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This brand’s sneakers are so bouncy, the NBA banned players from wearing them

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Sneakers are supposed to be comfortable and supportive — that’s the point of wearing them. It’s an added bonus if they look good, too. Gone are the days of people wearing sneakers just for sports and exercise. They’re a fashion choice, and a popular one. Because of the latter, not all trendy sneakers are actually that comfortable. In fact, most high-end designer pairs have given me blisters, except for my APLs.

APL (Athletic Propulsion Labs) defines itself as a luxury performance footwear brand, and it lives up to its mission. In fact, its shoes are so comfy — the comfiest I’ve ever tried on — that they’re actually a bit bouncy. But that’s kind of the goal. In 2010, APL was the first brand to have a shoe banned by the NBA.

Let’s back up, though. If you’re not familiar, APL was founded in 2009 by twin brothers and former University of Southern California basketball players, Adam and Ryan Goldston. Its Concept 1 basketball shoe was the first to feature its “Load N’ Launch technology” to help wearers increase their vertical jump height. Consequently, the NBA banned it for performance reasons, citing “an undue competitive advantage,” according to the brand About Us page. Then in 2014, it moved on to create what it calls the “luxury performance segment” of athletic footwear, launching men’s and women’s running and training shoes. (It also recently did a collab with McClaren and you need to check it out.)

Today, you can find the shoes at major retailers like Nordstrom, Shopbop, DICK’S Sporting Goods, on APL’s own website and more. Pro tip: All of APL’s shoes are unisex.

Not sure which APL shoe style to start with? From someone who has tried most of them on, you can’t go wrong with any pair. The brothers put a lot of thought into the design of each shoe, even pulling inspiration from their travel adventures (like ziplining). The results are really unique, yet stylish sneakers. Even without seeing the label on the tongue, you can tell they’re APL.

One APL style I often see on the streets of NYC is the TechLoom Pro. It’s the brand’s original running shoe with a sleek, yet intricate woven upper and an extra cushioned midsole/outsole. According to the product description, the midsole features APL’s proprietary Propelium, a material that maximizes energy generation, while providing comfort, of course.

APL Women’s TechLoom Pro Ivory / Tan / Gum, $160

Credit: APL
Credit: APL

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I personally love the APL TechLoom Breeze, though. It’s a slip-on sneaker that still offers plenty of support. It’s super lightweight and it hugs my foot, similar to a sock. Whenever I pull these out of my closet, my dog gets excited because he knows we’re going on a long walk. I especially love that they’ve never given me a blister and, OK, I know this is kind of gross, but I usually don’t wear socks with them.

APL Women’s TechLoom Bliss Creme / Fusion Pink / White, $220

Credit: APL
Credit: APL

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Another favorite isn’t a sneaker at all, but it’s just as comfy — APL’s TechLoom slide sandals. I recently purchased a pair on sale at DICK’S Sporting Goods ahead of a bachelorette party in Miami. Every girl at the party tried on my slides before heading to the beach and at least two purchased them online before our toes hit the sand.

APL Women’s TechLoom Satin Slides, $71.98 – $83.98 ($119.99 – $139.99)

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Most recently, however, APL released its Spring 2023 collection called “The Painter’s Palette” featuring its best-selling styles in new colorways. Each color is a vibrant, rich hue and the collection features splattered paint-inspired speckles, too. Check it out if you’re in the market for a new pair of sneakers that won’t give you blisters, may put a little extra spring in each step and that you can wear everywhere — from the running track to the beach to brunch with friends.

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