Lululemon's innovative workout shoes sadly fail as running trainers

Lululemon Chargefeel
(Image credit: Sarah FInley)

We've all got different preferences when it comes to running shoes, with some of us looking for a shoe that will give us a spring in our step, breathable uppers or something light enough to finally reach that PB.

The best running shoes are of course a tried and tested process, and the more they can do the better. When I tested Lululemon's new Chargefeel trainers last month I was looking forward to finally having one pair of shoes which would be supportive enough to do strength workouts in, then run home from the gym in, without having to cart another pair around with me.

Marketed as an innovative all-around gym shoe, which also covers running, I wasn't entirely convinced. Training for a duathlon, I knew I regularly had to do 10K distances, at least once a week, while I also threw in some strength workouts a couple of times a week, while running the mile to my gym to keep up my fitness levels.

However, 2K into my first run I started to miss my favorite running trainers, which are currently Brooks Glycerin 20. In my opinion, running trainers need comfort, flexibility, and stability, and even though the Chargefeel shoes moved with me, they didn't feel very stable or secure. I love Brook's running trainers (and have so far the last few years) because it feels as though they hug my feet, while also giving me the flexibility I need. 

It was a different story in the gym: the design of the Chargefeel trainers, which come with a cushioned collar, a thin upper and a cushioned sole helped support me through weighted squats and other strength or HIIT-based exercises, while its mid and outsole allowed for perfectly supported side-to-side movements.

Running was a whole different ball game. Although the springy sole gave me some leverage while running the lack of support made me think too much about my trainers, rather than completing my 10k in the time I was hoping. The flimsy tongue and laces, which regularly loosened or came undone, did nothing to make me feel secure, while the high ankle support rubbed as I ran. Not a great start for my duathlon training. As with most new trainers, I thought I may have to wear them in, but after multiple shorter runs, I didn't see any improvements.

Lululemon Chargefeel

(Image credit: Sarah FInley)

Since I started running, around 10 years ago, I’ve been lucky enough to try a range of different trainers, including some of the best eco-frendly running shoes - but I’ve always defaulted back to Brooks. The trainer's durable uppers not only look good but allow my feet to sweat less and have great flexibility. The sturdiness and comfort of Brooks' heel counter and trainer tounges also help to give me that support I crave for longer distances.

Running is a sport in a whole different category to ‘gym workouts’. Your body and feet undergo serious pressure as you pound the pavements, treadmill, or trails. Of course, Lululemon can’t cover all bases to an extent that a running-specific trainer can. 

Sports companies spend years perfecting the technologies and fabrics that go into a running trainer, bringing out new additions as they improve on their technologies, so hopefully, we'll see an upgraded Chargefeel trainer from the brand soon - which can knock its competitors out of the water.

The brand launched its running shoe earlier this year too. The shoe, called Blissfeel, is specifically designed for women, with a better fit reportedly based on feedback from one million women - so if you are more of a runner than a gym goer, it's definitely one to check out.

Even though I won't be running to the gym, or completing 10K runs, in my Chargefeel trainers again anytime soon I'm happy to say they've become a staple n my fitness wardrobe - but only for HIIT and strength classes. 

Sarah Finley

Sarah is a freelance writer - writing across titles including Woman&Home, Fit&Well, TechRadar, the Independent and the BBC. She covers a variety of subjects, including trends in beauty, business and wellness - but her biggest passions are travel and fitness. She can normally be found trying out the latest fitness class or on a plane to an exotic destination. While she loves to combine the two - signing up to do hiking holidays in LA, intense boot camps in Bali - last year she went on her dream activity holiday: paddleboarding around deserted islands in Croatia.