This is a first impression review.
I bought the Li-Ning Rouge Rabbit at 44 euros. I am looking for a summer running shoe (eventhough it is winter and a lot of snow at the moment).
People are talking a lot about the Altra smart shoe for running… and googling that jazz, I found the Li-Ning Rouge Rabbit (yep, you read that right… Rouge, not Rogue, which would have made more sense for me.
Red rabbit? Or “Bad engrish”?
Makes more sense for a running shoe, no?
Anyhow, lets move on…
Here is what the official info says;
Size Eu 45/ Us 11 weighs 256g (one shoe)
I could not find data on the drop in mm…but my “spidey sense” would say 6 or 8 mm.
My take is that this shoe is fine for longer distances. Note that the width is snug, really snug. The toe box is quite low and tight. So if you have wide feet or big toes, this is not the shoe for you.
Good fit shoes for me are: Nike pegasus 32 and 33, underarmour Speedform Gemini 3, Sarva d’vil 2 and New Balance Baracay v3. So if thos are good fits for you this model will fit you. I have EU 44.5 in Nikes and 44 1/3 in the New Balance. I ordered the EU 45 Rouge Rabbit…the 44 would have been too small, and the 46 too big.
Foam EvaLite cushoning
Eventhough this is recomended for 5-10 K runs, I would feel safe doing a half marathon in these and I am 183cm / 80-85kg (depending on the day).
The marketing lingo says that the EvaLite is (surprise) lighter than the regular EvaFoam, but still gives cushoning and support for “heavyer runners”.
Well, this is no Hoka OneOne Clayton 2/Clifton 4 or Asics Gel Nimbus 20 or ON Cloudflow…but the cushoning is quite good. It’s better than on the Newton Fast, Underarmour Speedform Gemini 3 and Sarva d’vil 2 (on soft snow).
The cushoning is par (in my opinnion) with Nike Pegasus 32/33, Karhu Smart Fulcrum, and Nike Lunarglide 7.
As Li-Ning marketing material puts it, the EvaLite (sic) “heel cushoning creates more horizontal dispersion and absorption when the foot lands at impact force. Thus achieving good shock absorption and complete protection for entry-level runners.”
Li-Ning claims that the EvaLite is 30-40% lighter than regular Eva soles… might be, I’m not cutting it out to disprove them… the shoe is quite light at approx 250 grams in EU45, so that might be true.
The toe area is synthetic leather (for toe protection) and the upper part of the toe box is a light, breathable mesh.
The PHYLON midsole, the rubber outer sole & Probar lock
The PHYLON midsole is according to Li-Ning “a rebound memory foam construct.” (Whatever the hell that is) And “creates a great fit for the forefoot, arch and ankle.”
The foam is quite soft, but not too much so… my feet didn’t start to tingle due to numbing and it does form to a better fit after I ran about 5 K, so yeah, it is memory foam. Howvere I have no idea what the “rebound” used in the jargon reffers to… the midsole was quite responsive and gave an ok roll to the foot.
I would say the design is more fore a heel – midfoot striker. A forefoot runner might get this shoe to work, but this is in no way as rolling as the Newton Fast, the Nike Pegasus 32 or the New Balance Boracay v3, hell…even the ON Cloudflow has more “push” at the moment your heel is in the air and the forefoot is creating the forward momentum.
The rubber outsole is…well, rubber.
I would not say it is super easy to bend, the Nike RN free, Nike downshifter and the ON Cloudflow are all much…um, bendier (is that a word? Well, it is now).
The shoe is par with the Underarmour Speedform Gemini 3 in “stiffnes/bendability”. The sole is really, really sticky (almost like flypaper) I do believe that this stickyness will fade fast. Before it does, it will be hard to say how much the groove structure gives grip.
The shoe gave very good (maybe too good) grip on my first treadmill run. The problem is that if a shoe has too much grip, it becomes slow, as the friction causes you to use too much energy for the foot roll and forefoot push.
Therfore the “reduces energy loss” claim is a double-edged sword.
Better grip saves energy as there is no slip, but too much grip costs energy as the “roll” is not as fast as it could be.
But what the hell should I know, I’m no scientist or professional runner 😀.
The probar lock is something I noticed immediately. At first the shoe felt wierd, it was like; “bloody hell, are they sure that this should be marketed as a neutral shoe and not a pronation support shoe?”… but after a couple of km that feeling dissapeared. Especially at the end of my treadmill run the stability was great. The shoe ushered my foot roll, forcing it to “stay on the straight path”.
The support is good, especially for newer runners (however, if you are a bit heavier built, like me and a newbie at running, I would not reccomend this shoe) who might have some experience but still lack the proper technique and dicipline for maintaining the correct foot roll and running gait.
If we leave out the smart functions and view this from a “plain running shoe perspective”, I would say the shoe serves best as a secondary shoe for runners who have at least ran a pair of proper, quality running shoes “to death” and thereby have some running experience.
I will likely use it on 5-15 K runs at steady z2 and z3 tempo, might even use it for some cadence drills. I doubt I will use this shoe for speedwork drills (as in my opinnion they are a bit stiff and unresponsive) or really slow z1 jogs (the cushoning is not good enough to prevent injury, especially as I tend to favour heel strikes at slow pace…something I’m trying to work on and remove as it creates a shitty form).
I might even say this would work as a race shoe on distances 5K-Half marathon… but I would not reccomend this for 10 K+, unless “you know what you are doing” and your natural race cadence is somewhere between 175-180 spm.
A speedster this shoe is not, there are much “faster” shoes on the market…so I doubt you will make a PR in these…but anything is possible, I guess ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
The smart shoe capabilities
The smart chip
Li-Ning has joined up with Xiaomi in developing a smart chip for this (and some other models) shoe.
The Smart chip looks like this. Battery can not be changed, when it dies…it dies.
The chip works via sending a BLE signal to the Mi Fit app (available for iOS and Android, for free).
The million dollar question: does the chip pair as a footpod (because that is what it basically is) to running watches with BLE?
Answer; no, it will not show up on your Polar, Suunto or Garmin watch as a footpod… bummer. It does not work with Endomondo/Sportstracker or other Apps. You need to get Mi Fit.
The chip is placed in the PHYLON midsole, under the regular sole.
The app & smart capabilities
As said, the smart chip only works with the Mi Fit app (a big miss in my opinion, would not have been hard for the developers to enable the possibillity to use the chip as a stand-alone footpod on compatible running watches).
The smart chip has a built-in accelerometer/gyroscope and based on the marketing should give you the following info;
– Calories burned
– Foot landing i.e. strike positioning
…so, does it, and is the info correct?
First you have to install the app and register data like height, weight etc.
A short view on installing & configuring…it’s quite easy
I did a mixed run with (based on treadmill speed, this is a high-end treadmill and I would say that it is calibrated close to “real speed “when running at an 1% incline)
20 min 9 KpH. 15min 10,5 KpH. 10 min 11,1 KpH and 15 min 8,6 KpH. Totaling 9.083 Km.
So I I recorded my run on the Mi Fit app with the smart chip.
This is at the end of my run. View on app. The view is basically the same as you run: pace/cadence/distance/hr (if a hr strap is connected)
You can put an pace alert (only outdoors), but strange enough not a strike alert or something as basic as a cadence alert (very helpful for improving cadence).
Here is the running data I got drom my Garmin Fenix 5x paired with HRM-Tri chest strap (gives the running dynamics).
A lot of useful data, also I can set alerts on: hr/cadence/pace/etc on the watch…
Let’s see what info we get from the Smart Chip…
The view post run.
There is a bug in calibration.
I tried to change it to 9 km…but kept getting 900km… strange, and bad!
So, no calibration for me 😕
However the cadence during run was spot on…so there is that.
The data post run in Mi Fit app
Not as much data as in the Garmin…but the “landing data” is interesting. I will have to do a follow up where I test running on my toes to see if this changes. (So follow this post as I will put the results below this text)
An interesting chart, shame that one can not zoom in for details
Is it worth it?
Well if you have Stryd, a Milestone pod or A Garmin combo that gives you running dynamics…. I would say; maybe not.
But if you have a “basic running watch” without a lot of data, then yes.
As a runnimg shoe, it is not bad… most shoes with the same cushoning/roll/feel/weight/versatility tend to cost 100 euro or more if not in a bargain bin. So if you can find it (using google) for sub 50 euro (inc freight).. yeah, it is a good running shoe.
Do not pay more for it though (saw a couple shops asking $100+ for the shoe).
Would I buy again, knowing what i know?
Too early to say, but at this price, probably.
– Newbie runners as first shoe
– Marathons and long haul Km collecting
– Speedwork drills
– Someone with good running shoes and a footpod (e.g. Stryd, Garmin pod, Milestone pod)
– As your only running shoe
– Slow runs/jogs
– A tech junkie looking to get awesome amounts of data
– People who want to look at their cadence
– Someone without a foot pod
– Someone looking for a good secondary shoe
– Indoor and outdoor training
– Medium distance running 5-15 km