Lets face it: When you have a hectic schedule it′s easier to opt for a more supportive shoe instead of running shoes, even if you’re less practical pumps are calling your name. The transition of active wear into our everyday wardrobes over the last few years has made it a little easier to make better decisions for our feet. Out of all the shoe styles that have become trendy in the last few years, running shoes are our favorite and most functional out of the bunch (wedge sneakers are a close second!). Running shoes were first invented by and for runners, engineers placing more focus on the performance and less on the look. Classic running shoes, the former aesthetically challenged stepsisters of the sneaker family, were available in mostly only solid colors⎯that didn’t change for years. Presently, with the evolution of the fitness–forward fashion movement, we have arrived in a place where aesthetic is just as important as performance. Now, it′s time to discuss your options. Most people have been wearing big name running shoe brands like Nike, Adidas, and Reeboks since before they could actually run. Why rock the boat?
Though your natural instinct may be to stick with what you know, there are smaller companies who are producing running shoes that are just as resilient and innovative as the big dogs, not to mention just as chic! In order for these underdogs to compete with the big brands, however, their lines must be fashionably durable with contemporary designs that can be integrated among everyday wear. If you are seriously looking to invest in a quality running shoe (whether you are a beginner or a Road Runner), we have taken the liberty of giving you just a few more of something you truly deserve: Options. Below is a list of five brands that are marking their territory in the fitness footwear category with modern designs, bright colors and whimsical patterns. If you are a novice runner, here is a beginner’s guide to all there is to know about being and becoming an avid runner.
Hoka One One
If you want to feel like you are running on air, this is the shoe for you. Hoka is the leader in heavily cushioned running shoes, or as some are calling it ″maximalism″. Hoka, and many other maximalist centered brands, add foam to the midsole of shoes to encourage the runner to strike the ground at the midsole, stabilizing the movement of the foot with each stride you take. The shoes also offer a buffer between your foot and uneven terrain if you prefer to running on a trail. These running shoes are lightweight and come in an impressive assortment of lively and muted colors for each style.
This shoe company was started in the back of a running store, by a man who put a lot of research into runners and their shoe related injuries. The specially designed toe–box allows your toes to spread out in their natural position, instead of being squeezed together by a pointier design. The shoes also feature a dropped heel that decreases the elevation to naturally align your feet and back. There are also unique, downright funky color schemes!
On Running shoes are all about cloud like cushion⎯but only when you want it (say what?). These shoes allow for a firm take off and a soft landing due to the specially designed rubber cushions with teeth–like centers. The sleek shoes from On Running come in both neutral and bold color combinations.
Newton Running was made by runners themselves in a place where it′s all about runners and recreational outdoorsmen: Boulder, Colorado. This eco–friendly company pride themselves on giving back to the community by sponsoring numerous charities. Newton even offers to help you find a running club in your area on the website. The candy colored design schemes and wide variety of styles are a plus, too!
Okay, you got us. Under Armour isn’t new, nor is it a small company. But did you know they sold epically chic running shoes? Really, really cute ones with speckled metallic and textured designs? When Fritz Taylor, formerly of Nike, joined the Under Armour team, their running shoe line was reborn. The pictorial and colorfully detailed shoes are lightweight and versatile, with a foam sock that conforms to fit your foot′s shape. And they are the most affordable shoes on this list, with prices starting at $60!
Before you buy, you make sure you know what type of running shoe is right for you. It′s no easy task picking from the endless variations of shoes designed for different running habits, distances, trails and support needs. Click here for a how–to on where to start when picking your perfect shoe. And if you want some new fashion–forward fitness duds to pair with your new kicks without going broke, check out our list of 5 Affordable Active Wear Options.
Which brands would you wear? We would love to know your favorites! Leave us a comment below.
This is a guest post by Shannon White, the choreographer of the MECKids Dream Team.