- TYPE Road
- PRICE £138
- FACTORY WEIGHT 251 g
- DROP 9 5mm
The first-ever Lululemon running shoe is a women-specific high-performance trainer. The new footwear, which has been given the name "Blissfeel," has just recently been released to the public (as of April 5, 2022).
Lululemon, which has specialized in engineering high-end clothing since 1998, has been planning its entry into the footwear category for some time now. The company saw a need in the market for women's running shoes and set out to fill it.
With the help of cutting-edge data from over a million foot scans and insights from top biomechanics and morphology experts, the design team was able to create a shoe that is tailored to a woman's foot and gait cycle.
According to Lululemon product developer and co-creator Mark Oleson, "most performance shoes are designed primarily for men, and often for elite male athletes, and then adapted for women." In spite of this, on average, women's feet are a different shape than men's. And women's biomechanics are distinct, from the position of their center of gravity to the place where their heels first hit the ground during a sprint. '
Putting emphasis on how a runner actually feels while running
Blissfeel was developed to make long distance travel a pleasurable and stress-free experience.
A custom fit and feel are at the forefront of the new sneaker's design. According to Oleson, "prioritizing feel is a real paradigm shift for the footwear industry," which has historically prioritized performance over comfort. Given that the foot contains some of the highest concentrations of sensory receptors in the body, we saw this as an exciting opportunity to apply our distinctive "Science of Feel" design lens. '
Blissfeel's materials and construction methods were chosen because they would have a minimal impact on the runner's experience, as the name suggests. Oleson explains that "even the colors were intentionally chosen to evoke a feeling." The bright Green Ray hue for Blissfeel, for instance, was inspired by the sun at dawn and dusk, a time of day runners are familiar with. '
Is the new Lululemon running shoe aimed at anyone in particular?
The shoe is made for runners of all skill levels, from novices to pros.
The designers of the shoe told us that "Blissfeel is designed for our guests who are running every day," which indicates a specific type of running and runner for whom the shoe was created. We wanted Blissfeel to be the performance running shoe that our guests reached for first and last before, during, and after their runs. '
Interestingly, Lululemon's 'guests' (the company's term for customers) lack of running experience appears to have little bearing on whether or not a given pair of shoes is appropriate for a given runner type. Oleson explains that the establishment focuses on "the feeling" and "supporting our guests in whatever stage that may be" of their journey. "It's a more welcoming strategy, and one that we know our guest is looking for, whether that be beating a personal best or coming in first place." '
So, what do we think of the shoe?
RW were given the opportunity to try on the shoe for the first time at the launch party in New York.
Our initial four-mile tempo run in the Blissfeel was a pleasant surprise due to the incredible amount of feedback from the ground. At 32 cubes in height, the stack is quite substantial. The shoe's 5mm drop places it squarely in the cushioned/maximal running shoe category, but the compound foam midsole from Lululemon strikes a nice balance between softness and durability.
After two months of testing, during which time we engaged in everything from slow recovery runs to structured interval work, we can confirm that Lululemon's claim that the shoe was created to move with you is accurate. The upper has a sock-like feel to it due to its stretchiness and lack of overlays (except for some minimal reinforcements around the saddle that we suspect are purely cosmetic). The midfoot and heel areas of our feet fit very comfortably, and the toebox was roomy without being restrictive. The upper wraps around your foot snugly thanks in large part to the padded tongue, which is surprisingly thin. They run a little small, so order a size and a half up.
The heel counter is reinforced on both sides with thick plastic overlays, which offered noticeable heel support and kept our feet from sliding around inside the shoe. A moulded heel collar adds welcome padding to the area around the achilles tendon.
Our heel-striker found the decoupled heel to be "noticeable" in its ability to cushion hard landings, and the pressure-mapped outsole provided good traction and flexibility. She ran in them and liked them, but she wished they had softer cushioning in the heel and more responsive support in the forefoot.
An outsole crafted from high-abrasion rubber that has been pressure-mapped offers grip and pliability.
An annoyance is the shoe's lack of 'pop'; they don't make your foot feel 'dead' when it hits the ground, but they could benefit from a bit more bounciness from the midsole foam. Having a shoe like this could make your long runs more bearable and your short sprints more effective.
Since this is Lululemon's first foray into the running shoe market, we have to admit that we are pleasantly surprised by the results. These are a great option for new runners looking for a daily trainer that can handle distances from 5K to a half marathon thanks to their snug fit, cushioned upper, and supportive heel counter.
Lululemon plans to release an entire footwear collection in 2022, with Blissfeel serving as the first shoe. It features a variety of workout shoes (Chargefeel), a training shoe (Strongfeel), and a recovery slider (Restfeel), all of which share the same underlying "Science of Feel" design philosophy. The same care and attention to touch will be applied to the men's collection, which will debut in 2019.
The Blissfeel is available in a rainbow of hues right here!