Wednesday, February 28, 2018

New Balance Fresh Foam Hierro v3 Review - Maximal to the Max

by Jeff Valliere

New Balance Hierro v3
11.9oz/312 g US men's size 9 (12.25 oz in my US Size 10 sample)
30mm heel/22mm forefoot (8mm drop)
$134.99 Available now including in 2E wide.

Initial Impressions:

Out of the box, I found the Hierro v3 to feel a little heavier  (1 oz, heavier in fact) and stiffer than the Hierro v2, a bit more dense and "blocky".  The upper has changed dramatically, very thick and durable feeling, but perhaps the mesh is a bit closed for good breathability on warmer days.  The new booty style with elimination of the tongue looks interesting and the Vibram outsole has changed a little, appearing more durable with slightly reconfigured lugs.

Wednesday, February 21, 2018

Nike Epic React Flyknit Review: Hype! Hype? Hype.

Article by Peter Stuart, Derek Li and Sam Winebaum
Peter: The Nike Epic React Flyknit has the latest BIG NEW FOAM wafting over from the Pacific Northwest. I'm always a little leery (and a little excited) when shoe companies start touting the NEXT BIG THING in technology or foam. Sometimes, very rarely, it's a revelation. It was for the Nike Zoom Vaporfly 4% which is a genuinely different feeling running shoe. Most often it's a lot of marketing around a marginally different feeling foam or tech innovation. We should all know by now that despite talk of clouds, pillows, kangaroos, trampolines or any other manner of light, fluffy magic--most running shoes feel pretty similar. It's also really subjective and to further confuse things the same shoe can feel really different on different days. All this to say that Nike has just unveiled the Nike Epic React which they are touting as "a leap forward in lightweight support, durability and responsive energy return". Thems some pretty big words, how does it live up to the hype? 

Sam: As Peter said Nike is touting React a midsole material and its associated sculpting of the midsole sidewalls and even under foot driven by "computational design".  Beyond the tech, the low weight for the amount of cushion stands out. The question to be answered here is where does this playful and elegant looking shoe fit in the Nike line up and thus for runners. Is it a lively, soft light trainer as the Lunar Epic and Lunar Tempo were or a firm workhorse trainer similar to the 2 oz heavier Pegasus or even the stability Structure?

Monday, February 19, 2018

Inside Salomon HQ and the S/Lab: Everything Under One Roof, From Ideas to Production

Article by Sam Winebaum

While on a last minute family visit to Geneva Switzerland last week, I reached out to RoadTrailRun's contacts at Salomon's headquarters and Design Center at the foot of the Alps in nearby Annecy, France to see if I could visit. And indeed Greg Vollet, Global Marketing and Community Manager and the person also responsible for all Salomon Running athletes, camps, and events including the new worldwide Golden Trail Series  enthusiastically told me to come by. As I speak fluent French, and always welcome the practice, language was never an issue with Greg or the engineers and technicians I met during my visit. We just rambled on and on!

Sunday, February 18, 2018

New Balance 880v7 GTX Review: Stalwart, Substantial, Durable Trainer

Article by Sam Winebaum

The New Balance 880v7 GTX is a stable neutral daily trainer designed for long steady runs and durability. Is is amply and fairly firmly cushioned, has plenty of outsole rubber and a very supportive, maybe overly supportive upper in the GTX Gore-Tex version I tested. The ride is smooth with a distinct flex point if a bit ponderous due to its 11 oz weight.  Despite not having a trail outsole, in all other respects, it is also be a fine choice for smoother trails and dirt roads due to its support and stability.
Weight: Non Gore-Tex 880v7 official US M9 11 oz/312 g
           GTX version test sample US M8.5 10.7 oz/304 g
Drop: 10mm
Available now. GTX $135 Standard $125

Thursday, February 15, 2018

Saucony Peregrine 8 - Completely Revamped, Improved Traction, Cushion and Comfort

Article by Jeff Valliere

Saucony Peregrine 8
Weight:  US Men's size 9 approx.11 oz/312 g, US Men's size 10 11.25oz./319g (test sample),
25mm heel/21mm forefoot (4mm drop)
$120 Available now
Initial Impressions:

My, how the Peregrine has changed!  Once known for being a reasonably light, low to the ground, protective well treaded race machine, the Peregrine 8 has been completely revamped with a visibly different upper, thicker midsole and a reconfigured outsole.  It feels a little bit heavier in the hand gaining approximately 1.4 oz/40 g, and I was uncertain as to what to expect with these updates, but was optimistic, as the Peregrine has improved notably each year since I began using the Peregrine 5.

Sunday, February 11, 2018

New Balance Fresh Foam Zante v4 Review: Fresh Upper

Article by Dave Ames and Peter Stuart 

Dave: The New Balance Fresh Foam Zante enters its 4th version for Spring 2018 after creating a much buzz in the run world with the original debut of the V1 a few years back. Using New Balance's Fresh Foam midsole compound and force data captured from runners to tune the midsole and outsole geometries, the major goal of the Zante was to create a versatile, lightweight everyday trainer, fast enough for tempo days and workouts, but light enough and snappy enough for the long workhorse miles. 

Laser engravings are carved into the forefoot sidewalls of the V4 intended to establish a softer landing and smoother transition from mid load to toe off. The engineered mesh upper and new Hyposkin mid foot wrap have been updated from previous versions to give a soft, yet “molded” fit. 

Friday, February 09, 2018

Skechers Performance GO Run Forza 3 Review: Seamless Underfoot Stability, Light Weight, Smooth Ride

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

GOrun Forza 3 

The light stability Forza drops 1.4 oz/40 g from version 2. Skechers calls it a "fast stability" shoe,
The weight drop in large part can be attributed to the new FlightGEN midsole foam, a very light, springy yet dense feeling material. At 9.2 oz this is a very light shoe for its stability features, upper support and overall substance. The FlightGen foam used in the midsole is the same density material but in three different firmnesses or durometer, moulded together in a special process and with geometries which eliminates the sense of any firm post.   

23mm heel/17mm forefoot, 6mm drop 
9.2 oz/261 g (M9), 7.3 oz./ 207 g (W8). 
My sample US M8.5 weighs 8.8 oz/251g so a size 9 should be just under the spec.
$120. Available now including Running Warehouse here.

Wednesday, February 07, 2018

Hoka One One Napali ATR Review - A Light, Fast and Affordable Trail Running Option

by Jeff Valliere

Hoka One One Napali ATR
9oz. US Men's Size 9/7.6oz US Women's Size 8
31mm heel/26mm forefoot (5mm drop)
$99.95 Available now at Running Warehouse here

Initial impressions

My first thought was "a Challenger ATR with a new upper".  I have to admit that at first glance,the Napali ATR came across to me as a bit boring due to it's fairly plain looking upper with simple pattern and subtle colorway.  But, I more often than not prefer subtle over loud and obnoxious, so the Napali ATR quickly grew on me.  It is light in the hand with an identical outsole and midsole of the Challenger ATR, a shoe that I really like, but have had trouble with outsole durability.  How does the Napali match up?

Sunday, February 04, 2018

Skechers GOmeb Razor 2 Review: Occam's Razor. Take the Simple Road!

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

The idea of Occam's razor is basically that the simplest, most direct solution is the best. So is the Razor 2 from the folks at Skechers Performance the best, most effiicient shoe out there? We. shall. see.
Weight: 6.8oz/194 g  (US M9)
Stack Height: 20mm heel/16 mm forefoot, 4mm offset
Price: $115. Available now.

Saturday, February 03, 2018

Skechers Performance GO Run 6 Review

Article by Peter Stuart, Dave Ames, and Derek Li

Peter: Skechers Performance knocked it out of the park last year with the GO Run 5. It was light, bouncy and could handle any workout you threw at it. I went through at least two pairs and used them for everything from tempo runs to recovery runs. How does the 6 compare? Read on, reader, read on. 
Weight: US M9 sample 7.2 oz/204g, US W8 5.9 oz/ 167g 
Stack Height: 20mm heel/16mm forefoot, 4mm drop 
Features: Sock like bootie GOknit upper, FlightGen midsole, panametric web outsole
$105. Available now.
*stats from Running Warehouse here 

Thursday, February 01, 2018

Hoka One One Napali Review: Tuned Up, Dialed In Clifton 3 at a Lighter Weight and Price than Clifton 4

Article by Dave Ames

The Hoka One One Napali ($100) debuts for Spring 2018 in the Hoka lineup as a less expensive alternative to the ever popular Clifton ($130).  The oversized EVA midsole combined with the early stage Meta Rocker design allows for a smooth, efficient ride.  The upper has been modified a bit to allow for better overlays and enhanced breathability. Napali ATR, an alternative to the Challenger ATR road to trail shoe is also available for $100, RTR review soon.