I’ve been a runner for many years and have been through several pairs of trainers. As you’ll have read in my blog though, I’ve recently taken on a new challenge - walking the entire Southwest Coastal Path - and that has brought with it the need to try something new.
Until now I have favoured Nike Air models as they were recommended to me as a shoe that suits over-pronators (my foot lands with the outside heel first) and also because I have relatively flat feet (some trainers are better for arch support and therefore agony if you don’t have any arches). They’d always been absolutely great for the mix of running I do, mainly on roads with the odd bit of grass thrown in. But the coastal path is not a road or a pavement, it’s a tough combination of gravel, shail, sand, rocks and plenty of fields thrown in for good measure. Sadly, upon commencing my new quest, my favourite Nikes fell apart pretty quickly.
So, to Google I went, in search of the perfect, versatile, track running shoe and immediately I was met with more options than I could click through in a year. So how did I narrow it down? I picked the ones that looked coolest, obviously.
The Asics Alpine XT - colour listed as ‘TURKISH TILE/INK BLUE/LEMON CURRY’ (yes, that’s just one colour, apparently, and others are available) - arrived quickly and looked great. I had been warned that these came in slightly small and was pleased to find they come in half-sizes too, so I went for a 10.5 instead of my usual 10. Despite this, the first pair were still super tight so I sent them back and went up a full size to the 11, which were perfect. Lesson learned: Asics come up small. I took them for a few quick, local runs and all of the signs were good. We were all set.
I’ve completed 2 stages of the coastal path (a historic walk skirting the coast of the Southwest of England) in the Asics; an 11 mile stretch from Abbotsbury to Ferrybridge across mainly dry country tracks and a very different 11 miles from Minehead to Porlock Weir up and down scree tracks, across rocky beach sections and through the obligatory English green field. The pictures featured in this review were taken after 11 miles and I’m pleased to tell you that at 22 miles the only difference is a layer of trail dust. They’ve proven to be super robust, keeping their shape and tread perfectly so far. In terms of support: they’re slightly better than the Nikes, coming up marginally higher to the ankle and with thicker cushioning - the only thing I would add on this point is that due to their height, they do rub your ankle if you’re wearing trainer socks, so it pays to wear a decent sports sock. They’re comfortable and didn’t need any breaking in. I only wish they kept their electric blue a little longer (it’s still under there but I now have 22 miles of costal dirt for added authenticity).
It’s early days but they’re looking pretty good so far, and given the terrain I’ve worked them through already that’s a win. I’ll keep you posted.