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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Twitter: @roadtrailrun 

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

The Hoka One One Speed Instinct is from Running Warehouse!
Men's here 
Women's here

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 

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

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

    Sunday, July 17, 2016

    First Impressions Review-ASICS DynaFlyte. ASICS Bouncing Back?

    Article by Derek Li
    Disclaimer: I was provided the ASICS Dynaflyte gratis by ASICS Singapore for the purposes of reviewing the shoe.

    I first saw pictures of the ASICS DynaFlyte on the internet when it went on display at The Running Event in the US in December 2015, and word trickled that it would be a new lightweight trainer model making its debut sometime in 2017, but I guess things got pushed forward and lo and behold, the DynaFlyte had a July 1st release date.

    The Dynaflyte uses a new midsole compound from ASICS called FlyteFoam. This was first introduced in their limited edition MetaRun (review here) , which featured a dual density midsole. In the DynaFlyte, FlyteFoam is used as a single density midsole compound. The key selling point of FlyteFoam is the use of organic fibres embedded in the EVA foam, to create more resilience to deformation under load, and I believe this property would be independent of the foam’s durometer or firmness..

    My shoes came in at 266g (9.38oz) for a US9.5, inclusive of an Ortholite insole.  Editor Note: They are listed at Running Warehouse as weighing 9.5 oz/269g men's 9, 8.3 oz/235g women's 8. Retail $140.

    I’ve now put about 40 miles in the shoes, enough to crystallize some early thoughts about this shoe.

    I wear a US9.5 in most trainers, and the DynaFlyte fit true to size for me here, with some wriggle room in the toebox to slay the toes. I like to leave my shoes in a double knot, and slip in and out of them for runs with a shoe horn rather than re-tie the laces every time. With that said, this is one of the few shoes that I did not have to adjust the tension a few times to get the right degree of lock-down over the first couple of runs. I literally tied it once, and that’s where the tension has stayed since. No heel slip, no arch pain, no hot spots. I have low arches and accessory navicular bones on both feet, so this is rare for now.

    If you have worn the MetaRun before, I’d say the overall shoe volume is pretty similar. It is on the roomy side as far as ASICS shoes go. The only other trainers from ASICS I’ve used before were the Nimbus 15 (wore a 9.5, felt more snug for sure), and the Gel FeatherGlide 2 (had to size up to a US10 to get sufficient toebox volume).

    I don’t usually pay much notice to the tongue but it used something I’d yet to see in running shoes. The feel of it was strikingly familiar to me but I could not put my finger on it until I started writing this article. It actually looks and feels like the material used in the Profile Design aerobar pads from my old triathlon days. Profile Design used EVA foam wrapped in Lycra for their pads, and I suspect ASICS did something similar to achieve this tongue. When you think about, it does make a lot of sense. Aerobar pads need to keep your arms fixed in place despite sweat and bouncing on rough tarmac and if you can achieve the same grip and comfort in a tongue, that’s pretty much ticking all the boxes.
    One thing I like about single density midsoles is the consistency of feel throughout the shoe. The ASICS Tarther Japan and NIKE LunarEpic are two other shoes that remind me of how nice a consistent feeling shoe is and how much that can contribute to a smooth transition. Combine a consistent feel with the right durometer (which feels like low to mid 50s in this shoe) and you have a solid versatile trainer.

    So far I’ve managed a few easy runs, one slightly more uptempo run, and a long-ish run of 15 miles in the shoe, and I have been thoroughly impressed with how well the shoe feels at different paces. The shoe transitions smoothly and seems to work well for both heel and mid-foot striking. On the road the transition is smooth, with a somewhat muted ground feel and a nice amount of ‘give’.

    The bouncy feel of the Flytefoam is especially noticeable in the forefoot at slower paces, while there is enough responsiveness when you pick up the pace so that you don’t feel like you are fighting the shoe. Some people may even find it a little too soft for uptempo work, but I think it would work well as a daily trainer or a faster long run shoe. For me, the test of cushioning is how the shoe fares for long runs. I’ve only the had the shoe for a couple of days but I did manage a (very warm) 15 miler over the weekend, and I didn’t feel too beat up at all towards the end and still managed to cap off an 80 mile week with a 40 minute tempo run the day after.

    It feels like a softer and bouncier version of the Brooks Launch 3, without the extra bulk. I note that the Lanuch 3 has stacks of 27/17mm vs the DynaFlyte at 25/17mm, but the Launch weighs a full ounce more in my size at 292g for a US9.5. I have to say this is a big departure from how ASICS shoes traditionally feel, and is certainly moving with the trend of using a combination of soft blown rubber in the forefoot and softer foams to achieve a bouncier and livelier ride.

    The versatility of the shoe is the main selling point for me, and moving forward, I hope to put in more miles in the shoe for a more thorough review.

    All Photos Credit: Derek Li

    Derek Li's Run Bio
    Derek Li is a family physician by profession, and has been running marathons for the past three years. He started running for triathlon training in 2003, and now focuses purely on running in a bid to run all the Marathon Majors. In his free time, he likes to review running shoes and related products at his blog Running Commentary.

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

    The ASICS DynaFlyte is available now from Running Warehouse
    Men's here
    Women's here
    Use Road Trail Run Coupon Code RTR10 for 10% off!

    The ASICS DynaFlyte is available from Road Runner Sports here

    Saturday, July 16, 2016

    Nike Zoom Streak 6 Full Review-Swoosh, There It Is!. Nearly Perfect Race Flat?

    Article by Peter Stuart
    The Nike Zoom Streak 6 is a 6.4 oz/181 gram road racing flat. The heel is 26mm and the forefoot is 16mm.  As a bit of a disclaimer I haven’t run in earlier versions of the Zoom Streak and have only recently started running in Nikes again. For years every Nike I tried on my feet felt weird and narrow and I had no interest in running in them. In the past year or two I’ve run in the Lunaracer, the Lunar Epic Flynknit and the LunarTempo—all of which I’ve liked quite a bit. The Zoom Streak 6, however, is some next level action from the folks in Oregon.

    Here are some specs and features from Nike before we get into the action:
    Weight: 6.4 oz/181 g (Men size 9), Unisex shoe;  
    Stack Height: Heel (26mm), Forefoot (18mm)
    Available now. $110.
    • Flymesh upper with internal arch strap for lightweight support
    • Midfoot shank propels you through your stride
    • Anatomical design allows the toes to push off more efficiently
    • Nike Zoom Air unit in the Phylon midsole provides responsive cushioning
    • Outsole traction pattern optimizes forward motion with variable lug sizes
    • Flex grooves between lugs deliver natural range of motion
    Upper and Fit: 
    The Zoom Streak 6 runs a bit small. I sized up 1/2 size after trying both, my usual size and 1/2 size larger. Both sizes hug the foot really well, but the arch felt a little better on the larger size. 

    The upper is made of what Nike calls ‘Flymesh’. It's a lightweight and supportive mesh upper with varying degrees of perforation throughout the shoe. The appearance is of smaller and larger holes in the mesh—though they’re not really holes—there is an even thinner weave holding those sections together. 
    Flymesh upper, varying degrees of structure/breathability
    Nike has replaced the flywire closure system with an ‘internal arch strap’. It’s a thin, stretchy material that’s connected to the laces and pulls in to hold the mid foot secure. The tongue is thin and perforated. Overall the shoe is extremely breathable, disappears on the foot and holds the foot securely. 

    The ankle collar is nicely padded and the materials are soft and comfortable. 

    The one odd thing about the Nike Zoom Streak 6 for me is the feeling under the arch on step in. this was more noticeable on the smaller shoe, but I still notice it on my 1/2 size up pair. When I put on the shoes and stand in them, there is a poking feeling under the back of the arch. It’s been suggested to me that it may be the Zoom Air unit in the back or it might be the Phylon shank (more on that later). From what I can tell it’s actually the inner edge of my foot hanging slightly over the edge of the mid/out sole. While this sounds like it might be a big deal, it’s really not. As soon as I run in them, the poking feeling under the arch seems to go away. The last shape does seem to have a pretty aggressive curve in from the heel to the arch, which is what I think causes this feeling. 
    Arch strap is orange. Note the curve of the last.

    Midsole and Outsole: 
    The midsole is made of Phylon. From what I can find, Pylon is made of compressed EVA foam pellets which are heat expanded and then cooled.Sounds a little like some other boosty midsole materials, no? It’s definitely firmer than Lunarlon, which is part of what makes the Zoom Streak 6 a great go-fast shoe. 

    The midsole features a Zoom Air pod under the heel. It’s not really noticeable for me at the beginning of a run as I tend to land midfoot, but it’s a nice relief later in the run when I hit the heel sometimes, or if I gnash the heel on the downhills. It’s a nice addition. 
    Pebax plate
    The Pebax Shank is a plate under the midfoot that provides some rigidity and really gives a pop off of the ground on toe-off. Again, this becomes incredibly helpful later in the run when feet get tired. One of the things that really sets the ZS 6 above other distance racers for me is the support and structure the shoe provides as my legs get tired. It feels good when I’m running fast, but when I’m running fast and I’m tired it feels GREAT. 
    Rubber lugs with flex grooves
    The outsole is a combination of exposed Phylon and two different densities of blown rubber. The forefoot consists of different sized pods separated by deep flex grooves. The pods and the flex grooves are both multi-directional so there’s a little give in every direction even though the Streak 6 is not a particularly flexible shoe in the standard sense (as in ‘hey I can bend the toe to the heel’).  Under the heel are two distinct sections of harder orange blown rubber which should wear a bit more slowly than the rest of the shoe. 
    Harder blown rubber in rear of shoe
    Durability looks like it’s going to be right in the zone of most racing flats. Not hundreds of miles, but should be good for some good long runs and races. 

    The Nike Zoom Streak 6 is perhaps the best riding racing flat I’ve run in. My previous favorite has been the Asics Hyper Speed, but the Nike wins out. As I’ve mentioned earlier, there is a bit of a protrusion into my arch when I’m standing around in these, but when I get out on the road they’re golden. The transition is smooth, they’re decent at any tempo, but they really excel when I speed up. What’s most remarkable about the ride on the Zoom Streak 6 is that they really shine when I’m getting tired and my mechanics are starting to fall apart. The magic trick they pull off is to be relatively invisible early in the run and then noticeably supportive when I need them most. My first run was a 15 mile tempo run with shoes fresh out of the box and I got faster and faster as the run went on. I didn’t feel beaten up at all after the run or the next day. 

    The other thing I really love about the ride of the Zoom Streak 6 is that it really seems to set my body up to run efficiently. It’s hard to explain or quantify, but I feel like I’m running lighter on my feet and with slightly better form when I run in them. I think part of that effect is the fact that they are a pretty firm ride. Firm, but not harsh. It’s a tough balance to strike and I think Nike has done it perfectly here. 

    The Nike Zoom Streak 6 is a nearly perfect racing flat. It’s comfortable, light, breathable, supportive and really good looking. It rides beautifully.  It’s a very light shoe, so I would want to make sure to do some longer runs in them before racing a marathon, but I’d race a 13.1 in them any day of the week. I also wouldn’t hesitate to use them in 5 and 10k races. I love racing flats and this is one hell of a racing flat.  I would go so far as to say the Nike Zoom Streak 6 is the Seth Hasty (founder of the famous Running Shoe Geeks on Facebook)  of racing flats: Fast, good looking, a little moody and totally badass.

    Zoom Streak 6 vs. NB 1400 V4
    The Streak is a bit firmer and seems to hold up better on longer runs for me. I love the way the 1400 feels on my feet, but I would pick the Nike if I had to choose. There’s a little more energy return—perhaps because of the plate.

     Zoom Streak 6 vs. Asics Hyperspeed 7
    The HyperSpeed is a bit more cushioned, and a somewhat softer ride than the Nike. What gives the Nike the edge for me here is the way it feels in the later miles of a long, hard run. 

     Zoom Streak 6 vs. Skechers GoMeb 3
    The Zoom Streak 6 is noticeably less shoe. The plates in both feel similar, but I like the barely there feeling of the Nike.

     Zoom Streak 6 vs. Adidas Adios Boost 3
    These two have the most similar ride, but the materials on the upper of the Nike are much softer and more comfortable. Both great shoes, Zoom Streak is lighter and softer.

    Zoom Streak 6 vs. Brooks Hyperion
    I love the way both of these run. The Hyperion would be neck and neck completion for the Zoom Streak for me, but unfortunately it has a very stiff upper that cuts into my achilles. Nike it is. 

    Peter's Zoom Streak 6 Score:  4.99 out of 5
    -.01 for poking feeling on step in that totally disappears on the run. 

    The Zoom Streak 6 was a personal purchase at retail
    All Photos Credit: Peter Stuart.

    For another take on the Zoom Streak 6 see Brian Shelton's review over at Believe in the Run.

    Peter Stuart's Running Bio

    My running career got off to a slow start…in high school I was told I ran like a race walker and was thus relegated to race walking on the track team. I got back into running about 15 years ago and then into triathlon. Triathlon really rekindled my love for running, so about two years ago I hired a coach and really focused on the half and full marathons.  I broke a bad habit of putting in tons of moderately hard miles (and no easy or hard ones) and after plateauing at 3:25 (with some disastrous marathons in there), this past year I brought my marathon under 3:00 and my half under 1:25. Along the way I’ve developed a bit of a shoe problem.

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

    The Zoom Streak 6 is available now from Running Warehouse here
    Use Road Trail Run Coupon Code RTR10 for 10% off!

    Zoom Streak 6 is available from Road Runner Sports here