Thursday, January 07, 2016

Outdoor Retailer W15: Brooks Previews- Hyperion Racer, Ghost 9, Glycerin 14, Mazama Trail Shoe, Pure Grit 5, Stride Signature Program

Article by Sam Winebaum, Editor Road Trail Run

Brooks Running gave us quite the complete tour: apparel, shoes, and their Stride Signature program

Many, if not most Brooks elite athletes running the Olympic Marathon Trials in February are planning on running in this exciting new shoe, which they had a hand in designing and testing. Hyperion was described as somewhat similar to the T7 Racer. The designer joined us and described what the elites were looking for: 10mm drop, light at 6.4 oz, durable outsole, woven consistent fit from heel to toe, and simple. This is a firmer elite marathon shoe which for many of the rest of us will be a great 10K or Half shoe. $130. Available June 2016.
Update: See our full review of the Hyperion here

The Highlights

A beautiful entirely woven seamless upper
Brooks Hyperion
Brooks Hyperion
Brooks Hyperion
Durable rubber outsole with a design of yellow outsole "squares" inset down into the midsole to direct forces vertically so as to reduce compression laterally thus maximizing efficiency and energy return.  
Brooks Hyperion

Brooks Hyperion
Brooks Ghost 9
Brooks Ghost 9
The 9th edition promises to be more lively than #8 a shoe I found a "bit of a stiff", review here. Ghost 9 is pretty much a complete redesign from top to bottom. It will be more flexible with deeper flex grooves (we checked) and has a seamless engineered mesh upper with a unique, plush seamless welded heel collar.  10.6 oz. $120. Available 7/1/16 2016.

Brooks Ghost 9

Brooks Ghost 9

Brooks Ghost 9
Brooks Glycerin 14
The Glycerin is Brooks' premium ($160) neutral trainer competing with the likes of the Saucony Triumph ISO2, my Everyday Trainer of the Year 2015 (review) and the mighty fine New Balance Fresh Foam 1080v6 (review) The 2 midsoles layers instead of being glued together are co-molded for a smoother flex and less waste. As with the Ghost 9, the Glycerin should a more flexible and livelier but this is not a light shoe. The overlays on the upper, and especially at the front of the shoe instead of being the 3D Fit Print materials are for the first time printed with silicone and thus actually stretch along with the upper, a great potential help for those with bunions and wider feet. The saddle is stitched and a bit flashy. 10.6oz. Available June 2016.
Brooks Glycerin 14

Brooks Glycerin 14
 The Glycerin outsole has 3 zones and is articulated.
Brooks Glycerin 14

Brooks Glycerin 14
 Glycerin 14 available 6/1/16. $150.

Brooks Mazama
A first trail shoe in Brooks' "Propel Me, fast  category, this entirely new trail shoe features the "gearing" mechanism, of a very decoupled front and back of shoe as on the upcoming Neuro along with  a unique 2 layer upper comprising an outer mesh "overlay" pattern welded over the inner mesh. The idea is a supportive upper without hot spots and strange transitions in fit.   The usual approach would be to overlay completely different materials from the underlying mesh. 9.3 oz, 5mm drop.  Available 10/16. $140..
Update: See our full review of the fabulous Mazama here
Brooks Mazama

Brooks Mazama

The Mazama had a very nice outsole with directional lugs in all the right directions with below the outsole a protective (blue) plate. Note how decoupled the heel outsole is from the forefoot.  We worry a bit about mud accumulation in the slots.
Brooks Mazama
Note the flex. Very decoupled front and back of the shoe. They were stable laterally. This should be a very agile shoe.
Brooks Mazama

Brooks Mazama Women's. 
Brooks Pure Grit 5
The Pure Grit 5 had a nice seamless upper combining breathable mesh with a substantial yet soft rand where the midsole and upper meet to lock the foot from rotating on the platform and keep out low level moisture.

Brooks focused our attention on the outsole. A wave pattern aids flexibility while hexagonal lugs which flare towards the bottom should give great grip and resist shearing. Note that these lugs are double along the edges of the sole, an area particularly prone to shearing.

Pure Grit 5. 9.9 oz. 4mm drop.  Available June 2016. $120.

Brooks Apparel
We were given an extensive presentation of the line with a focus on the transition of sister company Moving Comfort jog bras to the Brooks Moving Comfort Collection. More on this in a later post by Dominique.

New focus is being placed by Brooks on Cold Weather apparel with the Sheepish collection combining Merino and synthetics. We were particularly taken by the attention to detail.  For example every neck zipper pull does double duty as a headphone cord clip and the cowl hoods allow peripheral vision as well as high neck front. Here our model, the Brooks apparel product manager, gamely models the men's version which is a bit large for her.

Stride Signature
Part of Brooks invitation at OR was an offer to try their new Stride Signature program. We didn't quite know what to expect. At The Running Event I was measured by Salming 3d capture system, RunLab, and learned a lot about my form and what to work on, article here. Brooks is taking a simpler approach focused on improving shoe selection using 2 leg bands (ankle and above knee) with reflective dots, an iPad with a lighting system and sensor attached, and a treadmill. The system will be available to retailers and will by analyzing knee bend and foot movement so as to recommend shoe types. So off I went... 
  • I did 5 squats while the system recorded my knee flex and position

  • I then ran barefoot on a treadmill for a minute or two.
The data presented looks at 4 areas, from top left on the screen below going clockwise: 
  1. Knee Shift
  2. Shin Rotation
  3. Foot Roll
  4. Heel Rotation
My biggest issue is heel rotation, bottom left quadrant and if you look at the running treadmill shot you can see my heel rotating out.
Brooks Stride Signature

The recommendation was a "Support" shoe.  While I absolutely can't stand any firmer posting as in most support or pronation control shoes, my shoe of the year was the Altra Impulse, a light stability and support shoe without posting. 
So the fine folks at Brooks brought out their Transcend 3 and I tried it side by side with the Hoka Infinite I was wearing, also a light stability shoe on the treadmill. I was very surprised at how much lighter feeling, while still 11oz, and more flexible,  the Transcend 3 was than the prior versions, a shoe I did not even want to try. The Hoka achieves support by a wide midsole at the mid foot in large part. The midsole is narrower under the mid foot Transcend  than the Hoka and support is not achieved through that width or posting of firmer material but by firmer Guide Rails on both the lateral and medial sides where upper and midsole meet. The bio mechanist in charge of Stride Signature explained that the Rails could help keep my heel tracking a bit straighter and with less rotation. When I said Transcend is a bit heavy,  he said lighter support shoes are on the way. This said I can't wait to try Transcend. 
Stride Signature is low cost, relatively speaking, data driven and not as subjective as watching someone run. It  should be a great help to running stores as they fit shoes. Athletes could try different shoes and see how they affect their body mechanics. Neat and well done Brooks!

See the rest of our Outdoor Retailer Reporting and Coverage: New Balance, Brooks, Saucony, Suunto and more  here

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Jeff Valliere said...

That Mazama looks awesome!

John Everett said...

Any news on the supposed release of a cascadia gtx for 2016??

Road Trail Run said...

Yes a Cascadia 11 GTX 13oz comes out November 2016. $150.

偶正在行走 去無方向 said...