hylo ATHLETICS Impact Review: Running for Good

hylo are trying to achieve peak performance while reducing their impact on the planet. The Impact is their do-it-all daily solution. How does it work?

hylo Impact: Who are hylo?

Andy: If I am honest, before this box arrived on my doorstep, I had not heard of hylo ATHLETICS. Upon opening the box and finding a fine looking pair of shoes, I had my interest piqued. So, who are they?

 

A British company founded after his retirement in 2020 by former footballer Michael Doughty, hylo ATHLETICS is built for the planet. Their mission is to create running shoes which offer the highest possible performance with the lowest impact on the planet. Certified vegan, hylo ATHLETICS products are designed to have the lowest carbon footprint possible. Whilst they acknowledge that they are not yet perfect, they are always looking for ways to reduce their impact on the environment while innovating in their field. 

 

That brings us to the hylo Impact. Made from 40% bio-based materials, the Impact is designed to propel you through the daily miles with high levels of responsiveness and soft cushioning. While this is all a very worthy cause and something we can all get on board with, are the hylo Impact a good shoe?

Hylo Impact (20 of 21)
Hylo Impact (17 of 21) Large

Specs: 

Product Details from hylo ATHLETICS

Weight in hylo’s sample size: 280g

Stack in the heel: 33mm with an 8mm drop

MSRP: £150

Hylo Impact (9 of 21)
Hylo Impact (2 of 21)

hylo Impact Upper: Bio-based Beauty

Andy: The upper of the hylo Impact is 100% bio-based nylon derived from castor beans. More than that, it is very comfortable. Firstly, step in comfort is good, it is quite a traditional shape and feel. When I put my foot inside, I found a good amount of space in the toe box and good support from the stout heel cup. hylo also say that their upper has a DWR coating to aid water resistance, during my testing period so far I have had plenty of opportunity to test this out. The near constant rain we have experienced recently does seem to have been repelled well by the hylo Impact upper. As a secondary benefit, despite running through some fairly nasty, muddy pavements, they have also repelled a good amount of filth too. This is a real bonus as they have kept the lovely creamy colour intact.

 

As we move through the upper, we find a relatively thick and gusseted tongue. Thankfully, this does a good job of relieving lace pressure on top of the foot. Furthermore, it helps to achieve a good lockdown in the midfoot. I was very appreciative of the tongue as the laces, which are also 100% bio-based, are quite thick and do not have much give. Along the lacing loops, we have reinforcement from a corn based material. Around the heel, hylo have included about a centimetre of padding which adds to the lockdown of the shoe and isn’t intrusive on the run.

 

Overall, the upper of the hylo Impact does the job very well while looking good. It is comfortable, clean looking and has no spots of irritation. If I were to make an improvement to a future version of the shoe, I would probably like some slightly less bulky and even shorter laces.

A Gentle Foot Hugger

Ivan: I won’t delve into the sustainability aspect of hylo Impact, as Andy has already covered that very well. However, it’s worth mentioning that in my opinion, sustainability is always appreciated as long as it doesn’t compromise durability or performance.

 

The upper is really comfortable and definitely true to size. It’s so comfortable, in fact, that I could probably wear it without socks. The only minor issue I encountered was some initial pressure on the front part of my arch, which quickly dissipated during runs. Additionally, the fabric used is slightly on the thicker side, so the shoe could potentially run a bit hot during the summertime. The material is soft with just the right amount of stretch, and there aren’t many seams that could potentially cause discomfort. The shoe feels like it’s gently hugging my foot, providing a very nice sensation. Particularly noteworthy is the heel counter, which is both sturdy and generously padded, offering some much-needed support to an otherwise highly flexible shoe. As Andy also pointed out, there’s no fuss with the tongue and laces, contributing to a secure midfoot hold.

 

As for its aesthetics, I find it refreshing to encounter something beyond the usual men’s running shoe colour palette. It boasts a clean and appealing appearance that effortlessly straddles the line between a sneaker and a running shoe. It’s versatile enough for various activities, whether it be running, fitness sessions, or even casual daily wear. Let’s advocate for more designs like this, rather than yet another running shoe in blue with flashy orange accents.

Hylo Impact (16 of 21)

Midsole: Plant Powered Pop

Andy: hylo promises a responsive and cushioned ride and they deliver (mostly). Made with HyperBolt technology and PureGlide geometry, the nitrogen infused, supercritical EVA is certainly soft. Whilst hylo say that the midsole provides stability and support, I would disagree. Taking the hylo Impact in hand, it is clear to see that it is a very flexible midsole unit. As soon as the foot settles in, you can feel the squoosh from the midsole foam. The addition of the raised sidewalls of the midsole do help to hold the foot in place but, for me, don’t seem to add a lot of extra stability.

 

On the run, the hylo Impact is a very lively shoe. I was quite surprised to read the sample weight as it runs a lot lighter than the scales would say. I have used the Impact for fartlek style sessions (chasing Strava segments) and easy runs. On both, it has been a very enjoyable shoe. When picking up the pace, the midsole bounces well and gives a soft landing. During easy runs, the hylo Impact pops along quite happily absorbing road stress along the way.

 

That being said, I took the hylo Impact on one longer run of around 16km. Sadly, this seemed to be a bridge too far with my feet and the shoe. Much like the PUMA Liberate Nitro, it is a shoe which is great fun but only over shorter distances. After the 16km, my feet did feel a little beaten up with the lack of structure to the midsole and the cushioning bottoming out due to its softness. Overall, the midsole is a very fun ride which has a good degree of versatility with pace. Perhaps your feet are tougher than mine and will handle the longer miles in them well.

hylo Impact: A Versatle Midsole

Ivan: I absolutely agree with everything Andy just mentioned. The Hylo IMPACT is incredibly lively and flexible, which I think provides an exceptional step-in feel and comfort, especially notable just walking around in the shoe initially. Running in the shoe is also quite pleasant, but during extended runs, the lack of structure and rigidity in the midsole becomes apparent. Despite Hylo’s efforts to widen the platform and even extend the heel section, my feet still felt the strain as the runs progressed. Even with the supportive heel counter and raised sidewalls, the midsole’s softness led to some foot fatigue. Transitioning to a heel strike from my usual midfoot strike felt better, highlighting the noticeable extra cushioning in the rear, albeit without resolving the inherent instability.


Like Andy, I didn’t perceive the shoe as heavy, and I was able to increase the pace fairly easily. It responded well during shorter tempo bursts, surpassing even 5K efforts. However, I believe that few runners would overlook the excessively soft and flexible midsole, particularly during longer uptempo runs. Nonetheless, I view the Hylo IMPACT as a comfortable all-rounder, suitable for runners seeking a blend of running and general fitness activities.

Hylo Impact (15 of 21)
Hylo Impact (8 of 21)

hylo Impact Outsole: F1 Inspired Stickiness

Andy: On first look, I was very sceptical about the chances of the outsole to hold me to the ground. 6, roughly 1.5cm wide strips of rubber cover the forefoot. Imprinted on these is the company motto, “Run like the world depends on it”. The heel of the shoe is covered by 4 of the same style strips. With no real lugs on show, I was apprehensive about heading out on to the sloppy pavements and wet cobbles of town. Thankfully, the Formula 1 inspiration pays off and the hylo Impact sticks to the road like Max Vertsappen. During my testing so far, I have run on a range of soggy surfaces and the only time I have felt a slip was on extremely sodden, muddy grass. But, that being said, it is a road shoe and grip has always excelled there. 

 

After over 50km of running on pavements, I can see no wear at all on the 2.5mm thick rubber strips. Moreover, there is no obvious wear on the large amount of exposed midsole which is present on the Impact. The main question I have about the durability of the hylo Impact is more based around the midsole than the outsole. How long will a foam with such low density last?

Sticky When Wet

Ivan: While it certainly looks pretty cool, I’m not particularly concerned about the traction provided by the outsole rubber strips. Having observed a fairly similar texture in other running shoes, I felt confident that it would offer tire-like traction and durability. While I can’t yet comment on its long-term durability, the outsole has certainly proven itself in wet road conditions, which I’ve encountered frequently during my recent runs. Of course, the absence of lugs means it’s not suitable for trail running, but I can’t imagine anyone being tempted to take a shoe like this into such conditions anyway.

Hylo Impact (12 of 21)
Hylo Impact (5 of 21)

hylo Impact Conclusion: Run for the Planet and Feel Good

Andy: If you are looking for stability and structure in a shoe, click here or here. If you are looking for fun in your daily miles then the hylo Impact is very much worth a look. It can have life both on the roads and in the cafe’s afterwards. Much like the Saucony Triumph RFG, this is a shoe which is both good for the planet and a love of running.

 

For short blasts, easy daily miles and even some track reps, the hylo Impact will put a smile on your face. It is never going to be my long run shoe, however, it will remain in my rotation for as long as the midsole lasts. Before this review, I had never heard of hylo ATHLETICS. After running in the Impact, I will be keen to see what they come out with next!

A Worthy Purchase

Ivan: Like Andy, I had never heard about Hylo Athletics before either. I appreciate their effort and transparency regarding the environmental impact, and I believe the Hylo Impact is a shoe that caters to casual runners seeking a versatile option. It not only looks good but also immediately feels comfortable to wear, thanks to the well-executed upper. While the extremely squishy, soft, and flexible midsole makes it challenging to recommend for extended runs, the majority of runners will likely find it more suitable for shorter runs, general fitness, and even everyday wear.

Ivan

Ivan

48 years old

180cm (5’9″) – 63kg (138lbs)

Midfoot striker – Cadence runner

Mild pronator

@runnersgrit

Andy

Andy

45 years old

173cm (5’8″) – 66kg (145lbs)

Forefoot striker – (Very) high cadence runner

@discobob

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