Sunday, July 31, 2016

Review Lumo Run Sensor and App: Serious Yet Friendly, Real Time, Effective, Run Bio Mechanics Coaching, Insights, and Exercises.

Article by Sam Winebaum, Editor Road Trail Run

Lumo Run ($99) from Lumo Body Tech combines a small sensor pod clipped to shorts with a GPS run and coaching app. The system currently measures five run form metrics, Lumo calls them the 5 Pillars of Running Form: pelvic rotation, pelvic drop, cadence, bounce, and brake.  According to Lumo improve the Pillars and you can become a more efficient faster runner with less chance of injury.

On sale August 1st at Lumo, Lumo Run is the first form and exercise tool I have seen and used that I am actually following... I am cross train lazy, hate the gym, and after 45 years of running have a real need to work on my form, particularly my stiff hips and pelvis.

Lumo Run does not focus on the formerly oh so popular heel vs mid foot strike or strictly on cadence, the lower portion of the legs as many run form tech companies do.

Lumo targets the center of your body, the pelvis and hips the area that is the driving engine of running. I think their approach is far more actionable than trying to change foot strike, if this is really even possible for most without dealing with the areas of the body, the "core", which I think really determine form and running efficiency.

Here is what Mark Allen says about Lumo Run:
“Lumo is the only company that is measuring what is going on at the core of the body and utilizing that information to determine every important metric of motion in running. They are lightyears ahead with this kind of thinking.” — Mark Allen, Six-Time Ironman Champion

The app includes a pre run video demo of the form tip du jour (system or user selected), optional configurable in run audio live feedback for the metric and for tip reminders, and then post run exercises to improve the metrics, your run stats, and a view of trends for all of the metrics.
Overall the system is very well executed from flawless communication of sensor to app  to the algorithms analyzing the data which have been extensively tested and verified in development by testing against sophisticated lab run and biomechanics equipment, stuff well out of the the reach of the average runner. My testing and their improvements and fixes as I run with Lumo Run tell me they will launch with a very polished and effective run form system.

The sensor pod itself is a marvel of engineering and includes:
  • 9-axis IMU (Inertial Motion Measuring Unit)
  • Accelerometer
  • Gyroscope
  • Magnetometer
  • Barometer
  • Low-energy Bluetooth
  • Vibration motor 
The app itself is very well done.  The screens are clear and easy to understand, yet just data rich enough for even a geek. Sure more extensive graphing and feedback on and comparisons of two metrics at  once on a given run. might make some of us geeks happier but for 90% of users there is just the right amount of data and flexibility to set feedback to preferences.
During my testing I provided Lumo feedback. I suggested for example if you are way off the benchmark for a metric, start with more reasonable goals. For me it is cadence and instead of the "standard" 180 steps per minute Lumo is trying to get me to 175. Reasonable goals are implemented in the release version now on sale.

What I do know is working for me is to focus on the audio tips while running. They are easy to understand and do. Today, as I worked on pelvic rotation, the app suggested thinking about pushing off on a skateboard and rolling my shoulders down and back. For cadence it suggests imagining running through puddles without getting wet and elbowing someone behind me.  My cadence has improved but the trick is to have the strength to maintain the form when tired, the exercises are key.  New tips appear all the time for the different metrics.

The artificial intelligence in the system is considerable, determining for each run a personalized form element to work on, setting a reasonable goal upfront if you are not close to the gold standard goal metric but also allowing you to chose whichever metric you prefer. I think the app over emphasizes cadence which for me is highly pace dependent. I often head for Pelvic Rotation, my weakest metric.  Posture tips are can also be periodically given via the audio feedback for example "roll your shoulders down and back", "engage your core", "look ahead". I am unclear if they are triggered by your posture but believe they may be.

I have welcomed the positive  feedback chimes and jumped a bit when I heard the negative tuba chime-when you go off the goal for a period of time.  A bit of adjustment may be required by Lumo as the negative chime is often rapidly followed, when you get back on track, by a positive chime which can be a bit confusing. You can turn such instant feedback on or off. You can also turn on or off  the easy to "feel" and do the audio form tips you hear periodically. I focus on recalling the tip when I hear the negative chime if my metric is headed off target. At the end of each interval, one mile for me but configurable by distance, the app will tell you how you measured up to the selected metric for that interval. If you are having an "on" or "off" day after a while the coaching seems to ease off in its frequency. Overall the feedback is extremely well done and timed. Never to much.  After all the purpose is to improve form. Neat!

Walking through a Run
Today I  had very tired legs after a 500 mile drive and 8 mile brisk trail run the day before so went for an easy trail run in Park City's Round Valley.

The sensor pod clips to the rear of your shorts at mid back at the tailbone. Shorts and capris with a special pocket and instant feedback button are also available. A snug, no slip waistband is very important. The ridges that hold the pod to the shorts are not as "sharp" as I would like to see. No issues on the run but caution removing shorts as you may lose the pod if shorts are twisted, I lost one at a race...I think in the porta potty....

The pod itself slips out of a rubber like carrier for USB charging. The tip of the pod snaps off and has a thin leash, caution advised as it is easy to break the leash. I did on my first pod. Battery life has been outstanding. Specs say 20 hours of in-run time and 7 days standby which seems right to me. The unit is advertised as waterproof and machine washable. I wouldn't... but did... and it came out just fine.

You can run without the phone app, the sensor will automatically synch when you are back in range but you will miss the audio tips and will have no GPS tracking. With GPS tracking you also get Auto Pause and all the usual distance and pace metrics.

Run Time 
While the app suggested Cadence... again. I chose Pelvic Rotation by touching the icon at the top left. You can chose any of the 5 metrics for a given run. I would welcome the opportunity to chose more than one during a run as I believe many are related. I am sure Lumo is working on this. 

Lumo suggested a pre run tip. I watched the video and did my best during the run to "skateboard" more.  The tip was repeated occasionally and the tuba chime indicated if slipped off the 15 degree target. 
At mile intervals, my setting, I heard my Pelvic Rotation average in degrees for the last mile. I did not hit 15 every mile but was at least 2 degrees better than usual, times when I was not focused on that particular tip. And best part, the tips are easy to remember so next time, if I am say focusing on Cadence, I will be thinking of the skateboard as well.
After the Run
Once complete I saw my basic stats and since my pace and  Cadence was painfully slow due to being tired, Lumo suggested I work on some post run exercises for Cadence, Line Toe Taps.

Finally I saw an overview of the entire run including stats for the other metrics. 

The app keeps track of trends, personal records, tips and exercises performed.

Personal Records
I forgot to stop the app returning from a run so I picked up a fast mile time but the personal records screens is very useful and motivating. Touching to the right of each metric brings you to your top 3 for each.


As the app was finalized in the last few days from its beta status, I lost a couple months worth of trend data but generally speaking I have been improving my cadence, pelvic rotation, and pelvic drop.
While my cadence approaches 180 at approximately 7:30-8:00 pace at slower paces it is lower and I personally don't see that as necessarily a bad thing, usually running around 174. The data shows my Pelvic Rotation tends to increase as pace increases. I was at 32 degrees in a recent downhill half marathon where I ran 1:37, running with pod only, so no GPS and fastest for distance in the records table above.  I wonder if my arms were flying off to the side, instead of driving through by elbowing back in line, a key Rotation tip and I am betting I was wind milling and not skateboarding either thus increasing rotation.  This said on downhills will most rotate their hips more as a rule at high speeds? I don't know.
Another metric Pelvic Tilt was removed from the final production app version due to variations in shorts but was a particularly important one for me. Lumo plans to work on the algorithms to improve reliability for those with looser shorts but it worked fine for me. Lumo is very careful and diligent in its testing and product quality from everything I have seen and I applaud them for this but I hope Pelvic Tilt comes back!

The recommendations screen has the most recent recommended exercises and tips, all easily accessible including video demos for each.

Lumo Body Tech has really pushed the boundaries of what is possible in wearable fitness tech with the Lumo Run. The hardware and app have been mostly flawless and reliable, the app is well designed and usable by all types of runners, the tips to improve form actionable and simple, the exercises on point, the overall experience excellent. And I expect this is only the start for this platform. All runners are concerned with improving their form and efficiency to run faster and further and maybe help prevent some types of injuries. Few have access to sophisticated video analysis and a coach commenting on form on every run. Without being overbearing or intrusive Lumo Run is a fine and objective coach indeed!

On sale August 1st for $99. 

Use the link here for a Launch Special $10 off Lumo Run for readers of RoadTrailRun.

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Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Review Hoka One One Speed Instinct - Can It Rival The Huaka?

Article by Jeff Valliere

Hoka One One Speed Instinct

When I first saw a photo and specs for the Speed Instinct, I immediately flagged it for my wish list, in hopes it would rival or top my beloved Huaka.  Despite being a dedicated trail shoe and advertised as weighing a bit less, the upper looks more supportive with similar cushion and a more durable, luggy outsole.
OK, I'll confess, the Huaka has been my favorite Hoka and one of my favorite shoes of all time.  I have two pairs and keep them well guarded, only busting them out on race day or the odd PR attempt, whether it be a road 10k (rare for me) or a rock strewn technical trail on a 13,000 or 14,000 foot peak.

Speed Instinct Stats
9oz. US Mens Size 9
25mm heel/22mm forefoot
Available August 2016. $130

So how does the Speed Instinct measure up?

The Speed Instinct has a seamless Airmesh upper that comprises of a web like series of welded synthetic overlays that cover the forward 2/3rds of the shoe.  These overlays do a great job at holding the foot in place without any pressure points or discomfort.

There is a toe bumper that generously wraps around the front of the shoe, but it is somewhat thin and flexible.  Though rare for me, I actually stubbed a rock with moderate force while testing the Speed Instinct and discovered that this toe "bumper" offers about zero protection.

The heel counter is very flexible and the collar is well padded.  Despite it's flexibility, it offers great hold/support and is quite comfortable.

Lacing is quite nice and I appreciate that they snug up securely on the first attempt with ease (unlike many Hokas I have used in the past).  Speed lacing is no longer an option, thus opening the door for "normal" lace/eyelet integration.  These laces are a little wider, have just the right give to them and do not come loose while running, as both the knot and secureness at the eyelets is spot on.

The non-gusseted tongue is of medium thickness.  Plush padding, but not overly bulky.  The insole is thicker and more like insoles you might see on the majority of shoes, as opposed to the very thin insoles on many previous Hoka models that were prone to sliding and bunching.

When I first ran in the Speed Instinct, I found the upper to not be particularly well ventilated or airy.  To be fair, I am testing the Speed Instinct after testing 2 other shoes that were particularly well ventilated (Brooks Mazama and the Saucony Xodus ISO) and we are in the dog days of summer.  Though not as airy, I found venting to not really be as much of an issue as I first anticipated, even when running on a recent 98 degree noon time run.  I will ultimately say the Speed Instinct is average in this regard.

Hoka fit and comfort has been an issue with some people, depending on the model, foot shape and usage.  I have personally had mostly good luck with Hoka fit, with the only exception being the narrow and oddly curved last of the Speedgoat, which tore apart my toes and separately had major stability issues with.  I found the Speed Instinct to have the best fit yet, true to size, accurate and precise fit, while not feeling confining.  The toe box is not wide or generous by any means, but is a good blend of performance minded security with forgiveness and room for a bit of flex and expansion.

The new Pro2Lite midsole (the same as used in the Tracer and Clayton) is dual density, softer in the rear for protection and a bit more firm in the forefoot for response.  Though the Speed Instinct feels somewhat stiff when bending it in my hand, I was pleasantly surprised at how well cushioned and flexible it felt on the trail.  The cushion in the Speed Instinct feels ample given the relative low to the ground feel as compared to many other Hokas and offers maximum cushion in a slim and minimal package.  At slower speeds I did not feel much response or pop at toe off, but when pushed, I found that the Speed Instinct would respond well.  The late stage meta rocker geometry aided a bit in forward momentum, but was not as obvious as other Hokas I have run in (the Challenger and Bondi come to mind).

Though cushion is ample, I found that rock protection is a touch lacking in certain circumstances.  I often run on particularly rocky trails and on my first few runs, was surprised by a few good zingers in the heel of all places, when I would inadvertently land the triangular foam cutout onto a sharp/angular rock.

At first I thought I had a one off bad landing, but over time noticed that it would happen several times over the course of a run.  Rock protection in the forefoot is slightly better, but there is quite a bit of lateral flex that I simultaneously appreciate for trail feel, but when pushing hard through rocky sections, I found myself dancing a bit more gingerly than I might in other shoes.

The Speed Instinct has a high abrasion lightweight rubber outsole, which I found to be a step forward for Hoka, as it is light, durable and offers good traction. The multi-directional lugs are somewhat low profile, but offer adequate traction in most trail/off trail circumstances and the lower profile lugs also help increase the versatility of the Speed Instinct, as it performs exceptionally well on smoother trails and even roads, without the lugs being a hindrance in any way.

Wet traction is borderline, as I did get caught in a rainstorm and ran just after rain several times and found myself slipping a bit more than expected on angled, slabby rocks.  To be fair, most shoes would likely have slipped equally, but I have gotten somewhat spoiled by shoes with advanced level sticky rubber (La Sportiva, adidas, TNF).
Dry traction on rock is great and especially so when warm, as the rubber compound grabs well, aided by the somewhat flexible and conforming nature of the shoe.
Durability seems to be average to above average, with just some typical/expected wear where I toe off, but not at all excessive.
I found the Speed Instinct to be a very smooth ride, but not quite as responsive as I had hoped.  The low weight and relative slim profile of this shoe help it to feel quick, nimble and race ready, but I was hoping to feel a bit more response at toe off.  It will perform when pushed, but it takes a bit of work to get to that point.  Performance on smoother singletrack is excellent, especially when pushing the downhill is when I found the Speed Instinct shined most.  It can definitely hold it's own on more technical terrain, up or down, but I'll admit requires a bit of finesse, especially if it is rocky.

Overall Conclusions/Recommendations:
The Speed Instinct is a very worthy lightweight, long distance trainer/racer, most at home on smoother trails, but can handle more difficult terrain when needed.  Despite the minor issues regarding protection and lesser response than I had hoped, this is still a very fast and capable shoe and a jump forward for Hoka.  Definitely a top level shoe that I would highly recommend.

Hoka Huaka (Sam's review here) vs. Speed Instinct:  Since I included the Huaka in the title, I had to compare.  Weight is comparable, but the Speed Instinct is more durable and trail worthy than the Huaka, with a more secure upper and more durable outsole.  For most training runs, I would pick the Speed Instinct. Despite that though, I'll still pick the Huaka on race day, as I find it to be more responsive, stable and even has a little better rock protection, despite the fact that it is not a dedicated trail shoe.  When I wear the Huaka, I can feel it begging to go fast, where the Speed Instinct needs a bit more coaxing.

Brooks Mazama (review here)  vs. Speed Instinct:  Similar weight and profile.  The Mazama is much more responsive, better ventilated and has better protection, where the Speed Instinct has better cushioning and a more durable outsole.

Saucony Peregrine 6 (review here) vs. Speed Instinct:  The Peregrine 6 is much more suited toward technical terrain, is a bit more responsive, has much better protection and superior traction.  The Speed Instinct has better cushion, better trail feel and would have the edge on smoother trails at faster speeds.

Jeff's Score 4.7 out of 5
-.1 for response
-.1 for lack of rock protection in heel
-.05 for inadequate toe bumper
-.05 for ventilation

All Photos Credit: Jeff Valliere
The Speed Instinct was provided at no charge to Road Trail Run, The opinions herein are entirely the author's.

Jeff Valliere's Bio
Jeff Valliere is a former pro cyclist who now runs and climbs the mountains of Colorado. He has been top 5 Masters, top 25 overall, at the Pike's Peak Marathon several times, finishing 3d Masters this year. Jeff loves vertical accumulating more than 500,000 vertical feet per year, has climbed all the 14's and 200 of the 13's and has held FKT on several.  He often runs and climbs at night. Passionate about the sport but also the gear he has reviewed hundred of shoes for various magazines and sites and participated in product testing for many brands.  Formerly a bike mechanic he now works in Satellite Imagery. He has twin 5 year old daughters who keep him ever busier yet.

Click Here for RTR's Latest Running Shoe and Gear Reviews. 
Over 40 in depth Road and Trail Shoes reviews so far in 2016!

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Review Altra Running Torin 2.5: Altra Puts it All Together with Great and Refined Balance.

Article by Sam Winebaum, Editor Road Trail Run with Peter Stuart
Sam: The Torin 2.5 finally wraps Altra Running's wide Foot Shaped toe box, Zero Drop geometry, and a nearly flawless highly supportive upper into a light weight, flexible, well cushioned do anything and light 9.1 oz/ 256 g (men's 9), 7.5 oz/213 g (women's 8) trainer.

And I mean do anything, as the wide on the ground stance and supportive upper also makes the Torin a fabulous trail shoe if mud or loose sand or snow are not of the party. Altra, for the first time for me, has put together a no compromises, versatile and very pleasant to run shoe, good for longer miles and races, some trails, and every day training.  The Torin 2.5 is one of the best, if not the best, light trainer I have run in the last couple years. 

The stack is 28mm heel/28 mm forefoot. Retail $125. Available now.

First Impressions
Sam: The Torin has a wide and wide looking Foot Shaped toe box.  Start to put them on and something unexpected emerges. The fit is snug, very snug from heel to toe. There is a full foot splay up front with no slop what so ever from heel to toe. When I first tried them on I thought my true to size might be to small due to the low and substantial toe bumper. Changing to thinner socks and a few runs stretched things out but those with long first and especially second toes will likely want to size up half a size. Off for a run I noticed for the first time in an Altra that I did not miss the heel, either as the heel foam was too firm as in the Impulse and as I recall Torin 1 or too soft as in the Lone Peak.  Just right midsole firmness so that those whose strike wanders towards the heel don't bottom out... below zero... or feel a harsh landing.
I was amazed at the foot hold and ride on the road and so for my second run took them on smoother dirt single track.  The wide stance and supportive upper were confidence building that's for sure and that wide front of the shoe and very decent flexibility from the Inner Flex channels made them a very good climber and quite agile, more so than most Hokas while the wide heel was very stable on the trail and road.. And don't forget we are talking 28mm of forefoot and heel cushion so clearly a shoe in the maximal category, the ride is very well cushioned but decently firm and responsive.
Peter: You know Sam, I had a pretty underwhelming first impression of the Torin 2.5. My first run felt okay, but they were too short at my normal size. My (freakishly long) second toe got blistered—especially on downhills. Altra were kind enough to size me up to a half-size larger which solved the toe issues, but my second run in them was decidedly ‘meh’. This of course is the reason for putting more than a couple of runs on a pair of shoes before reviewing them—they’ve grown on me. 

Upper and Fit
Peter: Once the sizing issue was taken care of, the upper and fit were terrific. The Torin, despite the decidedly wide and platypus-looking shape, is a lace them up and forget them shoe. They hold my feet really well, hold it in all the right places and allow some nice wiggle room in the toe-box. Upper materials are soft and high quality.
Sam: A huge part of the magic of the Torin 2.5 is the upper. Gone is the looser mesh of the Torin 2. A single layer of soft mesh is printed with varying densities of red dots.  The all black areas have no overlay dots and are soft, for example on the medial side up front. This overlay system provides variable support as needed without resorting to strips of overlay material, beyond one running from the laces to the toe o the medial side. The feel is one of consistent  substantial support from heel to toe with no discontinuities as the foot flexes or hot sports.  Some may find the upper overly supportive when compared to say the "slipper like" fit of the Altra One. I like being as one with the platform.
The toe box is certainly wide and foot shaped but the front bumper is low and substantial. More height or somewhat softer materials there, especially so at first try on and first run would help particularly where the sole overlay meets the front of the shoe by the big and second toe. Given the foot is otherwise impeccably held, I have not felt like my big and second toe jammed the front even on runs up to 14 miles and on trails but some pressure was felt for the first 30 miles and I do have to use thin socks in my true to size pair.
For sure  if you have longer big and second toes you should consider sizing up a half size.
All of this said in a recent half marathon with 1500 feet of downhill I felt no front pressure whatsoever so my pair at 30 or so miles as "fully seasoned" is correct at true to size for me.
The lace up is impeccable, once and done, although when new I was not able to double knot until I had run a few times them.  There is no question the upper needs some stretching with use as does packing down the very substantial 6mm sock liner. I have found more than once, for example the adidas Adios Boost 1 the sock liner needs some runs to increase overhead toe room and improve overall fit. 
The tongue is moderately padded and attached at the 3d lace hole on the medial side for some mid foot support and at the last laced hole on the lateral side, reminding me of the approach of the Nike Zoom Terra Kiger 3. 

Midsole and Outsole
Sam:The midsole is 2 layers. Just under EVA Strobel board there is a thin orange layer of Altra's "responsive A-BoundTM compound that returns energy into each step and is weight-balanced from front to back to encourage low-impact landing." Do I notice something special about A-Bound? No, but overall the midsole is smooth in its cushioning from heel to toe and decently responsive. Below the A-Bound is a decently firm layer of EVA with Inner Flex channels within the midsole. The Inner Flex channels which I first experienced in the Impulse give the 28mm stack a moderately long smooth and very decent flex for such a thick midsole.
The outsole has 2 durabilities of rubber plus exposed midsole areas. The black areas are firm long wearing rubber with the central midfoot area I think also providing a touch of stability. The red strip is slightly softer to the touch and also depresses further into the midsole, I assume due to the underlying Inner Flex channels.  Upfront on the lateral side, the outsole is exposed midsole. I am seeing some scuffing/slight peeling here so if you wear in that area expect wear.
Overall the outsole midsole works very well in combination providing a smooth transition from heel to toe even for this quite heavy heel striker. Altra describes the approach as a "FootPodTM outsole technology (which) maps the bones and tendons of your foot for a free, natural flex."
The ground contact on road and trail is outstanding as while pods of a sort, the contact is continuous on the same level across the outsole and stable, 
Peter: My only thought on the outsole is that the section of softer exposed material on the bottom of the shoe under the arch may wear pretty quickly. 

Sam: One can really feel the entire foot and all the toes does doing their work in a nice stable directed fashion. It's a different feeling even for Altra where that wide foot splay has either been sloppy such as in Lone Peak or a bit constrained and awkward, such as in the Impulse. I have run with and without a heel wedge cut from an old sock liner and notice very little difference at the heel, a first for me in Altra where I often "miss the heel" without a wedge.
While not a speed shoe per say my tempo runs in them have been swift and comfortable if a bit disconnected from road feel. 
That downhill half with 1500 feet of drop went by (relatively) painlessly and fast for me. The last time I ran it 2 years ago I ran in the Hoka Huaka and while a minute slower this year I was fast, felt no harsh pounding, and had no cramps.  
Runs that mix road and moderate smooth trail are a joy in the Torin. In fact while not having enough miles to determine durability  the Torin has among the finest trail support uppers I have tried this year. When compared to the Altra Impulse (my shoe of the year for 2015, review here) the ride is softer and more cushioned especially at the heel, and not as snappy but not so much to put the Torin into the ponderous marshmallow feel of many maximally cushioned shoes. 
Peter: The Torin 2.5 is a nice, even, plush ride. I agree Sam that it’s not mushy soft—it’s a nice balance of cushiness without veering into mush at all. I like them a lot for easy runs and for steady long runs. They pick up fine, but aren’t what I’d wear for a tempo workout. 

Recommendations and Conclusions
Peter: I’m liking these more and more. They’re in the same class as the Saucony Ride 9 and the Nike Pegasus 33 for me and I may just prefer these to both of those shoes. The Pegasus has a little more snap, but the Altra Torin 2.5 is comfortable and easy to run mile after mile in. 
Sam: The Torin 2.5 was a big and pleasant surprise for me, as was the Impulse last year, absolutely one of the top trainers I have run this year if not the best as I keep reaching for it  I have the good fortune to run and test many different shoes and the last few weeks I have been continuously reaching for them, particularly for hilly routes here in Park City which combine road and trail, slower and faster paces. 
The Torin is the first Altra where Zero Drop and a sense of a missing heel is not really noticeable for me. Runners thinking of transitioning to zero drop should gradually adapt calves and achilles and a good place to start is with the Torin. If you have a long big or second toe you should  consider sizing up half a size. 
While not a speedster per say and the road feel is muted by the considerable stack this is a decently agile shoe and light at 9.1 oz. I would not hesitate to run a marathon in them. The Torin clearly challenges the Hoka Clifton in the maximal yet light category. The added benefits of the Torin: flexibility and great upper support making it dual purpose for road and trail. Highly Recommended

Sam's Score 4.85 out 5
-0.15 for low firm toe bumper around first and second toe at true to size and upper break in for a good fit.

The Torin 2.5 was provided at no charge to Road Trail Run. The opinions herein are entirely the authors'.

Shopping at the links below help support Road Trail Run. Thanks!

Men's and Women's Altra Torin are available from Altra Running here

Torin 2.5 is available from Running Warehouse  

Men's here  Women's here

Wednesday, July 20, 2016

Nike Wildhorse 3 Review-Runs Like a Road Shoe, Works Like a Trail Shoe

Article by Coby Jacobus

Nike Zoom Wildhorse 3
Stats according to Running Warehouse 
10.3 oz/ (men size 9), 8.8 oz/ (women size 8)
Stack Height 28mm (Heel), 20mm (Forefoot), 8mm drop
$110. Available Now.

A few years back I ran in the first version of the Nike Wildhorse.  At the time, I thought, finally a trail shoe that feels like a road shoe; however, after several runs my calves felt pretty beat up.  The forefoot was way too thin for me and the toe box was too small. Overall, the fit just seemed to be off and the shoe felt like a 90’s version of the Zoom Waffle racing flat verses a shoe made for rugged terrain.  I stopped running in them and never looked back.  
That was until two weeks ago when I was given a pair of the Wildhorse 3 to review for Road Trail Run.  I put them on to walk around the house and again, felt like they were “another miss” by Nike.  The forefoot still seemed too thin for me and the toe box seemed too big.  The toe box has been enhanced to allow for “splay comfort” and that was noticeable from the earlier versions. 
I took them out later that day for a run on the local trails.  Within in a mile or two I was blown away – they felt very smooth and provided excellent cushioning.  This shoe is a VAST improvement by Nike. My advice is to take these out for a test spin outside because the shoe runs better than it walks.  I did notice a little “sloshing” in the toe box, but other than that they were great.  The Dynamic Fit system (Nike’s lace system) really does provide a great fit and better lock down.  It does take some care when lacing up your shoes. I really feel that if running a muddy trail race, or a muddy obstacle course these shoes will stay on in extreme conditions.  
I am a big believer that there is a difference between trail running and mountain running.  To put the Wildhorse though the ultimate test, I took them out on several mountain runs though the New Hampshire’s White Mountains.  One of the runs in particular was a rugged and ROCKY 10 mile run up and down Mount Chocorua
The rock plate in the forefoot provided excellent protection.  At the same time, Nike claims that the “rubber forefoot is sticky for optimal wet surface traction” -- I found this to be untrue.  In fact, I found the Wildhorse to be a bit slippery on wet rock and I even fell after slipping on a rock while heading downhill.  However, the rubber waffle outsole did provide me with the confidence to aggressively tackle up and down hills on dry terrain.  

Perhaps my favorite part of the Wildhorse 3 was the Phylon midsole combined with the Nike Zoom Air unit in the heel.  It provided me with a smooth, comfortable, and very responsive ride. 
While the Nike Wildhorse 3 might be a bit heavy to be used as a trail racing shoe, they could easily be worn for longer races (over 10 miles) with minimal technical and wet rock sections.  If you are looking for a shoe that will not beat up your legs over a long trail run or race, the Wildhorse 3 is a serious contender.  However, if you’re looking for a shoe to handle VERY wet and rocky terrain I would look for something else.

Coby's Score 4.8 out of 5
-   0.1 for poor handling of wet rock
-   0.1 for fit of the toe box (a bit too big)

Photos Credit: Lisa Jacobus

Read our review of the Nike Zoom Terra Kiger 3 here
Lighter with FlyWire upper and Air Zoom front rock protection instead of a plate. 

The Wildhorse 3 was provided at no charge to RoadTrailRun by Running Warehouse and Nike. The opinions herein are entirely the author's.

Coby Jacobus Run Bio
Road Trail Run is thrilled to welcome Coby, and wonder dog Gracie! as Road Trail Run tester reviewers. While a rising college distance star Coby had a kidney transplant and has come back stronger than ever with a 2:40 marathon, an epic 9 hour winter FKT run and snow shoe traverse of the White Mountains Presidential Range(NH) and many mountaineering exploits, including guiding on Mount Rainer. He coached Manchester Central High School to a New England Championship and one of his former students recently ran the recent Olympic Trials in the steeplechase.

Click Here for RTR's Latest Running Shoe and Gear Reviews. 
Over 35 in depth Road and Trail Shoes reviews so far in 2016!

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Twitter: @roadtrailrun 

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The Nike Wildhorse 3 is available from Running Warehouse

Men's here 
Women's here
Great Deals on Early Season Colors of the Wildhorse 3

Monday, July 18, 2016

Review Nike Zoom Terra Kiger 3: Light, Supportive, Ground and Foot Conforming

Article by Sam Winebaum, Editor Road Trail Run

Joining Nike Trail Running's very focused line of 3 products, the outstanding Kiger Vest (review here) and heavier duty Wildhorse 3 we find the Zoom Terra Kiger 3 a light, agile, and well cushioned trail runner packed with innovations. Stack height is 24mm (Heel), 20mm (Forefoot), 4mm drop. 

At: 9.0 oz/ 255 g (men's size 9), 7.2 oz/204 g according to Running Warehouse it is on the lighter side of trail shoes but has proven very protective and fun to run, with a stable yet at the same time very ground conforming secure ride. 

To achieve this difficult balance Nike has done a lot of out of the box thinking, incorporating:
  • Zoom Air units front and back for rock protection and cushioning, 
  • a seemingly light and unstructured  engineered mesh upper with Flywire support and an unusual tongue construction that ends up foot conforming and highly supportive
  • an intricate outsole lug arrangement.  
Nike describes the Terra Kiger as follows:

The Nike Air Zoom Terra Kiger 3 Men's Running Shoe features a mesh upper with Dynamic Fit technology for ventilation and lightweight support. A plush, cushioned midsole and rugged outsole provide responsive shock absorption and superior grip when you're conquering the trails.

  • 4mm offset provides a low-to-the-ground feel
  • Sharp lugs are strategically placed to enhance grip
  • Rubber forefoot is sticky for optimal wet-surface traction
  • Flymesh upper for lightweight breathability and support
  • Dynamic Fit system wraps the midfoot and arch for a glove-like fit
  • Phylon midsole with Nike Zoom Air units for responsive cushioning


  • Rubber Waffle outsole provides multi-surface traction and durability
  • High-abrasion TPU bars in the toe box and heel help protect the foot from debris
  • Molded sockliner enhances comfort and support
  • Offset: 4mm

  • Here is what I say...

    The upper is relatively dense but well ventilated engineered mesh. The mid foot hold is achieved by a combination of Flywire cords and an unusual tongue construction wherein the top of the medial side tongue is sewn to the upper at the lace up area, followed by a gap, then another connection from tongue directly to the last 4 lace holes. 

    The mid foot hold is outstanding but in no way constraining, again the design theme of conforming to terrain. With the exception of some overlays at the toe bumper to add some structure and along with lateral side to the toe there are no discontinuities in foot hold. 
    The heel counter is unusual as it is wishbone shaped, below the black stripes and across the middle with a soft no plastic window down low where the rear of the heel meets the midsole The heel is surprisingly stable and well held. Breathability has been excellent while at the same time minimal trail debris sneak through.

    I fitted true to size and most should as well. While the toe box height was snug initially it stretched quickly. The toe area is unstructured, there is no toe bumper per say, watch out! beyond the thin black overlays and quite wide. Wider feet should give this upper a try.

    The fit reminds me of the Lunar Tempo with a higher somewhat wider non pointy toe area and a more stable heel. 

    Two Zoom Air units are embedded in fairly firm Pylon at the forefoot and heel, firmer at the heel for reasons which I will explain. The front rock protection from the Zoom Air has proven highly protective, yet at the same time decently flexible. Most especially, it provides a sense that instead of perching on obstacles as conventional rock plates do that the foot conforms to the obstacles. 

    The rear Zoom unit is wrapped in the firm Phylon which provides the stability but unlike most firm trail shoe heels there is no harsh landing and far less shock than usual. It appears that the rear Zoom Air unit extends further towards the edges of the midsole than the front unit and is more convex, higher pressure"  to provide more deflection capability and stability. The front Zoom Air unit appears to be narrower which also makes the edges of the front of the shoe softer for better grip and agility. Neat.  
    The rear black midsole and front white appear to be of the same durometer, firmness as  upfront the but there are small cuts into the front midsole, which along with what I think is a narrower Air Zoom unit ,make the outside edges along the sides softer with more deflection which leads to a better grip from the outsole. The thin orange layer is cosmetic, paint, but may indicate the location of the Air Zoom unit. Back at the heel the stability is rock solid with an outrigger type heel something I like as a heel striker at slower speeds.

    Unusually the flex point is far back near the second to last lace hole. The shoe climbs like crazy as a result and is super stable but on roads feels more awkward and slappy than I excepted with the rear flex point, conforming nature of the outsole and midsole to the road not particularly snappy or responsive.

    The outer perimeter of the outsole, the black lugs are Nike's 054 Super High Abrasion Rubber with the inner lugs made of 004 Sticky Rubber. The lugs are arranged in a very intricate pattern of sharp angles with generally the front outer lugs angling down towards the front and the rear lugs either vertical or angling at the edge of the outsole outward. Traction has been outstanding on both loose and firm terrain but I worry about delimitation of the outsole from the underlying midsole, seeing already some slight peeling of the heel rubber at the edge of the vertical white midsole (below peeling not illustrated). 
    Somehow Nike has blended an almost moccasin like feel over terrain with cushioning, stability, and agility. The Zoom Kiger 3 has been a joy to run on easier to moderately technical single track here in Park City.

    Zoom Terra Kiger 3 climbs beautifully and is plenty stable on downhills, something this timid descender craves.  This is not a bouncy shoe despite the Zoom Air. The rear flex point seems to favor both climbing and descending. The upper while not ladden with overlays is plenty supportive. The Air Zoom based rock protection conforms to obstacles as opposed to balancing on them.

    The cushioning, front and back from the dual duty Air Zoom encapsulated in the firmer EVA is a great combination, not to soft but leg friendly and fast. The lugs are never in the way and always on duty.

    My only surprise to date is that the pavement ride is not great, I thought it might be given Air Zoom and smaller lugs and all. But this is a trail shoe. A few worries about wear of the upper in the forefoot over time but to date like new with 30 miles on them. The outsole is glued into the midsole and I am seeing a tiny amount of delimitation at the heel where the outsole splits left and right, the culprit might be the soft midsole and my heel striking. 

    The Terra Kiger 3 is a light and versatile trail shoe suitable for most technical terrain, although as of yet I have not taken them on wet slippery rocks and roots. It has a particular strengths climbing and descending fast, but with plenty of cushion and comfort all around for long miles.  I have found the sensation of ground conforming Air Zoom combined with a relatively unstructured, but super well held upper and great stability, unique in a trail shoe. This is a confidence building shoe without being a near hiker.A bit awkward as a pavement trail hybrid it will stay on trails for me.
    The relatively unstructured front of the shoe and its width make it a good option for somewhat wider feet where control and good hold is important.
    Give it a few runs to stretch out at true to size.  Highly Recommended. 

    Sam's Score 4.85 out of 5
    -0.1 for outsole durability concerns
    -0.05 for awkward pavement performance

    $125. Available Now.
    The Zoom Terra Kiger 3 was provided at no cost to Road Trail Run. The opinions herein are entirely the author's.

    Click Here for RTR's Latest Running Shoe and Gear Reviews. 
    Over 35 in depth Road and Trail Shoes reviews so far in 2016!

    Like & Follow Road Trail Run 
    Twitter: @roadtrailrun 

    Thanks for Shopping at the Links Below! Purchases Help Support Road Trail Run.

    The Nike Zoom Terra Kiger 3 is available from Running Warehouse
    Men's here 
    Women's here
    Great Deals on Earlier Season Colors of the Kiger 3
    Use Road Trail Run COUPON CODERTR10 for 10% off