I Tried the APL Shoes Celebrities Are Obsessed With—and Here’s My Honest Review
The Kardashians, Jennifer Garner, Oprah and more stars love this brand—and as someone with horrible feet, I can attest that it's ~that~ good.
I'm just going to put this out there: My feet are not okay. Despite being a proponent of body positivity, I will never feel good about my feet. Between my mother’s insanely high arches and my father’s hammertoes, I’ve inherited feet that are less human and more pterodactyl. (The skin is so thin, my bones and veins are actually visible.) And this genetically flawed design is not merely aesthetic—even shoe brands praised for being crazy comfortable tear up my prehistoric feet.
You know those trendy EVA Birkenstocks everyone loves? Don't get me wrong—I love them too. Except if I wear them for more than one or two errands, I have to reach for a Band-Aid. No one can believe how a rubber sandal can cut up my feet so badly. But it's easy when you’re part dinosaur. And sneakers? After a couple of months of intense neighborhood power-walking and jogging, most athletic shoes leave the balls of my feet worn and calloused.
So after two years of reading rave reviews about Athletic Propulsion Labs (APL) shoes, I decided to give them a try—and you guys, I’m truly, madly, deeply in love with this brand and I don’t care that the Kardashians also wear it. And Jennifer Garner. And Oprah. Pssh, my love story is my own.
I settled on the APL Techloom Pro (from $140, athleticpropulsionlabs.com), the brand's classic running sneaker (yet, it can be worn anywhere and for any activity), because it's designed to allow for maximum stability and breathability while being lightweight—and looking cool. Plus, it provides cushioning for your feet without feeling or looking bulky. APL is also known for its minimalistic silhouettes and monochromatic color palettes, and I opted for the Black/Metallic Pearl/White combo, which are dark and sleek—and a bit more intricate than plain black.
The great thing about APL is you won’t find any ugly shades or color combinations. While you can certainly choose a pair of the brand's classic white kicks or black sneakers, APL also makes footwear in soft, muted colors like "Forged Blue," “Pale Moss,” and “Pristine” (a nude-baby pink hybrid). On top of that, it carries bright shades like "Pastel Peach" and "Bright Mint" (for neon lovers), if you’re into that kind of thing. But let’s be real—while comfort is the goal with shoes, style speaks first and APLs are the sexiest sneaker brand out there. Luckily, the brand delivers on both.
I’ve been wearing the Techloom Pro for nearly three months now, and I can report not one callous, blister, or shed epidermis. These athletic shoes are insanely comfortable, and my feet never feel unstable—no matter the terrain I'm covering—which is a huge added benefit for someone like myself who’s prone to twisting her ankle. What's more, despite working out for 2-4 hours a week, other sneaker brands I’ve worn start to give and lose their shape within this timeframe. However, the Techloom Pro still feels like it arrived yesterday. Apparently, this can be credited to the brand's secret sauce, a patented Propelium technology, which is why APLs maintain their structural support longer than other brands with conventional EVA midsoles.
One quirk to be aware of with APL sneakers is the laces tie behind the tongue. If you don’t do this, they may cut into your ankle when you walk—or maybe that’s just me. Regardless, wearing the laces tucked behind the tongue just adds to the style factor, imho.
APL offers various athletic shoes for men, women, and kids (tbh, my little ones don’t deserve this level of comfort—they’re too young to appreciate it), including running, training, and basketball sneakers. Not to mention, the footwear brand has even branched out with a collection of slides. So, obviously I had to invest in a pair of their slip-on sandals after finally discovering a brand that didn't leave my dino feet in total agony.
Let me say this: the Techloom Slide (from $100; athleticpulposionlabs.com) is the ultimate indoor/outdoor shoe. If you have the luxury of working from home during this pandemic, then you’re probably not wearing “work shoes” anymore. (Guilty.) I have about half a dozen summer flats crying for my return to an office. But look, if it’s not in a Zoom frame, it’s not on my body—and that's just where we’re at.
Anyway, these slides are basically the UGGs of summer shoes in terms of comfort, but way more acceptable in terms of style (for those of us over 35). They're truly the softest, cushiest things I’ve worn, and even have my house slippers beat! I’ve taken to wearing them all damn day, whether I leave home or not. And by the way, they’re machine washable, which is incredibly helpful at keeping stink at bay when you wear the same shoes 24/7.
Style is another key feature of these slides. Though the APL logo is pretty big across the top, the stitching is so subtle that you won’t come across as someone who can’t accept the fact that they’re almost 40. The slides come in bright summery shades like "Sweet Taffy" and "Bahama Blue" and neutral hues like "Navy" and "Cosmic Grey." My first pick was a pretty peacock-esque color called “Peppermint”—but like all good things in your size when you really want them were sold out. So I went with a citrus green called “Zest,” which are versatile enough to go with everything in my closet. I seriously want to own all the colors of this shoe. (On the hunt for something even more sophisticated? Try APL's Iconic Calf Hair Slide or the Techloom Satin Slide.)
The slides credit their comfort to the same Propelium technology featured in the brand's running sneakers, and to a plush, 3D molded footbed that massages your feet as you move. (This is not fake news, folks.) And if you're worried that your feet will slip around in these slides or if the strap will get drenched in your sweat (especially in hot summer months), the sandals boast a grippy traction pattern for added stability and an antimicrobial mesh band to keep them cool and dry (and, most importantly, not smelly).
If you're in the market for a new sneaker or sandal from a brand that not only gets a stamp of approval from A-listers, but also from someone with finicky feet, look no further than APL. I’m pretty sure I won’t be wearing any other athleisure or fitness shoe brand for as long as Athletic Propulsion Labs is around.
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