The technology from this sneaker company was banned in the NBA for being so effective - but fitness enthusiast and casual wearers alike are both flocking to their newer styles

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  • I've been seeing these APL TechLoom Phantom sneakers all over social media (on both men and women), and started wondering if they'd be the "next big thing" in footwear.
  • I think they will be.
  • They're incredibly comfortable and stylish enough to wear both in and out of the gym.
  • Celebrities and fitness stars love them, and at $165 per pair, they're not overwhelmingly expensive or inaccessible - a perfect formula for success.
  • Check out women's sizes here and men's sizes here.
I'll be the first to admit that I spend way too much time on Instagram. But the hours I dedicate to mindlessly swiping through stories or scrolling through photos aren't always for naught. Sometimes my time spent on social media ends up leading me to new trends, products, or styles I wouldn't have otherwise considered writing about or buying for myself. Advertisement

Most recently, I noticed APL sneakers getting a lot of attention - on Instagram, yes, but also in magazines, gyms, and the streets of NYC. I decided to investigate.

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Well, by investigate, I mean go through a rabbit hole of APL hashtags on Instagram, Kardashian and fitness blogger social media accounts, and street-style photos. What I found was only proof of my suspicion that APL's shoes are becoming a mainstay for the fitness community, celebrities, and sneakerheads alike.

Founded in 2009 by twins and former college athletes Adam and Ryan Goldston, APL (which stands for Athletic Propulsion Labs) set out to create sneakers that combined performance and design. The first style they ever launched was a basketball shoe that ended up being banned from the NBA for the 2010-2011 season because its proprietary technology was literally too effective at helping athletes jump higher.

Sign me up, because I can't even jump high enough to reach the cereal off the top shelf at the grocery store.
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After seeing their newer styles everywhere (albeit with slightly different technology in the sole), I tried out a pair of one of their newer styles called the TechLoom Phantoms, because they seem to be the most basic and prolific. I wanted to get a sense of whether or not these sneakers were as comfortable and easy to fall in love with as other cult-favorites (Allbirds being the most obvious) - specifically because the greatest indicator of a shoe becoming "the next big thing" is generally whether or not people actually like wearing them.

Turns out the Kardashians (and Business Insider's resident former college athlete and APL fan Emily Matis) weren't wrong about these sneakers, which can be worn both in and out of the gym.

Similar to Nike and Adidas' performance textiles, the TechLoom part of the sneakers refers to the woven knit upper - a material that keeps your foot securely in its place whether you're walking around Manhattan or going for a run. I found these sneakers to be cushy, bouncy, comfortable, and flexible with just enough arch support in the footbed. I now opt for them over my Adidas and my Nikes for both casual and more active wear.Advertisement

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The TechLoom Phantoms cost $165 (women's sizes here, men's sizes here) and come in over 25 stylish colorways, so there's something for everyone.

If you're really in it for the fashion, APL also makes three versions of the Phantom sneaker with a calf hair upper instead of TechLoom - including a $250 leopard print pair that you'll either love or hate (for the record, I love them). There are a few additional styles, none of which I personally tested, but all of which I presume are incredibly comfortable considering that they use the same technology in the sole. Advertisement

If you're interested in switching up your sneaker game or discovering a comfortable gym shoe beyond the usuals, I highly recommend APL. Instagram fame and street cred aside, these shoes are seriously comfortable and pretty affordable, too - a surefire formula for long-term success.

Shop women's TechLoom Phantoms at Zappos, $165

Shop men's TechLoom Phantoms at Zappos, $165

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