Mixing it up with Onemix by Norrie Williamson
Onemix is a Chinese running (and leisure) shoe brand with a massive range. They are available in South Africa online which keeps the overall prices down. (www.onemixza.com )
Immediately on entering their website it’s clear that they have large and diverse ranges of shoes. Many products have identifiable features that runners will associate with other more well-known brands in the running market.
This is true of many Chinese brands as not unexpectedly many of the worlds running shoes
are manufactured in the far east factories and then features are replicated, and sometimes improved on, in local models and production.
The Onemix Lunarlite Carbon is their top racing shoe for the 2021 /22 season and is both a highly flexible distance shoe, and a rigid carbon plated racer!
How can that be possible? How can the shoe be sold as a carbon plated racer that puts the runner on a midfoot striking, toe driving push-off and yet still be a highly flexible well cushioned distance training shoe?
The answer is the innovative concept of a removable carbon plate that offers the runner an extreme mix of two shoe styles. But let’s come back to that later.
The basic shoe is a lightweight racing shoe with a sculpted forefoot roll off from the 25mm
midfoot midsole stack. This comes from a 35mm heel stack resulting in a 10mm drop height. This of course puts it within the World Athletics 40mm maximum stack limit for elite road racing.
I must say it feels under 10mm drop and I had no difficulty in running with a midfoot strike in the shoe. With the plate in the feel was of a shoe with an even lower drop.
The midsole is made from Lunarlite which is the companies own lightweight high rebound midsole. It does provide good cushioning and is remarkably light given the stack heights. The lunarlite comes up above the level of the footbed, particularly around the medial heel area, which provides some rigidity and heel cradling control for those who need some heel control when it makes ground contacts.
It’s worth noting that stability becomes more critical in the high stacks used in plated shoes.
There is the hint of the well known ‘aero heel’ shape seen in Nike shoes with the heel wrapping up a few mm behind the cup.
The forefoot midsole and toe box width is excellent and many South Africans will appreciate the extra mm or so.
The outer sole has a paisley pattern design that one can see as being related to the foot strike and the design combination under the medial arch allows for high longitudinal flexibility without the plate, while adding a adequate degree of torsional restraint.
There is a heel unit to provide additional cushioning and there are two protected high-wear areas under the midfoot at the sweet-spot for the roll-off to the next stride.
The upper is a single layer mesh with various thin decorative laminated strips to reduce stretching and a laminate 5-hole yoke provides the primary lacing mechanism with the now traditional additional lock-lacing hole that should not be necessary if runners chose shoes suitable to their running style.
The tongue is a single vented layer with a loop such that laces can hold this in place. The internal surface of the upper has good cushioning around the collar and full height in the heel, which stylishly curves out of the shoe. This has little benefit to the running of the shoe except perhaps in pulling it off.
. There is a removable inner which has an interesting shaping with both a metatarsal and heel pad design. Unlike most inners this one did not show any sign of impact or collapse even after completing 50 to 80km of trial.
Keeping in mind the way most plated shoes are constructed with the hard carbon plates sandwiched into the midsole, this inner material will be seen as an important part of the plated concept.
In its raw form without the plate the shoe makes for a good lightweight racer distance trainer with the flexibility and roll off that provides a fast comfortable responsive run. I would still have preferred an 8mm drop in this configuration as 10mm is my point of change from forefoot to risking heel striking.
This is where we Mix it up.
Remove the inner sole and there is thin but strong sock like pocket at the front of the shoe. By slipping the carbon plate into this pocket and then ‘leveraging’ the plate back onto the Velcro pad the plate is ‘locked’ onto the midsole, and of course this is augmented by the runner’s weight.
The plate stands a few mm above the foot bed when initially inserted into the shoe, but due to the shape of the plate and the method of location, when the runner stands in the shoe, the plate is ‘flattened’ to move further into the pocket and to become more rigid to its forefoot angle and shape.
It is from this that it gains its advantage in putting the runner into a more forward leaning-
rear driving position that not only engages the core but make for a snappier run.
Suddenly the highly flexible shoe has been transitioned into a fairly aggressive ball of foot striking plated shoe.
Whether it has the same % performance improvement found in other plated shoes or not is hard for anyone to evaluate, but there is no question the load is thrown much more onto
the calf and it naturally promotes ball of foot landing.
The shaped plate is narrower than the width of the shoe which means there is a tolerance in the positioning, and I would suggest it is kept as central as possible.
The start of new thinking:
There is no question that this innovation is simply a first step to what will be a new dynamic in shoe design.
The next step could be for runners to be classified into three or four different running biomechanical styles, each with their own particular shape of carbon plate. Then is there a reason why plates can’t be designed for a runners unique running mechanics? This was one of the concerns that World Athletics had with the shoe advancements in recent years that
the very elite were having individualised shoes and technology. With removable plates this would become openly available and yet another game-changer in performance level.
How does it run?
Having explained the make-up of the shoes and the innovative plate, the bottom line is how does it feel and run.
The One Mix Lunarlite is comfortable fit with or without the plate, has good grip, highly responsive to acceleration simply by landing a mm or two further forward or / and increasing lean.
The one negative noted was that if the shoe gets wet from rain or sweat then it becomes much heavier because of the wrap around Lunarlite which means there is no escape route for water, and of course the plush cushion / comfort of the collar also holds the fluid.
One shoe – multiple uses -more holistic training:
One of the biggest plus factors is the price and versatility.
Slowly the recreational running world is waking up to recognise that it’s not a good thing to buy a plated shoe and both race and train in it. We need to be using the plated shoe for racing and a normal flexible shoe for the majority of training so that all muscles in foot and body are exercised in the way we were designed.
At well under R2000 the One-mix lunarlite is a double value shoe offering both training and racing. This alone is a factor that means runners should investigate and try the shoe out.
About the Author:
Norrie Williamson (Coachnorrie) has 4 decades of Athletics, Triathlon and endurance experience and has represented Great Britain, Scotland and South Africa in these sports. He is also a World Athletics and SA qualified Coach, Technical Official and A grade Course Measurer who works internationally on events and coaching particularly in Africa, Middle East India and China. He writes product reviews and provides seminars on shoe and running style for individuals, clubs and groups (email@example.com)