A super, good-value road-running shoe for those on a budget, or beginner runners used to a 4mm drop from heel to toe.
Fairly wide toe box
Cushioned and comfy
Too breathable for very cold, wet winter runs
Laces a little skinny
Comes up slightly large
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Kalenji Jogflow 500.1: first impressions
With a list price of just £35 / $40, the Kalenji Jogflow 500.1 was the lowest-priced shoe in our budget running shoes buying guide, and it's a beginner runner’s dream ride.
• List price: $40 (US) / £35 (UK)
• Weight (pair UK 6.5): 426g / 15oz
• Colors: Men’s: Black / Blue / Gray / Dark Gray / White; Women’s: Peach / Light Blue / Light Olive / Dark Gray / Black
• Drop: 4mm
• Compatibility: Road, up to 10k distance
On test we found that it punched well above its price point, with a lot of great features. Firstly, it's extremely light, weighing in at only 426g / 15oz, which is well below the average for a running shoe, and helps you to pick up your feet faster and more easily.
The toe box feels wide, despite the tapered design, but this may be because the fit comes up slightly on the large size so you may wish to try a half size smaller than usual. The laces, although skinny, create a secure fit.
I tend to prefer a wide lace to avoid potential cheese-wire effects, but the tongue is padded enough to avoid this unless you tie them really tight. The EVA foam in the midsole is bouncy enough for the 10km / six mile distances they are designed for, and they have a 4mm heel-to-toe drop (transition slowly if you’re used to traditional trainers with 10mm drop – check out what is drop in running shoes? for more information on the subject). The Flex H sole is grippy on wet and dry pavements and roads.
The insole is 29% recycled and the upper is 56% recycled which is great, but the latter is a very breathable mesh so this may not be the shoe for cold, wet winter runs. They’re also available in a wide range of colors to suit all tastes.
Kalenji Jogflow 500.1: on the road
I can’t believe this shoe costs so little and yet performs so well. It's comfortable straight from the box, very light, and great for fast parkruns.
The EVA-cushioned midsole is great for runs up to 10km / six miles in distance. I’m not sure about this whole recommended distance limit – maybe it’s the durability of the shoe, or maybe you turn into a pumpkin at 12km, but I have run further in these and didn’t experience any problems. It’s worth noting that 10km / six miles is what the Kalenji Jogflow 500.1 is designed for, so it really is an ideal parkrun and short race shoe.
The other feature to note is the 4mm drop, which you need to transition to gradually if you’re used to running in a higher-drop shoe, otherwise you risk over-stretching and injuring your Achilles Tendon and calf muscles (see also: Trail running injuries and how to avoid them). I found the Flex H sole performed well on all hard-packed terrain; you could even use these shoes on dry trails if needed. The padding gives a firm ride with a bit of bounce for a kick in your step.
The co-founder and former editor of Trail Running magazine, Claire now runs the YouTube channel Wild Ginger Running, creating films packed with trail- and ultra-running content. An award-winning journalist, writing for outdoor and adventure sports magazines and websites, her first book The Ultimate Guide to Trail Running 5k to 50k is out in January 2021. Claire also speaks and presents at events and races.