A lightweight racing flat with tri-specific features.
A few more color options would be nice. It would be nice to see a customizable program where you could design your shoe to match your kit.
A truly improved version of an already good racing flat.
You know the story...you search high and low for a pair of running shoes that combine the fit, feel and cushion that you love. When all those elements come together in perfect harmony centered around your foot, it's a rare, euphoric feeling. In that moment, those shoes become not just any shoe, but YOUR shoe. Ok, that's as fancy as we can get with our writing skills. The point is, once we find that perfect shoe, it won't be long before the new and "improved" version of said shoe comes along. Many times the updated version may very well be new, but not so improved, completely ruining "your shoe". We feel your pain, we can't tell how many times a favorite shoe of ours has suffered from the so called improvements that the latest model brings about.
This was a fear of ours when we heard that K-Swiss was releasing the follow up to the popular K-Ruuz racing flat aka the K-Ruuz 1.5. The original K-Ruuz shoe had a special place in our hearts as a go to racing flat that was lightweight, comfortable, and had just the right amount of cushion. To our relief the the new version picks up right where the original left off, and in this case the new and improved version is just that...new, and more importantly, improved.
One of the most noticeable changes with the new K-Ruuz is with the upper. The new version gets the ion-mask™ treated water resistant upper, similar to what you may have seen on the Kwicky Blade-Light (pictured below).
This nano-coating is used to create a barrier that repels water from aid stations and/or sweat extremely well, all without affecting the breathability of the material. Overall, we have been impressed with the performance of the ion-mask™ coating, it not only repels moisture but it also helps to keep your shoes clean by repelling stains.
The upper of the K-Ruuz 1.5 also receives a seam-free construction designed for a comfortable sock free ride, if that's how you choose to roll, which could likely be the case in a race situation.
After many a sock free mile, we can tell you it's one of the most comfortable uppers we have tested. The upper is also well suited to take on the heat of even the most grueling of race day conditions. The entire upper is made up of an extremely breathable, lightweight mesh material.
Another tri-specific feature that you will appreciate with this shoe along with the waterproofing of the upper, are the drainage holes in the bottom of the shoe that allow excess water to escape.
There's also a nice heel loop out back, and a tongue loop in the front to help you get into these shoes and out of T2 as quickly as possible.
Another nice addition to the K-Ruuz 1.5 is in the heel area of the back of the shoe (a little difficult to make out in the picture). There's a nice area of padding and a bit of an indentation that seems to help lock the heel in place and provide a little cushion to that part of the shoe.
If you are familiar with the original K-Ruuz and you like the ride it provides, you will likely feel the same about the new model. It feels about the same to us and as far as we can tell goes largely unchanged. It combines the same Aosta II outsole and cushioning from a low profile k-EVA midsole with a Superfoam footbed.
The minimal cushion provides a good feel for the road and the firmness is spot on for our running style, but you will definitely want to stick to the smooth surfaces. Even small rocks and debris will be felt through the thin outsole.
Comfort is improved, especially in the upper department, one of the most comfortable race flats we've worn to date. Easily comfortable enough for any distance from sprint to 70.3. Beyond that, an extremely efficient runner can pull off an Ironman in this shoe, but most people would benefit from something a little more substantial.
Claimed weight of 5.5oz (obviously not in our size), our sample (size 12) came in at 7.2oz.
A whole lot of shoe packed into a crazy light package. Also worth noting, a .6oz weight reduction from the old version.
We had mixed results with our samples of the K-Ruuz 1.5. We sized down a half size in the larger size (12) but the 9.5 fit our tester true to size. This was the case with the old version as well.
We'd call it mid-range compared to similar shoes, a little more expensive than the old version but worth the few extra dollars. MSRP is right at 100 bucks.
TriBomb Bottom Line
An instant TriBomb favorite and a definite improvement over the original. Not just new for the sake of a new model, but a conscious improvement on an already good shoe. Our race flat of choice for the upcoming season.