Thursday, July 16, 2015

First Runs Review: adidas Response Trail Boost. Finalist for my RoadTrail Hybrid of the Year. Compared to Other 2015 adidas Boost TrailShoes

adidas Response Trail Boost
I  have a 2015 finalist for my road trail hybrid of the year. A big surprise, the adidas Response Trail Boost... Even with the big 5-6mm Continental Rubber lugs they are excellent on the road with a stable firm Boosted heel, super flexible, snappy and stable up front. Actually one of the better road shoes for me of 2015, despite their weight and trail purpose.  Yet...this shoe is likely targeted as a "soft ground" shoe given the big lugs which adidas calls a Mud King outsole.  Strange what happens...

adidas Response Trail Boost

First trail run today did not disappoint. I ran very winding, forest single track moderately rooty and rocky with smaller 100 foot steep climbs in dry conditions. Stable, fast, with great trail feel and foot hold from the mid foot forward.  The midfoot being well held by 2 wide external straps running from the laces to mid sole facing towards the back of the shoe and a diagonal one running from below the last lace hole diagonally towards the front.
I am still figuring out the far back of the upper's heel stability and hold accomplished with a low heel cup and bootie construction, with an extra layer of bootie on the medial side, all of this a big complicated and fussy. The underfoot rear platform is super stable in the heel but the heel cup and bootie upper in the far back may be a bit minimal for very rough or off camber trail if the heel needs to stabilize for terrain.  Response Trail Boost has a considerably wider toe box than the other Boost adidas trail shoes. There is no rock plate or thin firm layer of EVA underfoot except along the outside edge of the front of the foot but the lugs provide decent protection.

Very similar on the run to the XT Boost, the racer of the adidas Boost trail bunch (review here) in being snappy, stable, and responsive but with more noticeable yet still stable cushioning all around, particularly in the heel where Boost is substituted for the Adiprene EVA of the XT Boost. The front toe boxes are similar with the Response's being wider and having a slightly softer mesh

Response Trail Boost shares similarities of platform with the Raven Boost (review here) yet is considerably more agile and flexible than the Raven Boost  with better trail feel but will be less cushy for very long runs than Raven. I think this is because the Response has a somewhat thinner Boost layer,  a longer black EVA collar, and a more flexible upper.
adidas Response Trail Boost

For super rough trail the narrower Terrex Boost (review here) with its extra TPU stabilizing features around the heel and mid foot as well as beefy overlays around the narrow toe box is the adidas offering.
Update: I have now run many more miles in Response Trail Boost and they continue to be a most comfortable and able shoe on all terrain: road, smooth paths, rougher trails.

Not a light shoe at 11.50z (326grams) yet unlike many such heavier shoes I do not have the impression at all that I was wearing a "heavy" shoe on road or trail. They fit me true to size, maybe a quarter to a half size big due to the toe box width with my narrower foot. 10mm heel toe drop. Priced at $110, it is "value priced" compared to the other Boost trail shoes. Available July-August 2015
adidas Response Trail Boost
The Response Trail Boost was provided to RoadTrailRun at no cost. The opinions herein are entirely our own.

The Response Trail Boost can be purchased via the links below. Purchases support RoadTrailRun.

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Review Skechers GORun Ultra Road-Max Cushion with a Innovative Well Ventilated, Supportive Knit Upper

The Skechers GORun Ultra Road is a special shoe for special conditions: hot or wet weather and long miles on the road. According to Running Warehouse it weighs 10.4oz (295 grams) for a US size 9 M with a 32mm heel/ 27mm forefoot stack, a very respectable weight for such cushioning. Also available for women.  Unlike some previous Skechers the insole does not add 4mm of drop. Very fairly priced at $115 it is available now.  It fits me true to size, if a bit big.
Skechers GORun Ultra Road
Development Process
I was lucky to be involved in the wear testing for this shoe, testing multiple versions. From the basis of their very popular GoRun Ultra, a very flexible, light and well cushioned shoe with only midsole and no outsole Skechers saw and I did too, that many were running this fine shoe on the road and wearing them down fast (Our review of the GoRun Ultra 1 here) .
So a a road version was conceived but with a twist that the shoe would have as a focus very long hot weather races such as 135 mile Badwater and the 246km Spartathlon in Greece.
Through the process, I saw two constants: use of an innovative all knit, very breathable single layer upper and adding GOimpluse Sensor wear pads. What changed along the way was tweaking of the threads used in the knit upper, generally a bit softer, adjustments to the Goimpluse Sensors and their firmness, moving flex areas, and especially making the production version more cushioned with more stack height than the initial prototypes I tried.  More on this later but below a picture of the first prototype I ran and the production version.

Wednesday, July 08, 2015

Summer Run "Cooling" Tech: Adidas Climachill, Now 2nd Generation is Even More Chill

This is an update of a 2014 post. Effective in 2014 ClimaChill fabrics now are made of a lighter knit making them even more effective and are my go to tops for summer heat for the 2nd year in a row.

I tend to sweat a lot and have often struggled in the heat. Over the years I have tried several technologies that claim to "cool". Here adidas Climachill is in my view a true innovation, maybe on par with the Boost run shoe midsoles I like so much. The way I understand it there are two ways to cool or provide a sense of cooling: accelerating evaporation from the body and fabric or conducting heat away from the body.

First a bit of science on how it may be possible to cool or provide a sensation of cooling

Monday, July 06, 2015

Review: adidas Raven Boost Trail Shoe. Plush Ride on All Terrains

The adidas Raven Boost is a 11oz (312gram) 10mm drop trail shoe that shines in trail comfort. More "relaxed" in fit, outsole lugs, and ride than the more aggressive Terrex Boost (review here)  I have found them to not only handle all trail types with aplomb but even roads as well, if the pace is slow and easy. adidas calls them a "go anywhere "Land Rover" and this is a good description but more Range Rover than Defender. They are plush, flexible and soft, the ride reminding me of Hokas such as the Rapa Nui but with considerably more forefoot flexibility and stability.  A great shoe for long easier miles on rougher terrain and muddy conditions.

adidas Raven Boost
The Raven Boost has a full Boost midsole with firmer EVA stabilizing in the forefoot. The EVA is a ring, if you will, around the outer perimeter. Boost is soft and bouncy and it needs stabilization especially in the forefoot in a trail shoe for uneven terrain. Boost is softer than what would want for forefoot rock protection but so far the rugged outsole has provided me more than adequate protection upfront.

Friday, July 03, 2015

Review: New Balance Vazee Pace Sprints into the Field of Go-Fast, Light Trainers with the Right Stuff

Guest Review by Peter Stuart 

Is the New Balance Vazee Pace a Fresh Foam Zante killer? How does the latest in low weight go-fast running shoes stack up? There are so many really good lightweight cushioned shoes right nowit feels like between the minimal craze (whatever happened to) and the new lean to maximal we are in a golden age of light, moderately cushioned shoes that are just plain FUN to run in.

New Balance Vazee Pace
The New Balance Vazee Pace has a light, snappy, comfortable and responsive ridefirm but not too punishing. The Vazee pace is built on the same last as the New Balance Fresh Foam Zante, has a 6mm drop  (22mm heel/16mm forefoot) and weighs 8.0 oz . This shoe joins a pretty crowded field of lightweight cushioned trainers in general (Nike Lunar Tempo, Saucony Kinvara and Fastwitch, Newton Aha and Fate) and from New Balance specificallythe 1400, 1500, Zante and 890 (which I believe it is replacing). So how does it fit in?
  • Minimal, light breathable upper fits great. While its on the same last as the Zante, the Vazee fits a little bit more loosely around the arch and midfoot. I have found the Zante to be a bit constricting in the arch and the Vazee has none of that. Its a nice, light mesh upper and has great laces with a little bit of elastic in them. Just a great fit for me. True to size.
  • Firm! Hoka Cliftons these are not! That said, I didnt find them to be punishing, just responsive and firm. They are less jarring by far than the NB 1500s and the Saucony Fastwitch. The toe spring and the firm Revlite cushioning make for a quick turnover. Its firm like the Saucony Fastwitch is firm—-firm heel, firm forefoot. The Zante with its Fresh Foam cushioning and hexagons side wall geometries is much less firm in the forefoot, but feels somewhat similar in the heel. The Lunar Tempo is definitely softer all around.

Wednesday, July 01, 2015

New York Times Well Blog: Older Athletes have a Strikingly Young Fitness Age

Using the scientifically developed Norwegian Fitness Age Calculator a new study described in the New York Times Well Blog asked participants in the Senior Games to calculate their fitness age.  Questions include days of exercise per week, intensity, resting heart rate, height, and weight.
Virtually all Senior Games participants, 4200 of them, complied. Clearly this would be a gang that wanted to brag they were fit!
Their average chronological age was 68, their fitness age 43! These athletes are not pros, many taking up what one could say is a very active fitness oriented lifestyle later in life, but it is clear they train for their events and are not just taking a walk around the block or causal bike rides.
I am 58 and my fitness age is 36.
What is your Fitness Age? Try it at the link above.

Link to the New York Times article.