Saturday, February 25, 2017

New Balance Fresh Foam Hierro v2 - Stable, Well Cushioned Daily Trail Trainer

by Jeff Valliere
New Balance Fresh Foam Hierro v2
10.6 oz. US men's size 9/8.5 oz. women's size 8
26 mm heel/22 mm forefoot
$124.99 - Available now

The New Balance Fresh Foam Hierro v2 has shed .6 ounces, while adding 3 more mm of cushioning over the v1, making it New Balance's most substantial trail running shoe.  The Hierro v2 feels light, reasonably responsive and is extremely well cushioned without feeling soft or sluggish.

Ultimate Direction AK Mountain Vest 3.0 Review - One Vest for Any Run with Amazing Gear Accessibility

by Jeff Valliere

Ultimate Direction AK Mountain Vest 3.0.
Color: Graphite or Canyon
Sizes: SM/MD/LG
$154.95
Canyon colorway (photo from UD website)




Specs:

  • Volume Capacity: 702 in/ 11.5L
  • Weight: 11.55 oz. (14 oz. with bottles) / 330 g (400 g with bottles)
  • Height: 15.7 in. / 40 cm
  • Width: 11.4 in. / 29 cm
  • Depth: 7.5 in. / 19 cm
The Ultimate Direction AK (Anton Krupicka) Mountain Vest 3.0 is a versatile, top quality, mid-high capacity running/hydration vest that is equally at home on an hour run, as it is on all day mountain adventures.  The AK 3.0 has significantly increased in capacity and function over the first two versions, aligning with Anton's shift to more gear intensive, unsupported full day outings.  With a capacity of 11.5 liters, spread throughout a whopping 14 pockets, this pack gobbles up gear in a very well thought out and organized fashion.  I appreciate that 10 of those pockets are within easy reach, either on the front straps or waist belt, which allows easy access to a multitude of necessities while on the move.

Monday, February 20, 2017

Review Salomon S/Lab Sonic 2-Highly Responsive Long Racer with Vibration Attenuation.

Salomon recently introduced 3 road running shoes Sonic trainer (review here), Sonic Pro 2 performance trainer (review coming soon)  and S/Lab Sonic 2 long haul road racer.
Top to Bottom: Salomon S/Lab Sonic 2, Sonic Pro 2, Sonic 

Saturday, February 18, 2017

IceBug Anima5 Review - Secure, Studded Grip for Ice and Varied Running Conditions

by Jeff Valliere
IceBug Anima5
9.9 oz./280 grams US men's size 9
28mm heel/20mm forefoot
19 carbide studs
$184.95
Available in both men's and women's models
IceBug Anima5 
Icebug is a Swedish brand, specializing in winter traction and is best known for their models with Bugrip, which features carbide studs embedded in the lugs to provide secure traction on icy surfaces.  I have been running in IceBugs for 5 or 6 years and they have become one of my most reliable, go to winter shoes.  When offered to review the newer IceBug Anima5 Bugrip, I was more than eager to put them to the test.The Anima5 weighs in at 11 5/8 ounces for my US men's size 10, which is quite a reasonable weight for a water resistant, well protected, studded winter shoe.  It feels even lighter than that both in the hand and on the foot.

In Depth Altra Running Escalante Review:Fire!

Article by Peter Stuart and Patrick Caron with Sam Winebaum


Altra Running Escalante
Altra Running Escalante
Editor's Note: We are thrilled to offer this joint, in depth review of the Altra Running Escalante road running shoe. 
Patrick Caron is a 19 year old Boston area Altra Ambassador who set the New England ultra scene on fire in 2016 with 14:51 100 mile and 6:14 50 mile victories among several others. No slouch on the road he was the top 20 and under finisher at the 2016 Boston Marathon, 2:46. He averages over 100 miles per week of road and trail running, mostly in the Altra One. Patrick works in a running speciality store so he sees and fits lots of shoes.
Peter Stuart is a frequent contributor to Road Trail Run focusing on performance trainers and racing shoes. He is a masters runner on the "late side" of the 40-49 age group. One of the strongest masters in the Los Angeles area he has a recent sub 3 hour marathon and a 1:21 half marathon.

Altra Running joins three emerging running shoe trends big time with the Escalante:
  • knitted or highly engineered mesh uppers
  • a lifestyle look in a light performance trainer
  • most especially, innovative midsole materials with bounce and claimed energy return
The Escalante has a catalog weight of 8.2 oz/232 g men's size 9, 6.5 oz/182 g women's 8. Sam's size 9 beats the catalog weighing in at 8 oz.
The stack height is 25mm heel/25mm forefoot so the same stack height as the Instinct/Intuition. All Altras are Zero Drop from heel to toe. 
The Foot Shaped toe box is of course on board with the last following that of the Torin 2.5 and Superior trail shoe. It is intended to fit in the Altra line between the Instinct and Torin.

Thursday, February 16, 2017

Salming EnRoute Review and Comparisons: Comfortable, Light Trainer with a Soft Heel and Agile Forefoot

The EnRoute represents a new direction for Swedish brand Salming. Retaining the trademark Exo Skeleton upper, mid foot Torsion unit and great ballet line flex geometry the EnRoute takes the brand in a new direction with:
  • a new softer foam midsole, Recoil
  • more flexibility than previous Salming running shoes
  • a more relaxed fit and roomier toe box and a less structured upper than the Distance D4  
The result is a comfortable lighter daily trainer with a wonderful soft and agile forefoot held back somewhat by heel softness.
Salming EnRoute www.roadtrailrun.com

Monday, February 13, 2017

Dion 121 Race Snowshoes Review - The Ultimate in Quality, Speed and Versatility

by Jeff Valliere

Dion Model 121 Frame with Quick Fit Binding and Ice Cleats
$255 as tested ($130 frame, $70 binding, $55 cleats)

Dion Snowshoes, founded by Bob Dion and his wife Denise (both multiple time national championship medal winners), is a family owned and operated business out of North Bennington, Vermont, specializing in designing, building and selling some of the best running snowshoes on the market.  All parts/materials are made in the USA and Bob personally has his hands on each and every snowshoe that goes out the door, ensuring top notch quality control.

Dion snowshoes set themselves apart in that they are a modular design, meaning you can choose 4 different frames, ranging from the smallest race snowshoe, the 121 (the number represents surface area in square inches), all the way up to the 220 backcountry snowshoe for maximum flotation.  The 121 features a hand crafted, aircraft grade aluminum frame with sleeve joined tubing for added strength, neoprene springs on hinge for constant tension and improved articulation and lightweight, abrasion resistant decking.

Thursday, February 09, 2017

Altra Running Escalante First Run Impressions Review-Details and Comparisons

Update: See Road Trail Run's in depth review of the Escalante here

Altra Running joins three emerging running shoe trends big time with the Escalante:

  • knitted or highly engineered mesh uppers
  • a lifestyle look in a light performance trainer
  • most especially innovative midsole materials with bounce and claimed energy return
Altra Running Escalante www.roadtrailrun.com

The Escalante has a catalog weight of 8.2 oz/232 g men's size 9, 6.5 oz/182 g women's 8. My size 9 beats the catalog weighing in at 8 oz. 
The stack height is 25mm heel/25mm forefoot so the same stack height as the Instinct/Intuition All Altras are Zero Drop from heel to toe. The Foot Shaped toe box is of course on board with the last following that of the Torin 2.5. It is intended to fit in the Altra line between the Instinct and Torin. 

Tuesday, February 07, 2017

La Sportiva Crossover 2.0 GTX Review - Winter Running Stalwart

by Jeff Valliere

La Sportiva Crossover 2.0 GTX
12.5 oz. US Mens Size 9/10.5 oz  US Womens Size 8
Heel 28mm/Forefoot 17mm
$190
La Sportiva Crossover 2.0 GTX


The La Sportiva Crossover 2.0 GTX is a rock solid winter running shoe, ready for the worst conditions you'll face on the roughest mountain trails, all the way down to messy road running conditions.  With a built in Gore Tex gaiter, incredible traction, warmth, amazing stability, quality and security, it may well be the finest winter shoe on the market.

Monday, February 06, 2017

Winter Run Jackets Review: Thin and Warm adidas Terrex Agravic Alpha Shield Hoodie, Dry and Burly Columbia Montrail OutDry EX Light Shell

Article by Sam Winebaum and Jeff Valliere

Jeff and I have had the opportunity to extensively test 2 highly technical yet simple elegant run jackets in all kinds of conditions over the last few months:  the adidas Terrex Agravic Alpha Shield Hoodie ($159) and the Columbia Montrail Outdry EX Light Shell ($200). Both represent the state of the art in weather protection but with different approaches and focus.

  • The Alpha Shield Hoodie is an incredibly light (6.1 oz/173 g), stuffable windproof shell with a whisper thin layer of Polartec's highly breathable, quick drying Alpha insulation over the chest. 
adidas Terrex Agravic Alpha Shield Hoodie Source: adidas Outdoor

  • The Outdry EX is a waterproof, highly breathable mountain style shell with no fabric layers to wet through and absorb moisture.
adidas Terrex Agravic Alpha Shield Hoodie Source: adidas Outdoor