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I opted for Adidas Kanadia as an alternative to cross country spikes, which I tend to find uncomfortable and frequently overpriced. They had the look of providing the comfort of trainers, the engineering of trail shoes and the stability of spikes. Competitively priced at £34.99 from Sports Direct, they're a good deal cheaper than most decent trail and road shoes so I decided to invest in a pair.
The Kanadias have a 'trainer-like' look to them, with the prominent Adidas stripes, the breathable fabric panels and the contrasting grey and black colours (other more attractive colour combinations are available, including a snazzy orange). At first glance the only clue to their true purpose is the fabric loop at the heel that makes them easier to get on and off. However, take a look at the base of the shoe and the trail shoe engineering is clear to see. The tread consists of dozens of little banana shaped rubber studs that provide grip and at the heel, a thin wedge of the sole protrudes to prevent mud from caking on the sole.
They feel robust enough when put them on, and you instantly notice the firm (or indeed, rock hard) rubber sole that protects your foot from rocks and other obstacles. I have found sizing to be an issues- they run quite small, so try to buy a size larger than you're used to. They may feel snug and supportive when you try them on in the shop but once you start running, you're feet will soon feel the pressure if they don't have enough room. Like a lot of Adidas shoes, they're deceptively wide, meaning that they look like they're bigger than they actually are.
The feel of the Kanadias takes a while to get used to. They're a fair deal heavier than road shoes or spikes and not the most comfortable as you can feel the rubber studs pressing back against your feet. If you're running on soft ground or mud this is fine, but it's a little unpleasant on firm ground. Due to the heaviness of them, I wouldn't recommend them for racing or for long runs. However their main strength is their grip, which I've even found to be reliable on ice and snow, meaning that winter weather shouldn't interupt your exercise routine, even if they do emit an annoying 'squeek' when wet.
I've kept my Kanadias as a 'utility shoe', to be used for extreme weather or as an alternative to walking shoes. They're hardly indispensable but they have their use, even if they lie dormant between March and November.
I'd like to say I'm a girly girl but that would be a complete lie, and though I do like to look at sky high stilettos that's the closest I get to them preferring trainers any day of the week. Though I have my trusty Converse for the more trendy and casual look I tend to carry, more often than not I can be found in a pair of trainers as I don't drive so do an awful lot of walking and the odd sporadic bouts of running/ jogging.
A comfortable trainer is an essential and whilst I like something that looks the part if the shoe isn't comfy or doesn't cushion my heel and foot adequately then it's simply no good. My husband is a keen runner/ semi pro cyclist and all round fitness buff so he spends a lot of time researching and then trying on vast amounts of different footwear for whichever sport it's connected to. Myself? I'm more of a 'that looks nice, they seem comfy, and my size - I'm buying them!' person and will look and try on a shoe in 5 minutes flat then buy it, which I know isn't the right philosophy but that's just me, sometimes it works out..and sometimes it doesn't.
When I spotted these Adidas Kanadia trainers in my Littlewoods catalogue I instantly liked the look of them with their predominantly grey and hint of pink colour scheme. As shallow as this sounds it was their appearance alone that drew me to them and not their glowing repertoire, which I must say did sound impressive.
*Please note that the specifications below are taken from the official Adidas website - www.adidas.co.uk - though the rest of the review is entirely in my own words*
280 g (size 5.5)
Air mesh upper for maximum breathability
Synthetic overlays for support and durability
Stitched-on microsuede for smooth forefoot fit and support
Comfortable textile lining
Moulded EVA insole for comfort
Injected EVA midsole for long-term, lightweight cushioning
adiPRENE® under the heel for superior cushioning at impact
TRAXION® outsole for maximum grip in all directions
adiWEAR® outsole offers the ultimate in high-wear durability
The actual trainer is very aesthetically pleasing and because of it's grey and gun metal colouring it sounds slightly boring and dull but there are elements of pink in the form of the stitching and also stripes mainly around the heel. The famous Adidas logo of three stripes are in a creamy white on each side of the foot with 6 main eyelet holes seemingly coming out of the stripes in a rigid dark blue plastic. There are extra eyelet holes for the laces to go through on the pink braid just above the adidas stripes and also 2 extra eyelets on the tongue itself though I have never needed to use these so can't comment on how the shoe feels when the laces are tightened through them.
The shoe itself is very breathable due to the mesh material which on warm days is a god send, though has the opposite effect on wetter days as any water simply seeps straight through making my feet feel instantly soggy and uncomfortable as I have tended to stick to leather based trainers in the past where the water simply drips straight off.
Underneath the trainer is a reasonable looking grip on the sole though looks are very deceiving as I've found that they offer no foothold at all and whilst I tend to wear boots in icy weather I have worn trainers and found them to have more grip in icy conditions, though sadly these are very poor. Although I tend to wear these mainly for day to day errands like the school run (which is a fair distance) and walking to the shops, I have worn these on quite a few occasions for running which is what they are designed for at the end of the day.
For walking short distances in dry (and none icy conditions) these are adequate enough but on the occasions I have been running in them I have found they offer little support on the heel area as the shoe is quite flat inside. I know this could easily be rectified by simply buying an inner sole but the point I'm making is I have had other shoes in the past that have been far more cushioning without the need to insert innersoles. As primarily these are marketed as running shoes I think the design is slightly poor but this is simply my opinion and I'm not a professional runner at all just an occasional one.
Would I recommend these? Personally I'd say no as I have suffered bruised heels on more than one occasion of running or long distance walking whilst wearing these. I have also suffered pain and rubbing from the shoe around my achilles heel and have since purchased a pair of asics trainers with no problems whatsoever.
These trainers have proved to be a big let down for me and haven't lived up to the hype nor the price of £54.99 that I paid for them and despite being very happy with other Adidas trainers in the past I won't be buying the Kanadia versions again.
In womens sizes 3 to 8, in various colours and various Kanadia styles available if interested. There are also many mens versions of the Kanadia available as well.