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Walk On

Prospecs Cool 405 (300)

Walking Shoe Review: PROSPECS Cool Walk 405

Is a walking shoe from South Korea flexible and protective enough to be used on a daily basis?

If you’re like me, you usually do not use a walking shoe for walking – whether on vacation or for exercise or even at work. Why? Because most walking shoes are too stiff, especially in the forefoot, and they’re generally too heavy; the latter makes walking feel more like a chore than a pleasure, especially when one’s feet are already sore and achy.

I’ve often wondered why athletic shoe manufacturers do not make a lightweight and extremely flexible walking shoe. Well, it seems that a Korean company, PROSPECS, may have done just that. PROSPECS has been in business in South Korea since 1981, producing athletic equipment, clothing, football shoes, running shoes, tennis shoes and what they call “sport walking” shoes. The PROSPECStors at the company’s USA headquarters at Incline Village, Nevada, provided a pair of new walking shoes for me to test.

The PROSPECS Cool Walk 405 shoes weigh just 7.7 ounces in a size 7 and come with an 8.5mm heel-to-toe drop. The men’s version comes in a cool color scheme of near-denim blue, accentuated with neon green and white. They’re more than a bit reminiscent of the Nike Air Pegasus+ 28 running shoe (the version prior to the current model), which is a plus based on positive comments about the appearance of the Pegasus. However, the Cool Walk has a much straighter form than the Pegasus running shoe. Like the Pegasus, it runs narrow. I was able to fit my narrow feet into the Cool Walk a half-size bigger than my normal walking shoe size. Some individuals with broader feet may have to try a full size larger.

These shoes are clearly well designed and manufactured. No apparent flaws were visible. In use, it holds its own as an all-terrain shoe. On concrete, I felt as if I were wearing a pair of late 80s-early 90s racing flats from Nike or Asics. This translates into an almost “barefoot” feel, something that was a stated goal for PROSPECS. The comfort level increases when walking on a natural trail, and the walk feels surprisingly comfortable on asphalt. If I had to walk a long distance on asphalt, I’d choose these shoes instead of a pair of running shoes.

The Cool Walk is highly flexible, especially in the forefoot area. This feature is good for those with relatively inflexible feet. While the shoe features a unique Walking Straight Line sole intended to support a straight-ahead walking style, it also offers good side-to-side movement. The latter is essential when one’s walking on uneven surfaces and trails, and there’s enough cushioning (three levels worth, including a rubbery Flubber 360 upper midsole) so that you do not feel the rocks you may step on.

I was initially concerned that the sock liner was overly built up and protective, so after a few miles I substituted a thinner insole. When I subsequently elected to place the supplied sock liner back into the shoe, it was a relief to find that the insole conformed to my feet within a matter of miles; it then seemed to almost disappear.

There’s excellent support in the Cool Walk, as the shoe comes with both external and internal high impact pads. The internal blue rubber pad at the heel, attached to the underside of the sock liner, is like those found on some expensive men’s business-class walking shoes.

What happens if you take a trip and forget to take your running shoes with you? I tested the Cool Walk’s ability to protect the feet for a few miles of low-to-the-ground jogging and it passed just fine.

For a list price of just below one hundred dollars ($99), the Cool Walk is a good value. That’s cheaper than most running shoes these days, and this walking shoe seems to blend comfort with durability. The PROSPECS Cool Walk 405 is a lightweight, flexible, shock-absorbing shoe that should provide its users with hundreds of pleasurable, comfortable walking miles.

Highly recommended.

Joseph Arellano

This article was originally posted on the Blogcritics Sports site:

http://blogcritics.org/sports/article/walking-shoe-review-prospecs-cool-walk/

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On the Run

A review of the Mizuno Wave Precision Running Shoe.

The Nike Air Pegasus was the best-selling shoe of the late 1980s and early 90s.   It seemed to have everything going for it, from a slightly curved last that fit most everyone, to a firm polyurethane heel, soft blown rubber up front, and just a smidgen of pronation control.   The exposed air in the heel made runners feel like they were going to run faster, even if it was just a gimmick.

That beloved Pegasus was such a great shoe that I’ve been searching for its replacement ever since.   There are Nike Air Pegasus+ 28 and 29 models out now but there’s not much about them reminiscent of the original.   They offer a bouncy ride that seems to be directed to the youngest runners, and styling that appears to satisfy someone’s odd need for the 70s.

I’ve never been able to wear a pair of Mizuno runners since running stores have not carried my size.   But on my most recent trip to the local emporium, the salesman urged me to try the shoes he runs in, the Mizuno Wave Precision 13.   In this case, 13 is a lucky number!

Apart from the color scheme (more on that later), the Wave Precision comes off as the soulful heir to the “back in the day” Pegasus.   It offers a nice, slightly curved last that will fit most feet – size up a half-size – a firm heel in the back, soft rubber up front, and – perhaps best of all – a minimal helping of stability.   The stability comes from the built-in wave support in the midsole.   It’s just enough to keep your foot straight but not enough to alter your foot strike; as compared to the Nike Zoom Structure+ 15 which pushes back too much.   Like the Pegasus of old, it appears to offer something for everyone, whether they’re heel, mid-foot or front-foot strikers.   (I plead guilty to being a heel striker and I love the firmness of the heel on the Wave Precision 13.)

Are there any flaws with this model?   Yes, perhaps two…  The heel counter that protects the Achilles tendon is a bit firm and you may feel it after a long run; although this confirms that it’s performing its intended purpose.   And then there’s the matter of the colors.   Mizuno calls the standard (and only) color scheme Fluorite/Gypsum/Dress Blue.   It may strike some males as being somewhat feminine.   My wife calls them, “the cartoon shoes”, for which I’ve had no witty comeback.   Let’s just hope that Mizuno provides a restrained option in the future.   I have a feeling that a lot of the owners of the current Wave Precision 13 will be ordering another pair when the new color scheme(s) arrive.

If you’re a runner who can’t afford a time machine to take you back to the late 80s/early 90s – and the joy of running in ye-olde-tyme Pegasus running shoe – you can instead consider springing for a pair of Mizuno Wave Precision 13s.   A splendid time is guaranteed for all!

Joseph Arellano

This article was originally posted on the Blogcritics Sports site at: http://blogcritics.org/sports/article/on-the-run1/ .   These running shoes, which retail for $109.99, were purchased by the reviewer.   

Note: This site will periodically feature reviews of products other than books, although it will remain as primarily a book review blog.

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