One Run Review
Test date: July 1, 2012
If you have read “Blink” by Malcolm Gladwell, you will understand the power of first impressions and why they can be just so right.
So when I walked around Ajax Running Free in the Kona S Canada Flag for the first time, instead of letting my brain decide I let my feet do it for me. My brain had already decided these would not be a good shoe for me. They are marketed for tri-athletes and this model is intended for runners who require some stability, as could be seen by the gray slab of foam under the inside arch (not evident in the picture).
My feet decided differently. The uppers being seamless wrapped my feet perfectly and smoothly. The soles had no strange lumps. The cushion felt just right. Not too soft to obscure road feel, but enough to keep your feet happy on longer runs.
Feeling patriotic the day before Canada Day, and with a great price of $79 for anyone, my brain decided that these shoes were going out the door with me. What a deal, I would find out in more ways than one.
On closer examination, the build quality of the shoe is the best I have seen. The sock liner and stitch finish around the lace box are just top notch. The laces are triangular shaped and resist shifting and loosening. The toes and heels have ventilation holes. There are also holes through the shoe bottom, and the liner has holes that line up with the holes in the sole. While this shoe won’t STOP water from getting in, it is designed to let it (or maybe other body fluids) get out toute de suite. I can’t wait for a good old downpour to see how these shoes take it. I expect they will run light, even when soaked.
This is definitely a shoe for summer conditions. It is also weighs in very light at 9 oz, and will make a great fast training day and race day shoe. If you are an intermediate runner curious about race day flats, this would be a great intermediate step towards that goal. Heck, these shoes may be all you will ever need for race day.
Onto my run, just a rather average 10k in 45 minutes on Canada Day. My route included a rather long uphill push. The hill climb had nothing to complain about which is something considering my right ankle almost always complains going uphill. A very steep downhill, again no complaints. Usually my toes jam, or feet compress uncomfortably on this patch of steep old tarmac.
The icing on the cake was the final kick down on the last km, an effortless 3:45. These shoes transition as good as any race flat I own. Also, minimal road sound which means very efficient energy transfer.
Overall I am very impressed with both the quality and ride. Why us pure runners have been avoiding KSwiss is beyond me. They are a hidden treasure, worth every dollar of their $159 list price, but you can have them now for $79.
Buy them here: KSwiss Canada Flag On Sale!