Friday, May 05, 2017

2017 Run Accessories Mini Reviews: Sunglasses, Run Headamp, Socks, Compression, Shorts, Recovery Sandal, Run Belts

AeroLite Zebra Light ($190)
Road Trail Run recently reviewed the AeroLite and we think the are the most comfortable and versatile run sunglasses we have ever tried. Featuring less temperature sensitive Zebra Light photochromic (change with light)  lenses they are designed for any activity where light conditions can vary from darkness to brighter light. The lenses rapidly adjust to changing light conditions so they are ideal for trail running where you may go in and out of trees. The optics are impeccable and they sit lightly and securely, maybe to lightly when pushed up on your head as the temples are thin and flexible.

The entire crew here at Road Trail Run swears by this simple effectively designed run belt (full review here) . It is a stretch mesh band with drop in pockets all around which is a  simple and effective method of carrying a variety run or cycle essentials from water (we easily carry up to two 500 ml soft flasks)  plus phone to even light jacket, all secure and very easily accessible at any pace.

Hipster ($25)
Simpler, thinner in width and made of softer materials than the Naked Running Band, the Hipster is a great option for carrying a few basics such as phone, cards, a gel, and car keys on the run. Super comfortable and soft it is a bit harder with the Hipster to easily find, remove, and return items while running than with the Naked, but is a great value. Also available in heathered fabrics.

Get the Hipster at Running Warehouse here
Use our Coupon Code: RTR10 to take 10% off 

Sprinter Headlamp ($80)

Versatile for any night use, the Sprinter is an ideal night road run and walk the dog companion. With 200 lumens, more than adequate for trail use as well, a bright clean light with minimal halo effect, storm proof construction and long battery life of 24 hours on Average and 4 hours on High the rechargeable Sprinter also includes a bright rear LED blinker on its rear USB rechargeable battery pack. It is our favorite night road run headlamp to date and we have tried many over the years.

We ran winter roads at night with confidence in what was ahead under foot and that we would be adequately seen by traffic.

LEFT: Black Diamond Sprinter RIGHT: Nathan Sports Nebula Fire
Black Diamond took a different approach that what we usually see in smaller headlamps. Instead of putting the battery and light in a single front unit, they split the weight between front and back. As a result comfort and balance is outstanding despite weighing 10 grams more than our Nathan Sports Nebula Fire which feels heavier on the head. Controls are easy to operate.

Room for improvement

The strap is either to soft or the rear sliders have to much of a gap. As a result the strap can quite easily twist out of the rear sliders if one is not careful placing and moving the lamp on your head.  I plan on bridging the gap with Super Glue. The battery recharge to full from empty is listed at 5 hours, comparable to the Nebula Fire. The recharge really a huge issue if your daily runs are in the 1 hour range given the 4 hour battery life on High but something to be aware of.

Montrail Molokai II Trail Sandal ($60)
These supremely comfortable heat moldable sandals are just what the doctor ordered after a long run. Wide, stable, and comfortable they have been a constant post run companion.

Titan Ultra Short ($60)
Jeff Valliere: These are the most comfortable shorts I have used to date.  The inner "bike short" liner is a very silky smooth and breathable material that is not the least bit constricting.  This style liner short has appealed to me in the past, especially on cooler days where I am trying to prevent drafts, however, other shorts I have used of this style in the past have not always been adequately comfortable, either being too tight/constricting, or too loose, allowing for excess bounce/chaffing.  With the Titan Ultra Short, the aforementioned concerns are completely non existent.  These shorts are cool on warm days and adequately warm on cooler days.  The materials dry quickly and the two tone blue of my review pair look very sharp.  The 3 pockets on the back (one zippered) can hold a few gels and very small essentials, but not items as large as a phone or windbreaker.  Fit is true to size, but I would love to see an elastic waist tie with these shorts, especially helpful if the pockets are full (though a Naked Running Band (above and review here) perfectly compliments Titan Ultra Short, adding storage space and doubling as a belt to keep them in place).

Titan Ultra Half Zip Long Sleeve ($70)

The Omni Freeze Zero is about the coolest clothing material I have used to date.  This is not a long sleeve shirt one would wear for layering on a cool day, but instead, a long sleeve shirt to keep the sun off of you on hot days.  Fit is generous to allow for improved air flow, aided by the more porous underarm panels and deep zipper.
Sam: I totally concur with Jeff on the Titan Ultra. I have found it not only effective at cooling but versatile in cooler temperatures as sweat evaporates quickly off the very light, loose fabric. The fit is non constraining so doesn't stick, and the sleeves are easy to roll up or down as need be.  It is right up there with adidas Climachill but in a yet lighter, more airy fabric. I appreciate the half zip, anti-microbial treatment, and degree of full sleeve sun protection it provides.

Titan Ultra Short Sleeve ($55):  
Same as the long sleeve, but without the zipper, amazingly light and well ventilated.

We really dig the intricate, light, and effective compression products from Compressport. This Swiss company really knows how to knit. We sometimes wish for a bit less flash, color, and branding but reach for them anyway.

Full Socks Ultralight ($59)
The Ultralight is full length 22g  very thin compression sock made of a very breathable mesh. The red colored portions are extra padding and support actually woven into the mesh so not layers but integral to the sock. The Ultralight is a great one piece compression option for race days in warm weather.
USV2 Calf Sleeve ($40)
Compressport calf sleeves have been our go to for the last few years as they are less compressive and cooler than denser knit options. We have read that lighter compression is just as effective as snugger flavors to reduce tibial vibrations and help reduce the possibility of cramps. The USV2 adds silicone dots around the achilles area to provide a touch more support and a touch more shock absorption than sleeves alone in this critical area. We find that the claim is true as distinctly more supportive around the achilles, without being constrictive there as the miles pile up.

Features sent us their Elite Merino+ Cushion Quarter ($17) this winter. This soft yet snug fitting- rare that soft and snug go together in a sock, warm enough sock became a go to in the cold and warmer weather too.
Many Feetures! including the Elite Graduated Compression Knee ($45) we also tested tend to have a fairly dense weave and run warm. The Merino+ was actually more breathable and comfortable. Merino is great in all seasons. We tend to prefer the sock fitting flexibility of calf sleeves over full length socks. The Graduated Compression proved a great option for cooler days where shorts were fine, but something more on the lower legs was needed.  They are lightly cushioned and also somewhat hard to get on.

HILLY SOCKS ($12.95-$18.95)
We had never heard of Hilly Socks but we sure have heard of founder Ron Hill, the 2nd man to go under 2:10 in the marathon, Boston winner, and 2 time UK Olympian. Oh lest we forget the owner of the longest continuous running streak on record, over 52 years of at least a mile a day. A textile engineer by training Hill has for decades been a running apparel innovator. 
His Hilly Sock line is 100% focused on running and it shows. Various anatomical left right models are available in Mono Skin, single layer and Twin Skin dual layer anti-blister. Jeff and I tested both types and both preferred the Mono Skin Marathon and similar high visibility Lumen Classic models.  

With a dense weave as with many Features they are somewhat softer, stretchier, and more comfortable than the Feetures and easier to put on. Fit is perfect and moisture absorption outstanding. They are lightly cushioned. The Marathon also features an effective (we tested...) Polygiene odor prevention. Socks also available in women's styles.

Shop for Hilly Socks at Amazon here
Men's and Women's Styles

Featherlight Leg Sleeves ($40)
Zensah Featherlight Calf Sleeves PC: Running Warehouse
The Zensah Featherweight surprised us. We used the heavier original Zensah years ago and they were hot, dense and not very comfortable. The Featherweight while it looks similar is very different. First, they are very easy to pull on as the top and bottom knitting collars are soft and stretchy. The compression is not just graded top to bottom but is differential around the calf. The front chevrons support the shins and we think feel effective in helping reduce tibial vibration. The rear support of the calf is even and not overly tight. The sleeves are seamless, wicking and not overly warm and have sliver ions for odor protection
Shop for Zensah Featherweight at Running Warehouse here
Special Price Visible In-Cart
Use Road Trail Run's Coupon Code RTR10 to take and additional 10% off 

Nike keeps its trail collection short, sweet, and all around excellent. One short, one top, 2 types of shoes (Kiger 3 review here, my 2016 trail shoe of the year and now Kiger 4 review), along with  the Wildhorse (review here), a jacket and a trail vest. All are superbly designed and highly functional. 

Nike Trail Short ($75)
We purchased the 5" Nike Trail Short for its 6 pockets all discretely and impeccably placed. No "cargo short" look here. This is one highly functional short and not just for trail runners . We think it is misnamed.  It is ideal as a marathon race short or everyday short if you carry a phone and keys. The six pockets include: 
  • 2 hip pockets, each able to hold an iPhone 7
  • a moisture resistant deep zip pocket behind one of the hip pockets easily able to hold both credit cards and car keys.
  • 2 waistband shallow pockets designed to stand a gel or bloks package standing up and ready to grab
  • a stretch rear pocket for gloves, a hat.
The materials are soft and highly moisture wicking. The waistband and drawstring do good job holding a full load up but could be a bit wider.
The Breathe Sleeveless Trail Top ($65)  is of course available in Nike Volt yellow or blue. We tested it on a day in the mid 80's and it was as advertised, "Breathe", very comfortable and moisture wicking with minimal "stick". In particular the black rear mesh seemed to float off our back. The shoulders have a same color silicone pattern printed on them to keep a pack from sliding around.

The Trail Kiger Vest ($185) was my go to vest in 2016 (review) is now on sale at Running Warehouse, see below.  Focused on carrying hydration the Kiger Vest can easily carry a 2L bladder( not included) as well as 2 front 500 ml soft flasks with no motion or bounce from its structured mostly non stretch construction. More harness and "snug as a bug in a rug" type fit than clothing style comfortable it focuses on a snug, no motion fit no matter the load.  It has a total of 7 pockets, so somewhat fewer than is common in race vests of its capacity.

Shop the Nike Trail Collection at Running Warehouse here
Trail Kiger Vest is on now sale for $104.81 reg. $185.
Use Road Trail Run's Coupon Code RTR10 to take 10% off your order


Peter Floyd said...

Awesome post. Thanks

Abhishek Jaswal said...

Nice blog but do you have an idea about lace socks?