Friday, September 20, 2019

inov-8 Terraultra G 260 Review: A Superb Rugged Upper Tops a More Minimal & Agile Ride

Article by Don Reichelt, Dom Layfield, and Sam Winebaum

inov-8 Terraultra G 260 ($150)
Sam: The G260 is a low profile 19 mm total stack, zero drop, hard surface trail runner. It has,a Graphene infused outsole and a TPU EVA blend midsole. The rugged upper features a Kevlar reinforced heel counter with a roomy, high toe box with a ballistic nylon toe bumper. It is notably flexible for a trail shoe and has no rock plate. More flexible and lower stack than many current trail shoes in many ways it harkens back to the late 2000’s era of “natural and minimal” trail runners but with state of the art materials and construction. At the time I ran in many Inov-8 as they were for me the first truly the first purpose built for trail running brand: not a minimal slipper, or a re shod road runner or a slimmed down hiker. 

The video below outlines the features and has on the trail footage during my first test run on smoother single track trails in Park City’s Round Valley.

Don/Sam/Don: Love a zero drop shoe with a wide toe box!
Don/Sam/Dom: Very well built shoe, should be good for a lot of miles
Don, Dom: Excellent grip on rocky, technical terrain
Sam: A great option for practicing agility and speed on the trail
Sam/ Dom: Love the neon look!

Sam/Don: The shoe laces are difficult to tighten and quickly come loose
Don: Aesthetically… maybe the worst looking shoe I’ve run this year. Doesn’t look premium out of the box. 
Don/Dom: Too firm for my enjoyment 
Sam: Overly flexible, low stack and firm and lacking in rock protection for longer runs.
Dom: Lacking in rock protection

Tester Profiles
Don is an accomplished ultra runner whose most recent exploits include a 3d place at the notorious extreme temperatures, big climb 2018 Badwater 135 miler. He more recently finished 4th at the Jemez 50 mile and won the Lean Horse 100. Don trains over 100 miles per week on both road and trail in Colorado.
Dom 47, trains and competes mainly on trails in Southern California running about 3000 miles and 500k ft of vert per year.  In 2017 he was 14th at Western States 100 and in 2018 finished 50th at UTMB and 32nd at the 2018 Los Angeles marathon in a time of 2:46.  
Sam is the Editor and Founder of Road Trail Run. He is 62 with a 2018 3:40 Boston qualifier. Sam has been running for over 45 years and has a 2:28 marathon PR. These days he runs halves in the 1:35-1:41 range and trains 40 miles per week mostly at moderate paces on the roads and trails of New Hampshire and Utah. He is 5'10" tall and weighs about 165 lbs.

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Topo Athletic MT-3 Review

Article by Dom Layfield and Jeff Valliere

Topo Athletic MT-3 ($110)
Dom: The MT-3’s predecessor, the MT-2 (RTR review), has long been a favorite shoe of mine, one that I’ve used extensively both in training and for races.  It is built on an “anatomical” last that matches the shape of my foot, has excellent ground feel, and just enough protection for everyday trail running.   To my mind, the biggest problem facing the MT-3 is that there really wasn’t much wrong with the MT-2.
Dom: The MT-3 keeps the same shape and feel as the MT-2.  The upper is slightly more substantial, and the outsole lugs have an additional 2 mm more prominence.   On the foot, the MT-3 and its predecessor feel very similar.

  • Soft, flexible, neutral shoe.
  • Shaped like a real foot.
  • Excellent ground feel.
  • Enough protection for daily running for most runners on most trails.
  • Low platform and firm sole stack provides great stability.
  • Versatile.
  • Weight has increased by 10%, making this more a training shoe than race shoe.
  • Not as breathable as MT-2
  • Toebox slightly more restrictive than MT-2

Tester Profiles
Dom 47, trains and competes mainly on trails in Southern California running about 3000 miles and 500k ft of vert per year.  In 2017 he was 14th at Western States 100 and in 2018 finished 50th at UTMB and 32nd at the 2018 Los Angeles marathon in a time of 2:46.  
Jeff  runs mostly on very steep technical terrain above Boulder often challenging well known local FKT's. 

Official Weight: men's 9.9 oz / 281 g (US9)  / women's 8 oz / 227g (US8)
  Samples:  US M10 10.1 oz (287 g)
Stack Height:   25 / 22 mm (3mm drop)
Available now including Running Warehouse here

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Topo Athletic Magnifly 3 Review

Article by Hope Wilkes and Michael Ellenberger

Topo Magnifly 3 ($120)
Hope: I tend to think of Topo as the maker of zero drop shoes for “the rest of us.” Their current line features classy, sporty good looks -- a far cry from some more hardcore “we don’t care how they look, so long as they’re zero drop and high-performing” models. You could dash to the grocery store in a pair of Topos and nobody would bat an eye.

My initial experience with the brand came in the OG Magnifly. Impossibly light and decently forgiving for a no-ramp shoe, I raced to a fast (for me) half marathon coming off of an injury. A lot has changed since then, with Topo beefing up the M3’s upper and midsole while softening the somewhat aggressive toe cap from the OG.

I won’t be coy: this is going to be a just-short-of-glowing review. With about 100 miles on the M3, I’ve happily made myself in expert in what makes this shoe a winner.

Michael: I’ve run in a number of enjoyable from zero-drop purveyor Topo Athletic in the past year - the sporty Fli-Lyte 3, and the “cruiser” Phantom among them. In general, I’ve been happy with how they perform - especially coming from someone who does not gravitate to low-drop trainers (and in fact, has been impressed by some high-drop options, like the Nike Zoom Fly). 

The Magnify 3 slots somewhere between the Fli-Lyte 3 and Phantom in platform and profile; it’s a little sportier than the Phantom, to be sure, but not quite as aggressive in feel as the Fli-Lyte 3. Unfortunately, the “medium” profile of the Magnify is also its downfall - while it’s a perfectly acceptable trainer, and presented no issues in my 50 miles covered, I found it relatively unexciting to run in, and an inferior option to its fellow Topos.

Hope: fast for this weight, resilient midsole foam, fit, comfort
Michael: Comfortable upper on a durable outsole; better lockdown than my previous Topos

Hope: could be lighter, runs a bit short (this is a known issue: Topo went me a US M8.5 which fits like a US M8, my preferred size)
Michael: A decent shoe with two better options from Topo; heavier and clunkier than the Fli-Lyte but not as mileage-friendly as the Phantom; awkward sizing (mine, too, was short)

Tester Profiles
Michael is his 20’s and is a 1:07 half marathoner. He runs 50-60 miles per week, generally in lightweight trainers or racing flats at around 6:00-6:30 minutes/mile.
Hope is in her 20’s and after several ultras is now more on the road. She has a marathon PR of 3:47. She trains about 50 miles per week with many of her runs in the (broad) 8:00-10:00/mile range. She is happy to hit 7:30 miles on tempo days.

Coros Apex Pro GPS Sports Watch First Look Review: Silky Titanium Lightness, Extended Battery Life, Swipe Touch Screen

Article by Sam Winebaum

COROS Apex Pro ($500)
The COROS Apex Pro. (59 g) launches September 17 slotting between the solid long battery life multi-sport Apex (RTR Review) and the very rugged adventure and multi sport focused Vertix (RTR Review). I had a few days to test it including 2 road runs and 2 mountain hikes in New Hampshire. 
COROS has rapidly emerged as a strong player in the sports smart watch game with very solid GPS (as good as anyone),  and more recently with Vertix and its new sensor array (shared with the Pro) I am finding improved wrist heart rate accuracy. Value is there as are premium materials such as sapphire crystals and titanium bezels.  Does it have all the performance condition and physiology features of watches such as the Garmin Forerunner 945, no, but it does have way more than the basics for all but the hardest core data geek, adding new run bio metrics with the soon to be released optional Performance Pod also covered in brief below.

Sunday, September 15, 2019

Janji Fall 2019 Apparel Review: Run Autumn in Style

By Michael Ellenberger and Kathleen Valadez

Introduction to Janji
We’ve written about Janji before here at RoadTrailRun - including the Compass Singlet and Bolivia Short, featuring funky patterns and well-constructed designs. Of course, Janji doesn’t just make cool running gear - they donate 5% of profits to clean water initiatives worldwide, with some pieces of apparel targeting specific countries or specific missions. Recently, Janji started the Janji Collective, which, for a fee of $50, includes an AFO Orbital Singlet (limited Collective Edition), a 15% lifetime discount on gear and apparel, priority access to all releases, discounts on Janji Travel trips, and more. We may harbor some bias - both Kathleen and I were college teammates with the founders of the company, Dave and Mike - but Janji has undeniably struck a balance here between doing good, and looking good.

Thursday, September 12, 2019

ASICS GLIDERIDE In-Depth Review: Back in the Game!

Article by Sam Winebaum


The Glideride represents a new direction for ASICS. This stable, maximally cushioned (31mm heel /26mm forefoot), lively neutral trainer features ASICS GuideSole a technology that seeks to minimize lower leg movement  and increase energy efficiency through a combination of a stiff and curved midsole platform with a forward rocker geometry, deep decoupling groove and EVA propulsion plate. Glideride releases September 27, 2019.
The science behind the overall GuideSole approach:
  • Reduce the energy taken away on heel strikes
  • Improve propulsion by optimizing efficiency (primarily for heel strikers) by keeping the angle of ankle dorsiflexion ( flexing ankle up) and plantar flexion (flexing toes down) constant during the gait cycle with a stiff sole while using the forward rocker to propel toe off. The idea is to reduce energy loss at the ankle joint and shift the body forward. Initial studies show a reduction of ankle joint energy loss of 19% vs. conventional shoes in the category. 
  • Move the center of mass further back than normal so as to reduce the pendulum at the rear leg and thus the effort to swing the rear leg forward to next stride.
It differs from the earlier "concept car" Meta Ride (RTR Review) in being: approximately 0.8 oz/ 23 g lighter coming in at approximately 10.2 oz / 289 g in a US men's size 9, having a 5mm drop instead of the zero drop of the Meta, including an EVA propulsion plate, having a more conventional rubber outsole as well as a less elaborate upper and being $100 less expensive. 

ASCIS calls out targeted competitors such as Hoka Carbon X and Nike Zoom Fly and my testing indicates those are valid comparatives along with several others I have selected for the comparisons section of this  review including the Hoka Clifton 6, New Balance 890v7, and ASICS own GEL-Cumulus 21 a shoe of identical weight but with a more conventional 10mm drop so less forefoot cushion.  I have now run over 40 miles at a variety of paces in the Glideride.
The Glideride was launched at a spectacular event and unusual race event The Eternal Run on the Bonneville Salt Flats of Utah I was fortunate to attend earlier this month. 
Watch my video of the Eternal Run

Running on Salt is Different!

  • Propulsive rocker ride feel without overdoing it, feeling harsh or overly stiff or "flat"
  • Plentiful, slightly bouncy cushion
  • Very stable and consistent at all paces, Versatile for all training paces except all out
  • Superb (one of the best of 2019) easy on the foot upper with great front to back hold and all around comfort
  • Stiffness, thick forefoot cushion and less pronounced rocker impede dynamic a toe off motion at my faster than half marathon paces popping me more vertical than I would like. 

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Altra Running Duo 1.5 Multi Tester Review

Article by Jacob Brady, Derek Li, and Sam Winebaum

Altra Running Duo 1.5 ($130)
Jacob: The Altra Duo 1.5 is the second generation in the Duo line, Altra's max cushion racer. It has a monstrous 33mm/33mm (heel/forefoot) stack height at an impressively light weight. Lightweight but heavily cushioned shoes are quite popular these days, and very soon before receiving the Duo 1.5, I had the opportunity to test run the Hoka ONE ONE Rincon and Clifton 6; two shoes in a fairly similar class. I have also been running in another Hoka shoe, the Speedgoat 3 (on trails), and have been using the Nike Zoom Fly Flyknit (33mm heel) for weekly workouts, so I've had a lot of recent experience with high-stack, high-cushion shoes. I even raced the Speedgoat 3 for a very tame dirt 5k, just as a comparison point, when a typical ideal 5k race shoe would be less than half that stack.

Derek: Having had experience with Duo 1 (RTR Review), I will just say that the Duo 1.5 is mainly an upper update. There is officially nothing changed in the midsole and outsole, but there are some subtle changes not just in the fit, but the ride as well. Read on to find out. 

Sam: I tested the Duo 1, unfortunately in some ways in a sample half size up from my normal and its super light breathable upper didn't provide as much support as I could hope for on top of the giant 33 mm zero drop stack. I liked the light weight and firmer and responsive Max LLT midsole ride. I was eager to test the Duo 1.5 and its new very thin engineered knit upper in my correct size over the same platform and weighing a very light 8.7 oz / 246 g.

  • Lightweight considering the massive stack height and high cushion
  • Zero-drop doesn’t feel extreme
  • Solid grip
  • Very well cushioned with decent response, admirably flexible for such a big stack
  • Get liviler with little to no sense of zero drop as pace picks up to tempo.

  • High cushioning to weight ratio, good overall weight balance across the shoe, decent forefoot flex. 

  • Relatively insecure fit
  • No tongue padding can cause discomfort
  • Limited use; not a good daily trainer or racer
  • Lace them tight and secure and there is a touch of discomfort from tongue, lace them looser and fit gets less secure around the upper heel as the collars are low.
  • zero drop, low heel, noticed at slow paces limiting utility somewhat to faster days,

  • Difficult to get a good balance of heel lock down and lace tension. New upper is not as breathable as the original Duo. 

Monday, September 09, 2019

Altra Olympus 3.5 Review - It's big, it's burly, it's fun to run

Article by Don Reichelt and Jeff Beck

Altra Olympus 3.5 ($150)

Jeff: The Olympus 3.5 is a minor update to the Olympus 3.0, and following Altra’s previous numbering scheme would indicate an upper revision from its predecessor. In this case, Altra reworked a handful of the overlays around the upper, and claims that this upper has increased durability. I personally didn’t get a chance to test the 3.0, but based on appearances the 3.5’s upper looks much more streamlined and straightforward. If you aren’t aware, the Olympus is Altra’s biggest and most cushioned trail shoe, and to combat high stack instability they have given the shoe a relatively wide platform. It is an Altra so it is a zero drop shoe, but it doesn’t look like it since the midsole in the rear goes up higher around the heel, embedding the heel into the midsole than it does in the front. 
Looks are deceiving, there are several millimeters of midsole in the rear that actually surround the heel, almost acting like a bucket seat for your foot.

Jeff: Breathable upper
Jeff: Midsole has lots of protection, but doesn’t feel mushy or stiff
Jeff: Solid traction for non-technical trails

Don: Stable platform for such a high stack 
Don: Surprisingly good toe-off feel 
Don: Soft without being mushy 
Don: Upper quality is spot on 

Jeff: Altra’s four-point gater can be tricky to put on 
Jeff: Center of outsole is exposed midsole leading to durability issues

Don: Keeping in mind what this shoe is… I struggle to come up with a con. 

Sunday, September 08, 2019

Suunto 5 In Depth Review - A Full Featured, Compact, High Accuracy, and Affordable Suunto

Article by Jeff Valliere
Suunto 5
Colors:  Black (tested), White, Burgundy Copper, Graphite Copper
Available now
The Suunto S5 fills the gap between the Suunto S3 fitness tracker (with no GPS onboard) and the flagship S9 Baro ($600) the S9 without Baro ($500).  The S5 is very close in size to the Suunto Spartan Trainer with a similar strap based GPS antenna bump also found on both the Spartan Trainer and Ambit series watches.  The S5 however has a stainless steel bezel and mineral glass screen (vs. plastic) for a classy look and increased durability.
The S5 is ALMOST a miniature version of the S9, but with a few key differences. Some features are lacking, such as no barometric altimeter, no compass, smaller battery, no FusedTrack, touchscreen, no adjustable screen brightness, no access to Movescount and only two GPS tracking intervals: Performance(Best) and Endurance(Good) and dropping Ultra(OK), the 2 minute interval rate.

This said, the S5 has some interesting upgrades that are not currently available on the S9 such as sleep, VO2, stress, body battery metrics, and adaptive training plans. All this at just under half the price of the S9, which makes for a comparative bargain if you are looking to save some money, prefer a smaller GPS watch, want the upgrades and are less concerned about maximum extended battery life.

ASICS Eternal Run Experiment Launches the GLIDERIDE Trainer. We Ran!

Article by Sam Winebaum

The ASICS Eternal Run
Watch as ASICS launched the Glideride at a spectacular event on the Bonneville Salt Flats in the desert two hours west of Salt Lake City, a race on a seemingly infinite and totally flat salt surface. 
The Eternal Race had a unique  race format with no set course beyond a general direction, no timing, and no limits beyond staying below a predetermined  pace. 30 runners from all around the world, of differing ages and abilities, including RoadTrailRun Editor Sam  Winebaum, were honored to attend and take on the challenge on the endless Bonneville Salt Flats in Utah.

Thursday, September 05, 2019

Salomon Supercross Review: A Versatile, Roomier, Softer, More Flexible Salomon

Article by Jeff Valliere and Sam Winebaum

Salomon Supercross ($110)
Sam:  The Supercross is a new addition to Salomon's Cross family of aggressively lugged trail shoes. It features a roomier more generous fit than most all Salomon I have run. It has a rip stop nylon upper with pliable overlays, from what I can sense a softer Energy Cell midsole which is also quite flexible, and a high durability Contagrip TD outsole with 5mm lugs.  
It is positioned by Salomon as being "made for running in all the wild places you like to go. Whether it's a daily lap around your urban park, an escape to the local trail, or something more rugged, this shoe will grip on all terrains while offering a generous cushioning..." One could consider it as the sloppier, mud and snow conditions door to trail sibling of the Sense Ride 2 (RTR Review) although it ran just fine on hard packed smoother single tracks. It is also available in a GTX version for $130.

More generous fit than usual for Salomon and especially Speedcross 4
          With no Endofit bootie or Quicklace garage very easy to slip on and adjust
          Comfortable softer midsole than usual for Salomon, and a more flexible one
          Versatile,.smooth moderate trails even roads manners, aggressive grip when needed
          Value priced with modern styling
Jeff:  No quicklace garage, no Endofit (or at least some tongue gusseting, weight, foothold in steep and/or technical terrain.

-Generous overall fit, pliable materials,  no inner bootie Endofit sleeve, and it seems slipping of Quicklace grip makes mid foot hold not as secure as Speedcross and thus less suitable for aggressive off camber terrain for me..
-Weight at about 11.2 oz is up there.

Tuesday, September 03, 2019

Altra Running Duo 1.5 Initial Run Video Review & Shoe Details

Article by Sam Winebaum

Altra Duo 1.5 ($130)
Estimated Weight: men’s size 9: 8.7 oz / 246 g
Samples: men’s size 12: 10oz / 282g, men’s size 8.5: 8.5 oz / 241g 
Duo 1.0 review & weight men’s size 9: 8.46 oz./240 g
Stack Height: men’s  33mm heel /33mm forefoot : women’s 31mm heel /31mm forefoot Available now including Running Warehouse here
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Full multi tester review coming soon!
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