Saturday, June 15, 2019

Under Armour UA Velociti 2 Review

Article by Mac Jeffries

UA HOVR Velociti 2 ($120)
Introduction
Mac: I was curious: all I have heard about Under Armour shoes is that they are not on the same level as their competitors… until recently that is. There is a small pocket of runners who have been telling anyone who will listen that the HOVR foam is as good as any EVA foam out there. That, coupled with a motivated design team and a 2nd generation model made this feel like a great time to give UA a first try. So, is this the greatest thing since fully gusseted tongues? Read on!

Pros:
Mac: Responsive. Runs lighter than it actually is. Feels great on foot & striking appearance; these are actually my current go-to “wear-around” shoes. Embedded MapMyRun chip seems to work fine.

Cons:
Mac: At a spec’d 9.0 oz /255 g, it is on the heavy side of “Lightweight Trainers”. Foam not as lively as Floatride or Hyperburst. For the amount of stack, I expected a little more underfoot protection.

Friday, June 14, 2019

New Balance FuelCell Propel Initial Run Video Review: High Rebounding Fun!

Article by Sam Winebaum

New Balance FuelCell Propel ($110)



The New Balance FuelCell Propel checks in at about 9 oz /255 g with a 6mm drop. It features an exciting new midsole foam called FuelCell. FuelCell is said by New Balance to have a minimum of 39% more rebound that its Revlite foam found in its performance shoes such as the 1400 and I can say after one run it sure does! It is the training companion to the FuelCell Rebel (RTR Review)

Soft and very bouncy FuelCell is well contained by a broad midsole geometry and a full contact outsole. The Propel is an exciting new option in the lighter daily trainer category going head to head with Nike offerings with React and Zoom X foam, Skechers Hyper Burst, Reebok's Forever Energy, and for sure New Balance's own Fresh Foam.

The upper is very roomy, comfortable, and well held. So far I am feeling that the Propel will be one of the biggest smiles, fun to run shoes of 2019. Releasing soon (exact date to follow)
Watch our Initial Video Review with Details

Thursday, June 13, 2019

Move Free Designs Summit Cap Review

Article by Peter Stuart, Sam Winebaum, and Michael Ellenberger


Move Free Designs Summit Cap ($30)
Move Free Designs website: https://www.movefreedesigns.com


Peter: The Move Free Summit cap is a great little hat. It’s more than that though--it’s also the creation of a really inspiring runner who is a joy to follow and who is working to share his joy of running and nature to a wider audience.

Monday, June 10, 2019

Nike Zoom Pegasus 36 Initial Runs Video Review with Comparisons to Pegasus 35 and Vomero 14

Article by Sam Winebaum

Nike Zoom Pegasus 36 ($120)
Stack Height: 28 mm heel / 18 mm forefoot, 10 mm drop
The highlights of the 36th edition of the Pegasus are a 0.4 oz / 12 g drop in weight to just under 9 oz / 252 g brought about by effective changes to the upper.
Nike achieved this weight drop by effectively slimming down the rear of the shoe's collar padding, getting rid of the painfully snug extended  padded tongue and opening the fit by having the FlyWire enter further down the sides of the mid foot.

There are no noted changes to midsole or outsole but I did notice a very, very slightly more flexible, softer, and bouncier ride for Peg 36  when running Peg 35 on one foot and Peg 36 on the other. The ride remains classic Pegasus.


I tested the Pegasus 36 on one foot and the Pegasus 35 on the other and detail the differences in construction, fit, and ride while also comparing to the Zoom Vomero 14 (RTR Review), my 2018 Shoe of the Year,

Watch the Video Review and Comparisons with all the details

Our full multi tester is coming soon!

Sunday, June 09, 2019

Salomon Sonic RA 2 Video Review

Article by Sam Winebaum

Our full written review is coming soon. In the meantime our video review of the Salomon Sonic RA 2 ($130).

I estimate (based on comparing my size 8.5) that the size 9 weight is 9.2 oz /261 g or about 0.5 oz /14 g heavier than the Sonic RA, largely I assume due to a full contact outsole and re sculpting of the midsole side walls
The middle shoe in the Sonic RA line, it is the daily trainer with the Sonic RA Max 2 (RTR Review) having a more assisted (stable) transition through its more lateral decoupling line location and the RA Pro (RTR Review soon) with its medial focus decoupling can be thought of the uptempo quick shoe in the line.
In brief, I find the changes to upper which is now more pliable and smoother fitting with fewer overlays and mid sole outsole lead to a fuller ground contact, smoother transitioning shoe than RA Sonic 1 placing the Sonic RA near the front ranks of durable sub 10 oz daily trainers.  The Vibe cushioning system with a tibial vibration reducing Opal insert at heel and forefoot is effective in making the relatively firm Energy Cell+ midsole responsive and easier on the legs than it would be otherwise.
The product reviewed was provided at no cost. The opinions herein are the authors'.
Comments and Questions Welcome Below!
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Hoka ONE ONE Clifton 6 Multi Tester Review: A New Softer Upper and Slightly Softer Midsole the Headlines


Article by Hope Wilkes, Derek Li, and Sam Winebaum

Hoka One One Clifton 6 ($130)
Introduction
Sam: The Clifton is the shoe that put Hoka on the “road map” more than any other. The original was a very light 7.7 oz with the same and current 29 mm heel and 24mm forefoot stack, had tons of bouncy soft energy, was notably unstable for me at the heel, very fast but not for me for longer runs as a bit hard to tame and unstable at the heel.

Over the versions Hoka has adjusted the formula to get more life out of the shoe and make it a touch more stable and longer lasting. Changes in rubber configuration, somewhat firmer versions then softer then firmer, different uppers with each and every version controversial when compared to the original groundbreaking version 1, some preferring others not.
The Clifton 6 returns to a somewhat softer midsole, rearranges the front outsole and midsole geometry for a softer smoother transition, adds a soft pliable engineered mesh upper and loses a full ounce, 28 g of weight to come in about 8.9 oz / 252 g. Not the 7.7 oz of the original but notably lighter. If you want a lighter feel with the same stack and a touch firmer ride look to the new Rincon (RTR Review) which comes in July at an amazing 7.1 oz / 201 g. For hard core fans of the original Clifton 1 it is likely the more logical successor if its minimal more unstructured upper works for you,

Hope: There are two models that I’ve inducted into my personal running shoe hall of fame: the OG Clifton and the OG Fresh Foam Zante. 2014 was a watershed year for great shoes! The OG Clifton was my shoe of choice for the marathon distance and for my first 50-mile race. They were so light and comfortable I almost suspected witchcraft. I could tell that the first update changed a lot that I loved about the shoe, so I’ve stayed away from the Clifton since the OG version. I still have three pairs from the original release (not the recent re-issue) in my closet. Given how militant I have to be about donating old shoes to save storage space in my apartment, that’s a testament to how much I love the OG Clifton.
I’m making a point to explain my love for the OG Clifton because I really, really don’t love the Clifton 6 and I need you to understand that I’m not a Hoka hater. Nor am I some sort of edgelord who delights in ripping a shoe that’s likely to be a best-seller no matter what I say. I’ve given rave reviews for other 2019 models because I felt those shoes were great. By the same token, my less positive comments here are thoughtful and genuine.
Pros:
Hope: Forgiving yet still responsive cushioning, rockered shape encourages speedy turnover, simple good looks
Derek and Sam: High Volume Fit. Very comfortable upper.
Sam: weight loss of 1 oz. / 28 g gets the Clifton back into a strong weight to cushion ratio
Cons:
Hope:“bucket seat” midsole sidewalls, very little flexibility, decorative stitching that isn’t taped on the interior
Derek: Firmer ride than I would like for a Clifton.
Sam: Stiffer and more ponderous than the lighter by 1.5 oz Rincon

Tester Profiles
Hope is in her 20’s and after several ultras is now more on the road. She has a marathon PR of 3:47. She trains about 50 miles per week with many of her runs in the (broad) 8:00-10:00/mile range. She is happy to hit 7:30 miles on tempo days.
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 1:35-1:41 range and trains 40 miles per week mostly at moderate paces in the 9 minute range. He is 5'10" tall and weighs about 165 lbs.

Altra Running Paradigm 4.5 Review: Massive Zero Drop Cushion with some Bounce

Article by Jeff Beck and Jeff Valliere


Attra Paradigm 4.5 ($150)
Introduction
Jeff Beck: The Paradigm 4.5 is Altra’s latest version of their massively cushioned road shoe. As a .5 update, this update see only minor changes from the Paradigm 4.0, essentially a slight tweak to the knit upper. While the Paradigm is technically a moderate support shoe, it uses Guide Rail and StabiliPods, which result in a very unobtrusive stability - effectively making it a neutral shoe for neutral runners. Featuring both Altra staples of zero drop and an oversized toe box, the Paradigm 4.5 is an exceptionally cushioned, albeit heavy, daily trainer designed to eat up big miles.


Pros and Cons
Pros: Jeff Beck - Incredibly well cushioned with bouncy, not mushy feeling Breathable upper -Lots of rubber for lasting durability unlike early generation of Paradigm -Massive platform width keeps this high stack shoe feeling stable -Light guidance/stability elements don’t detract for neutral/supinating runners Cons: Jeff Beck - Little touches are wrong, ie laces are way too long, rear pull tab to narrow to put finger in, Seattle Seahawks colorway offensive for Cardinals fans -Midfoot fit is baggy -Heavy, and feels massive on the foot -Zero drop can put extra strain on lower leg

361° Meraki 2 Review: Carbon Fiber Plates. Too Much of a Good Thing... or Not?

Article by Dave Ames and Hope Wilkes

361° Meraki 2 

Introduction
Dave:  It’s no lie that 361 has been pumping out some decent shoes. 361, or from what I always heard, is made up of a bunch of ASICS guys and gals after ASICS went through some changes.  Not a bad thing, because I have really seen some improvements in their shoes over the past few years. I was a big fan of Meraki 1 and with the 2 now in my hands, I was eager to give this baby some workload.    
Hope: Makes sense that 361 is staffed by some former ASICS employees. The Meraki 2 gives off some serious ASICS vibes, but with amped up quality. I don’t get too excited about shoes in the daily trainer category, so while I’ve been aware of 361 for a while, this is the first model I’ve tried from the brand.

Pros:
Dave:  Good looking shoe.  Decent fit with a nice mold around the arch.  Good lacing scheme.
Hope: Agree with everything Dave said. Materials and construction are top-notch. Seems to drain well and is adequately breathable despite thick tongue.


Cons:
Dave:  Tongue is too thick.  Meraki 2 feels a lot slower than the 1 did.  Quickfoam fails to snap off of the forefoot, due to too much stiffness via the Quickspine carbon midsole plate.  Just an average shoe for mileage days for me. Not quick enough for speed.
Hope: Too much outsole + carbon midsole plate = stiff shoe.

Tester Profiles
Dave Ames is 37 and keeps in sub 3 shape in Southern California while transitioning to Ultras. He is a professional running coach at Ame for it Coaching and trains a mix of at least one quality workout, one long run and aerobic miles on both roads and trails.
Hope is in her 20’s and after several ultras is now more on the road. She has a marathon PR of 3:47. She trains about 50 miles per week with many of her runs in the (broad) 8:00-10:00/mile range. She is happy to hit 7:30 miles on tempo days.

Wednesday, June 05, 2019

Strava's 2018 Year in Sport: 6.6 billion miles from 36 million athletes crunched and analyzed

Article by Sam Winebaum


Every year, Strava crunches its vast repository of activities uploaded by millions. For the 2018 Year in Sport report that was 36 million athletes in 195 countries uploading at total of 6.6 billion miles in 32 sport types!

We bring you a few of the key findings below. How did you compare to these averages?  Please share and comment below.


Women favor the half marathon as their key race distance and running as their top activity while men lean towards Ride and the marathon and half as their top run race types.



Goal setting and following them leads to more workouts uploaded! I wonder how many who set (overly ambitious) goals were interrupted by injury vs. those with less ambitious goals or no goals?
International readers, what is the significance of May 6 and September 16, 2018 as key activities days? In the US July 4 is our national holiday and November 23d is Thanksgiving Day where it is tradition to race a short race usually around 5 miles before the big turkey meal.


We run and especially ride longer further and longer together and especially hiking and walking time and riding distance.




No matter where we run, and no matter the gender, our average run distance is about the same at around 5 miles.


No matter where we run we run about the same amount of time on average but US runners do those runs somewhat faster than Global runners.

Participation in Strava activities tagged as Race increased by more than 10% Globally with US women's race participation increasing more than 28% year over year.


Run and Bike commuting grew dramatically in 2018.


How did you compare? Did you run or bike commute? Set a Strava goal? Please tell us. Comments welcome below.


All Infographics Strava 2018 Year in Sport Report
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COROS Pace Multisport GPS Watch Review-Watch this Pace: A $200 Ultra-Ready Watch

Article by Hope Wilkes

COROS Pace Multisport GPS Watch ($200)


Introduction

Hope: I don’t bring a great deal of expertise to this review. I’ve run in three or four different Garmin watches (Forerunner series and Fenix) over the years. So my approach to this review is my normal approach for any tracker I add to my kit: see how it works out of the box, without becoming an expert on every single feature. My measure for “is this a good GPS watch” is threefold:

Does it do what it claims to do?
Is it easy to use?
Is it special?

I’ll give you the bottom line up front: the COROS Pace is a good GPS watch. But I say that with a few nitpicky reservations. You’ll spend more time with your wearable tech than any shirt or pair of shorts, so nitpicky problems will matter, so I’ll get into those in detail.

Pros:
-Massive 25 hour battery life in training mode (30 days in standby)
-Size
-Weight
-Comfort
-GPS accuracy
-Optical heart rate monitor accuracy

Cons:
-Bluetooth upload hangs up/fails often
-Cluttered workout display (depending on settings)

Bear in mind that I’m not a major datahead and that I only put the Pace through its paces in outdoor run mode.

Tuesday, June 04, 2019

Salomon Sonic RA Max 2 Review- Criminally Overlooked Daily Trainer Delivers Outstanding Performance

Article by Jeff Beck


Salomon Sonic RA Max 2 ($130)

Introduction
The Salomon Sonic RA Max 2 is the second iteration of Salomon’s heavy duty trainer within their three-pronged approach. The Sonic RA line features the Max, which is the heaviest with the most cushioning, the Pro, which is the lightest and has the least cushioning, and the standard, which is in between the Max and Pro. All three are designed to be very similar in performance and design, so a runner could potentially run in all three shoes, with the standard being their daily trainer, the Pro being the lighter speedwork or race day shoe, and the Max being for a touch more guided transition and stability for long runs or the day following some hard speedwork. You don’t have to look hard to see the similarities, all three shoes have the same colorways, the uppers, midsole, and outsoles all follow the same design language and principles, and they all have similar materials.
The geometric decoupling and rubber coverage at the forefoot is designed differently to achieve each shoe’s performance characteristics. The Max which is the shoe with the most underfoot support and stability has its decoupling furthest to the left or lateral side and the Pro the quickest transitioning the furthest to the right or medial side.


All that said, this review is only for the Max, as I do not have any experience in the standard RA or the RA Pro.


Pros and Cons
iPros: Comfortable upper mated with a smooth riding midsole that has plenty of protection and flexibility, good price point at $130 for a well cushioned and durable daily trainer, relatively lightweight considering how well cushioned the shoe is.


Cons: 1st test sample had toe box flaw that caused blisters on every run with 2nd sample from later production resolving the issue, aesthetic design language feels a bit dated, tongue is slightly short, outsole collects small rocks.

Monday, June 03, 2019

Saucony Mad River TR Review - A Unique Trail Runner with Effective Lacing and Outsole Customization Options

Article by Jeff Valliere and Canice Harte


Saucony Mad River TR ($110)
Introduction
The Mad River TR is new trail running shoe from Saucony with unique features:
  • lacing customization through inner or outer loops, or both as the runner wishes, which allows it to accommodate a wide range of foot shapes.
  • an outsole designed to easily place shoe screws for icy conditions and guided drill hole locations for wet conditions drainage.

Pros:
Canice/Jeff: Customizable lacing and outsole
Canice/Jeff: Ground feel, relaxed toe box, soft, comfortable and good cushioning
Jeff:  Traction/wet traction
Jeff:  Easy slip on for casual use
Jeff:  Lacing options
Jeff:  Outsole versatility for door to trail
Jeff:  Outsole designed for screws and drainage
Jeff:  Value


Cons:
Canice/Jeff: Loose in the midfoot (See comments about lacing below) and minimal protection in the arch.
Jeff:  Traction in loose conditions, mud, snow
Jeff:  Not particularly nimble/agile on technical descents

Tester Profiles
Jeff runs mostly on very steep technical terrain above Boulder often challenging well known local FKT's.
Canice 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 as well as traditional road races and triathlons.


Stats
Official Weight: men's 10.9oz (309g) | women's 9.7oz (275g)
Sample Weights:
US M9: 10.5 oz / 297 g
US Mens Size 10: 11.2 oz./ 314 grams
Stack Height:(23/19), 4mm drop
$110. Available July 2019


First Impressions and Fit


Canice: The first thing I thought of when I slipped the Mad River’s on was this is an updated old school Peregrine 7, and that made me happy. This shoe is definitely it’s own animal and has its own reason for being, but if you have ever run a Peregrine 7 or earlier this will feel like a slightly more cushioned version. Less tread but very similar.


Canice: The shoe feels minimal and supple yet with a decent amount of trail protection. I took a classic digger where I stubbed my toe on what must have been a huge rock but of course turned out to very unimpressive, and my toes didn’t feel anything.


Canice: I really enjoy running this shoe. Other than a little mid foot slip on technical descents, this shoe performs incredibly well in a wide range of terrain.


Jeff:  I was at first struck by the bright neon color, but they quickly grew on me.  The Mad River TR looks very modern and beyond the modern look, it looks a different than most other shoes, with a very pronounced heel collar and “tongue”, booty like construction and sturdy toe bumper that integrates very smoothly with the mesh upper.  Upon closer inspection, the lacing is very unique in that you have inner and outer eyelets to customize fit based on your foot shape and then a moderately treaded outsole with guidance for drilling drainage holes or adding sheet metal screws for added winter traction.  Initially, with the laces threaded through the inner eyelets, I was unsure that these were going to hold my foot, but once it dawned on me that I could employ the outer eyelets for a more precise fit for my low volume foot, I was much more hopeful.


Upper
Canice: There are a few stand out characteristics to the Mad River’s upper. In particular you’ll notice two sets of eyelets (picture above) so you can customize you fit. I spoke earlier about mid foot slip and while I couldn't get this to completely go away, I was able to minimize it by adjusting the lace pattern.


Canice: Another characteristic of the upper is the tongue construction. This is best described as a “bootie” style and what that means to you and me is the shoe fits snug and comfortable over your instep. This also prevents rocks and debri from entering your shoe while running (this is actually a big deal).


Last A couple further things to point out. The black overlay over the top of your toes is soft and the rubber around the front of your toes is firmer. You’ll also notice a ring at the bottom of your eyelets which is there to attach gaiters.


Jeff:  The upper of the Mad River TR is innovative, as it fits a wide range of feet with an overall accommodating fit and the two sets of laces eyelets greatly aid in it’s versatility.  One set of lace loops are positioned very close to the “tongue” and the other set, punched holes, sit further out.


When I first tried on the Mad River TR, I initially overlooked the outer set of eyelets and cinched them up while laced on the inner lace loops as they arrive out of the box.  I disappointingly could not get them tight enough over my thin, low volume foot, but then a warm glow swept over me as it dawned on me that I could snug them tighter by employing the outer set of eyelets. By making this easy switch, I was very excited to discover that I was able to snug the laces down enough to hold my foot in place well.


In the photo below, the shoe on the left with laces utilizing the outer holes helps to snug up the shoe to secure thinner, low volume feet, where the shoe on the right, laced through the inner eyelets, allows for more stretch to accomodate larger feet.


In the photo below, I have the laces snugged up to the max on the inner eyelets and my feet were not secure, but utilizing the outer eyelets, snugged things up very nicely with no excess pressure.  The beauty of this setup is the personalized specialization depending on your footshape and preferences as you can utilize the eyelets how you wish using them all or alternating.
Fit is true to size and no matter how you lace, the toebox is roomy and should accommodate wider feet and those who prefer more room, while still providing good security.
The booty style construction is awesome, super comfortable and easy to slide into.  If I leave the laces very loosely tied, I can quickly and easily slip these on for quick trips and I even wear them full days at the office (OK, the yellow is a bit loud, but surprisingly works somehow).  Once the laces are snug though, foothold and security is good under most circumstances, but I do feel a bit of movement when on very steep downhills or very angled sidehilling.
The toe bumper is sturdy, protective and integrates very smoothly with the mesh upper.  Ventilation is good, though the mesh is a very fine weave, so perhaps not the most airy, but it keeps out the grit reasonably well, while not being stuffy on warm days.
The heel counter is solid and protective, with a very high and pronounced heel collar and “tongue”.  The materials that comprise of the collar and tongue are very soft, padded and flexible, to the point where it goes completely unnoticed and is very comfortable.




Midsole
The midsole is PWRFOAM and is the same midsole material as in Saucony’s heavy duty trail option, the Peregrine ISO. As with many other Saucony It is has top sole of EVERUN a resilient somewhat bouncy and dense TPU material. In contrast the lighter duty trail Switchback ISO has an all EVERUN midsole. See comparisons of both to Mad River TR below.


Canice: The midsole is a combination of PWRFOAM with an EVERUN TPU topsole and if you haven’t run this combination before it has has enhanced energy return which gives it a spring or “pop” when you run. This midsole gives you plenty of cushion while feeling lively.


Jeff:  The PWRFOAM midsole with EVERUN topsole is constructed the same as the Saucony Peregrine ISO.  I have found this combination to be very good, providing an excellent balance of all day cushion/comfort and lively response.  The Mad River has 2mm less cushioning than the Peregrine ISO and with even thinner tread, it accentuates the difference, but is still very protective and adequate for long distances.  Neither the Mad River or the Peregrine ISO has a rock plate, which for the Peregrine ISO goes essentially unnoticed given the add cushion and massive lugs, but just an even minimal rock plate in the Mad River would be an improvement, at least for those most rough and rocky trails.

Outsole
Canice: The outsole is actually a very unique feature of this shoe. Saucony has marked locations for you to add sheet metal screws and other locations for you to drill drainage holes. Where Saucony is suggesting you drill holes for drainage, they have even molded into the outsole what size drill bit to use. Crazy, Uh? But cool.

Canice: I’ve been testing the shoe on Utah trails which at present are a mix of snow, mud and dry dirt. I’ve run these shoes on steep technical rocky descents and smooth buffed out trails and have found plenty of traction. Looks like I need to add some screws and head up high for the final test. Stay tuned…

Jeff:  Echoing Canice, this is a very unique outsole, with angular, sharp chevron style lugs and a very grabby rubber compound.  
The lugs are low profile, but provide good grip over a wide variety of terrain and all but the most loose off trail or scruffy gravel, mud and snow. They share Saucony's PWRTRAC tacky rubber with the Peregrine ISO and Switchback ISO.

But what makes this outsole unique is the ability to easily add sheet metal screws for added traction on ice and snow, or drill holes for water drainage.  These options though in my view are either or, but can’t see utilizing both features. Since I rarely, if ever, worry about drainage, I was very interested in the screw shoe option.
Between the lugs are guides for drilling holes and for the supportive entry pedestals for the screws.  


I have a long history with adding screws to my shoes for traction dating back nearly 20 years, so it is nice to see a shoe designed specifically for this after having very mixed results in the past with screws popping out and/or destroying lugs.

Using a cordless drill and magnetic bit makes the process very fast and easy, though I recommend adjusting the drill setting to its lowest and be careful not to overdo it and strip out the hole you create.  I actually just use the drill to screw the screw most of the way in, then hand tighten snug (checking tightness after each run and replacing worn screws as necessary).

The hole left behind when removing is inconsequential as you can see in the photo and is especially not a problem since it is not a lug undergoing shear forces.

Ride
Canice; This shoe has lots of ground feel yet is well cushioned for long train runs. I did notice that every once and awhile when I pushed off a rock if the edge caught my mid foot or arch it was uncomfortable.  The ride feels very minimal and lively and is a lot of fun to run.
Jeff:  I agree with Canice above, that the Mad River TR provides reasonable ground feel yet feels adequately cushioned for long distances and provides a smooth ride.  I don’t find the Mad River TR to be particularly lively or inspirational at speed, but is a great workhorse every day trainer for more moderate speeds.

Conclusions and Recommendations
Jeff:  I find the Mad River TR to be a great addition to the Saucony trail line up, as it is quite versatile and performs well over a wide range of terrain and conditions.  

The ability to customize the lacing, as well as drill drainage holes and add screws sets the Mad River TR apart from any other shoe that comes to mind.  

Performance is in my opinion geared more toward door to trail, moderately technical terrain, mid distance and moderate speeds.  Traction is good given the moderate lugs and wet traction is exceptionally good. I find the agility/maneuverability when running fast in technical terrain to be a little uncertain. Protection is good, and though I don’t find myself dancing or being too careful on rocky terrain, I do notice myself avoiding the sharpest, most prominent rocks. 

The fit in the forefoot is accomodating, though not excessively so as to compromise performance and the lacing options will really expand the range of the shoe.  
At $110, the Mad River TR is an excellent value.
Jeff’s Score: 9.6 /10
-.2 for midfoot hold on steep terrain -.1 for traction in loose terrain/snow/mud -.1 for sharp rock protection

Canice: The Mad River TR is a great shoe that is a joy to run. This is subjective but if you like ground feel, minimal construction and a nice balance of cushioning then you should give the Mad River TR’s a try. At $110 they also are a great value.
Canice’s Score of 9.6 /10
I agree with Jeff’s score and for the reasons he states.

Comparisons
Saucony Mad River TR ($110) vs. Saucony Peregrine ISO ($120) (RTR Review)
Jeff:  Both shoes I wear a size 10.  Peregrine ISO has 2mm more cushion and deeper tread for overall better protection/cushion for longer distances on rougher terrain.  The Peregrine ISO also has a more dialed and secure upper for better foothold in steeper terrain, but Mad River TR has more room in toe box that some may prefer.  Peregrine ISO has better traction in snow, loose of trail and mud (though does not shed mud all that well), whereas Mad River TR has superior wet traction/door to trail versatility.

Saucony Mad River TR  vs. Saucony Switchback ISO ($ (RTR Review)
Jeff:  Both size 10, Mad River TR has a bit more forefoot room and while both have low profile tread, the Mad River has overall better grip.  The Switchback ISO is much more quick, agile and nimble, but its protection is not as good.

Saucony Mad River TR vs. Altra Superior 4 ($110) (RTR Review)
Jeff:  Both size 10, the Superior 4 is lighter, faster, more agile and nimble.  Both have a soft and comfortably cushioned feel, accommodating fit and good traction, with the Mad River TR has overall better traction and especially in the wet.  Altra of course has zero drop whereas Mad River has a drop of 4mm , so one needs to take that into consideration.

Saucony Mad River TR vs. Nike Terra Kiger 5 ($130)  (RTR Review)
Jeff:  Size 10 for Mad River and 9.5 for Kiger 5.  A bit of a dichotomy here, as the Mad River TR is more of a trainer and I see the full ounce 28 g  lighter Kiger 5 as more of a racer. Kiger 5 has a more dialed, race like fit (though midfoot hold could still use improvement) and the Mad River would be better for longer days in more varied terrain due to superior traction/outsole and accommodating fit.

Saucony Mad River TR vs. Brooks Cascadia 14 ($130) (RTR Review upcoming)  
Jeff:  Both size 10.  Comparable in weight, traction and fit, with a little more fit versatility going to the Mad River TR with its  lacing options likely fitting a wider range of feet. The Cascadia 14 has an 8mm drop vs. 4mm for the Mad River.  I find the Cascadia 14 to be more responsive and more agile, particularly in tricky terrain.


The Mad River TR releases July 2019
Read reviewers' full run bios here
The product reviewed was provided at no cost. The opinions herein are the authors'.
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