Monday, March 18, 2019

Nike Air Zoom Terra KIger 5 Initial Video Review

Video by Sam Winebaum

Watch our initial review of the Nike Air Zoom Terra Kiger 5. It releases April 1st, 2019.
Our full written multi-tester review is coming soon.

The product reviewed was provided at no cost. The opinions herein are entirely the author's.
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Nike Air Zoom Wildhorse 5 Review - Finally a new Wildhorse, but mostly the same Wildhorse

Article by Jeff Beck
NIKE AIR ZOOM WILDHORSE 5 ($110)
Introduction
Jeff: After several years of re-releasing the Nike Zoom Air Wildhorse 4 in new colorways, Nike has finally given it an update and is releasing the Wildhorse 5 on April 1. While Nike opted to completely change every aspect of its more popular and sleeker sibling Terra Kiger, the Wildhorse 5 update is largely an upper overhaul. The Wildhorse continues to be a force on the trail, combining Phylon EVA foam, an Air Zoom unit in the heel,and  a rockplate in the forefoot with a rubber outsole, and the result is a very smooth running trail shoe that keep the foot well protected over a number of very rocky miles. The all new upper helps shave noticeable weight off of the shoe, and makes a great running trail cruiser even better.

Pros:
  • More traditional/symmetrical upper should appease more feet than the 4
  • Good foot protection from rock plate and EVA foam
  • Same great ride as Wildhorse 4, but more than an ounce lighter on the scale
  • Actually has a toe bumper this time around
  • Phenomenal value at $110
Cons:
  • Traction still suspect in damp, muddy, or wet conditions
  • Pink/purple/baby blue/yellow/green/white color way may have a limited audience (namely my five-year-old daughter), and gets very dirty quickly.
  • Toe bumper does limit toe space


Wednesday, March 13, 2019

New Balance 890v7 Review: Looks Great. Best Run Fast!

Article by Derek Li, Dave Ames, and Sam Winebaum

New Balance 890v7 ($120)
Introduction
Sam: The New Balance 890v7 is called out by New Balance as having a "sleek and lightweight design which makes it the perfect daily trainer and dedicated workout shoe".  The 890v7 is priced at $120 and will be available early April 2019.

The big news here is that my size US 8.5 sample weighs 6.6 oz /187 grams for a massive 2.3 oz. drop / 65 g compared to my 890v6 sample (RTR review) at the same size.

With a catalog spec of 7.1 oz men's and women's at 5.5 oz /158 g it should come in a touch under 7 oz. / 198 g in a size 9 (New Balance I believe using size 9.5 for catalog weights). That is light!
Where do the weight savings come? Looked at side by side the stack appears the same at an estimated 27mm heel /21 mm forefoot but we see a lighter engineered knit upper, a new Ground Contact RevLite foam, and especially far less outsole rubber than its predecessor.


The result is a shoe which should come in lighter than any other racer trainers from New Balance including the 1400, stability oriented 1500, softer Beacon, and Zante Pursuit.
Pros:
  • dropped 2.3 oz /65 g from v6
  • good vibration dampening
  • very comfortable sleek upper which worked well in wet conditions.
  • stable but without an overly flat feeling at mid foot as v6 had
  • platform leads to more pronounced toe offs at speed 
Cons:
  • Derek: outsole durability poor, upper fit is on the relaxed side
  • Sam: stiff forefoot and firm, making it speed and workouts focused
  • Dave:  Poor lacing scheme for a narrow ankle runner.  Last eyelet digs into my fibula. Not the strongest fan of wrap around heel counter combined with where the last eyelet is placed.

Inov-8 Roclite 335 Review: Warm Welcome to Fast Winter Running and Hiking

Article by Sam Winebaum

Inov-8 Roclite 335 ($150)
Introduction
The Roclite 335 is a light (approx. 11.8 oz /335 g) "boot" designed for running and fast hiking in cold conditions. It is in the line based on requests from customers in Canada and Scandinavia for a winter running option for cold conditions. dIt features a thin layer of Primaloft Gold Insulation Eco insulation beneath a tight weave water resistant soft shell type upper. Underfoot it shares the agile and flexible midsole platform of Inov-8 warmer conditions Roclite trail runners, so this is no lumbering near hiking shoe. It's rubber outsole has the brand's new graphene infused G-Grip compound for outstanding durability in a sticky type rubber outsole.
I put them to the test running on a variety of snow covered surfaces from looser packed powder to very hard packed snow.

Pros
  • very light weight for a boot,
  • roomy and broad for winter weight socks,
  • warm but not overly so, focused on cold snow conditions.
  • agile and flexible, a real trail runner, 
  • outstanding "tacky" grip on very hard packed snow.
Cons
  • upper is not waterproof /breathable, less utility for shoulder season conditions,
  • broad and extensive lug surface coverage was not as grippy in softer powder as soft ground shoes are.
  • tongue could be a bit denser in padding to better bridge side wings given thin cord laces.

Monday, March 11, 2019

Nike Air Zoom Wildhorse 4 Review - Monster on the dirt, liability in the mud

Article by Jeff Beck

Nike Air Zoom Wildhorse 4 ($110)

Introduction
The heavy duty brother in Nike's trail lineup, the Wildhorse 4 is a trail beast. Frequently overlooked for its lighter/faster sibling Terra Kiger (RTR Review), the Wildhorse has a breathable upper that holds the foot well, while still providing lots of room up front. Not a maximum cushioned shoe, it still sports quite a bit of foot protection with a combination of Phylon cushioning with a Zoom Air unit in the heel and a rock plate in the forefoot, the Wildhorse 4 is an all-day cruiser. The outsole lugs are not very deep, but they provide ample traction without compromising ride quality.
The Wildhorse will be updated in April (RTR Preview) and is now test at RoadTrailRun along with the Air Zoom Kiger 5.

Tester Profile
Jeff Beck is the token slow runner of the RTR lineup as such his viewpoints on shoe and gear can differ from those who routinely finish marathons in three hours or less.  Jeff runs 30 miles per week, both roads and desert trails in North Phoenix, Arizona. He has a PR's of 4:07 marathon and 5K at 23:39 both he is working to demolish with help from his coach and fellow RTR tester Dave Ames.

Pros:
- Upper is roomy in forefoot but holds midfoot and heel well
- Great traction on dry and rocky terrain
- Uses rock plate and ample cushioning for good underfoot protection
- Solid ride on the road too
- Outstanding value for $110

Cons:
- Asymmetrical lacing doesn't work for all foot types
- Wet and muddy traction leaves something to be desired

Friday, March 08, 2019

Saucony Swtichback ISO Review: Innovative, BOA Enabled, Agile, More Minimal Trail Runner

Article by Canice Harte, Dom Layfield, Jeff Valliere, and Sam Winebaum
Editor's Note: We welcome Canice Harte in his first review. Canice is a long time running and outdoor industry executive based in Park City, UT. He is a 2 x finisher of the Wasatch 100, the Bear 100, Moab 100 and Western States 100 as well as many other Ultras. He regularly competes in Expedition Length Adventure races with his longest race to date 600 miles. Beyond ultras and adventure races, Canice has competed in traditional road races and triathlons.

Saucony Switchback ISO ($140)
Introduction
Sam: The Switchback ISO represents a totally modernized take on the minimal trail shoes of old. It features a relatively low 21mm forefoot / 17 mm heel stack so a 4mm drop, plenty of flexibility, a barely there upper with no heel counter, and has minimal rock protection- all hallmarks of an earlier era when many danced on rocks near barefoot. The modernized part comes from:
  • a TPU based Everun midsole, a resilient, fairly firm foam with a slight bounce,
  • a low profile dual density outsole with  a dense coverage of many different lug sizes and many gripping angles,
  • a sleek engineered mesh ISOFit upper with subtle yet effective overlays,
  • and of course inclusion of a BOA lace free, spin the dial closure system.

We set out to discover the best uses of this intriguing new entry, its strengths and weakness on the trails and some roads of Southern California, Colorado, Utah, and New Hampshire. Our team ran on snow covered trails and roads, dry pavement, dirt, mud, and steep technical trails,

Reebok Floatride Energy Forever Initial Review: Light, Lively, and Well Priced Super Foam

Article by Mac Jeffries

Editor's Note: We will have a full multi tester review soon, but here we share Mac's review. Mac is a new RoadTrailRun reviewer with an interesting background. He is a former collegiate defensive lineman who runs to fill the competitive void left after school and to stay in shape. He is in his late 30s, runs 50-80 mpw, and at 6’3”, has come down from his playing weight of 275 to a steady 205l lbs for the last 10 years. Jeff’s PRs are 19:30, 1:33:xx, and 3:23:xx; he also teaches and coaches XC & T&F. Welcome to the RTR team Mac!


Reebok Floatride Energy Forever ($100)


Introduction
Mac: The battle of midsoles continues, as does the resurrection of Reebok as a serious contestant in the running market. After the Floatride’s debut with a fantastic Pebax midsole but iffy upper, Reebok hit back to back home runs with their Floatride Fast and Floatride Fast Pro models. The Forever Energy uses a NEW midsole technology - that they simply call Forever Energy - that is a new TPU/TPE (think “Boost” or “Everrun”) based midsole that manages to be much lighter than the norm. What they ended up with is a fantastic shoe for Easy to Tempo efforts for only $100. Shoe Market: take notice.

Pros:
Mac:  The midsole is cush with great energy return, the upper is simple (in a good way), weight is among the best on the market for a TPE midsole, and did I mention it is only $100?


Cons:
Mac:  shoe laces are too short, sizing is big (definitely order a half size smaller), and insole is non-removable (you can still remove it quite easily), and collar may come up a bit too high for some.  


Stats
Forever Floatride Energy ($100)
Men's: 8.7 oz / 253 g  Women's 7 oz /202 g
Offset:10mm
Available February 2019

Wednesday, March 06, 2019

Asics Gel-DS Trainer 24: Like An Old Sweater (That Doesn't Quite Fit)

Article by Michael Ellenberger 

Asics Gel-DS Trainer 24 ($130)

Stats

  • Weight US M9: 9 oz / 255 g (DS Trainer 23 was 8.2 oz / 232 g )
  • Sample US M8.5: 8.68 oz / 246 g
  • Stack Height: 23mm heel / 15 mm forefoot, 8mm drop
  • Color Availability: Illusion Blue/Black (pictured); Black/Black
Tester Profile: Michael is his 20’s and is a 1:07 half marathoner. He runs 40-60 miles per week, generally in lightweight trainers or racing flats at around 6:00-6:30 minutes/mile.

The Skinny

  • Pros: Aesthetics, circular-knit upper is comfortable, improved mid- and outsole.
  • Cons: Knit upper is unstructured, general fit is unbalanced. Shoe weight.

Saucony Peregrine ISO Review: Regardless of Terrain- Confidence Inspiring, Secure & Comfortable

Article by Jeff Valliere and Jeff Beck

Saucony Peregrine ISO ($120)
Introduction:
Jeff V:  I have a fairly long history with the Peregrine, dating back to version 5 and every model since.  Prior to the Peregrine 8, the Peregrines that I am familiar with were a few millimeters lower, more sleek, lighter, yet still very well protected.  The Peregrine 5 was an appealing shoe to me in many ways, but was extremely stiff, so stiff that I eventually gave up on it due to severe heel blistering.  The 6 was stiff too, but slightly less so and after a few runs, broke in very well. The 7 was refined even further, stiff and springy, but not overly rigid and with a much improved upper.  If I plan to run for a few hours over the roughest, steepest, loosest mountain terrain and shoot for a PR, the Peregrine 6 or 7 are still in the top handful of favorite picks for this task.  

The Peregrine 8 came along and it was a completely different shoe (RTR review and probably should have just received a different name, as it gained a few ounces along with lots of cushion and padding.  The upper, while secure and comfortable, just was not as secure and overall I found the shoe to be a nice cruiser with the added cushion. Definitely not the all mountain ripper of old.  

The Peregrine ISO has similar stats to the 8 and looks similar in size, stack height, outsole, but has a revised ISO upper and is 0.5 oz / 14 g lighter. Compared side by side with older versions, the ISO seems to be trending back toward its roots.
Left to right, Peregrine 6,7,8 and ISO
Jeff B: I’m coming from the other side of the equation - the Peregrine ISO is my first foray into the Peregrine family. While it’s always been a shoe I’ve been aware of, and heard good things about, it never inspired much confidence in me to be a long distance trail shoe - and I’ve never thought of buying a short distance trail racer. But as the Peregrine’s cushioning has come up, and my weight has come down (205 as I write this) the shoe fell into the sweet spot. I reviewed it’s big brother Xodus ISO 3 last year, and the similarities are substantial, but so are the differences.

PROS
Jeff V.
  • Traction 
  • All day Comfort/Cushion
  • Fit/Secure upper
  • Breathability
  • Durability
Jeff B.
  • Traction
  • Fit/Secure Upper
  • Breathability
  • Enough Cushioning/Foot Protection
  • Toebox is just big enough
CONS
Jeff V.
  • Still a slightly larger/more bulky shoe compared to version 7 and older
  • Weight - Although lighter than the 8 by 0.5 oz., the ISO is still heavier than previous models.
Jeff B.
  • Would kill for another 1-3mm underfoot or a thin rock plate.
  • Toebox is adequate, but slightly bigger would spark joy.
  • Lower sides on the heel collar allow rocks to accumulate inside the shoe.

Sunday, March 03, 2019

Salomon S/Lab Ultra 2 Initial Review (English)


Article par Estelle-Marie Kieffer
Editor's Note: RoadTrailRun will have an in-depth multi tester review soon. In the meantime Estelle-Marie shares her initial review after 78 km of trail running. Translated from the original French here.

Salomon S/Lab Ultra 2 ($180)


Without any media hype, Salomon has delivered a new version of the Sense S/Lab Ultra 2 -- a trail running shoe created in collaboration with Fraçois d'Haene, multi-time winner of the UTMB.

I was disappointed by the first version of the S/Lab Ultra  (My RTR review) as I found it a bit heavy and lacking responsiveness and precision.  Quite narrow, with pressure points, I clearly preferred the Ultra Pro and XA Elevate. So it was with some apprehension that I ordered the S/Lab Ultra 2.

Stats:
Official Weight: 9.9 oz /280g US M9
S/Lab Ultra v1 weighed 10.7 oz / 303 g US M9
Tested Sample Weight: 8.9 oz / 253 g (EU 40 women) vs. 9.5 oz / 268 g S/Lab Ultra v1 (EU 40)
Stack Height: 26mm/18mm (8mm drop)
MSRP $180. Available now.

PROS:
- Cushioning and forefoot protection
- Agility and precision
- Durability
- Traction
CONS:
- Narrow toe-box

Wednesday, February 27, 2019

Revue Premiere Impressions Salomon S/Lab Ultra 2 (French)

Article par Estelle-Marie Kieffer
Editor's Note: Estelle-Marie's article will be translated from French to English soon. RTR will also have a full in depth review in the coming weeks.


Salomon S/Lab Ultra 2
Sans aucune publicité de la part de Salomon voici la nouvelle version de la Sense Ultra, LA chaussure créée en collaboration avec François d’Haene pour les ultra trails.


Je n’avais pas du tout été convaincue par la première version que je trouvais un peu lourde et inerte et dotée d’un fit peu accommodant. Assez étroit, avec des points de pression, bref je lui avais nettement préféré la Ultra Pro et la XA Elevate.


C’est donc avec un peu d’appréhension que je commandais cette Sense Ultra 2.


Stats :
Poids Officiel: 280g  EU 42
Poids test:: 253 g (EU 40) vs. 268 g (EU 40) S/Lab Ultra v1
S/Lab Ultra v1 303 g EU 42
Stack Height: 26mm/18mm (8mm drop)
Disponible maintenant.
PROS :
- Amorti et protection avant pied
- Agilité et précision
- Durabilité
- Traction
CONS :
- Toe-box étroite

Hoka One One EVO Carbon Rocket Multi-Tester Review: a split decision for sure!

Article by Dave Ames, Michael Ellenberger, Hope Wilkes, and Sam Winebaum

Hoka One One EVO Carbon Rocket ($160)

Introduction
Hope: Put away the graham crackers -- these aren’t the marshmallowy Hokas you expect. Hoka One One has created a go-fast shoe with what feels like a huge carbon fiber plate. As an entrant into the elite distance racer arms race (is the Breaking 58:18 Project real or just a rumor?), the Evo Carbon Rocket takes few cues from Nike, opting instead for a stiff platform that relies on a rockered sole for propulsion. It might not be ready to smash the half marathon world record, but this shoe takes an interesting approach to whittling seconds off of runners’ speediest efforts.
Sam: The Carbon Rocket is real simple. Take a race focused dual density midsole with a 1mm drop from a 26mm heel and very substantial 25mm forefoot stack, add a moderate rocker and finally embed a flat carbon plate, shaped like a tuning fork, 8mm above the mostly rubberized foam outsole. What you get is a firm, stiff yet at the same time highly cushioned racer/trainer.

Pros
Hope: upper has good hold and breathability, weight
Dave:  great upper, molds well.  Good weight.
Sam: flawless upper, stable, fast and consistent mile after mile ride, energetic in a level way
Michael: Upper is terrific; Carbon fiber plate is stiff and responsive; looks the part.


Cons
Hope: much too stiff, sole shredded quickly for me
Dave:  carbon plate is far too stiff (beat my feet up) - - I’m working much harder in the shoe and am actually slower in it, compared to other shoes of this racer/trainer category.   1mm drop beat me up (I have plenty of 0-4 experience from Newton to Altra, Skechers, Saucony, etc)
Sam: low drop and quite firm in "feel "despite its substantial stack height.
Michael: 1mm drop is “useless”; Fairly consistent heel-slippage; no Vaporfly- “pop.”

ASICS MetaRide In Depth Review: Rock n' Roll to a Max Cushion, Zero Drop Beat!

Article by Sam Winebaum


ASICS MetaRide ($250)
Introduction
After 2 years of effort, scientific studies at the ASICS Institute of Sports Science, 3d party analysis, seven prototypes and over 70 tested samples, ASICS launches the innovative MetaRide. Yes, while there is still ASICS' patented GEL in the mix but now in a new thin asymmetrical heel insert, the MetaRide is unlike any previous ASICS trainer or for that manner any heavy duty trainer I have tested.
It is a zero drop shoe with a stiff sole and a pronounced forward rocker. The MetaRide is superbly crafted, durable, and while not light at a touch over 11 oz. fun and easy to run.
The shoe, the first in a line of three expected over the next year, is scientifically designed via its patent pending GuideSole technology, a precision curved sole to:
  • Reduce the energy taken away on heel strikes
  • Improve propulsion by optimizing efficiency (primarily for heel strikers) by keeping the angle of ankle dorsiflexion ( flexing ankle up) and plantar flexion (flexing toes down) constant during the gait cycle with a stiff sole while using the significant forward rocker to propel toe off. The idea is to reduce energy loss at the ankle joint and shift the body forward. Initial studies show a reduction of ankle joint energy loss of 19% vs. conventional shoes in the category. 
  • Move the center of mass further back than normal so as to reduce the pendulum at the rear leg and thus the effort to swing the rear leg forward to next stride.
The official press release announcing MetaRide with details on the technology is here
Does it work in practice with a 40-50 mile per week older runner whose training is in the mid 8 to 9 minute pace? I ran about 40 miles in MetaRide the last couple of weeks to find out. Read on to find out more.

Saturday, February 23, 2019

La Sportiva Lycan GTX Review: Burly Traction and Protection, Accommodating Toe Box, Waterproof/Breathable

Article by Jeff Valliere

La Sportiva Lycan GTX ($140)
Initial Impressions:
Very similar looking to the normal Lycan (RTR review here), with the exact same fit and similar overall feel, but the burly lugged outsole and GTX upper add some noticeable heft to the shoe.  Fit is the same as the Lycan with a wider, more accommodating toe box than other La Sportivas, yet still retains a locked down, secure feel.

PROS
  • Accommodating fit/toe box
  • Waterproof
  • Agility
  • Security
  • Protection
  • Traction
  • Durability
CONS
  • Thin static laces
  • Weight
Stats
Weight: 10.8 oz / 306 g US M9 /42; 10.2 oz / 289 g women's size 8.5 /39
Tested Sample: 12.4 oz. (351g) US men's size 10.5
Stack Height: 28mm heel/22mm forefoot (6mm drop)

Available now. Mens's and women's models.

Friday, February 22, 2019

Under Armour UA True Wireless Flash In Ear Headphones Review - Rich Sound, Great Fit, Situational Awareness and Talk Thru

by Jeff Valliere

Under Armour True Wireless Flash In Ear Headphones $169.95
Available Now
underarmour.com
UA True Wireless Flash Headphones Features:
  • Easy to connect Bluetooth
  • JBL Charged Sound with rich bass
  • Bionic Hearing to hear surroundings with Talk Thru and Ambient Aware
  • Talk Thru - lowers volume and activates noise cancelling mics.
  • Ambient Aware - allows ambient noise to subtly enter earbuds
  • IPX7 rating ( highly water/sweat resistant, but not submersible)
  • Secure fit with interchangeable sized wing tips.
  • Up to 5 hours of battery life with an additional 20 hours from charging case  

Pros: 
  • Deep full sound with rich bass
  • Secure fit even during jostling technical terrain running
  • Wireless freedom
  • Great build/materials quality
  • Ambient aware adds level of safety
  • Easy and reliable Bluetooth connection
  • IPX7 sweat/splashproof rating
Cons:
  • Hard button press can jam headphones into ears causing discomfort
  • Even with ambient aware, plugged ears can feel isolating
  • No volume control on headphones
  • Button functionality could be much improved