As previously posted, Bloch are about to bring out their Dance Fitness Sneakers, which incorporate innovative modular soles. The thinking is that where a single compound sole can be a ‘jack of all trades’ a modular sole composed of many compounds could well be a ‘master of them all’.
Last week prototypes of the entire range arrived at Dancemania and we gave them a good looking over.
The Dance Fitness Sneaker range
The same mould for the sole is used across the range of 5 styles, so the difference between the styles is not what’s beneath your feet but what is wrapped around them. Essentially there are 3 distinct designs: Lightening S0924, Apex S0920 and Traverse S0922, all of which are low sided sneakers that are common place in many classes. However, the Apex and Traverse designs also come as a hi-top, or mid side boot: Apex Mid S0921 and Traverse Mid S09232.
Here is a reminder of what the shoes in their various styles
will actually look like:
Bloch Lightening S0924
Bloch Apex S0920
Bloch Traverse S0922
Bloch Apex Mid S0921
Bloch Traverse Mid S0923
These sneakers look and feel fabulous! As you would expect from Bloch the sneakers are well made and well thought-out. The colour combinations used are a delight for the eyes and there is something for everyone. The biggest disappointment is that while some of the styles are ideal for men, the first production runs will only produce shoe sizes up to 7(UK), which is going to disappoint a great many women too. However, I’ve no doubt that once these beauties become popular moulds for larger sizes will soon follow.
– the layered, composite sole
The promise of this shoe is that its lightweight multi-layered sole will provide bounce and shock absorption for jumps, and that a combination of high-tech materials will offer optimum support and flexibility in a full sole sneaker. Well that is certainly achieved, the shoe fits well and of course is very comfortable, but the strangest of things is that you control how much grip the shoe has with the floor by putting pressure on differing parts of the sole.
The diagram above shows an exploded view of the sole’s composition:
1 is the base layer to the sole and provides much of the cushioning;
2 adds to the cushioning and provides grip for the heel, ball and toes giving balance and control.
3 provides grip on the edge of the foot, offering stability in neutral positions as well as during quick foot movements. This layer also provides braking when in a slide.
4 is the spin spot, which is made of a high density material that looks like glass but is some sort of plastic. It is very shiny and proved very slippy too.
Our guinea-pig was the lucky Zoe; she tried our prototypes out on various surfaces. She found them to be comfortable yet thought the soles took a bit of getting used to, particularly the spin-spot. Whilst actually performing spins Zoe found she could control them by going on demi-pointe and using layer number 2 in the toe to increase the braking as required but she found being on the ball of her feet a challenge because the spin spot was just too slippy. No doubt once you get used to them the slippiness will be mastered, but by making the spin-spot so slippy so that rotating in these shoes places no undue stress on your joints Bloch have made them rather skittish.
So, these shoes are like an F1 race car in that they are both light, quick and responsive but also like an F1 race car at the feet of a novice these shoes could easily see you crash into an undignified heap.
The final production sneakers
Bloch have already received our feedback and their own conclusion is that the prototype spin spot was just too slippy, so look forward to the production sneakers being more controllable than these prototypes.
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