Brooks Running Ravenna 7

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They Say - These men’s running shoes really spring you into action thanks to Forefoot Pods that deliver great energy return and a DNA midsole that adapts to your stride for custom cushioning. Plus, you’ll feel supported due to a Diagonal Rollbar that guides your body into its natural alignment, especially great for those that may pronate. And with a sleeker mesh upper providing better functionality and a fantastic fit, these running shoes for men even look faster.

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We Say – This is the first time I’ve worn a Brooks shoe. I’ve been interested in them for a long while though, having become aware of them through their association with the great ultra runner Scott Jurek, so 3 months ago I grabbed a pair and started using them mainly for my run to work (it’s winter so there weren’t many races on, you see).

The run to work is 28km in total with about 21 of that being on hard surface/tarmac and the rest on forest track.

My initial thoughts after a couple of runs were these;

1/ The shoe fitted me beautifully. It’s a little narrower than your usual running shoe however and I couldn’t comfortably wear very heavy winter socks with them (when it gets to the minus 5 point here in Canada I tend to reach for the heavy socks) so I had to use 2 pairs of summer socks instead, which were slightly less bulky in total than my winter socks. If you’ve got wide feet, you might need to visit a store to test out the fit before you buy. This is really important if you intend to run in cold weather/thick socks. The shoes are lightweight and the mesh upper at the front doesn’t give a lot of protection from the cold and I definitely needed a double sock to feel comfy as I am outside for almost 3 hours on my run to work.

2/ The fit was great for me, though (in warmer weather with only a single pair of socks on I’d say they were absolutely perfect) and there was no wearing in period at all. I got them straight out the box and ran to work in them. No blisters or ill effects at all.

3/ The shoe really did feel as though it were aiding in propelling me forward. I understand fully that running is often seen as a controlled fall and I always try to run in that way, yet the Forefoot Pods in these shoes make it feel effortless compared to other shoes, they really do encourage you to spring forward and feel like you’re getting more mileage in return for your energy output.

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During the first month of me wearing them we had cold yet dry weather and the shoes handled the 7km of trails very well; there was often a dusting of snow and the ground was hard so the grip on the soles wasn’t tested that much. They started to slip about more recently as we’ve had warmer temperatures and very muddy trails to contend with, but if you’re looking for a road shoe that can handle occasional off-road use in dry-ish conditions then these have proved to me that they’re a good choice.

The one long race that I wore them for was the Toronto 50km in December.

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Now, this was a firm test for the shoe as it involved about 35km of road and 15km of trail. Added to that, I was filming at one point and stepped off a rock without looking, twisting my ankle as I went (minutes after the photo above was taken). This was at the 10km mark, so the shoes had to support me for 40km more, and they did so well. I was a bit shocked at that, I never thought I could finish the race with a blown ankle, especially since I had 15kms of hilly trails to contend with in the remaining 40k. But I did complete the course and I’m sure that the underfoot support and stability that the shoes offer helped me do that. Here’s an image of my ankle the next day. It’s the one on the left, in case you didn’t notice the swelling!

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I’ve been doing around 110k a week in these shoes (I don’t run to work every single day), so I guess I’ve put just over 1200kms on them in the last 3 months and they still feel great, as if they’re giving me enough protection and also still propelling me forward as they felt they were doing at the start. I’ll not be trading them in yet; these are not a pair of shoes that are going to give up after a few hundred miles, I’m certain of that.

I haven’t a clue if I pronate at all and these shoes are perfect for somebody like me; a non-techie person who just want a lightweight, comfy, long distance running shoe that will give them an excellent energy return without getting too finicky about the process of choosing the shoe.

And, the final plus point for me, I haven’t mentioned the fact that Brooks shoes are vegan. Meaning, mainly, that there isn’t any glue made from animals used in them. Many of you won’t care, at first, about this aspect of the shoe but as time goes on and we all learn a lot more about the environment and the effects a non-vegan lifestyle has on both the world and our own health, it’ll become more important (if you’re wanting to find out more, simply watch the films ‘Cowspiracy’ and Forks Over Knives’). To me, as a vegan, the fact that Brooks produce vegan shoes is a huge draw.

In summary, these Brooks Ravenna 7 are an excellent shoe; lightweight yet sturdy, comfy and responsive.

Discover more about the Brooks Running Ravenna 7 shoe Here

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