Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Altra Running King MT 2 Multi Tester Review: A Now Lighter Specialized Trail/OCR Beast!

Article by Canice Harte, Dom Layfield, and Jeff Valliere

Altra Running King MT 2.0 ($140)


Canice: The King MT 2 has better grip, drainage, and durability. The upper is made of a hand tailored mesh and dynamically cut eye stays for flexibility and comfort. The new Vibram® MegaGrip™ Litebase outsole has a 40%+ reduction in thickness and 25%+ reduction in weight.
Canice, Dom: Traction, ground feel and a no slip heel.
Jeff, Dom:  Traction, durability
One ounce lighter than predecessor.

Jeff:  Security on steep, technical terrain, lack of versatility
Canice: Limited terrain appeal/use. The shoe is great for its intended use but as an all round trail shoe, Altra has better options. So the question becomes, do I want to spend $140 for a shoe that’s really meant for running up hills?
Dom:  Velcro forefoot strap of dubious utility.
(Tester profiles at end of article)

Weight:: men's  9.9 oz / 281g (US9) women’s 8.6 oz / 244g (US8)
Samples: US Men’s 10:  10.4 oz / 295 g
US Men’s 10:  10.3 oz / 292 g
Stack Height: 17mm, zero drop
Available now.  $140

Tuesday, October 15, 2019

Saucony Triumph 17 Multi Tester Review: Lots of Foamy, Plush, Move Along Goodness!

Article by Jeff Beck, Canice Harte, Derek Li, Jeff Valliere, and Sam Winebaum

Saucony Triumph 17 ($150)

Sam: The Triumph 17 is clearly a complete update. Dropping more than an ounce (over 30g)  per shoe and $10 in price with about the same very well cushioned and big stack height of 33.5mm heel / 25.54mm forefoot and the same 8mm drop, the big news is a new midsole material PWRRUN+.

The new PWRRUN+ midsole is still TPU but instead of Everun as in the ISO 5 it is a new heated and expanded TPU bead based material called PWRRUN+.

PWRRUN+ is called out by Saucony as being 25% lighter than their “previous best” (assuming Everun) with a sensation of softness and response, 3x more durable and 3x more temperature resistant than EVA foams, 2x as flexible as standard cushioning, and with 5% more impact absorption than Saucony's "previous best" foam.

We will also see PWRRUN+ in the January Freedom 3. Other updates such as Guide 13, Kinvara 11, and Peregrine 10 get PWRRUN, a TPU EVA blend (RTR Saucony 2020 Road PreviewRTR Saucony 2020 Trail Preview)
Women's color (PC: Sally Reiley. Sally will join the review soon)
Notice no “ISO” in the naming. They didn’t skip all the versions from the Triumph ISO 5! Saucony simplified naming to actual annual version and is also doing this for all upcoming models. Well not just marketing simplification, they also did away with the ISO Fit bands replacing them in the upper here with a soft engineered mesh with bootie tongue, thin overlays towards mid foot and a stout toe bumper similar to the ISO 5's and really the only upper hold over other than bootie tongue from ISO 5. The molded rear collars are unusually plush looking and feeling, and even somewhat stretchy covering a stout heel counter. The outsole combines areas of firm rubber at the heel and toe with softer crystal rubber elsewhere. 

Clearly aimed at the heavy duty more cushioned and premium daily trainer segment, the Triumph 17 is very solidly built, copiously cushioned, with lots of durable rubber yet is reasonable in weight for its substance. It was one of the most exciting shoes I saw at the last Outdoor Retailer from a brand that clearly is shaking up all the shoes with new midsoles, uppers and streamlined naming. So let's find out what our testers thought.

Canice: Cushion, fit and ride
Sam: Well controlled responsive bounce, plentiful cushion, easy any pace transitions, superb upper particularly the stretch soft rear collars
Jeff B: Plush upper breathes well, midsole/outsole provide lots of cushioning but still has some flex, and plenty of pop when the pace picks up
Derek: very comfortable upper, overall well balanced shoe with decent flexibility for its stack height
Jeff V:  Controlled bounce, ample cushion, upper breathability and security

Canice: Lots of foam in the upper
Sam: far rear of sole overhang and weight (outsole and midsole), stiffish front of mid foot flex point
Jeff B: Tube laces feel like they are coming untied, even if they aren’t
Derek: padding around the heel seems a bit excessive, even for a premium daily trainer
Jeff V:  Laces, fit is snug on met heads if not careful with lacing, a touch heavy

Sunday, October 13, 2019

Title Nine Woolicious Knitwear Review - the Full Zip Tunic!

Article by Dominique Winebaum

Title Nine Full Zip Woolicious™ Tunic ($149 )
A tunic that has it all and a versatile garment that is fitting for fall, winter, and spring wear.  The Woolicious full zip tunic is dislodging my own personal dress code regarding handmade versus store bought knitwear.  My drawers are full of handmade woolies as I am quite the knitter, however, several of my “masterpieces” are too bulky, showy, plainly impractical or needing constant adjusting comparatively to the Woolicious full zip tunic.  Lightweight and high performing, at once comfy and flattering, the full zip tunic is the perfect layer for a smart casual and cozy look heading out or staying in. 
Made with a wool blend that is high performing, soft, washable and with quick-wicking properties, called Woolicious ™ (60% extra fine Merino wool & 40% poly blend).  A fine-gauge sweater, this tight knit garment drapes the body with a no-nonsense flair that is at once comfortable and a “body-skimming fit.” For ease of movement, a different knit (ribbed) extends in one color tone along the sides of the body and in a stripe design along the arms.

Thursday, October 10, 2019

Saucony Guide 13 Initial Run Review Video and Shoe Details

Article by Sam Winebaum

Saucony Guide 13 ($120)
Approx. Weight: 10.5 oz / 398g  men's size 9
Stack Height: 32.5 heel / 24.5 forefoot (including sockliner), 8mm drop  
Available 11/1/19


  • New PWRUN TPU/EVA blend midsole, stack height and drop unchanged.
  • L shaped TPU guidance plate instead of a firm medial post
  • Engineered mesh upper instead of ISO Fit bands.


Full Multi Tester Review soon!
Read reviewers' full run bios here
The product reviewed was provided at no cost. The opinions herein are the authors'.
Comments and Questions Welcome Below!
Please let us know mileage, paces, race distances, and current preferred shoes

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Skechers Performance GO RUN RIDE 8 HYPER Multi Tester Review: Is it GRR8?

Article by Peter Stuart, Derek Li,  Mac Jeffries, Jeff Beck, Hope Wilkes and Sam Winebaum

Skechers Performance GO RUN RIDE 8 ($115)
Sam: In the past year Skechers Hyper midsole foam has literally "burst" onto the running scene for its light weight and dynamic run feel and now comes to Skechers' daily road trainer the GO Run Ride 8

Hyper Burst is an EVA based midsole foam but processed in a very different way than the usual. Instead of being injected or compressed an EVA form is saturated with CO2 in a supercritical state to expand it creating a myriad of bubbles with durable side walls. Springy, light, consistent in feel, and highly cushioned yet with responsive pop Hyper Burst is one great midsole material. 

Hyper Burst started in the Razor 3 Hyper, a performance trainer/racer, then the Run 7 Hyper  a fast and fun trainer with to put it charitably a “challenging”, for some, stretch knit upper, then the Max Road 4 Hyper a super light and flexible maximally cushioned trainer with a podular outsole and compression knit upper and most recently the Speed TRL Hyper, a very light and protective trail speedster with a Hyper heel and front injection nylon plate. Let’s just say nothing conservative or will work for just about any foot or runner in these first models except maybe the popular Razor 3. All were bold and with great personality but not for everyone.
The Ride 8, the follow on to last year’s popular Ride 7 takes a fairly traditional geometry 6mm drop shoe, a steady as she goes daily trainer if you will, and gives it the Hyper Burst foam treatment and 2mm more stack at very close to the same weight at 9.3 oz / 262g, adds a Goodyear rubber outsole and upgrades the upper with a stitch free engineered knit.

Peter: The GO Run Ride 7 was a surprise winner for me. I put about 400 miles on my first pair of the Ride 7 and loved them so much I bought another pair. They were a little soft for some folks, but I just loved them. Didn’t love the upper, but loved the Ride. I was excited to hear that the Ride 8 would be coming out with Hyperburst as the midsole foam. The Razor 3, featuring Hyperburst, was one of my favorite shoes from last year. It’s great material. So, how does Hyperburst translate into a training shoe? Is it smooth, is it mushy?  Let’s find out. 

Hope: This was my first experience in a Go Run Ride, but not my first time in Skechers. Having loved a few recent models for their dazzling HyperBurst midsoles, I came into the GRR8 review primed to love the shoe.

Derek: snug and comfortable fit, solid bouncy ride, good cushioning:weight ratio
Peter: Smooth ride, comfortable fit, good traction
Sam: Great upper, light weight for big stack and tons of cushion, very solid value
Mac: great energy return, relatively lightweight, good - not great - price point
Jeff: Bouncy but smooth running, huge improvement from last year’s upper and midsole
Hope: classy good looks, great upper, smooth ride, hard wearing outsole

Derek: Shoe feels a bit warm 
Peter: A little plain looking
Mac: The upper bunched up on me a little; had to work a little to get the lacing right
Sam/Hope: Not enough rocker, decoupling and flex grooves and fairly stiff
Jeff: Geometry could use some work, as could aesthetics
Hope: about a half size too big from what I’ve come to expect from US men’s 8

Tuesday, October 08, 2019

Petzl Actik Core and Swift RL Headlamps In Depth Review - Brighter and Lighter with Exceptional Performance

Article by Jeff Valliere

Petzl Actik Core ($70) & Swift RL ($120)
Swift RL (Left) Actik Core (Right)
Petzl continues to up their game with an all new model, the Swift RL and an improvement upon one of my favorites from last year, the Actik Core.  Both headlamps are lightweight, compact, bright, easy to recharge with micro USB cable, secure fit and reasonably priced for all that they offer.  The updated Actik Core, aside from a different color, appears the same as the previous model, but Petzl has managed to up the brightness from 350 to 450 lumens and reduce the weight by 7 grams.  The all new Swift RL, like the Actik Core, has a rechargeable battery, is just slightly larger in size and weighs 25 grams more. However, the Swift RL has better battery life and double the lumens at a whopping 900!  Add to that Reactive Lighting, a heatsink to dissipate heat and a very clever and secure strap.  

Both lamps are easily bright enough for trail running on technical trails, though of course the Swift RL is superior with the added brightness.  Choosing between the two really comes down to budget and if you are counting grams, as each are exceptionally competent for running, trail running and hiking.

Saturday, October 05, 2019

Saucony Triumph 17 Initial Run Video Review with Shoe Details and Comparison to Triumph ISO 5

Article by Sam Winebaum

Saucony Triumph 17 ($150)
Update: Our full multi tester review with 14 comparisons is HERE
Watch  Our Initial Video Review
With its now PWRRun+ midsole and new non ISO upper the Triumph 17 not only drops more than half an ounce (17g)  to 10.5 oz / 297g for a size men's US 9 based on my test sample and becomes a more flexible and agile trainer.  The stack height is 33.5mm heel, 25.5mm forefoot with the same 8mm drop as in the current Triumph ISO 5. Releases 11/1/19.

Read our preview article covering the Spring 2020 Saucony Road line here
(Triumph 17, Freedom 3, Kinvara 11, Guide 13 

Read reviewers' full run bios here
The product reviewed was provided at no cost. The opinions herein are the authors'.
Comments and Questions Welcome Below!
Please let us know mileage, paces, race distances, and current preferred shoes

Reieases 11/1/19

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Your purchases help support RoadTrailRun. Thanks!

USA  Men's & Women's HERE 
Pre Order Triumph 17 Now
ISO 5 now on Clearance $119.95
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Thursday, October 03, 2019

Skechers Performance GO RUN SPEED TRL HYPER Review: High Performance and Lots of Substance at a Super Light Weight!

Article by Dom Layfield, Jeff Valliere, Jeff Beck, Jacob Brady, Hannah and Sam Winebaum

Skechers Performance GO RUN SPEED TRL HYPER ($125)
Sam: The GO RUN SPEED TRL HYPER highlights Skechers’ continued push towards ever lighter high performance shoes focused on annual introductions of new lighter higher performance midsole materials. In 2019 we see Hyper Burst, an EVA expanded with supercritical CO2 to create a resilient consistent and springy material. Not just content introducing road racing and training shoes with Hyper Skechers introduces the TRL which arrives  as a 8 oz / 227 g trail racing shoe with a Hyper Burst foam heel and forefoot UltraFlight cushioning unit. Few trail shoes come in as light with the Salomon S/Lab Sense and Arc'Teryx Norman SL coming to mind and compared below.

The TRL also features:
  • an H shaped injected nylon front rock protection and propulsion/ rocker plate which also provides torsional rigidity,
  • a single layer monofilament mesh upper with “burrito” wrap tongue along with cord wrapping  all around the heel to the laces to lock the rear foot to the platform.  
  • And the news continues with a Goodyear rubber outsole. 
I was fortunate to be able to wear test this model through multiple versions on the way to production. As with all Skechers I have tested, the initial upper materials, midsole and outsole geometries remained constant with changes to the upper, outsole rubber, and H plate materials. The key elements with TRL were perfecting the rear hold of the upper and the feel of the plate. 

The question we try to answer in our testing and review is how capable, protective, and cushioned is such a light shoe and what had to give if anything. Spoiler alert not much!