An innovative light-weight running shoe featuring Blade-Light technology and stability enhancement. – K-Swiss USA
The K-Swiss Kwicky Blade-Light Neutral – a high-performance racer built like a very comfortable, lightweight trainer. Neutral footed midfoot strikers, this may be the shoe to help you smash that PB.
– Superb cushioning
– Light and swift
– Impressively comfortable shoe interior and footbed
– May be too demanding for the everyday runner
The arrival of the K-Swiss Kwicky Blade-Light Neutral at our office left us feeling somewhat perplexed. Save for new – and very glaring – cosmetics, we were hard-pressed to point out the difference between this new model and the Kwicky Blade-Light from 2011. The latter garnered top marks from our reviewers in the Men’s Health Guide To Running 2011, earning plaudits for its stellar comfort: It left our reviewer feeling like he was “running on air”.
Fashioned, and positioned, like the blades of any razor (hence the “Blade” in its name), the Kwicky Blade-Light Neutral’s midsole foam offers soft and springy cushioning. Impact absorption feels so surprisingly good – it puts tank-like, amply-padded traditional trainers to shame. At times during our review, we forgot that the amount of foam on the Neutral appeared only slightly more substantial than that of a minimalist racer. Still, if you are a fan of barely-there racing shoes, be prepared to sacrifice ground feel when you switch to the Neutral for your next race. The shoe absorbs too much ground feedback.
Despite the comfort offered by the Neutral’s cushioning, the shoe is decidedly more racer-like – and demanding – in its response. The shoe’s lower profile (24mm heel elevation, similar to that in the popular Adidas Adizero Adios 2 racer), extremely flexible midsole and non-existent heel unit mar heel-to-toe transition for heel-strikers. Neutral-footed midfoot runners will better be able to harness the shoe’s capabilities – over track workouts, tempo runs, and mid- to long distance racing. Over-pronators, you won’t find any form of stability from the softer foam of the midsole – as our flat-footed reviewer discovered during his 21km training run. Stick to moderately stable lightweight trainers like the Adidas Adizero Feather 2 or Nike Lunarglide+ 4 for your long distance races instead.
The water-resistant upper does an admirable job of keeping your foot shielded from the rain or those puddles – but don’t expect to stay absolutely dry. What was more useful were the drainage holes built into the midsole of the shoe – a design feature borne out of the brand’s strong association with Ironman and triathlon races. Yes, the holes do let water in, admittedly. But they flush water out just as quickly, ensuring that the shoe never becomes soggy. While our socks were soaked during our run in a drizzle, we were thankful that the interior of the Neutral never became waterlogged.
And no K-Swiss running shoe review would be complete without a mention of the brand’s famed seam-free shoe upper: In the Neutral, it felt like smooth silk against the bare skin of our foot. And because the upper is paired with a spongy-soft footbed, the Neutral is one of the most comfortable shoes we have tested this year. No need to worry about socks when you’re running in the Neutral – though we still prefer to have them on.
Skip the garish, kryptonite-green colourway you see here – period.
If you’ve tried the K-Swiss Kwicky Blade-Light Neutral, we’d love to find out what you think of the shoes! Share your views in the comment box below this article or at our Facebook fan page.