I didn’t run my first mile until I was 20 years old. What started with me huffing and puffing my way to the one-mile mark quickly turned into regular six-mile jogs through Washington, D.C., and by the end of my junior year of college, I considered myself an official “runner.” Blame it on the fact that I started running later in life, or that I was entirely self-taught, but over the course of the following years, I always assumed that the knee-and-foot pain I felt after every workout was inevitable. It took me nearly a decade to figure out that actually, it’s not—I was simply wearing the wrong shoes. Then, I scored a pair of APL Techloom Pros ($140) and realized that my runs didn’t have to hurt, after all.
Aside from looking unquestionably cool (which, I have to admit, is what drew me to them in the first place), APL’s signature running sneakers offer some legit benefits that get the podiatrist stamp of approval “They’re made with a unique high-elastic 3D-stretch, four-way woven upper with a sock-like snug that provides your foot with comfort, stability, and support,” says Dr. Miguel Cunha, board-certified podiatric surgeon and founder of Gotham Footcare. “The fabric also allows for ventilation to prevent the accumulation of moisture that can harbor the growth of microorganisms, such as fungus and bacteria.” Plus, they’re ultra-lightweight and cushioned with APL’s proprietary “propelium midsoles,” which helps provide additional stability and structure to the otherwise-minimalist design.
APL Techloom Pros, $140
Shop now: APL Techloom Pros, $140
According to Dr. Cunha, these sneakers are the perfect pick for anyone who, like me, deals with knee issues during their runs. He adds that they’re great for shorter training runs (like my usual six-or-fewer miles), as they’re soft and bouncy and offer more stability than a traditional minimalist running shoe. Aside from the fact that they allow me to log my miles without having to worry about knee pain, they also come in dozens of different colors, which means you can stock up on a different set of kicks to match every pair of leggings in your closet if you so choose.
While these shoes are unquestionably the perfect running shoes for me (so much so that I now own three pairs), that may not be the case for everyone. If you struggle with ankle and calf tightness—or find yourself needing a little extra support in those areas as you run—Dr. Cunha suggests looking for a stability style shoe with a higher heel-to-toe drop (which is the difference in height between the heel and toe), like the ASICS GEL-Kayano 27 ($160). And if you’re regularly doing long-distance runs, he adds that you’ll probably want something with a more cushioned outsole and higher arch support, and recommends the Mizuno Wave Horizon 4 ($160), instead.
Ultimately, the best running shoe is the one that makes you feel good after you run in it. And the fact that these APLs do that for me—while also looking really, really cool—has earned them a permanent spot in my closet.
Want to put your running sneakers to the test? Try this 10-minute treadmill endurance workout.
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