Having run with many of the top brands worldwide, particularly those with presence in India, the offer to review a pair of Kiprun LD from the Kalenji brand from Decathlon came as a nice surprise. This got me excited, as I had some really big marathons coming up, and in a way, feelings of fear, the fear of the unknown. Decathlon is a French Sports company which started in 1976, but it has relatively recent presence in India, now with superstores across the country. Since this is the first opportunity for me working on a Decathlon Brand, I would love to introduce the readers with a detailed introduction to the company, the philosophy, and the brand.
Decathlon is a French Sports equipment and Sports-wear company founded in 1976. They sell sports products in more than 725 stores in 20 countries around the world (about 15 stores in India). They stock a wide range of sporting goods, from tennis racquets to advanced scuba diving equipment, usually in large superstores. The chain develops and sells its own brands. Each group of activities has a separate brand name, some of the popular ones here are:
- Quechua – Mountain and outdoor sports
- KALENJI – Running
- KIPSTA – Team sports (football, basketball, etc)
Kalenji is a brand dedicated to running, created in March 2004. At an altitude of 2000m on the high plateaux of West Kenya, a place called Eldoret is the home of the Kalenjins. The name ‘Kalenji’ is a reference to this tribe. They represent barely 3 million people, or ten percent of the Kenyan population. Running has been part of their lives throughout their history, and an inspiration for the Kalenji brand with the motto “Find your rhythm, enjoy your run“.
Kelenji Running Shoe Series
Kalenji brand has a variety of running gear, including shoes, shorts, vests, tights, etc for runners. Following is their portfolio of running shoes:
– An affordable shoe that is comfortable and lightweight for novice runners
– For: runners training for up to 30 minutes on roads and firm ground
– Lightweight, easy to tighten (straps), pleasant for running
– Road running up to 45 minutes, 2-3 times a week and enjoying freedom of movement
– Lightweight, cushioning & enjoyment while running
– Road running up to 60 minutes, 2-3 times a week and enjoying freedom of movement
– Designed to meet the needs of experienced marathon runners. It offers an ideal balance between cushioning and stability for this type of race
– Road runner, seeking good performance over long distances
– For trails, off-road
– The lugged sole and low weight make this a perfect product for discovering outdoor running
Kiprun LD Running Shoe – Rundown
The Kalenji Kiprun shoes I got for this review are called Kiprun LD. Kiprun series has this different categorization of shoes based on the runner profile, called SD (short distance), MD (medium distance), LD (long distance), and Comp (Competitive athletes). The Kiprun LD is designed for runners with mild over-pronation, weighing less than 90 kg. Designed especially for long distances with cushioning and stability, these products are ideal for long training sessions and marathon races.
Here’s a quick comparison on what shoe the folks at Kalenji suggest based on the race you are training for, and your weight, the two key parameters which decide your choice of shoe:
Weight: The shoes weighs at 300g for a size 43 (my size, though they list it as weighing 325 gm), which is on on par with of most of the cushioned trainers out there. Given that the shoes have been created with a marathoner in mind, they are reasonably lightweight, they are not looking at competing with the lightweight trainers from other companies which fall in the 230-300g weight category, which I think is fair.
Stability: The shoe is designed for over pronators, with arches on the flatter side (like me), whose foot rolls inwards as it lands from the outside of the heel to the inside toe. The intent is to control the movement of the foot as it lands. With the Kipruns, this is achieved by having a stiff heel plate at mid foot providing high stability in races.
Cushioning: The 2014 model of the Kiprun LD has significant cushioning improvements over the 2013 model. Included now is a K-RING (an EVA foam insert) in the heel providing 12% more cushioning. The new geometry of the midsole, combined with a 2mm reduction in drop, also contributes to better shock absorption.
With cushioning and stability, the design intent for these products is to provide an ideal experience for long sessions and marathon races, which makes it an easy choice for runners to choose the right shoe. The Kiprun SD’s for the shorter distances, MD for the medium (half marathon) ones, and LD for the longer marathon run (or for higher weight runners who need the extra stability and cushioning features). Nice.
My Experience with Kiprun LD
I used the Kiprun LD exclusively for training for the inaugural Bengaluru Marathon. The training mostly involved shorter runs of up to 5KM while I was training with my spouse for her Pinkathon Delhi run. The longer runs tapped out at 20K, including a speed session at this distance very early during breaking into the shoe. That run surprised me as the shoe held up pretty comfortable at the faster pace. The front section especially felt comfortable, and unlike other shoes which leave me with some blue (irritated) toenails due to having some longish ones which push against the front end of the shoe.
The race at Bengaluru Marathon went exceptionally well. No discomfort at the front end at all. No blisters on any of the foot (which I have to go through at many races, in spite of the taping). I thought the shoe indeed gave a good mix of cushioning and stability. A personal best time for me in my 10 years of running added to the delight! Post race recovery was very good too. So, a thumbs up from my experience.
Pricing and Availability
The Kiprun LD is listed at Rs 7,999/- on the Decathlon India store. However, the listed prices on their official website are usually much higher than the prices at the actual Decathlon stores. I see them being listed at Rs 5,000/- at indialetsplay.com and Rs 5,500/- at playmore.in, though the stock appears to be short on sizes and colors. I would suggest checking these out directly at one of these Decathlon India stores for the best prices. Also note that the shoes are priced at 50 pounds in the UK stores, so the prices are in line with the international pricing. At around Rs 5000/- to Rs 6,000/- I think these shoes would be a real value buy without compromising on quality.