The K-Swiss Blade-Max Stables have been my go to shoes since I got them. I’ve had other trail runners that I’ve been using, but none that I’ve liked nearly as much. As much as some people like the new minimalist running shoes, I just haven’t been able to make the change. I can handle them, and even like them for road running, but for the trail I like to have a very supportive and stiff sole. The K-Swiss Blade-Max Stable is that shoe. The dual density sole with super foam soaks up bumps well. The sole was actually designed with tread to handle something more than just a gravel trail. Pronounced ridges provide good purchase on steep hard pack and rocky trails. The sole has a nice semi-stiff shank to give me the flexibility I need to run, but keeps endless rocks and roots from causing foot fatigue after just a few miles.
Along with designing a great supportive sole the uppers are nicely done as well. I don’t usually go sockless, but the interior has been designed with minimal seams in just the right places in case you’re racing XTERRA or just like to run without socks. The toe-box has been designed with a dual layer of mesh. A more rough mesh on the exterior increases durability while a super-soft mesh inside lets the feet breath while keeping things nice and comfy.
As far as colors go, you have your option of feeding your inner triathlete desire for really bright colors with the Fiery Red (I get a lot of looks). Or, you can go with the more subdues traditional K-Swiss look of white and blue.
I’ve been using these shoes not only on the trails, but on the road and in the gym. The cushy sole, well ventilated upper, and awesome colors, make this a shoe that works well everywhere.
K-Swiss Blade Max Glide
Over the past few years I've been trying out a number of different shoes as my distances have increased and I've begun running multiple marathons and half marathons in a single season. Though I've mixed in some more minimal shoes for my shorter runs, I've been using another shoe for my longer runs and races for the past 3 years. Needless to say, this is my first pair of K-Swiss running shoes. I average about 30 miles weekly, but since January have been building mileage to between 40-60 miles. So far, I've been able to run several long runs (a 17 miler and a 19 miler) and several shorter runs in the Blade-Max Glides.
Right out of the box, the shoes felt great. They had the right mix of cushioning and support without adding too much weight. The group that I run with commented on their design right away. Not that design outweighs function, these are noticeably a good looking pair of shoes (mine are red, black and white). I also liked the fact that the shoe felt roomy, especially in the toe box. After the longer runs, I didn't notice any hot spots or blisters. One other cool feature are the laces. I've run into issues in other shoes where the laces are too long and require double knots to keep me from tripping on them. The K-Swiss laces were the perfect length and locked into place right away due to their unique design. The also did not loosen up throughout the entire run. The ventilation in the shoe worked really well and I didn't find my feet overheating.
The only criticisms that I have of these shoes deal with the soles. I found that they were simply too "chunky". When my legs started to grow tired, I began catching my calves with the shoe from the opposite foot. Lately I've been running in compression tights and even noticed some fraying on the calf section from these shoes. The ridges on the bottom of the shoe also tend to catch a lot of debris and rocks, especially when I've added some trails to my longer runs. I've had to stop periodically to pull small rocks out of the bottoms of my shoes. Both of these aren't a huge negative, but I would look to see if there had been any modifications before buying another pair.
All in all, this is a solid training shoe that I would use for everyday training that runs and wears well.
K-Swiss Blade Light P
The very first K-Swiss running shoe I wore was the K-ona. I remember being amazed at the technology and weightlessness of the shoe while still being stable enough. Fast forward 3 years and I have found a new love and it’s called the Blade Light P. I love this shoe. For me, K-Swiss out does themselves with every shoe of theirs I try. I am already planning my race season around this shoe as it is a super cushioned race shoe. It weighs in at 9.3 oz, and while at first it has a rigid feel, it only took a few miles for the shoes to feel like I had been wearing them for hundreds of miles and they were a part of my feet. While I remember loving the K-ona, I still felt that I would not trust it on anything longer than 10 miles or so, as the stability wasn’t all the way there. I don’t feel that way with the Blade Light P as the shoe gives me the stability around my ankle and into the toe box without adding on a few extra ounces like other shoes do.
As with other K-Swiss running shoes, the stitches are right where they need to be, so that if I want to go sockless on an Olympic distance event or even an hour long track session, I wouldn’t need to worry about chaffing or any other skin related injuries. The laces are perfect as they don’t bunch up and I don’t feel the need to re-tie them with every time I wear them. The shoes include K-Swiss’s Flow Cool System™ which are vents around your toes for water drainage and also to keep air flowing around your foot. Also at the bottom of the shoe are more drainage holes so water can drain from your foot and not leave you running in a puddle. The one downside to them, is that little pebbles can find their way into the ridges, but it’s not that big of a deal to me.
If you are looking for a decently priced training & racing shoe and the biggest bang for your buck, I promise you that the K-Swiss Blade Light P will not disappoint. K-Swiss has changed my view on triathlon and add to my fuel for the multisport life by consistently giving the community solid running shoes to finish your race.
For more information about K-Swiss products go to: www.kswiss.com