Saturday, September 23, 2023

Cotopaxi Allpa 50L Duffel Review: Black Hole Sun!

Article by Peter Stuart

Cotopaxi Allpa 50L Duffel ($140)


Stats and Details:


     50L (3052 cu in)

23 x 13 x 12 in (58 x  33 x 30 cm)

42 oz. (1200 g)

Light weight, durable 840D ballistic nylon paneling

  • Stowable duffel carry straps

  • Removable backpack harness

  • Large main compartment with zippered interior organization under flap

  • 2 exterior accessory pockets for smaller items, 

  • Key clip included in side pocket

  • Dirty laundry compartment at bottom with mesh organizer pocket

  • Dual grab handles on both ends

Okay, if you love the Patagonia Black Hole Duffel but would love some organization, pockets and a dirty laundry (or shoe) compartment, then the Allpa Duffel is for you. In the same family as the widely celebrated Allpa 42L travel pack, the Allpa Duffel trades off the more compartmentalized interior and clamshell opening for a simpler cavernous duffel. On the plus side it’s easy to pile stuff in without having to worry too much about organization. On a recent weeklong trip I managed to load my Allpa with clothes for 1 adult and 1 kid with room to spare. 

Smith Optics Pinpoint RX Prescription Sunglasses Review

Article by Jeff Valliere 

Smith Optics Pinpoint RX (starting at $278)


I was fortunate enough to recently be given the opportunity to choose a pair of glasses to review from the Smith Optics RX prescription line.  

Scrolling through the website, there are so many great choices depending on your activity, preference, face shape/size, etc….  I was specifically looking for a pair that can easily ride the line between a casual day to day pair of glasses (that do not look like I just stepped out of an Ironman) and sport sunglasses that are lightweight, provide good protection for running in the mountains and cycling, don’t bounce and have crystal clear optics.  The Pinpoint RX checks all of these boxes, making them the most versatile pair of glasses I have owned to date.

Thursday, September 21, 2023

Topo Athletic Traverse Multi Tester: A True Hiker and a Trail Runner Too!

Article by Annie Cole and Dominique Winebaum

Topo Athletic Traverse ($150)


Dominique: The Traverse is a new model and a welcome addition to Topo Athletic’s hiking category – a low top that behaves like a true hiker fit for thru-hiking  along with a side of trail running.  This is great news for hikers and Topo aficionados like me as I don’t have to “short change” myself by wearing a trail runner in lieu of a hiker when opting to hike in a low top shoe as opposed to a hiking boot.  Hikers may favor a high top on arduous hikes or with heavy packs and/or in wintry conditions and with a heavy pack while opting for a low top shoe in the summer season and/or on easier trails.  

I am well acquainted with Topo having reviewed the Trailventure 2, a hiking boot, and the MTN Racer 3, a trail runner as well as prior versions.  My friend Annie Cole, a long time hiker and seasoned wearer of the Topo brand, is joining me in reviewing the Traverse.  

Tuesday, September 19, 2023

Topo Athletic Atmos Multi Tester Review: Smooth! Ride is always king–and the Atmos is royalty for sure. 15 Comparisons

Article by Peter Stuart, Jeff Beck, Sally Reiley and Sam Winebaum

Topo Athletic Atmos ($160)


Peter:  Topo seems to be having a nice run of surprisingly excellent shoes. The Topo Athletic Atmos continues this trend. The Atmos is a max-cushioned daily trainer that weighs in at less than 10 oz and is a joy to run in. 

Jeff: Topo is one of two brands that prioritizes natural foot health/shape with every single shoe they make, but while many brands have had a number of maximum cushioning offerings, the tallest Topos have always been…close to max cushion, but not really there. That changes with the Atmos, a massively stacked 38mm heel / 33mm forefoot shoe that is going to put Topo on a lot of runners’ respective radars for all the right reasons. Am I foreshadowing too much? Spoiler alert: this shoe is nothing shy of incredible.


Balanced cushioning:  Peter/Jeff/Sam/Sally

Comfortable upper:  Peter/Jeff/Sally

Rolls through stride very easily:  Peter/Sam/Jeff

Feels light on the run:  Peter/Sam/Jeff/Sally

Low drop but not low heel at any pace: Sam/Jeff

Very smooth plateless rocker ride: Sam/Jeff/Sally

Light and dynamic enough for daily training, cushioned and forgiving enough for easy miles: Jeff/Sam/Sally

Super stable platform: Jeff

Top notch midfoot/forefoot cushioning: Jeff/Sam


The tongue is a bit short:   Peter/Sally

Monday, September 18, 2023

Volpi Outdoor Gear Fastpack 30 Review

Article by Markus Zinkl

Fastpack 30 ($235.00)


Volpi Outdoor Gear, a company located in Guadalajara, Mexico, has been producing backpacks and outdoor gear since 2020. Despite its relatively recent establishment, the company is committed to ensuring the quality of its materials and designs. In this review, we will take an impartial look at the Fastpack 30, assessing its features, functionality, and overall performance to provide you with an unbiased perspective on this product.

Saturday, September 16, 2023

Marcel Krebs UTMB OCC 2023 Race Report and why Chamonix is such a magic place!

Article by Marcel Krebs 

picture by Sportograf


Having watched the UTMB 2022 first hand, I was immediately struck and decided that I had to do whatever it took to participate in one of these epic races in 2023. Following the event on the live stream during prior years was awesome, but being there live in Chamonix was an experience on another level.

It turned out that it would become an exciting journey which culminated in an unforgettable finish in Chamonix. Read on to learn more about the UTMB finals in Chamonix and the pros and cons of the UTMB World Series around the globe with their finals taking place in Chamonix. Find out if I would do it again and would recommend that you participate too, even though there is some debate about the UTMB company itself.

Friday, September 15, 2023

Topo Athletic Fli-Lyte 5 Multi Tester Review: 6 Comparisons

Article by Joost De Raeymaeker and Mike Postaski

Topo Fli-Lyte 5 ($125)


Joost: The Topo Fli-Lyte 5 is Topo Athletic’s do it all shoe. I tested version 4 in 2021 and found it to be a great shoe for the gym and maybe to get in a run while I’m at it, but it was not a shoe I would pick up just to go running. I also thought it was a great looking shoe for everyday casual use. 

So what’s changed in version 5? From looking at it, basically everything, except for the stack height and drop, which stay at 23mm heel /20mm forefoot. Topo were also able to shed 0.8 oz with this new version. So let’s check what makes the Fli-Lyte 5 tick and dive into the changes.

Mike P: I haven't run in the Fli-Lyte since way back at V2. The shoe is completely different now, so there's not too much to specifically compare. But it does still slot into Topo's road line as a neutral, low-drop, versatile shoe. I do remember getting a lot of mileage out of my V2’s, specifically using them a lot on the treadmill since they offered a simple, solid & neutral ride. 

I've tested some of Topo's recent road offerings ST-4, Magnify 4, and ST-5 (now in test). so I'll focus on comparing  them to these.

Antepes Muscle Runner Reseña Completa (Spanish)

Article by Beto Hughes

Antepes Muscle Runner ($225)

Antepes Muscle Runner más que un entrenador diario es una herramienta de entrenamiento efectiva.


  • Estable y bastante cómodo.

  • Excelente ajuste y espacio delantero.

  • Talonera con corte bajo bastante segura y cómoda.

  • Funciona bien en ritmos medios y ya impuesto en trotes suaves.

  • Ayuda a mejorar la forma de correr.

  • Trabaja músculos y áreas más enfocadas especialmente tobillos y chamorros.


  • Toma tiempo adaptarse al no tener talon.

  • Se tiene que usar de poco a poco.

  • Se siente firme a pesar de ser pebax.

  • Si no te adaptas aun al tenis puede generar algunos dolores en ciertas áreas ya que se enfoca mucho en trabajar las piernas.

Thursday, September 14, 2023

adidas Adizero Pro Evo 1 Preview: At 138g, by far the Lightest Marathon Super Shoe yet!

Article by Nils Scharff and Sam Winebaum

adidas Adizero Pro Evo 1 ($500)

Nils: Adidas has been teasing us for over a week now! They were brewing something new over in Bavaria - and word was it is going to be lighter than anything we’ve seen before from the brand with the three stripes and their Adizero line. That alone is a very promising statement, but together with a line from the press invitation we got from the German marketing team, it was straight up exciting: The invitation teased that adidas elite athletes  are going to wear Pro EVO during the upcoming Berlin Marathon! 

So adidas was actually claiming that they have a (high stacked) marathon racer in their sleeves which is lighter than a Takumi Sen? I was pretty sure that this couldn’t be true. On the other hand adidas also claimed, that the new shoe would be groundbreaking - so could it be true? Yesterday adidas showed their hand and introduced the all new adidas Adizero Adios Pro EVO.

Sam: As much secrecy as I can recall around a shoe and no leaks beyond their appearance this past weekend and the bold and veiled claims ahead of the initial unveiling. 

And here it is! The Pro Evolution 1 with its marathon super shoe  39mm heel / 33mm forefoot stack heights comes in at an incredible 138g / 4.87 oz US 9 spec weight.

The Adios Pro 3 checked in at about 223 grams at the same stack height.  We are talking about a 40% reduction in weight from their previous lightest super shoe which we can assume is the Takumi Sen! For comparison, the Nike Vaporfly 3, what I would call the previous lightweight super shoe champ, and at about the same stack height checked in at.. 6.56 oz  / 186g! How did adidas pull off such a revolutionary and “impossible” feat?  Read on please to learn how.

Wednesday, September 13, 2023

Testbericht: Saucony Kinvara Pro (German)

Artikel von Marcel Krebs 

Saucony Kinvara Pro (220€)


Als die ersten Fotos vom neuen Saucony Kinvara Pro (bzw. dem Prototypen) auftauchten, habe ich ihn vor allem aufgrund der mächtigen Mittelsohle gedanklich als potentiellen Wettbewerber zu Modellen wie dem Superblast von ASICS oder dem SC Trainer von New Balance eingruppiert. Dies galt umso mehr, als der Name bekannt gegeben wurde und der Name Kinvara zwangsläufig Assoziationen zu einem leichten und vielseitigen Schuh weckte.

Saucony selbst spricht von einem “facettenreichen Schuh für jeden Tag für “99 Prozent deiner Läufe”. Inwieweit sich diese ersten Eindrücke bzw. Versprechungen bestätigt haben, erfahrt ihr in den nachstehenden Abschnitten.  

New Balance Fresh Foam X 1080 v13 Multi Tester Review: Bigger, Softer, and Lighter! 9 Comparisons

Article by Dominique Winebaum, Sam Winebaum. Jeff Beck and Sally Reiley

New Balance Fresh Foam X 1080 v13 ($165)


The Fresh Foam X 1080, New Balance’s max cushion daily trainer, sees big changes for its 13th edition. It sees more stack height (+4mm at the heel and +6mm at the forefoot) of a new lighter Fresh Foam X foam while at the same time losing a significant approximate 1 oz /28g in weight which comes from less dense Fresh Foam and slightly thinner outsole rubber. Topped with a plush engineered knit upper,  it for sure signals comfort top to bottom on the run but does it lose some performance edge? Please read on to find out what our testers discovered.

Monday, September 11, 2023

Puma FastTrac Apex Nitro Review: 4 Comparisons

Article by Markus Zinkl

Puma FastTrac Apex Nitro ($150 )


Markus: After being somewhat underwhelmed by the Puma FastTrac Nitro, I must admit I didn't have the highest hopes for its successor. But when I laid eyes on the Puma FastTrac Apex Nitro, my optimism started to spark once again.

The FastTrac Apex Nitro claims to be a lightweight trail running shoe tailored for a wide range of challenging surfaces. Whether it's loose gravel paths, mucky trails, or technical mountain ascents, this shoe promises to conquer them all. 

With its potent combination of supercritical NITRO and PROFOAMLITE EVA midsole cushioning, a ripstop mesh upper, reinforced with PWRTAPE, and a grippy PUMAGRIP ATR outsole, the FastTrac Apex Nitro certainly seems to have the right attributes. 

Sunday, September 10, 2023

Super (Critical) Race "Flats" Comparison Review: Saucony Sinister, Nike ZoomX Streakfly , Adidas Adizero Takumi Sen 8/9, Topo Cyclone 2, Hoka Cielo Road

 Article by Sam Winebaum

Adidas Adizero Takumi Sen 8/9 ($180),Topo Cyclone 2 ($150), Nike Streakfly ($160), 

Hoka Cielo Road ($160), Saucony Sinister ($150)

In the article, I take a look at what in 2023 can be considered “race flats” those light agile shoes designed for short distance and even if one goes prior to the Vaporfly for all distances including the marathon including legendary shoes such as Zoom Streak, earlier Adios, various ASICS and Mizuno flats, etc…  

With the advent of lighter more energetic super critical foams even very light racing shoes such as these can now provide higher cushion stacks.  In fact, only one shoe here, the very lightest the  5.45oz  / 155 g  Saucony Sinister can be considered to have a more “classic” race flat stack height of 25mm heel / 19mm forefoot. All of these shoes are lower stack and lower weight than most marathon super shoes.

Only one of the shoes, the Adizero Takumi Sen with its full Energy Rods is plated with the Nike Streakfly have a modest midfoot plastic shank, in itself a key feature of the old school flat.

All share supercritical foam, none weighs more than 7 oz / 198g  with each very distinct in its strengths, best uses, ride characteristics and upper.  All are super “fun” to run at pretty much any pace from all out to more mellow with the exception of the super “serious” Takumi Sen which is the purest racer, and fastet of the bunch but warning.. on the right fast feet.

Friday, September 08, 2023

The North Face Summit VECTIV Sky Initial Review

Article by Sam Winebaum

The North Face Summit VECTIV Sky ($199)


The Summit Vectiv Sky joins the Vectiv Pro as the North Face’s carbon plated trail racing duo. At a touch under 9 oz / 255g in a US9 with a 26mm heel / 22 mm forefoot stack height and a forked front and back (and yeah flexible!) carbon plate, a PEBA foam insert at the forefoot and a TPU and ripstop upper,  it is intended as the shorter distance shoe in the collection. Our German team reviewed both Sky and Pro earlier with our US team now testing the Sky. 

After a very solid first run on one of my test routes with a mix of pavement, dirt, and technical rooty and rocky single track, collecting 4 Strava personal “podiums” the picture is clear for to me.

The North Face nails it!  Fast, very stable, well cushioned for its stack and highly propulsive, Sky for sure a top top shorter distance racer but I think much more too!

Wednesday, September 06, 2023

Tracksmith announces Tracksmith Varsity Club, a US collegiate track and field NIL support program for American athletes.

Article by Sam Winebaum

Tracksmith announces the Tracksmith Varsity Club, a US collegiate track and field NIL (Name, Image and Likeness) support program for American athletes with applications open today and through September 20, 2023. The goal is to help talented college athletes transition to post-collegiate high level competition.  

Tracksmith origins are in the collegiate track experience and with the style of 1960's and 1970's college uniforms, so this initiative makes total sense.