Shoe Review: K-Swiss K-Ona

K-Swiss isn’t particularly known in the Philippines as a company that makes running shoes so I was quite surprised when I saw several models in the local market.  One particular shoe that caught my eye was the K-Ona.

First glance at my K-Swiss K-Ona.

K-Ona is definitely a looker with its design.  It looks very breathable but what surprised me was when I lifted it—at mere 9 ounces it was one of the lightest shoes I’ve ever handled!

K-Swiss K-Ona

Judging by looks of the K-Ona one may think that this is just your regular cushioning shoes for those leisure runners but the K-Ona is anything but that—it was the pair that Terenzo Bozzone wore at the recent Ironman 70.3 CamSur (Philippines).  Not only was the K-Ona Ironman 70.3-certified (half-Ironman), it is also Kona-certified (full Ironman).  A very impressive ultra-lightweight shoe!

Top view

Shoe Features

An Ultra-light (9oz) and stable running shoe perfect for fast days, races, and triathlons.

  • Durability is achieved with an Aosta® II rubber outsole.
  • Flexibility is enhanced by anatomically correct flex-grooves.
  • Support is obtained with a direct injected urethane support cage with five-stripe branding on top.
  • Stability comes from a rigid TPU midfoot shank.
  • Breathability is enhanced by a Flow Cool System™ for moisture management.
  • Cushioning is provided by Superfoam® technology, an Si-18 technology crash pad and a k-EVA midsole.
  • Comfort is enhanced with a seamless upper construction.

Technology Features

High-density outsole provides unsurpassed durability from heel-to-toe.
Enhances breathability and moisture management from heel-to-toe to keep feet cool and dry.
Special formula EVA to provide maximized cushioning and enhance durability of the midsole.


A space-aged energy-return foam that resists compression and lasts longer providing cushioning and comfort.

Of course shoes are not meant only to be looked at, but to be worn.  It was love at first step as I tried the K-Ona for the first time and run with it on a treadmill.  The first thing I noticed was how comfortable it was, not to mention that you hardly feel that you’re wearing a shoe because of its light weight.  Of course you know you’re wearing one because you land softly on the surface.

The Test: Standard Chartered Singapore Marathon

Four days before SCSM I decided to have a piece of Kona myself, K-Ona I mean.  I’ve never had this much fascination with a shoe before and that same night I had it for a 6.75K test run.  It was one of those rare shoes that you need not break-in—it was excellent out of the box!  With just a single test run this shoe earned my trust that I decided outright that this would be my SCSM pair.  They said never to try anything new during race day but hey, if it’s good enough for Ironman, it’s good enough for me!

Ready for some action in Singapore!

Unlike other shoes that force you to conform to, the K-Ona is perfect for forefoot and heel strikers alike because of its excellent cushioning in these areas.  The rubber outsole is also very durable as it hardly exhibit any wear and tear even after a full marathon.  And unlike other shoes that feels hard after a long run, the Superfoam remains soft and comfortable even after the end of the 42K spree.  I’ve never had a shoe that was this comfortable that I actually never worried about my feet all throughout the run.  The flow cool system was also better than other cooling system used by other brands as you get unobstructed air flow from virtually all directions, which proved to be very useful for those humid runs like SCSM.  All these without sacrificing weight!

Among other noticeable features of this shoe are the excellent grip (despite the holes on the soles), excellent fit, seamless construction, no “hard” zones, and interesting shoe laces.

Even the soles feature the Flow Cool System™

The only drawback of this shoe was that it is definitely not for those who need stability or motion control as the midfoot shank provides only a moderate amount of control. You may also want to think twice before running into that puddle of water or mud as it may enter through the holes under the soles, although it may dry faster than other shoes would.

Aftermath of SCSM: My K-Ona didn’t get dirty during the marathon, it was during the claiming of the finisher’s medal!


The K-Ona is easily one of the best shoes in the market as it is very versatile in terms of use (good for sprints and long runs) and target audience (forefoot and heel strikers). It offers one of the best rides while maintaining support, good traction, and some level of control without sacrificing breathability and weight.  Even the insoles were very well made like those custom insoles. Add to that cool looks without breaking the bank. Don’t just take my word for it, seasoned Ironman champions use it!  It was a “perfect” shoe for that “perfect” race. If there’s anything more I’d like, that would be to have another pair (wait, make that two)!

8 Comments Add yours

  1. ed says:

    how much is it? I saw it on their website and I must say, they look great, I’m wondering if it would work for a big high arched forefoot runner like myself? I’ve read online reviews and most of them categorize it as a performance stability shoe. the last stability shoe i had were the nb 769s i bought on sale. after a couple of painful training runs, i never laced a stability shoe again. I’m trying to go minimalist now, slowly transitioning to a puma saloh, but I just feel I need to get my hands on these babies. like you said, if its good enough for an ironman, it should be good enough for a mere mortal.


    1. dhenztm says:

      SRP in the Philippines is Php5,000. Because of its light weight and construction it doesn’t provide as much stability as other shoes with thicker soles, in fact it feels more “cushioning” than stability. If you can run with Puma Saloh you can run with K-Ona, but I suggest you try it out in stores with treadmills so you can actually test it.


  2. I have admired K-Swiss for a long time. A few months ago I think that as a business they has suffered. For a while the company’s design wasn’t what it was and IME, the standard of the goods went south. HOWEVER, now I feel K-Swiss are tops although they aren’t the cheapest trainers.


    1. dhenztm says:

      I agree, K-Swiss seems to be heading in the right direction although their entry levels could use a lot of improvement to keep up with competition.


  3. Khun Kathy says:

    I’ve been searching for a lightweight shoe (that dries easily) and has adequate stability for pronators like me. Thanks for this comprehensive review. This helped me decide to buy a pair – finally bought the K-onas at Planet Sports yesterday. Can’t wait to run in them. I’ll still use my ever reliable NB 1225s during training runs, but on race day i’ll be using these K-onas =)


  4. Roelle says:

    great review! This could probably be my next shoe.



  5. kim says:

    i love my new shoes it k-swiss brought by my father…and it is so easy to wear


  6. timmy says:

    I have 2 pairs of K-Ona C for my run…. love those shoes!


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