“Jean-Luc Diard, Global VP of Innovation for Deckers, and his team are responsible for the creation of DeckersXLab. Jean-Luc has a lifetime of experience in the sport industry. For many years, he was the CEO of Salomon, a leading athletic equipment company, where he devised the brand’s design center and redefined its core identity. Shortly after, he founded a start-up called HOKA ONE ONE. It began with his desire as a runner to have better cushioning and stability through an oversized outsole. The company is now owned by Deckers Brands. Through his passion for outdoor sports, drive for innovation, and endless need for improvement, Jean-Luc started DeckersXLab on a path to change the footwear industry.”
So even you may not be completely familiar with Deckers, their background in running tech and planning. So, what is this Deckers Lab?
“Creativity is the act of combining two things that nobody put together before. Craft perfects the seams in-between. Done right, the combinational result is not addition. THIS+THAT = THISTHAT. THIS+THAT = SOMETHING TOTALLY NEW. New is why Deckers Lab exists. New must have its own place to fail until it succeeds. And to succeed, new must clear a new bar. New must be:
- Engineered for ultimate performance.
- Designed for everyday ultra comfort and timeless elegance.
- Built for a better and cleaner planet.
And most importantly, it must make something new in you when you put it on.”
It’s very clear that the new K-ST Low is absolutely in line with this.
I’ve probably reviewed near 50+ shoes over the years, but the K-ST Low is probably one of the most shocked I have been when pulling them out of the box. That SwallowTail™ heel (a very apt name) really draws the eyes in right off the bat and its impossible to not get comments when wearing these.
The rest of the shoe, outside of the heel, looks pretty standard for running/training shoes.
For some people, it may be a little too much, but that’s right in line with the Decker’s Lab – something new and unique. It’s definitely not for the feint of heart.
Comfort & Construction:
There is actually some science that comes with the unique look. Here is Decker’s description:
When does a shoe stop being a shoe and become equipment? When it has suspension. Because suspension turns force into propulsion. And when you strap into the K-ST 21, you strap into an atom on a sugar high full of propulsion.
There’s a laboratory full of “What’s that for?” happening in the K-ST 21 and it begins at the heel. The plush, angled heel catches you and immediately transfers downward energy into forward momentum. The heel also is the first point of contact to a wide platform (aka sole) resulting in unstoppable stability. The heel immediately rocks you into the midfoot where it is amplified by our who’s-the-nutter-who-came-up-with-this? Carbon Bow Technology™ suspension system.
The Carbon Bow transfers the energy into the toe box. This roll completes the rocker, sending you off into your next step. Pair all of this with enhanced grip as well as an upper that hugs you like grandma does and the K-ST 21 gives you more than you ever knew you needed. How you use it is up to you, but no matter which way you move, you’ll never go from A to B again.
I suppose that does make some sense – in fact pretty much all big name running shoe companies have a similar concept that aims to transfer energy from the heel to the foot and propel runners forward. This is just a very bold visual step in that direction.
I never felt that, even with such a wide and prominent heel, that anything was awkward or amiss when wearing them. To be honest, it felt like any other shoe, which is key when dealing with a unique concept.
All things considered however, I found that these were really comfortable to wear around. They are pretty dang comfortable right out of the box with minimal break in period. They also come with a secondary pair of insoles, so you have at your disposal EVA memory foam and a more lush PU memory foam.
shoes are comfortable from the very first step. As far as materials, the uppers are both breathable and lightweight. No sweaty feet here! Bonus – these shoes come with an extra set of insoles. One pair of insoles is PU plush memory foam, and the other is EVA memory foam with low compression for a shock-free experience.
I ran a couple easy miles on the treadmill in them and they performed admirably, but I am not sure I would utilize these as everyday running shoes. I did, however wear them in some HIIT training via the Peloton app and feel that this is where they really shined. I felt the spring and support a little more forcefully.
Additionally, I kind of also like wearing these out and about and doubling them as a casual pair as well.
Overall, these are an investment (as they run just shy of $200), but are seriously one of the most eye-popping and unique pairs I have ever worn. And they even go beyond aesthetics to add in some meaningful shoe tech that adds functionality as well.
RECOMMENDED…for the brave.
Shoe & Price:
- K-ST Low ($199)
Specs: (from website)
- Weight = 12.5 oz.
- Anatomic, gender specific medium width performance running last
- Cordura® ballistic nylon and Matryx® upper for unparalleled durability and light-weight breathable foothold
- Adjusting fit lycra tongue and toe box
- Under Foot Geometry: 120 – 80 – 100 mm, 4.5 mm drop, 16.5 – 21mm stack height
- Xponent+ Midsole featuring IM EVA foam and Carbon Bow Technology™ suspension system
- Extended angled heel with Meta-Rocker geometry that delivers an uptempo and propulsive ride
- Removable insoles for personal tuning: 1) Anatomical, closed cell PU plush memory foam with silky smooth lycra lining and perforations for added comfort and 2) Anatomical, open cell EVA memory foam with ultra low compression set Poron® heel crash pad for an ultra shock-free cushioned ride
More About Deckers Lab
Testing and perfecting performance technology across brands and categories – from running shoes and athletic wear to sandals and – our team of footwear specialists brings a wide range of expertise into everything we do. As a label rather than a brand, Deckers Lab is not limited to one type of product, application, or environment – we are in the business of creating all kinds of designs to help individuals push all kinds of boundaries. At our core lie three commitments: best-in-class dynamic comfort, elevated performance, and better products for a better planet. For each of these values, we seek to go above and beyond, listening to our customers to collaboratively build solutions for enhancing your everyday.
Run Oregon sometimes receives shoes and gear to test. We post our honest impressions with the intention of helping you determine if a product will be right for you. Learn more about how Run Oregon conducts reviews through our transparency page.