Tuesday, June 15, 2021

Quick Strides #5: Ragnar Trail Colorado, New Holland Brewing, Hoka Zinal, Craft CTM Ultra, RunScribe

 Article by Jeff Valliere, Sam Winebaum, Michael Ellenberger, and Joost de Raeymaeker



Quick Strides is a weekly article here at RTR.  The format and content will be as our contributors wish. 

The RTR team all over the world is continuously testing and using dozens of run products for road and trail. Some are provided by brands, some are personal purchases, some are for upcoming reviews, others are not, and finally some are long time favorites and go to’s. 


Jeff Vaillere (Colorado)

Jeff V:  Sam and I just wrapped up a fantastic weekend in Snowmass, Colorado for the Ragnar Relay race and were guests of Outside PR and New Holland Brewing.  We had a really great team of 8, composed of fellow media folks.  I was unsure as to what to expect from such an event, but had an amazing time, running 3 separate courses of buttery smooth singletrack for a total of 15 miles, with amazing views of the valley and nearby Elk Mountain range.



The race setting in the Aspen/Snowmass area is as if straight off of a postcard, very lush and green, quaking aspens, wildflowers, towering snow capped peaks and infinite recreational opportunities, no matter your preference.



The race was very well organized, well staffed, the courses well marked and was so much fun.  While not the traditional trail race that I am used to, the relay event was quite an amazing, interactive bonding experience with a great group of old and new friends.  The teamwork and camaraderie will never be forgotten and the human interaction was so welcome after more than a year of Covid related near isolation.  Being vaccinated was a requirement for the race and everything just felt totally back to normal with minimal, but well thought out precautions.



Outside PR, Hoka and Camelback also hooked each of us up with a goody bag, with Hoka shorts, tee, long sleeve tech mid layer and a fresh pair of Hoka Zinals, as well as two awesome mugs from Camelback.



I wore the Zinal (RTR Review) for all three of the run loops, which were absolutely ideal for the smooth singletrack, intermittent stretches of pavement and very fast and swoopy descents.  Traction, cushion, comfort and response were all top notch.


An added bonus was that I got to bring the family and we were put up in a very nice room at the Limelight Hotel, 2 miles up the road in Snowmass Village along with several other team members (half of us, those with families in tow, were at the hotel and the other half “glamped” in tents right at the start/finish area).  The Limelight was very nice and new, with an amazing breakfast spread each morning, great service and the kids really enjoyed the pool and hot tub.  I plan to write a more detailed account of my experience very soon.



Also, upon my return last night, I had a pair of Craft CTM Ultra (RTR Review)  waiting on me.  I have not run in them yet, but, but they feel very well cushioned, huge stack height and a minimal, airy flexible upper.  Quality feels top notch and the packaging was impressively premium.  I’ll be contributing to our already published review soon.


Sam (New Hampshire and Utah)

I joined Jeff and media folks from Gear Junkie, Outside Magazine, as well as freelance writers, fsponsor New Holland Brewing and organizing PR firm Outside PR which represents New Holland and Hoka among others at the Ragnar Trail Colorado this past weekend.











It was my first Ragnar and I was super glad I did it. I have never been eager to ride in a van for endless hours for their road relays but the trail version is something completely different. 

Sort of happy to be done

Each of 3 loops ( 3.8 miles, 4.6 miles and 6.8 miles) starts at the same place: the Athlete’s Village with camping right near the start finish. Each runner on teams of 8 completes all three loops.


We were in the Glamping tents. 

Apart from all the outdoor experts not figuring out the first night before the race that sleeping on a canvas cot in near 40F weather led to “convection” cooling from below… we all slept a few hours between legs like babies the next night on the ground. We had plenty of shade, coffee, hydration and especially New Holland beer and snacks immediately at hand.

Emily and Alice were our hosts from OutsidePR arranging everything impeccably while running very fast during their legs.


New Holland invited us to a wonderful farm to table dinner the night before the race with everything sourced in Colorado, except some oysters from Maine which made me feel at home.

Each course was paired with one of their excellent beers.  I wanted to, but stayed away from the Beer Barrel Bourbon!

Consensus dinner favorite was the Hazy IPA. The “hydration” fav after each leg was the Lightpoint. It is a 3.7% ABV  which New Holland calls “the ultimate post-run summer beer! A functional white ale that offers a low-calorie option without compromising full craft flavor. Brewed with coconut water, raw honey and orange peel, this refreshing brew is best enjoyed with friends after a day of hard work and exercise..” I agreed more than once!


My day leg was hot around 80 F, very sunny, and extremely dry (8% humidity). Not too bad really  but after less than a week at 7000 feet, the 8000 foot base elevation was felt. 


My two night legs were in the 40’s so a big, and welcome change. Jeff and I used our Kogalla light bars (RTR Review) and they illuminated the trail ahead with a soft natural light just right, especially for timid old me who was able to sort of move along on the steep downhills with no crashes!  

My last night leg was at sunrise on the Red loop.


We were given the Hoka Zinal (RTR Review) and they proved perfect for the courses which had steep uphills and then fast downhills  on very smooth, mostly obstacle, free somewhat sandy single track with also plenty of road in the mix. 

Responsive, stable, well cushioned, with a superb, simple upper they raced magnificently for all including me and were so comfortable I never took them off even for the 6 hour plus drive back to Park City.

The whole Ragnar  experience with such a great team of folks was fantastic and I highly recommend doing a Trail Ragnar. The organization, route marking, and courses were all fabulous! 


Our team finished 18th overall out of about 120 eight person teams losing time when 2 of our legs assisted injured runners (dislocated shoulder and torn hamstring) for a considerable amount of time including down to the road and help, the right thing to do. 


Michael (Chicago) : Nothing so exciting as Jeff for me this week, but an opportunity to test a bunch of shoes in a short period, which is always a treat. While some shoes are under embargo and can’t be discussed, I will say that nearly every brand has something new and exciting in the works, it seems - and even manufacturers that haven’t made many big moves in the recent past are churning out compelling options.

I’ve only done a single run in the Craft CTM Ultra (RTR Review), but I would put out a word of caution on sizing - my 8.5s are quite small, and I think a 9.0 would likely be a better fit (aka a half-size up from my normal).


Finally - U.S. Olympic Trials for Track and Field start next week! I’m excited to follow the coverage of it all (even if I’ve been a bit lacking in following the sport over the past couple years). 



Joost (Angola, Africa)

I have even less exciting things to talk about, shoe-wise. The only pair I have in for testing, I can’t talk about yet. What I have been doing recently though, is putting my RunScribe footpods through their paces and I’m struggling a bit as to where to start for a full review of them.

Basically, they are a multi-axis gyroscope you attach to your shoes and at the end of your run, you download the data via an app and get 45(!!!!) metrics you can then try to analyse. All of this is rather specialized and at this point more intended for coaches or professionals who want to analyse their athlete’s or their own gait. It is easy to detect imbalances between your left and right sides that can lead to or stem from injuries and indicate you have to work on certain aspects of your gait, flexibility or strength.


Most metrics don’t really mean anything per se, but start to get meaning because the RunScribe database of recorded runs and metrics grows steadily and you can compare your data and numbers with other runners (and of course yourself, to check in on any changes).


These images are from a tempo interval session I did last week in a pair of Atrey Artist, with the first couple of metrics (which are pretty standard), the shoe print showing where I actually land and toe off and how much force I apply and also some of the more esoteric metrics. There is a lot to digest and at first, things might be a bit lacking in meaning, but when you start using the pods regularly, you get an idea of the influence a specific shoe has on your gait, efficiency, impact etc. Lots of geekery, but interesting at that!

RunScribe are launching a new faster version of their gait analysis system and the current version is on sale for 50% of their normal value.

Tested samples were provided at no charge for review purposes. No other compensation was received by RTR or the authors for this review beyond potential commissions from the shopping links in the article. The opinions herein are entirely the authors'.

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adidas adizero Boston 10 Review

Article by Derek Li

adidas adizero Boston 10

Editor's Note: Derek purchased his pair from Japan at retail. RTR has sample pairs in other colors in test and will update the review soon with more perspectives.

Introduction

Derek: The Adidas Boston is now into its 10th edition, and it has traditionally shepherded the role of do-it-all daily trainer within the Adidas Adizero line incredibly well. I’ll be upfront and say that my one and only pair of Adidas Boston was the Boston 6, which sported a combination of Boost and EVA foam for the midsole. The Boston has never sported a particularly dynamic ride for me. In fact, it exudes a very traditional, low to the ground, snappy and responsive ride that on the wrong day could really beat you up. Think of the other daily trainers it goes up against every year; Nike Pegasus, Saucony Ride, Brooks Ghost. Every one of those shoes has gotten progressively softer over the years. The Boston until now has held its ground at the lighter snappier end of the spectrum. Well, shoe trends are firmly in the maximalist boat, and it seems even Adidas has started giving the people what they want. Enter the Boston 10 and it looks and feels completely different from any previous Boston. It seems pretty obvious from the design of the shoe that it is meant to serve as a trainer equivalent of the very popular Adios Pro. The official and measured stack numbers put it near identical to the Adios Pro. How does it stack up? Let’s find out!


Pros:

Effective rocker - Derek/Sam/Nils

Very cushioned and forgiving forefoot feel - Derek/Sam/Nils

Excellent outsole grip (even on loose fine sand gravel over hard pack dirt) – Derek/Sam/Nils

Very stable for a high stack shoe – Derek/Sam/Nils

Energetic when picking up the pace - Nils

Great lockdown - Nils

The blend between Lightstrike, Lightstrike Pro and the Energy Rods is executed perfectly - Nils

Runs lighter than its weight - Nils


Cons:

Heel is a little harsh/clunky at slower paces – Derek/Nils

Narrow but stable heel platform requires forward lean or feels tippy, especially on steeper downhills Sam

Warm upper with a mostly unnecessary second layer - Nils

A few grams could be shaved off the upper - Nils


Mizuno Wave Rider 25 Multi Tester Review: Modern Energy!

Article by Bryan Lim, Zack Dunn, Jeff Beck, and Sam Winebaum 

Mizuno Wave Rider 25  ($135)


Introduction

Bryan: I’m not sure if you remember Mizuno’s almost farcical release of ‘The Mizuno Enerzy’ which featured a pink bubbled midsole that resembled a Hong Kong Egg Waffle. Google it, it’s a thing! Fast forward to now, where the Wave Rider 25 forwards the lineage of Mizuno’s long standing traditional daily trainer, and the second iteration to feature the Enerzy midsole which is claimed to be 17% softer and delivers 15% more energy return than previously used materials. The Wave Rider 25 continues Mizuno’s tradition of including a plastic Wave Plate (now in a new geometry and made of bio based PEBA materials)  running from the rear to midfoot to provide a stable but springy ride. What we have here is a sleek looking, well balanced and protective trainer you would wear several times a week if it finds a place in your rotation.



Sam:  Mizuno is not a brand I have run much until recent years. I recall a few Wave Riders years back. The Wave Sky 3 was a pleasant surprise a few years back with its surprisingly springy big shoe ride. It was my heavy duty big shoe of 2019. Then the recent Wave Sky 4 a far firmer not as pleasant ride with a basically un noticeable layer of Enerzy.. Hearing that the Wave Rider 25 would get a full Enerzy midsole with an updated geometry, but still with the classic big drop 32mm heel / 20mm stack I was curious to test. 

As soon as I received and not having the WR24 I went to my local running store, Runner’s Alley, and tried one on each foot. I immediately noticed walking around the store:

  • The platform felt wider

  • The Wave plate while Mizuno told us it is not as flat as before was less noticed and there was less arch pressure

  • There was a more distinct sense of easy fall forward, likely the more sloping plate here

  • The WR25 was more flexible, softer, and bouncier

  • The upper was clearly softer on the foot, more spacious (but well held), and soffter



All of the above was super promising. Read on to find out how they run!


Pros:

Responsive and lively ride, versatile, “classic” flexible running shoe Bryan/Sam/Zack/Jeff/Sam

Dual density Enerzy makes for a lively soft, bouncy ride, well cushioned at the heel, agile up front-Sam/Zack/Jeff

Wave plate is unnoticed and stabilizes the softer Enerzy well -Sam/Zack

Geometry of deep heel decoupling, Wave plate, and 12mm drop moves the foot down and forwarded to an easy flexible toe and not as abruptly as drop would point to -Sam

Smooth fitting upper with excellent heel to mid foot hold: Sam/Zack/Jeff



Cons:

Forefoot cushion a bit thin and could use 2mm of the heel stack up front-Sam/Jeff

12mm drop is noticeable, add 2mm to the forefoot, take 2mm off heel? -Bryan/Sam

Sober styling does not match model's new found energetic ride. Sam

Monday, June 14, 2021

Saucony Endorphin Speed 2 Multi Tester Review

Article by Derek Li and Sally Reiley

Saucony Endorphin Speed 2 ($160)

Introduction

The 2020 Endorphin Speed 1 (Review) was the RTR Team’s top 2020 vote getter in many categories including Tempo shoe of the year and Shoe of the  Year. And for good reason. Incorporating a super lively highly cushioned expanded beads PEBA midsole with a moderately propulsive nylon plate it checked in below 8 oz, was reasonably priced compared to carbon shoes at the time, delivered great training and racing versatility and was just fun!


In 2021 Saucony does not seem to mess much with the highly successful formula with the changes called out as: 

  • A snugger heel fit

  • New anti slip laces

  • New more breathable engineered mono mesh upper

  • Soft suede detailing.

      

 

Pros:

Well cushioned do it all trainer to racer: PEBA midsole, plastic plate, forward final roll Sam/Derek/Sally

Wonderful combination of midsole rebound and moderate non harsh propulsion from plate Sam/Sally

Great choice for a friendlier (than carbon) marathon racer Sam

Changes in heel counter and rest of upper (maybe a more flexible plate?)make the shoe more stable at the rear and direct the ride forward more linearly: Sam

Reasonable price for a plated (albeit non carbon)  high performance and versatile shoe Sam/Sally


Cons:

Small weight gain. My Speed 2 (US8.5) weighs the same as my Speed 1 in US9. Sam

Can’t think of anything negative to say here, except that the Nascar checkered flag aesthetic might be polarizing, considered too loud by some: Sally

Estimated Weight: men's 8 oz / 227g  (US9)  /  women's 7.2 oz  / 204g(US8) 

  Samples:     men’s   7.76oz / 220g (US8.5), 8.22oz / 233g (US9.5)

                      women’s  7.2 oz / 204 g (US W8)

Size US9 Endorphin Speed 1 weighed 7.8 oz / 221g 

Stack Height: 35.5mm heel / 27.5mm forefoot (all in including sockliner), 8mm drop

Available now at our partner sites at the end of the review. $160

 

First Impressions and Fit

Derek: The Endorphin Speed has become so popular and successful in the last year that I think it’s always going to be an incredibly tough act to follow. Fortunately, the updates have been very minor and confined to the upper. My first impression is that they really did a great job with the colorway. Since the first white Endorphin hit the stores, a whole slew of some incredibly good-looking Speeds have followed, so much so that the black/gold colorway (which I love) seems to be the least popular of the lot. 

This new colorway went in a different direction aesthetically, and it really stands out. Nothing from the other brands really come close to this new black/white checkered collection so that’s really nice. 

It will definitely stand out in any crowd. In terms of step in feel, compared to my year-old OG Endo Speeds, I immediately realized how much I’ve missed that fresh springiness that PWRRUN PB foam exudes. Fit-wise, I have to admit, it isn’t a whole lot different for me from v1. It’s true to size. To be fair, v1 fit me very VERY well in the sense that there was good lockdown, with just enough give to be comfortable from a trainer perspective and there was the right amount of volume for me in all areas from heel to mid-foot to toebox. The new upper is nice, it’s not overly snug, and you dial in the fit pretty much immediately with minimal lace tension needed. That was my impression the first couple of minutes after lacing up and jogging around in my living room. 

Sally: “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it!”  I personally loved the Endorphin Speed in its first iteration, and  I am so glad that Saucony did not change too much about my favorite versatile do-it-all trainer of 2020. It is the shoe that I found I reached for whenever I wasn’t putting some new shoe through the paces for testing. My initial impression of this new version was wow, that is some colorway: an attention-grabbing Nascar checkered finish flag aesthetic, which I figure runners are either going to love or hate. My second impression was a sense of relief: slipping the shoe on my foot, this version fits as well as the first, and feels to have the same energetic midsole and forward roll. It doesn’t feel much different, which is a good thing.


Upper

Derek: This is where all the changes take place for the Endorphin Speed 2 so we’re going to place a little more emphasis here. 

Let’s start with the toebox area. You can see that the internal toe bumper has been retained, as a laminated section that raises the front of the shoe and gives the upper its somewhat bulbous looking front. 


I think most people will agree it works really well, and some people actually prefer the Speed to the Pro because the toebox has a bit more height to it. Nothing different here. The first bit of change actually comes in the mesh, and instead of the diagonal reinforced stitching that we had with v1, v2 does away with that and limits the reinforcements to the circumference of the mesh. 


Logically this allows for a greater surface area of uninterrupted perforated mesh and that’s where the reported improved ventilation probably comes from. More importantly, the lack of horizontal reinforced stitching should allow the mesh to stretch a little more across the toebox, so people who need a little more elasticity in the upper to squeeze out a little more volume in the toebox will be able to do that. Now one might ask why you need reinforcement at all. 

The answer is simple. The mesh is thin. Very thin. Without reinforcements, lateral shearing forces will risk tearing the upper when you corner hard in the shoe. Trust me you want those reinforcements. 

Moving on the mid-foot, it’s not so obvious visually from pictures, but there are noticeably more overlays at mid-foot in v2 than v1.


The tongue retains the gusseted design but now uses a thicker mesh, compared to the use of perforated mesh in v1. 

Subjectively, this should feel like the mid-foot is a little more structured and secure. 


Finally the heel sees the biggest changes. It appears Saucony really took on board some complaints about the heel counter in v1. The traditional rigid and high riding counter of v1 is gone. 

There is a semi-elf ear design at the heel now, coupled with a shallower heel cup so that the ankle collar is all soft flexible padding. The overall volume of the heel is lower but not by a lot. It importantly does not feel restrictive because padding is not excessively structured. As a bonus, the heel now sports huge reflective area which is great for running in the dark. 

Overall for me, the upper has a little more snug lockdown in the heel and midfoot. Whether this is an upgrade for you depends on how you found v1. I know quite a few people found v1 narrow and had to try things like sizing up. V2 is potentially even narrower-feeling in the heel and mid-foot though perhaps a bit roomier in the toebox due to the more stretchy toebox design. 

Sally: Derek did an incredibly thorough job of describing and analyzing the upper. I am one of those runners he mentioned that preferred the original Endorphin Speed over the Pro because of the fit - the Pro felt too restrictive and low in the toebox for me, to the point where I couldn’t imagine running a marathon in them (or would have to consider sizing up). The Speed 1 fit my narrow foot well, and I did not have any issues with them. The Speed 2 is even better: the heel is a bit more snug and secure, and the toe box feels slightly more spacious. The upper is very breathable, and the new lacing system works well (I love the lux ultrasuede of the tongue!).

All in all, a great upper made even better.


Midsole

Derek: The midsole here is essentially unchanged from the awesome package of v1, so there isn’t a whole lot to comment about here. It’s still that familiar springy PWRRUN PB PEBA foam with a nylon plate sandwiched in the middle. Just to remind you, the nylon plate is a little more flexible and less propulsive in feel, compared to the carbon plate found in the Pro, and gives a more natural feeling flex and transition when running at slower paces. This is the key difference that makes the Speed a better all-round trainer than the Pro. 

Sally: The midsole is where the magic is, and I will reiterate that I am very glad that Saucony did not change it. Indeed, this is the same springy energetic feel that we have come to love from Saucony’s PWRRUN PB PEBA, and which seems to express itself at all paces.


Outsole

Derek: The outsole is likewise unchanged from Endorphin Speed 1. After using v1 for over a year, I have to concede that the outsole is not the most confidence-inspiring on wet roads, and I kind of wish Speed 2 would have taken the opportunity to address that, maybe put a bit of blown rubber up front.  Unfortunately, it’s still the same outsole. It works great on dry surfaces, but can start to slip when it rains. 

Sally: I did two runs in this shoe in the rain, and actually found the traction and grip on wet roads fine. Not stellar, but adequate. The feature that I appreciate most is the quietness of this outsole (in comparison to two other recent shoes I have tested that are obnoxiously LOUD underfoot). They have proven to be quite durable as well, as my Speed 1 has 300 miles on it and no visible wear.


Ride

Derek: The overall ride and feel of the Endorphin Speed 2 isn't altogether very different from v1. There is a little bit more of that connected feeling you have when the shoe is well locked down, but for me, the difference is quite small as i had zero issues with the fit and lock down of version 1. The ride is still smooth and springy with an excellent forefoot rocker that feels better the harder you push the pace. It is still that familiar winning package, with a bit more lockdown in the heel and mid-foot. I think it's great that they didn't try to change things too much, and retained what was for the most part a home run of a shoe from 2020.


Sally: I agree with Derek in that this is the same enjoyable ride as the Speed 1: smooth and springy with a natural forward roll. That trademark Speedroll gives you confidence to bound up the hills, which make these shoes even more attractive to runners such as myself training for the hills of the 125th Boston Marathon in October. The ride is fun at any and all paces. I did a 6 mile run where Speed 1 on one foot and Speed 2 on the other, and there was very little difference in the feel of left vs. right, which I think is a good thing. 


Conclusions and Recommendations


Derek: More astute observers will note that compared to how I scored the Endorphin Speed 1, the Fit score went up, but the Ride Score and Value scores went down. 


The fact of the matter is I reviewed the Endorphin Speed around April/May 2020, and a lot has changed in that time. There are a whole slew of excellent shoes out there now, like the Puma Deviate Nitro, Nike Tempo Next%, 361 Flame, Skechers Razor Excess and Razor Elite, and a couple of other lesser known but incredibly versatile shoes out of China and that has really changed the landscape somewhat , especially in terms of value. 


I try to imagine what would motivate a prospective buyer to pay full price for the Endorphin Speed 2 instead of going for a marked down version 1, and I keep coming back to the issue of fit. The difference really boils down to fit. Speed 2 does indeed have a bit more lockdown to the fit, but we are really splitting hairs here because you may not necessarily want that sort of fit in a training shoe. 


When I think of a training shoe, I think of a shoe that is durable and versatile, and allows you to use a variety of sock options depending on the weather. When you make the fit too performance-oriented or racer-like, then you sort of inadvertently limit your sock options (usually to the thinner ones that you often save for race day). 


I think people who go for version 2 fall into 2 main camps. The first camp goes in for the looks. The aesthetics of v1 were good. Very good. Version 2 is just better. The other camp goes in because the heel of v1 gave them problems. This camp will hopefully find the re-worked heel of v2 much more accommodating to different foot shapes, and maybe they can finally get a slice of what everyone else has been enjoying for the past year.

Derek's score 9.40 / 10

Ride 9.4 (50%) Fit 9.5 (30%) Value 9.5 (15%) Style 10  (5%) 


Sally: I was a huge fan of the Speed 1, and I am pleased to report that the Speed 2 retains all the good things about the first version, with only a few tweaks that make this one even better. It is still a light, nimble, comfortable trainer that is fun to run in on tempo day and any day, snappy and fast when you push the pace, yet soft enough and forgiving for an easier recovery run. That magical Speedroll forward rocker is still there, naturally encouraging forward momentum and a quick cadence. 


The fit is a bit more dialed in with the new version, with a snugger heel that helps with lockdown, which was never a problem for me in version 1. We all know that there are a lot of really great shoes out there right now, but this is a shoe to add to your rotation, if you have not done so already. I have somehow already logged over 100 miles in my test pair, indicating that this is clearly a shoe I enjoy. It sits in a sweet spot between firm trainer and soft, and is a fantastic do-it-all versatile trainer that puts a smile on a runner’s face.

Sally’s score: 9.5 / 10.0

Ride:  9.5 (50%)    Fit: 9.6 (30%)     Value: 9.5 (15%)    Style 10 (5%)


7 Comparisons

Index to all RTR reviews: HERE


Saucony Endorphin Speed 1 (RTR Review)

Derek: I wear men’s US9.5 in both models. Overall, the fit of Speed 2 is slightly more snug in the heel and mid-foot, which gives it a more confident hold especially when going downhill or cornerning. The difference is relatively minor though. If you didn’t like how the heel felt in Speed 1, then definitely try out Speed 2. If Speed 1 worked great for you, then the potential upside is a lot smaller.

Sally: US W8 (TTS) in both. The ride has not changed, thank goodness. The fit of V2 is a bit more secure in the heel, and slightly more generous in the toebox. Otherwise, apples vs apples. Pick the model with the best price, or even the colorway of your liking. (And I am confident that Saucony will soon release colorways other than this polarizing checkered finish flag aesthetic)


Watch RTR Editor Sam's Video Review &A/B Run Test Speed 1 vs. Speed 2

 

Saucony Endorphin Pro   (RTR Review)

Derek: I wear men’s US9.5 in both models. My comparison is more vs Pro 1 as I’ve not tried Pro2. My fellow contributors in that review say the heel slip is resolved with the snugger heel cup. I am one of those who experience a little bit of heel slippage in Pro 1, though that is largely manageable with higher lace tension and heel lock lacing. In this regard, Speed 2 fits me much better. Ride-wise, I find the extra snap from the carbon plate of the Pro accentuates the springiness of PWRRUN PB better, especially in the heel, but the Speed feels more natural at slower paces. Pro is still a better shoe for racing, but the Speed remains the more versatile overall option.

 

ASICS Novablast  (RTR Review)

Derek: Novablast 1. I wear men’s US9.5 in both models. The Novablast is by far the bouncier and less tamed shoe. Speed is much more stable with a more directed ride. I like Novablast more as a recovery shoe as I find it rather tiring to go fast in. It also has a more relaxed fit to it, which will make it a better shoe for people with wider feet. Speed has better overall versatility in that it can handle the faster paces well, and is still ok for slower runs.  

Sally: US W8 in both. Derek nailed it when he said that the Novablast is the bouncier shoe. Speed is smoother forward momentum, and a more versatile jack-of-all-trades.

 

ASICS Noosa Tri 13 (RTR Review)

Derek: I wear men’s US9.5 in both models. The Noosa Tri and Endorphin Speed actually have very similar rides, and both fit me pretty well, but the Speed is just a little snappier and springier in feel for me, and the extra price premium you pay for the Speed is well worth it for that difference. No question, as a speed shoe or daily trainer, the Endorphin Speed 2 is the better shoe for me.

Sally: US W8 in both. Noosa Tri was a surprise hit for me, with a fun quick ride. I think the Speed 2 to be a more versatile tempo run/daily trainer for more runners, and would be my choice over the Noosa Tri on almost every occasion (though both have very LOUD attention-grabbing colorways!)

 

Skechers Razor Excess  (RTR Review)

Derek: I wear men’s US9.5 in both models. The Razor Excess is a really good execution of what you can achieve without a plate, and sits right up there with Rebel 2 and Mach 4 as the best non-plated shoes in recent memory. Razor Excess has a bouncy cushioned ride with stack that is not excessively high to still retain a speediness to the ride. Overall I find it to be a more forgiving shoe than Endorphin Speed, especially at slower paces, but once the pace picks up the extra snap you get from the plate becomes more apparent and the Speed feels a lot easier to hold a fast pace in compared to Razor Excess. It is quite a close toss-up. I would say if your focus is more towards an uptempo shoe, go with Speed. If you want an easy day shoe that can handle uptempo well, then the Razor Excess would be a better option.

 

adidas adizero Adios Pro  (RTR Review)

Derek: I wear men’s US9.5 in both models. I think the only area the Endorphin Speed wins here is in outsole durability. Not really a fair comparison as the Adios Pro can handle pretty much any kind of run incredibly well, with outsole durability its only weakness. That is, if you can even get your hands on them. Adios Pro is by far the better, more versatile and enjoyable shoe for me.

Sally: US W8 in both. I have logged many more miles in the Speed 1 and Speed 2, but that is because I am “hoarding” my Adios Pro and saving them for racing. Perhaps not wise? The Speed has proven durability, the Adios Pro rumored to be short-lived, but boy, is the Adios Pro a fun, fast ride! BUT then again, the price point is much higher. All things being equal, I would lace up the Adios Pro, but this is not an equal playing field here. Speed2 is the every man daily trainer and tempo shoe.

 

Nike Tempo Next %  (RTR Review)

Derek: I wear men’s US9.5 in both models. Tempo Next% was one of my favourite shoes of 2020, and for good reason. It is just so incredibly versatile and cushioned. Even though the Endorphin Speed is significantly lighter and has an easier fitting upper, in terms of overall versatility, I think the Tempo Next% still wins out as a daily trainer that can pretty much do it all. From a racing perspective though, I would probably choose the Endorphin Speed for anything up to the half marathon distance over the Tempo Next%.


The Endorphin Speed 2 is expected to release June 15, 2021


Tested samples were provided at no charge for review purposes. No other compensation was received by RTR or the authors for this review beyond potential commissions from the shopping links in the article. The opinions herein are entirely the authors'.

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