K-Swiss Kwicky Blade-Light Review: The Shoe that Broke the American 50k Record

by Jason Fitzgerald

Alright, maybe it was actually Josh Cox that broke his own American 50k record (by over three and a half minutes) and not these shoes, but they came along for the ride!Josh Cox 50k Record

Cox ran 2:43:45 for 50k and only missed the world record by a scant seven seconds. His average pace was 5:10 per mile – for slightly over 31 miles. For someone who can only run 5k at this pace, I’m in awe.

And he did it in the K-Swiss Kwicky Blade-Light running shoes, saying they “keep me light and fast.”

I was fortunate enough to test a pair for K-Swiss. I love trying new brands and models of shoes – it’s an integral part of my philosophy to run a varied training program, along with trails, multiple paces throughout a cycle, and trying new race distances.

Different shoes stress your foot and legs in slightly different ways. Subtly altering that stress by trying new shoes and rotating through 2-3 pairs of different models helps prevent excess repetitive stress and overuse injuries. It’s an important lesson I learned from Peter Larson’s book Tread Lightly.

While K-Swiss provided the Kwicky’s at no charge, they have not edited, contributed to, nor influenced this review. This is my honest feedback after putting several hundred miles on the Kwicky running shoes.

K-Swiss Kwicky Blade-Light: The Specs

The Kwicky’s weigh a mere nine ounces. For their size and amount of cushioning, this surprised me. The low overall weight is likely because of the foam sole and seamless upper. Both are great features of the shoe but provide the secondary benefit of reducing weight.

The sole is a lightweight foam that is softer than other similar shoes like the ASICS Speedstar 6. Because of that, I’m more comfortable running prolonged workouts on the road in the Kwicky. In most cases, I prefer the combination of a firm shoe and dirt trails but the Kwicky’s give much needed cushioning on the roads.

They may also be lighter because of the drainage system they use. There are several holes cut through the shoe to allow sweat or puddle water to drain through. I found this very helpful running through some late summer storms in DC’s Rock Creek Park. You can see the holes in the shoe’s sole in the middle of the forefoot here:

Kwicky Blade Light Sole

A drawback to drainage holes, as any trail runner will tell you, is that when you inevitably run through water it will go up into your shoe. There’s not much you can do about this but ultimately I think it’s a good feature to have.

The flip side of allowing water into the shoe is that the drainage holes let it right back out again. And if you’re wearing synthetic socks like Wrightsock (my personal favorite), wet socks aren’t a problem because of the double layer of fabric.

Plus, the Kwicky’s use hydrophobic technology to make the shoe water resistant. This naturally fades over time as you put hundreds of miles on the shoe, but it provides an effective water guard. Just wait until you see the video at the end of this article!

Who are the Kwicky Blade-Light’s for?

K-Swiss Kwicky Blade-Light

One of my favorite aspects of the Kwicky Blade-Light’s is that I think they can be good for almost any runner. They’re a neutral trainer that provides a fair amount of cushioning, but they don’t have a medial post nor are they too heavy.

Most runners can wear less shoe than they realize and it will help them prevent additional overuse injuries. The Kwicky is a neutral shoe that provides the support most runners need without the “technology” that typically hinders performance and contributes to repetitive stress injuries.

I run about 50% of my mileage on trails and while I love the Kwicky’s for the roads, they work great on easy to moderate trails as well. Just be careful taking these on technical terrain as they probably won’t provide the traction you need. But I had no complains for dirt surfaces, steep hills, and rocky stretches of trail in Rock Creek.

My pair of K-Swiss Kwicky Blade-Lights came in the obnoxious neon green and yellow colors above. I felt like the Green Lantern running around DC. They also come in a grey and orange color which is more palatable for those who aren’t as adventurous with their shoes.

I recommend these trainers for a runner looking for a neutral, cushioned shoe who might live in a wet climate. They’re incredibly comfortable, drain well, repel water, and work for people who are more accustomed to “traditional” running shoes. If you like the Nike Pegasus, you’ll probably like the Kwicky. To see other options, check out my other running shoe reviews.

My Gut Reaction to the Kwicky’s

I loved this shoe as my primary trainer. I ran 2+ hour long runs, 10k progression workouts, and even half marathon paced intervals in them with no complaints. My shoe rotation during my review included the Kwicky, the New Balance Minimus Road, and the Speedstar. Many of my faster workouts were also run in the Nike Streak XC racing flat which provided a great minimalist training stimulus.

While the Kwicky Blade-Light running shoes are light, I found them slightly bulky so I didn’t wear them for much faster running. The sole is very cushioned and you lose some groundfeel – especially if you’re used to more minimalist shoes. But most other reviewers found that the opposite was true and they liked the “natural feeling run.”

Nevertheless, the seamless upper provided a really comfortable ride. I felt like the shoes were molded to my feet and even though they’re cushioned, I could cruise along on trails or the road without feeling too disconnected from the experience.

They’re recommended to be worn without socks which I didn’t test. With no seams, it probably wouldn’t be a problem but I’ve never liked the feeling of running without socks. Not only is it personally uncomfortable, but it makes my shoes smell like a lacrosse locker room after only a few dozen miles.

I’ve been training in the Kwicky’s for five weeks, using them as my main running shoe. I never thought I’d be a fan of K-Swiss because they’re not one of the main running shoe companies, but they did a great job with this trainer. It’s light and cushioned at the same time – which can be rare – and has a great feature set.

Check out this video of K-Swiss sponsored athletes Josh Cox and Angi Greene demonstrating the shoe:

The best price I could find for the K-Swiss Kwicky Blade-Light for all sizes was on Amazon here.

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