Thursday, February 20, 2020

adidas SL20 Initial Run Impressions Review, Shoe Details, and Comparisons

Article by Sam Winebaum

adidas SL20 ($120)


The SL 20 is an all new light trainer racer which at about 8 oz / 228 g slots in weight right between the adios 5 and Boston 8 but has 6 mm more cushion stack front and back than the adios and 3mm more than the Boston coming from its new, very lively and energetic but not super soft Lightstrike midsole. No Boost here, and I didn't miss it all! 29mm heel / 19mm forefoot stack, 10 mm drop. Launching now. $120

Watch The First Run Impressions and Shoe Details Video
Read reviewers' full run bios here
The product reviewed was provided at no cost. The opinions herein are the authors'.
Comments and Questions Welcome Below!
Please let us know mileage, paces, race distances, and current preferred shoes

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adidas Ultraboost PB Review: big weight drop via a new cage and knit free upper!

Article by Mac Jeffries and Michael Ellenberger

adidas Ultraboost PB ($180)
Stats
Estimated Weight:  men's  10.45 oz / 296 g (US9) 
Samples: Mac: 13.2 oz (Size 14), Michael: 10.2 oz (Size 8.5)
Note: Ultraboost 20 weighs approximately 1 oz / more at 11.5 oz in a US9
Stack Height: heel 27 mm / forefoot 17 mm, 10mm drop
Available Feb 2020. $180


Introduction
Mac: I am going to be honest; I had low expectations for the PB coming in. I consider the UB to be primarily an athleisure line: comfortable and attractive, but too sloppy and heavy for serious running. However, with a more secure upper and a cleaner overall design, the UBPB promises to be a serious everyday trainer for longer speed work and everyday miles. Spoiler: I was pleasantly surprised :-) 
Michael: I haven’t worn an Adidas trainer since some variant of the Supernova, back in high school, and besides the Adios (and perhaps the Sub2), I don’t think any of their offerings have been particularly inspiring. But the UltraBoost PB looks like a real, serious running shoe and guess what? It feels like one, too. We’re going to have to move past the “racing” angle to it - yes, we’re told the “PB” stands for “personal best” but no, I don’t think you’re going to be running many of those in this shoe. Still, this is the best offering of the UltraBoost line I’ve seen! 


Pros: 
Mac: Comfortable upper; secure around the midfoot. Good combination of cushion, spring, and responsiveness. Looks fantastic. 
Michael: Upper is class-leading (Really! From Adidas!); Boost is as boost-y as ever; looks sharp.


Cons: 
Mac: Weight is an issue, at least for a shoe named “Personal Best”. Probably a tad long and narrow. Laces require some dexterity to cinch down
Michael: Not a racer; not even Adidas’s best lightweight trainer; sizing concerns; price.

Wednesday, February 19, 2020

Brooks Hyperion Tempo Review: a Very Light, Super Foamed, Durable "Workhorse"

Article by Derek Li and Sam Winebaum

Brooks Running Hyperion Tempo ($150)
Stats
Weight:: men's 7.3 oz/ 207 g (US9)   6.7 oz / 190g women's / (US8)
  Samples: 7.06 oz /200 g men’s US8.5, 7.55oz / 215g men’s US9.5
Offset: 8mm 

Available late February 2020.  $150

Introduction
Derek: I think Brooks hasn’t had any new really good lightweight shoes for a few years now. Even the original Hyperion, while bouncy, had a tricky fit that didn’t work for a lot of people. Now that Olympic season is upon us once again, it is exciting to see what Brooks has been developing. I used to be sponsored by Brooks back in 2013/2014, and had some great results in the Brooks Green Silence and PureConnect 2. Their later offerings kind of missed the marks for me. With these new models in the sub-8 oz range, I was very hopeful they could build on the success of their older racers and catch back up with the front runners of racing flats. 

Sam: The exciting news for me here is that Brooks joins the "super foam" games with DNA Flash a nitrogen infused, much lighter and somewhat bouncier flavor of their BioMoGo DNA foam. The result is a 7.3 oz / 207 g very adequately cushioned up tempo trainer with copious rubber coverage.


Pros:
Derek: Lightweight
Derek/Sam: Well ventilated upper
Sam: Very substantial upper with great hold for such a light shoe and upper.
Derek/Sam: Good vibration dampening quality
Sam: Plentiful slightly bouncy fun cushion
Sam: Copious durable rubber for such a light shoe.


Cons:
Derek: The stretchy laces make the lockdown a bit sloppy for me. 
Derek: Outsole rubber is a bit slippery
Sam: Firm thick heel rubber is overdone and leads to a firm outsole feel, if a highly responsive one Forefoot rubber is extensive and could be more segmented for a snappier toe off. Both of these factors likely also contribute to weight.

Tester Profiles

Derek is in his 30’s and trains 70-80 miles per week at 7 to 8 minute pace in mostly tropical conditions in Singapore. He has a 2:41 marathon PR.
Sam is the Editor and Founder of Road Trail Run. He is 62 with a 2018 3:40 Boston qualifier. Sam has been running for over 45 years and has a 2:28 marathon PR. These days he runs halves in the just sub 1:40 range training 30-40 miles per week mostly at moderate paces on the roads and trails of New Hampshire and Utah. He is 5'10" tall and weighs about 165 lbs.

Topo Athletic Runventure 3 Review: A Super Light, Simple, and Pared Down Trail Runner

Article by Dom Layfield and Jeff Valliere

Topo Athletic Runventure 3 ($120)

Stats
Estimated Weight: 8.75 oz / 248g  (US M9)
Samples:
9.2 oz, 261 g  (US M10)
10.4oz, 295 g  (US M12)
Stack Height: 20 mm (6 mm outsole, 9 mm EVA midsole, 5 mm footbed), zero-drop
Available Feb. 20.  $120

Pros:
Jeff V, Dom:  Light weight
Jeff V, Dom:  Comfortable fit/wide toe box
Jeff V, Dom:  Traction/outsole
Jeff V, Dom:  Style

Cons:
Jeff V:  Upper is crinkly
Jeff V, Dom :  Underfoot protection is a bit thin for rocky trails

Tester Profiles
Dom 48, trains and competes mainly on trails in Southern California running about 3000 miles and 500k ft of vert per year.  In 2017 he was 14th at Western States 100 and in 2018 finished 50th at UTMB and 32nd at the 2018 Los Angeles marathon in a time of 2:46.  2019 was a quiet year, with his only notable finish at the multi-day Dragon Back race in the UK.
Jeff  runs mostly on very steep technical terrain above Boulder often challenging well known local FKT's. 

Tuesday, February 18, 2020

Jaybird Sport Vista Ear Buds Review: Rugged & Run Focused with Great Sound and Long Battery Life

Article by Jacob Brady with Sam Winebaum


Jaybird Vista ($180)

Introduction
Jacob: Jaybird is a wireless sport headphone company “born on the trails,” designed for endurance athletics and marketed most specifically to runners. Jaybird makes exclusively headphones and has four models in their current line; the Vista is their only “true wireless” (each earbud is separate) model. The Vista emphasizes small size and durability and features a shock, dust, water, and sweat-proof IPX7-rated construction and entirely in-ear design. 


I received the black buds and Sam received the Planetary Design limited edition (only available through March or until sold out at Jaybird.


Sam: I have tested multiple Jaybird over the years. I must say their run focus was `promising” but never really fulfilled that promise from fit to performance. This said the sound was always excellent and approached my benchmark buds the bulky Bose FreeSport. With the Vista now lighter, with far longer battery life including each bud able to be used independently and with an increased emphasis on water, dust, and shock resistance as they have not only comply with the IPX 7 standard (completely submerged for 30 minutes) but also have rugged military MIL-STD 810G all conditions tested standard compliance.  I was intrigued to test them out and see if they were #Earthproof  as Jaybird says, and Sam Proof.
Pros:
Jacob/Sam: Lightweight
Jacob/Sam High quality, Sport designed and sport durable
Jacob/Sam: Comfortable and secure fit
Jacob/Sam: Easy to use
Sam: Rich deep sound from tiny buds, superior to AirPods
Sam: Great battery life (up to 32 hours) for long adventures when going single bud


Cons:
Jacob: Even smallest ear gel may be slightly large for some ear shapes
Sam: Price when head to head with AirPods which are $20 less, but likely worth it if run use focused.

Monday, February 17, 2020

Atreyu Running 100 Mile Review (2020): Blast Off!


Article by Michael Ellenberger

Atreyu Base Model (2020): $75-$95 (Pre-Orders February 21, 2020). 

Introduction

If you've been around Instagram (or keeping a keen eye on my Strava log), you may have come across a small company in Austin, Texas called "Atreyu Running Company." Atreyu is the rare running startup, a gritty "team" (really just one guy named Michael Krajicek) with the desire to build a low-cost, dynamic running shoe that can be raced (it's covered a half-marathon in under 70:00) but also trained in (I now have over 115 miles on my pair).

This is an exciting time for running shoes - we're in the midst of the carbon fiber wars, with nearly every major manufacturer debuting a new racing model before the 2020 Tokyo/Sapporo Olympics. So how does Atreyu, and it's team of one, fit in? They fit by building an ultra-light, ultra-comfortable, and ultra-cheap shoe that defies the specialization of running shoes and functions as a do-it-all, no-nonsense (and quite good looking!) trainer and racer.

Also of note - Atreyu is planning a subscription model for its shoes, both to keep its cost down, and to simplify the shoe buying experience. Users will be able to choose delivery intervals between 1 and 3 months. Atreyu founder Michael Krajicek told me he once picked up a pair of New Balance 1400s at $75, and appreciated the joy in getting a shoe you want a price that doesn't make you think twice. With that in mind, he set the subscription price of the Atreyu as low as $75 - so everyone can find that no-brainer shoe. A single pair will still be near the industry's low end, at $95.

Not only is Atreyu coming in well below the market cost, they're also promoting recycling of old pairs as well. Michael told me that each new pair will come with a prepaid return label, so Atreyu will cover the cost of sending the shoes back to Atreyu HQ. From there, they'll sanitize, rebag, generally renew, and finally re-distribute the pair back via a number of community outreach organizations, including those helping the the homeless in Austin. 

It has no model name. It has no advertising campaign. It has a subscription model. It has recycling. It's like nothing we've seen before.... this is the 2020 Atreyu base model.

Skechers Performance Speed Elite Hyper Multi Tester Review: Name Earned!

Article by Jacob Brady, Derek Li, Michael Ellenberger and Sam Winebaum


Skechers Performance Speed Elite Hyper ($190)
Stats
Weight: 5.8 oz /164 g men's US 9 (verified with size 9 sample)
Stack Height 23mm heel / 19 mm forefoot (not including board and sockliner, 28/24 with),  4mm drop
Unisex sizing US8-US12. Whole sizes only.
Available now. $190


Introduction
Jacob: The GOrun Speed Elite Hyper is Skechers carbon fiber infused polymer-plated racing flat that has been on the radar for a while, with prototypes (and roadtrailrun’s preview) circulating over a year ago and an initial release date of Fall 2019. 


The Hyper Burst midsole material used in the Speed Elite has been phenomenal across the Skechers Performance line, most famously in the Razor 3 and recently in the ultralight racing flat, the GOmeb Speed 6—it is lightweight and resilient with great energy return. 


Carbon plates, rockered geometry, and high rebound foams have become standard in top-tier racing shoes over the past year, and the Speed Elite represents Skechers first shoe in this realm. Unlike many modern plated racers which have huge slabs of soft foam (most famously the Nike Vaporfly series) the Speed Elite is relatively firm with a low (23/19)  stack height. It’s a modern version of a traditional racing flat: low, light, responsive, and designed for speed. 


Derek: I’ve been dreaming of trying the zebra shoe for over a year and now it’s finally here. Skechers’ answer to the carbon arms race and it is the real deal. Ever since Galen Rupp had a custom Vaporfly with a truncated carbon plate that only extends back to the midfoot, I’ve been wondering how that would change the ride and whether maybe we could get a softer heel while still preserving that forward roll. I still hold out hope for a limited release zebrafledge colorway but for now we will just have to make do with what is still the best looking racer of the year thus-far. 
Michael: This shoe is a looonngggg time coming. As Skechers Performance continues to craft class-leading trainers (including the GoRun 7+ Hyper and GoRun Ride 8)  and carbon plate-less racing flats such as GoRun Razor and mid foot only plated racers such as the Go Meb Speed 6, we have been dreaming of the day when the production model of that zebra-stripe racer - the Skechers Speed Elite Hyper - is finally real. Friends, that day has come. As if Skechers followed the Marvel’s Avengers model of hype-building, we were teased along the way with the allures of Hyper Burst, the refinements to uppers and fits, the snap of the Speed 6 until finally - finally! - we get the Speed Elite. Time to run. 


Sam: The Elite’s product brief was first to reduce weight as much as possible, wherever possible, while delivering the stiffest, most resilient ride possible. Lighter weight translates to running economy and efficiency.
I tested some early “Zebrafage” Skechers carbon plated prototypes and found them a very firm with a quite harsh ride, if a fast one, reminding me of a track spike with some cushioning. The prototype shoe shown above is dated January 2018 and was actually a plated variant of the Razor. That is how long it takes to iterate to a great shoe!


Too much carbon in a relatively low stack shoe at 23 mm / 19 mm is not necessarily a good thing for distance racing beyond the shortest of races. Skechers went to work to mellow the ride somewhat with Hyper in the midsole and substituting  a mid foot to forefoot carbon infused polymer winglet plate all to extend the shoe’s versatility while still focused on the lightest possible weight and Speed!  So how did they perform?


Pros
Jacob/Sam/Derek: Incredibly lightweight
Jacob/Sam/Derek: Well-sized, precise race fit
Jacob/Sam/Derek: Encourages a quick turnover—fast!
Sam:Lots of shoe for the weight
Sam: Soft enough heel, very dynamic snappy forefoot and toe off
Michael: Upper is an improvement even over the Speed 6, and is race-ready.
Michael: Hyperburst, as always, is the real deal.
Michael: Aggressive geometry makes this a capable shoe, 5K to marathon.


Cons
Jacob: At slow paces, not smoot, hard to run in
Jacob/Derek: Durability
Jacob: Limited versatility
Sam: a fairly firm ride for most for long racing. Add more stack and keep under 6.5 oz and I would be happier
Sam: Pricing at $190 
Michael: Versatility concerns - who wouldn’t say no to a little more Hyperburst?