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UK Gear’s training shoes were originally designed in association with the Royal Army Physical Training Corps (RAPTC). These elite fitness professionals were closely involved in the development and tested our products in some of the most inhospitable conditions on Earth. Only when approved by the Military do we consider our products... Built to survive.

Trooping along in the very latest trainers

>>01 January 2005

When ERIC JACKSON, an occasional runner at Stockport Harriers, heard that some new trainers had been produced with the help and approval of the British Army, he decided to put them to the test. This is his report...

There was a time when the military and the limit of sartorial considerations went little further than deciding on the right shadeof khaki.

But now the British Army has put its name to a running shoe, which, it is hoped, will compete in the style and fitness stakes with the Nikes and the Reeboks of this world.

The PT-03 - made by sportswear company UK Gear and developed with the guidance of the army's Physical Training Corps' elite instructors - combines flash looks with hi-tech design. In fact, it's so advanced that when i first saw the blurb I though t I was reading the assembly instructions for a Cruise missile rather than the details of a piece of exercise kit.

It talks about "skeletal construction", "secodn density EVA compound for enhanced medial motion control" and "directional traction lugs." In other words, the shoe is like a walking advertisement for the advancement of science. Which is why, I suppose, all Army fitness instructors are now wearing the trainers in gyms from Aldershot to Cyprus.

But I'm just an ordinary civilian. Do they do the business for me? Well, when I first put them on to pound the streets of Stockport, it was like I'd attached springs to my heels. Those hard pavements suddenly felt more like a mattress, and the aches - normally routine for an old codger like me - failed to materialise.

And three miles later, although exhausted back home, the limbs felt good and the feet sore-free.

So on that score, the PT-03 is a winner. Where it loses points, though, is in its looks. Maybe it's the appliance of too much science or that the designer has just gone crazy, but the oversall appearance is too fussy. There are four shades of grey overlaid with a zigzag pattern and a single red flash on the side, while the heel sports a round unon jack. But then, such embellishment seems to be de rigueur these days for trainers at the top end of the market. Why can't they make them look simple, like good old Pumas?

Yet the bottom line for trainers is always comfort and performance - and the PT-03 can't be faulted there (it's even got a built-in deodorant). And if you're serious about your running, these trainers, which cost £79, should ba a part of your armoury.