Wednesday 27 February 2013

Shoe Review : Li - Ning Super Lite 9

Li - Ning. The brand name that kept blasting during the 2008 Summer Olympics in Beijing. For some fun facts, Li - Ning is actually the name of the founder of Li-Ning Company Limited who is also a former Olympian gymnast Gold medalist. He is actually more well known as the last torch bearer before the lighting of the cauldron. Yes, the one he "flew" around the stadium.

Li - Ning and the infamous "flying" of the torch bearer.
Besides coming to know the brand more during the Olympics, I've only related the brand more towards badminton. Especially the brand spokesperson is Lin Dan.

Lin Dan, mostly associated with the brand.
So I was actually quite surprise when I found out that Li - Ning produces more than just badminton attires and equipments.

Just late last year, I've won a Men's Health Li-Ning Contest and redeemed a pair of their latest Superlite 9 running shoes. Yes, you read it right. RUNNING SHOES. I've never would had thought.

At first I was pretty skeptical about trying them on but I gave them a try nonetheless. Of course I had to pick the wildest colour they have; the vibrant red with leopard side prints. I just couldn't resist.

So here are some quick review of features of the shoe (as per brochure) :
- A mesh material to improve air circulation.
- Front Sole Stretches for better support and Stability
- Mid Sole Ventilation for extra comfort and stability
- FoamEVA Lite & NON-GAP to improve performance.

The heel side of the shoe.
The Foam EVA on the sole of the shoe. Makes up pretty much the construction of the shoe. 
So now here is my personal review. Upon trying on the first time, it's surprisingly light and could rival the lightness of most lightweight shoes in the market. There are midsole ventilation on the side of both shoes so you wouldn't feel the heat on long runs. Personally I felt the same.

The treadmill test.
My first few tries were on the treadmill; as I usually do with lightweight shoes before I pound them on the road. It fared pretty well but I did feel a tiny pinch on my left toe but it's not something that it's majorly bothering. The cushioning is fare; something expected from a shoe this light and it does lack the "solidness".

The bottom of the sole features a pretty standard design and markings. The first impression it looks very much like a non-marking design mostly featured on cross training shoes. Upon closer inspection, the grooves of the shoes are very minimal and almost too bare looking. I assume this is probably the brand's approach to "barefoot feel" but there is no statement to support this. Honestly, I didn't feel it has any barefoot feeling characteristics.

The sides that features the mid sole ventilation. 
The bottom sole that features very minimal grooves and grip. 
Nonetheless, the shoes passed the treadmill test and are comfortable enough to get through a decent run.

My next trial on the road proved otherwise. Of all days, I had to try them on a rainy day and I didn't had my camera with me to take some pics. The testing ground was at Desa Park City and I actually slipped a few times. After taking them out for 2 rounds (total of 16km run) the soft bottom part of the sole started to tear a little. That was the last time I tried them out on the road. But in all fairness, I was pretty rough with them and I think my weight was a factor.

In conclusion, the Li-Ning Superlite 9 are pretty good treadmill shoes but pound them on the road cautiously.   In terms of design, the vibrant red I have is brilliant. It's always a conversational starter every time I wear them out on a casual day. In terms of functionality, it's good pair of trainers for beginners who is on a budget. It also fares very well as a pair of cross trainers as it flexes quite well.

Pretty good pair of trainers especially being this "red", they are a real major standouts. ;)
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