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K-Swiss K-Ona Road Test

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SBR road test results of the K-Swiss K-Ona at the 2011 K-Swiss ITU Subic International Triathlon (Subit)

“Never try anything new on raceday” says the age old racing adage..

So true right? But that’s exactly what I did at the 2011 K-Swiss ITU Subic International Triathlon (Subit).

I know it’s not the smartest thing to do but what better way to test the K-Swiss K-Ona, SLS3 Compression Sleeves, and the Timex Global Trainer, than in an actual race right?

Havin fun at Subit!

Going into Subit I really have no other goal but just to finish and to road test the 3 products I mentioned above. Given I only had 2 weeks to train, I might as well just enjoy every minute of the event. Like most triathletes, I’m always on the lookout for the next gear or equipment that can help me get to the finish line faster. I’m no pro and I’m just a regular athlete like everyone and I need all the help I can get.

I’ve long been curious about K-Swiss K-Ona eversince K-Swiss became active in the triathlon scene. I think it was around 2009 when they reinvented the wheel and decided to make a shoe specifically for the triathlon market.  With a name like K-Ona, one cannot deny this shoes’ triathlon roots.

The 2011 K-Swiss K-Ona C

I’ve had my share of hits and misses and when it comes to running shoes.. and I must admit, the only reason why I haven’t tried K-Swiss yet is because I’m afraid I’ll be spending that much again only to find out that I bought myself another mall shoe. Being a severe flat-footed over pronator, my feet is very picky when it comes to shoes. Either it works, or I’ll end up getting injured or sell the shoe at a much lesser price.

I got an email from Beth Marcelo, brand manager of Planet Sports Inc., and she told me that I have a pair of K-Swiss K-Ona shoes waiting for me at their office for me to try. I’ve read a lot of reviews about the K-Ona and most of them are positive so I was really excited about this one. I got the 2011 K-Swiss K-Ona C.

Hello K-Ona

K-Ona retails at P4995

For the flat footed people out there, the K-Onas stability comes from its very rigid TPU (thermoplastic polyurethane) midfoot shank. Is it enough? That’s what I wanna find out. As with most lightweight racing shoes, it’s almost a guarantee that this will lack support for overpronation one way or another.


One of my first impressions of the K-Ona is that it’s CRAZY light. I weighed the shoes and it registered at just a mere 9 ounces. A far cry from my previous stability shoe. Upon first glance you’ll notice that the K-Ona is basically made up of a mesh layer topped off with a larger honeycomb mesh on the outside. This shoe has ventilation holes in almost every possible section of the shoe. The whole shoe is a mesh! (no pun intended)

The airy, breathy, inside of the K-Ona

See the white shoestring?

The front and rear of the shoe has rows of ~3mm holes which K-Swiss calls its “Flow Cool System”. To try this, I slipped on the K-Onas (sockless of course), opened our fridge, got some food (hey its still off season for me!), and just swayed my feet forward and back.  I really did feel the cool air getting inside!

Flow Cool System Front

Flow Cool System Rear

Turn the shoe upside down and you’ll immediately notice the 10 drain holes scattered all over the K-Onas sole, which is made up of a combination of AOSTA II rubber and K-Swiss‘ Superfoam technology. It’s something that I’m sure you’ll really appreciate going through those aid stations at your next race. I tried this personally at Subit wherein I intentionally drenched myself with at least 2-3 cups of water at every aid station to test this and it worked as advertised. You can really see and feel the water squirting out of the shoe. I also wore cotton socks to see if it will really retain water or not.

Count the drain holes

Drain holes up close.

The Nitty Gritty

Stability – I must admit, when I first ran in the K-Onas (just ran in them 2 times prior to Subit), I experienced pain at the arch of my foot. A big no-no and a sign that I’m not getting enough stability. Being undertrained, flat footed, and worse of all, overweight, I need all the stability and moderation control I can get. With Subit just 2 weeks away, I was really thinking whether or not I should continue using the K-Onas or just give it another go AFTER the race. I decided the former and continued wearing it daily to get my feet more accustomed to it. I also tried setting the laces a little tighter. That seemed to do the trick as I ran in them again for the second time, did an easy 10k, and was now virtually pain free.

Fit and Comfort – The superfoam cushioning was really good. It provided just enough to let you feel the road without compromising the weight of the shoe. I loved the huge toebox as well. Something which is a necessity for my wide feet.

The Dirty

During raceweek, I decided to bring the K-Onas along with my old racing shoe. It was still a raceday decision. I know the rule about not trying anything new on race day and I really preach and practice that. But what the heck.. I decided to race on the K-Onas anyway.

How did the K-Onas do? They ROCKED. Despite the battery of tests that I did with the shoe, dousing it with water, running with thick cotton socks, using it for just 2 weeks, they performed really well. I loved every moment of the hot 10k run. Getting it on during transition was a breeze. During and after the race I didnt get any blisters or experience any hot spots. The best part is, when I removed my socks and tried to squish the water just a few drops came out. They we’re almost dry

I’ve long been on the lookout for another running shoe brand that will fit me like my other shoe.. and I think I just found it.

Mam Beth and I at the finish line. Excuse the butt on the side =P

What can you guys say about the K-Ona? Click here to view the discussion about the K-Swiss K-Ona in our forum.



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A triathlete making a comeback and a true blue Scorpio. That sums it up quite nicely :)

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