Tuesday, August 15, 2017

Spring 2018 adidas Outdoor Previews: Performance with a Greener Focus- Parley for the Oceans and No-Dye

Article by Sam Winebaum, Editor 

Road Trail Run awarded adidas Terrex/ adidas Outdoor an award at Outdoor Retailer for Innovative Designs with a Focus on Reducing Environmental Impact
Women's Voyager Parley Hoodie ($69)
adidas Terrex is focusing its Spring 2018 on not only product, but a lighter foot print on the Earth.
Last Outdoor Retailer we heard about the adidas partnership with Parley's for the Oceans an organization which recovers ocean plastic pollution. This OR,adidas showed an extensive line of Parley's products: boat and causal shoes with uppers made of recovered plastic as well as soft and beautiful apparel. 
The Terrex CC Voyager Parley ($120) is a combination water and travel all conditions shoe. It has an upper knit in with Parley's recovered plastic pollution. It is knit into its shape with no waste. Speaking to its water side, it is quick drying with a drainage system 

Sunday, August 13, 2017

Altra Running Timp Review: Mountain Flippers!

Article by Sam Winebaum, Editor

Altra Running Timp ($130) is a new near maximal cushioned trail runner sitting between the Altra Lone Peak (25mm stack) and Olympus (36mm stack). 
According to Running Warehouse it weighs a hefty 11.4 oz. M9, 9.4 oz./266g W9. My US 8.5 weighs 11.2 oz.
Timp has Ultra's signature Zero Drop platform with with a 29mm heel, 29mm forefoot stack. Of course the toe area is Foot Shaped and is broader and higher volume than its Lone Peak cousin. 
As with all Altra trail shoes it is named after a Utah peak. 
In this case the iconic Timpanogos a magnificent summit with wildflower meadows below its very long cliff band. Aptly named, the Timp is the perfect shoe for the 12 or so mile round trip of mostly smoother single track followed by a steep scramble to the summit. 

First Impressions and Fit
I titled this review "Mountain Flippers". The Timp has a very wide toe box and platform on the trail.  The fit is true to size but narrow feet may swim. The flipper part is more than just a comment on its looks. There is a distinct sensation while climbing in these surprisingly flexible shoes with a wide platform that they act much like swim flippers in water as there is tons of ground contact area to push off with fully deployed toes!

Merrell Agility Peak Flex Review: Serious Mountain Runner with Great Mid Foot to Heel Hold and Stability

Article by Sam Winebaum 

The Merrell Agility Peak Flex ($130) is an all terrain highly supportive trail runner. Coming in according to Running Warehouse at a fairly hefty 11 ox./ 312 g M9, 9.6 oz./272 g W8 it has a 27mm heel, 21mm forefoot stack, 6mm drop. We were surprised and pleased with its fantastic mid foot and heel hold, probably the best of 2017, decent front of the shoe flexibility, and despite the weight decent if a bit ponderous agility. This is a shoe that will get you through hard tough miles of varied terrain in security and comfort.

First Impressions
We were quite frankly skeptical when first offered to test the Agility Peak Flex. Merrell is of course known for hiking boots and for their minimal Trail and Road Glove shoes. We know Joe Gray many time US Mountain Champion and 2016 World Mountain Champion is a Merrell athlete so that was enough for us to give them a try.

Monday, August 07, 2017

Brooks Running Spring 2018 Previews: Transcend 5, Adrenaline GTS 18, Launch 5, Ravenna 9, Caldera 2, Mazama 2

Brooks emphasized extensive deconstruction of 2018 shoe uppers, fewer sewn overlays and more use of 3D Fit Print overlays. Generally underfoot platforms are staying the same and weights dropping slightly. 

The light stability Transcend 5 ($160) features a new engineered mesh upper and an updated Guide Rail support system which is somewhat taller than the Transcend 4. The Transcend 5 will come in at 10.8 oz/306 g (M9), 9.1 oz./258 g (W8.5) so no change in weight or price. Available January 2018.

Brooks Running Transcend 5
The outsole is divided into what Brooks calls IDEAL pressure zones to disperse shock, minimize joint stress, and improve how the foot works during the gait cycle.
Brooks Running Transcend 5
The Adrenaline GTS is Brooks' top selling shoe and is a posted stability shoe. Adrenaline GTS 18 keeps the same last and underfoot feel but completely revamps the upper, completely doing away with conventional overlays by using an engineered heathered mesh and 3D Fit Print resulting in not only a new stylish, modern look but a 1 oz. weight drop. The 12mm drop shoe will come in at a light, for a support shoe, 10 oz./283 g (M9), 8.6 oz./244 g (W8.5).  It will be available November 2017, $120.
Brooks Running Adrenaline GTS 18

Sunday, August 06, 2017

adidas Aero Bounce Review: Bar Bouncers?

9.3 oz./264 g (M9)
28/18mm. 10mm drop
$100. Available now.
The adidas Aero Bounce is a light trainer which departs from adidas recent use of Boost TPU midsoles in its performance running shoes by using a new EVA midsole material called Bounce. 
Bounce is described by adidas as  "soft at step and gives a bouncy elastic experience when running." The Bounce midsole is paired to a single density soft blown rubber outsole and not the customary firmer Continental rubber or thinner Stretch Web.  Also departing from recent higher priced trends this modern, light shoe is priced at a reasonable $100 setting it up to compete with shoes such as the ASICS Roadhawk FF, Hoka Hupana, and Skechers GOrun Ride 6. 
It is clear from my runs in this shoe that adidas wanted to produce a similar experience to their premium Ultra Boost at a lower weight,  far lower price point and with modern style. The spare black, white and gray is very classy looking with its fades at mid foot. While the heel is decently responsive and with some pop the forefoot is soft, flexible and only slightly more agile and responsive than the Ultra Boost, a shoe whose forefoot I found to be overly soft.  The Bounce foam is outstanding with great cushion and that bouncy and especially a sense of that "elastic" experience adidas calls out. 

But... from a performance running shoe standpoint the soft blown rubber outsole tends to sap the energy out of the shoe, particularly up front.

adidas PureBoost DPR Review...These Boost are made for Walking...

Article by Peter Stuart 
adidas PureBoost DPR
The Adidas PureBoost DPR (Deconstructed Pure Racer) is a lighter, leaner (by 1.2 oz)  alternative to the UltraBoost for those seeking an all Boost midsole, thus the Pure in the name. DPR is available now, $150. It weighs in at 9.2 oz./261 g (M9) with  a heel stack height of 25mm with the forefoot at 17mm for an 8mm drop. They're in the 'responsive performance trainer' category. So, how do they do? Well...

Friday, August 04, 2017

Salomon S/Lab Sense 6 and Sense 6 SG Review: True Mountain Racers!

Editor's Note: We are thrilled to bring you this review of S/Lab Sense 6 and Sense 6 SG by RoadTrailRun contributor and rising ultra and mountain talent Patrick Caron. He was invited to , and attended Salomon's, 2017 Young Gun Running Academy in Austria for promising mountain/trail runners 20 years old and under, the only North American selected. In addition to many ultra victories in New England including a sub 15 hour 100 mile race and two 50 mile victories at the Pineland Farms Maine Trail Challenge, Patrick ran 2:40:45 at the 2017 Boston Marathon, and was 16th and 17th overall, first 20 year old and under ,at the 2017 Mount Washington Road Race and USTAF Mountain Running Championships respectively. Patrick works at Marathon Sports in the Boston area so he is a run shoe expert!
Article by Patrick Caron
Salomon has been a dominant force in the trail running industry for quite some time. Next time you’re at a trail or mountain race, look down - it’s highly likely that you will see the majority of top runners wearing Salomons as their shoe of choice. Within the brand’s vast lineup of shoes exists the Salomon S-Lab Series, which is designed with performance and speed in mind, utilizing the knowledge and input of Salomon’s top engineers, athletes, and designers. Generally speaking, the technology Salomon develops for the S-Lab Series trickles down to other mid-tier shoes within their lines. Two of the highly popular shoes within the Salomon S-Lab Series are the Sense 6 and the Sense 6 SG. Read on for more on both of these models!
Top: S/Lab Sense 6 Bottom: S/Lab Sense 6 SG

Thursday, August 03, 2017

New Balance FuelCore Sonic Review: Boa, was it you I was looking for?

Article by Peter Stuart
The New Balance FuelCore Sonic is an uptempo daily trainer/racer with the soul of the original Vazee Pace and a new twist (pun intended, sadly) on closure systems. It weighs in at about 8.4 ounces/238 grams for a Men's 9, 7.2 oz./204 for a Women's 8 and the stack heights are 24mm in the heel and 18 in the forefoot, 6mm drop.  There are definitely similarities to the Vazee Pace, but some notable differences too. 
$110. Available now.

Outdoor Retailer Salomon Running 2018 Introductions: XA Elevate, S/Lab Sense Ultra 2, S/Lab Speed 2

XA Elevate 
Stack Height: 25mm/17mm (8mm drop)
Weight: 10.4 oz/295g (US 9M) 9 oz./255g (US 7W)
MSRP: $130
Available 12/1/17 at REI, general distribution 3/1/18

The Elevate anchors Salomon's best selling XA line. Picking up upper cues from the RA line the Elevate can be thought of as a touch lower stack but more aggressively lugged version of the great Sense Ride (RTR review) coming in at 0.5 oz heavier, with a somewhat more aggressive Premium Wet Traction Contragrip outsole. It is designed for technical terrain while the Sense Ride may lean slightly more towards all terrain versatility. It has a responsive dual density EVA and Energy Cell+ outsole but leaves out the vibration reduction Vibe insert of the Sense Ride.
Salomon XA Elevate

Wednesday, August 02, 2017

Outdoor Retailer 2018 Salomon Running Introductions- New Running Avenue Road Collection: Sonic RA Pro, Sonic RA. Sonic RA Max

Salomon surprised at Outdoor Retailer with a completely new 3 shoe road line named  Running Avenue

In 2017 Salomon launched three road shoes with Vibe technology the S-Lab Sonic 2, Sonic, and Sonic Pro 2. They were fantastic shoes, the Vibe being a highly effective way to keep shoes light, firm and responsive but with a noticeable reduction in vibration and shock in what are fairly firm shoes (RTR article and S-Lab Sonic 2 review). They suffered somewhat from trail oriented and styled uppers and plentiful trail DNA rubber coverage which made them a bit slappy, but super durable.

Running Avenue introduced the Sonic RA Pro, Sonic RA, and Sonic RA Max three very light, totally road focused new models (left to right below) with true road uppers and outsoles, and of course Vibe, vibration attenuation technology. We appreciated the simplicity and clarity of the three models and the ease with which the differences can be seen and explained. No gimmicks, just solid scientifically based design for different foot gait styles and run purposes. They even cost exactly the same. All three models will be available 2/1/18 and all are priced at $130.
 LEFT to RIGHT Salomon Sonic RA Pro, Sonic RA, Sonic RA Max 

Outdoor Retailer 2018 Skechers Performance Introductions: Weight Drops! FlightGEN foam in GOrun Forza 3, Run 6 & Ride 7 and GOmeb Speed 5 & Razor 2

The big Skechers Performance news was the introduction of FlightGEN, a new, very light weight midsole foam to all new models in the line resulting in dramatic weight reductions, except for the GOrun Ride 7. The GOrun Ride 7, while also having FlightGEN, becomes a more cushioned  6mm drop neutral daily trainer filling a hole between the Run/Razor and the excellent new maximally cushioned GOrun Ultra R 2 (RTR review). 

I briefly wear tested FlightGEN shoes. The new midsole is of course very light but also responsive and flexible reminding me most of the new adidas Bounce.

Skechers knit uppers continue to evolve. I have tested many new styles for road and trail and have found the fit and foot hold impeccable in each case.

And Skechers continues to price all models very reasonably. 

Best Run Shoe Update Outdoor Retailer
GOrun Forza 3 (around $120)
23mm heel/17mm forefoot, 6mm drop
9.2 oz/261 g (M9), 7.3 oz./ 207 g (W8)
The light stability Forza with FlightGen drops 1.4 oz from version 2.  Skechers calls it "fast stability". The Forza 3 is actually somewhat flexible at mid foot, not something you usually see with posted shoes. It now has a triple density midsole with a softer heel crash pad, then somewhat firmer on the lateral side and as it is a stability shoe a firmer medial post. 
Skechers Performance GOrun Forza 3

Monday, July 31, 2017

Outdoor Retailer La Sportiva 2018 Introductions: Unika All Trails, Lycan Light Mid Distance, and VK Swift and Minimal

La Sportiva, Italian masters of everything footwear for the mountains from Everest boots to hikers to climbing slippers to outstanding trail running shoes, rolled out three new trail runners at Outdoor Retailer for their 90th year making mountain footwear in 2018.

Leading the charge Unika ($190), available February,  a premium all trails shoe which they say is the first mountain running shoe to be completely made in Europe. We gave it our Best New All Trails Shoe of OR award.  It features:
La Sportiva Unika
  • a beautiful supportive upper with compression and differentiated stretch zones with integrated non removable sock liner.
  • an elaborate Lace-Up Harness which integrates upper to the midsole.  Like the Mutant, complex, different and should be effective. 
  • A PU Infinitoo midsole instead of EVA. Infinitoo is claimed to have high energy return and be more compression resistant for long term cushion durability and consistency. Salomon also is using a PU insert under at the forefoot in its new S-Lab Sense Ultra 2. 
  • PU tends to be heavier than EVA so the Unika comes in at 11.6 oz./380 g (M9), 9.28 oz./264 g (W8). 
  • 31mm heel/23 mm forefoot, 8 mm drop so a substantial well cushioned platform
We suspect the combination of materials could make this an exceptionally long lasting shoe for rougher terrain. Available April 2018.

OR Saucony Spring 2018 Previews and Introductions: Liberty ISO Light Stability, Hurricane and Triumph ISO 4, Kinvara 9, Peregrine 8, Denim Collection

Liberty ISO
Leading Saucony's Outdoor Retailer introductions was a new stability version of the popular Freedom ISO (RTR review).
Saucony Liberty ISO
Liberty ISO ($160). Coming in at 9.7 oz./275 g (M9) and 8.7 oz./245 g (W9) it joins the recent trend towards lighter stability shoes.  It has a 22 heel/18 forefoot stack, 4 mm drop. Available November 2017.

Saucony presents the Liberty ISO to RoadTrailRun in the YouTube below

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Outdoor Retailer Altra Running Spring 2018 Preview and Introductions: Duo Max Cushion Super Light Trainer, Vanish-R 3.9 oz. Road Racer, Entry Level Solstice & All New Everyday Collection

For the last Outdoor Retailer in Salt Lake City, with many running companies not attending,  Altra, a local company, really rolled out all the stops with a bigger booth, still crowded as always, and two stunning new high performance running shoes, an entry level new models  and a new Zero Drop casual line.
All shoes are Spring 2018 releases. Exact dates to follow.

Altra Duo
The star of Outdoor Retailer for Road Trail Run was the new Altra Duo ($130 ) road shoe. We gave it our Best New Running Shoe award.

The Duo has a 31mm heel and forefoot stack and what should be a bouncy, lively injection molded midsole.  Weighing an amazing 7.9 oz./224 grams(M(9), 6.8 oz/193 g (W8) it has a gossamer thin highly breathable mesh upper with plenty of soft reinforcing overlays. This will be a great shoe for humid, hot, and wet run environments. 
Altra Running 2018 Duo

Friday, July 28, 2017

Outdoor Retailer- Best of 2018 Running Video Previews: Our Picks from Salomon, Brooks, Saucony, Altra, Columbia Montrail, La Sportiva, adidas Outdoors & Skechers Performance

We scoured the huge Outdoor Retailer Show for running introductions. We will have our customary previews for each brand with detailed information and photos of multiple shoes for each brand shortly. As we visited with each company we picked, with their approval, one or 2 key products and asked each company to present in a minute or two the features and benefits.

We saw significant reductions in weight in the stability road shoe class at Brooks, Skechers Performance, and Saucony due to new lighter yet supportive uppers and new midsole materials.

Salomon Running
Update: read our full article about Running Avenue, the tech, video and all 3 models
All new Running Avenue Sonic road line led by the 8.6 oz/244 gram Sonic RA

Update: Read our full Salomon trail preview article here. Includes info on S/Lab Sense Ultra 2 and Speed 2 as well XA Elevate

XA Elevate trail shoe 
A very sharp looking update to a core trail runner.

Brooks Running 
Update: Read our full Spring 2018 Brooks previews article here:  Transcend 5, Adrenaline GTS 18, Launch 5, Ravenna 9, Caldera 2, Mazama 2

The top selling Adrenaline GTS 18 road shoe gets much lighter

Liberty ISO full Everun light stability cousin of the Freedom ISO
Update: See our full Spring 2018 Saucony preview article here featuring Liberty ISO, Triumph and Hurricane ISO 4, Kinvara 9, Peregrine 8, and Denim Collection

Best New Running Shoe of Outdoor Retailer Summer 2018!
Altra Running
Duo max cushion 31 mm zero drop super light 7.9 oz/ 224 road shoe with a whisper thin draining breathable mesh upper.
Update: See our full Spring 2018 preview here with new Duo, Vanish-R 3.9 oz road racer, Solstice entry level shoe & Everyday Collection 

Columbia Montrail
Outdry Extreme Featherweight Jacket
Lighter than 2017 edition, a super versatile waterproof breathable run jacket

Unika premium all trails shoes with a PU midsole
Update: See our full Spring 2018 La Sportiva preview here premium long hauler Unika, Lycan mid distance sub 10 oz shoe, and very light VK racer.

Skechers Performance
Best Update
GOrun Forza 3 light stability road shoe drops 1.4 oz/40 g to 9.2 oz due to new triple density FlightGEN midsole

adidas Outdoor
Innovative Designs Award-Focus on Reducing Environmental Impact
Parley CC Voyager travel and water shoe with Stealth rubber, lower earth impact (no dyes) all white Terrex 2  Boa Boa trail runner and Agravic Speed. Paint your canvas with trail dirt!

The Playlist with all 9 Outdoor Retailer Intro videos is here. Please subscribe to your YouTube chanel
Full previews for all the brands above shortly. 

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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Tuesday, July 25, 2017

ASICS Noosa FF Review-The Firm. Asics Revamps the Noosa

Article by Peter Stuart

The Noosa FF ($139.95) is the ASICS triathlon long race shoe. This version seems to be a pretty substantial revamp of the Noosa series which has featured very bright colors. The Noosa FF incorporates ASICS new FlyteFoam, the Gel of prior Noosa is gone. It  loses some weight coming down to about 8.9 oz/252 g for a men's size 9, 7.9 oz/224 g for a women's size 8. The stack heights are 18mm in the forefoot and 28mm in the heel according to Running Warehouse.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Nike Zoom Vaporfly 4% Detailed Breakdown and First Run and Race Impressions Review: Sensational, A Game Changer

The Nike Zoom Vaporfly 4% ($250) is the non customized version of the shoe worn by Eliud Kipchoge at the recent Breaking 2 attempt where he ran the fastest (unofficial) marathon time of 2:00.25. It was worn by both the men's and women's winners of the 2017 Boston Marathon.

The Vaporfly 4% is the product of extensive bio mechanics and materials research as part of the goal of  Nike's goal of breaking 2 hours in the marathon, the 4% representing Nike estimate of the potential improvement  in running economy, with individual runners varying up or down from the shoes. Added to running economy are the ideal training, course conditions and nutrition required to break the magic barrier.
Official Nike weight: 6.5 oz/184 g size 10, equivalent to approx. 6.2 oz size 9
My production pair in US size 8.5 weighed 6.56 oz /186 g, so a size 9 would weigh approx. 6.8 oz.
       -approx.1.6 oz/145 g less weight than Zoom Fly)
Stack height: 31mm heel/21 mm forefoot, 10mm drop.
       -2mm less stack heel and forefoot than Zoom Fly)

RoadTrailRun first tried on a single VaporFly 4% at the Boston Marathon here, tested and reviewed the heavier, "similar" Zoom Fly ($150) here and now have had a chance to take a first run in a pair of our own.
Unlike the Zoom Fly, with nearly identical stack heights and midsole geometry, the lighter weight (by approx. 1.6 oz), Vaporfly with its soft and bouncy ZoomX Pebax midsole foam and full carbon plate provided me in my first test run a similar but far more cushioned, responsive, shock free and fluid ride than the Zoom Fly.
The Vaporfly 4% is far more forgiving on the legs than the Zoom Fly and for sure the Zoom Streak 6, easier on the legs is part of the Breaking 2 goal of getting runners to the marathon's later stages with something left.
Time will tell as to durability of all these new materials but I would not hesitate to not only race but do all faster workouts in them.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Hoka ONE ONE Spring 2018 Previews-Fly Line with Mach,Cavu, & Elevon; Evo Jawz Racer, Update to Challenger ATR 4

Hoka ONE ONE released details on key Spring 2018 models today.
Post will be updated with stats and details  as we receive them.

The Fly line will have 3 models:
Fly models will have a new ProFLY dual density midsole with the softer heel foam for protection and a firmer forefoot foam for response and propulsion, an approach first seen in the Clayton and Tracer.

Mach ($140) 8.2 oz/231 grams (M9), 6.7 oz./190 g (W8) is adapted from the Clayton and replaces it, so is a light, highly cushioned performance trainer racer. It has a 20mm forefoot/ 24 mm heel stack,  4mm drop without sock liner so the same as Clayton 2.  Mach will be available in February 2018.

Men's Hoka ONE ONE Mach
It gains 0.3 oz over the Clayton, drops $10 in price, and has a new engineered mesh breathable upper on a new last which is the same as the new Clifton 4 last. The foam is upgraded to a new higher quality grade, same as in Clifton 4 but different firmness with higher resiliency and which tested with high energy efficiency on the run.  It has "inherent stability" from Hoka's active foot frame.  While not illustrated below, it has a wishbone outsole pattern wth "sipes" or cuts in the forefoot which could  improve the flex over the stiff Clayton, a good thing. It has the same lively RMAT outsole/midsole at road level.
We loved the Clayton 2 despite some irritation issues under the arch. The images appear to potentially show a new midsole design somewhat lower side walls near the front and given the new last and upper we hope the irritation issue is finally licked.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

ON Running Cloudrush Review--Cloudy with a Chance of Run

The ON Running Cloudrush ($130) is a 7.9 oz/224 g uptempo trainer/racer with stack heights of 21mm in the heel and 16mm in the forefoot, 5mm drop. 
It follows the ON formula of terrific looking Swiss design and a unique outsole consisting of 18 hollowed out CloudTec pods that are meant to provide a unique ride. So, how does it do on the roads? Is it a light, fluffy ride on clouds or is stormy weather coming in?

Monday, July 17, 2017

Hoka One One Arahi Review - Pillowy, Soft, Lightweight Stability Trainer

Article by Jeff Valliere

Hoka One One Arahi
29mm heel/24mm forefoot
9.3 oz. /264 g (M9); 7.6 oz. /215 g (W7)
Available in D and 2E width
$130. Available now
I have reviewed a seemingly infinite number of road shoes in the past, but this is my first for RoadTrailRun, as I pretty much live for the trails and prefer to focus on the trail side of things.  Why the change?  I have decided (again, like I do once or twice per year) to not be such an all or nothing, mountain summit or bust trail snob.  Running from the house a few days per week would save me some time in the car, giving me more time for family, other important non running related tasks and maybe, make me a more well rounded runner.  I figured it would be fun to mix it up with my reviews from time to time and review the occasional road shoe.

When choosing a road shoe, past experience tells me that I'll probably not be too satisfied in either a super light race flat, or version 17 of some heavy, overbuilt clomper.  I wanted to get into something that has a good compromise of low weight, lots of cushion and reasonable response.

Hoka jumps out in my mind to the top of the list, but Sam had beat me to my first (Clayton 2 review here), second (Hupana review here) and third (Clifton 4 review here) choices, so figured the Arahi looked like the next most interesting of the newer models.  Despite the Arahi's stability shoe billing, 29mm in the heel and 24mm in the forefoot at 9.3oz. sounded appealing.  I put in my order and secretly hoped I would receive any color other than the black/gold.

Nathan Switchblade 24oz. Hydration Belt Review

Article by Dominique Winebaum

Nathan Switchblade 24oz. Hydration Belt ($50)
I tested the Switchblade 24oz Hydration Belt by Nathan on trail runs in Park City, UT, on hot summer days, when hydration needs are high even on fairly short runs (5-6 miles).
Here is a hydration belt designed with “race-ready features” such as moveable holsters that allow for alternative positioning of the two flasks: either in the back or in the front, and four gel loops on the outside of the roomy zip pocket.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

ASICS Roadhawk FF Review: Very close to great but a bit of a stiff

ASICS Roadhawk FF
8.1 oz/230 g (M9), 7.3 oz /207 g(W8)
Stack: 25mm heel, 17mm forefoot, 8mm drop
Category: Light performance trainer
$100. Available now.

I have tested dozens of different run shoes in 2017. The Roadhawk FF checks all the boxes for me
  • light weight at 8.1 oz with a firm, responsive and importantly with shock and vibration attenuation from its excellent FlyteFoam midsole.
  • an uncomplicated snugger upper with an engineered mesh front, a supportive all of a piece saddle and decently cushioned well held heel collar
  • a beautiful simple design and in my pair a vibrant color scheme of blue and orange
  • a very fair price of $100 for a modern shoe with a great midsole and  plenty of outsole rubber
Yet, I think ASICS made a few questionable choices which keeps it from being a a true ten and one the best shoe in its category for 2017 . It is not always that I can pinpoint fairly exactly how a shoe would clearly be improved for me but here I believe I can.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Men's and Women's Rabbit Apparel Review: Run Rabbit Run!

Article by Peter Stuart and Dominique Winebaum

Men's Rabbit

Rabbit is a Santa Barbara based run apparel company. They make their clothing in Los Angeles (where I happen to live) and are now available at Running Warehouse (who were kind enough to get this gear to me to review). The gear has nice, simple design and fun names for the gear. The important thing, of course, is how does it perform? I received 3 pieces of their gear to try out, but the website has lots of cool looking stuff on it-- Rabbit folks if you're reading this I'd sure love a hat and a "born to run free shirt"!!!

Men's Daisy Dukes Short ($45) 
The Daisy Dukes are short! I like a shorter short, especially in the summer when shorts get drenched. The DD's are a terrific combination of lightweight material, just enough length, side split and a bit of storage.

Monday, July 10, 2017

ASICS Gel Nimbus 19 Review: Plush Cruiser Kicks it in Lighter than its Weight!

ASICS Gel Nimbus 19
Weight: 11 oz./312 g (M9)
Stack: 31mm heel/21mm forefoot
MSRP: $160
Category: Premium cushioned daily trainer
The venerable Gel-Nimbus arrives at 19. My last was the 9 if memory serves. When ASICS and Running Warehouse offered Road Trail Run a selection of the latest including the new Roadhawk FF, Noosa FF, and DS Trainer (reviews soon).  I figured I should compare the Nimbus to other "premium" trainers Road Trail Run has reviewed and compared in recent months. These have included the Glycerin 15, Energy Boost, Vomero 15 and Triumph ISO 3. I was not optimistic as the Nimbus was the heaviest of the bunch and ASICS, other than their fine Japan edition performance trainers and racers, has quite frankly been lagging of late.

I am quite frankly very pleasantly surprised by the Nimbus 19. So pleased that for me it is the best of the premium bunch despite its "class leading" weight.

If you are looking for a very cushioned softer trainer which runs smoothly, quite lively and with great balance between heel and forefoot and at any pace consider the Nimbus. Read on to find out why.

Monday, July 03, 2017

Saucony Zealot ISO 3 Review: Between Kinvara and Freedom Lies Bliss! 10 Comparisons.

Article by Peter Stuart and Sam Winebaum

Saucony Zealot ISO 3  
Official Weight:  8.5 oz/241g M97.3 oz/ 207 g W8 *
Stack: 26mm heel/ 22 mm forefoot, 4 mm drop
($130, available now) 
Lateral Side
*Sam's sample size 8.5 had average weight of 8.7 oz/245g (one weighing 241 g, the other 249 g where spec is 241 g). His sample size 9 weighed 8.5 oz 242 g. Note that discrepancies in weight can occur in manufacturing but these difference are more than we usually see. 

Sam: Zealot ISO 3 is softer underfoot, more consistent in cushioning feel and more flexible than Zealot ISO 2 (review here).  It officially drops almost an ounce in weight which is fantastic, although we did see discrepancies between the weight of our 2 samples. It has a completely new soft engineered mesh upper with an internal implementation of Saucony's ISO Fit straps with the upper resulting with a  relatively secure yet accommodating fit for a variety of foot types. The new Power Foam midsole is lively yet well cushioned. 
At 8.5 oz or so it has alot of forgiving cushion for such a light weight but does lose a bit of the firm pop off the road of its predecessors. If you like an unstructured more natural ride and a lower drop ride at 4mm but you also want a bit more cushion and comfort then the Zealot is worth a close look. It is for sure one of the finest updates of the year, and a fairly radical one, and is one of the best balances of comfort, cushion, energy and light weight of any shoe I have tested this year.

Minzuno Wave Rider 20 Review: In Love Again!

Article by Coby Jacobus

Mizuno Wave Rider 20
Category: Neutral daily trainer with some light stability features from the CloudWave plate.
Weight: M9 10.4 oz/295 g, W8 8.6 oz/244 g

Stack: 30mm heel/ 18mm forefoot, 12mm drop

MSRP: $119.95. Available now.

The Mizuno Wave Rider is a lightweight, neutral, well-cushioned daily trainer for the faster paced high mileage runner.  Weighing in at only 10.4oz (size 9) it is a durable, yet responsive shoe.

Saturday, July 01, 2017

Skechers Performance GORun Ultra Road 2 Review: The Bentley of Cushioned Trainers

Article by Peter Stuart and Sam Winebaum

Skechers Performance GORun Ultra R 2
Category: Light weight, highly cushioned trainer
Stack Height: 34mm in the heel and 30mm in the forefoot. (including sockliner)
Weight: 8.6 oz/244 grams for a men’s size 9.
MSRP: $115. Available July 2017
Photo: Skechers Performance
Peter: I was very fond of the Skechers GoRun Ultra Road 1 despite the fact that I should have despised it. It was heavy and I hate heavy shoes. It was cushy and I lean towards more minimal shoes. On paper it wasn’t a good shoe for me at all. Despite all of that, I enjoyed running in them. For easy and recovery runs it was a really enjoyable shoe.

This update makes it a KILLER shoe. Skechers GORun Ultra R 2 is nearly 2 ounces lighter, features a different outsole and is a lot of fun to run in.  
Sam: the R 2 defines a new standard in light, super cushioned, and lively trainers. Fast or slow the R2 is a delight to run if a bit stiff.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Brooks Glycerin 15 Review: Luxo Softer Riding Daily Trainer with a Fabulous Upper. Comparisons to Latest: Ghost, Vomero, Energy Boost, and Triumph ISO

Article by Sam Winebaum

Brooks Running Glycerin 15
Weight: 10.6 oz/301 g (M9), 9.2 oz/261g (W8)
My sample 8.5 weighed 10.3 oz
Stack: 31mm heel, 21mm forefoot, 10mm drop
MSRP: $150, Available now.

The Cambridge Dictionary defines glycerine as "a sweet, thick, clear liquid used in making explosives and medicines and for making food sweet.  Brooks Running's 15th edition of the Glycerin is a sweet fitting and running shoe but not exactly an explosive one. 

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Topo Athletic Fly-Lyte 2 Review: Great Ride but with a Big Catch...

Article by Peter Stuart

Topo Fly-Lyte 2
The Topo Athletic Fly-Lyte 2 ($100) is a moderately lightweight (8.4oz/28 g for size 9) daily trainer with a wide toe-box and stack heights of 23mm in the heel and 20mm, 3mm drop.

For those just following along, Topo was started by Tony Post, formerly of Vibram. The first Topo shoes had a split toe and they've been inching towards more traditional running shoes. Their toe boxes are anatomical and roomy to allow toe splay. This is going to be a short  review--read on to find out why...

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 

Update: See our detailed first impressions review of  the Vapor Fly 4% Here

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 2:41 marathoner (PR just recently in the Zoom Fly, see below), 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. 

Not hype for Derek! Our reviewer Derek Li just set a marathon PR of 2:41.20 at the Gold Coast Marathon in Australia on July 2nd.  
Derek Li finishes the 2017 Gold Coast Marathon with a PR in the Zoom Fly
Here is his report followed by our full review.

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?

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.

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)

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. 

Tuesday, June 06, 2017

Polar M430 GPS Heart Rate Watch and Polar Flow Review: Simple, Comfortable, Accurate with a Great Free Training Platform

Polar M430
GPS/Wrist Heart Rate Watch
Available now.

The Polar M430 is a great value in a run, focused modern styled GPS watch with optical wrist heart rate. It focuses on running with a full suite of free training options, great screen visibility, accurate and reliable heart rate in our testing and a super comfortable soft fit on even smaller wrists. While not having every "smart GPS watch" bell and whistle on board the combination of hardware and back end app and web site is a strong challenge to Garmin in mid range watches.
The Polar Flow app and web site training platform is truly outstanding, ever improving and extremely well integrated to the watch. Purchasing a watch is not just about the wrist hardware, they basically all do a good job with GPS tracking these days, so we also attempt to present some of the highlights of the Polar Flow back end below.