A swift, lightweight racing flat built for the moderate overpronator who requires a combination of cushioning and stability.
- K-EVA midsole cushioning
- Dual Density Post is located at the medial midfoot
- TPU Insert is located at the bottom of the midfoot
- Seamless Upper
- Ion-mask repellant
- Flow Cool is located at the heel and toe
- Drainage holes are located along the center of the midsole
- Traditional Sockliner
- Strobel Last with the upper stitched to full length Superfoam
- Aosta II high density rubber
- Duraplush high abrasion blown rubber
- Measured size 9
- Weight – 167 g (5.9 oz)
- Forefoot width – 96.6 mm (3.8 in)
- Stack Height – 21 mm (heel), 11 mm (toe), 10 mm drop
- Retail – $100
Up until these shoes I did not have a whole lot of experience with K-Swiss. I knew they were big in the tennis market and making a push into the running market. K-Swiss also seemed to be a strong supporter of triathlon which in my eyes was great to see. It was for this reason I was interested in trying the K-Ruuz, their very popular triathlon shoe.
K-Swiss has been around since 1966 where they made their debut at Wimbledon. Starting in tennis footwear, they now also make shoes for lifestyle, running, training, nautical, and free-running.
Since the K-Ruuz 1.5 is designed for triathletes. I tested it during my training and some racing in the spring and summer. I used the shoes on runs up to 10 miles and in temperatures varying from 40 to 95 degrees. Of the 50+ miles I have put in these shoes, I would say 98% or more have been on roads.
The K-Ruuz 1.5 is a light weight neutral running shoe for fast running. It only weighs 167 g (5.9 oz) per shoe. There is not a lot of support so the shoe is ideally designed for speedwork and racing. I also used it on some middle-distance runs in training so I could test it and be race ready. The upper of the K-Ruuz is a breathable mesh to dissipate heat on hot days and allow your feet to breath. The upper has been treated with ion-mask by P2i. Ion-mask is a water repellant nano-technology that molecularly bonds to the shoes making it extremely durable without affecting the look or feel. Furthermore, ion-mask lasts as long as the material itself and is not compromised by everyday wear. Ion-mask resists the absorption of water and dirt; it also helps guard against stains making products look newer for longer. Ion-mask is solvent-free and uses only microscopic quantities of protective monomer.
So ion-mask keeps liquids from soaking in, but the upper is mesh so what happens when it does get in. K-Swiss as used a perforated insole and holes down the center of the midsole to help the shoes drain. In hot races, athletes will dump water on themselves to cool off so K-Swiss has engineered a way for your shoes not to soak up all the water and become heavy and ultimately slower. Being a triathlon shoe, the K-Ruuz 1.5 has a seamless interior for a comfortable sockless fit. The interior has a removable sockliner and Superfoam cushioning for a soft underfoot feel. The K-Ruuz has a stobel last where the upper has been stitched to the full-length Superfoam. This further enhances the fit and comfort of the shoes.
For security, they have instead used synthetic overlays that connect to the lacing system to help add support to the upper. The lacing system itself is also interesting. It is fairly standard as it works its way up the shoe. There is a tongue eyelet to keep it centered and an extra eyelet at the top if you like to use a lace lock tying technique. The laces themselves are what are different. The last 7 inches or so is wavy to make for a more secure knot. When racing every second counts so stopping to re-tie your shoes can cost you some valuable time.
The rest of the shoe also has some highlights worth mentioning. They use K-EVA for cushioning in the midsole. It is an EVA engineered to enhance cushioning and durability. There is also a dual-density post in the midfoot to reduce the rate of pronation. K-Swiss has also inserted a TPU unit at the bottom of the midfoot. This thermoplastic insert is designed for a smooth heel to toe transition while running. It adds a little stiffness to an otherwise flexible shoe. The K-Ruuz has been finished off with Acosta II high-density rubber for increased longevity. The sole also uses Duraplush high abrasion blown rubber for improved flexibility and resilient impact protection. One last subtlety of the design is the two grab loops, one on the tongue and the other on the heel for fast on and off in transition.
The K-Ruuz 1.5 is not made of much in the way of sustainable or green materials. Only the ion-mask addresses this n anyway. Looking at the K-Swiss website it was also difficult to find any information about possible company initiatives. I, therefore, gave the shoes a one in sustainability.
Comfort Next to Skin (25%)
Foot Length (15%)
Foot Volume (15%)
Heel Width (15%)
Midfoot Width (15%)
Toe Box Width (15%)
The K-Ruuz 1.5 has a semi-curved shape. I am generally a size 9, so I tested the 9 in these. I found that they are slightly big for their size. While the 9 worked well enough for me, I could have easily gone for an 8.5. Other than having the shoes run long; they were fairly medium through the rest of the shoe. Both in volume and width I felt like they were comfortable and hugged my foot well. They did not feel as tight as some racing flats can feel. Since the shoes are a neutral flat there is not much arch support if you are looking for it. You can pull out the insoles and insert something more of your liking if you wish to. I did several runs with other insoles without issues.
One of the best features of these is the seam free upper. If you look inside the shoes, there are really no seams to aggravate your foot. The tongue is separate so that is the only place where the mesh is not smooth. The tongue does stay in place well, there is a loop on the tongue and small straps on each side of the tongue to hold it in place. I did plenty of runs in both socks and sock free and did not have any issues with comfort. While I still prefer to wear socks on most of my regular runs, for my shorter triathlons, I go sockless to save time and these proved to be a great option.
Moisture Transport (15%)
For most of my running, I like to run in lower drop shoes. These come in a little higher than I prefer at 10 mm but still felt pretty good on the run. I have found I am less picky in my triathlons as my form normally feels the effects of my ride. Even with the cushioning and TPU insert there is still a good amount of flexibility and ground feel. The flex is mainly up in the forefoot area as the rest of the shoe is a bit stiffer. There is also a medium amount of torsional flexibility. When running on rougher roads, I could feel the imperfections of the road. It was not enough to cause any discomfort, even on small rocks, but just enough to know they are there. I mentioned above that there is not much support in these shoes. That is normal for a pair of racing flats, but you can use your own insole if you wish. I had good luck with several others I tried.
The K-Ruuz felt pretty good when I ran. There is enough cushioning and flexibility in the shoes that I felt like there was a good balance. Not overly one way or the other. What is really cool about these shoes is the ion-mask technology. You can visibly see the water bead up and run off the mesh. This is very handy in hot races where you are dumping water on your head to stay cool. I also felt like the drainage in the shoes worked well, I really did not have any situations where there was a lot of water in the shoes, maybe because it couldn’t get past the ion-mask. One of the things that was well done with these as compared to other draining shoes I have run in is that I could not feel the holes in these. I also did not have any rocks or twigs getting stuck as I have had that happen in the others.
There is not much to say about traction as they are road shoes. I will mention that the durability of the sole has been good thus far. They have over 50 miles in them and are still looking like new. While I feel like the lacing system works well, and the wavy laces have not loosened up for me on a run, I am surprised they did not go with a quick lacing method. In triathlons, especially shorter races, every second can count, and it definitely takes longer to tie your shoes then slip them into an elastic lacing system. You can remove the laces for an aftermarket system if you so choose.
Overall, my first experience with K-Swiss shoes was a good one. The K-Ruuz 1.5 is very lightweight, and I had some great runs in them. In the Pacific Crest Olympic Distance race I was able to run faster than my goal, which was a surprise as I pushed the bike hard as well. I would have liked to have slightly less drop in the shoes as it would work better with my stride but even at 10 mm, they still felt good. The upper is one of the highlights of the shoes. It is seamless on the inside and has a revolutionary ion-mask treatment on the outside. There are a couple negatives to point out as well. One is definitely the sizing. For most people, ordering a ½ smaller than you normally do is recommended. There definitely is some extra room at the end of the toes. The other is the lacing system, while it works well I am just surprised they went with a tie over a quick lace system. When you are trying to shave seconds, tying your shoes takes time. At least, these laces do not come untied easily. The K-Ruuz 1.5 retails for $100, which is right in the ballpark of its competitors. If you are looking for a fast triathlon shoe than these are worth a look. They are very light and have some cool technologies, just make sure to get the right fit, and you are good to go. As always, your mileage may vary.
Pros [field name=iFrame]
- Ion-mask keeps water and dirt off
- Seamless upper
- Drainage holes in the midsole
- Laces do not come untied
- Laces are slower to tie than quick lace system
- Run large, might need to size down ½
- More drop than I prefer, still run well though
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