With its new RL-01 running shoe, French startup Relance has produced a winner right out of the box.
Clean lines, a lightweight breathable upper, and an excellent PU outsole with silicon footbed make this debut shoe from Relance a success on multiple levels.
We put aside our Nike Zooms to test out the Relance and banged out a 5-mile trail run moments after first lacing them up. At mile 1 we were impressed. At mile 3 we considered trying the shoe business ourselves — for the chance to make feet this happy. Cooling down after mile 5, we planned to order another pair of the RL-01s.
The RL-01 runner strikes a welcome balance between cushiony and firm, reminding us of the new breed of high-tech mattresses that manage to be both supportive and soft at once. Best of all, the RL-01’s comfort practically urged us to keep running, delivering the sought-after training advantage that makes top-level gear worth the investment.
Is it a racing shoe? We’re not qualified to say. But for the runner who pursues the joy of fitness and a strong training experience rather than trophies, the Relance is a great choice. It’s a genuine running shoe which also boasts the solid structural feel of a good basketball or tennis shoe supporting lateral movement.
Quibble? The stitching on the heel’s silver reflective strip looks a little haphazard — less uniform in execution than is common on the more established brands. Of course, this feature has no effect on the Relance’s functionality or comfort, and some may even appreciate it for its handmade charm.
The company is currently in a fundraising stage: the Relance Kickstarter campaign can be found here.
Note #1: We can’t attest to the product’s durability, as these notes were compiled soon after we received the product. Also: this review considers the product only. The review does not consider the company or its ability to deliver the product at scale.
Note #2: The Relance shoes we tested were sent to 2paragraphs by Relance for testing purposes. We received no compensation for producing this review; it is not an advertisement.