I have lots of pairs of running shoes. And most of them are Brooks. But recently I've been running in a couple different non-Brooks shoes. Today, I'm going to briefly review the K-Swiss K-Ruuz racing flat. (Billy wisely explained to me that "K-Ruuz" is K-Swiss speak for "cruise") . I'm also working on a review of the other non-Brooks shoe.
Despite the fact that I have a lot of running shoes and most of them are pretty light, coming into this season I didn't have a pair of road racing flats. With Wildflower on the horizon I knew I needed something to race in. While I was trying to decide whether to get a pair of the Brooks T7 Racers, I was given a pair of K-Swiss K-Ruuz to check out. (The shoes did come from K-Swiss, but were not given to me as part of the blog or with any promise of a review.) In 2008, I tested and reviewed one of K-Swiss's earliest running shoes, the Ultra Natural Run. It was a decent first effort, but not really a good shoe and I ended up giving them away very lightly used. That was the last pair of K-Swiss shoes I tried.
The K-Ruuz is listed on the K-Swiss website at 6.5oz for both the men's and women's shoe. Running Wearhouse lists them at 7.1oz for men's size 9. The 7.1oz weight seems right to me, but I don't have a scale to verify. That weight makes them a little heavier than some racing flats out there, but puts it about on par with my much-loved New Balance MT100 trail shoes. The shoe feels relatively low to the ground, even if it does have 10mm of rise between the toes and heel. They look like American flag bowling shoes and that might turn some people off, but I dig the look. My initial impression running in the K-Ruuz was that it made me feel fast. And really, that's what a racing flat is all about.
Over the few weeks leading up to Wildflower I put about 40 miles on them, with a long run of 7 miles. I swapped out the stock laces with some Yankz, my favorite quick lace system. A few people questioned my use of the K-Ruuz on the Wildflower "trails", but that wasn't an issue. Mostly because the "trails" at Wildflower are really just dirt roads, and the K-Ruuz will hold up just fine on any dirt surface that isn't too technical or super rocky.
They're well ventilated with a bunch of holes at the heel and the toe and they have a long set of drainage holes down the middle of the sole. I was hoping to do some sockless running in them before Wildflower but only wore them without socks for one short run. I think they'd be fine sockless, but I'll have to do more trials of that before using them in a race without socks. For triathletes especially, they have tabs at the top of the tongue and the heel to help get them on more quickly.
There's a little bit of cushioning, enough to make them totally comfortable for a half-marathon, even one on moderately rocky dirt roads like Wildflower. I think that I could wear these shoes for some longer marathon training runs and hopefully even for a marathon itself.
The sizing is a little strange: I usually wear an 11.5 in Brooks and New Balance. But I was warned to go down a half-size for the K-Ruuz, so I went with a 11. And they're still a little big. At first I was worried that I would have too much room in the forefoot, but I actually like the way they fit and am thinking about going a 1/2 size up in some of my other shoes.
The K-Ruuz were great for Wildflower and I plan on using them for other road races I do in the coming months.
p.s. Happy Mother's Day to my wonderful mom and to all mothers out there!