UK Gear's new PT-1000 running shoe has been developed after eight years of work with the British Army.
If you're a runner, you've probably noticed that many running shoes generally don't tend to last that long – and if you're cynical, you may suspect that's deliberate – which makes the new PT-1000 road and trail running shoe an interesting departure from the norm.
The new shoe was developed by UK Gear over eight years in close co-operation with the British Army's Physical Training Core and is, the company says, 'the first shoe in the world designed to last 1,000 running miles'. They've tested that claim at SATRA laboratories too.
Not only that, but UK Gear shoes are standard issue performance footwear for British Army recruits and have just been approved by the US Army Running Shoe Program and are also standard issue with recruits for the US Coast Guard.
What's interesting about all this, is the the forces have a well-earned tradition for lower limb injuries caused by over-use in training and, in particular, running in unsuitable footwear. Which is where UK Gear came in intitially – The Independent quotes company founder David Hinde, who started off using the Army to test his first UK Gear shoes six years ago as saying:
"We found during the process that there was a need for something specific to the Army. It became clear a normal commercial running shoe wouldn't survive the rigours of day-to-day training in the military."
We've got a pair here, the £95 'Structured Cushioning' version which is designed as a mild stability shoe – there's also a neutral version for £90 aimed at runners with neutral running action.
We're not going to get into exhaustive technical detail here, but what we can tell you is that the PT-1000 feels seriously built and there's absolutely nothing rudimentary about it.
That means a mixture of cushioning materials in the sole unit including pads made from something called NRG and a main cushioning medium dubbed Dureva – we're guessing PU and EVA. There's also an exoskeletal stablising stiffener unit in the sole, an internal heel counter and EVA sock liner. The upper mixes a fair bit of tough-looking reinforcement with breathable mesh.
Finally, underneath, the sole features 'ultra tough' RhinoPad landing pads for durability and a carbon rubber outsole with some chunky directional lugs intended to give all-round grip. The tread isn't as aggressive as, say, an inov-8 sole or something from Walsh, but looks to be on a par with a lot of trail-running shoes despite its dual road/trail designation.
The centre of the forefoot area uses more closely-spaced studs so it'll be interesting to see if these tend to clog up off road on softer terrain. What else? Fit feels medium broad, so good for most British feet and the cushioning underfoot, initially at least, is at the firmer end of the spectrum, probably a good thing if you want the shoes to last. Weight is reasonable rather than super lightweight at 720 grammes for a pair of size 43s, but certainly not burdensome for a trail shoe.
More when we've used them both on road and trail for running and some lightweight walking.
More information at www.ukgear.com including detailed technical explanations and diagrams.