Are apl shoes good for running?

As an avid runner, having the right pair of shoes is crucial. The wrong shoes can lead to injuries, discomfort, and poor performance. So when considering a new running shoe brand like Athletic Propulsion Labs (APL), it’s natural to wonder – are APL shoes good for running?

In short, APL shoes can be good running shoes for some people but have some important limitations to consider. Read on for a detailed overview of APL shoes’ pros and cons, who they may work for, key features to understand, and frequently asked questions.

APL Shoes: The Background

APL shoes have a distinctive, avant-garde style combined with some unique performance technology in their design. This Los Angeles-based company launched in 2009 with their signature running shoe featuring loaded springs in the sole to “propel” you forward.

While APL shoes stand out visually and have their fans, runners have debated if they deliver in terms of actual running performance and injury prevention. The bottom line is they work well for some runners, but have some clear limitations too.

The Pros of APL Running Shoes

What are the positives of using APL shoes for running? Here are some of their biggest selling points:

Innovative Cushioning System: They contain special Load ‘N Launch cushioning pads made with patented Springs. This provides bounce-back with each stride.

Low to Ground: Their low profile sole places you closer to the ground, promoting good form.

Lightweight: Most styles are impressively lightweight in comparison to thickly cushioned shoes.

Trendy Styling: APL shoes look fashion-forward and hip for post workout too. Shoes come in an array of flashy color combos.

Status Symbol: The eye-catching looks and often $200+ price tag give them a cool, envy-inducing element.

The Potential Cons of Using APL Shoes for Running

Of course no shoe is perfect. Here are the biggest drawbacks of using APL shoes as running shoes.

Not Enough Support for Some: The minimal cushioning of most APL shoes leaves something to be desired for runners needing orthopedic support, stability control or ample shock absorption. This leaves injury prone areas vulnerable.

Too Narrow: Numerous runners report the toe box and width of APLS are too narrow, causing irritation. They simply don’t work anatomy-wise.

Takes Adaptation Time: It takes time to adjust running form to the unique spring set up. Changing any running variable risks injury through overcompensation elsewhere.

Pricey Investment: With most styles over $200 (some nearly $300) they are a steep investment if they end up not suitable.

Who Might APL Running Shoes Work For?

While APL shoes have limitations and won’t work universally, they may appeal for:

  • Naturally efficient runners with good form
  • Midfoot strikers
  • Shorter, tempo-style runs rather than long mileage
  • Supplemental training rather than full time running shoe
  • Runners looking for low profile, minimalist type shoes
  • Fashion-driven folks wanting shoes that look fast

They are also best for lighter runners. Heavier runners may find them lacking in support and durability against impact over time.

Ultimately it’s about trial and error – they might allow you to run pain and injury free or they may not.

Key Features to Understand About APL Shoes

Before investing in APL shoes for running, it’s helpful to understand how they differ from traditional running shoes.

Minimal Cushioning: Cushioning is sparse outside of the Loid ‘N Launch pads, meaning minimal protection.

Weight: Most models are impressively light while still having a stabilizing upper and outsole structure.

Low Drop: APL shoes have a low heel to toe drop, ~3-5mm depending on exact style, promoting midfoot strikes.

Snug Through Midfoot: They fit more closely through the midfoot rather than allowing wider feet to splay.

Outsole: The grippy rubber outsole provides decent traction without overly adding to weight.

Frequently Asked Questions

Still have some questions about using APL shoes for running? Here are answers to some commonly asked questions.

Are they good for marathon training?

They may work for some seeking minimalist shoes for marathon training, but their lack of abundant cushioning make them risky for high mileage. Use judiciously.

What runs are APL shoes best for?

Most ideal for track workouts, tempo training runs, and races up to a half marathon if they work with your biomechanics.

Can I use them for CrossFit too?

Yes their minimalist profile works well laterally for CrossFit style training, just know the lightweight build won’t offer as much protection jumping.

Are they good for plantar fasciitis?

Unfortunately their sparse cushioning often won’t provide enough shock absorption for aggravated plantar fascia. Prioritize proper support.

Do podiatrists recommend them?

General consensus from sports medicine professionals is proceed cautiously. Since any new element can throw off gait mechanics and lead to injury, introduce slowly.

The Bottom Line

So back to the original question – are Athletic Propulsion Labs shoes good running shoes? There isn’t an easy yes-or-no answer. The bottom line is APL shoes can certainly work well and propel some runners fluidly. However, the choice carries some clear caveats around their lack of abundant cushioning and support.

As with any running shoe, mileage may vary based on your specific foot type and running style. Proceed thoughtfully by incorporating them into training in a limited capacity at first.

And if you experience any new aches or pains, listen to your body. But for the right runner seeking a fashion-forward minimalist shoe, APLs present an intriguing option.

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