Prose: Kim Nguyen (@317Kim)
Hey everyone! My name is Kim Nguyen and I am currently in my last year studying Exercise Science at Ball State University. As an Exercise Science major, I work with a lot athletes as well as people aspiring to become more physically fit. Because of my love for fitness, exercise prescription and shoes, my collection of runners and trainers has expanded greatly. Recently I was given the opportunity to write a guest post for TGRR, so to precede my in-depth review of my newest pair of shoes I wanted to let you all know what qualities I look for in a shoe to fit my active lifestyle.
As a runner, weightlifter and personal trainer I like to have shoes that fit each activities’ physical demands. One quality that is similar in all these types of shoes is fit. I’m a firm believer of TGRR’s statement that, “A performance shoe should be an extension of the foot.” I like it when it feels like a shoe is hugging my feet because it gives me support and stability during my high impact workouts.
In my collection, I would have to say my best fitting shoe would be the Nike Free Kukini. When I first tried on the Kukinis, it was love at first step. I honestly felt like there were heart-shaped fireworks going off in my room when I first experienced the comfort of the 5.0 Free bottoms and laceless neoprene/mesh upper. The stretchy and breathable upper instantly gave me a custom fit.
Heel – Toe Transition
I am a huge fan of Free bottoms, but I prefer to run in the Nike Lunarglide 4+ because of its smooth heel to toe transition. The Lunarlon midsole/sole combination wears evenly and utilizes a curved toe-off to give you a smooth rocking motion when walking and running. The cushioning is thicker in the middle and gets thinner on both sides leading to the toe and the heel which contributes to the smooth heel to toe transition.
Cushioning is essential to my collection since I am always on the go. I need cushioning that can absorb and withstand high impact. One of the newer shoes in my collection takes the cake in this category. The Nike Roshe Run is known for its superior cushioning and creates a sensation of walking on marshmallows (a sentiment echoed by lots of Roshe wearers) because of the thick Lunarlon midsole and Kobe 8-esque sock liner. This is a winning combination which is why this is my go-to shoe when walking to class or after a workout. Even though I have heard of people running in them, I wouldn’t recommend them for anything more than a jog because of the questionable durability of the upper.
When it comes to traction, all of my Frees come to mind because of their flexible grooves. When I walk in them, I feel like the grooves are gripping the sidewalk as I go. One of my favorite pairs of Frees is the rare Nike N7 Free Forward Moc+. This sneaker provides a natural ride through its deep outsole flex grooves and gives you a barefoot feel that I have always enjoyed because it cooperates with the natural movements of the feet.
In my opinion, the most durable shoe in my collection would be the Nike Free Powerlines+. The synthetic overlay was made specifically to provide extra support and durability. The Powerlines also feature carbon rubber in high-wear areas such as the toe and the heel for enhanced durability. With all of these durable features, Nike was still able to make this a comfortable by incorporating a breathable mesh upper and sockliner that conforms to the shape of the foot.
My all-time favorite shoe is the newly-acquired Nike Lunar Flyknit +1. After two weeks with this shoe, it is safe to say that it clearly has become my favorite. Its versatility and ability to perform during all of my various workout routines makes it worth every single penny. This incredible shoe incorporates all of my favorite qualities and just so happens to be the shoe that I will be reviewing here at TGRR later this week.
(Ed. note: Besides being the better half of our own Jerred Finch, Kim is an incredibly knowledgeable sneaker collector and Swoosh lover with a unique taste in kicks. She provides us with expertise in the fitness/biomechanical department thanks to her exercise science background – she’s also probably stronger and in better shape than Finch and I combined. Check her kicks out on Twitter and Instagram at @317kim and look for periodical contributions from Kim in the future here at TGRR.)