Lululemon, one of our favourite lifestyle-meets-performance brands, has unveiled its first trail running shoe: the Blissfeel Trail. Featuring similar elements of the brand’s new-and-improved Blissfeel 2 Runner, Blissfeel Trail is lululemon’s first performance trainer designed to take you from the street to nature’s most gravelly paths and beyond. “We’re taking a paradigm-shifting approach [to footwear] on two fronts,” lululemon’s SVP of footwear, Simon Atkins, told a group of reporters during a recent visit to the brand’s Vancouver headquarters. “The first is being focused on the science of feel rather than just pure performance. The second area is meeting the unmet need for our female guests.”
You might be wondering what that means, exactly. “For too long, performance product was designed, created, and tested predominantly on men and adapted for women,” Atkins explains. “We want to completely overhaul that. [A trail runner] is a need we’ve been hearing from our guests for a long time and that’s truly a multi-surface, road-to-trail running product.” And we strongly second that notion, women's shoes should definitely be tested on... well, women.
To give the shoe its trail running title, a few modifications have been made compared to the brand's bestselling trainers. “We have a much more aggressive traction outsole, and equally, for protection and support, you have a TPU film that goes around the whole foot and a back pull-on tab for easy on and off,” Atkins explains. Just keep reading below to see what four R29ers made of the new model — spoiler alert, it runs circles around their old training shoes.
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Lauren Cunningham, Affiliate Contributor
"Like a lot of people, I got into running during (dare I mention it?) lockdown with the good ol' couch to 5k app, and since then I've been hooked. Running not only makes me feel physically healthier, but it also clears my mind of daily stresses and allows my brain room to be a bit more creative — I sometimes have to stop to make notes on my phone of new story ideas.
As it's a form of exercise that's (almost) free, I try to keep my kit costs as low as possible, wearing the same pair of Adidas Supernova 2.0 shoes, £90, for at least a year. But, while I knew this wasn't great for my joints, I didn't quite realise how hard I was hitting the pavement until trying the Blissfeel Trail. These trainers feel like they have springs inside. No, really. I feel lighter, faster and so much bouncier than I have before. My knees and ankles don't seem to have the same achy feeling as they normally do, and my wide-yet-very-small feet aren't at all squished. I actually love the feel of them so much that I'm starting to wear them even when I'm not running too — which says a lot for someone obsessed with the minimal look of Vejas."
L’Oréal Blackett, Unbothered UK Editor
"When I first began my running journey three years ago it featured many, many falls. I’m talking about a comical head-over-heel tumble into my neighbour’s front garden, all while the family were sitting in their living room with a full view of my spectacular crash into their bushes. I quickly learned that I was wearing the wrong pair of trainers and became serious about investing in a light-but-sturdy running shoe that would take me the full course with confidence. With that said, lululemon’s Blissfeel Trail running shoes have become a reliable go-to — I love them! With the grippy treads on the sole, they are entirely unique to any of the trainers I’ve previously worn for running; I typically run on the road rather than on trail so was worried they’d feel too bulky for my usual city-centre route, but it was quite the opposite. I felt I was able to leap and bound over wonky pavements and gravel paths with the faith that my feet would land comfortably on the ground. I’ve tested the shoes on speedy short runs and laborious long runs and they adapt remarkably well to whatever challenge I put them through, they’re light yet supportive, super comfortable and durable.
Like many runners, I tend to feel tenderness in my calf muscles but, remarkably, I have had far less pain in my calves over the last few weeks wearing these trainers — I believe the cushioning inside the shoes is working overtime to prevent straining and pressure on my arches. It’s worth mentioning that I really like the sleek and stylish design of these trainers — I caught a few fellow runners checking out my feet on a couple of my runs and I can’t lie, it made me run with more pride. The Blissfeels are true to size and I do wish I opted for the 7.5 (my actual size) than the 8, as they are a little roomier than I prefer. Overall, these trainers feel like a worthwhile investment especially as I consider taking my running journey to different terrains in the future."
Susan Devaney, Lifestyle Director
"Full disclosure — I’m not your typical runner. I’ve never signed up for a marathon, let alone contemplated it. I don’t track my time using an app, and I’ve never been part of a running club either. For me, running is a solo activity. In short: It keeps me fit, healthy and soothes my mind — and I enjoy it.
Over the years, I’ve always made sure that I change my trainers quite regularly so that my knees don’t suffer too much. Yet, I’ve never specifically worn a pair of trainers designed with trail running in mind so I was intrigued to feel the difference with lululemon’s Blissfill Trail style, if any. They’re very comfy and your feet feel instantly well protected from pounding the ground. I managed to break them in easily, which doesn’t always happen, and they have excellent grip too. After wearing them a couple of times now, I’m certain I’ll keep running in them all summer long."
Karina Hoshikawa, Senior Writer
"I won’t spend too much time talking about the look of Blissfeel Trail since you already know it’s going to be as sleek and elevated, as everything lululemon makes is.
Blissfeel Trail shares the same 3.5 to 10.5 UK women's shoe size range (including half sizes), so I took my true size: 4. As with my other lululemon shoes, the fit is supportive yet comfortable, hugging my foot without being too snug. The treads at the outsole are super grippy and really helped propel my run with every stride. At £148 (£10 more than the Blissfeel 2), they're in line with other trail runners I own in terms of quality and price point. Whether you live in the mountains or are looking to get into trail running, lululemon's latest shoe innovation reminds us that, regardless of how fast or far we can go, anyone can be a runner."