Monday, May 31, 2021

Quick Strides #3: Hoka Zinal, Endorphin Trail, Rebel v2, adidas Terrex Apparel, Supersapiens, Craft & Brooks Tees, Mission Backpack, Classic Saucony

Article by Shannon Payne, Peter Stuart, Ivan Luca Corda, Joost de Raeymaeker, Nils Scharff, Michael Ellenberger, Renee Krusemark, Jeremy Marie, Alex Filitti, and Sam Winebaum

The RTR team all over the world is continuously testing and using dozens of run products for road and trail. Some are provided by brands, some are personal purchases, some are for upcoming reviews, others are not, and finally some are long time favorites and go to’s. 

And not just “testing” our contributors run in all kinds of interesting places and are preparing for all kinds of races and adventures from the track to the ultra.

Shannon Payne (California)

This week was like Christmas in May as I received the Saucony Triumph 19, and then the Hoka Zinal, which I have been especially eagerly anticipating. Ever since Salomon broke my heart a couple of years ago when they updated my beloved Sense Ultra 1 to something else entirely (a travesty over which I still feel personally affronted) I’ve been on the hunt for a new trail shoe that will take the QOM of trail shoes in the same way that the Sense Ultra of yore once did, although the Hoka Torrent is holding strong as a close runner up. Will the Zinal be the one to jump to the top of the leaderboard and take the crown? Your guess is as good as mine! Guess you’ll just have to read my review soon to find out. 

As for the Triumph, I’ll be very interested to see how this one winds up feeling. While not much about it has changed since the 18, supposedly it’s lost an ounce of weight since its predecessor. I’ve admittedly not exactly been on fire for the Triumph for a few versions now, but given my general affinity for most of Saucony’s models, I’m always willing to give it another shot. Also, it’s a pretty sweet looking shoe.

Peter Stuart (Austin,Texas)


Okay, so I finally found a better, more fun shoe than the NB Rebel V2. Yup, a new pair of Rebel V2!!! So fresh and so clean! I sized up ½ a size due to some toenail issues, but man-oh-man do I love this shoe. Having a blast running in them. First pair got over 350 miles. 


Hard to run in anything else with the Mach 4 and the Rebel V2 in the quiver. 

Michael Ellenberger (Chicago) 

We’re not back to the office yet (and I’m a big fan of remote work, anyway - despite how busy it’s been of late!), but when we are, I’d like to start run commuting more consistently. 

Fortunately (or unfortunately, for my wallet), another hobby of mine, besides running shoes and gear, is bag collecting - I’ve owned dozens of different messenger bags, briefcases, and backpacks over the years - so when I saw Mission Workshop (one of my all-time favorite brands) had teamed up with Tracksmith, I knew I’d found something special: the Mission Backpack. So far I’ve only taken it on test runs and walks (without the actual “commute” element), but I’ll have a full written review once I’ve fully tested it out. It’s larger than I thought (especially on my relatively small frame), but it should work for carrying all the workday gear I need. More to come soon!

Joost de Raeymaeker (Angola, Africa):

Two weeks ago, I wrote about getting some new apparel in not-so-traditional colors and I thought I’d get back to that to talk about some stuff I’ve been using for the last couple of years.

The first time I heard about Tracksmith apparel (I see Michael is also talking about them in this edition of Quick Strides) was on the fantastic Morning Shakeout podcast by Mario Fraioli. I liked what I saw and read, so I ordered a pair of Reggie half tights, and a matching set of Twilight shorts and tank top, enough to get the free Van Cortlandt top with my first order. That was two years ago. I’m still wearing the stuff and I wear it a lot. The liner in the Twilight shorts and the elastic of the Reggie half-tights are starting to show their age, but it speaks to the quality of their stuff. It is expensive, but it will last a long time, and the fabrics and build quality are definitely premium.

So, I recently ordered another 2 pairs of their Reggie half-tights, one with and one without liner (hint: go with the lined version), two new sets of twilight shorts, three twilight tops and a pair of Session shorts and even a pair of merino wool socks to try out, ready to take me through another couple of marathon training blocks in the tropics. They deliver pretty much worldwide as well.

Since I touched on the topic of podcasts, it might be interesting to know what everyone’s favorite running related podcasts are. List yours in the comments.

Nils Schaff (Germany): 

All I did this week was run in Saucony Endorphins and get over my vaccination. I’m really happy that I just have to get through the latter once, since I got my shot from J&J. I lay in bed the last two days with headaches, fever and aching legs and arms.It’s the third day now and I seem to slowly leave it behind. Fingers crossed that I’ll be able to run again tomorrow.

Other than that I put 70k into the Endorphin Trails and got the biggest chunk of the work done for our review before J&J knocked me out. If you like max cushion shoes - don’t look any further! While quite heavy, it’s a modern, stable, protective and highly energetic trail monster. Kind of a super shoe - just a heavy one. Read more in our early multi tester! Jeremy put even more miles on his pair and Sam, besides getting his pair late, also chimed in. You won’t get a more detailed and extensive coverage of the shoe - that is until  you wait for more of our colleagues to contribute in the next few days (). 

Ivan Luca Corda  (Denmark): 

Summer has finally reached Scandinavia and it’s time to reach for that super lightweight and breathable running apparel. I’ve got an ultrarace coming up next weekend and it looks to be a really long and hot day out there. As I’m more of a t-shirt than singlet kind-of-guy for anything longer than marathons, I decided to do a little comparison of all my lightest running t-shirts. The nerd in me thought it would be fun discovering how much water they soak up, how fast they dry and what surface temperature they reach when left in the sun. A fairly small sample size in the grand scheme of things and a pretty unscientific research. Nonetheless a hint for me as to which tee to wear in the heat. I know it’s almost a religion when it comes to tight fit vs normal fit and I won’t get into the more technical aspects. However, here are my winners in each of those categories. 


Best tight-fitting tee: Craft Pro Dry Nanoweight (size small, current version)

Dry: 62g (~2.2oz)

Soaked: 228g (~8.0oz)

Weight after 1 hour in the sun: 84g (~3.0oz)

Surface temperature when hanging dry in the sun: 38°C (~100°F)


Best normal fitting tee: Brooks Stealth (size small, earlier version)

Dry: 69 grams (~2.4oz)

Soaked: 230g (~8.1oz)

Weight after 1 hour in the sun: 98g (~3.5oz)

Surface temperature when hanging dry in the sun: 32°C (~90°F)

Sam Winebaum (New Hampshire, USA)

We have had some of that heat Ivan is talking about so I had several comfortable runs in the adidas Terrex Parley Trail Running All AroundTee ($40). 

Call it a stealth running “undershirt” as it is nearly white (so great in heat), is as soft as a cotton silk undershirt but super thin, has back venting, never sticks, dries quickly  and has a long roomy fit (even in my normal medium). And better yet it is made of 100% recycled polyester including Parley’s Ocean recovered plastic. It will be my go to for the hottest days of summer. But I had a problem..

Terrex also surprised me by sending me their Terrex Agravic Pro Trail Running Jacket ($300) and I despaired of finding a suitable day for a first test until fall. Then Boom! we two days in the  mid 40’s (8C) with incredibly strong winds and showers so perfect. And out I went with the All Around Tee layered underneath. And for me ideal running weather for this time of year as my usual seasonal allergies and inflammation of the legs were nowhere to be felt.

The Pro Trail Jacket can be thought of as a hyper light hardshell. It is a 3 layer waterproof breathable, somewhat stretchy, shiny and slick fabric  construction. The face fabric is actually knitted and has some stretch as does the inner hydrophobic membrane.

It has back venting (under the gray sashes above) which also prevent water, , a raised inner grid for standoff from the skin, and a nice stretch hood.

A hem snap that allows you to adjust the double slider zipper as you wish. There is  only one mesh pocket behind the neck which you can use to stuff the jacket in. 

By my second run I figured out you can also reach back and stuff most of the hood in the mesh pocket on the go. Neat!

The fit, as with the Tee, is roomy and long. Plenty of room for layers and standoff. No Euro snug cyclist fit for running here. Running in the storm I had total wind protection even running into gusts of about 40 miles per hour on the mile long home stretch as the rain really started to come down the wind just didn’t penetrate and I was never chilled yet when out of the wind the breathability of the membrane and venting works very well..  

The jacket, while  soaked by the rain, absorbed very little, weighing 204g dry and 256g wet, a gain of a mere 1.8 oz. That outer hard shell just doesn’t absorb much water and neither does the inner membrane or any of the other materials including the taping of all seams. The inner raised pattern and roomy arm fit kept any stick away helped by the AIIA Tee below which shockingly never got saturated and dried within an hour. On a second run in more rain I wore a Patagonia Cool Merino T and it clearly saturated more and dried slower than the Terrex Tee so they make a good pairing and a long sleeve version is available as well

High performance super light waterproof breathable run jackets and even t-shirts keep getting better and while this is the first jacket I have tested this year, the Pro clearly, already,performed better in moderate wet conditions (where I also sweat a lot) than any past jackets I have tested in such weather. While more testing to come I am seeing it as a near ideal run and hiking shell as it appears its outer fabric is also durable enough for at least heavier day packs and maybe more. 

I also tested the  GoreWear Impulse ¾ Tights (also seen above on the run) and they were more than up to the task and I appreciated the deep full length thigh phone pocket and neon yellow lighter stretch mesh behind the knees for visibility and mobility,

Jeremy Marie (France)

This week I want to talk about Saucony. 

Not the Endorphin Trail mastodon, which is a real ultra trail monster that I’ve been luckily enough to test with a part of the Roadtrailrun team (Review).  It’s a great addition to the Endorphin line, albeit too much of..everything for my personal tastes. 

But this shoe, as my first first step into the much regarded Endorphin series, reminded me why Saucony has a special place on my runner’s shelf . It all started during the early days of « natural running », a trend that appeared in France around 2012. This was also the time when I was back to running a bit more after a 3 years hiatus, figuring out how much inner joy this activity provides me. 

And I think two particular models have had an immensely deep impact on this, on my running form, and how I considered what a running shoe should offer. It happened those were Saucony shoes -yes, I was already reading lots of reviews, epecially US ones as Saucony wasn’t a big name in France at the time. 

The first one was the Peregrine 2

4mm drop, flexible, excellent traction, 280g (9,9oz) in my size. A perfect was a joy to run in those. I discovered what minimal drop, flexibility and just adequate cushioning can bring to a trail shoe. Hence, since then, I tend to lean (well...heavily lean!) towards this type of shoes. And thanks to modern foams and upper constructions, I think we should see more of this kind of shoes amongst the high stack heavy monsters that are more in the trend nowadays. 

The second one is its road siblings, the Kinvara 3, that I had during the same period. 

Around 220g, the same 4mm drop. Highly flexible midsole, almost  no outsole coverage, very unstructured upper...and durability on par with this minimal shoe: I get less than 400 kms in the K3 before tearing a hole in the upper and having no more outsole patches. 

And just like the Peregrine, the Kinvara was an eye-opener. I was able to feel my feet while running, feel it working, flexing, pushing, adapting. The weight, or lack of it, was also something mind-blowing. Sure it gave my calves some hard time during the first runs, but this was obfuscated by the enjoyable run the K3 provided me.

All this may sound a bit « retro-minded », like an old man saying « things were better before », but that’s not my point. The idea here is that trying a shoe that may look outside of your preferences may be an eye-opening experience. 

Sure the high stacked, plated, super-foam infused shoes available nowadays are efficient running tools . Very efficient ones for that matter. But sometimes trying something different can also lead to improvement. Improvement because you’ll develop your foot and legs’ abilities (strength, flexibility, balance), or simply because the sensation of running in these kind of more minimal, flexible shoes can lead to a fresh new approach to your running form. More connected, more enjoyable. And, as amateurs, I think that enjoyment, fun, pleasure, should be the things moving us to run and not just efficiency and beating chronos.

Alex Filitti (French duathlete- based in Brussels, Belgium)

A few lines today in Quick Strides to mention the Supersapiens sensors that I tried a couple of weeks ago. Supersapiens is a company that developed an app relying on Abbott Libre Sense Continuous Glucose Monitoring (“CGM”) sensors. These sensors were first developed for people with diabetes but there is now a version available for endurance athletes.

The idea behind these sensors and the app is to allow people to monitor their glucose levels live on the phone and therefore be able to track the impact of certain foods on their glucose levels, but most importantly to adapt their nutrition in order to perform better in their sports. 

The installation process involves a little needle but is almost pain free. The needle does not stay in the arm but instead introduces a 5mm flexible filament under the skin (as shown on the picture above). 

The sensors seem very accurate as in my test period I could see the impact of pretty much any food, drink or workout on the data. Further as a “newbie” in the world of CGMs I was very happy to discover a super user-friendly app with lots of tutorials and videos explaining the rationale behind zones, ranges, glycemic indexes, and so on. Supersapiens did a great job at introducing this super advanced technology to endurance athletes and making it understable and usable to make the most out of it. 

The test package coming with one sensor - worth two weeks of data once installed - comes at €65 and for people willing to track their glucose over a longer period of time, there is also a subscription model available. For the time being the sensors are only available in select countries in the EU but they will be released in the US as well later this year (Supersapiens is this year’s name sponsor for the Ironman World Championships taking place in Hawaii in October so I’d expect the product to be available to consumers in the US before or around then). 

Renee Krusemark (Nebraska):

The Saucony Endorphin Trail arrived late this week. The RTR team has a first round great review published already, and I think I will agree with my peers. Initially, I think we all wanted an “Endorphin Speed” trail shoe, so the hefty weight is a shock. My first run was 2.5 hours in a lot of mud, and the outsole did great. The lugs and outsole allow for mud to slide off fairly quickly. I could feel the front Speed Roll riocker on the somewhat firm/dry areas, but the ride of the “roll” was less apparent/useful on the really soft terrain and mud. I’ll need more miles to determine if the performance is good enough to offset the weight. Heavy shoes are not typically my favorites. 

Prior Quick Strides HERE

Some samples were provided at no charge for review purposes others were personal purchases. No other compensation was received by RTR or the authors for this review beyond potential commissions from the shopping links in the article. The opinions herein are entirely the authors'.

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