Nobull Mesh Runners
Here is another shoe review about a pair of trainers from an up and coming shoe maker. The history of Nobull as I understand, is that they started by creating a multi-purpose shoe for weight lifters and Crossfit athletes. After finding their stride, pun intended, they branched out into multiple segments. You can find shoes, clothing, and accessories for all manner of activities; including cycling, running, and weight lifting. I have been impressed by their styling from the beginning but didn’t think they would get into the running space. So, I bought a pair and put them to the test.
DESIGN & FEEL
I went with the “Concrete” Mesh Runner, but they come in a variety of colors and styles for varying tastes. The perforated mesh upper is somewhat see through. So, your socks are likely to show through and become an accent color to your shoe. That may or may not bother some but it became annoying for me to think about how the shoe would look depending on what socks I had on that day.
The shoe has a very narrow profile and footbed. On first wear, they feel exceedingly comfortable and breathable. I forgot I was wearing them when out on my first walk. The fit is not quite right though beyond walking. It took me a while to get the lacing just right so that the shoe was not too tight or too loose. I have become very used to shoes that fit like a glove with laces functioning more as ornaments. So, these were a change for me and later a source of pain.
The Nobull runners needed to be reset and lacing adjusted at every use. Which is probably why the shoes come with an extra pair of contrasting laces. I started out with the original grey laces but then switched them to the neon yellow laces as a reminder to adjust them before use. The laces and the upper are not durable at all. I noticed quite a bit of degradation in the upper around the opening and laces within a hundred miles. The soles, however, were solid and durable.
FEATURES & PERFORMANCE
The functional features I appreciated most on these shoes are the rear finger loop for pulling the shoes on. The breathable and lightweight mesh upper. The near barefoot 7mm heel to toe drop. Lastly the commanding grip of the lug pattern rubber sole.
I tested these as winter was giving way to spring. The shifting weather threw all kinds of wonderful scenarios to test them in. A post rain shower slick coat of water on the asphalt, the petal covered trails through the woods, the increasingly humid garage treadmill surface, etc. I even took them to the beach and a half day drive in the car. So these may be some of the most thoroughly tested shoes I have reviewed in a while.
This is one pair of running shoes where I can say I suffered so you won’t. I found myself digging out prior pairs of shoes with hundreds of miles already on them rather than run in these again. This is not a shoe for a distance runner by any stretch of the imagination. Especially if your running is done predominantly outside.
From the first mile it is painfully evident that there is absolutely no energy transfer and limited shock absorption in these trainers. I felt the full effects of road running through my legs and lower back the same day and for a few after. To be fair, I can imagine if you are running 100 to 400 yard sprints as part of your CrossFit routine they will work fine but not beyond that.
The saving grace of these shoes are their traction. The grip is really great on all surfaces. They are also quite breathable and stable around the foot when in motion. From another perspective, on the treadmill or outside for a short run, these shoes are serviceable. I would absolutely not recommend them for any run longer than a 5k.
These shoes do make for a good walking shoe by taking advantage of the grip, low heel-to-toe ratio, and fit. As I said earlier, I often forgot I had them on. Yet, I still found soreness in and around the legs when going on extended walks in the four plus mile range. I mixed in other pairs of shoes during this testing period to try and isolate the issue and it is definitely in this shoe. They just don’t offer any support or relief from the concrete and pavement foot strike. This is the first pair in a while that I gave up on short of the 300 mile usage threshold that I usually aim for before retiring a shoe.
It is in the physical training space where these shoes really shine. True to the origins of Nobull, the shoes are really great for a cross training workout, HIIT circuit, or any dynamic movements. They were noticeably supportive when performing squats. Providing a solid footbed, grip, and heel support for the high to low movement of squats.
Lateral lunges, jumping jacks, and side shuffles were very easy to perform in these. I really wish I could take the rubber sole and tread pattern from these and transfer them to so many other shoes. They just don’t slip or give no matter what the movement or surface you’re on. If I were heavy into CrossFit I would make these my go to shoes for gym workouts. I just can’t use them beyond that.
Nobull Mesh Runners - Product ComparisonI’ll stick to comparing these shoes against the last few running shoes I owned. The Allbirds Tree Dashers, Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 37, and the On Cloud Cloudflow 2020.
|CATEGORY||vs. Allbirds Tree Dashers||vs. Air Zoom Pegasus 37||vs. On Cloudflow 2020|
|Style:||Nobull Mesh Runners||Air Zoom Pegasus 37||On Cloudflow 2020|
|Running Use:||Allbirds Tree Dashers||Air Zoom Pegasus 37||On Cloudflow 2020|
|Walking Use:||Allbirds Tree Dashers||Nobull Mesh Runners||On Cloudflow 2020|
|Training Use:||Nobull Mesh Runners||Nobull Mesh Runners||On Cloudflow 2020|
|Feel:||Allbirds Tree Dashers||Air Zoom Pegasus 37||On Cloudflow 2020|
|Durability:||Allbirds Tree Dashers||Air Zoom Pegasus 37||On Cloudflow 2020|
|Weight:||Allbirds Tree Dashers||Air Zoom Pegasus 37||Nobull Mesh Runners|
Nobull Mesh Runners - Summary
|5 out of 10||Lightweight & Breathable||Lack of Cushioning|
|Amazing Grip in Sole||Fabric breaks down around ankle.|
|Heel-to-Toe Drop||Narrow Width|