In May, as I had some birthday money and needed new inserts, I paid Sweatshop in Clapham a visit. Why Sweatshop? I had already purchased a pair of inserts from the Sweatshop near my university, and as an affiliated runner through England Athletics I had a couple of discount vouchers for the store. Discount vouchers = happy student. Why Clapham? At the moment we don’t have a Sweatshop in Birmingham (hopefully this will change soon). I hadn’t returned to Clapham since my disastrous stint with the London Fire Brigade.
As I’m a student on a tight budget *yawn* I make most of my running related purchases online and in high street stores. I’m definitely more TK Maxx/H&M than Sweaty Betty/Lululemon.
Although as a researcher I find nothing more satisfying than finding a discount code that actually works, I was looking forward to visiting a ‘real’ running shop. After an enjoyable hour chatting about running, complaining about injuries, getting my inserts fitted and trying on trainers, I left the store minus £150 with a pair of inserts and Brooks Transcend trainers.
I usually shop around online and end up spending approximately £50-60 per pair of trainers. I estimated that I had spent the equivalent of a months’ worth of food or 6 return train tickets from home to London on these trainers.
But were they worth the £150??
I used to wear Brooks in what I now term my first running career. I ran some amazing races obtaining PBs in distances ranging from a mile up to a marathon. However, 5 years ago, feeling fed up with niggles and injuries (not due to Brooks but due to my wonkiness) I fancied a change and started wearing Asics. The niggles and injuries continued, and after at one point completing an average of 15-20 races during the summer I was running less than 15-20 times a year. The expansion of my medal collection had stopped and I had fallen out of love with running.
A warning… if you are after a more detailed product review then I recommend these blog entries by US Brooks Run Happy ambassadors Runladylike, Fit Bottomed Girls and Hungry Runner Girl.
On first impressions, although quite heavy, the Transcends were really, really comfortable with support in the right places combined with loads of cushioning. Most importantly my feet felt niggle free.
Perhaps I could finally #RunHappy again?
I first wore the Transcends at my local parkrun with no niggles/injury problems. The colour of the Transcends meant that I received quite a few comments off other parkrunners. I can cope with banter but why do so many product manufacturers assume that females love the colour pink? For future reference, purple is my favourite colour. Some purple trail shoes would be perfect.
The brightness, however, ensures that my feet are clearly visible at night…
I’ve tested the Transcends in a range of weather conditions on a range of surfaces (gravel/grass/mud/tarmac/trail/track). I have remained injury free and have found the trainers really comfortable. I am yet to notice any niggles; if my right foot is happy then I am happy and I can #RunHappy. I have even learnt to embrace the colour pink.
Now for a couple of negatives… the Transcends are really not that great on wet surfaces. I slipped over while I was out running on a footpath (I was sober and luckily no one saw me), the lack of grip is even evident when walking. There is no way I could even contemplate trying these out in ice/snow.
Are these trainers actually meant to be worn outside? Did I manage to inadvertently buy treadmill only trainers? I’ll test out the trainers on a treadmill at a later date, probably when it’s not safe to run outside.
Now for the sole of the right trainer.
I track my mileage so know that I have run less than 50 miles in the Transcends. Yesterday, I spotted that an area of the sole seems to be getting worn. These trainers have done less than 50 miles but this area of the sole looks pretty worn. This rapid wear is my biggest concern. I know that I am slightly overweight and wonky but should the soles be wearing down so quickly? I like to get at least 500 miles out of my trainers, if the wear after only 50 miles is an indication of how long these trainers will last, I doubt they will reach 500 miles.
So although these trainers are comfortable and have contributed to me remaining injury free, this amount of wear after less than 50 miles means that I would be reluctant to spend £150 on another pair.
My next challenge is finding a pair of trail shoes to wear for the Red Bull Steeplechase Challenge. Any suggestions/recommendations?
**Full Disclaimer: I paid for the Brooks Transcends myself and these are my personal thoughts and opinions**