Stepping into the world of all-around workout shoes for the first time, Lululemon's bouncy, well-cushioned trainers are supportive and flexible. The breathable upper and springy midsoles to give you a supportive yet flexible way to train, whether you’re going for a jog or lifting heavy weights in the gym. The trainers, which are a first for the brand, are specifically designed for women, and also include a mid-top version, with an ankle liner supporting the foot and giving it a very unique look.
All-round workout shoe
Not suitable for long runs
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Lululemon, known worldwide for its leisurewear, launched its first Blissfeel running shoe earlier this year. The running trainer is specifically designed for women, with a better fit reportedly based on feedback from one million women. Now it's launched its first all-rounder workout trainer, Chargefeel, which can be worn for everything from HIIT classes and dancing to lifting and running. A dedicated lifting shoe, Strongfeel, is also set to debut later this year.
Although all-rounder trainers aren't new, a Lululemon version combining the best of training and the best running shoes is an exciting prospect. Available in 14 colorways, the low-top version (the one we test, has a supportive ankle design, while the mid-top covers the whole ankle, acting like a second skin and rising just above the ankle, providing stability and support for the joint.
We loved how supportive and flexible the trainer felt in different workouts and we could feel the support most when we were performing plyometric movements like split jumps or burpees. The heel drop has a bouncy feel, while the mid and outsole allowed for perfectly supported side-to-side or forward-motion movements, such as when we were jogging. However, the design of the trainer's laces let the side down, as they regularly came undone when we were training.
It's a simple, almost basic design, but the Lululemon logos placed throughout the trainer were a nice touch and we found the sweat-wicking quality and design of the upper, especially on the lighter colors, an attractive quality of the shoe.
Lululemon Chargefeel: Price and availability
- $148 in the US
- £128 in the UK
- Low-top and mid-top options available
Lululemon’s Chargefeel trainers went on sale on Tuesday 26th July, in 14 colourways and cost $148 in the US and £128 in the UK. Australia prices are unknown at the moment, but we'll update this review when we know more.
Lululemon Chargefeel: Design
- High 9mm heel drop
- Trainers feel light on the foot
- Disappointing frictionless laces
Design score: 4/5
The Chargefeel low-top workout trainer is cleverly designed with padding around the ankles to support you, as you put your feet through their paces in different workouts. The black versions, (they also come in eight other colorways, including magenta purple and pink clay) we tested have a very minimalist design, with a sweat-wicking knit on the trainer's upper and a two-tone design on the sides which wrap around the back of the ankle.
The flexible but supportive material used on the upper gives the foot a comfortable feel when we wore them for short runs and HIIT classes. Lululemon branding is cleverly placed on the shoe, in the form of a bright yellow logo on the tongue, a raised logo on the back of the shoe, and lululemon lettering on the sole.
The trainers come with a black and white striped 9mm heel drop, giving the shoes a good spring and a great finish.
The only downside of the design was the laces, which we feel didn’t secure the trainers as tight as we hoped, with the laces regularly coming undone unless we tied them in a tight double knot. If you’re looking for something a bit more snug we also loved the mid-top versions, which have a smooth liner around the ankle, which adds second-skin-level comfort.
The materials used mean the trainers are a lightweight fit on the feet, plus our black versions also looked smart enough to wear to work or throughout the day with jeans or a skirt, meaning you don’t have to pack an extra pair of shoes for after your workout.
Lululemon Chargefeel: Performance
- Pressure mapping technology effective
- NIce to have properly fitted women's trainers
- Good grip for short distance running
Performance score: 4/5
Women’s trainers traditionally have been shrunk down from men's sizes to fit women’s feet, meaning they’re not specifically designed for women and we’re not getting the best performance out of our workout trainers.
In a bid to change that, Lululemon used scans of millions of women’s feet and drew on years of research to get the biomechanics of this trainer right. And we loved how supportive the trainers felt on our feet as we ran or pushed ourselves through a weights-based class. This could be down to the midfoot frame which is designed for support and the dual-density midsole, which gives them a springy feeling, protecting the feet as we worked out.
When you wear a running shoe to the gym, you tend to lack support as you push into squats or do more isometric-based movements. That stacked cushioning in the heel throws your feet off, which require a sturdy, flat base for conventional lifts. Many people choose to go shoeless, standing on a towel in only their socks, when lifting weights, or spending lots of their hard-earned cash on shoes for gym-based HIIT classes, another for serious lifting, and another for running.
However, the Chargefeel's outsole at the back and the front gives you the flexibility to keep moving due to its pressure mapping technology. It's well-designed and balanced for a variety of exercises: we spent a couple of weeks trying out the trainers, during HIIT and strength classes where we found the trainers performed the best.
We also ran short distances, and loved the grip on the shoes, but any longer or on rockier terrain, we don’t think we’d feel as supported as we would in traditional, running specialist trainers, especially if we were training for a half marathon or whole marathon. For serious runners, a pair of the best road running shoes or trail running shoes are required.
The shoes also come in American sizing, which for UK customers means going up two sizes. Plus they do come up a little small: we tried a size 7 (9 in US) in UK size and they were the perfect fit for us, even though we normally wear a size 6.
Buy them if...
You want one shoe for all your workouts
If you run to the gym, and then want to go straight into a workout this is a great all-rounder.
You can’t find the right shoes for you
Specifically for women, these workout shoes have been tested on millions of women's feet to get the right sizing and traction.
Don't buy them if...
You’re a long-distance runner
There are better running trainers on the market, especially if you run long distances, past 10K regularly.
You’re a man
Sorry gents, but these are women-specific trainers for now.
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.