Lululemon Chargefeel review TL;DR: a highly versatile training shoe that’s ideal for women who like to do a variety of workouts.
Lululemon have been a leader in women’s athleticwear for over 20 years, so when the Canadian-American brand announced they were making a foray into the running trainer and workout shoes market with not one but four activity-specific shoes - all designed exclusively for the female foot – it’s safe to say it sent ripples of excitement through the fitness industry.
First came the Blissfeel: a sleek run-specific shoe that has received rather mixed reviews since its launch in April 2022. Put it this way, for every casual runner I know who likes it for distances up to a 5k, there’s another more serious runner who just can’t get along with it, including Sophie, who reviewed the shoes for T3 (read her full Lululemon Blissfeel review).
Conversely, Lululemon’s second release, the Chargefeel - cross-training shoes designed for ‘running, training and on-the-go’ - has gone on to become a best-seller since its launch in July 2022, proving extremely popular with women like me who love to switch up their workouts. But would I like the Chargefeels as much as everyone else? I pulled them on, ran to the gym, and put them through their paces to find out.
Lululemon Chargefeel review – Price and availability
A new water-resistant version of the shoe is also now available in the form of the Lululemon Chargefeel Women’s Workout Shoe Winter, available from Lululemon UK / Lululemon US for a recommended retail price of £138 / $148.
Lululemon Chargefeel review – Features and technology
The Lululemon Chargefeel shoe has been created to meet the needs of women who like to work out in lots of different ways. I, for one, can totally get on board with this.
Yes, I enjoy traditional strength training sessions and running, but I also like HIIT, circuit training, and various types of dance and aerobics classes. And that means I’ve always needed several kinds of trainers to adequately support me through all my different types of workouts. Frustratingly, this can get very expensive very quickly, so finding one shoe that can support me through a variety of activities sounds highly appealing, to say the least.
Lululemon claims their ‘revolutionary’ Chargefeel shoes can support women through every activity - including running, sprinting, lunging, lifting, jumping and HIIT - by defying the typical cross-training shoe construction. This is made possible, they say, with a dual-density foam layering system and ‘midfoot frame’ that is both springy enough for running and agile enough for training.
I’ll go more in-depth on performance later, but my first impressions were thoughts of confusion and wonder. Just how, I asked out loud to many people while walking, running and training, had Lululemon managed to make a shoe that had a good enough amount of firmness and stability for weight training, with enough agility for HIIT and dance classes, and a decent amount of springy cushioning under the ball of the foot for running and a feeling of forward propulsion?!? I’m still not sure, and Lululemon aren’t exactly telling. But I like it. A lot.
Lululemon Chargefeel review – Style and aesthetics
Another thing I really like is the overall aesthetic of the shoes. They are super-streamlined, and the branding is so minimal you wonder if anyone will realise you’re wearing Lululemon shoes, unless they take a peep at the back, where you’ll find the brand’s oh-so-subtle ‘A’ logo.
In short, they look much more like fashion sneakers, so you can wear them to the office and still feel stylish. This also means you can wear one pair of trainers to work, pop out for a lunchtime workout or hit the gym after your working day is done, and still only need the shoes on your feet, negating the need to carry a different pair of shoes around in your gym bag.
The Lululemon Chargefeel shoes come in two styles: a ‘low’ version akin to your typical training or running shoe, and a ‘mid’ version, which boasts a stretchy sock-like ‘turtleneck’ that hugs the ankle to give the illusion of a high-top sneaker. In truth, I love the look of the Mid Chargefeel shoes, but I opted for the Low model because I felt I might not be trendy enough to carry off the Mid style - even though the Mid style is said to offer greater ankle support which I could absolutely do with!
Style credentials aside, I am very excited for the more practical water-resistant ‘Winter’ version of the Chargefeel Low shoe that has recently launched in a high-abrasion mesh fabric to protect your feet from the elements. It only comes in Black for now, with subtle touches of Highlight Yellow and Delicate Mint for improved visibility – unlike the original Low and Mid models which come in an array of bright and pastel colours - but that’s good enough for me to jog back and forth to the gym on soggy mornings and damp evenings.
Lululemon Chargefeel review – Fit and workout performance
The Lululemon Chargefeel shoes are built specifically for the female foot using data from millions of biomechanical foot scans, as opposed to being a ‘shrink and pink’ version of a man’s training shoe.
However, unlike Adidas and Under Armour, who both go into detail on their similar approaches to building female-specific shoes (the Adidas Ultraboost 22 and Under Armour Flow Synchronicity, respectively) and how their findings can improve your performance, Lululemon says little about how their research translates into the Chargefeel.
Therefore, I can only report on my own personal observations, which are that the Chargefeel shoes fitted my feet perfectly; they didn’t rub, cause blisters, or require any break-in period; and my high arches felt wonderfully supported, whatever activity I was doing.
It’s worth noting, however, that Lululemon shoes use US sizing, so I’d advise you to measure your foot from the heel to toe in cm and check it against the US size in the size chart on the website. I ended up ordering a UK size 7 when I usually wear a 6 or 6.5, and they were just right (Lululemon admits the shoes come up small and recommend you size up a half or whole size if you have wider feet).
Weighing in at 267.5 grams (9.4oz) in a women’s size 7, the Lululemon Chargefeel shoes are pretty lightweight, so they won’t weigh you down, and the breathable mesh upper features zones of stretch and support to hold your foot securely in place while letting it move how it wants to.
The Chargefeel shoes are designed to mirror the way many women exercise i.e., running to the gym or doing cardio on a treadmill before moving on to strength training. The result of this ‘run-to-train’ engineering is said to provide the bounce and forward motion required in a running shoe, the stabilising side-to-side motion you’d find in a cross-trainer, and great flexibility and traction on the ground during multidirectional movements thanks to the pressure-mapped outsoles.
I definitely found this to be true. Overall, I think the Chargefeel’s a fantastic allrounder that really suits my training style and lifestyle. I love wearing them for bouncier boxing, HIIT, and dance classes, but they also offer a flat platform and enough stability for weightlifting sessions (although serious lifters will want to stick to their lifting shoes if they’re going heavy).
Best of all, you can run in these neutral shoes. Don’t get me wrong, I wouldn’t wear them for anything over a 5k, and those requiring extra support underfoot will still want to wear their stability trainers, but the Chargefeel shoes are definitely cushioned enough for shorter distances, i.e., jogging to and from the gym, and they have enough traction to make them particularly good for sprinting and changing direction if you need to take part in a dreaded indoor beep test, for example.
Lululemon Chargefeel review – Verdict
The Lululemon Chargefeel shoe could have been at risk of being a ‘jack of all trades and master of none’. Instead, it’s a multi-tasking workhorse that lets you jump, skip, kick, lift, HIIT, lunge, box and sprint your way to fitness.
Best of all, it’s housed in a very stylish package, so it’s easy to understand why the Chargefeel has now become the workout shoe of choice for female fitness editors everywhere who want to look good in the office but also require the ability to attend any kind of workout or running event at a moment’s notice, without having to lug around extra pairs of running and gym shoes in their gym bag.
It won’t suit dedicated runners or devoted weightlifters, but it’s not meant to. It will, however, work extremely well for women who enjoy a variety of workouts and classes, and don’t want the expense of buying lots of different shoes. A great one-stop shop that really does do it all.
Lululemon Chargefeel review – Also consider
If your workouts typically involve a lot of running and a few cardio classes, you’ll like the responsive Hoka Kawana. This brilliant daily runner has a versatile hybrid design that can cope with longer distances and gym workouts, so you get the best of both worlds.
The Nike Metcon 7 comes out top in our best workout shoes for cross-training and beyond, thanks to its increased support, traction, and cushioning. It provides enough support for big lifts and enough speed for sprinting, plus it’s also suited for those with wide feet.