Wednesday, December 13, 2017

New Balance Fresh Foam 1080v8 Review, with Detailed Comparisons to Brooks Levitate and Saucony Triumph ISO 4

New Balance Fresh Foam 1080v8 ($150)
Stats Weight: Men’s US 9 10.9 oz /309 g  Women’s US 8 9.3 oz
Stack Height: 27mm heel/19 mm forefoot, 8mm drop (Per Running Warehouse as NB doesn't provide full stack heights)
Available now.
INTRODUCTION
Dave: It’s taken me awhile to fully understand where New Balance is going with the Fresh Foam concept. To me, Fresh Foam is extremely stiff, allows minimal flexion at the midsole in their neutral trainers, and almost all models just plain feel, blah. While they definitely hit the nail on the head with the 2018 890v6 (RTR review) and the 1400v5, current favorite racer (RTR review) I was intrigued to try the 1080v8 and see how they define heavy cushioning. The previous version of 1080 (v7) was a brick.

Peter: I haven’t had the same experience with Fresh Foam. The Zante has been a pretty great shoe for me--especially early versions. I’ve found a pretty good balance of flex, cushion and spring. The 1080 is definitely more shoe than I’m used to running in, but I was eager to give it a try--perhaps as a long, easy run shoe.

Sam: The last Fresh Foam based shoe I ran in was the Boracay in 2015 and my experience then matches what Dave describes above. It was fine but did not float my boat as I found it fairly stiff. I felt that the Fresh Foam concept was overly data driven with its tuning of the midsole side wall cushion or support and outsole geometry through differing shape and size hexagons and was less about feel and ride. In particular I didn't care much for the continuous single sheet of outsole rubber without flex grooves. In cold in particular, Fresh Foam shoes seemed to stiffen and firmer up more than I liked, to brick like consistency. Well that was then and this is now so I sort of reluctantly decided to test the 1080v8, New Balance's premium neutral daily trainer. While I am a fan of lighter shoes (9-10 oz or so) for my daily training,  I wanted to closely compare it to others in its class I have run in recently such as the new Brooks Levitate, Saucony Triumph ISO 4, and Asics GEL-Nimbus 19. I was pleasantly surprised!

Tuesday, December 12, 2017

Saucony Triumph ISO 4 Review with Comparisons to Triumph ISO 3 and Others in its Class

Article by Sam Winebaum,

Saucony Triumph ISO 4
Weight: test sample US9 11.3 oz/ 321 g M9, W8 9.6 oz/272 g
Stack Height: 28mm heel/20 mm forefoot, 8 mm stack
Price: $160. Available now.
Triumph ISO 4
The Triumph ISO 4 is Saucony's heavy duty, neutral daily trainer. While containing significant changes and weighing more it runs similarly to its predecessor the Triumph ISO 3 (review here)

Midsole and Outsole
The big change from its predecessor, the Triumph ISO 3 is that instead of an Everun TPU heel insert embedded in the PWRGRID+ EVA midsole, the ISO 4 has a full Everun TPU midsole. It is nicely energetic, but unlike similar full adidas Boost TPU midsoles without EVA or plastic pieces to stabilize such as the Ultra Boost, it is stable, firmer and well tamed due to the burly outsole. Everun is also somewhat firmer than Boost.

Sunday, December 10, 2017

Brooks Running Fall 2018 Previews: New Ricochet & Bedlam, Levitate 2 all with DNA AMP and Fit Knit Uppers, Ghost 11 and Glycerin 16 with DNA Loft, Cascadia 13 and Pure Grit 7

Brooks Running Fall 2018 Introductions
Brooks Running Fall 2018 Introductions
 From Top Clockwise: Levitate 2, Ricochet, Ghost 11, Glycerin 16, Bedlam
Brooks went big at the recent The Running Event with new models, updates and an innovative new approach to measuring runners and rapidly making near custom running shoes.
  • two new models, the performance Ricochet and support Bedlam with the PU DNA AMP midsole material first seen in the Levitate 
  • new FitKnit uppers all three DNA AMP models
  • new technologies in old standards with a new softer DNA Loft foam in the Glycerin 16 and Ghost 11
  • a new modern look across the line, other more traditional colors available
  • most striking of all, Brooks with partners Supefeet and HP, demonstrated live measurement of runners as they would be in stores and then custom building of a Levitate variant on the show floor in a manufacturing cell (see our article covering Fit Station here)

Friday, December 08, 2017

New Balance Running Spring 2018 Preview: Summit Unknown, 1500v4 T2 BOA, Hierro v3, Fresh Foam 1080v8 & Zante v4

Fresh Kicks from NB Running- 2017 The Running Event
New Balance 1500v4 T2

Article by Peter Stuart and Sam Winebaum

We spent some quality time with Colin Ingram. SR Product Manager at New Balance and got our eyes and hands on some of the terrific new shoes coming down the (Mass) pike from them.

* All weights are for a US 9.5 sample size.

Thursday, December 07, 2017

ON Running Cloud X Review: Stylish Swiss Speedster

Article by Dave Ames and Sam Winebaum

ON Running Cloud X

STATS
Weight: Men’s US size 9: 8 oz / 227 g, Women’s US size 8: 7 oz / 198 g
Sam: My 8.5 sample weighs 7.8 oz/222 g. My original Cloud 8.5 weighs 7.5 oz /213 g
Stack Height: 28mm heel/22 mm forefoot, 6mm stack
$140. Available now,

INTRODUCTION

The On Running Cloud X is the second version of the Cloud. The original, which continues as an option, was a fast firm racer/trainer hiding in stylish lifestyle looks. It was called out in ON’s marketing as versatile from run, to gym, to “apres”. This year ON tunes the formula with a stronger lean towards performance running. Cloud X is a firm, fast paced tempo and race shoe, no question, other marketing angles aside.

Wednesday, December 06, 2017

Reebok Floatride-A Brand with a Storied Run Heritage Remerges at The Running Event. 3 oz/99 g Fast Pro! First Run Impressions Floatride Run

Article by Peter Stuart with Sam Winebaum

Reebok had some of the most exciting shoes at The Running Event in Austin, TX this past week. They kept it focused, simple and clean.  Reebok, now part of adidas, has more recently been known for a fitness and CrossFit focus but the brand has a storied and long heritage in running in the UK going back over 100 years. In 1984 Royal Air Force mechanic Steve Jones wore Reebok to his 2:08:04 world record at Chicago, in his first completed marathon. Steve was at the Running Event where we chatted with him next to his world record shoes
Reebok showed us three models--all part of the Reebok Floatride Series:
Floatride Run ULTK,  Floatride Run Fast and the The Floatride Run Fast Pro
Top: Floatride Run ULTK,  Left: Floatride Run Fast, Right: The Floatride Run Fast Pro

Tuesday, December 05, 2017

Holiday Running Savings! Frequently Updated!

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See our 2017 Holiday Gift Guide for GPS Watches, Music, and Run Sensors 
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RUNNING WAREHOUSE, GARMIN, REI, BACKCOUNTRY, AMAZON AND MORE

2018 Naked Run Vest and Naked Run Bra Preview, 2017-2018 Naked Running Band Review

by Jeff Valliere with Sam Winebaum

Naked Running really surprised at The Running Event with among the most innovative, if not the most innovative, run accessory we saw, a pair of gender specific minimal carry systems, the Naked Running Vest and the Naked Running Bra.

All of us at RoadTrailRun are huge fans of their Naked Running Band, the latest version is reviewed below.  

Hoka One One Fall 2018 Previews: Bondi 6, Clifton 5,Torrent, and Spectacular Mafate EVO

Hoka One One continues to grow and evolve not only of course in improving the performance and function of its line but in style and color.

Bondi 6
Weight: 10.9 oz/ 310g M9, 8.6 oz/246 g W8
Stack Height: 33mm heel/29mm forefoot, 4mm drop
Available in Wide sizes for men and women
$150 Available August 2018

The super cushioned Bondi gets a refined, and it looks like more pronounced, Meta Rocker for easier, smoother transitions.
The upper is now an open engineered mesh.

Kinesys Sunscreen is BACK! I hate sunscreen and I love Kinesys!

Article by Peter Stuart

Editor's Note: It was the end of day two at The Running Event, the hall was almost completely empty, the lights were going down and security was sweeping the floor yet Peter was deep in conversation for many minutes at a small booth near the exit. What did he find?

Kinesys is the Shiz!
Really, Sunscreen? Really. Kinesys is a grease-free spray on sunscreen that is easy to put on, protects the skin, isn't slimy or weird, and is great for all uses including running.

I really despise putting on sunscreen. I don't like the greasy feel, I don't like having to wash my hands after I put it on my son (who hates when I put sunscreen on) and I don't like the stinging in my eyes when it, inevitably, runs down my face and crawls into my eye. A few months ago I remembered a spray-on sunscreen that I had gotten at some Triathlon expo or another and tried to find it. I couldn't find it anywhere--it seemed to have disappeared from the planet!
Well, imagine my surprise when i ran into the folks who have bought and re-vitalized the brand. Tucked in a corner of the convention center at The Running Event was a fine couple who are WAY too excited and happy about their mission to bring Kinesys to the masses. I had a great time chatting with them and I'm a huge fan of the product and happy to say that it's back and fully available. So what's so damn good about their sunscreen, well, let me tell you. 

Kinesys is a spray-on sunscreen (they have a zinc cream and a stick, but more on that later) that comes in either fragrance-free versions (30 or 50 spf) as well as a subtle mango scent (blue bottle), and a kids version (Orange Bottle). It looks like there's a "girl's" version coming too which is a vanilla green tea scent.

Here are the details:
Alcohol free, fragrance free (except for scented ones), sweat resistant and water resistant. 

What it doesn't have: 
Oil, PABA, Parabin, Gluten, Oxybenzone or blinded bunnies (yes, it's cruelty free).

There's not much more to say. The product works and it's pleasant to use. I actually use sunscreen now because it's not at all unpleasant to apply. 

You can buy it direct from their site at www.kinesysactive.com and it's often cheaper there than it is on Amazon, shipping is free on orders over $70 in the US.

Okay, I've geeked out on sunscreen long enough!
Go get some!

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Monday, December 04, 2017

Under Armour Spring Fall 2018 Previews: HOVR Midsole, Sonic HOVR Info with First Run Impressions, Apparel

Article by Peter Stuart and Sam Winebaum

Under Armour came to The Running Event going all-in introducing their new HOVR midsole tech. They're saying that this is what UA Running will be focused on for the foreseeable future.

HOVR Midsole
HOVR is a dual density midsole. In the center, under foot, seen through the window,  UA uses a new soft Olefin based material from Dow, similar to EVA, but with greater energy return and which is also  claimed to be lighter and more durable than EVA.
To contain the soft material they wrap the inner unit in Energy Web, a textile mesh. We are seeing similar approaches to contain and direct forces vertically with these next gen midsole materials in the Levitate with its TPU outer skin over PU midsole and 361 where their QuikFoam layer, also a soft foam is painted on the outside with a skin. Finally to  provide torsional stability while retaining flexibility, the inner core is wrapped with a Charged Foam outer carrier, the white areas.

There will be initially be two HOVR models.

Conventional height  Sonic HOVR  daily trainer, 9.6 oz. 8mm drop  ($100-$110 Connected)
and a mid height 10.6 oz, 8mm drop  Phantom ($130, $140 Connected)
Both will be coming February with later in fall 2018 high style winterized versions of both

The HOVR Sonic is a very reasonably priced neutral shoe weighing in at about 9.6 oz with an 8mm drop. It has an Engineered Knit upper using, UA told us, being unique as it uses two types of yarn in the same upper: stretch in forefoot and stability in the mid foot. The tongue wraps over the foot and there is an internal bootie.
The heel counter is external to reduce achilles irritation and retain the softness of the HOVR under foot.
The full coverage Sonic outsole is durable rubber in the heel and blown 1:1 rubber in the forefoot.

The developer of the Sonic HOVR presents the shoe in our YouTube below

UA kindly provided us pairs to test and we ran them one morning during The Running Event.

Peter: The upper and fit are terrific. The Bandit 3 tongue was slightly unwieldy and that has been solved here. The HOVR Sonic has plush materials, fits beautifully with just enough stretch in the engineered knit upper and laces comfortably and efficiently. My first run in them was surprisingly fun. While they are a hair heavier than my current favorite the Bandit 3, they are nicely balanced and are in the same category as a Pegasus and other daily trainers. The first mile or two the shoe felt a bit stiff and I was worried that the ride would be a bit firm and punishing. About mile 2 the shoe just opened up and felt great. There’s a really nice mix of cushion and bounce to these and they felt particularly good while I was trying to hammer up a hill and really slamming into the forefoot. I think the HOVR sonic will hold up really well and be a go-to daily trainer for me. More to come…
Sam: The Sonic has an excellent fit and ride. I particularly appreciated the wrap around tongue and fit. The ride was a superb combination of well controlled softness and decent pop, a very difficult balance to achieve. The round heel outsole pattern at first reminded me of a court shoe and I was worried about transition off the heel as there was no obvious decoupling. Yet, in combination with the HOVR midsole and the rest of the relatively flexible outsole things went smoothly indeed on my first 7 mile run in them. The Sonic is clearly a strong new competitor to shoes such as the Nike Pegasus, Brooks Ghost and Launch, and Saucony Ride 10 for those wanting a softer yet still efficient responsive ride.

The winterized versions are high style for sure, reasonably priced, and will be available in October. They are very lightly insulated and water resistant.

Below the men's HOVR CG Reactor Mid ($130/$140-Connected).
The winter versions feature a Michelin outsole with design and compounds designed for optimal winter traction.


HOVR CG Reactor ($110/$120 – Connected)

Some cool apparel stories from UA
The UA SWYFT T with a mesh back


Speed Pocket Shorts--probably the best incorporation of a pocket to carry a phone that we've seen. The phone is held in a water resistant pocket on the inside front side of the shorts. The drawstring is offset to the right. It looks to be a no bounce, no moisture on the phone solution.



There's also a cold weather top with a balaclava hood to keep head and face nice and toasty.

View our YouTube Channel for 2018 Run Previews and Wearable Tech/GPS Reviews here
Visit our Index Page here for over 80 in depth 2017 shoe and gear reviews
Visit our 2018 Previews Page here for 2018 run shoe, apparel, and gear previews


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Sunday, December 03, 2017

Saucony Fall 2018 Run Shoe Previews: Ride ISO, Freedom ISO 2, Xodus ISO 3

Saucony did not introduce any new models at The Running Event but did show three carefully considered major updates.

Ride ISO ($120)
Weight: 9.7 oz/275 g M9, 8.5 oz/241 g US W8
Stack Height: 27 heel/19 mm forefoot, 8mm drop
Available June 1, 2018
The Ride 10 has been one of my favorite daily trainers (RTR review). It gets the now ubiquitous ISO fit upper and a name change for "version 11". The Ride 10 was somewhat snug for me over the metatarsals and the combination of ISOFit and a softer engineered upper should tune up what has been a great, lighter daily trainer.

Brooks Running, HP, Superfeet Reveal: Fit Station Personalized Levitate RS Running Shoes Made Live at The Running Event

Brooks went big at The Running Event. They had the largest booth, great new shoes, a lively party as always and in classic trade show biz style a huge hook as they measured runners and made shoes live on the show floor with partners SuperFeet and HP using a full manufacturing cell.

FitStation Powered by HP

Brooks and a partnership of SuperFeet who will make the shoes and HP which developed Fit Station  demonstrated how runners feet measured in 3D along with a biometric analysis of stance/gait, all done in running stores, will in the near future see personalized shoes "made to order"in a next evolution of Brooks Run Signature program we first saw in 2016 at Outdoor Retailer.
After the scan, the runner's data was sent to a manufacturing cell right next to the FitStation where within minutes a custom shoe was produced in only two major steps.
Based on the data a last, the green form, was selected for the runner's foot shape. In this initial demonstration, for each size, one of several different arch lengths could be selected. In the future the plan is to have yet more customizable lasts, potentially with modular elements snapped together like a Lego.
An upper is placed on the last and formed to it in the machine to the right above
Once formed the last and upper is placed in the molding machine to the left with on the bottom of the mold the outsole.

The AMP DNA material, a polyurethane instead of the usual EVA, and same as in the Levitate (RTR review)  is shot into the mold, taking the underside shape of the last- the arch length selected, with upper, midsole, and outsole all shot and bonded together in one step.

When last and personalized molding pressures (leading to personalized firmness/softness in the shoe) are combined the shoes will be able to be tuned to the runner's data for pressure patterns, heel rotation, propulsion index, and dynamic knee variations.
After a few minutes of cooling the shoe was essentially finished. This said we did not see a step where the outer TPU skin was painted to midsole as the skin really stabilizes the midsole in the current Levitate. It is unclear if a new blend of PU will not require the skin for these shoes.
The whole process was carried out by engineers and technicians from  the German company which builds and sets up the manufacturing cell Superfeet will have in their US facilities to make the shoes for Brooks.

Our contributing writer Shannon Payne received her very own pair in this cool box which she will test.


Those receiving pairs were told that as Levitate RS were prototypes their durability in terms of bonds and finish made them not guaranteed to be actually runnable in terms of durability. Perfectly OK as this big reveal and show was a live proof of concept and a very impressive one.  

There are many implications for FitStation.
  • Most importantly, runners will eventually be able to have shoes rapidly made based on their personal biometrics and preferences. 
  • Second, running retail stores will have a way to compete with online retail by providing the scanning services and then making the sale. It was unclear what would happen in terms of data ownership for new orders for a given runner and their measured characteristics.  
  • Finally, manufacturing will be closer to the consumer reducing waste and energy consumption by making each shoe a "lot size of one", allowing Brooks to more rapidly iterate model changes, test new concepts, and produce special editions.
See our YouTube Video as a runner is measured and the first pair is made on the show floor

The first pairs for purchase are expected to be available in June 2018 at the select retail partners here
SuperFeet will also be custom making a recovery slide, the Superfeet ME3D.

Official press release from Brooks Running and Superfeet here

View our YouTube Channel for 2018 Run Previews and Wearable Tech/GPS Reviews here
Visit our Index Page here for over 80 in depth 2017 shoe and gear reviews
Visit our 2018 Previews Page here for 2018 run shoe, apparel, and gear previews


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Saturday, December 02, 2017

Altra Running Fall 2018 Introductions: Torin 3.5, Provision 3.5, Paradigm 4.0, Escalante Racer

It's always fun and energizing to hear the latest from Altra founder Golden Harper. Altra is moving faster and faster with not only with a broader line, improving quality, and continuous innovations but, at long last, Golden set a new marathon PR.  This fall he ran 2:35.39 breaking his previous PR of 2:45:35 which at the time was world record for a 12 year old!  I believe he said it was his first marathon since that record.  In his early thirties Golden, has been running and designing running shoes for a long time, starting in his teens.

So of course we had to ask Golden which of the many Altra shoes he picked for his marathon, assuming he might have chosen the spring 2018 Duo (review soon, see our Spring 2018 preview here), a shoe Golden said he has put the most time working on the last two years, or maybe the Escalante (RTR review).
Golden and his PR shoe, the Solstice
Surprising us he said his choice was the Solstice, a no frills sub 7 oz $89 shoe coming this spring, with of course a Zero Drop 23mm stack height and Foot Shape toe box as all Altra have.

Salomon Running 2018 Introductions: Ultra Pro, Sense Pro 3, S/Lab Sense 7 & S/Lab Ultra

Salomon highlighted and introduced three key new models at The Running Event: 
Ultra Pro, Sense Pro 3, and S/Lab Sense 7.

n conjunction with the new models Salomon is organizing their trail running focused shoes into two general categories: Sense for faster, shorter distance pursuits and Ultra for longer treks. Under the  purpose category there will be sub categories under each of S/Lab, Pro, and while not called out we assume Ride as well. Thus the S/Lab Sense Ultra 2 coming March (see our introduction article here)  will be renamed S/Lab Ultra and the new ultra focused shoe just introduced for Fall 2018 is named Ultra Pro. 

Ultra Pro ($150)
Weight: US M9 10.3 oz/292 g, US W8 8.8 oz/251 g
Stack Height: Coming soon but similar to S/Lab Ultra
$150. Available Fall 2018
Salomon Ultra Pro
This spectacular looking shoe incorporates the key features of the S/Lab Ultra, applied slightly differently, and at a price point $30 lower. The Pro last and fit is slightly more relaxed than the S/Lab version. The purpose of the shoe is consistency in feel and support from mile 1 to mile 100. 

Friday, December 01, 2017

The Running Event Day 2: 2018 Run Video Previews- Altra Provision 3.5, Brooks Bedlam, Salomon Ultra Pro, Skechers Performance GORun Ride 7 Ultimate Direction FK Gaiter and Pole

Brooks Running
Brooks presents the new Bedlam, a guidance support trainer with combination DNA AMP  and EVA midsole,

Altra Running
Founder Golden Harper on the Provision 3.5 and Altra's approach to "stability/support" shoe design


Salomon Running 
Salomon introduces the Ultra Pro a trail runner designed for ultra distances with the design goal of consistent feel from mile one to 100.
Update: Read our full Salomon 2018 Preview article from The Running Event including Ultra Pro, Sense Pro 3, S/Lab Ultra and Sense 7.


Skechers Performance
Kurt Stockbridge VP Development presents the GORun Ride 7

Ultimate Direction
Buzz Burrell showed us the new super light, super stiff, and durable FK run pole and a new trail gaiter with replaceable inset straps.

Comments and Questions Welcome Below!
Visit our Index Page here for over 80 in depth 2017 shoe and gear reviews
Visit our 2018 Previews Page here for 2018 run shoe, apparel, and gear previews 

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Wednesday, November 29, 2017

The Running Event 2017 Day One- Video Previews 2018 Run Shoes and Technology: Brooks SuperFeet FitStation Custom Levitate, BOA and New Balance, Under Armour Sonic HOVR, Hoka Torrent and Mafate Speed Evo

Brooks and Superfeet demonstrated the live measurement of a runner's feet and live manufacture on the trade floor of a version of the Levitate with a semi custom arch length using FitStation.


Hoka One One Torrent & Mafate Speed Evo 
Torrent a replacement for the Speed Instinct and Mafate Speed Evo is a successor to the Mafate Speed, a super light, super cushioned trail runner with Kevlar reinforced upper

Under Armour showed us the UA Sonic HOVR a trainer with a new soft and resilient inner midsole  core encapsulated in a firmer outer carrier.
BOA highlighted their partnership with New Balance and the process of creating a spike worn at the Olympics as well as the new 1500v5 T2 BOA, a tri focused shoe.


Comments and Questions Welcome Below!
Visit our Index Page here for over 80 in depth 2017 shoe and gear reviews
Visit our 2018 Previews Page here for 2018 run shoe, apparel, and gear previews 

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Monday, November 27, 2017

New Balance 890v6 Review: A Firm, Stable Rocket

Article by Dave Ames, Jeff Valliere, and Sam Winebaum

New Balance 890v6
Stats
Weight M9 8.9 oz/251 g W8 7.8 oz/221 g 
early sample M8.5 8.9 oz/251g
Stack Height: 25mm heel/ 19 mm forefoot, 6mm drop
MSRP: $119.95. Available 3/1/18
First Impressions
Dave:  The step in feel on the 890v6 is super sweet!  I’m locked and loaded the way I would want to be in a lightweight performance trainer.  The previous versions of the 890 had way too much tongue, and had a last that never really related well with your foot.  One slide into these and you know it’s going to be a great fit! It also looks fresh.

Sam: The 890v6 fit me true to size just right for a shoe between racer and trainer. I would characterize it as a super comfort performance fit, I dig the generally horizontal pattern of the engineered upper with the dark areas being breathable slits which not only look cool but help with the seamless upper flex.

Jeff:  Very light and performance oriented, excellent fit with locked down, yet comfortable and breathable upper.  Extremely stiff at first, but after a few miles broke in nicely and super responsive.