Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Salomon Sense Ride Review - 90% S-Lab at 2/3 the Price! Comparisons to Sense Ultra, Kiger 4, SpeedGoat 2 & Pro Max

by Jeff Valliere with Sam Winebaum

Salomon Sense Ride
27mm heel/19mm forefoot - 8mm drop
9.7 oz.(275 grams) US Men's size 9/8.1 oz. (230 grams) US Women's size 8
$120. Available now.


First Impressions:
Sam: The Sense Ride at first glance screams quality and durability and while not the lightest trail shoe one can instantly see that for a very fair price you are getting a versatile and one should expect long lasting shoe.

Jeff: Having just tested the S-Lab Ultra (RTR review) and the Sense Pro Max (RTR review), I was eager to review the Sense Ride and see how it compared.  Out of the box, I was initially taken aback by the vibrant colors of the red/orange/maroon colorway of my Sense Ride (though over time, grew to accept it, if not actually like it), though there is at least a navy blue option for those looking to go a bit more stealth.

Weight is about what I expected, light but not particularly feathery, 10 5/8 oz. for my US Men's size 10.  It is immediately obvious that this is a very high quality shoe.  I have heard references to this shoe being a "quiver killer", but is that really the case?


Sunday, June 18, 2017

In Depth Nike Zoom Fly Four Tester Review: Supa Fly, Supa Dupa Fly

Article by Peter Stuart, Derek Li, and Dave Ames with Sam Winebaum 

Editor's Note: We are thrilled to present this 4 way review of the Nike Zoom Fly. Our testers include Peter Stuart from Los Angeles, a "late" forties sub 3 hour marathoner, Derek Li from Singapore a 2:42 marathoner (PR at Boston), Dave Ames a well known distance running coaching coach and sub 3 hour marathoner from Boston, and Sam Winebaum, Road Trail Run editor whose annual goal is a sub 1:40 half.


The Nike Zoom Fly ($150) is an 8.4 oz marathon racer/lightweight trainer with a 33mm. heeland a 23mm forefoot. Nike describes being "designed to meet the demands of your toughest tempo runs, long runs and race day with a responsive construction that turns the pressure of each stride into energy return for the next". It's got a full length carbon infused nylon plate and a Lunarlon mid sole. 
The hype is that it's a stiff shoe that provides both speedy propulsion and cushioning. So how does it roll? Is it bouncy? Yes. Is it stiff? Hell Yes. Do we like it? Read on to see. Warning, don't judge this shoe on the first half mile of running in it. It may take a while to break in. 

Brooks PureGrit 6 Review - Protective, Natural Running, Everyday Trainer for Varied Terrain

by Jeff and Allison Valliere

Brooks PureGrit 6
9.6 oz. Men's US Size 9(272 grams)/7.8 oz. US Women's Size 8 (221 grams)
21mm heel/17mm forefoot - 4mm drop
$120 Available Now


The Brooks PureGrit 6 fills the "natural running" slot in the Brooks Trail line, providing a great balance of trail feel, protection, comfort and genuine all mountain/all trail capabilities.

Brooks was generous to supply both my wife Allison and I with a cute his/hers set of PureGrit 6 for review, as I was eager to see how the PureGrit has evolved since version 3, which I liked and Allison called the best shoe she has ever worn.  How has the PureGrit improved over the last few iterations?

Upper:

The upper is the most noticeable change to the PureGrit 6 and sits atop essentially the same midsole/outsole as the previous PureGrit 5.  The PureGrit 6 comprises of a very attractive cloth like mesh upper with a knit like look with an array of rubber 3D printed overlays to provide strategic support, structure and durability where needed.

The toe bumper is actually integrated with the protective "360 degree" mudguard that wraps around most of the shoe as a buffer between the upper and the midsole (~270 degrees is closer to accurate, as it is discontinuous for a good portion of the medial side of the shoe).  The toe bumper is moderately protective and integrates nicely with the shoe.


The heel collar is on the low side, but supportive and very well padded.  Heel hold is excellent and very comfortable.

The heel counter is well structured, supportive and protective.

The gusseted tongue is on the thin side, but adequately comfortable, where the laces can not be felt.  The PureGrit 6 has a nice wrapped booty like fit with the added security of the snugly gusseted tongue.

The laces are just the right weight/thickness and have a perfect amount of give/stretch for achieving a nice locked in and comfortable fit on the first try.  No need for re-ties or adjustments during a run.  There is also a lace garage at the top of the tongue if  you so choose to tuck the laces in.  It is a nice touch, but I am usually in too big of a hurry, or too lazy or just too forgetful to ever use a lace garage (unless I have to, such as I would with a Salomon shoe for example).

Fit is true to size with great heel hold, great midfoot hold and good forefoot security.  There is not too much extra room in the forefoot for my average to low volume foot, but the upper has a really accommodating level of stretch and give, without compromising too much security.

Midsole:

The BioMoGo DNA midsole offers up firm and responsive cushioning, relatively protective for a "natural running" shoe.  I find the cushion to be adequate for mid to shorter distance runs on generally softer to moderate terrain.  With 21/17mm of stack, it is a bit less than I prefer for my daily rocky trails, but is generally adequate and not so thin that one needs to really carefully tip toe in rocky terrain.


One minor change is that the strobel has changed from EVA to mesh, offering a slight weight reduction, but perhaps also compromising a bit of cushion.

Outsole:

The outsole of the PureGrit 6 is littered with sticky, hexagonal lugs that provide excellent traction in a wide variety of conditions.  The lugs are densely spaced enough that running on road or hard surfaces is not a problem, as the distribution of weight/force on the lugs is spread out well.  I find that these shoes run well on roads, but would want to keep that to a minimum with the somewhat thin and firm cushioning.  Perhaps not a true door to trail shoe, but can handle a few miles of pavement here and there.

The Omega Flex Grooves in the forefoot contribute to a natural flex and feel, without feeling too flexible or flimsy.  There is also a Ballistic Rock Shield to help guard from stone bruising and hard steps on sharp objects.


Performance/Recommendations:

Jeff:  Overall, I find the PureGrit 6 to be a joy to run in for shorter runs (up to 2 hours) on mellow to moderate terrain where I will not be as worried about cushioning on rocky technical terrain.  The PureGrit 6 can handle just about anything for short periods of time, but when the going gets tough, I usually look for more cushion and protection than the PureGrit 6 offers.

The PureGrit 6 is reasonably quick and responsive and can perhaps be considered as a race shoe, but for racing I would likely look to the much more responsive (and lighter) Mazama, or even the Caldera for longer distances or just wanting more cushion.  The PureGrit 6 is in my opinion, a great daily trainer for runs up to ~2 hours.  Though upper security is quite good under most circumstances, when pushing hard on steep, off trail terrain, sidehilling or pushing corners, my foot will waver a bit inside, enough to cause me to back off some.

I also found heel landing stability to be only OK at best, less than ideal for dedicated heel strikers.  Since this is a "natural running" shoe, it is hard to be too critical, as this shoe is designed for the mid to forefoot striker, but a bit more crash pad substance (width and cushion) would be appreciated.

Allison:  The PureGrit 3 was perhaps my favorite shoe of all time, which I put probably twice the miles I would on any other shoe.  I have tested/reviewed shoes for some time and have 20+ shoes to choose from on my shelf, but most always would go for the PureGrit 3, despite having worn it down to nothing.  Receiving a new pair of PureGrit 6 was exciting to say the least and I am very impressed with the improvements to the upper.
Fit, comfort and looks are all improved and the upper gives great security and protection.  The outsole/midsole took some breaking in for me, such that for the first few runs I was not entirely sure if the PureGrit 6 equaled or improved upon the PureGrit 3, but eventually I have come to enjoy it at least as much.  I will say though that my expectations of a shoe have shifted somewhat over time, expecting a little more cushion at the same or less weight.  I agree with Jeff, as I find the PureGrit 6 to be well suited as a daily trainer for shorter, moderate runs.


Jeff's Score:  9.2/10
-.2 for cushion
-.2 for weight
-.2 for forefoot hold
-.2 for heel instability

Allison's Score 9.6/10
-.2 for cushion/harsh ride on hard surfaces
-.2 for weight

Comparisons:

Brooks PureGrit 6 vs. Brooks Mazama (RTR review here):  The Mazama is lighter, more responsive and has better foothold for pushing at fast paces.  Additionally, the Mazama has 2mm more cushion in the heel, which is definitely helpful.  The PureGrit 6 however has a more comfortable upper and a much more durable and grippy outsole for a wider variety of trail conditions.

Brooks PureGrit 6 vs. Brooks Caldera (RTR review here):  The Caldera has 4mm more of cushion, plush cushion that is, for only a slight weight penalty.  The Caldera is far superior if you want more comfort and impact protection, particularly on longer runs up to 50 mile to 100k.   The PureGrit 6 has a grippier outsole for a wider variety of conditions.

Brooks PureGrit 6 vs. Saucony Koa TR (RTR review here):  Both have a 4mm drop, very nice modern uppers and are close in stack height (1mm more for the Koa TR).  The Koa TR is a bit heavier, but in my opinion, offers a smoother, more forgiving ride with a bit more plush cushion.  The Koa TR makes for a better door to trail shoe with the more minimal lugs and better cushion and also is a bit more stable.

Brooks PureGrit 6 vs. Salomon Sense Ride (RTR coming soon):  The Sense Ride is slightly heavier, but offers far superior ride, stability and cushioning with the Vibe and Opal insert.  The Sense Ride also has the Premium Conta-Grip wet traction that is tough to beat for a very wide variety of conditions and surfaces.  Both shoes are $120.  
The PureGrit were provided at no charge. The opinions herein are entirely the authors'. 
Photo Credit: Jeff Valliere
Comments and Questions Welcome Below!
For over 60 of in depth 2017 shoe and gear reviews visit our index page here
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Wednesday, June 14, 2017

2017 adidas Energy Boost (4): A Luxury German SUV. Looks and Stats Deceiving!

Article by Sam Winebaum, Editor Road Trail Run

2017 adidas Energy Boost
Weight: 10.9 oz/309 g (M9), 9.9 oz/281 g (W8)
Stack: 32mm heel/22mm forefoot, 10mm drop
$160. Available now.
The adidas Energy Boost 2017 edition is a heavily cushioned premium neutral daily trainer. It is now called Energy Boost with no numbering after as previously...confusing but I am calling it Energy Boost 4 here.

It features 85% Boost Content, Boost being adidas's high rebound, durable, less temperature sensitive than EVA TPU based midsole. Not just a fad, Boost is used in the marathon world record setting adizero Boost in a similar but lower profile overall construction but unlike the similar Supernova there is plenty of Torsion plastic to tame the soft and unruly Boost. All of the cushion is clearly aimed at maximalist players such as Hoka.

The upper now a fine gauge conventional mesh with a pattern of no sew overlays is unusually roomy and high volume upfront due to its stretch, right up there with Altra, yet with a superb overall foot hold from heel to toe. The often criticized 3 Stripes plastic cage at mid foot disappears on the foot and holds everything together brilliantly.

But there must be rub right? Yes there is...All of this tech comes in at 10.9 oz, way up there in weight for a neutral trainer even a "premium" one just as this.  The original Energy Boost weighed 9.5 oz and was my go to for all training and marathon racing. The Energy Boost 3 was up to 10.2 oz., still fine for a daily trainer ,but here we are now at close to 11 oz.

The question then is, how do they run?

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Brooks Ghost 10 Review: Superb Toe Box, Slightly Softer & Smoother Transitioning Ride

Article by Sam Winebaum, Editor Road Trail Run
The very popular, and rightly so Ghost series,from Brooks Running will soon see the  Ghost 10 ($120). It is a relatively soft, flexible neutral daily trainer with a BioMoGo DNA midsole, a new and very smooth transition, plentiful outsole rubber, and a very fine and pressure free fitting engineered mesh upper with thin 3D Fit Print overlays. Available now.

Compared to the Ghost 9 it has a relatively unstructured upper with considerably thinner and more comfortable overlays, especially in the toe box, with the mid foot not quite as securely held as previously.  My sample 8.5 is a notable 0.7 oz lighter than the Ghost 9 although the spec from Brooks says the final weight reduction will be 0.2 oz.
Top: Brooks Running Ghost 10  Bottom Glycerin 15 

It is very close in stats to the Glycerin 15 (review soon). The Glycerin features a slightly softer and more flexible midsole, a slightly more responsive fuller coverage rubber and a truly sumptuous and even better fitting upper than the Ghost 10.

Comparative Stats

Ghostly History
The Ghost has come a long way since the first version we ran, the 8. With the Ghost 9 (RTR review comparing the Ghost 9 to the Nike Vomero 12 and adidas Supernova), Brooks gave it a smoother less lumpy ride, an engineered mesh upper, of a sorts... as the overlays including the logo, toe bumper, and especially the piece wrapping the lace holders were thick, stiff, and shiny.
Fans of the 9 will feel right at home in the 10 and appreciate its smoother if a touch softer front transition and great front of the shoe execution but some may find the mid foot a touch less secure with low volume feet.

Upper and Fit
The Ghost 10 fits me true to size as did the Ghost 9. I am able to run sock less in the Ghost 10, something I did not dare with the 9 with no issues beyond not quite as secure a mid foot hold as the 9.
The Ghost 9 overlays when compared to the much thinner 3D FitPrint approach in the Ghost 10 feel crude in comparison especially over the last lace up.
Lateral Side:  TOP Ghost 9  BOTTOM Ghost 10
Notice how the thick silver colored lace eye stay press down over the toes in the Ghost 9 and sits flat and thin in the Ghost 10 in the picture below.  The bulbous toe cap is significantly reduced in the 10. Both of these improvements are clearly felt running with one shoe on each foot and have me running sockless in the 10 something I would never consider doing in the 9.
LEFT Ghost 10                                                        RIGHT Ghost 9   
The Ghost 10 is not nearly as flashy as the 9's  as the overlays are thinner and not "iridescent", good riddance I say to that flash.

The thick gray heel collar overlay is gone as is the rest of "decorative" looking over padding at the foot opening to reinforce the foot hold now replaced mostly with 3D FitPrint overlays. All of this simplification of the upper certainly is a part of the reason the weight of my sample drops 0.7 oz/20 grams, a significant amount for a shoe which under foot is almost identical at least in stack heights.
LEFT Ghost 10                                                        RIGHT Ghost 9  
The fit of the Ghost 10 is impeccable up front and at the heel for me.  Plenty roomy with no slip or slop.  Things are looser at mid foot due to the more minimal overlays. Losing all those thick heavy logo overlays makes the fit a bit more unstructured there. Nothing to really be worried about as this is a daily trainer and those with high volume feet will be happy but I wish for a bit more side structure. Swapping the 9's flat thin laces for a sausage type helps mitigate somewhat and helps secures the foot. Even lacing snug sees no pressure with the tongue only slightly less padded in the 10 than 9. 
LEFT Ghost 10                                                        RIGHT Ghost 9  
 Midsole and Outsole
 Medial Side:  TOP Ghost 9  BOTTOM Ghost 10
The midsole gets a new rear "Crash Pad", the blue heel module in the picture above and below. The blue crash pad feels slightly softer than the main white portion of the midsole. 
We also see  a simplification of the overall midsole by eliminating the thicker blue BioMoGo layer near the foot in the 9 replacing it with the main cushion layer of BioMoGo  DNA and then adding  a slimmer dark gray side "roll bar'' to add some stability we assume where foot meets midsole. Overall midsole layers all feel slightly, very slightly softer than in the Ghost 9, particularly in the forefoot.
 Lateral Side TOP Ghost 9  BOTTOM Ghost 10
Outsole
 Ghost 9                                                           Ghost 10
The outsole of the Ghost 10 (blue heel above)  is very similar to the 9 and of similar rubber firmness as far as I can tell but there are some differences to note, particularly in the forefoot. The 10's black outsole rubber upfront is not only segmented into more pods but between pods the gaps are deeper.  Brooks calls out a "Plush Transition Zone" at mid foot which appears to be the deeper grooving with segmenting at the first pod of black rubber on the medial side. Its purpose was felt as the transition off mid foot was noticeably smoother and more fluid. This, along with what feels like a slightly softer midsole, leads to better flexibility but also to a less responsive front of the shoe feel, less of a sense of full contact and pop on toe off for the 10 when compared to the 9.
Ghost 9                                                        Ghost 10
Ride, Conclusions, and Comparisons
The Ghost 10 improves, gradually and carefully without radical changes. The miles go by easy and well cushioned at any moderate pace in this shoe. With the Ghost 10, the direction is to lighter weight and comfort with a somewhat roomier and more accommodating upper featuring a greatly improved toe box using engineered mesh and the 3D Fit Print.  On the minus side, the mid foot hold slips a bit but nothing overwhelming or a show stopper. The transitions are noticeably more fluid due to the new heel crash pad and the new mid foot transition zone.  The heel is a touch softer and has none of the lumpy feel of prior Ghost, even when compared to the 9 which was much improved over the 8. The forefoot midsole contact could be firmer and return some more pop as the 10 loses a touch of zip despite the now excellent transition and flexiblity when compared side by side to the 9 one on each foot.
The Ghost sits somewhere between categories for me. At a 12mm drop it is in a drop category I rarely run these days but its big drop is certainly less noticeable than the Mizuno Wave Rider 20's.  For a zippier yet still well cushioned ride I would reach for the 10mm drop Launch 4 (RTR review) which essentially shaves 2mm off the heel stack keeping the forefoot stack the same and as a result also losing weight down close to 9 ounces or almost an ounce less than the Ghost.
For longer easier days I might prefer the Brooks Glycerin 15 (review soon) for its sumptuous overall feel from its mesh upper, which is also more secure than the Ghost 10 at mid foot. Despite its greater overall softness its fuller contact firmer outsole rubber makes it actually snappier up front than the Ghost.

Score 9.75/10
-0.1 for loose mid foot hold at true to size, a few more slightly more substantial overlays could help narrower low volume feet and mid foot hold overall
-0.15 for soft forefoot feel and lack of snappy forefoot contact and response.

The Ghost was provided at no cost. The opinions herein are entirely the author's.

Sam Winebaum's Bio
Sam is a 1:38 half marathoner on a good day and doesn't mind at all going into a new decade age group in 2017. He runs approximately 40 miles per week. He is the Editor and Founder of Road Trail Run and has been running for 45 years and has a very dated marathon PR of 2:28. Sam is also the Senior Contributing Editor for Wearable Fitness Technology and Music at Competitor Magazine.

For over 60 in depth 2017 shoe and gear reviews visit our index page here
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SHOP BROOKS GHOST 10 AT RUNNING WAREHOUSE
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Friday, June 09, 2017

adidas adiizero Tempo 9 Review: Serious, Stable, and Fast

Article by Sam Winebaum, Editor Road Trail Run

adidas adiizero Tempo 9
Weight: 9.8 oz/277 g (M9), 8.1 oz/230 g (W8) (per adidas)
              Sample size 8.5 weighs 9.2 oz/260 grams
Stack: 26mm heel/16mm forefoot, 10mm drop
Category: Light Stability/Support Performance Trainer
$120. Available now.
The Tempo 9 is a performance trainer with underfoot support features focused on stabilizing the foot from mid foot to forefoot. I would call the Tempo a "serious shoe" for fast comfortable well supported training. I did not run in the Tempo 8 but have the Boston 6, adios Boost 3, and Energy Boost (4), review soon.

Saucony Koa TR - Surprisingly Fast, Well Rounded Door to Trail Shoe for a Wide Variety of Conditions

by Jeff Valliere

Saucony Koa TR
22mm heel/18mm forefoot/4mm drop
10.3 oz.(292 grams) US Men's Size 9/9 oz. US Women's Size 8 (255 grams)
$110


First Impressions:  
I went into this review with no expectations and with very little knowledge of the Koa TR.  They feel reasonably light out of the box and look like a shoe for moderate terrain that would perform double duty as a versatile trail shoe.  Not to mention, the toe box shape surprised me, as it is somewhat reminiscent of an Altra.

Thursday, June 08, 2017

Nike Zoom Fly First Run Impressions Review: Good Form Required! Light, Well Cushioned, Great Upper and Stiff.

Article by Sam Winebaum, Editor

Editor's Note: The eagerly awaited Zoom Fly was released June 8. I received a pair and immediately took them for a run on a high 70's, high pollen day so not my best running weather. Much more to come as we run more miles with a 3 runner full review but here are some details and first impressions.
Update: Read our 4 reviewer, full, in depth review of the Zoom Fly here

Nike Zoom Fly
Weight: 8.35 oz/237 g for our sample size 9.
Stack: 33 mm heel/23 mm forefoot
Price: $150. Available now
The Zoom Fly is a light very cushioned performance trainer racer with an embedded curving plate for propulsion and stability.  The plate is roughly in the location of the black line on the midsole, dipping down steeply at the ball of the foot then curving up towards the toe. The shoe is completely stiff. I was not able to hand bend it at all. 
The Zoom Fly represents a very bold departure from the conventional low slung and often harsh racing shoe performance trainer By and large we think Nike has combined outstanding cushion, especially in at the often overly thin forefoot of such shoes ,with a highly responsive ride and all of this at a light weight.

The Zoom Fly is part of Nike's Breaking2 project line. It differs from the upcoming July release Zoom Vaporfly 4% ($250),  see our try on preview at the Boston Marathon here, in the following ways:
  • weighs significantly more but a still svelte 8.35 oz vs the 4% at an amazing 6.5 oz
  • substitutes a carbon injected nylon inner plate for a pure carbon one,
  • uses Lunarlon foam instead of the 4%'s  Zoom X Pebax foam which is claimed to have 13% better energy return than standard EVA and weighs 2/3 less,
  • has 2-3 mm more front and heel midsole stack, 
  • has a similar upper but one with Flywire instead of the more conventional lace up of the 4% and with a substantial heel counter where the 4% has none but does have a medial overlay (see below),

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

Altra Lone Peak 3.5 Review -- a modest update

Article by Dominick Layfield

Altra Running Lone Peak 3,5
Stack:  25 mm heel, 25 mm forefoot.  (0 mm drop) 
Expected:  MSRP: $120
Release date:  July 1st 2017
Expected weight:  10.4 oz (295 g) for size 9 US
Pre-release sample supplied to RTR weighed 11.5 oz (328g) for size 10.5 US.

Editor's Note: We are thrilled to have Dominick Layfield the 2017 winner of the Spine Challenger in the UK and California's Quicksilver 100K review the Lone Peak 3.5.