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Tried and tested: the £35 Kalenji Jogflow 500.1 running shoe

Is this £35 running shoe from Decathlon any good?

JOGFLOW 500.1 Men's Running Shoes -

With the price of running shoes ever on the up, a £35 pair of shoes can often seem too good to be true, but how did the Kalenji Jogflow 500.1 hold up to testing?

Fit and comfort

The shoe feels super cushy when you first put them on, almost slipper like, in fact. On the run, the shoe feels cushioned, light and flexible. It doesn’t feel like a particularly responsive or fast shoe, but it’s not really designed to be. That said, when you push the pace a bit, the shoe feels capable of joining in. Because of the softness and flexibility, there’s no real feeling of support, so they may not suit severe over-pronators. It’s just quite a simple shoe that doesn’t get in the way – it doesn’t offer a lot of ‘pop’ or the pronounced rebound of a carbon/high end shoe, but equally it’s easy to cruise through an easy run in comfort and not have any issues.

The Midsole

The midsole is made of a soft foam and is designed to be flexible (Kalenji calls it ‘Flex H’). There are grooves running across and along the bottom of the midsole, which are deeper under the forefoot. The midsole is easy to twist both torsionally and flex the forefoot upwards. Textured rubber pads have been glued on to the forefoot and heel impact areas, including slick patches under the ball of the foot and big toe for increased grip.

The shoe has a 4mm drop and gives the shoe a fairly low profile and is designed to encourage a forefoot striking running style.

The Upper

The upper is made of breathable, though not elasticated/knitted, mesh. It’s fairly roomy, particularly around the midfoot and the lacing system, while it's pretty simple, did the job and it was easy to find a comfortable fit. The tongue is padded, there’s padding around the ankle collar, while the heel cup is reinforced and has a suede tab on the outside.

Is the Jogflow 500.1 worth buying?

One of the claims for this shoe is that it’s devised to reduce the risk of injury – Kalenji has done research which followed over 800 runners for over six months, during which they ran in either soft or rigid shoes. The study showed injury rates were higher in the runners who ran in stiff shoes, so the softness and flexibility of this model is what’s being linked to a reduced risk of injury. We’d take that claim with a pinch of salt as we are generally wary of claims that running shoes can reduce injury, although running in comfortable shoes has been shown to be linked to improved running economy.

To be honest the shoe doesn’t even need that claim to prove it’s worth, because it’s main selling point lies in its incredible value – what you’ve got here is a 200(ish) gram, comfortable, cushioned shoe for £35. Sure, you don’t get all the carbon plates, knitted mesh and other features of high-end shoes, but you do get a simple shoe that just works.

The shoe is targeted at leisure runners, parkrunners or people looking to get into running for the first time, and on this basis it succeeds completely. It’s a perfect shoe for new runners; even for more experienced runners, at this price, it’s worth a serious look as a second or alternative pair for recovery or easy days to allow you to rotate your shoes to extend their lifespans.

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