Tuesday, January 28, 2020

Salomon Sense Pro 4 Initial Run Review, Shoe Details, and Comparisons Video

Article by Sam Winebaum

Salomon Sense Pro/4 ($140)
Update: Read our full multi tester review HERE

On the run through snowy, late afternoon Round Valley Park City UT, I detail and give my first impressions of the Februray release, (see below). $140 Salomon Sense Pro/4. 

At 9.35 oz / 265 g in a size US men's size 9 with a 25/21, 4mm stack height and about 5mm lugs, It has the new Optivibe midsole platform shared with the Sonic 3 road series and the considerably heavier Sense Ride 3, its long distances sousing, Fast and agile yet stable, cushioned and protected it is a great new option from Salomon and a big improvement over the Sense Pro 3 so far. The upper is outstanding in its comfort and support. Full multi tester review soon with Jeff Valliere who reports it was outstanding on technical terrain above Boulder during his first runs
Watch the Video

Full multi tester review soon!
2020 Run Introductions YouTube playlist HERE 
Shoe Reviews YouTube playlist HERE

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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Saucony Freedom 3 Multi Tester Review: Still Free Spirited, More Lively and Fun, no longer wild and rough edged

Article by Ryan Eller, Peter Stuart, Jacob Brady, Sally Reiley, and Sam Winebaum

Saucony Freedom 3 ($150)

Editor’s Note: We welcome Ryan Eller as a contributor to RTR with this his first review. Ryan’s run background and bio: 
A hopeless soccer career led Ryan to take up running, and after taking a decade-long break from competing, he is back racking up mileage whenever he can.  He calls the 2018 Boston Marathon the hardest race of his life, where he finished in 2:40, barely remembering his name at the finish line.
Ryan decided to forego his Wall Street job to be a gear junkie, and is currently the fledgling entrepreneur behind his company, Bridger Helmets.  Most days, you'll find him loping along the Charles River in Boston. Of all the places he's run, Central Park NYC and the New Hampshire coast top his list.

Jacob: The Freedom 3 is Saucony’s lightweight, free-feeling, do-it-all (though perhaps on the faster-running side) trainer. The Freedom 3 drops a fair bit of weight (around 0.7oz/20g) from the previous model (Freedom ISO 2) and ditches the ISO upper as well as the EVERUN midsole, incorporating the FORMFIT upper and PWRRUN+ midsole as in many of Saucony’s recent releases, such as the Triumph 17 and Xodus 10.

Peter: I’ve wanted to like the OG Freedom and the Freedom 2 more than I did. The Freedom always sounded like a good idea but felt kind of ponderous to run in. I felt like I got stuck on the forefoot (maybe due to the crystal rubber) and didn’t glide through my stride. The Freedom 3 drops the ISO upper--thankfully--and drops some weight. It’s funny, I just went back and read my review of the original Freedom and I liked it at the time--but it wasn’t a shoe that I kept running in for long. So let’s dig into the Freedom 3 to see how it compares. 
Sam: The first 2 Freedoms didn’t really match up with their name beyond being largely free of upper support and free of lively fun for me. The ISO Fit upper and lack of heel counter along with the dull dense and heavy Everun made them a bit more wild and rough than free.

With Freedom 3, Saucony ditches Everun for PWRUN+ still a TPU midsole but said by Saucony to be 3x more durable and 3x less temperature sensitive than EVA, 2x as flexible, and 25% lighter and absorbing 5% more impact than Everun. We tested the Triumph 17 and Xodus 10, both with PWRUN+ and they clearly were both bouncier, softer, and more dynamic than Everun. The free wheeling ISO upper of the earlier Freedoms is now a nice secure engineered mesh with a much needed heel counter. Still a flexible shoe, still a 4mm drop, and now lighter I couldn’t wait to test. 

Ryan:  Energy efficiency – they give back whatever you put into them
Ryan:  Smooth, luxurious fit for such a snappy shoe
Peter, Jacob: Nice upper, smooth flexible ride. 
Jacob: Energetic but cushioned ride
Jacob: Bouncy and enjoyable to run in
Sally/Sam: Bouncy, cushioned, snappy ride. Uber comfortable all around, great heel hold

Ryan:  Stability diminished by explosive midsole
Ryan:  Forefoot upper felt a bit too stretchy for an already-spacious toebox
Ryan, Jacob:  Uninspired aesthetics
Jacob: Flexible midsole leads to an uncomfortable ride on bumpy surfaces (e.g. cobblestone) 
Jacob: Less smooth at slower paces
Peter: none so far
Sam: All premium here in materials but cost at $150 and some doubts about veratility 
Sally/Sam: A bit too soft and unstable, particularly in the roomy forefoot
Sally: Yet another all black shoe?

Skechers Performance Go Run 7+ Hyper Multi Tester Review: A Great Ride Gets a Worthy Upper

Article by Jeff Beck, Derek Li, Peter Stuart, Mac Jeffries, and Michael Ellenberger

Skechers Performance Go Run 7+ Hyper ($130)
Jeff: Skechers Performance is bringing out a number of revisited shoes in 2020, with the GoRun 7+ being the first with the + identifier. Apparently the team at SP has been listening to comments and reviews - which have overwhelmingly said that the midsole/outsole/ride of their latest shoes is top notch, but the uppers have left a sour taste in many, many mouths. First, the good news. Very little has changed beneath the foot from the GoRun 7 Hyper to the GoRun 7+ Hyper. The great news? The upper has been completely torn down and rebuilt, and we have ourselves an honest-to-goodness running shoe that doesn't require any lacing wizardry from Mac (no joke - check out last year's review) to make work. This circular knit upper fits just like a running shoe should. And the result? Impressive.

Mac: What he said! The GOrun 7 Hyper was one of the best training midsoles with one of the worst uppers I have had the pleasure to wear. Yes, I figured out how to make it work - and I have gotten a ton of miles from them - but there has always been this feeling of “I shouldn’t have to do this to make a shoe run-able.” Also, it was ugly. Really ugly. The 7+ (SEVEN PLUS) keeps the same great midsole as the 7, but subs in sweet, functional upper, and looks good. Geez, if SP keeps this up, what are we gonna have to complain about??? 

Peter: Kudos to Skechers Performance. There were all sorts of issues with the upper on the GoRun 7. They could have bailed, gone to a different design, eliminated the line, etc. Instead they took feedback, believed in what they had going underfoot and doubled down with a new upper. So were we right? Was the GoRun7 midsole worth finessing? Yes.

Derek: When I did my review of the GoRun 7, I think the sizing wasn’t the final production one and it was on the long side. Combined with the knit upper, it created some hot spots for me during the run and the ride wasn’t quite so enjoyable and actually felt quite firm. With that in mind, I was very interested in what a more traditional upper could do for the shoe. We all know how good a midsole HyperBurst is, so there was no reason the GR7 couldn’t be a great shoe with an updated upper. The end result is very, very good!

Michael: In the end, you know, reviewing the GoRun 7+ Hyper was actually quite easy. Why? Here’s how I concluded my review of its predecessor, the GoRun 7 Hyper: “If you try the GoRun 7 on, and take it for a test run, you’ll love the midsole. It’s unquestionable. But pay careful attention to the fit and the upper. It may work for your feet, but Skechers needs to do (another) overhaul before they’ve reached perfection.” 
And now, in 2020, Skechers has done that overhaul, and - as promised - come pretty damn near trainer perfection. This shoe is exceptional.

Jeff, Mac: Midsole and outsole remain among the best of lightweight trainers, upper is great
Mac: Much better aesthetics, and Goodyear rubber in the outsole.
Peter: Looks good, feels gooder, runs even gooderer.
Derek: Bouncy ride, easy fit.
Michael: One of the most dynamic trainers I’ve worn; Hyperburst doesn’t disappoint; looks aren’t bad either!

Jeff, Mac: Shoe gained 21 grams in my size 14 (but I'm willing to overlook that for the upper improvement)
Peter: none.
Derek: Gained weight, surprisingly. 
Michael: Tongue-lace integration could be improved so it’s not so hard to tighten.

Weight: 7.7oz/218g (Men’s 9) | 6.3oz/179g (Women’s 7)
Samples: 8.53 oz / 244 g 10.5D mens with sockliner, (8.0 oz/ 226g without sockliner)   men’s US9.5 241g / 8.5oz (including sockliner)
Midsole Stack: 19mm heel /15mm forefoot
Total Stack Height: 25mm forefoot /29 mm heel, 4 mm drop, removable 4mm sock liner
Available Early Feb 2020. $130

Sunday, January 26, 2020

Garmin Fenix 6S Pro In-Depth Review - A Small & Mighty, Rugged, Feature PACKED GPS Multi-Sport Watch!

Article by Jeff Valliere
Garmin Fenix 6S Pro ($700-$800)

The Fenix 6 Series is the latest iteration of the Fenix line, a rugged outdoor GPS and wrist heart rate watch offering a robust set of sports features for almost any sport, deep training metrics, fitness and health tracking, navigational features, seemingly endless customization and basic smartwatch functionality.  This is the 3rd Fenix model we have reviewed, starting with the 5X (RTR Review), then the 5 Plus (RTR Review) and now the 6S Pro.  

The changes/upgrades to the 6 series over previous versions are significant, although not necessarily groundbreaking and if you are already a Fenix user, the decision to upgrade or not will of course be personal, depending on use, preferences and of course budget.  

I have found the Fenix series to be the ideal GPS watch for the running that I do (mostly rugged mountain trails), as it is durable, accurate, has maps, adequate battery life for my use, more training/health and fitness metrics than I could ever keep up with and basic smartwatch functionality for day to day use.  As is often the case, Sam composed an initial test/review of the 6S Pro after using for 2 months and also provided a great comparison to the Forerunner 945, 245 and 45 (RTR Article).  When he was finished, he sent to me and I have been wearing the 6S Pro on my wrist for the past 2 months, 24/7, only removing IT to charge.  Testing has been mostly in the foothills above Boulder, Colorado and also a week in Southern California.

Saturday, January 25, 2020

adidas adizero Adios 5 Multi Tester Review

Article by Peter Stuart, Derek Li, and Hope Wilkes

adidas adizero adios ($140)

Peter: Back before the Vaporfly existed, way back in the 2010’s, the world record marathon shoe was the Adidas Adios. This was, like, even before Boost. Yeah, there was a time before Boost. For real. So the Adios 5 is the latest Adios. There’ve been some magical versions--and I’m still partial to the OG non boost version of the Adios--but how does the Adios 5 stack up? 

Hope: The Adidas Adios 2 was the first running shoe I absolutely had to have. Both the men’s and women’s winners of the 2014 NYC Marathon wore the Adios 2, so I had to try some of that magic for myself. Since those heady days, there have been some changes to Boost and some changes to the Adios, but the model has generally retained its reputation as a reliable racer even as its popularity has been dwarfed by another model I won’t name here (but you know what shoe I’m talking about). The Adios 4 made my list of best shoes of 2019, so I approached the Adios 5 with excitement. How does an airier mesh upper and the addition of Lightstrike foam up front change this shoe?

Derek: Counting the pre-Boost era, The Adios 5, is actually the 7th version of the shoe, with 2 pre-Boost models, and 4 Boost models before the current Boost-LightStrike hybrid. 
I think it’s fair to say it has been a cult favourite especially in the non-carbon plated arena for a long long time. I actually own quite a few pairs of the Adios in various iterations, come to think of it. 2 pairs of non-Boost Adios 1, 3 pairs of Adios Boost 2, 2 pairs of Adios Boost 1, 1 pair of Adios Boost 3, and now the Adios 5. I should point out that I paid full retail for all the previous pairs. I skipped on Adios 4 because I was pretty happy with the Adios 3’s upper and saw no reason to change it. How does Lightstrike change the equation?

Hope: Smooth interior, comfortable, another snappy application of Boost -- not mushy at all!
Peter: Much smoother interior, great looking.
Derek: Softer upper with fewer seams. Still very breathable. The new torsion system generates a smoother transition. Wider fit compared to older models.

Hope: Too roomy, too long, tricky lace adjustment, tongue bunches up, previously excellent outsole durability has declined, torsion plate should be recessed somewhat more
Peter Not super fun. Firm. 
Derek: Outsole durability might be an issue.

Weight: 7.8 oz / 221 g men's US9 
 Samples:US9.5 226g / 7.97oz
Stack Height: 23mm heel / 13mm forefoot, 10m drop
Available $140

Friday, January 24, 2020

Saucony Freedom 3 Initial Run Impressions Review and Shoe Details Video

Article by Sam Winebaum

Saucony Freedom 3 ($150)

Releasing Feb 1, 2020, I detail the Freedom 3's features, go for a first run, and give my impressions in the video below. 

With a new livelier and lighter PWRUN+ midsole and ride and a more secure upper the $150 Freedom 3 loses 0.7 oz in weight to come in at 8.6 oz / 243 g and becomes a much more fun to run, and more versatile, daily and uptempo trainer. 

Full multi tester written review soon!

Please Watch Our Freedom 3 Video (6:25)

2020 Run Introductions YouTube playlist HERE 
Shoe Reviews YouTube playlist HERE

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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Thursday, January 23, 2020

GoreWear Gore-Tex Infinium Review: Comfort and Performance Beyond Classic "Waterproof Breathable"

Article by Sam Winebaum and Jeff Valliere

W.L Gore, the makers of ubiquitous Gore-Tex products most often associated with high performance waterproof breathable characteristics, have in the last couple of years, taken their membrane and the laminated fabric covering, the essence of what makes Gore-Tex Gore-Tex, in a new direction with their Infinium product line. We have now extensively tested Infinium gloves from The North Face (RTR Review) and two GoreWear Infinium jackets along with run/XC tights and can say they are really onto something with this more breathable, lighter, softer but not quite as water resistant as their traditional approaches to protection from the elements.

So what is Infinium? Essentially the Gore-Tex membrane and associated fabric is made lighter, thinner, softer, stretchier, more pliable, more breathable, yet still totally windproof. It is more focused on those attributes and comfort than "waterproof" as classic Gore-Tex is or quite water resistant as traditional Gore-Tex Windstopper is. Jeff’s jacket features an Infinium outer shell with “persistent beading” characteristics while mine does not.

Sam: The result in my testing is the highest performance in terms of breathability combined with wind resistance, most comfortable high output activities (run and nordic ski in our case but also likely cycling outer layers) fabric I have ever tested. Gone is the rather stiff thick feel of prior Windstopper products including last year equivalent X7 GoreWear we tested with more breathability, better heat management, and less moisture absorption.

GoreWear sent Sam the R7 Partial Gore-Tex Infinium Hooded Jacket  and the X7 Partial Gore-Tex Infinium Tights and Jeff the Gore X7 Infinium Soft Lined Jacket to test.