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Fixtures

Runners that will put a spring in your step over long distances and recovery shoes that restore it afterwards get the thumbs up, and BackBaller rolls out its latest solution for muscle recovery

Killian Byrne

361° Sensation 3

There are few running stores in Ireland with the reputation Amphibian King carry so we were intrigued when Damian McKeever recommended a new shoe he was bringing to market. If Damian says we have to try these shoes then we had better get on it!

Many of us tend to stick to the shoes we know but one of the benefits of going to an independent store for your runners is they tend to sell you the shoe that’s best for your foot – these 361° Sensation 3s are a very stable unit and will suit many people looking for a comfortable shoe to run distance in. Full of cushioning they will suit long-run training with a very open mesh upper, allowing for lots of breathability and perfect for the coming months. If your feet swell on long runs or you wear thick socks, then I’d consider going up a size on your regular size.

The Sensation 3 won’t make you feel like you’re running on clouds, but they are still very cushioned. The strength through the sole comes from a very visible carbon fibre plate, allowing for a responsive spring and the internal webbing controlled any undue or unnecessary movement in the foot. The Quickfoam midsole means these runners were as comfortable on week six as they were straight out of the box. So, anyone embarking on Mini-Marathon training should be very happy with these.

The 361° Sensation 3s have an unspectacular design but that’s cosmetic – these are a very good, solid and comfortable shoe at a good price, competing very strongly against some more-established brands in the market that will see you through miles and miles of running. They’re well worth a try.

SCORE: 7.5/10

A good solid shoe without a flashy design.
RRP: €140

Oofos Recovery Sandals

call them flip flops, you might call them sandals but Oofos call them recovery shoes! I was picking up other shoes in Amphibian King and decided to check out a pair of Oofos because I’d seen them at the Dublin Marathon Expo and was fascinated by their claims. 

Oofos shoes are designed to help you recover quicker after a run, workout or hike – I’m not a science expert so can’t claim to understand how, but their moulded ‘performance shoe foam’ is designed to rebound and propel you forward. In addition to that, they absorb 37 per cent more impact to reduce stress on feet, ankles and joints. Believe it if you want, but there is no doubt that these added a spring to my post-run step. 

These Oofos are, by a country mile, the most comfortable sandals I have ever worn. Straight into them after parkrun, a full day at work or just a lazy Sunday and they seem to massage my feet with every step. The snug fit means they don’t slip off and while I was wearing the original sport ‘flip flop’ version, they come in sliders and a traditional shoe version too. Wear them at home, wear them on holidays or just put them on after your run. Wherever you wear your Oofos you won’t regret it.

SCORE: 9/10

Super comfortable and worth the outlay.
RRP: €55

MuscleBaller

We included the BackBaller as one of our ‘best buys’ in the Christmas gift section of the Irish Runner yearbook and its inventor, Noel Marshall has just launched a baby brother to the popular recovery aid.

The MuscleBaller is a compact one roller unit that will fit very easily in a gear bag or office corner for anyone looking to release any stiffness or knots they find they may have pre or post training. For many people, foam rolling is a necessary evil. For me, and I’d say I’m not alone in this, I know I should do it but don’t roll half as much as I should. The MuscleBaller will help here. Small enough to have to hand and cost effective enough to possibly have more than one to make sure you see them to remind you of what needs to happen!

A stable base and foam teeth on the roller make it an excellent product to knead out all muscle groups. The unit comes with a handy and easy-to-read card highlighting the technique and requirements for most muscles that need attention and the website has a range or instructional videos free for all.

I’ll say it again, we all know we should foam roll but most of us don’t do it – the MuscleBaller will go a long way to changing our routines.

SCORE: 7/10

A good addition to your rehab and prehab programme
RRP: €40


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