Thursday, June 29, 2017

Brooks Glycerin 15 Review: Luxo Softer Riding Daily Trainer with a Fabulous Upper. Comparisons to Latest: Ghost, Vomero, Energy Boost, and Triumph ISO

Article by Sam Winebaum

Brooks Running Glycerin 15
Weight: 10.6 oz/301 g (M9), 9.2 oz/261g (W8)
My sample 8.5 weighed 10.3 oz
Stack: 31mm heel, 21mm forefoot, 10mm drop
MSRP: $150, Available now.

The Cambridge Dictionary defines glycerine as "a sweet, thick, clear liquid used in making explosives and medicines and for making food sweet.  Brooks Running's 15th edition of the Glycerin is a sweet fitting and running shoe but not exactly an explosive one. 

Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Topo Athletic Fly-Lyte 2 Review: Great Ride but with a Big Catch...

Article by Peter Stuart

Topo Fly-Lyte 2
The Topo Athletic Fly-Lyte 2 ($100) is a moderately lightweight (8.4oz/28 g for size 9) daily trainer with a wide toe-box and stack heights of 23mm in the heel and 20mm, 3mm drop.

For those just following along, Topo was started by Tony Post, formerly of Vibram. The first Topo shoes had a split toe and they've been inching towards more traditional running shoes. Their toe boxes are anatomical and roomy to allow toe splay. This is going to be a short  review--read on to find out why...

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Salomon Sense Ride Review - 90% S-Lab at 2/3 the Price! Comparisons to Sense Ultra, Kiger 4, SpeedGoat 2 & Pro Max

by Jeff Valliere with Sam Winebaum

Salomon Sense Ride
27mm heel/19mm forefoot - 8mm drop
9.7 oz.(275 grams) US Men's size 9/8.1 oz. (230 grams) US Women's size 8
$120. Available now.

First Impressions:
Sam: The Sense Ride at first glance screams quality and durability and while not the lightest trail shoe one can instantly see that for a very fair price you are getting a versatile and one should expect long lasting shoe.

Jeff: Having just tested the S-Lab Ultra (RTR review) and the Sense Pro Max (RTR review), I was eager to review the Sense Ride and see how it compared.  Out of the box, I was initially taken aback by the vibrant colors of the red/orange/maroon colorway of my Sense Ride (though over time, grew to accept it, if not actually like it), though there is at least a navy blue option for those looking to go a bit more stealth.

Weight is about what I expected, light but not particularly feathery, 10 5/8 oz. for my US Men's size 10.  It is immediately obvious that this is a very high quality shoe.  I have heard references to this shoe being a "quiver killer", but is that really the case?

Sunday, June 18, 2017

In Depth Nike Zoom Fly Four Tester Review: Supa Fly, Supa Dupa Fly

Article by Peter Stuart, Derek Li, and Dave Ames with Sam Winebaum 

Update: See our detailed first impressions review of  the Vapor Fly 4% Here

Editor's Note: We are thrilled to present this 4 way review of the Nike Zoom Fly. Our testers include Peter Stuart from Los Angeles, a "late" forties sub 3 hour marathoner, Derek Li from Singapore a 2:41 marathoner (PR just recently in the Zoom Fly, see below), Dave Ames a well known distance running coaching coach and sub 3 hour marathoner from Boston, and Sam Winebaum, Road Trail Run editor whose annual goal is a sub 1:40 half.

The Nike Zoom Fly ($150) is an 8.4 oz marathon racer/lightweight trainer with a 33mm. heeland a 23mm forefoot. Nike describes being "designed to meet the demands of your toughest tempo runs, long runs and race day with a responsive construction that turns the pressure of each stride into energy return for the next". It's got a full length carbon infused nylon plate and a Lunarlon mid sole. 
The hype is that it's a stiff shoe that provides both speedy propulsion and cushioning. So how does it roll? Is it bouncy? Yes. Is it stiff? Hell Yes. Do we like it? Read on to see. Warning, don't judge this shoe on the first half mile of running in it. It may take a while to break in. 

Not hype for Derek! Our reviewer Derek Li just set a marathon PR of 2:41.20 at the Gold Coast Marathon in Australia on July 2nd.  
Derek Li finishes the 2017 Gold Coast Marathon with a PR in the Zoom Fly
Here is his report followed by our full review.

Brooks PureGrit 6 Review - Protective, Natural Running, Everyday Trainer for Varied Terrain

by Jeff and Allison Valliere

Brooks PureGrit 6
9.6 oz. Men's US Size 9(272 grams)/7.8 oz. US Women's Size 8 (221 grams)
21mm heel/17mm forefoot - 4mm drop
$120 Available Now

The Brooks PureGrit 6 fills the "natural running" slot in the Brooks Trail line, providing a great balance of trail feel, protection, comfort and genuine all mountain/all trail capabilities.

Brooks was generous to supply both my wife Allison and I with a cute his/hers set of PureGrit 6 for review, as I was eager to see how the PureGrit has evolved since version 3, which I liked and Allison called the best shoe she has ever worn.  How has the PureGrit improved over the last few iterations?

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

2017 adidas Energy Boost (4): A Luxury German SUV. Looks and Stats Deceiving!

Article by Sam Winebaum, Editor Road Trail Run

2017 adidas Energy Boost
Weight: 10.9 oz/309 g (M9), 9.9 oz/281 g (W8)
Stack: 32mm heel/22mm forefoot, 10mm drop
$160. Available now.
The adidas Energy Boost 2017 edition is a heavily cushioned premium neutral daily trainer. It is now called Energy Boost with no numbering after as previously...confusing but I am calling it Energy Boost 4 here.

It features 85% Boost Content, Boost being adidas's high rebound, durable, less temperature sensitive than EVA TPU based midsole. Not just a fad, Boost is used in the marathon world record setting adizero Boost in a similar but lower profile overall construction but unlike the similar Supernova there is plenty of Torsion plastic to tame the soft and unruly Boost. All of the cushion is clearly aimed at maximalist players such as Hoka.

The upper now a fine gauge conventional mesh with a pattern of no sew overlays is unusually roomy and high volume upfront due to its stretch, right up there with Altra, yet with a superb overall foot hold from heel to toe. The often criticized 3 Stripes plastic cage at mid foot disappears on the foot and holds everything together brilliantly.

But there must be rub right? Yes there is...All of this tech comes in at 10.9 oz, way up there in weight for a neutral trainer even a "premium" one just as this.  The original Energy Boost weighed 9.5 oz and was my go to for all training and marathon racing. The Energy Boost 3 was up to 10.2 oz., still fine for a daily trainer ,but here we are now at close to 11 oz.

The question then is, how do they run?

Tuesday, June 13, 2017

Brooks Ghost 10 Review: Superb Toe Box, Slightly Softer & Smoother Transitioning Ride

Article by Sam Winebaum, Editor Road Trail Run
The very popular, and rightly so Ghost series,from Brooks Running will soon see the  Ghost 10 ($120). It is a relatively soft, flexible neutral daily trainer with a BioMoGo DNA midsole, a new and very smooth transition, plentiful outsole rubber, and a very fine and pressure free fitting engineered mesh upper with thin 3D Fit Print overlays. Available now.

Compared to the Ghost 9 it has a relatively unstructured upper with considerably thinner and more comfortable overlays, especially in the toe box, with the mid foot not quite as securely held as previously.  My sample 8.5 is a notable 0.7 oz lighter than the Ghost 9 although the spec from Brooks says the final weight reduction will be 0.2 oz.

Friday, June 09, 2017

adidas adiizero Tempo 9 Review: Serious, Stable, and Fast

Article by Sam Winebaum, Editor Road Trail Run

adidas adiizero Tempo 9
Weight: 9.8 oz/277 g (M9), 8.1 oz/230 g (W8) (per adidas)
              Sample size 8.5 weighs 9.2 oz/260 grams
Stack: 26mm heel/16mm forefoot, 10mm drop
Category: Light Stability/Support Performance Trainer
$120. Available now.
The Tempo 9 is a performance trainer with underfoot support features focused on stabilizing the foot from mid foot to forefoot. I would call the Tempo a "serious shoe" for fast comfortable well supported training. I did not run in the Tempo 8 but have the Boston 6, adios Boost 3, and Energy Boost (4), review soon.

Saucony Koa TR - Surprisingly Fast, Well Rounded Door to Trail Shoe for a Wide Variety of Conditions

by Jeff Valliere

Saucony Koa TR
22mm heel/18mm forefoot/4mm drop
10.3 oz.(292 grams) US Men's Size 9/9 oz. US Women's Size 8 (255 grams)

First Impressions:  
I went into this review with no expectations and with very little knowledge of the Koa TR.  They feel reasonably light out of the box and look like a shoe for moderate terrain that would perform double duty as a versatile trail shoe.  Not to mention, the toe box shape surprised me, as it is somewhat reminiscent of an Altra.

Thursday, June 08, 2017

Nike Zoom Fly First Run Impressions Review: Good Form Required! Light, Well Cushioned, Great Upper and Stiff.

Article by Sam Winebaum, Editor

Editor's Note: The eagerly awaited Zoom Fly was released June 8. I received a pair and immediately took them for a run on a high 70's, high pollen day so not my best running weather. Much more to come as we run more miles with a 3 runner full review but here are some details and first impressions.
Update: Read our 4 reviewer, full, in depth review of the Zoom Fly here

Nike Zoom Fly
Weight: 8.35 oz/237 g for our sample size 9.
Stack: 33 mm heel/23 mm forefoot
Price: $150. Available now
The Zoom Fly is a light very cushioned performance trainer racer with an embedded curving plate for propulsion and stability.  The plate is roughly in the location of the black line on the midsole, dipping down steeply at the ball of the foot then curving up towards the toe. The shoe is completely stiff. I was not able to hand bend it at all. 
The Zoom Fly represents a very bold departure from the conventional low slung and often harsh racing shoe performance trainer By and large we think Nike has combined outstanding cushion, especially in at the often overly thin forefoot of such shoes ,with a highly responsive ride and all of this at a light weight.

The Zoom Fly is part of Nike's Breaking2 project line. It differs from the upcoming July release Zoom Vaporfly 4% ($250),  see our try on preview at the Boston Marathon here, in the following ways:
  • weighs significantly more but a still svelte 8.35 oz vs the 4% at an amazing 6.5 oz
  • substitutes a carbon injected nylon inner plate for a pure carbon one,
  • uses Lunarlon foam instead of the 4%'s  Zoom X Pebax foam which is claimed to have 13% better energy return than standard EVA and weighs 2/3 less,
  • has 2-3 mm more front and heel midsole stack, 
  • has a similar upper but one with Flywire instead of the more conventional lace up of the 4% and with a substantial heel counter where the 4% has none but does have a medial overlay (see below),

Wednesday, June 07, 2017

Altra Lone Peak 3.5 Review -- a modest update

Article by Dominick Layfield

Altra Running Lone Peak 3,5
Stack:  25 mm heel, 25 mm forefoot.  (0 mm drop) 
Expected:  MSRP: $120
Release date:  July 1st 2017
Expected weight:  10.4 oz (295 g) for size 9 US
Pre-release sample supplied to RTR weighed 11.5 oz (328g) for size 10.5 US.

Editor's Note: We are thrilled to have Dominick Layfield the 2017 winner of the Spine Challenger in the UK and California's Quicksilver 100K review the Lone Peak 3.5. 

Tuesday, June 06, 2017

Polar M430 GPS Heart Rate Watch and Polar Flow Review: Simple, Comfortable, Accurate with a Great Free Training Platform

Polar M430
GPS/Wrist Heart Rate Watch
Available now.

The Polar M430 is a great value in a run, focused modern styled GPS watch with optical wrist heart rate. It focuses on running with a full suite of free training options, great screen visibility, accurate and reliable heart rate in our testing and a super comfortable soft fit on even smaller wrists. While not having every "smart GPS watch" bell and whistle on board the combination of hardware and back end app and web site is a strong challenge to Garmin in mid range watches.
The Polar Flow app and web site training platform is truly outstanding, ever improving and extremely well integrated to the watch. Purchasing a watch is not just about the wrist hardware, they basically all do a good job with GPS tracking these days, so we also attempt to present some of the highlights of the Polar Flow back end below.

Friday, June 02, 2017

New Balance Vazee Summit Trail v2 Review: Fun, Very Light, Fast, & Versatile Trail Runner

Article by Sam Winebaum, Editor Road Trail Run

Vazee Summit v2
8.6 oz/244 g (men's 9), 7.4 oz/210 g (women's 8)
27mm heel/17mm forefoot, 10mm drop
$99.95. Available now and on sale!

New Balance has packed a tremendous amount of lively, protective versatility into the 8.6 oz, Vazee Summit Trail v2 and even made it 0.2 oz lighter than its predecessor (RTR review), all for just under $100.

Thursday, June 01, 2017

Hoka One One Clifton 4 Review: Evolution and Improvements are Weighty Matters!

Article by Sam Winebaum with Peter Stuart

Hoka Clifton 4
29 mm heel/24mm forefoot, 5mm drop
9.35 oz/265 g Men's 9, 7.15 oz/215 g Women's 8. (My men's sample 9 weighed 9.2 oz/261 g)
MSRP $130. Available Now!
The Clifton was Hoka One One's break out road shoe: light, super cushioned, and lively in a soft bouncy way. The Clifton 4 carries on the tradition with more substance, a good thing in some ways but also taking weight up a notch.

The Hoka Clifton 4 upgrades and modernizes version 3:
  • a new, soft dense engineered mesh upper leaving conventional mesh behind, 
  • a slightly firmer midsole intended to also be more durable,
  • a smoother less abrupt heel geometry with a new decoupled lateral rear crash pad,
  • a modified outsole midsole in the forefoot with a touch less rubber in the center and deeper flex grooves
The changes bulks the model up by approximately 0.5 oz/ 16 g in weight over the Clifton 3, we assume mostly due to the increased density of the midsole and the new upper.
Sam: By weight alone the Clifton now sits in the trainer category and is no longer the svelte 7.7 oz super cushioned and soft version 1, a shoe that I really didn't enjoy much for its overly soft heel and flawed upper. Hoka fans seeking light, fast, super cushioned and slightly firmer should also look at Hoka's excellent Clayton 2. (RTR review

First Impressions

Peter: First run thoughts: The upper is nice, fit is pretty well dialed in if a bit stiff, and there’s no blistering as I had in prior versions.
Sam: The new look is sharp and understated or as understated in terms of the upper as you can be given the 29/25 midsole stack plus the midsole walls-the blue colored part of the midsole wrapping up as sidewalls to secure the foot to the platform and stabilize .
LEFT: Hoka OneOne Clifton 2       RIGHT: Clifton 4
Sam: I was sent a size 9 sample, a half size up from my true to size. The fit is impeccable, soft feeling and totally supportive, if a bit narrow. With the new engineered mesh upper and the new vertical 3D puff print overlays the fit is more accommodating and I expect as most engineered mesh uppers and the thin overlays it will stretch over time so a true to size would have likely worked as well.
Worn side by side one on each foot I can tell the Clifton 4 loses much of the awkward wrap of the foot to such a wide platform, with stiffer mesh and overlays of prior Clifton.  It is certainly wider and much more accommodating and comfortable from mid foot to forefoot than my last Clifton the Clifton 2, understanding the 3 was built on a wider last than the 2, and the 4 is on a touch wider last than the 3.  The Clifton 4 will also be available in wide in men's and women's models.

During my initial run, with version 2 on one foot and 4 or the other, I immediately noticed that the heel was more stable and slightly firmer in the 4. Landing and toe off was more fluid and less mushy than the Clifton 2. The upper is far more comfortable, if warm. I really struggled at slower paces in the Clifton 1 and 2 due to the midsole softness and heel geometry even getting unusual, rear of tibia near the ankle pains, I think due to overly soft heel and abrupt bevel.  I have noticed no such pains in the Clifton 4 but still wish for more and thicker heel rubber and some pop off the heel.

Sam: The upper is made of a single piece of very soft engineered mesh and is entirely seamless. Support is provided by thin pliable 3D puff printed overlays, Hoka calls it "lightweight detailed support" and this is a good description. The fit is soft and complaint and a big contrast from prior Clifton.

This said my sample which fits perfectly was size 9 and my true to size is 8.5. I expect the upper to stretch some as engineered mesh uppers do but the initial fit is on the narrower side but in now way constraining, particularly over the mid foot as my Clifton 2 at size 8.5 are.

Peter: The mesh is nice and soft, holds my foot nicely and there are no hotspots. For me they fit true to size.
Essentially the "engineered" part of the mesh is over the toes where there is a slightly denser weave in a chevron pattern.
The front of the shoe does appear narrow but the Clifton 4 is on a slightly wider last than the Clifton 3. Engineered mesh with such light overlays does stretch with foot shape and also visually the upper has a tendency not to stand up and out as much with no foot in it as shoes where overlays are more substantial.
The toe bumper is also 3D puff printed with a stiffener only over the very front center of the toes. No pressures up front were noticed either in length or over the toes as I sometimes felt in prior Clifton with their heavier more substantial toe bumpers.
The heel collar is quite high and vertical.  I think the vertical high collar may assist in keeping the foot forward after the soft heel landing, speeding transition slightly. The tongue again is moderately padded and is not of the puffy variety. Just right. Lace up is easy and upper and tongue wrap the foot securely. This said the wrap is not of the total  lock down to the platform type being more accommodating and softer than the wrap of my Clifton 2.  


Peter; I found the previous versions of the Clifton just WAY too soft. They felt good for a few steps, but I found my legs and feet getting more fatigued than they would in other, firmer shoes. It felts as If my foot was stalling in a marshmallow and I was having to pull it out. I’m glad that this version of the Clifton is a bit firmer. The midsole feels a bit stiff, but that helps the ride. 

Sam: Of course we are talking Hoka here so super cushion with 29mm heel/ 24mm forefoot. What is especially super cushioned is the 24mm forefoot, 29mm not being unusual for a trainer's heel height. 
Visually it appears much higher. With Hoka's Speed Frame, basically the blue areas of the midsole, the foot sits down inside the midsole with the side walls providing compliant stability and support. 

Sam: The midsole is made of a single slab of Hoka's flavor of compression molded EVA which is slightly firmer or denser than the EVA in the Clifton 3 for what Hoka claims is to "ensure more consistent cushioning through the life of the shoe." Softer lighter foams have a tendency to pack down as the miles pile up. Even with the slightly firmer foam I would think packing down yet firmer would be a good thing for me and the Clifton 4
I would like to see the midsole firmer yet or more dense rubber placed at the heel and forefoot out of the box, as while improved over prior Clifton mid soles, it is still a softer ride than I prefer.
LEFT: Hoka One One Clifton 2  RIGHT: Hoka One One Clifton 4
Hoka says the Clifton 4 now has a more moderate heel bevel. This is a positive change for heel strikers like me. The Clifton 2 had a soft abrupt and sinking heel landing for me, leading to some rear of the tibia pains near the ankle. With the 4 and its more moderate bevel, no such twinges and the transition from the heel is smoother and more fluid. 
Hoka One One Clifton 4
In addition to the heel bevel changes, Hoka modified the outsole incorporating a decoupling crash pad to the Clifton 4 also noticeably improving the heel landing. The Clifton 3 below only a slight decoupling. We see less rubber in the center of the forefoot, a bit of a durability concern. We can speculate Hoka did this to improve flexibility. Even with less rubber, the Clifton 4, at least so far, is stiffer than the 3 likely also due to the fact that the 4 does not have a continuous flex groove all the way across the sole as Clifton 3 does,-where the blue fore foot outsole ends in the picture below . Heel rubber may be slightly softer as well as thinner but there is somewhat more rear of the heel coverage, again contributing to a more stable heel.
Clifton 3


Sam: There is no mistaking the Clifton 4 for anything other than a "classic" Hoka. Soft, very cushioned with a mellow bouncy rebound it moves right along if stiffly but without much road feel as its near cousin Clayton 2 (RTR review) has. I am always surprised with the Clifton by what I sense as a slow pace by feel actually being faster than expected on the watch.  Not my favorite way to ride the roads but I am always happy about how fresh my legs feel the next day. Compared to the Clifton 2 the Ride is slightly firmer and more responsive although stiffer in flex. The new midsole and heel geometry make for a more fluid, less mushy heel landing at slower speeds. The ride improves as pace picks up as the soft bounce really starts to shine at pace and heel is less of a factor. 

Peter: Sam, you pretty much nailed the characteristics of the ride. Soft, but firmer than previous versions, stiff, but not uncomfortably so. There’s a certain range of pace I can get into in these where I just float along and enjoy them. That said, it’s kind of a narrow pace window. I don’t feel fatigued when I run in them, but I’m not overjoyed either. 

Peter: I have a complicated relationship with HOKA. I really, really want to like them, but I’ve had various issues with each one I’ve tried. I found the Clifton too soft, the Huaka too stiff and as much as I wanted to like the Clayton it was a blister making machine. The good news about the Clifton 4 is that I’ve gotten no blisters, it’s firmer than the original Clifton, not as stiff as the Huaka. Unfortunately it’s lost some of the promise of the original Clifton. The original Clifton was IMPOSSIBLY light for the amount of cushion. This Clifton feels a bit more like a Bondi that went on a diet than like a Clifton that gained a couple of ounces. It’s a pleasant riding shoe that feels pretty good for long, easy miles without getting beat up. If you like the ride of the Bondi, but want a lighter shoe, you could do worse than trying out the Clifton 4. 

Sam: Hoka has improved the fit, upper, and ride of the Clifton significantly in the 4 but it has gained some weight over the years, putting it in the daily trainer category. Those who do love the Clifton ride should be very pleased with this update if a bit concerned about the weight gain and potential rubber durability and coverage. 
Gone are the awkward stiff uppers replaced by mighty fine engineered mesh with well placed thin overlays which work well with the foot. The ride is a welcome touch firmer and also more stable at the heel. Still, it is a shoe I find to soft and lacking in road feel for my tastes and especially at slower paces back on the heels. I am quite certain I have fresher legs as a result of running in them but miss some pop and feel on the run that I get for example from Clifton cousin the Clayton.  

  • superb upper, one of the best of the year, a great upper is something new from Hoka!
  • firmer midsole and new heel geometry gets me off the heel quicker than prior Clifton.
Sam's Score: 9.60/10
-0.15 still an overly soft ride for me, lack of road feel and still some heel stability issues at slow pace
-0.1 for thin outsole rubber and less of it up front, durability concerns,
-0.15 weight gain into daily trainer category. Making the Clifton lower stack could solve weight and softness issues

Peter's Score: 7.5/10
-1 for lack of road feel
-1 for falling into the trainer category and not being easily differentiated from other Hokae
-.5 for stiff midsole

Hoka One One Clayton 2 (RTR review)
Sam: Clearly this is the closest comparison. At an almost identical 28/24 stack, it weighs 1.6 oz/45 grams less at 7.75 oz. The dual density EVA, firmer front, softer rear with bouncy RMAT as the outsole makes it a firmer, more dynamic  and responsive shoe and closer to racer than trainer as the Clifton is. Its upper is still old school mesh with occasional arch irritation and is not as comfortable or foot wrapping as the Clifton but I easily give the nod to the Clayton.

Altra Torin 2.5 (RTR reviewand Torin 3.0  (preview
Sam: The Torin 2.5 was one of my favorite shoes of 2016 because it combined tons (28mm vs 24mm for the Clifton) of flexible responsive forefoot cushion with a great, snug, trail worthy upper. The Torin is zero drop so the heel cushion is basically at the same level as the Clifton. The result is a livelier more responsive super cushioned shoe at  about the same weight as the Clifton. The Torin 3.0 drops to 9.0 oz and should have a slightly more relaxed upper and more outsole rubber, more than Clifton 4.  
The Clifton 4 was provided at no charge to RoadTrailRun. The opinions herein are the authors'.

Clifton 4 Available Now!

Hoka One One Clifton 4 at Running Warehouse
Shop Hoka Super Sale including Clifton 3 ($89.88) 
Men's here
Women's here
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