Monday, March 30, 2020

ASICS MetaRacer Multi Tester Review: "Shaken not Stirred"

Article by Derek Li, Hope Wilkes, Sally Reiley, Michael Ellenberger and Sam Winebaum

ASICS MetaRacer ($200)
  Official Weight: 6.7 oz / 190 g
  Samples: men’s US8.5 190 g / 6.7 oz
                  men’s US9.5 200g / 7.05 oz
                  women’s US8  168 g /5.9 oz
      women’s US9 182 g/6.42 oz         
Stack Height: 24mm heel, 15 mm forefoot, 9 mm (may not include sockliner)
Available Japan April 17, 2020; elsewhere June 26, 2020, $200

Sam: Two years in development by teams in Japan and Boston,  the ASICS MetaRacer is the brand’s carefully considered and distinctive entry into the super race shoe, race. Its midsole includes a bottom loaded (below the midsole) double wishbone shaped, front to mid foot carbon plate below the same type of cellulose nanofiber infused Flyte Foam midsole as the Nimbus Lite for bounce, lightness and durability yet with no plate at the heel for a softer landing and for decoupling to move the gait forward,

As with the Glideride and Evoride it incorporates ASICS Guide Sole technology to reduce ankle flexion and lower leg motion. The outsole is ASICS Grip.

The upper is a single layer, highly hydrophobic engineered mesh with a special emphasis in design on airflow. In a functional nod to ASICS heritage, yes they were creating state of the art marathon racers way back in the 1960’s, it even includes a front air circulation port as seen in the 1960's Magic Runner below which was created by the ASICS founder as over the years their research shows lowering foot temperature has a positive influence on reducing heart rate.
The result is a 6.7 oz, 24mm heel / 15 forefoot stack state of the art racing flat for the elite marathoner. Prototype results have been promising with Sara Hall clocking a 2:22 PR at Berlin and Emma Bates a 2:25 at Chicago.

The ASICS product and PR team were kind enough to give our review team a detailed briefing with Q&A via a video call after our testing was complete.

I titled the review "Shaken not Stirred" as, if James Bond needed a fast shoe to get away from bad guys, I am pretty sure he would select the classy MetaRacer with all its tech subtle and under the hood, as in his Austin Martin. Now the color. He might chose something more subtle but who knows!

Sunday, March 29, 2020

New Balance Fresh Foam 880v10 Multi Tester Review: A Totally Modernized Classic Trainer

Article by Don Reichelt, Hope Wilkes, and Sam Winebaum

New Balance 880v10 ($130)

Estimated Weight:: men's 10.25 oz / 290 g (US9)  / women's / (US8) 
 Samples: men’s US 8.5:  9.98 oz / 283g
Mens 13 12.0 oz / 341g
Stack Height: 22mm heel /12 mm forefoot (midsole+outsole, without sock liner)
Offset: 10mm
$130. Available now (wide April) at running speciality retailers
and at Running Warehouse here.

Sam: The 880 long a stalwart neutral daily trainer of the more traditional variety gets a total modernization while still retaining a 10mm drop and and easy to move along all training purposes ride. The changes start with a single piece Fresh Foam X midsole in place of the prior Acteva (underfoot for support) and below  Abzorb (an EVA rubber blend for cushion and compression resistance) foam combination. The upper is now Hypoknit engineered knit with zonal areas of stretch and structure.
New Balance 880v9
Hope: Hard to be sure, but I think I had the 880v5 many moons ago. Quite a lot has changed in terms of NB’s design choices and foam tech since then! I generally gravitate toward uptempo trainers and racers for my daily miles, so this model is a bit of a departure from my personal preferences. Even so, it’s clear to me that the 880v10 gets a lot right. Details matter when you’re choosing a shoe to run in on a daily basis and NB has done a masterful job of nailing the details.

Don: Right out of the box the 880 stands out as a workhorse in the daily trainer category. I haven’t considered New Balance in a long time, mostly because the fit hasn’t been right for me for some time. But combined with a nice, responsive Fresh Foam midsole and a surprisingly great knit upper, the 880 has really nailed it for me. After my first run, this shoe had quickly become one of my long day shoes because it just has so much going for it! 

Note: None of our testers ran in the v9. Sam ran in the v7 GTX a while ago,
Easy transitions at all paces including slow
Soft and extremely well cushioned without being mushy
Versatile for most runs except workouts/uptempo for some.
Hope: outstanding heel hold, tongue thickness is just right for a comfortable fit without being too puffy, toebox height, lots of reflective trim
Don: Great cushion while retaining feel, stable platform, comfortable and secure knit upper (first time I’ve ever said that!) Awesome daily trainer for just about anything but track days

Stout external heel counter may add unnecessary weight
Hope: heavy, heel gets in the way a bit especially on hills, could be more flexible up front, no discernible rebound/energy return feeling
Don: A bit heavy, possibly over engineered

Saturday, March 28, 2020

Saucony Endorphin Pro Multi Tester Review: Contender!

Article by Jacob Brady, Ryan Eiler, Sally Reiley, Michael Ellenberger, Peter Stuart, Jeff Beck and Sam Winebaum

Saucony Endorphin Pro ($200)
Weight:: men's / (US9)  / women's / (US8) 
  Samples:    7.5 oz / 221 g US9, 8.8oz/249g (US 12), 8.35 oz / 237 g (US Men’s 10.5)
                         6.7 oz / 190 g W8 (US)
Stack Height: 35.5mm heel / 27.5mm forefoot (8 mm drop)
Expected April 15, 2020.  $200
The samples tested were provided at no charge. The opinions herein are entirely the authors'

Ryan:  This is the crown jewel of Saucony’s latest Endorphin line of shoes -- their fastest, most efficient distance shoe to date.  Releasing a shoe of this caliber, at this point in time, was a monumental task for Saucony. Nike has been eating everyone’s lunch with their Vaporfly/Alphafly, and other big running names find themselves with no choice but to try and parry Nike’s move.  

With expectations so high, there is ample room to fail and perhaps sacrifice some brand credibility as a ‘serious’ running shoe company.  The biggest question surrounding this shoe is: will it feel like a panicked Nike knockoff/replica of the Vaporfly, or will it be a respectable contender, highly engineered by Saucony’s best brains?  Saucony tells a thickly woven story of how this shoe came to be; claiming that their elite athletes have been testing prototypes since at least late-2018. Many in the running world, myself included, are eager to find out if this shoe can bridge the chasm up to Nike’s record-setting offering.

Conceptually, this is very similar to what Nike has done -- sandwich a stiff, lightweight plate between a huge slab of high energy PEBA foam midsole (called PWRUN PB), and witness some remarkable results.  But while theory and practice are the same in theory, they aren’t always in practice. Full disclosure: I’m hoping that Nike has a new competitor here.

Friday, March 27, 2020

Testbericht: Saucony Kinvara 11- Smoother then ever (German/Deutsch)

Editor's Note: RoadTrailRun is going international with our first German language review by Nils! We plan on having more reviews in German and other languages soon!

Artikel von Nils Scharff

Link zum original RTR-Test des Kinvara 11: HIER
Link zu allen RTR-Testberichten: HIER

Saucony Kinvara 11C:\Users\Nils\AppData\Local\Microsoft\Windows\INetCache\Content.Word\Ontop.jpg
  Offiziell: 233g (Herren US9) / 200g (Damen US8)
  Testschuh: 246g (Herren EU 44,5 / US 10.5) 
Sprengung: 4mm (28,5mm Ferse / 24,5mm Vorfuß) 

Release: Erhältlich seit 1. Februar 2020 für 135€

“Mit leichtem Laufgefühl zur persönlichen Bestleistung. Perfekt für alle, die hart arbeiten, um ihre Ziele zu erreichen.“ So bewirbt Saucony die mittlerweile elfte Version seines Lightweight-Klassikers Kinvara. Ich bin zugegebenermaßen erst mit dem Kinvara 9 in die Serie eingestiegen, bin jedoch auch in dieser kurzen Zeit schon großer Fan geworden. So hatte ich mir den Kinvara 11 sogar vorbestellt, um ihn ab dem Releasedatum am 1. Februar 2020 in meine Marathonvorbereitung einzubinden. Was ich dabei für Erfahrungen gemacht habe, wie ich den Schuh nutze und ob der neue Kinvara die wohlklingenden Marketingversprechen halten kann, möchte ich im Folgenden gern mit euch teilen.

Pro & Contra
Leicht und Smooth
PWRUN-Schaum ist einen Tick weicher und hat mehr „Pop“ als der Vorgänger
Zu viel Polsterung für einen Lightweight-Trainer
Das Laufgefühl tendiert mehr in Richtung Trainer als Racer im Vergleich zu den Vorgängern

Tester: Nils Scharff
Ich bin 30 Jahre jung, gebürtig aus Kassel, verheiratet mit einer wunderbaren Ehefrau und mache seit mittlerweile 5 Jahren Heilbronn und seine umliegenden Weinberge laufend unsicher. Ich habe schon mein ganzes Leben lang alle möglichen Sportarten betrieben, oft 5-7 Mal die Woche. Neben dem Laufen sind seit einigen Jahren das Klettern und Bouldern meine Sportarten. Als Läufer sehe ich mich seit erst drei Jahren. Begonnen hat alles mit einem Firmenlauf, in den ich nicht ganz unvorbereitet starten wollte. Ab dem Punkt habe ich einfach nicht mehr aufgehört. In 2017 waren es „nur“ knapp 1000 Laufkilometer, in 2018 das Doppelte, 2019 schon das Dreifache. Wichtig während all dieser Kilometer sind mir, egal ob auf Trail oder Straße, vor allem das Abschalten und die Bewegung in der Natur. Auf dem Laufband oder mit Kopfhörern werdet ihr mich nur sehr selten antreffen. Ich bin in der Zwischenzeit drei Marathons gelaufen, die PB von 3:24h fällt dieses Jahr hoffentlich weiter. Im Wettkampf laufe ich grundsätzlich alle Distanzen von 5km (18:14min), 10km (38:17min) über Halbmarathon (1:29h) bis eben zum Marathon. Mal sehen, wann der erste Ultra in dieser Liste auftaucht.

Thursday, March 26, 2020

New Balance Fresh Foam 880v10 Video Review

Article by Sam Winebaum

New Balance 880v10 ($130)
I test and video review the 880v10 in snowy Park City, Utah. It gets a complete makeover with a state of the art Fresh Foam X foam midsole, a Hypoknit upper and a new outsole. 
The 880v10 is a more traditional 10mm drop, non rockered, more flexible neutral daily trainer. It is well cushioned and lively and is a totally modernized all arounder for just about any running pace or distance except maybe the very fastest. Weight 10.25 oz / 290 g US9. Stack height to follow.

Available now (also in wide) at running speciality stores and at the links below.
Full review soon. 
Watch the video review below

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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Tuesday, March 24, 2020

Topo Athletic Trailventure Review

Article by Dominique and Sam Winebaum

Topo Athletic Trailventure ($140)
Dominique:   As a runner who likes to hike, I was excited to transition from the Topo MTN Racer, a shoe I got many miles of hiking and running in, to the Trailventure, Topo’s first lightweight trail boot.  My preference for a boot versus a shoe for hiking (and I have also hiked in plenty of trail runners) makes the Trailventure a contender among other brands, such as Salomon, Hoka One One, and Altra.  
Designed more specifically for speed hiking and hiking, the Trailventure is a hybrid between a trail runner and a hiking boot -- a trail boot. It is intended for speed hikers and hikers who want all the advantages of a trail runner - lightweight, comfort, breathability, no break-in required - yet prefer a boot for extra ankle support, sturdier outsole protection and traction, and overall improved durability and protection.  With the Trailventure it is like hiking in a trail runner but with the added support and protection of a boot.  

Familiar with the “Topo Fit” and its signature roomy toe box, I find that the Trailventure is a bit too roomy in my usual size -- which was not an issue with the Topo MTN Racer. In comparing the MTN Racer with the Trailventure, the width and length of the underfoot platform are identical, however the difference is in the upper which is quite spacious in the women’s Trailventure. 

Sam: I too was intrigued with the possibilities of combining the stable, well cushioned and relatively lively MTN Racer trail running underfoot platform with a more boot-like upper.  I generally hike in trail runners but welcome more upper support when carrying a pack such as for trekking even on more moderate terrain as we did across Switzerland or for the very rocky White Mountains of New Hampshire. Further the higher upper, while not having a waterproof breathable membrane, presented possibilities for snow running and snowshoeing. 

And heck I often like to break out into some running when hiking and the 12.6 oz weight here makes that feasible. 

  • The lightweight upper, which is made of an abrasion-resistant ripstop mesh, provides extra protection, some water resistance, and improves durability.  
  • The outsole, which is made of Vibram® XS Trek rubber, provides great protection and traction on all terrains. 
  • Super lightweight and cushioned with a roomy toe box. 
  • Molded foam collar around the ankle color provides added comfort, support, and protection. 
  • Well padded and breathable tongue.
  • The lace up system is designed to keep shoelaces in place via a set of self-locking loops that create two different lacing areas.  No need for additional knot techniques to keep foot securely in place.

  • The light weight for underfoot and upper substance is notable.
  • A great hiking and trail running option for wide high volume feet
  • The only shoe or boot I can recall I did not need to take off or loosen on a long plane flight!
  • The “Topo FIT” is a bit too roomy for this particular model in my regular size W9 (US).  Unlike the MTN Racer, which has the perfect balance between a secure fit and plenty of toe room, the Trailventure’s roomy toe box feels just too roomy for a secure fit.  The upper feels to spacious though I have not experienced any blister issues thus far, hiking in them for 4-5 miles at a time on hilly terrain. Downsizing half a size might be the way to go.
  • The dense mesh upper, which is described as breathable, might not provide enough ventilation in hot weather, to be determined later in the season/year.  

  • I concur with Dominique. Narrower to normal feet may struggle on more technical terrain with this upper. I think a more substantial compressive mid foot bootie or a denser tongue might help.
  • Lacks a waterproof breathable membrane.

Monday, March 23, 2020

Nike Wildhorse 6 Review

Article by Jeff Beck

Nike Wildhorse 6 ($130)
Weight:: men's 10.5 oz  / 298g (US9) :: women's 9 oz / 255 g (US8)
  Samples: 11.4 ounces / 323 grams Men’s 10.5D 
Wildhorse 5 10.2 oz / 289 g (US9)
Stack Height: 22mm Forefoot / 30mm Heel
Available Now. 
MSRP: $130 (Currently 25% off in cart Running Warehouse here, Backcountry $83.97 here )

Jeff: The Wildhorse 6 is a massive overhaul to the biggest shoe in the Nike Trail lineup. Last year we saw the Terra Kiger get the same treatment as the Wildhorse 5 got a flashy new upper, and nothing else. Fast forward a year, and everything on the Wildhorse has changed. Most striking is the upper, now with an integrated gaiter and expansive heel - complete with lugs on the side (yup, the side) of the midsole. Most significant however, has to be the change in midsole material from Phylon and Zoom Air pockets in the heel to React surrounded by Cushlon in the heel. Not to be left out, the outsole is completely changed, and now has fewer but larger lugs throughout the shoe versus the Wildhorse 4 and 5 more and smaller design. Any time a shoe is 100% changed the running world is left wondering: Is it a 100% improvement? As is the usual case...not exactly.

  • upper has an integrated gaiter that works surprisingly well, 
  • midsole change to React (with 2mm more cushioning) gives the shoe more underfoot protection, 
  • outsole grip seems improved.

  • weight increase of ~.7 ounces in my size
  • React midsole contributes to stability issues, 
  • segmented rock plate doesn’t protect as well, non-segmented rubber in heel also can contribute to stability issues.

Salomon Sonic 3 Accelerate Multi Tester Review: Hill Loving, Quiet, Low Vibration, Responsive Speedster

Article by Adam Glueck, Joost de Raeymaeker, and Sam Winebaum

Salomon Sonic 3 Accelerate ($130)

Estimated Weight men’s US 9: 8.3 oz / 235g
  Samples: men’s: US8.5 8.15 oz / 231g, US9.5: 243g/8.57 oz
Stack Height: 24mm heel /18 mm forefoot, 6mm drop
Available now $130

Very comfortable shoe, easy to get into. The foot feels secure, thanks to a very good midfoot lockdown of the Internal SensiFit™.
The ride is dampened and lively at the same time. You really get the feeling that you’re running on a softer surface. The Optivibe is fantastic on fast downhills.
It’s also a very quiet shoe to run in and has great traction on roads and wet roads.
The system used to keep the heel in place (two pillowy rolls on either side of the heel) is well thought out and is great for people who have an easily irritated achilles’ tendon.
Smooth transitions to toe off at all paces including slower
Great road feel with superb vibration and shock reduction at heel and more than adequate at the front in a relatively low 24mm/18mm stack shoe
Despite low stack plenty of cushion plus denser rebound and easy transitions from the decoupling for both slower and for sure faster paces. 
Fairly priced for the performance and quality
Incredibly smooth and quiet, even at very high speed.
Comfortable upper with seemingly no pressure points, especially compared to original Sonic RA Pro, good heel hold while not aggravating the achilles. 
Still feels soft and stable at low speed, with a smooth transition to a snappy toe off at high speed.  
Excellent on descents, I can decelerate heel striking and it should be way more harsh for how responsive and low it is.  

The laces are very long, but stay tight, contrary to some of the other shoes I’ve run in recently.
The run a half a size long for me, so I will probably have to use heel lock lacing to keep my foot from sliding to far forward when picking up the pace. 
Joost/Sam: The top of the heel collar is a flimsy thin piece of fabric above the two excellent pillow-like rolls that keep the heel in place. The thin collar is what you push on to put the shoes on and even without much pulling has started to look a little sloppy already.
I wish the vibration reducing insert was a tiny touch less firm.
Weight. Nature of the foam which is so effective but wished they weighed a touch less
The outsole could use more lug patterning for grip on loose surfaces and for light trail use.
Although I can run fast in it, I’d love to see a more race biased version with one of Salomon’s light, thin, S/Lab uppers, since I’d still be hesitant to race in a shoe this heavy.  
Again, not what this shoe is designed for, but the sole is heavily road biased, and although the rubber there is sticky on wet pavement, it’s pretty useless on mud.  I’ve taken them on trails and they perform ok, but in mud and ice they’re incredibly slick.