People, including me, never run out of excuses to not exercise. First there’s the weather; then the pollution; and finally, if all else fails, there’s always the evergreen reason: there’s simply no time.

As a foodie in a sedentary job, it is imperative that I exercise regularly; just so that I can eat all my favourite food, and yet burn off the calories.

While running for others doesn’t involve careful consideration of some factors, for someone who is flat-footed and with a bodyweight of more than a 100 kilograms, it involves selecting footwear very carefully. It should cushion the impact of the steps, provide ample support, and fit well. And of course, be comfortable.

With these parameters in mind, I set my sights on a couple of pairs:

Skechers GoRun 7

Image : Skechers

The first thing you notice about this pair is the foam and the electric blue and orange colour. I was pleasantly surprised when I picked the shoes up—I had expected the pair to be heavier. Another thing I noticed was the pods on the outsole. Despite the thick outsole, the shoe didn’t feature a massive drop from heel to toe.

But I was interested in this pair for a different reason. This pair was supposed to be good for midsole strikers with its Hyper Burst foam, and I wanted to find out if it lived up to the hype. I laced up the pair and first tried running some short bursts on concrete in my apartment complex.

The first thing I noticed was how light the pair was, while it had a reasonably snug and comfortable fit. The grip was good, at the same time it didn’t stick to the ground. But there was good support while turning sharp corners sharply, both on concrete as well as asphalt. The pods and the Hyper Burst foam ensured that while there was feedback when the foot hit the ground, it felt nice and comfortable. The pods on the outsole cushioned the feet well, and I as a midsole striker, I had never felt better. And there was definitely a “bounce” of energy after my feet hit the ground.

The next day, I ran on wet asphalt, after a smart shower, and the shoe stayed true even when I ran on some grass. I also ran on some gravel and a trail road, and while this is not made for trail running, it didn’t feel like I would slip. A good thing is that the sole didn’t collect small pieces of gravel. Because of the knit “breathable” upper, my feet never felt sweaty. A caveat: if your feet overpronate and you need more support, you might not find that with this pair.

I wore this pair to the mall the next weekend, and it stayed true and comfortable for the five-six hours I spent there. I wore this pair while running/walking on multiple surfaces and I never felt more comfortable. In fact, I got so used to this pair, that it was difficult to go back to anything else.

The Skechers GoRun 7 is for those are looking for a pair that has bounce and cushioning, but is light. Long runs in this pair won’t leave you with fatigued feet, and you can also wear them to the gym and the mall.

Price: ₹9,999

Puma Jaab XT

Image : Puma

Puma calls this pair of trainers boxing-inspired, and I tend to agree. They do look like boxer’s boots. The slip-on construction feels nice, but the laces don’t inspire confidence. That said, it does fit snugly and the black and white shades might even qualify as business casual attire (if you ignored the prominent white sole, that is).

Not much of a gym person, I put on the pair and first did some exercises on concrete and asphalt, and then on grass. There was a fair bit of grip and rebound, and midsole striker in me loved the cushioning while doing some spot runs. I also tried some cross-training at a gym (which has a wooden floor) and felt very confident about making all the multi-directional movements.

This inspired me to take a chance and try walking/running in this pair. While walking on different kinds of surfaces and terrain was quite fine, the Jaab XT seemed to prefer asphalt and concrete. But running was a different story. While I didn’t face a problem with cushioning and rebound—in fact, I loved what I felt—it's not meant to be for intensive running. The soft pair didn’t inspire confidence while running as I was afraid I might damage the pair, especially over gravel and stones.

But I must say this: the hybrid 'NRGY' beads and ProFoam sole ensures comfort on every kind of surface. I was only afraid about damaging the pair, not my feet.

After I had cleaned out the pair after my cross-country sojourn, I wore it with my athleisure attire for a visit to a mall, and not only did it go very well with the clothes, but mall-hopping was an area it excelled in. After all, smart-looking sneakers + athleisure wear = relaxed visits to multiple malls, while fitting in with the ‘in’ crowd.

A friend from school who is very much into fitness—as in cross-training, dance and the like said—the Jaab XT was his current go-to pair for his gym needs. I tend to agree. This pair is for those who want a specialised pair for training, which also looks nice when worn casually.

Price: ₹6,499

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