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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.

GT-02 - British Army marches on its fitness

>>15 March 2007

UK Gear GT-02 multi sports indoor training shoe
03/15/2007  by John Shepherd

The British Army marches on its fitness and UK Gear

The British army is renowned for being the best trained in the world. Regardless of specific soldiering responsibility ie whether para, squadie, or commando, all men and women will have one thing in common, great physical fitness. And developing this condition rests on the broad shoulders of Physical Training Instructors (PTI's). They train at the Army School of Physical Training in Aldershot as part of the Army Physical Training Corps (APTC).

I went along to the launch of UK Gear's GT-02 indoor workout shoe, which has been developed in a pioneering initiative with the APTC. UK Gear reasoned that there would be no more exacting and knowledgeable environment than the British army. Soldiers are put through a gruelling daily fitness routine. Indoors they will perform weights, circuits, participate in team and racket sports of all kinds and learn specific fighting and combat skills. UK Gear would have to design a shoe that would do all this and more. As David Hinde, the company1s managing director explained, "All too often, the term X-trainer is used to describe shoes that are made up from a modified running shoe. But we wanted to design a shoe that would be specifically designed for multi-directional movement - to be truly fit for purpose."

Such was the exacting feedback from the APTC that the GT-02 went through more than a 2 year period of development. It was actually trialled in its later stages of development across all the armed services. Eventually the product passed muster and the Army gave it its seal of approval. As Lieutenant Colonel Ian Horn MBE, APTC commanding officer said, "We took this project very seriously because it meets our needs and is one that the British army is pleased to be associated with." Consequentially on the flip-side of the GT-02's tongue, you'll find the APTC's and army's crossed swords insignia.

Shoe spec

-    All purpose indoor training shoe
-    Developed with the serious male and female fitness enthusiast in mind (women's model is specifically designed for the female foot)
-    Provides, cushioning, stability and durability
-    Non-marking sole

Selected specific attributes

-    Strategic panelling for side-foot structural support
-    Reinforced toe box, to protect the foot, yet allowing flexibility, making it ideal for such diverse activities as, indoor football and doing sit-ups
-    Shark fin rubber wrap sole allowing for improving rope climbing (!)
-    Pivot point on sole designed to reduce friction and aid agility
-    Impact pads to provide all foot (and body) cushioning when performing plyometrics (jumping exercises)

Putting the GT-02 to the test

To make sure we appreciated just what the GT-02 can do I donned a pair and sweated through a specifically designed circuit that would fully test the shoe and me! 10 weights and body weight exercises, such as curls, squats, up-right rows and step-ups made up the centre ring of the circuit. The outer ring comprised of agility and power exercises, such as running through floor ladders, zig-zagging in and out of cones and jumping over low hurdles. On a blast from the PTIs whistle you would move from your inner ring exercise and run through the outer ring circuit as fast as possible, returning to the next inner-ring circuit exercise. This went on for 20 minutes. Suffice to say that at the end of the workout the shoe was in better shape than me. I was shouted at a couple of times from a very polite PTI and was a little upset when on knocking down a hurdle I had to repeat the exercise. Good job I didn't express what I felt otherwise I could have been writing this up from the army lock-up.

The GT-02 surprised me as it coped very well with all that was thrown at it. It provided cushioning when performing dynamic movements, yet kept me stable when performing more static exercises. It was also light enough, yet flexible enough to let me run fast and crucially commit to full-out lateral movements, without fear of slipping or turning an ankle. In achieving all this the GT-02 achieved all it set out to with flying colours.

The GT-02 is available from specialist fitness and sport retailers, such as The Sweat Shop chain and direct from UK Gear's website: www.ukgear.com

Source: John Shepherd Fitness