Disclosure: I was sent this pair of trainers free of charge in exchange for a review of them
I’ve wanted to pick up running again after a bit of a lull since Summer 2014. I’ve got a bit fed up with long distance running and thought it would be a good idea to focus on improving my running times for 10k and below. This meant I was very pleased when I received a new pair of Airia Ones to review.
The big deal about these Swedish shoes is that they have been designed with the goal of making you able to run faster. In fact, they give you a 30 day guarantee so you can test it out for yourself risk-free. I was immediately sceptical; it sounds like a big promise to say a shoe can make you run faster. However, as soon as you open up the box (which felt a bit like unboxing an iPhone for the first time) you can see that these trainers are different to your usual Nike or Adidas running shoes. They are so light when you pick them up it reminded me of the polystyrene blocks you get in packaging. The patented outersole (manufactured by Vibram) gives it the unique shape and is firm but flexible. The rest of the upper is made out of an airy mesh and when you put it on it hardly feels like you are wearing anything.
I went for my first run in them on Christmas morning. The weather was one of those perfect English winter mornings where the sky is blue and everything is bright and crisp. I started running straight out the door. The company state that the Airias are so attuned to running that you can’t actually walk properly in them! I didn’t exactly zoom off like The Flash but running in them certainly feels different to other shoes I’ve worn. I felt more “at one” with the pavement, the shoes seemed to encourage the correct running form which gave me an improved stride and also a better bounce. I would say it was quite close to barefoot running but a lot more comfortable and supportive. Even the laces are a bit different to previous trainers. They’re flat and slightly springy and they didn’t come undone once as I ran around the local lakes. I don’t think they’d be to great as cross-country shoes. In fact, as they are only available in white, I was a bit scared to even go along the slightly muddy path! As a road-running shoe, I think they’re ideal.
I’ve run in them 4 times in January and I haven’t gone back to my old faithful Adidas. I like the way they feel as I run, I can really focus on how my feet are connecting with the ground. My wife (and running partner) could see a difference in how I was running, she said my feet seemed to move in a completely different way. Whether they have actually made me run faster is a debatable point, it’s not like I can really do a fair test in lab conditions. What I do know is they have encouraged me to run again and run harder than before. I’m going to start running on my lunch hour a couple of times a week, so I’m hoping to work out a good route to really track my speed. I’ll then pop on my old shoes to see if they slow me down. I’ve just started using Runkeeper so add me as a friend and you can see how well I do.
If I could change one thing about them, it would be the colour. White seems really feminine, I’d rather have a darker colour on the mesh upper at least. Hopefully they’ll be available in more colours by the time I need a new pair.
I’ll leave you with the official video from Airia that explains a bit more about them. Let me know in the comments if you have any questions about them