Running. What is the point? To escape a predator? To evade the law? To chase a £20 that decided to flirt with freedom? Well, I have heard that some of you actually enjoy doing it for no reason other than because you enjoy doing it. To me this is absolutely mental, and neither the Sun nor Boris Johnson has confirmed it so until then I’ll take it as extremist fear-mongering and hear no more. Shame on you.

 

Despite what I just said, I myself do run, though not for pleasure.. yet. Usually I am chasing a football, sometimes I am attempting to appreciate a particularly lovely view that I don’t have the time to walk to, and rarely I have the nagging guilt that my heart would actually appreciate it if I did. Recently it was time for some new shoes! North Wales is best appreciated away from the paved areas. You won’t find too many people arguing with that. Maybe just the pigeons? If you’re going to head off-road and try and move swiftly when doing so you’ll be needing what we call in the business, a trail shoe*.

 

I have worn a fair few trail shoes now and the Bushidos were always my favourites. Always light and comfy out of the box and very stable and super grippy from the minute I bolt out of the gate with such speed and grace a greyhound would be left reeling. Trying not to sound too corny, they feel like an extension of my body. I wish I could wear them every day but being bright yellow I spent an entire month being greeted with, ‘Ooooh! New shoes?!’

 

The update for the Bushido II appears mainly cosmetic but for a new EVA midsole and the use of some tougher materials on the upper. Which is absolutely fine by me. They didn’t really need an update!

 

Most of my running is done off-road. There are paved areas to navigate on my way in and out of town but beyond that I see as little ‘solid’ ground as possible on a run. For this reason I’ve always leaned towards a trail shoe with superior grip and stability over impact protection and general comfort. Even though I had my bias going in with these they are tremendously comfortable on road and the hard-packed slate paths that channel me to and from the hills! The Frixion rubber outsole appears entirely the same as its predecessor, which is a very good thing. Slick root systems, wet off-camber rocks, steep grassy slopes and muddy trails are all fair game and at pace. They really are a very reassuring shoe to motor along with.

 

These shoes have a strength and stability that would see Theresa May wet her pant suit. The uppers are beautifully low profile with a snug, forgiving design that lets you cinch them on firmly without any discomfort. I never get the feeling, even on really uneven ground, that these shoes want to topple. They’re firmly upright and so are you. It is a fantastically liberating feeling for somebody with more serious ankle injuries than ankles behind him. The sole unit is plenty stiff enough to really keep you bounding over soft terrain; they seem to reward my toe striking twofold.

 

Cushioning is minimal in the Bushido II- 19mm at the back and 13mm under the forefoot. This ranks pretty low amongst pedigree trail shoes but I cannot say I have noticed this on the hard surfaces. I also think this helps with the low profile design and grounded stability I enjoy them for. They do feel more cushioned than the previous Bushido however but I haven't got a new pair of the previous model to compare to. It is possible the age difference is all that I’m noticing but I am sure they credit the new EVA midsole for this. I tend to spend up to an hour moving as quickly as possible on a run. No more. I can physically see my biceps shrinking if I do. It's a disorder. Perhaps if I was averaging longer runs then a more cushioned, distance trail design would be better suited.

 

They are comfy upto 10km. They’re very light on the foot (a pair of UK 8s weigh 610g) and I get no pressure points or hot spots. Nothing aches or wears away at me but I often think comfort is highly personal and a less frequent runner or beginner is going to have an entirely different experience. That said, I have had models recently that do hurt with uncomfortable heel cups, narrow heel cups and poor draining when bog stomping. The Bushido II fits me great has none of those things!

 

I cannot talk too much about durability yet but the build quality seems on par with the previous generation and, but for the unseen midsole and new burlier upper, you would be forgiven for thinking they were the same shoe. Sizing hasn’t changed between generations either which I am sure is great to hear for those converts here to grab another pair. I usually wear a UK 9 in a street shoe but size up slightly with an EU 44 in Bushidos and Bushido IIs.

 

For the steep, mixed terrain of my home in North Wales they are still my shoe of choice after success with the previous model.

 

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