The Specifics

Who: Karhu.

The product: Karhu Synchron Ortix MRS (available in Black, Steel Grey, and Blue).

Specs: Neutral / High Cushion / Road / 10.5oz weight / 14mm Heel-to-Toe.

What are they selling us: Karhu claim these shoes are designed for runners or walkers seeking "comfort and a plush ride."

What we liked

Karhu Synchron Ortix MRS

There's a huge difference between 'springy' and 'cushioned'. Typically the former applies to super-light shoes for speed workouts, while the latter is used to describe workhorse shoes for long-runs, yet the lines are often blurred (and by both sides). The Karhu Synchron Ortix MRS are firmly placed in the 'cushioned' camp, and that's it. You're not going to start gaining speed in them, but there's a good chance your distances might increase.

A 20-mile review might not seem like a lot, but following a few 10ks in them, I felt like the recovery time of my ankles and feet were vastly improved by the support in the memory-foam heel and the contoured midsole - something that my old bones really appreciated. Another thing Karhu have hung their hat on with these shoes is the "seamless overlays to minimize irritation" - which I can confirm is the case here.

Design-wise, photos don't do them justice. I was half-expecting a pair of shoes that would be a hit in an old people's home, but they're actually pretty nice in person and nowhere near as chunky.

What we didn't like

Karhu Synchron Ortix MRS

The cushioned approach means that you're getting a heavier (10.5oz) ride than you might be used to, and with little energy return - at least compared to shoes with a similar sales pitch, such as the Brooks Levitate. That's the often the compromise you make when you go down this route - I just wish more thought was put into the energy part. Price-wise, they retail for $160, which is certainly not cheap but near enough what you'd expect to pay for a high-cushioned shoe from a lesser-known company.

Would we recommend them?

Based on the "comfort" part of the tagline, yes. On the "plush" part, no. They do a great job of helping you go the distance without you actively thinking about your feet, but I wouldn't say it's a "plush" ride. However, if you're looking for a new pair of neutral distance runners then these are well worth considering.

The Karhu Synchron Ortix MRS can be bought by heading to Karhu's official website. They currently retail for $160.