Thursday, August 16, 2018

Reebok Floatride Run Fast Pro Full Review: Amazing Substance, Minuscule 4 oz Weight! Best Race "Flat" Ever?

Article by Derek Li, Michael Ellenberger and Sam Winebaum

Reebok Floatride Fast Run Pro
The Reebok Floatride Fast Run Pro is an impossibly light (3.6 oz/102 g in my US M8.5 so sub 4 oz in a US M9) road racing flat with an atmospheric $250 price tag,  more than $60 per ounce so literally caviar pricing!

Sam: Designed for Reebok's elite athletes including their Zap Fitness team, this shoe took Nicole DiMercurio to a stellar 6th place at the Boston Marathon this year.  I sure scratched my head hearing that news, Boston hills and all... Was there more to this shoe than meets the scale? In the day of the super cushioned Vapor Fly what was Reebok thinking here? Let's just say real, real good thoughts and superbly executed!

Sunday, August 12, 2018

Reebok Sweet Road 2 Review: Easy Riding. Easy Fitting Faster Trainer

Article by Sam Winebaum

Reebok is on a focused tear in 2018. The race Floatride Run Fast (RTR review) and Floatride Run Fast Pro (RTR review) are superb racing shoes among, if not the very best and most innovative of 2018 with their Floatride Foam PEBA midsoles, minimal uppers, and new approaches to integration of midsole materials and outsole.
Left to Right: Sweet Road 2, Floatride Run Fast, Floatride Run Fast Pro
What then is the fast training partner for these more race oriented shoes? Not the Grasse Road a fine somewhat more stability oriented and heavily cushioned shoe we recently tested (RTR review) and for me due to its 10.8 oz weight not the similar but more cushioned neutral oriented Harmony Road 2. Enter the Sweet Road 2.

At a very fair price of $100, this approx. 9.6 oz // 278 g US men's 9, 8 mm drop trainer seems to us the product of very, very careful consideration of and laser focused improvements area by area of the competitors in the class such as the Brooks Ghost, Saucony Ride ISO, Nike Pegasus 35, Asics Dynaflyte 3, Skechers Ride 7, adidas Solar Boost, even we would venture to say the lighter Kinvara.

To sum it up, and upfront, the Sweet Road 2 is flexible and transitions very easily and smoothly, has a relatively soft forefoot to go with a stable heel with its softer KooshRide TPU insert, has plenty of durable rubber well matched in firmness to the midsole, and is topped off with an unstructured buttery soft (I run them barefoot daily) engineered mesh upper with only one strategically placed medial overlay/insert, an upper that is most comfortable and decently supportive at the same time. Read on for the details.

Friday, August 10, 2018

Mammut 2019 Previews: 156 Years Young! Saentis Trail Runner/Hiker, Sertig Shorts, Masao Light Jacket. New Mammut Delta X Collection Brings Mountain Function & Modern Urban Style.

Article by Sam Winebaum

That's right Mammut started in 1862 as a rope maker and since then internally and through acquisitions has grown to cover all aspects of mountaineering and hiking. The catalog with tiny images is almost 300 pages long and includes everything from climbing gear to backpacks to apparel and a vast array of footwear. I have owned Mammut apparel, several bright red checked short sleeve shirts over the years. Swiss colors, Swiss quality.

At Outdoor Retailer Mammut, knowing our interest in trail running focused on three products out of the literally thousands: The Saentis trail runner fast packer shoe, The Masao light waterproof and highly breathable jacket, and the Sertig short a beautifully crafted all mountain activities short.

Available in March 2019 in Low ($129), Knit Low($179) and  Low GTX ($159), the Saentis bridges running and hiking.
The Saentis Knit Low has a rear knit upper stabilized to the rear by straps connected to the lacing.  The front is conventional breathable mesh. The women's version shown above weighs  9.9 oz/280 g in a US women's 7.5.  The men's US 9 weighs about 11 oz.

Wednesday, August 08, 2018

Topo Athletic 2019 Previews: Hydroventure 2, Terraventure 2, and New Ultraventure

Article by Sam Winebaum
Topo Athletic updates its Hydroventure and Terraventure trail runners with Vibram outsoles, Ortholite insoles and improved uppers while retaining their agile 3mm drop geometries. The new Ultraventure ups the cushioning with a 30mm heel, 25mm overall stack and a 3 piece multi density midsole. All Topo shoes share a roomy toe box and heel to toe drops between 0 mm and 5 mm. All of the updates we saw at Outdoor Retailer were to trail shoes.

Weight: 11.2 oz/ 317 g M9, 9.1 oz 257 g W7
Stack: 30 mm heel/ 25mm forefoot (incl. 5mm Ortholite insole and 6mm Vibram XS Trek rubber)
$130. Available October 2019 REI, elsewhere November.
The new Ultraventure can be thought of as the trail cousin of the Ultrafly, Topo's most cushioned road shoe. They share similar midsole stack heights and a 3 piece multi density midsoles with the Ultraventure adding more support to the upper, drainage gills, gaiter attachment points for the Topo Stretch gaiter and a very stout Vibram XS Trek outsole. There is no rock plate.

Revant Optics Custom Prescription Sunglasses Lenses Review - High Quality, Replacement Lenses At An Affordable Price!

by Jeff Valliere

Revant Prescription Sport Lenses – Custom Cut

Single Vision Custom Prescription Midnight Sun Mirrorshield

Revant Optics was founded in 2009, soon after founder and CEO Jason Bolt crashed while mountain biking and damaged his sunglasses.  When he tried to buy replacement lenses, he found that they were no longer available, so he ordered a batch of 200 lenses from the manufacturing company, kept a few pairs and sold the rest.  The idea was born to make custom cut replacement lenses for sunglasses, new and old, prescription and non prescription, at a fair price and with great customer service.
The process is real simple:
  • Get a recent prescription. if needed. Revant will also replace non prescription lenses.
  • Select lens type for your frame -there are some limits to the strength of prescription given original frame and lens shape
  • Send your old frames to Revant in the mailing box they will provide
  • Within a few weeks your favorite frames come back with new performance lenses
Last year we reviewed Titanium Mirrorshield replacement  lenses for the much more common Oakley Flak Jacket with great results.  It was impossible to tell the difference between the original Oakley prescription lenses and the Revant replacements.  After a year of use, I don’t have a scratch on them after daily every day use, as well as some running and biking.

Friday, August 03, 2018

Hoka One One EVO Mafate 100 Plus Mile Updated Review: Maximal Cushion, Highly Responsive, All Terrain Racer and Trainer

Article by Sam Winebaum, Jeff Valliere, and Dom Layfield

Update: Our review is updated at approximately at 100 plus miles with comments on upper fit, outsole wear, and more general comments. 
Jeff now has 115 miles of often very technical, rocky Boulder running in the EVO Mafate and says: "When not reviewing other shoes (which has been in a bit of a lull for me this summer), I almost always find myself reaching for the EVO Mafate, even over the Torrent which is also a favorite for 2018." 
Dom now has150 miles on his and concludes: 
"I think this is a highly significant shoe for Hoka One One.  Hoka have long been a dominant force in the ultrarunning world, and I have worn their shoes to race several 100-mile races.  But until recently nothing in their line up has really stood out for me as a well-rounded trail shoe, or enticed me a daily trainer.  The Mafate EVO has a sublime, super-cushioned ride (particularly in the forefoot) and is absolutely a shoe I would select for both high-volume training and on race day."

Hoka One One EVO Mafate
Sam: The Mafate was Hoka’s original shoe way back in 2009. Remember those years? Running was in the throes of Born to Run, minimalism, and Vibram Five Fingers. Well Hoka, founded by two ex Salomon guys with a deep knowledge of running shoe and ski design, and mountain biking had a different idea. Their Mafate was designed to be the running equivalent of a well suspended mountain bike or fat ski with maximum cushion and broad foot print on the ground for fast downhill running. Well we know how the story ends now a decade later with Hoka growing rapidly on essentially their initial formula with a broad line of shoes, some even not so maximal.

I first ran the original Mafate in 2010 and also used it to hike around the Mt Blanc in a bit more than five days.
2010 Cruising Park City Trails in the original Mafate
For sure it was well cushioned and leg friendly on downhills but it was hard to move along uphill or on the road as it was so stiff and massive. Rolling forward to 2018 the new EVO Mafate maintains its max cushion and vibe in a thoroughly modern dynamic shoe. Under development for a considerably time, very near production versions were run to great success by Tim Tollefson (3rd) and Jim Walmsley (5th) at the 2017 UTMB on a course ideally suited for a shoe where lots of vertical, technical terrain and smoother fast running are all in the mix.
The EVO Mafate uses 2 flavors of cushioning in its midsole: Hoka’s EVA and below that R-Bound a successor to Hoka’s dynamic RMAT, now 9% lighter and more durable. It is shod with a versatile any terrain Vibram MegaGrip outsole, has some flexibility and is very decently responsive, even on the road.  I has a very commendable lightweight of 10.5 oz for a trail and for that matter road shoe with this much going on underfoot. We did not run its predecessor the Mafate Speed but Hoka tells us the main difference is the upper and the substitution of R-Bound for RMAT.
And what an upper the EVO Mafate has! It is made a single piece of engineered mesh with patented new MATRYX tech where the structure and support does not come from varying the weaving pattern of a single material but from varying densities of Kevlar thread woven in with the other more conventional threads. The resulting combination is non wicking while also having high abrasion resistance. Read on to see what our testers thought. They ran on a variety of surfaces in Colorado, Utah, and New Hampshire. 

Thursday, August 02, 2018

Brooks Running 2019 Previews: The Evolution of Support. Firm Medial Posts are No More! Guide Rails in Ravenna 10, Adrenaline GTS 19, Transcend 6. Launch 6, Glycerin 17, and Caldera 3

Article by Sam Winebaum

Brooks surprised with a major paradigm shift in how their Spring 2019 "support, pronation control, stability" shoes will be constructed. Gone will be firm medial posts and other contraptions in the Ravenna 10 and Adrenaline 19, two of their major franchise support shoes with the Adrenaline their top seller in the category

The concept is to not "outsmart" the foot at the arch and underfoot but to guide motion at the calcaneal bone using Guide Rails on both wrapping from near the top of the midsole under foot then up the side of the upper.  The metaphor used is that Guide Rails are the bumpers in a bowling alley and the foot is the ball. The Guide Rails will come into play, as needed, for both support oriented and neutral runners (as their stride falls out of place).
According to Brooks a more substantial medial Guide Rail will stabilize calcaneal eversion on the medial inner side

Wednesday, August 01, 2018

Salomon Spring 2019 Previews: Speedcross 5, Adv Skin 8 Set Women's Vest, Sonic RA 2, Sense Ride 2, Odyssey Triple Crown Thru Hiker

Article by Sam Winebaum

Speedcross 5
MSRP: $130
Weight: 11.6 oz (US 9M) / 9.9oz (US 7W)
Stack Height: 30mm/20mm (10mm drop)
Available: February 1, 2019. Gore-Tex and wide versions Fall 2019

The Speedcross, the top selling trail shoe worldwide, gets significant upgrades centered on stability and upper comfort. Focused on loose surfaces including mud, snow, and sand the Speedcross is also an “around town” favorite and will be available in many colors.

The upper in the toe box moves away from scratchy stiff rip stop and stitching to softer materials and is assembled with a new vacuum forming technology to make the toe box more supple and accommodating.

The front on the ground platform is widened slightly again to provide more comfort and a wider grip on the ground.

To enhance stability and ground contact the lugs are widened.

Altra Running Lone Peak 4.0 Review Top Selling Trail Run and Thru Hike Shoe Upgrades with Improved Upper Support and Grip, and More Flexibility

Article by Dominick Layfield, David Henry and Sam Winebaum

Altra Lone Peak 4.0
Sam: The Lone Peak is Altra’s best selling trail running shoe. It is also the best selling trail shoe in run speciality stores, and the best selling non Salomon shoe in outdoor stores. It is the most popular shoe for thru hikers on the Applachian and Pacific Crest Trails according to Altra and this preview article by Andrew Skurka here.  Our  reviewers have run previous versions of the Lone Peak (RTR review of the Lone Peak 3.5 here) and have noted that with each version Altra has carefully attempted to improve durability and lock down the sometimes loose fit, while retaining the distinctive soft, excellent trail feel. Read on to see what our testers thought of this new version.

Monday, July 30, 2018

La Sportiva Spring 2019 Previews: New Kaptiva and Bushido 2

Article by Sam Winebaum

La Sportiva presented a brand new trail run shoe the Kaptiva, for medium to long distances on varied and technical terrain and an update to their best selling model the Bushido.

Men's 9.1 oz./260 grams, Women's 7.0 oz./225 g
Midsole Stack: 22mm/16mm, 6mm drop
$139. Available Spring 2019
The Kaptiva is a new light weight trail runner racer with 4-5mm all terrain lugs and a full length EVA rock guard. It is built on a new last.

Saucony Spring 2019 Previews: New Switchback ISO, Kinvara 10, Triumph ISO 5, Guide ISO 2, Peregrine ISO

Article by Sam Winebaum with Shannon Payne

Saucony emphasized the expansion of ISO Fit to more models including trail with the upcoming Peregrine ISO and a cool new light trail runner the Switchback ISO with BOA closure and full Everun midsole.
Moving towards common, consistent technologies across models such as ISOFit, Saucony also presented Form Fit an integration of sockliner, Everun topsole and more contoured midsole side walls to mesh with the sockliner and top sole.

The new last, first seen in the Ride ISO, will expand to more models including the new Guide ISO 2 and Triumph ISO 5. This new last is wider in the forefoot and grippier in the heel area.

Saucony also shared data with RoadTraiRun indicating that while road running has grown 20% in participation since 2006, trail running has grown 79% with strongest growth among women as is now at approximately 8.1 million participants. 5 million of these trail runners cross over to road running.

Swtichback ISO
9.6 oz/272 g, 8.6 oz/244 g
4mm drop
Available February 2019
This all new, go fast trail runner can be thought of as the trail cousin of the Freedom ISO, sharing a full Everun midsole and 4mm drop. I think Everun may be better suited to trail running shoes than road running shoes when used as a full midsole due to its dense nature.

Saturday, July 28, 2018

Nike Trail Running Spring 2019 Previews: Air Zoom Terra Kiger 5 and Air Zoom Wildhorse 5

Article by Sam Winebaum

Nike Trail Running exhibited at Outdoor Retailer for the first time that I can recall. They came complete with their restored 1978 Winnebago and a plywood table to display their two models: Air Zoom Terra Kiger 5 and Air Zoom Wildhorse 5.

2019 Altra Previews and Introductions: Kayenta, Superior 4.0, Timp 1.5, Dyani Slip On, Trail Running Button Up Shirt

Article by Sam Winebaum
Altra Founder Golden Harper met with RoadTrailRun at Outdoor Retailer to present the brand's Spring 2019 introductions. Most notably Altra introduced a new light performance trainer, the Kayenta and a lighter Superior 4.0, both with a new Quantic midsole. Quantic combines in its foam the firmer response of Altra's Max-LT midsole found in the Duo with some of the bounce of the EGO midsole found in the Escalante. Paradigm, and King MT.

Weight: 5.9 oz/ 4.9 oz (without sock liner so about 7 oz with)
Stack Height: 23mm/23mm, Zero Drop
Available Spring 2018
The Kayenta was the road star. At about 7 oz with sock liner, this decently stacked-23mm shoe front and back, light shoe is the new Altra choice for longer races, tempo and triathlon.

Thursday, July 26, 2018

Spring 2019 Hoka One One Previews: Mach 2, Cavu 2, Speedgoat 3, Challenger ATR 5, Arahi 3, Gaviota 2, EVO Rehi

Article by Sam Winebaum

Hoka One One continues to expand its offerings, modernize its uppers with engineered mesh and even beyond with Kevlar strand structured MATRYX upper technology. Best of all in 2019 we will see more of what Hoka now calls “rubberized foam” and which previously was known as R-MAT and then R-Bound. Here are some highlights from the Spring 2019 introductions.

Mach 2
Weight: 8 oz/227 g M US9, 6.6 oz/187 g W US 7*
Stack Height: Men’s 24mm/17mm, 5mm drop*
$140. Available February 2019
*all weights and stack heights do not include sock liner.

The Mach 1 (RTR review) was the successor to the Clayton as a light, well cushioned trainer racer. The Mach 2 is built on a completely new last with special focus given to the arch profile, the source of irritation for some in the Clayton and to a lesser extent Mach.

Wednesday, July 25, 2018

Outdoor Retailer 2018: Skechers Performance introduces the GO Run Razor 3 Hyper with Hyper Burst Midsole Foam

Article by Sam Winebaum

We have been big fans of the rapid progress Skechers Performance has made in the last three or so years.  They have been relentless in delivering ever lighter, livelier shoes topped with modern uppers and all at very reasonable prices. 
In what is now an annual tradition towards significantly lighter and ever more fun to run shoes, Skechers showed us the GO Run Razor 3 Hyper, a 6.4 oz 23mm heel/19mm forefoot (without 3mm flat sock liner), 4mm drop trainer/marathon racer. I will retail, when it comes to market in November during marathon season, at $125. Catch that weight and price?