Thursday, April 18, 2019

Enda Sportswear Lapatet Review: Stepping Proudly Into the Big Leagues

Article by Michael Ellenberger with Sam Winebaum


Enda Lapatet ($120) - Kickstarter live now here at $100 per pair

Update: Enda successfully reached their initial Kickstarter goal! Fortunately, the Lapatet will continue to be offered at the discounted ($100) price through the life of the Kickstarter campaign, so those seeking a discount would be wise to back it!

Introduction
Michael: Enda is a brand we’ve quickly become fond of here at RoadTrailRun; their first-generation, made-in-Kenya running shoe (the $95 lightweight trainer, the Enda Iten was one of my surprise favorites of 2018 (RTR Review). 
I did a large portion of my marathon build up in the Iten before my marathon PR in Austin (2:31), and the wider toebox and low-drop profile allowed it to function as aggressively as you wanted. Sure, it was a little too rigid for those really easy days, but for the vast majority of my runs, the lightweight trainer was the perfect class of shoe, and the Iten a strong example.


Sam: There is much more to Enda than just fine run shoes. The company was founded to, and is focused on, bringing as much as possible of its production to Kenya, arguably the heart and heart beat of running. Enda seeks to help grow the local economy through making high value added state of the art products while training workers for the skills required to build and market a globally distributed running product. So the mission is more than just creating great running shoes.


Michael: Enter the Lapatet, now on Kickstarter here and almost fully subscribed, so head on over ASAP.  Where the Iten was simple, stripped down, and clearly a first-generation product (the upper being comfortable but, in my pre-production pair, clearly affixed by glue), the Lapatet could be, absent the logo, the newest offering from Brooks, Saucony or Nike. And it will feature an ever increasing portion of the production costs (40%) to be Kenyan, when few shoes assembled in the US even come close.


The ribbed-knit upper is unlike any we’ve found (and knit uppers have become the craze around the running world of late).

Sprinkled throughout are Enda’s nods to their Kenyan heritage (and present-day life!)  - flag-colored eyelets, a fabric-accented tongue, the Iten’s Kenyan-inspired outsole, and more. It’s hard to open lace the shoe and not be impressed, even in comparison to the Iten.


Sam: co-founders Weldon Kennedy and Navalayo Osembo present the technical and cultural details of the Lapatet in the YouTube below (will embed full video in Blogger)
The Lapatet incorporates multiple subtle Kenyan cultural hints from nature, heritage and everyday life.

The shoe name, Lapatet comes from one of Kenya’s 40 languages and means Run. The upper’s wave pattern reminds of Kenya’s  landscapes: ocean, clouds, and wind on the savannah.
The handmade tongue fabric and the pull tab remind of everyday Kikoi fabric used to carry babies and other loads.
Underfoot we see the word Harambee which means: “All Pull Together”.
The deep decoupling groove has a topographical map of the Rift Valley, home to some many great runners.



The darker gray version features red and green eyelets reminding of the Kenyan flag. All the eyelets are stitched in Kenya.
Michael: Enda has pulled out all the stops for the Lapatet. As much is apparent from the Kickstarter pages alone - whereas the Enda Kickstarter was more about the company than the product (and rightfully so), the Lapatet’s page highlights the best-in-class specifications of the trainer, the build quality, and the design choices to make it competitive in the marketplace. This is less of a prototype and more of a flagship. But looks - and advertisements - aren’t everything, so Sam and I gave the Lapatet a thorough test to see if this Kenyan-made runner could live up to the hype!

Pros:
  • Extremely premium feeling (and looking) trainer, build-quality is high
  • Very well but cushioned with a 30mm/24mm stack without feeling clunky or mushy or weighing much (9.2 oz.!)
  • Very easy to transition and toe off.
Cons:
  • Knit upper is slightly too thick, may be hot in the summer months
  • Sam: the end of the seam running from the toe to the first lace on medial side is thick and irritates a bit where seam meets laces.

Wednesday, April 17, 2019

Saucony Ride ISO 2 Initial Impressions Review, Comparisons to Ride ISO 1


Article by Sam Winebaum

Saucony Ride ISO 2 ($120)
Stats
Weight: sample  US 9 : 9.84 oz 279 g
Stack Height: 29mm heel /21 mm forefoot, 8mm drop
Available: 5/1 run speciality stores, 6/1 general release

A full multi-tester review to follow soon. In the meantime my initial run impressions Ride ISO 1 on one foot ISO 2 on the other, shoe details, and comparison to Ride ISO 1 video is below. 
Key highlights: 
  • 2mm more PWRFOAM midsole stack but same overall stack height by using a thinner durable Crystal Rubber forefoot outsole with 4 Tri Flex bands instead of 5.
  • Somewhat softer riding and easier to transition. 
  • Considerably more medial upper support at lace up area due to less pronounced/deeply cut ISOFit bands and a new medial overlay. 
2019 Saucony Previews article featuring Ride ISO 2, Liberty ISO 2, and Mad River TR here
Saucony Ride ISO 1 review here
Read Sam's run bio here
The product reviewed was provided at no cost. The opinions herein are entirely the authors'.
Comments and Questions  
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Sunday, April 14, 2019

New Balance Fresh Foam Gobi 3: A Great Road Trail Hybrid for the Right Foot


Article by Mac Jeffries


New Balance Fresh Foam Gobi 3 ($100)
Introduction:
My interest in the Gobi 3 started with a different shoe- the Zante 4. What a good-looking shoe. What a narrow, un-run-ably harsh - but good-looking - shoe. I wanted to love it, but it was just a non-starter for me; they barely even make it out of the kitchen before I was pulling out the return label. So, when I saw that the Gobi 3 was built on the same Fresh Foam  23mm/17mm platform as the Zante 4, but with a wider toe box and softer outsole tread meant for softer ground, I was intrigued. How did the lightweight road/trail hybrid perform? You’re probably gonna have to scroll past some awesome sponsors to find out!


Pros:
The Fresh Foam midsole - combined with the softer Hydrohesion outsole - is very well suited for hard trails and most any surface a little harder, or softer. They look GREAT. The full-bootie upper seems to keep out debris very well.


Cons:
Sizing: Although better than the Zante, they still fit narrow (I switched my D out for an EE, something I usually only do in dress shoes and hiking boots.) Putting them on and lacing them up takes about an hour. They will probably get stolen because they look so good.

Saturday, April 13, 2019

ON Running Cloudswift Initial Impressions Video Review with Shoe Details

Article by Sam Winebaum

ON Running Cloudswift ($150)

Stats
Weight: 10.2 oz /289 g US M 9  8.5 oz / 240 g US W7
7mm drop
Available now.


Initial impressions & Details at the YouTube below.  
Our full multi-tester review is coming soon. 
Read reviewers' full run bios here
The product reviewed was provided at no cost. The opinions herein are entirely the authors'.
Comments and Questions  
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Thursday, April 11, 2019

Brooks Running Glycerin 17 Multi Tester Review: Plush, Flexible and Lively


Brooks Running Glycerin 17 ($150)

Introduction
Don't be fooled by the high version number here. The Glycerin has continued to evolve over the years and with the 16, and now the 17, the shoe now features Brooks' new lively DNA Loft midsole foam. The Glycerin formula has been as flexible, plush, soft heavier trainer which was good for ambling along mostly, leisurely. With DNA Loft in the mix and other changes, in the 16 and now in the 17, the Glycerin becomes a more versatile and livelier yet still super plush trainer. It has to be good as it is the trainer choice of Desi Linden, 2018 Boston Marathon winner.

PROS
Jeff :
Well cushioned with lots of traction, and a comfortable upper
Half ounce down from the Glycerin 16 (12.3 ounces for G16 and 11.7 for G17)
Didn’t make changes for the sake of making changes
Sam:
Flexible forefoot, easy transitioning at all paces
Great blend of slightly bouncy softer cushion above a solid stable responsive outsole
Runs lighter than actual weight.
Peter:
Well cushioned
Feels lighter than specs
Harmony of upper and midsole creates a nice ride.
Hope:
Comfortable, flexible, upper wraps the foot well


CONS
Jeff
It should be called the 16.5 so little has changed from the last shoe
Upper mesh is still comfortable, but just a hair tighter around the toes
Great upper but somewhat overbuilt and dense. A bit low over center front toes
Peter
Didn’t read the above until after a run...yup, a little low over the toes. Trim nails!
Sam:
Somewhat dense upper, especially at mid foot.
Bumper is a low and wide over the front of the toes, with a pronounced sole curve up.
Weight. if the Glycerin could lose half an ounce or more it would be perfect.
Hope:
Upper is overly dense; shoe is maybe so flexible that it’s unstable
I hate to be obvious, but weight
Average Testers' Score: 9.73 /10

Please read on for all the details 

Wednesday, April 10, 2019

Initial Run Impressions Review: Topo Athletic Phantom

Article by Sam Winebaum

Topo Athletic Phantom
In advance of our full multi tester review, my initial run impressions review and details for the Topo Athletic Phantom, the brand's first maximally cushioned shoe. It features a Zip Foam midsole, a lively blend of TPU and EVA.

Stats
Estimated Weight: men’s US 9: 10.7 oz. Final production may differ in weight
Sample men’s US 8.5: 10.4 oz  / 295 g
Total Stack Height: 30mm heel / 25 mm forefoot, 5mm drop (includes 5mm Ortholite footbed)
$130. Available May 2019

Read reviewers' full run bios here
The product reviewed was provided at no cost. The opinions herein are entirely the authors'.
Comments and Questions  
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RaidLight REVOLUTIV Review - "Pure Alpine DNA"

RaidlLight REVOLUTIV
Estimated Weight US M9: 9.8 oz / 278 g
Sample US M10: 10.4 oz./294 grams 
23mm heel/17mm forefoot (6mm drop)
$165. Available now at RaidLight here

First Impressions/Introduction:
I am vaguely familiar with the French company RaidlLght, having checked out some of their packs and clothing in the past, but their Italian designed shoes came as a surprise to me. They are a leading Ultra focused brand in Europe and part of the Rossignol Group, well known for their ski gear and excellent nordic ski boots and we see some nordic ski boot design elements such as neoprene bootie and outer shell to really lock down the foot shared with the Revolutiv.
The looks are somewhat reminiscent of Salomon and built quality is excellent.  The outer shell of the upper around the heel connecting to the top two lace eyelets is very thick and stiff, covering an inner booty.  Initial fit feels good, with plush cushioning.

Pros: 
  • Traction
  • Stability
  • Cushion
  • Protection
  • Security
  • Build quality
Cons:
  • Lace pressure on top of foot
  • Ventilation
  • Some may find the upper confining
  • Price
Tester Profile
Jeff Valliere runs mostly on very steep technical terrain above Boulder often challenging well known local FKT's.

Salomon Socks Review: Introducing a wide range of technically advanced socks for running, hiking, and skiing,


Article by Sam Winebaum, Jeff Beck, Jeff Valliere, Dom Layfield and Michael Ellenberger

Introduction


Salomon launches a wide range of socks for running, hiking, and skiing (nordic and alpine) for the first time this spring in the US. Available for many years internationally, they are manufactured in Europe by Salomon licensee Intersocks, a major Italian high tech sock manufacturer which crafts socks for Icebreaker, SmartWool, X-Bionic, Burton, and others and also has the licenses for the Salomon, K2 and Nordica sock ranges.

Technologies
The line features a vast array of different fibers and technologies selected for each sport-running, (hiking, mountaineering and skiing) and purpose within the sport. The socks ,and soon gloves, use an oxide mineral embedded in the yarn called Quantum Energy that is said to self activate the body's natural energy flow and improve circulation with a warming effect when cold and a cooling effect when warm. It's also said to one of the most efficient moisture wicking fibers available. The NSO socks also use what is essentially a synthetic merino fiber (Nerinog), with the mid-range socks using a variety of other high performance fibers, with “real” Merino in some of the hiking socks.  The run socks we tested include silicone fibers or dots woven in to help secure foot to shoe, a technique which we found surprisingly effective.

Sunday, April 07, 2019

Initial Runs Comparison Videos: Hoka ONE ONE Rincon to Clifton 6, Clifton 6 to Clifton 5

Article by Sam Winebaum
The RoadTrailRun team is testing the upcoming  Hoka ONE ONE Rincon (July-August) and Clifton 6 (June) with multi tester full reviews of both soon.

In the videos I compare the Clifton 6 to the Rincon, and Clifton 6 to Clifton 5 after initial test runs. We have already posted an initial review of the Rincon here

Key Highlights:

  • Rincon based on my sample size 8.5 should come in 7.1 oz / 201 g  for a size 9, so about 1.8 oz lighter than Clifton 6 for a shoe with the identical 29 mm heel, 24 mm forefoot stack, so more than a half ounce lighter than the original Clifton 1.  It has a slightly firmer ride than Clifton 6 and a very light no overlays, no bootie tongue upper.
  • Clifton 6 based on my sample 8.5 should come in at about 8.9 oz /252 g for a size 9 so a 0.7 oz weight drop compared to Clifton 5. It has a slightly softer ride and an easier toe off than 5. It has a roomier, softer engineered mesh upper than the 5.
I ran (5 miles) with a Clifton 6 on one foot, Rincon on the other and during a second run (8.8 miles) a Clifton 6 on one foot and Clifton 5 on the other at below 10 min mile pace so relatively slow.

The videos below go into more detail on how they ran and compared and details their construction. 
You Tube Comparing Rincon to Clifton 6

YouTube Comparing Clifton 5 to Clifton 6 to Rincon

YouTube of Hoka Introducing Rincon, Clifton 6, and EVO Mafate 2

Read reviewers' full run bios here
The product reviewed was provided at no cost. The opinions herein are entirely the authors'.
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