Kicks unleashed: reviewing trending sneakers

As of this weekend, we can officially say it’s spring. Yet it may be July before we see green in parts of Atlantic Canada. With the nicer weather approaching, it’s time to get back on the asphalt. Over the years, I’ve gone through a few pairs of sneakers. Here’s my feedback to help those in need of finding the perfect pair of kicks to jump start your season.

Nike Free 4.0 v2
Initially, I was drawn to Nike Frees for their minimus style and urban colour choices.  The Frees are trendy and come in the best colours. These shoes aren’t cheap and as a consumer you’re definitely paying for the Nike symbol. I’d recommend these sneakers for short distance runners or beginners. I found they loss their shape quickly. For those running 5km/ 4-5 times per week they may only last a couple of months. After a few instances where I went over on my ankle, it was time to purchase a new pair.

Pros
: light weight, great look, comfy, fun colours
Cons: little structure, wider width
Length: 2 months
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SAUCONY Guide 7

Switching from a New Balance to Saucony was an easy transition at the time. A similar look to Asics, I purchased these sneakers based on the added structure with still being light weight. The first few months I had amazing runs. At about the 12 week mark, their form significantly changed. The once bounce and support suddenly disintegrated and the sneakers were falling apart. I was really disappointed compared to their initial quality.  I’d recommend this sneaker to those not on a budget as they need to be replaced after 3 months.

Pros
: good structure,  light wight
Cons: not the best look, short life
Lasts: 3 months
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BROOKS Pure Flow

I had purchased these sneakers in the States a few years ago. These sneakers held up. They had a great structure and were light weight. I could run all year round with these shoes and still own them. The downside to the sneakers are the price. They’re around the $140 mark and you can’t typically find a sale. For those getting into running and want a good bang for your buck, these are your sneakers.

Pros: strong structure
Cons: look is better than average, cost is above average $140+
Lasts:  6+ months
Brooks Pure Flow Women's[3]

ASICS GEL-DS TRAINER (TOP PICK)
After a few running injuries, I gave into these sneakers. Since owning these babies I’ve had zero injuries. Mind you I’m more aware of post-run stretching and knowing when to give your body a break. These continue to look new. They’re not as light wight as the Frees or Brooks but their structure is unbeatable. They’ve made me a more comfortable runner and I would promote this sneaker time and time again. Go Asics!

Pros: strong structure
Cons: Not the sleekest look, cost is average or above ranging from $110-140
Lasts: 6+ months

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Jump-start your workout

If you’re anything like me you’ve grown tired of cardio routines. A great way to kick up 2014 is to incorporate skipping as a part of your workout.

Ladies, this activity doesn’t happen over night and it’s going to come with practice. Skipping not only makes you sweat, it increases your heart rate, it’s affordable and you don’t need a gym to feel the burn. Plus, it’s a lower impact activity to running, making it easier on your joints with minimal risk of injury. Try not to go over board on your first try. Skipping 60-70 times per minute is a great starting place.

Calories burned: 10 minutes= 115+ calories burned

Targets:

  • Calves (pushing off the ground)
  • Quadriceps (front leg)
  • Hamstrings (back leg)
  • Glutes

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Don’t let yourself squeeze into the sparkle

Let’s face it, over the holidays we’re going to indulge. It’s the one time of the year you can buy sausage rolls, have a supply of cookies and be stocked with Bailey’s ® Irish Cream. There’s no hiding it, we’re going to eat, drink and try to be merry.

Unfortunately the holidays does not allow us to completely fall off the rails. Instead of trying to drag yourself to the nearest gym, we’ve created a list of activities to keep you moving until New Year’s Eve. You’ve worked too hard to not look your best in your gold sparkly, sequin dress.

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CROSS-COUNTRY SKIING
Remember your grandparents use to nag you to try it?  Gather up a few friends and hit the hills. Did you know that one-hour of moderate cross-country skiing can burn over 500 calories? This makes getting outside with a tea worthwhile. Even if you’re in a rural area, try looking up a local ski lodge.  Typically, cross-country skis rentals are much cheaper than downhill.

Minutes: 60
Calories burned: 500

RUNNING A HOCKEY ARENA
If all else fails and a snowstorm hits and there’s no gym within 185 kilometers try running a hockey arena. My mom’s friends use to do this and would have a killer workout incorporating the stairs. The bonus, you get to watch hockey and it’s FREE.

Minutes: 30
Calories burned: 500

HOUSEHOLD IMPROVEMENTS
Instead of trying to think of a typical workout, try painting a small room. It will only take a half-day and you’ll instantly see results. Did you know that one-hour of painting burns over 300 calories? If painting is too messy, try reorganizing a room or shoveling a driveway.

Minutes: 60
Calories: 300

BOXING DAY SHOPPING
If you’re really not digging working out, grab your closest friends and get out to the closest mall. Spending a day walking from shop to shop is not only fun but a great cardio workout.  How many times have you left the mall exhausted and said “I must of walked five miles!” You don’t have to think outside the box, just get yourself moving.

Minutes: 60
Calories burned: 160

Regardless, enjoy the holidays and try to make some time for yourself.