Updated: November 11th, 2011
Karhu Fulcrum Flow Ride

Karhu Fulcrum Flow Ride

Full Name: Karhu Flow Fulcrum Ride
Category: Lightweight
Weight: 7.8 oz. (220 gr.)
Suggested Price: 110$
Recommended For: Efficient runners or minimalist runners looking for a lightweight and responsive trainer or racing shoe. Or, any type of runner looking for a long distance racing shoe.
  • Karhu Flow Fulcrum Ride General Info:

As the fall marathon season approaches many runners are looking for a lightweight, well cushioned, and moderately supportive shoe for faster paced training runs races. Many racing flats are simply too minimal for most of us to race in for a full marathon distance, while many “lightweight trainers” are often closer to 10 oz and don’t provide the zip and feel of a racing flat.

Karhu is a Finnish company that has been around since 1916 and shod such incredible flying Finns as Paavo Nurmi, the most successful Olympic distance runner in history. They pioneered their fulcrum technology to give the runner more forward momentum as well as increased pronation control and balance. I first tried on a Karhu shoe in 2004 and was immediately impressed by the construction and aesthetics of the shoes. However, the high price tag of $140 turned me away. Luckily, with Karhu’s gaining popularity they have been able to bring their prices down to a more competitive level.

  • Karhu Flow Fulcrum Ride First Impressions:

The Flow Fulcrum Ride packs a lot of shoe into a very lightweight package. These shoes offer substantial cushioning, enough for everyday training, into a low profile and lightweight midsole. The ride feels agile and low to the ground despite a heel to toe drop of approximately 14 mm, higher than the industry average of 12mm. The upper is a lightweight mesh of minimalist design, without obtrusive overlays or logos getting in ones way. Karhu also gives the wearer plenty of room in the forefoot of the shoe for those with wider feet. That being said, the shoe runs a 1/2 size small, so be sure to size up when trying or purchasing.

Karhu Flow Front

Karhu Flow Front

Something I’m always impressed with in Karhu shoes is their construction, and I’ve heard positive feedback from runners who have logged 500+ miles in the shoes without a hole in the upper. The stitching feels seamless and the heel collar of the shoe does not rub anywhere around the ankle. This was a pair of shoes that I could wear right out of the box for a good length run and not experience any discomfort.

  • Karhu Flow Fulcrum Ride Performance:

Karhu’s Fulcrum technology is designed around a plastic composite component in the heel to midfoot of the midsole of the shoe. This fulcrum is designed to decrease up and downn bouncing when running and convert that energy into forward motion by promoting roll in the foots natural gait cycle. They report that this technology also decreases pronation and makes the shoe more stable. From a performance standpoint Karhu advertises that the running will use 4% less oxygen due to this increased forward momentum.

Karhu Flow Gait

Karhu Flow Gait

During the week that I tested the Flow Fulcrum Ride I wore them daily for runs ranging from a five mile tempo to a 12 miles at an easy pace. I was impressed at how this shoe could be so versatile and well cushioned at 7.8 oz! The forefoot cushioning is firm yet responsive and the heel cushioning does seem to roll the runner onto the forefoot, and I noticed this feature mostly during faster paced running.

The fulcrum in the midsole of the shoe does provide more than adequate support to be categorized as a neutral shoe and I would go so far as to categorize this shoe as a light stability racer for those looking for that niche.

  • Karhu Flow Fulcrum Ride Opinion:

The Karhu Flow Fulcrum Ride offers responsive cushioning and a little support in a very lightweight package. Experienced and elite runners may like this shoe as an everyday trainer that allows them to do tempos, fartleks, and long runs in once incredibly lightweight package. Marathon runners may appreciate this shoe as the perfect racing shoe to finally get that Boston qualifier and to complete fast workouts. The bottom line is that Karhu impresses with the Flow Fulcrum Ride as a shoe with the full trifecta of cushioning, support, and lightweight.

Another aspect that I appreciate about Karhu shoes is their looks. Karhu sticks with simple monochromatic color schemes that are eye catching and look old school. I received many compliments on my red shoes and the Karhu brand is still unknown to many runners. I would encourage runners to seek out the brand and try a pair on http://www.karhu.com/ustorelocator/location/map/ .

I thoroughly enjoyed running and testing this shoe and do recommend prospective buyers to size up 1/2 size US, unless you like your running shoes to fit like soccer cleats or track spikes.

Review by Thomas Caughlan

We thank the nice folks at Karhu for sending us this shoe to try. This did not influence our review of the shoes, written after running more than 50 miles in it.

Let us know what you think of this shoe in the comments!

  • Karhu Flow Fulcrum Ride Price Comparison:

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