Wattie Ink Elite Team Gear Review – K-Swiss Blade Light Run 2

The Wattie Elite Team is sponsored by K-Swiss. As part of that sponsorship, I got a pair of the new Blade Light Run 2 shoes as soon as they came out. The Blade Light Run 2 is an update of the Blade Light Run. Competitor previewed the shoe back in November 2012.

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The Blade Light Run 2 is an update to the Blade Light Run, which used an EVA midsole with angled “blades” designed to enhance cushioning. In the Blade Light Run 2, K-Swiss revised the alignment of the blades and lowered the heel by 2mm, reducing the heel-toe drop from 10mm to 8mm. To put this in context, 12mm has long been considered “standard” for running shoes, while many of the “low drop” shoes are around 4mm. Given that Saucony went to an 8mm drop in many of their primary models last year, the Blade Light Run 2’s 8mm should accommodate many runners. According to K-Swiss, the revised blade alignment and lower heel should better accommodate midfoot strikers. The Blade Light Run 2 is a neutral shoe, lacking in stability features. However, the blades are also supposed to add some stability. The shoes also feels less squishy than other shoes, which probably helps.

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The Blade Light Run 2 also features the K-Swiss seam-free technology. While this is not the sock-like interior lining of Zoot’s shoes, the interior is certainly much more comfortable, with or without socks, than other traditional shoes. Like any other shoe with a “sock-free friendly” interior, whether Zoot, K-Swiss, Pearl Izumi, or others, if you plan on using this shoes without socks, I strongly recommend working into sock-free running slowly so your feet can adapt. Finally, at just over 9 ounces, this is a pretty light shoe. It is not as light as the K-Swiss K-Ruuz racing flat, but still pretty light as far as performance trainers go and works well for tempo runs.  For track workouts, and certainly for racing, I prefer my K-Ruuz racing flats.

I used these shoes for training, tempo runs, and for Ironman Texas. I have had a hard time with running shoes over the last 3 or 4 years. As I used racing flats more for speed workouts and for racing, regular training shoes became ever-stiffer and klunkier. The Blade Light Run 2, however, had good flexibility and responsiveness, but still had enough cushioning for my long training runs. If I were racing a half-Ironman distance, half-marathon, or less, my shoe of choice would be the K-Ruuz, but for the Ironman Texas marathon I appreciated the extra cushioning.

K-Swiss also has a shoe called the “Kwicky Blade Light.” The primary difference between the Kwicky and the Blade Light Run is that the Kwicky has the K-Swiss Ion Mask Technology. The Ion Mask sheds water off the shoe’s upper. This does won’t keep your feet dry, but it will keep the upper dry. Fortunately, the Blade Light Run 2 includes drainage for water to drain out. In the Woodlands, I didn’t dump a lot of water over my head, but I ran through a lot of sprinklers, so I really appreciated these features (even though my socks got soaked).

As far as durability goes, I put about 3 months into these shoes, at least 400 miles, which is pretty good for a lightweight trainer. I am pretty light, at 135-140 lbs, so your mileage may vary. The outsole of this shoe is mostly foam, with some strategically placed high-density rubber for durability. Like many of the newer lightweight trainers however, there is still a lot of exposed foam, so you can expect a pretty good rate of wear. These shoes also tend to go from “almost done” to “done” pretty quick.

In terms of fit, my feet run narrow and low-volume, and usually between a 9 1/2 or 10, depending on the shoe. For me, the 9 1/2 works best.  At $95, the price is pretty nice, especially if you want one shoe you can use for training, tempo runs, and race day.

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