Monday, July 31, 2017

Outdoor Retailer La Sportiva 2018 Introductions: Unika All Trails, Lycan Light Mid Distance, and VK Swift and Minimal

La Sportiva, Italian masters of everything footwear for the mountains from Everest boots to hikers to climbing slippers to outstanding trail running shoes, rolled out three new trail runners at Outdoor Retailer for their 90th year making mountain footwear in 2018.

Leading the charge Unika ($190), available July 2019,  a premium all trails shoe which they say is the first mountain running shoe to be completely made in Europe. We gave it our Best New All Trails Shoe of OR award.  
Update: Read our full Unika review here
It features:
La Sportiva Unika
  • a beautiful supportive upper with compression and differentiated stretch zones with integrated non removable sock liner.
  • an elaborate Lace-Up Harness which integrates upper to the midsole.  Like the Mutant, complex, different and should be effective. 
  • A PU Infinitoo midsole instead of EVA. Infinitoo is claimed to have high energy return and be more compression resistant for long term cushion durability and consistency. Salomon also is using a PU insert under at the forefoot in its new S-Lab Sense Ultra 2. 
  • PU tends to be heavier than EVA so the Unika comes in at 11.6 oz./380 g (M9), 9.28 oz./264 g (W8). 
  • 31mm heel/23 mm forefoot, 8 mm drop so a substantial well cushioned platform
We suspect the combination of materials could make this an exceptionally long lasting shoe for rougher terrain. Available April 2018.

OR Saucony Spring 2018 Previews and Introductions: Liberty ISO Light Stability, Hurricane and Triumph ISO 4, Kinvara 9, Peregrine 8, Denim Collection

Liberty ISO
Leading Saucony's Outdoor Retailer introductions was a new stability version of the popular Freedom ISO (RTR review).
Saucony Liberty ISO 
Liberty ISO ($160). Coming in at 9.7 oz./275 g (M9) and 8.7 oz./245 g (W9) it joins the recent trend towards lighter stability shoes.  It has a 22 heel/18 forefoot stack, 4 mm drop. Available November 2017.

Update: See our full review of the Liberty ISO here

Saucony presents the Liberty ISO to RoadTrailRun in the YouTube below

Sunday, July 30, 2017

Outdoor Retailer Altra Running Spring 2018 Preview and Introductions: Duo Max Cushion Super Light Trainer, Vanish-R 3.9 oz. Road Racer, Entry Level Solstice & All New Everyday Collection

For the last Outdoor Retailer in Salt Lake City, with many running companies not attending,  Altra, a local company, really rolled out all the stops with a bigger booth, still crowded as always, and two stunning new high performance running shoes, an entry level new models  and a new Zero Drop casual line.
All shoes are Spring 2018 releases. Exact dates to follow.

Altra Duo
The star of Outdoor Retailer for Road Trail Run was the new Altra Duo ($130 ) road shoe. We gave it our Best New Running Shoe award.

Update: Read our multi tester Duo review here

The Duo has a 31mm heel and forefoot stack and what should be a bouncy, lively injection molded midsole.  Weighing an amazing 7.9 oz./224 grams(M(9), 6.8 oz/193 g (W8) it has a gossamer thin highly breathable mesh upper with plenty of soft reinforcing overlays. This will be a great shoe for humid, hot, and wet run environments. 
Altra Running 2018 Duo

Friday, July 28, 2017

Outdoor Retailer- Best of 2018 Running Video Previews: Our Picks from Salomon, Brooks, Saucony, Altra, Columbia Montrail, La Sportiva, adidas Outdoors & Skechers Performance

We scoured the huge Outdoor Retailer Show for running introductions. We will have our customary previews for each brand with detailed information and photos of multiple shoes for each brand shortly. As we visited with each company we picked, with their approval, one or 2 key products and asked each company to present in a minute or two the features and benefits.

We saw significant reductions in weight in the stability road shoe class at Brooks, Skechers Performance, and Saucony due to new lighter yet supportive uppers and new midsole materials.

Salomon Running
Update: read our full article about Running Avenue, the tech, video and all 3 models
All new Running Avenue Sonic road line led by the 8.6 oz/244 gram Sonic RA

Update: Read our full Salomon trail preview article here. Includes info on S/Lab Sense Ultra 2 and Speed 2 as well XA Elevate

XA Elevate trail shoe 
A very sharp looking update to a core trail runner.

Brooks Running 
Update: Read our full Spring 2018 Brooks previews article here:  Transcend 5, Adrenaline GTS 18, Launch 5, Ravenna 9, Caldera 2, Mazama 2

The top selling Adrenaline GTS 18 road shoe gets much lighter

Liberty ISO full Everun light stability cousin of the Freedom ISO
Update: See our full Spring 2018 Saucony preview article here featuring Liberty ISO, Triumph and Hurricane ISO 4, Kinvara 9, Peregrine 8, and Denim Collection

Best New Running Shoe of Outdoor Retailer Summer 2018!
Altra Running
Duo max cushion 31 mm zero drop super light 7.9 oz/ 224 road shoe with a whisper thin draining breathable mesh upper.
Update: See our full Spring 2018 preview here with new Duo, Vanish-R 3.9 oz road racer, Solstice entry level shoe & Everyday Collection 

Columbia Montrail
Outdry Extreme Featherweight Jacket
Lighter than 2017 edition, a super versatile waterproof breathable run jacket

Unika premium all trails shoes with a PU midsole
Update: See our full Spring 2018 La Sportiva preview here premium long hauler Unika, Lycan mid distance sub 10 oz shoe, and very light VK racer.

Skechers Performance
Best Update
GOrun Forza 3 light stability road shoe drops 1.4 oz/40 g to 9.2 oz due to new triple density FlightGEN midsole

adidas Outdoor
Innovative Designs Award-Focus on Reducing Environmental Impact
Parley CC Voyager travel and water shoe with Stealth rubber, lower earth impact (no dyes) all white Terrex 2  Boa Boa trail runner and Agravic Speed. Paint your canvas with trail dirt!

The Playlist with all 9 Outdoor Retailer Intro videos is here. Please subscribe to your YouTube chanel
Full previews for all the brands above shortly. 

Comments and Questions Welcome Below!
For over 60 of in depth 2017 shoe and gear reviews visit our index page here
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Tuesday, July 25, 2017

ASICS Noosa FF Review-The Firm. Asics Revamps the Noosa

Article by Peter Stuart

The Noosa FF ($139.95) is the ASICS triathlon long race shoe. This version seems to be a pretty substantial revamp of the Noosa series which has featured very bright colors. The Noosa FF incorporates ASICS new FlyteFoam, the Gel of prior Noosa is gone. It  loses some weight coming down to about 8.9 oz/252 g for a men's size 9, 7.9 oz/224 g for a women's size 8. The stack heights are 18mm in the forefoot and 28mm in the heel according to Running Warehouse.

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Nike Zoom Vaporfly 4% Detailed Breakdown Run and Race Performance Review: Sensational, A Game Changer!

The Nike Zoom Vaporfly 4% ($250) is the non customized version of the shoe worn by Eliud Kipchoge at the recent Breaking 2 attempt where he ran the fastest (unofficial) marathon time of 2:00.25. It was worn by both the men's and women's winners of the 2017 Boston Marathon.

The Vaporfly 4% is the product of extensive bio mechanics and materials research as part of the goal of  Nike's goal of breaking 2 hours in the marathon, the 4% representing Nike estimate of the potential improvement  in running economy, with individual runners varying up or down from the shoes. Added to running economy are the ideal training, course conditions and nutrition required to break the magic barrier.
Official Nike weight: 6.5 oz/184 g size 10, equivalent to approx. 6.2 oz size 9
My production pair in US size 8.5 weighed 6.56 oz /186 g, so a size 9 would weigh approx. 6.8 oz.
       -approx.1.6 oz/145 g less weight than Zoom Fly)
Stack height: 31mm heel/21 mm forefoot, 10mm drop.
       -2mm less stack heel and forefoot than Zoom Fly)

RoadTrailRun first tried on a single VaporFly 4% at the Boston Marathon here, tested and reviewed the heavier, "similar" Zoom Fly ($150) here and now have had a chance to take a first run in a pair of our own.
Unlike the Zoom Fly, with nearly identical stack heights and midsole geometry, the lighter weight (by approx. 1.6 oz), Vaporfly with its soft and bouncy ZoomX Pebax midsole foam and full carbon plate provided me in my first test run a similar but far more cushioned, responsive, shock free and fluid ride than the Zoom Fly.
The Vaporfly 4% is far more forgiving on the legs than the Zoom Fly and for sure the Zoom Streak 6, easier on the legs is part of the Breaking 2 goal of getting runners to the marathon's later stages with something left.
Time will tell as to durability of all these new materials but I would not hesitate to not only race but do all faster workouts in them.

Thursday, July 20, 2017

Hoka ONE ONE Spring 2018 Previews-Fly Line with Mach,Cavu, & Elevon; Evo Jawz Racer, Update to Challenger ATR 4

Hoka ONE ONE released details on key Spring 2018 models today.
Post will be updated with stats and details  as we receive them.

The Fly line will have 3 models: Mach-a direct successor to the Clayton, Cavu-a new performance trainer, and Evelon- a direct successor to Vanquish.

Update: Read our first run comparison of Cavu and Mach and to Clayton 2 here
Update: Read our full reviews of the 2018 Mach here and Cavu here

Fly models will have a new ProFLY dual density midsole with the softer heel foam for protection and a firmer forefoot foam for response and propulsion, an approach first seen in the Clayton and Tracer.

Mach ($140) 8.2 oz/231 grams (M9), 6.7 oz./190 g (W8) is adapted from the Clayton and replaces it, so is a light, highly cushioned performance trainer racer. It has a 20mm forefoot/ 24 mm heel stack,  4mm drop without sock liner so the same as Clayton 2.  Mach will be available in February 2018.

Men's Hoka ONE ONE Mach
It gains 0.3 oz over the Clayton, drops $10 in price, and has a new engineered mesh breathable upper on a new last which is the same as the new Clifton 4 last. The foam is upgraded to a new higher quality grade, same as in Clifton 4 but different firmness with higher resiliency and which tested with high energy efficiency on the run.  It has "inherent stability" from Hoka's active foot frame.  While not illustrated below, it has a wishbone outsole pattern wth "sipes" or cuts in the forefoot which could  improve the flex over the stiff Clayton, a good thing. It has the same lively RMAT outsole/midsole at road level.
We loved the Clayton 2 despite some irritation issues under the arch. The images appear to potentially show a new midsole design somewhat lower side walls near the front and given the new last and upper we hope the irritation issue is finally licked.

Wednesday, July 19, 2017

ON Running Cloudrush Review--Cloudy with a Chance of Run

The ON Running Cloudrush ($130) is a 7.9 oz/224 g uptempo trainer/racer with stack heights of 21mm in the heel and 16mm in the forefoot, 5mm drop. 
It follows the ON formula of terrific looking Swiss design and a unique outsole consisting of 18 hollowed out CloudTec pods that are meant to provide a unique ride. So, how does it do on the roads? Is it a light, fluffy ride on clouds or is stormy weather coming in?

Monday, July 17, 2017

Hoka One One Arahi Review - Pillowy, Soft, Lightweight Stability Trainer

Article by Jeff Valliere

Hoka One One Arahi
29mm heel/24mm forefoot
9.3 oz. /264 g (M9); 7.6 oz. /215 g (W7)
Available in D and 2E width
$130. Available now
I have reviewed a seemingly infinite number of road shoes in the past, but this is my first for RoadTrailRun, as I pretty much live for the trails and prefer to focus on the trail side of things.  Why the change?  I have decided (again, like I do once or twice per year) to not be such an all or nothing, mountain summit or bust trail snob.  Running from the house a few days per week would save me some time in the car, giving me more time for family, other important non running related tasks and maybe, make me a more well rounded runner.  I figured it would be fun to mix it up with my reviews from time to time and review the occasional road shoe.

When choosing a road shoe, past experience tells me that I'll probably not be too satisfied in either a super light race flat, or version 17 of some heavy, overbuilt clomper.  I wanted to get into something that has a good compromise of low weight, lots of cushion and reasonable response.

Hoka jumps out in my mind to the top of the list, but Sam had beat me to my first (Clayton 2 review here), second (Hupana review here) and third (Clifton 4 review here) choices, so figured the Arahi looked like the next most interesting of the newer models.  Despite the Arahi's stability shoe billing, 29mm in the heel and 24mm in the forefoot at 9.3oz. sounded appealing.  I put in my order and secretly hoped I would receive any color other than the black/gold.

Nathan Switchblade 24oz. Hydration Belt Review

Article by Dominique Winebaum

Nathan Switchblade 24oz. Hydration Belt ($50)
I tested the Switchblade 24oz Hydration Belt by Nathan on trail runs in Park City, UT, on hot summer days, when hydration needs are high even on fairly short runs (5-6 miles).
Here is a hydration belt designed with “race-ready features” such as moveable holsters that allow for alternative positioning of the two flasks: either in the back or in the front, and four gel loops on the outside of the roomy zip pocket.

Sunday, July 16, 2017

ASICS Roadhawk FF Review: Very close to great but a bit of a stiff

ASICS Roadhawk FF
8.1 oz/230 g (M9), 7.3 oz /207 g(W8)
Stack: 25mm heel, 17mm forefoot, 8mm drop
Category: Light performance trainer
$100. Available now.

I have tested dozens of different run shoes in 2017. The Roadhawk FF checks all the boxes for me
  • light weight at 8.1 oz with a firm, responsive and importantly with shock and vibration attenuation from its excellent FlyteFoam midsole.
  • an uncomplicated snugger upper with an engineered mesh front, a supportive all of a piece saddle and decently cushioned well held heel collar
  • a beautiful simple design and in my pair a vibrant color scheme of blue and orange
  • a very fair price of $100 for a modern shoe with a great midsole and  plenty of outsole rubber
Yet, I think ASICS made a few questionable choices which keeps it from being a a true ten and one the best shoe in its category for 2017 . It is not always that I can pinpoint fairly exactly how a shoe would clearly be improved for me but here I believe I can.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Men's and Women's Rabbit Apparel Review: Run Rabbit Run!

Article by Peter Stuart and Dominique Winebaum

Men's Rabbit

Rabbit is a Santa Barbara based run apparel company. They make their clothing in Los Angeles (where I happen to live) and are now available at Running Warehouse (who were kind enough to get this gear to me to review). The gear has nice, simple design and fun names for the gear. The important thing, of course, is how does it perform? I received 3 pieces of their gear to try out, but the website has lots of cool looking stuff on it-- Rabbit folks if you're reading this I'd sure love a hat and a "born to run free shirt"!!!

Men's Daisy Dukes Short ($45) 
The Daisy Dukes are short! I like a shorter short, especially in the summer when shorts get drenched. The DD's are a terrific combination of lightweight material, just enough length, side split and a bit of storage.

Monday, July 10, 2017

ASICS Gel Nimbus 19 Review: Plush Cruiser Kicks it in Lighter than its Weight!

ASICS Gel Nimbus 19
Weight: 11 oz./312 g (M9)
Stack: 31mm heel/21mm forefoot
MSRP: $160
Category: Premium cushioned daily trainer
The venerable Gel-Nimbus arrives at 19. My last was the 9 if memory serves. When ASICS and Running Warehouse offered Road Trail Run a selection of the latest including the new Roadhawk FF, Noosa FF, and DS Trainer (reviews soon).  I figured I should compare the Nimbus to other "premium" trainers Road Trail Run has reviewed and compared in recent months. These have included the Glycerin 15, Energy Boost, Vomero 15 and Triumph ISO 3. I was not optimistic as the Nimbus was the heaviest of the bunch and ASICS, other than their fine Japan edition performance trainers and racers, has quite frankly been lagging of late.

I am quite frankly very pleasantly surprised by the Nimbus 19. So pleased that for me it is the best of the premium bunch despite its "class leading" weight.

If you are looking for a very cushioned softer trainer which runs smoothly, quite lively and with great balance between heel and forefoot and at any pace consider the Nimbus. Read on to find out why.

Monday, July 03, 2017

Saucony Zealot ISO 3 Review: Between Kinvara and Freedom Lies Bliss! 10 Comparisons.

Article by Peter Stuart and Sam Winebaum

Saucony Zealot ISO 3  
Official Weight:  8.5 oz/241g M97.3 oz/ 207 g W8 *
Stack: 26mm heel/ 22 mm forefoot, 4 mm drop
($130, available now) 
Lateral Side
*Sam's sample size 8.5 had average weight of 8.7 oz/245g (one weighing 241 g, the other 249 g where spec is 241 g). His sample size 9 weighed 8.5 oz 242 g. Note that discrepancies in weight can occur in manufacturing but these difference are more than we usually see. 

Sam: Zealot ISO 3 is softer underfoot, more consistent in cushioning feel and more flexible than Zealot ISO 2 (review here).  It officially drops almost an ounce in weight which is fantastic, although we did see discrepancies between the weight of our 2 samples. It has a completely new soft engineered mesh upper with an internal implementation of Saucony's ISO Fit straps with the upper resulting with a  relatively secure yet accommodating fit for a variety of foot types. The new Power Foam midsole is lively yet well cushioned. 
At 8.5 oz or so it has alot of forgiving cushion for such a light weight but does lose a bit of the firm pop off the road of its predecessors. If you like an unstructured more natural ride and a lower drop ride at 4mm but you also want a bit more cushion and comfort then the Zealot is worth a close look. It is for sure one of the finest updates of the year, and a fairly radical one, and is one of the best balances of comfort, cushion, energy and light weight of any shoe I have tested this year.

Minzuno Wave Rider 20 Review: In Love Again!

Article by Coby Jacobus

Mizuno Wave Rider 20
Category: Neutral daily trainer with some light stability features from the CloudWave plate.
Weight: M9 10.4 oz/295 g, W8 8.6 oz/244 g

Stack: 30mm heel/ 18mm forefoot, 12mm drop

MSRP: $119.95. Available now.

The Mizuno Wave Rider is a lightweight, neutral, well-cushioned daily trainer for the faster paced high mileage runner.  Weighing in at only 10.4oz (size 9) it is a durable, yet responsive shoe.

Saturday, July 01, 2017

Skechers Performance GORun Ultra Road 2 Review: The Bentley of Cushioned Trainers

Article by Peter Stuart and Sam Winebaum

Skechers Performance GORun Ultra R 2
Category: Light weight, highly cushioned trainer
Stack Height: 34mm in the heel and 30mm in the forefoot. (including sockliner)
Weight: 8.6 oz/244 grams for a men’s size 9.
MSRP: $115. Available July 2017
Photo: Skechers Performance
Peter: I was very fond of the Skechers GoRun Ultra Road 1 despite the fact that I should have despised it. It was heavy and I hate heavy shoes. It was cushy and I lean towards more minimal shoes. On paper it wasn’t a good shoe for me at all. Despite all of that, I enjoyed running in them. For easy and recovery runs it was a really enjoyable shoe.

This update makes it a KILLER shoe. Skechers GORun Ultra R 2 is nearly 2 ounces lighter, features a different outsole and is a lot of fun to run in.  
Sam: the R 2 defines a new standard in light, super cushioned, and lively trainers. Fast or slow the R2 is a delight to run if a bit stiff.