APL Streamline review and lab test

Great ride, but the fun ends there. 

 

It’s always interesting to get a shoe from a non-running brand and see what they think makes a performance shoe. 

I was super interested to get my hands on this shoe once I saw the price tag though, assuming something amazing and special would arrive in the box, like caviar or a gold necklace. 

APL Streamline Pieces.jpg

Unfortunately what arrived was an EVA soled Vaporfly wannabe with some serious design flaws. 

Regardless, it’s fun to run in and turned some heads, but I think in the end APL needs to go back to the drawing board here, or stick to what they know, lifestyle and fashion footwear. 

Who should buy the APL Streamline

Only buy the APL Streamline if you have money to burn or really desire mixing fashion and running together. For most people that don’t live on the west coast, no one will know what APL is, but if you’re in LA and need to have street cred while you jog, this may be for you. 

For everyone else, plan on taking out a small loan to afford these.

Who should not buy it 

Don’t buy this shoe if you are a real runner. There are plenty of training shoes that perform and fit better for easily half the price. 

If you:

  • Want a solid trainer that feels similar without breaking the bank check out the Brook Glycerin 19.
  • Want a true race shoe that APL seems to have tried to copy, just buy the original, the Nike ZoomX Vaporfly NEXT% 2, it’s also $50 less. 
  • You want something that truly plush and comfortable to run in, you can’t fo wrong with the Saucony Triumph 19

The APL Streamline runs narrow

The Streamline runs narrow, and for people with wide feet, this shoe just may not work. Think Nike, and then suck in our gut a little (the gut of your feet that is…).  They measure 94.8mm in the forefoot and 70.8mm in the heel (98.4mm and 75.4mm is the average run shoe widths).

APL Streamline Width.jpg

The upper is restrictive too and has almost no give. It feels stiff and unforgiving, and almost plasticy. 

The good side of this, is the lockdown is great. There’s no slip at all in this shoe. 

But to me, it feels cheap. For example, the “gussets” on the tongue are not realy gussets, it’s just a 1-inch strip of elastic holding the tongue in place, not refined in my opinion, and I can see these stips eventually getting curled edges and causing rubbing over time since the shoe is hard to slide on. 

APL Streamline Cutaway.jpg

Not a lot of comfort features 

The underfoot feel of this shoe is great, but the rest of the shoe lacks in anything I’d consider as comfort-oriented. 

The upper is a super-thin, stiff, mono-mesh design with plenty of stiff overlays. Looks fancy, but it’s really not. 

The tongue is paper-thin at .7mm and offers zero padding over the top of your foot. The only nice detail on the tongue (and ankle collar) is the soft microfiber edging. 

The only hint of padding is the tiny patches of foam along the Achilles inside the heel, which do keep the heel locked down nicely, but there’s little comfort to gain from them. 

APL Streamline Logo.jpg

I’ll add, the ankle collar is a bit tall in my opinion and I did have some rubbing on the inside of my ankle bones. Plus the finger loop is sewn into the inside of the shoe and the seam rubs on my heels, not sure why they thought this would work, but unfortunately, it does not. 

APL Streamline Finger Loop.jpg

There’s also a thick seam for the heel counter itself  (which keeps the heel stiff) on the inside of the shoe. It’s just not smooth and there’s tons of potential here for rubbing and irritation. 

The Streamline does have a nice soft,  5mm insole, but it’s nonremovable so that’s a bummer for runners that want to swap it out for something more custom. 

Is the Streamline’s ride worth the money

$300 for an EVA midsole?? I had my doubts, and for this price, I’d expect a hydrogen-infused, bouncy, soft, fun, modern midsole foam. 

EVA seems very 2005 to me for this price level of a running shoe. Oddly APL calls this midsole “FutureFoam” but we all know EVA is clearly from the past...

Surprisingly though, the midsole works, as a daily trainer it’s supportive, peppy, and actually enjoyable and fun to run in, not just a dull brick like some dense, thick slabs of EVA can be. 

APL Streamline Side.jpg

We measured 36.7mm of stack in the heel and 25.9mm in the forefoot, giving the Streamline 10.8mm of drop, and it feels a bit steep for sure. I like 4-6mm in my shoes, shoes, but for heel strikers, this may work and feel like a dream with its large, chunky, oversized heel. 

APL Streamline Back Angle.jpg

There is a thin nylon shank in between the two layers of EVA foam, and although it doesn’t stiffen the shoe (flexed at 38N which is average) like a carbon plate (these are normally in the 70N+ range), it is forward-leaning and helps the shoe transition onto its toes giving it a rockered and propulsive feel. You can pick up the pace in these should you need to get home in a hurry to check your stock portfolio to see if you’ve recouped the $300 these set you back.

EVA foam is known to harden up when temps drop and even “FutureFoam” has this problem. The shoe stiffened up 45.8% to a flex measure of 55.4N, so keep them warm if you plan to run in the winter. 

APL Streamline Freezer.jpg

In the end, the shoe is actually enjoyable to run in, because of its ride. I don’t know how APL did it, but this EVA midsole works extremely well. If you can get past the upper’s narrow design, and some of the other flaws, it’s actually fun, but at $300 I need more than fun, I need rocketships mixed with puppies!

APL Streamline has decent weight

At 9.6 ounces (272g) the Streamline is not atrocious for a daily trainer, especially with this much foam underfoot and a full rubber outsole. But at the price point, I’d want something around 7 ounces if I had my druthers. 

APL Streamline Weight.jpg

Grips well and should last many miles

There’s a lot of outsole on this shoe, and it grips well on the dry road tests I took it out on thanks to its softer makeup. At 79HC the rubber is grippy but not so soft that I’d fear premature wear. 

APL Streamline Outsole.jpg

It’s 2.9mm thick which is under the average shoe at 3.5mm, but well above some other high-priced shoes like the Adidas Adizero Adios Pro 2 which has just 1mm of rubber underfoot. 

APL Streamline Outsole Heel.jpg

APL is nice and breathable

The shoe is breathable. The thin mono-mesh upper does the trick to keep your feel running somewhat cool, there’s nothing overly fancy here but it works. 

APL Streamline Upper Toe.jpg

Lacing is a disaster

The lacing is confusing as shit (pardon my French). I’m not sure why APL decided to design the lacing structure like this, other than to be cute and do something different. But it doesn’t work, don’t fix what’s not broken APL… 

APL Streamline Lacing.jpg

Instead of the laces crossing like every other shoe, they go through two holes on each side before they cross making it extremely difficult to dial in, lace up and unlace at the end of your run. It does stay tight though so I’ll give them that, but its hard to deal with. 

And round laces… Sorry, these just don’t cut it on a performance shoe, although they stay tight (42.2N on our lace slip test is actually pretty impressive) and I’m not a fan. They are not as comfortable as flat laces over the top of your foot, and they are a bit harder to handle in your fingers. 

Reflective

There are zero reflective elements on this shoe, so stay home after dark! 

APL Streamline Reflective.jpg

Conclusion 

In the end, it’s a good running shoe for the first attempt from a non-running brand. But it has flaws, the biggest being the $300 price tag. 

Complete lab-specs overview 

  Streamline Average
Whole shoe
Weight (g) 272 266
Drop (mm) 10.8 8.5
Flexibility of the shoe (N) 38.0 38.8
Flexibility of the shoe (Freezer 20 min) (N) 55.4 50.0
Flexibility of the shoe (% of change) 45.8 35.5
Lace slip test with the knot (N) 42.2 24.6
Longitudinal flexibility (1-5 scale, 5 being the stiffest) 4 3.2
Torsional flexibility (1-5 scale, 5 being the stiffest) 5 3.4
Upper
Thickness - Tongue (mm) .7 5.5
Width Upper - Forefoot (mm) 94.8 98.4
Width Upper - Heel (mm) 70.8 75.4
Lace Stretch (1-5 scale, 5 being the most stretchy) 2 2.8
Flexibility of the heel counter (1-5 scale, 5 being the stiffest) 1 3.1
Tongue: gusset type Both sides (full) -
Heel: pull tab Finger Loop -
Midsole
Width Midsole - Forefoot (mm) 110.2 112.2
Width Midsole - Heel (mm) 93.5 89.2
Stack - Forefoot with insole (mm) 25.9 24.5
Stack - Heel with insole (mm) 36.7 33.0
Durometer Midsole Heel (Room temperature) (HA) 21.5 22.8
Outsole
Outsole thickness (Heel) (mm) 2.9 3.5
Lugs Depth (mm) N/A 3.0
Durometer Outsole Heel (Room temperature) (HC) 79.0 80.5
Insole
Insole Heel Thickness (mm) 5.0 4.3
Insole: removable No  

Facts / Specs

Terrain: Road
Weight: Men 261g / Women 207g
Drop: 8mm
Arch support: Neutral
Pronation: Neutral Pronation / Supination / Underpronation
Arch type: High arch
Use: All-day wear, Walking / Jogging / Treadmill

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APL Streamline video reviews

Author
Paul Ronto
Paul Ronto

Over the past 20 years, Paul has climbed, hiked, and ran all over the world. He has summited peaks throughout the Americas, trekked through Africa, and tested his endurance in 24-hour trail races as well as 6 marathons. On average, he runs 30-50 miles a week in the foothills of Northern Colorado. His research is regularly cited in The New York Times, Washington Post, National Geographic, etc. On top of this, Paul is leading the running shoe lab where he cuts shoes apart and analyses every detail of the shoes that you might buy.