Monday, June 18, 2018

Garmin Fenix 5/5S/5X Plus Series and Suunto 9 GPS Watch Previews

by Jeff Valliere

Recently Suunto announced the July release of the Suunto 9 Multisport GPS watch and today, not to be upstaged, Garmin released the updated version of the Fenix series with the 5S Plus, 5 Plus and 5X Plus, which all now include maps, which were previously exclusive to the 5X, as well as a slew of additional features.

We are awaiting units from both companies for review, so hopefully we will be able to provide firsthand testing information very soon!

Garmin Fenix 5 Plus Series (5S Plus, 5 Plus, 5X Plus)
$699-$1149 depending on model and options.
Available June 2018
Fenix 5 S Plus Sapphire/Titanium

Saturday, June 16, 2018

7 Best Run and Multi-Sport Sunglasses of 2018

Article by Jeff Valliere with Sam Winebaum

RoadTrailRun tested a wide range of run and sport sunglasses in Utah, Colorado, and New Hampshire in all sorts of conditions through the winter and into spring. We selected these top models first for their high performance and secondarily for their style. Each has particular strengths, some are focused on a specific light conditions while others are photochromic, rapidly changing their light transmission as light conditions vary.  We highlight each below and invite you to read our linked in-depth reviews of each.

Friday, June 15, 2018

adidas Zonyk Aero Midcut Pro Sunglasses Review

by Jeff Valliere

The adidas Zonyk Aero Midcut Pro is a half frame version of the Zonyk, which with its lighter design and greater sense of unobstructed vision is being marketed toward running as well as cycling, being well represented in the pro peleton by the Movistar team.

The Zonyk Aero Midcut Pro, at 32 grams is not the lightest pair of shades we have tested, but on the face they feel light and secure.

We tested the Zonyk Aero Midcut Pro in the Cargo color with Shiny Chrome lens option.  The Shiny Chrome lens is rated at 12% VLT (visual light transmission), which makes it excellent in bright, sunny conditions. It works well for me when I am running out in the open in brilliant blinding snow, or above treeline.  I did however struggle running in even moderately dim shade, as the combination of the darker and grey tint does little to bring out contrast and detail.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

New Balance Fresh Foam Beacon: Truly Fresh, the "Kinzante" is a Joy to Run!

Article by Sam Winebaum, Dave Ames, and Peter Stuart

New Balance Fresh Foam Beacon
Peter: I did not see this coming! I’ve been digging the NB 1400 V6 for fast stuff and rediscovering my love for the 890 series with the v6, but I had no idea that the NB Fresh Foam Beacon was coming down the pike. Maybe it’s due to my lack of expectations, but the Beacon has been a really surprising and delightful arrival. What a fun shoe!
Sam:  I totally agree with Peter. Beacon is a huge smiles shoe for me: very well cushioned, super light, flexible, stable, and best of all with a smooth ride with just enough response.

Monday, June 11, 2018

Brooks Running Ghost 11 Review: Top to Bottom, Effective Detailing and Tuning of a Classic Daily Trainer

Article by Sam Winebaum
Brooks Running Ghost 11

The Ghost reaches version 11 retaining its cushioned 12mm drop ride, accommodating fit, and durable long lasting outsole. Always a solid daily trainer, the Ghost 11 fine tunes and modernizes its tried and true formula, top to bottom. The updates include: 
  • a better fitting but in many ways similar engineered mesh upper, 
  • a new softer yet responsive foam DNA Loft midsole foam insert located only in the lateral heel crash pad while the rest of the midsole retains the same firmness of BioGoMo DNA foam as the Ghost 10 with tweaked midsole side wall geometries,
  • a tuning of the outsole lugs surface areas flattening them and focused on increased contract and smoothness.
Women's Ghost 11

Monday, June 04, 2018

Hoka One One EVO Mafate: Maximal Cushion, Highly Responsive, All Terrain Racer

Article by Sam Winebaum and Jeff Valliere

Hoka One One EVO Mafate
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.

Monday, May 28, 2018

adidas Solar Boost Initial Review: Splashy Tropical Vibe. Lively yet Mellow Ride

Article by Sam Winebaum

adidas Solar Boost
The adidas Solar Boost recently released with a great splash. The look is a wonderful combination of black and white and tropical vibe. The upswept achilles collar adds a visual dash of speed and motion while the 3 Stripes only on lateral side are an interesting and effective contrast.
Looking at the specs I was curious to see if adi had, at long last, released a daily trainer which was not heavy and ponderous as the last Energy Boost was or soft and mushy as the Supernova Glide 9 and Ultra Boost were. adi has great lighter more performance oriented trainers such as the Boston 7 and light stability Tempo 9 but nothing in the class of the Brooks Ghost, Nike Pegasus, or Saucony Ride. Our last great adi trainer were the first couple versions of the Energy Boost, at 9.3 oz a wonderful all around trainer and for us marathoner racer. In later years, many raved about the earlier Glide Boost, until version 9 a completely different heavier softer shoe, although we never ran the earlier Glides.

Out came our digital scale for the weigh in. Surprise!  Our 8.5 weighed under 10 oz at 9.9 oz translating to about 10.2 oz, so right in the weight class of the direct competition.  Specs online had shown it at 10.6 oz or even more so in the weight class of the current Energy Boost or Supernova. Now we were very interested. Read on to see how they performed.

Saturday, May 26, 2018

Julbo Aerospeed with Zebra Light Fire Photochromic Lens Sunglass Review - A Grand View and Unbeatable Any Light Versatility

Article by Jeff Valliere with Sam Winebaum

Julbo Aerospeed with Zebra Light Fire Lens

The Julbo Aerospeed is the big brother of the Aerolite, which Sam discusses in this mini review and is a great addition to the Julbo line, adding increased coverage, still at a very light weight (27 grams) and with a giant unobstructed field of vision.

Thursday, May 24, 2018

UltrAspire Momentum Race Vest Review: Maximum Carry in a Minimalist Vest

Article by Sam Winebaum

UltrAspire Momentum Race Vest ($80)
The UltrAspire is a minimalist running race vest that can be a daily companion on any run to carry a few essentials. It can also morph into a bounce free high capacity vest capable of carrying up to 2 liters of water a shell, poles, phone, and some nutrition and other essentials in its nine pockets: 2 front and 2 back bottle pockets, 2 side drop in mesh pockets, 2 top of shoulders pockets for pills and a key, and a middle of shoulder blades zip pocket. At $80 (w/o bottles) it is very fairly priced.
Almost constructed of a decently structured 3D mesh it is highly breathable, secure and comfortable with any load. It is reasonably priced at $80 (see below now on sale). You provide your own bottles, none are included. We tested with UltrAspire's UltraFlask 550 Hybrid semi soft contouring bottle, Salomon Soft Flask Speed 500 and the HydraPak SoftFlask 500 Ml with hand grip. Obvious comparisons emerge to the popular Salomon S/Lab Sense 5 and 8 vests with their soft fabric construction. Read on to see what we thought!

Plantar Fasciitis-How to get a grip on the Runner's Big Pain. Tips and tools for quick and effective relief.

Article by Sam Winebaum

The article outlines how I took action to tame a recent onset of Plantar's Fasciitis. I am not a medical person but believe the tools and suggestions below are effective.

Plantar Fasciitis is a very common running injury characterized by pain in the heel and bottom of the foot. Not just runners those standing, obese, or not doing much exercise can get it too. According to this Wiki between 4-7% of people have heel pain at any given time and 80% of them have Plantar's. Plantar's is "a disorder of the insertion site of the ligament on the bone characterized by micro tears, breakdown of collagen, and scarring."

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

Hoka One One Clifton 5 Review: A new upper the big update

Article by Dave Ames, Jeff Valliere, and Sam Winebaum

Hoka One One Clifton 5

The Clifton 1 put Hoka on the road running map with a super light (7.9 oz), maximally cushioned, very soft and lively performance trainer, and for many also a longer racer. It proved very popular, if not very stable for heel strikers and had questionable durability. Since version 1 Hoka has stabilized the Clifton with a less aggressive heel bevel, somewhat firmer and more durable foam, and of course upper improvements. Weight had gone up almost two ounces by the Clifton 4 with some runners complaining loudly along the way as the Clifton evolved into a mid weight highly cushioned, softer daily trainer from a very light performance trainer and racer. So how does the Clifton 5 measure up?

Monday, May 21, 2018

Nike Zoom Pegasus 35 Review: Smoother Operator!

Article by Peter Stuart with Sam Winebaum

Nike Zoom Pegasus 35
Peter: The Nike Zoom Pegasus 35 gets a little lower to the ground and loses weight, about 0.6 oz! It’s a 9.4 ounce (men’s size 9) daily trainer with stack height of 28mm in the heel and 18mm in the forefoot. The Zoom Pegasus 35 sees some great changes in the upper, some changes on the outsole and gets a full length air unit. I loved the Pegasus 33 and really liked the 34, but they started to feel a little stiff and blocky for me compared to some of the other great shoes that have come along in the past year or two. There are lots of little changes here that make for a significantly different Pegasus. Different good or different bad?
Sam: Neither the Pegasus 33 or 34 inspired me. I admired their long lasting rubber outsoles and great style but the rides were lumpy, quite firm, uninspiring and quite ponderous compared to many other shoes in its class. I was most interested to run the Peg 35's new full length Zoom Air unit with its placement similar to the Vapor Fly 4%'s carbon plate. Would the lighter weight, Zoom Air unit, and new outsole change the picture for me? Read on to find out.

District Vision Review: Easy on the Eyes, Stylish Technical Running Sunglasses

Article by Sam Winebaum

District Vision 
     Nagata Speed Blade Black Rose Lenses 23 g ($249)
     Yuraki Sport Yellow Lens 24g ($199)
In the sports world, and particularly in run sunglasses, style and technical capabilities often clash. We all know of the aggressive style of many blade type sports shades or the "fashionable" yet optically and functionally challenged high style models.

District Vision is a New York City start-up focused on run sunglasses. The founders, both runners and previously involved in the fashion design industry, believed there was a way to combine classic yet modern style with running focused frame designs, high quality run focused optics along with a variety of lenses for different conditions into a line of run sunglasses.  And they were really tested outside of the concrete canyons of NYC as Ricky Gates wore District Vision on his 3600 mile un-supported Transamericana run last year

District Vision Nagata Speed Blade with Black Rose Lens

Saturday, May 19, 2018

Run and Even Swim Ready Earphones from JBL: The Endurance Line & Reflect Contour 2

Article by Sam Winebaum

JBL has released the Endurance line a collection of run, fitness and even swim ready earphones. Aggressively priced with excellent sound they range from the Endurance Run ($20) a very light and comfortable wired earphone to the IPX7 waterproof Endurance Dive ($90) which not only has up to 8 hours of playback time with a 10 minute quick charge for an hour's play but includes a built in 1GB music player which can hold up to 200 songs. 

The Dive are earphones you can literally swim or paddle board with, no phone necessary!

JBL sent us the Endurance Sprint ($50) IPX 7 waterproof with 8 hours of battery life but with no music player, the Endurance Run, and the Contour Reflect 2 ($90), a sweat proof light over the ear style with a 10 hour battery life.  

Friday, May 18, 2018

The 5 Best Light Performance Trainer & Road Racing Shoes of 2018, So Far!

Article by Sam Winebaum

2018 Racers and Light Performance Trainers are not left out of the general running shoe trends towards more comfortable yet secure uppers and lighter, more dynamic and cushioned midsole materials. Increasingly rare, and not included in this article, are classic “racing flats”, close cousins of track spikes, those often very firm, highly responsive shoes with tight even painful uppers. Races and speed work are never easy but at least your feet and even your legs can be less the worse for wear than in these fast choices, weighing no more than many of those flats. In fact, for many, these foot and leg friendly high-performance shoes can be used for races and your faster training, not what could always be said about those classics.