Wednesday, July 01, 2020

Polar Unite Initial Review: A Complete, Easy to Understand yet Deep Fitness and Well Being Companion with GPS Tracking from Your Phone

Article by Sam Winebaum


Polar Unite ($150)

Released June 30, the Polar Unite represents a big move by Polar to capture a more value and fitness oriented segment of the sports and wellbeing smartwatch market with a light, low cost, stylish new option. 

Polar was the original cardiac fitness monitoring company with experience dating back to the 1980’s. Since then they have continued to evolve their science based approach with extensive in house research. Polar is often used in scientific studies and by elite athletes for its accuracy and deep long term insights into trends in cardiac fitness and training.


With the Unite, Polar seeks to deliver all that deep experience in a simple accessible format to help transform data into simple actionable insights to help users progress, achieve balance, and receive guidance.

Priced at $150, and weighing a mere 32g, it incorporates many but not all of the essential features of the Vantage series and Grit X. 

Multi Tester Saucony Endorphin Collection Multi Tester Reviews and Shopping. All in one place!

Saucony more fully releases its Endorphin Collection June 30th. Below please find links to our multi tester reviews and to retailers ( to be updated as more come on line) who are carrying this exciting collection. 

Endorphin Pro ($200)
Bottom line:  A highly cushioned very light PEBA midsole carbon plated road racing shoe which competes directly with the Nike Vaporfly.

Click Here: Available at Saucony
 
Endorphin Speed  ($160)
Bottom line: A highly cushioned PEBA midsole very light racing and training shoe which is essentially identical to the Pro but substitutes a nylon plate for the Pro's carbon plate for a slightly more forgiving and versatile ride and a slightly more supportive upper.

Click Here: Available at Saucony

Endorphin Shift ($140)
Bottom line: a max cushioned, inherently stable daily training shoe with a TPU/EVA midsole sharing Speed Roll rocker technology with its lighter siblings but with no plate
Read our  multi tester review 

Click Here: Available at Saucony

Endorphin Speed vs. Pro run one on each foot and compared video review 

The products reviewed were provided at no charge. 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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Tuesday, June 30, 2020

New Balance FuelCell Prism Initial Review, Shoe Details and Comparisons

Article by Sam Winebaum, Editor

New Balance FuelCell Prism ($120)
In the video I take the New Balance FuelCell Prism releasing July for a first hilly 5.7 mile / 9.5km run in Park City, Utah and share my first run impressions, shoe details, and some comparisons.
At approximately 8.1 oz /230 g (US9) based on our sample the Prism is a 6mm drop light road trainer with a softer FuelCell midsole with a medial post for some support. 
It has plenty of rubber outsole for durability and some response, and a thin more relaxed and very breathable engineered mesh upper. 
It provides a new and I think potentially very versatile and light option for daily training, tempo workouts, and longer races for both runners who favor support shoes and more neutral ones.Full multi tester review soon!

INITIAL VIDEO REVIEW (7:35)

Read reviewers' full run bios here
The product reviewed was a provided at no charge. 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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Monday, June 29, 2020

The Road Trail Run Team's Best 2020 Run Shoes and Gear, So Far! Part I


Video by Sally Reiley, Joost de Raeymaeker, Derek Li, Jacob Brady, Ryan Eiler, Hope Wilkes, Don Reichelt, Michael Ellenberger and Sam Winebaum


In the recorded Zoom members of our worldwide test team share their run favorites of 2020,  so far!  The entire team has tested over 100 shoes in 2020 with more coming soon. They also share how they have maintained their running motivation and race sharpness during these trying times.


The team, and others not able to join the video today, have tested and reviewed over 100 different shoes this year including the latest (and to come)  from adidas, ASICS, Atreyu, Brooks, Hoka, Merrell, New Balance, Nike, Reebok, Salming, Saucony, Salomon, Skechers and more. Apparel covered includes Tracksmith and Odlo.


The participants in today’s video (with a second to follow) include two World Marathon Majors age group podiums (including a 2x winner), an accomplished road and trail ultra champion, a 1:07 half runner, runners with Boston qualifiers and those seeking one, along with dedicated long time runners of all ages and paces.

Today’s participants (with time stamp links for their takes) include Sally Reiley 1:30, Joost de Raeymaeker 4:07, Derek Li 8:49Don Reichelt 11:45Jacob Brady 15:30, Ryan Eiler 19:55 , Hope Wilkes 21:37 Michael Ellenberger 23:40 and Sam Winebaum 26:11


WATCH THE TEAM'S BEST OF 2020, SO FAR VIDEO (29:46)


To read our reviews (most multi tester) please visit our site's review index page here: https://www.roadtrailrun.com/p/blog-page.html


A full article based on a poll of the best training and racing shoes of 2020 so far to follow!


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

RoadTrailRun receives a commission on purchases at the stores below.
Your purchases help support RoadTrailRun. Thanks!

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Sunday, June 28, 2020

Hoka One One Clifton Edge Review: Radical Looking, Cadillac Smooth Suburb Cruiser

Article by Dominique Winebaum & Michael Ellenberger


Hoka One One Clifton Edge ($160)


Introduction

The Clifton Edge has a new midsole geometry reminding in less extreme form of the TenNine’s with an aggressive Late Stage rocker and a less pronounced rear outrigger. 


Edge has the same 29mm heel / 24mm forefoot stack men’s as the regular Clifton with the women’s at 26mm / 21mm with 1mm less front and back stack compared to the regular Clifton. 

Yet despite the pronounced rear outrigger it only weighs approximately 0.1 oz more. Hoka is calling it a more “accessible” Clifton.


The midsole is a new, light weight high resiliency foam with the outsole a thick layer of rubberized foam with a moderate heel bevel and a wide, inherently stable platform.  

Men’s and women’s colorways are exactly the same for the pairs we received .

However, at launch the blue version below for women will also be available and Dominique thinks it is very attractive.

The men also get a darker Anthracite and Evening Primrose color.



Our size US8.5 men’s sample weighs 241g / 8.5 oz so a US9 should weigh about 8.75 oz / 248 g. The Clifton 6 in US 8.5 weighed 0.1 oz more on a narrower underfoot platform. The upper is an embossed TPU fiber. $160. Available July 2020.


Michael: The Hoka One One Clifton Edge is here! Part Clifton, part TenNine, this long entry from Hoka is sure to turn heads. On the roads? I find the Clifton Edge to be a suburb cruiser, without the springy upside I had anticipated. It’s more of a vintage Cadillac than a modern day Corvette, and as long as you don’t expect supercar performance, the Clifton Edge is a great choice.


Tester Profiles

Dominique has run for over 40 years, consistently about 25 miles per week at paces between 10 and 11 minute miles. She races rarely, but always surprises more hard core runners in her age group when she does. She has a 1985 marathon PR of 3:16 in her second marathon which at the time put her on the top 10.Swiss women’s lists. She is the mother of two grown children, both runners post college, and enjoys nordic and alpine skiing, hiking and trekking, and gardening. 

Michael is a 2019 graduate of Northwestern University Law School in Chicago, with an interest in patent and intellectual property law. Prior to law school, he competed collegiately at Washington University in St. Louis (10,000m PR of 30:21). He recently finished 2nd at the Chicago Half-Marathon in a PR of 67:43, and was the top Illinois finisher in the 2017 Boston Marathon (2:33:03, 82nd overall). He recently secured a 2:31 marathon PR at the Austin Marathon. 


First Impressions and Fit

Dominique: The pronounced shape of the heel is not something that is particularly attractive so it was not love at first sight. Likewise, the launch version colorway of Nimbus Cloud/Lunar Rock did not rock my boat either.  However, I was excited to run in them and they fit perfectly -- true to size, which is not always the case with a HOKA which can run big for me  (Speedgoat 4). Here my foot is secure around the midfoot and the heel with plenty of room in the toe box.  


The cushioning is there, albeit without the plush softer  feel that I have gotten used to lately as I have been running such as the Brooks Glycerin 18 or the faster feeling Glideride.   As my dedicated road running shoes of the moment, I have logged more than 120 miles in them since early May.  The Clifton Edge with its extended heel and wide platform and outsole made of rubberized foam is growing on me, and when my legs feel springy, I am really enjoying the ride.   

Michael: I think most people’s first impressions will be the same here: this thing is huge. Seriously, even in my relatively small 8.5, the Clifton Edge is a boat, easily dwarfing any other shoes in my closet (and compared to the slipper silhouettes of the New Balance FuelCell Rebel or New Balance 5280, looking absolutely other-worldly!). This said it only weighs a touch more than a Clifton 6, 0.1oz more. 


Fit-wise, though, this feels like… a running shoe! And fortunately so. While the profile of the Clifton Edge is obtuse, the fit is relatively true - my 8.5 was perhaps a little looser than I’d fit, and required a bit more lacing than I expected, it’s still a very… traditional fit, on a definitively non-traditional shoe! 


Upper

Dominique: The front of the shoe’s upper and eyebrow are reinforced with embossed TPU adding extra support and protection.  

The rest of the upper is made with a breathable mesh that has a soft and comfortable feel.  While the edges of the collars are fairly lean and stiff,  padding inside the collar enhances comfort and stability at the ankle.  

A vertical pull tab as part of the achilles collar designed for easy entry is a nice addition and helps balance the look of the protruding heel.  The tongue is fairly flat and quite breathable, and along with the lacing system, keep my feet comfortably in place.   Constructed with lightweight and durable materials, the upper has positively a bit of a minimalist appearance.   


Michael: The most definitive feature of the Clifton Edge (well, besides its general girth) has to be that sweeping heel; it’s considerably more pronounced than even the heel on the new Zoom Pegasus 37. Unlike the Hoka Rincon 2 - which had a stitched on heel tab but didn’t need one - I really wish there was something to grab onto to assist with putting this shoe on. Sure, you can grab the “tail” - but something ala the Rincon would have been welcomed. And I found the heel just slightly too drastic - while it was comfortable, to be sure, I had a hard time getting a sufficient lockdown. It’s not necessarily that my heel was slipping up and down the large heel counter, but more that there was just a lot of room throughout the shoe - ankle “pocket” included - that led me really tightening down the laces. 


So let’s talk about those laces (and the material that surrounds them). The laces are a little thinner than I would have preferred, but they aren’t sharp or uncomfortable. The toebox and midfoot are also adequately breathable, and a nice mix between a “modern” knit upper and a more classic mesh fabric upper.


Midsole

Dominique: The midsole is made with a new high-resiliency foam (the light blue green above) that is both lightweight and springy. The rubberized foam outsole in orange and pink is thick and is essentially part of the cushion package.


The cushioning is protective and comfortable, yet it does not have a super plush feel that I have become accustomed to lately such as in the Brooks Glycerin 18.   This said, I am getting used to running in them and my focus has been to run more efficiently and with more spring.  The extended heel is certainly helping me with that as well as the Meta-Rocker.  


As a heel striker, the Clifton Edge is a good match for me as it is super stable. In fact, I wore them for a whole day standing on rock and gravel assisting at an ultra aid station this weekend and my legs weren’t achy at all at day’s end or the next day.  

Michael: The midsole on the Clifton Edge - boy, there’s a lot of it, isn’t there? - is the most visually striking element of the shoe. It extends from in front of the toe to several millimeters beyond your heel - not quite as extreme as on the HOKA TenNine, but not too far from that, either. In practice, you’ll notice…. It runs basically like a regular shoe. Sure, driving in this shoe might be a different experience than in the regular ol’ Clifton, but the overall feel of the midsole when running is, well… normal.


And that’s both a good and bad thing. The cushioning underfoot is firmer than I expected - like Dominique, I had seen the shoe visually and expected something ultrasoft. Not so. While there is some bounce to the Edge (I’ll cover that more in the “Ride” section), it’s largely a firm, controlled ride, with a hint of midfoot roll baked in. It’s nice, but distinctly usual - which is not what I had anticipated from the appearance of the Clifton Edge. 


Outsole


Dominique: The outsole is essentially part of the midsole and vs versa here. It is very thick rubberized foam and has shown very reasonable wear at 100 miles on my pair below.


Ride

Dominique: I will admit that I run at a fairly slow pace, usually around 11 minute miles up at altitude here in Park City, and that I need to make a conscientious effort to run faster.  When my legs are able to move faster, I truly enjoy the ride of the Clifton Edge and my stride is just better as a result.  The wide platform of the shoe is very supportive and springy.    

Michael: In his First Impressions review here, Sam was excited about the “pop” of the Clifton Edge, with a distinct toe-off and propulsion on his exciting Utah terrain. For me, the effect of the Clifton Edge was a little more subdued - while there was a midfoot “pop” that keep me rolling forward - something that I didn’t really appreciate at slower speeds and something that is sort of tricky to activate - it’s nothing earth shattering, and for many runners, this shoe will feel no different from a Rincon or even Hoka Mach 3. In fact, I think I’d choose it over those two two for long runs and “cruise” runs where you just want to turn off the brain and have miles click by - the cushioning, structure, and general underfoot feel of the Edge are terrific for a long run.


Let me elaborate on that “tricky to activate” element of the midfoot, because it’s something I don’t often encounter - I don’t know if it’s the way my foot is positioned within the shoe, or the way the shoe interacts with the ground, but this is just not an aggressive platform. At all. And while I don’t think the length of the outsole and rear-skewed weight had me heel striking, the Clifton Edge is distinctly not a shoe I’d want to run fast in - even though, conversely, it’s actually more fun at fast speeds. The problem is that getting there - activating that roll-off sensation - is considerably harder in the Edge than in a more traditional shoe. In Hoka’s Rincon for example (a more traditionally platformed shoe), I have run a number of fast miles by nature of it being light, firm, and relatively nimble. My cadence naturally increases a little, my lean is a little more aggressive, and all of a sudden I’m running faster. In the Clifton Edge, it almost feels like you need to overcome the shoe to kickstart that process. 


Once running faster - say, moderate or tempo pace - I did quite like the Clifton Edge (though I admit I didn’t do any formal structured workouts with them), but it’s that activation barrier to reaching those paces that kept me from truly loving the edge.


Conclusions and Score

Dominique: The Clifton Edge is not a shoe I would have selected based on its looks, however, in terms of performance, it is a great shoe.  If the shoe lacks a cushiony feel, it delivers plenty of protective support and good rear stability. As a heel striker, the rear “outrigger” is a good match for me and makes it more stable at the rear than the regular Clifton. I am grateful for the opportunity to have tested this shoe as it is motivating me to crank up the pace a bit.  

Dominique’s Score 9/10

 

Michael: Setting aside my rant in the “Ride” section for a moment, I do quite like the Clifton Edge both because it represents a brand trying to do something different (innovation in the running shoe space is always exciting!), and because, for an easy day shoe with some stretched out cushion, it’s quite nice! If you want to sit back and let the miles cruise by without an itch to hammer the run, then stop reading here - the Clifton Edge is a smooth, comfortable cruiser that can make it the long haul.


My ultimate qualm is simply with how this new shape of the Edge fights with my footstrike; any shoe that makes it harder for me to get into a good rhythm is inherently going to be one I have some issues with. And while I managed some quite enjoyable runs with the Edge - including an 11 miler with some rolling hills and pickups - I’m just a little frustrated it isn’t more… poppy. I’m undoubtedly excited to see this shoe evolve in the future - if anyone is going to innovate in the running shoe space, it’s Hoka! - and will keep going to this shoe for those long summer cruises.

Michael’s Score: 8.6/10


Comparisons

Hoka One One Clifton 7 (RTR Initial Review)

Sam’s Note: I also ran in the Clifton Edge but not as much as Dominique and Michael before I handed off my pair to him. 


The Clifton 7 has a similar fit, a touch less secure overall than the Edge but much improved over version 6 whose upper was more rigid and less accommodating. The Clifton 7 weighs about 0.1 oz less and has a partial rubber outsole vs the rubberized foam outsole of the Edge. It is more responsive, and while improved over earlier versions, I do not find it particularly stable at the heel, and certainly not as stable as the Edge. The Clifton favors midfoot strikers at faster paces while the Edge obviously favors heel strikers more, and is presented, I think accurately, by Hoka as a more “accessible” Clifton. Despite the heel instablity for me I still prefer the liviler ride of the Clifton but would also get less use out of them than the Edge as a result as slower paces back on the heels of a Clifton don't agree with me.


Hoka One One Rincon 2 (RTR Review)

Michael: I think I prefer the Rincon between the two, though the biggest question mark is durability. Since I finished my review, I’ve taken the Rincon above 100 miles without much issue, but fellow tester Jamie Hershfang has put about 350 on her pair, and feels they are due for replacement. There’ll be some variability there, of course - but the firm and light Rincon is a more agile and, in my opinion, more fun trainer than the Clifton Edge.


Hoka One One Mach 3 (RTR Review)

Michael: I think the Mach is a forgotten option in Hoka’s lineup, and maybe for good reason - while I like the shoe in theory (a performance trainer with a knit upper? What’s not to like!), I found the shoe overly narrow and way too firm underfoot, though I did appreciate the lightweight platform it offered. It has an all rubberized foam midsole of the same kind of foam as the Edge’s thick outsole in two densities firmer forefoot, softer heel. Between the two, I think the Clifton Edge is a more complete offering; while it’s lackluster at top speeds, it’s a well-done option that will offer, to boot,  more room to those who need it.


ASICS Glideride (RTR Review)

Dominique: The Asics Glideride has more of a propulsive feel from its rocker than the Clifton Edge.  At  the same pace it takes a bit less of an effort when I run the Glideride versus the Clifton Edge.  


Michael: I agree with Dominique that the GlideRide has a more propulsive, if not more “aggressive” geometry to it. And like Dominique, I find that works better for my footstrike, and turning over is easier in the ASICS than the Hoka. Neither is perfect - I would likely choose the Hoka for a pure recovery day - but I think the GlideRide has a little more range to it.


ASICS NovaBlast (RTR Review)

Michael: The NovaBlast is surely the most “fun” trainer in ASICS’s lineup right now - light, soft, and poppy! The Clifton Edge isn’t entirely opposite - both are shoes I would describe as “smooth” and it’s not overly heavy, either - but I think part of the “magic” of the NovaBlast is just show engaging it is to run in. Unfortunately I couldn’t quite get there in the Hoka - while it provides an even, smooth ride, it doesn’t make you want to burst into a sprint or knock out a workout the way ASICS’s FlyteFoam Blast does!


Nike Zoom Pegasus 37 (RTR Review)

Michael: The Peg 37 is proving to be a major (and divisive!) overhaul to Nike’s long-running, high-mileage trainer. I wasn’t a fan of the firm forefoot, but found it a little more manageable at faster paces (and Sam compared both the men’s and women’s models and found the women’s mode even smoother). I think I prefer the Clifton Edge for most everyday runs - it just has a certain Cadillac smoothness to it - but the Nike might be my pick if you plan on doing a lot of faster running.


Skechers GoRun 7+ Hyper (RTR Review)

Michael: The Skechers Hyperburst midsole is one of my favorite midsole options, and the GoRun 7+ Hyper pairs it with a sublime knit upper. Especially for more efficient runners or those looking for a lighter weight option, I think the GoRun 7+ Hyper is the trainer to beat in 2020. The Clifton Edge isn’t necessarily marking the same target - it’s a shoe built for comfort and a smooth ride, rather than a springy, responsive ride - but I think a midsole more like Hyperburst would do the Clifton Edge wonders.

Read reviewers' full run bios here
The product reviewed was a provided at no charge. 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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Your purchases help support RoadTrailRun. Thanks!

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