see the toe box being too snug for others due to its’ low volume. I ran a variety of distances in these shoes, 4-15 miles and did not have any hot spots or blisters form. The seamless upper also helps to save on weight, making the Forward a nice lightweight trainer (weight unavailable online and my scale at home won’t register it:( )
As far as flexibility, the Forward is middle of the road compared to other trainers. When walking in the Forward, there is soft-cushiony area under the midfoot to help with midfoot cushioning and provide that forward propulsion. After wearing these shoes for at least 200 miles, I feel that it is safe to say that they have excellent cushioning in relation to their overall weight and design philosophy. The Forward, however, does not offer a ton of energy return or springiness with each step.
The Forward Fulcrum Ride by Karhu, was a pleasant surprise this spring. I have constantly been turning to this shoe for speed workouts and for higher mileage races. For more information on Fulcrum technology and other great shoes, please visit Karhu.com