Welcome to Refinery29’s So, How Is It Really? where we take a look at all of the topics that have the internet talking. In studying them up close, we answer the question of what it’s really like to try out a trend, a viral product, or an unexpected TikTok hack. This month, we review the APL TechLoom Dream, a just-launched performance sneaker from editor- and celebrity-favorite brand APL.
I was never athletic as a kid — I was naturally injury-prone, and organized sports seemed like tempting fate — but as an adult, I’ve grown to love all things fitness. While I’m mostly into yoga, pilates, and spin, I’ve also been trying to get back into running, which in addition to being a great full-body workout is also free! Over the years, I’ve tested out quite a few runners (see here, here, and here!), but had somehow never tried a pair of APL workout sneakers. This is why when the sneaker brand beloved by the fashion set announced a new shoe drop, the TechLoom Dream, I jumped on the chance to try them out.
Billed as an ”all-purpose running & training shoe,” the APL TechLoom Dream innovates on the existing TechLoom family of APL styles, which is known for its patented one-piece woven upper and performance-meets-luxury POV. What the Dream is betting big on, however, is even more comfort and support than its predecessors, thanks to a newly-engineered, cushion-y midsole that acts as a supportive surface for your foot and absorbs shock from the step. Other features include the Soufflé sock liner to keep things secure and comfortable, a cushioned collar (no scratched ankles here!) with performance mesh lining, and a rubber outsole with a hint of treads for added traction.
Photo: Courtesy of Karina Hoshikawa
Even in the box, the TechLoom Dreams looked absolutely gorgeous. I went with the black pair, which I could envision wearing outside of the gym, dressing up with a silk midi and top, or wearing out and about with denim and a crisp white tee. (It also comes in a signature ivory colorway.) The TechLoom Dream has a size run of 5 through 11, including half sizes. I went for my true size, a 5.5, and these fit like a glove right away — no breaking in period. They were also incredibly breathable thanks to the knit upper, which I find is a highly underrated feature in footwear. (I recently hiked multiple trails in Hawaii, and shoes that had some degree of airflow were key.) While they felt super comfortable right away, I knew that the true test would be how my feet felt after an entire day of dog walks, errands, and workouts.
Once again, I have to reiterate the fit on these: They’re as true to size as can be, and my entire foot felt supported but not constricted. As I went about my day, I have to say — when APL says dreamy, they mean it. I like a lot of cushion — so much so that I almost feel like I’m floating on a cloud with every step — and these shoes deliver. When I took them out for an inaugural test drive on the treadmill — a breezy three-mile run, nothing too crazy — I thought they felt great. Depending on your personal preferences, you may find these not supportive enough; while the form-fitting midsole does provide substantial arch support, these wouldn’t necessarily be my first choice for say, running a marathon.
For moderate exercise and casual wear, these truly tick all the boxes and then some. If I were going on anything longer or outdoors on uneven terrain though, I might suggest something a little more rugged because support and traction are essential to avoid slipping and sliding (aka, things that potentially lead to injury). However, for training and HIIT workouts, I really liked how responsive and lightweight the TechLoom Dream was.
Photo: Courtesy of Karina Hoshikawa
Final verdict? At $250, she’s expensive — and looks it. But not only was the comfort level on point, but these are a seriously stylish pair of runners. They’re sporty, but still feel elevated, and could easily work as a lifestyle and workout shoe. All to say: whether you’re already a fan of APL or are a newbie like me, I think you’d be hard-pressed to find a more versatile – and chic — workout sneaker.
At Refinery29, we’re here to help you navigate this overwhelming world of stuff. All of our market picks are independently selected and curated by the editorial team. All product details reflect the price and availability at the time of publication. If you buy or click on something we link to on our site, Refinery29 may earn commission.