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Lululemon Blissfeel running shoes – tried and tested

We’ve spent the last two months testing Lululemon’s first-ever running shoe. Here’s what we thought of it...

Women's Blissfeel Running Shoe
Lululemon lululemon.co.uk
  • TYPE Road
  • PRICE £138
  • WEIGHT 251g
  • DROP 9.5mm

      Lululemon has unveiled its first-ever running shoe – a performance trainer designed specifically for women. Christened ‘Blissfeel’, the new shoe has just gone on sale (5 April 2022).

      Engineering high-end apparel since 1998, Lululemon has been planning its entrance into the footwear category for some time, having noticed a gap in the market for female-specific running shoes.

      The design team used new data from over a million foot scans and the expertise of leading biomechanics and morphology specialists to create a shoe which specifically accommodates a woman’s foot shape and gait cycle.

      'Most performance shoes are designed primarily for men, and often for elite male athletes, and then adapted for women,' says Lululemon product creator Mark Oleson, who has been instrumental in the creation of the shoe. 'Yet, on average, women have distinctly different shaped feet. Women also move differently and have unique biomechanics – from where their heel strikes when they run to their centre of gravity.'

      A focus on running feel

      lululemon running shoes
      Blissfeel has been designed to make the miles feel effortless and enjoyable

      The focus of the new shoe is on a tailor-made fit and feel, with how the shoe ‘feels’ being of central importance. 'Prioritising feel is a real paradigm shift for the footwear industry, which traditionally tends to focus on performance, with feel as an afterthought,' says Oleson. 'But our goal was always to create the best feeling shoes for our guest – and given the foot has some of the highest numbers of sensory receptors in the human body, this was an exciting frontier to apply our unique "Science of Feel" design lens.'

      As its name suggests, Blissfeel has been designed to make the miles feel effortless and enjoyable, with the chosen materials and construction methods all focused upon the sensations of the shoe. 'Even the colours were intentionally chosen to evoke a feeling,' says Oleson, 'for example, the vibrant Green Ray hue for Blissfeel was inspired by the sun at dawn and dusk – a time of day runners know well.'

      Who’s the new Lululemon running shoe for?

      lululemon blissfeel running shoe
      The shoe is designed for runners all abilities – from beginners to more experienced athletes

      When we asked the shoe’s designers what kind of running – and runner – the shoe is targeted at, they said: 'Blissfeel is designed for our guests who are running every day. We designed Blissfeel to be our guests go-to performance run shoe – the one that gets you out the door and carries you through your run with ease.'

      What is interesting, however, is that its 'guests'' level of running experience (how Lululemon refers to its consumers) seems to have little relevance when it comes to the shoes suitability to a type of runner. 'The focus is on the feeling and supporting our guests' journey in whatever stage that might be,' says Oleson. 'It’s a more inclusive approach and one that we know our guest is looking for – whether that’s crushing a personal best or crossing the finish line first.'

      So what’s our take on the shoe?

      lululemon running shoe
      RW were invited to the launch in New York to test the shoe for the first time

      When we first tested the Blissfeel over a four-mile tempo run, we were quite surprised by the amount of ground feel you get from the shoe. With a stack of height of 32.5mm, the shoe is very much in the cushioned/maximal running shoe silo, but Lululemon’s compound foam in the midsole achieves a balance of being plush enough to absorb impact without being marshmallowy soft.

      Lululemon say the shoe has been designed to move with you – and after two months of testing these across multiple sessions – including slow recovery runs and structured interval work, we can say that’s an accurate description. The upper is flexible and stretchy and, with no overlays to give the shoe too much structure (save for some slight reinforcements around the saddle, which we suspect are there for aesthetic purposes), it has a decidedly sock-like quality to it. We enjoyed how snug our feet felt in these, particularly around the midfoot area, but that we still had plenty of wiggle room in the toebox. The thin, yet padded, tongue is a welcome addition and contributes to the overall feeling of the upper wrapping around your foot. They do come up a tad small – so we would recommend sizing up by half a size.

      Around the back, the heel counter is reinforced on each side with chunky plastic overlays, which provided noticeable support around the heel and helped to keep our feet secure in the shoe. There’s also a moulded heel collar, which provides a pleasant amount of cushioning around the achilles tendon.

      Underneath, there’s a pressure-mapped outsole providing a good amount of traction and flexibility and a decoupled heel, which our heel-striking tester concluded was ‘noticeable’ when it came to softening hard landings. However, she said that for these shoes to provide her with better protection underfoot – particularly during long runs – she would have liked for the cushioning to be softer at the back of the shoe and more responsive in the forefoot.

      lululemon blissfeel running shoes
      A pressure-mapped outsole – made of high-abrasion rubber – provides traction and flexibility

      The shoe’s lack of a ‘pop’ is a bit of a bugbear: they don’t feel ‘dead’ when your foot hits the ground – far from it – but with just a little more bounciness from the midsole foam, you’d have a shoe that would potentially make your long runs feel easier – and your speed sessions faster.

      To be realistic though – no one gets it perfect first time and, as Lululemon’s first foray into the running shoe market, we’re genuinely impressed. Their superb fit, cushy upper and supportive heel counter make these a very comfortable shoe, which are spot-on for beginners looking for an everyday shoe to cover distances from 5K right up to half marathon.

      Blissfeel is just the first shoe from an entire footwear collection that Lululemon is set to release throughout the rest of 2022. It’s based around the same ‘Science of Feel’ design approach and includes a versatile workout shoe (Chargefeel), a training shoe (Strongfeel) and a recovery slider (Restfeel). A men’s collection is also set to launch next year with the same intentionality and focus on feel.

      You can shop the Blissfeel in a range of colourways here

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