Running Shoe Review: K-Swiss K-Ruuz 1.5

They Say
The K-Swiss K-Ruuz 1.5 is a light and fast racing flat, weighing only 5.5oz (155.92g). It has a Low profile k-EVA ™ midsole with a midfoot support shank as well as a Duraplush rubber outsole. For long-lasting comfort, the K-Ruuz 1.5 features a footbed made of Superfoam ®. The upper features Seamfree ™ upper technology and ion-mask ™ by P2i water resistant nano-tech keep the shoe comfy and light. – K-Swiss USA.
We Say
7.35/10
The K-Swiss K-Ruuz 1.5 is a high-performance triathlon racing flat. It best suits the form-perfect triathlon enthusiast who does not require too many bells and whistles from his competition shoe.
Pros
- Light and very swift.
- Not weighed down by stability or cushioning features.
- Water drainage features in the midsole.
- Water resistant upper promotes good ventilation.
Cons
- Too demanding for over- and under-pronators.
- Fits larger than indicated.
- Softer midsole is exposed and is susceptible to wear.
Introduction
Racing flats are the precursors to the new breed of minimalist, natural running shoes and the K-Swiss K-Ruuz 1.5 demonstrates this point perfectly. Despite being outfitted with modern features, like the water-resistant coating on the upper, the K-Ruuz 1.5 is a traditional racing flat at heart. It keeps the performance-related bells and whistles to a minimum – the runner provides the goods.
 
And its pedigree is proven; The K-Swiss K-Ruuz 1.5 is the preferred shoe of Ironman World Championship 2011 women’s first runner-up, Mirinda Carfrae of Australia, and men’s second runner-up Andreas Raelert of Germany.
 
Despite its 10mm heel-drop, the shoe has a very low-slung profile. 
 
Responsiveness/Toe-Off

For The Competitive Triathlete
While not the lightest racer out in the wild, the 156g K-Ruuz 1.5 is still a featherweight. It makes 180-ish-gram barefoot shoes like the Merrell Sonic Glove and Vibram FiveFingers Bikila LS seem like lead in comparison.

We can see how the K-Ruuz 1.5 will appeal to elite triathletes, for whom excessive cushioning and support in a running shoe is seldom needed. The shoe features a minimalist-like midsole – extremely flexible and at times, too unforgiving for us. Unlike Ironman competitors like Carfrae and Raelert, this tester is a recreational long distance runner who has a bad case of over-pronation.

The K-Ruuz 1.5 is fast and light. Still, we found our feet struggling to keep up with this high-performance racer. Though it felt like we had next-to-nothing on our feet during our test runs, feet-fatigue started to hit us a mere 15 minutes into our first 12km run – certainly not an encouraging start. Wincing and grimacing our way through the remaining 9km, we couldn’t help but long for a shoe which offered more stability.
 
The very minimal heel-unit makes this shoe good for midfoot strikers.
 
Natural Running
The shoe’s low profile also belies its 10mm heel drop. The lack of a prominent heel-unit makes heel-to-toe transition less than natural. Swift-footed midfoot strikers and natural running enthusiasts – you’ll want to keep the K-Ruuz 1.5 on your new shoe radar.
Olympic or sprint-triathlons
Competent tri-enthusiasts will have little problem tackling Olympic or sprint-triathlons in the K-Ruuz 1.5. And if you have the running style and fitness of Carfrae or Raelert, you may want to consider this shoe for your next half- or full-Ironman race. Still, you may want to save this shoe just for racing. Its exposed midsole foam (in neon yellow) may not be able to take the rigours of hard training – it started showing signs of wear after our first 12km run.
The metal shank adds some stiffness to the midfoot area.
 
The dual-density midsole (in grey) doesn't provide much pronation control.
Cushioning/Support

Minimal Pronation-Control And Cushioning
This is one shoe strictly for the competent neutral-footed. Even with a dual-density midsole (grey area) as well as a metal shank (visible on the outsole) -- which both add some measure of stiffness to what is a very flexible shoe -- the K-Ruuz doesn’t provide enough stability for our over-pronation. The softer footbed and the pillowy midsole foam still felt a tad harsh on impact.
Fit/Comfort

Fits Larger Than Indicated

The shoe is very roomy, even by our wide-feet standards. Even in the correct size, we found our feet shifting in the shoes during our test-runs. The lack of rigidity and support in the flimsy upper made if even more challenging for us to centre our feet properly. If you’re one of those who prefer your racers to fit snugly, try on the shoe for size because it fits larger than indicated.
The drainage holes channel water away from the shoe, preventing it from becoming water-logged.
 
A close-up look at the water-resistant upper. It promotes good ventilation for the foot as well.
 
Outstanding Triathlon-Specific Features
The tri-specific features of the K-Ruuz 1.5 are the highlights of this shoe. Despite its lack of rigidity, the K-Ruuz 1.5’s upper is surprisingly plush. The seam-free inner lining meant that running sock-free was an absolute joy. The drainage holes in the midsole also prevented the shoe from becoming waterlogged – even when we ran into pools of muddy water.

Shoe uppers with water-resistant coating are an increasingly common feature but they remain a double-edged sword; they keep out moisture, but usually end up affecting ventilation. The K-Ruuz 1.5, on the other hand, effectively strikes middle ground. While the water-resistant coating didn’t exactly prevent our sock from turning slightly moist when water was splashed onto the shoe, we quickly forgot about the sogginess because the ventilation holes in the upper allowed it to dry out very quickly. Take care not to yank the pull-tab on the tongue too hard while putting on the shoe. Doing so causes part of the tongue to fold inwards slightly, exposing part of the foot and allowing water to enter the shoe more easily.
Design/Aesthetics
Eye-catchingly perfect for the podium-finishing triathlete but the red might be too loud for the casual runner. 

$159, available at all Running Lab outlets.

If you've tried using the K-Swiss K-Ruuz 1.5, we'd love to find out what you think of the shoes! Write us your own review and post it in the comment box below this article or at our Facebook fan page.
 
 

 

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