Monday, July 19, 2021

Quick Strides #9: Altra Superior 5, Adios Pro 2, Levitate 5, Carbon for Trails, Deviate Nitro Elite, Wave Shadow 4

Article by Cheng Chen, Joost de Raeymaeker, Bryan Lim, Johannes Klein, Jeremy Marie, and Sam Winebaum

Quick Strides is a weekly article at RTR. The format and content will be as our contributors wish. More blog posts than in depth reviews, we hope to bring our readers yet timelier brief information in advance of our full reviews as well as fun and interesting content from our many perspectives on this wonderful sport.

This week: Altra Superior 5, Adios Pro 2, Levitate 5, Carbon for Trails, Deviate Nitro Elite, Wave Shadow 4

Cheng (Michigan) 

Carbon Shoes for Trails

This past weekend, the racing team that I coach (Oakland County Track) competed in the 2021 Greater Oakland Relay invitational race. 7 teams of 7 runners raced a 14-leg Ekiden across the hilly backcountry roads and trails of Southeast Michigan. Our team did well with a second place tie. We ran 69.9 miles in 7 hours and 57 minutes, averaging [6:49] minutes/mile.

I was responsible for running two courses of 7 and 3 miles and used the Craft CTM Carbon Ultra (RTR Review)  and New Balance RC Elite 1 (RTR Review) respectively. The first one was completed with an average of [6:19] pace and 293W, which was slower but more effortful [in power] than my previous half marathon PB. The 7.1-mile course was composed of country roads and a packed dirt trail with 918 feet of total elevation change.

Here, the CTM Ultra Carbon was an excellent choice! With the upper properly cinched at race-tightness, the platform is actually very stable, counter to the anecdotes of instability that others have experienced. Part of this effect comes from the bottom-heavy midsole, which works with the medium profile rubber outsole to strongly grip the dirty roads and trails. More specifically, the strategically placed strips along the heel also helped with segments of down hill surges.

The second course was shorter and more technical. It involved a series of heavily gravelled rolling hills along with segments on paved roads - I attacked it with the RC Elite v1.

Of all the carbon plated racing shoes, this is one of the most stable from a midfoot and up perspective. When heel striking, however, there is a significant lack of stability. That is, the heel foam is incredibly soft with minimal internal stability, causing any landings there to easily evert and over-pronate early in the gait cycle. Knowing this, I still attacked down hills with hard heel strikes, focusing on maintaining stability with quick transitions.

Whether it was the hard downhill strides or overall rough terrain, the consequence of this race is rather visible: many areas of the outsole’s plastic film were pierced. Some pebbles are still embedded within the midsole. While no nubs have fallen off, yet, they are near with many having permanently indented the midsole.

While the wear and tear is significant, I still believe this was the best carbon plated shoe for the course. With 999 feet of elevation change across a short, 3.3-mile backcountry route, the relative stability of the RC Elite and lower plushness helped in giving just enough energy return while navigating across the harsh terrain. However, I will minimize using these shoes on such roads in the future as the durability cost is simply too high. There’s a reason for running on trails with trail shoes.

That’s it for this week. . Those around Michigan can visit or contact me directly via Instagram (@MrChengChen). You can also use my code CHENGROCKS for 10% off your entry to the Detroit Free Press Marathon!

Joost (Angola)

Last week I got in another two pairs of shoes for review. One of them was something I’d been looking forward to since I reviewed the Deviate Nitro and really enjoyed it. That review pair has more than 700km (435 miles) on it and is still going strong, with little or no wear on the outsole.

The pair I got in for review is the Deviate Nitro’s racing sibling: the Deviate Nitro Elite SP (SP being the special edition Puma’s made with the Olympic colorway. They look fantastic. Even my daughter who is usually not a big fan of colorways I buy or choose said they looked great.

I think you’ll have to agree that this is one great looking shoe. It also feels great on the run. I’ll add to the current RoadtrailRun review soon.

The other pair that came in were the new Brooks Levitate 5. 

This is my first version of that particular line of Brooks shoes, so I won’t be able to compare it to previous versions. I got the standard circular knit non-GTS version, which is a little hot for where I live or for summer running, but it’ll be great once fall comes rolling in on the northern hemisphere. 

Impressions so far: great fit, enough room up front for my wide feet and firm with what Sam calls a pneumatic response. As soon as I’ve run some more in them, I’ll write up my review for it as well.

Bryan (Australia) 

Similar to Joost, I received the Brooks Levitate 5, but in the StealthFit variant, here down under in Melbourne, Australia. Boy is it a stunning shoe to look at! It is the first version of Levitate I have worn, and you could say Brooks shoes in general, having only worn the Glycerin several years ago. The DNA Amp midsole and ride is certainly interesting, quoting Sam, with an evident “pneumatic” feel. It certainly takes time to wear in and soften, albeit the end result is still a responsive but firm ride. The upper is where it gets interesting, where Brooks has opted for a softer and more pliable knit than the FitKnit in the Levitate 4. Find out more when our multi-panel review on the multi-variant Levitate 5 is up! 

Sam (New Hampshire)

Brooks Levitate 5 (4 models)

I am testing the GTS (Go-To-Support) StealthFit and non GTS versions of the Levitate 5 with a circular knit upper. 

The Levitate will now come in 4 flavors all the same DNA Amp midsole and outsole but with each upper type available in underfoot platforms of “regular” and GTS light stability. DNA AMP is a PU based midsole foam that is dense, quite firm and has a deliberate pneumatic kind of rebound. All versions are $150 and come in August.

The new StealthFit upper, while just as smashing looking as the Levitate 4's, clearly resolves the rough and very low and stiff over the center toes fit of the Levitate 4 (RTR Review) with a softer, thinner, more stretchable knit. The upper now includes an integral knit tongue instead of the 4’s more conventional one. 

The regular Levitate 5 now has a very soft thick circular knit upper and plushly padded collars and clearly has a high comfort cruiser fit. The upper adds weight as we tip the scales at 10.97 oz / 311g while Bryan’s  StealthFit version checks in at 9.81 oz / 278g in a US9 so slightly lighter than the Levitate 4.

I have most liked the GTS Stealth Fit version.  Not usually a support shoe runner, and not a fan of rails, the GTS has a lateral Guide Rail that is the same foam as the midsole and a co molded medial rail of a slightly firmer foam. 

The rails here combined with the more performance oriented Stealthfit upper’s better than circular knit lockdown deliver a sensation of a rebounding midfoot platform with a touch of noticed guidance more than a rigid forced or sharp support. 

Our full multi tester review of all 4 new Levitate is coming soon.

adidas adizero Adios Pro 2 

I formulated my thoughts on the Pro 2 and added them to our multi tester review.

The bottom line is that by widening the heel platform 5mm, flaring the midsole sidewalls, and especially including a prominent medial cut out adidas has extended the versatility of the Pro to those seeking a smoother, easier to transition max cushion carbon racer racer with a more stable heel and more accommodating upper. So, it becomes marathon class and even trainer for more of us than the Pro 1, while it is a bit heavier than Pro 1 and heavier than some of its competition.  I think it is a more practical shoe for me than its predecessor with a greater range of race distance potential and certainly up to the marathon which Pro 1 was not for me being a max 10K shoe.

Johannes (Germany) 

Altra Superior 5 First Run Impressions

My first run in a trail shoe from Altra was a pleasant experience in every way. For me, the Superior 5 is true to size. The width of the patented FootshapeTM toe box is perfect for my wider feet and splay. 

At 278 grams (without the removable rock plate) in my US 11, the shoe is very light and nimble on foot. Despite the fact that there is not much heel counter to speak of, it has great lockdown properties. I take it that is due to the well reinforced, low-volume middle part of the upper and the effective lacing system that provides a secure fit. 

The combination of Altra’s QuanticTM midsole foam, a low stack height of 21 mm and the outsole lugs make for a soft yet responsive ride. 

Without the rock plate, I was able to feel most of the trail’s surface through the midsole. I’m planning on running the same course again with the rock plate, so I can give an update on its effectiveness.

The ride is very stable and smooth throughout all phases of the gait cycle, which can be attributed to the non-existent drop, highly flexible midsole and wide platform.

The MaxTracTM outsole provides great traction on dirt roads, gravel, roots and rocks. I’m hoping to get the chance to test it in wet conditions.

Anyone interested in a trail shoe that’s more nimble and has more toebox room than most other models, but is still very functional in all respects should look into the Altra Superior 5.

Jeremy (France)

Mizuno Wave Shadow 4 First impressions

This may be a shoe appealing more to European readers as it seems not to be available in the US, whereas here in France it has been out for almost a year.

The Wave Shadow line follows the Sayonara which were nice do-it-all tempo trainers using the new (at the time) U4Ic foam. It’s usually presented as a Boston (prior to 10) competitor.

The 4th Wave Shadow iteration is once again one of the first Mizuno models taking advantage of their new foam, Enerzy. It’s been a year since the shoe is out, but it’s still on the shelves and I think it’s a very nice alternative to many classical tempo trainers. 

A very streamlined, simple, no-fuss conception, with a versatile 8mm drop, a low stack (by today’s standard) of 17mm/25mm,  weighing 270g (9.5oz) for a 44EU (10.5US).

Despite the low stack, Enerzy midsole packs a nice responsive cushioning with a touch of firmness that works nicely at many paces.  It’s a very interesting compound. It’s combined with a thin layer of U4IC, and we can notice the absence of the trademark plastic wave plate. As far as I can remember, it was one of the first Mizuno shoe without one. And I can say that it makes the shoe run very smoothly without any harshness.

I’m definitely fond of the mismatched colorway which extends towards the outsole.

I’m now approaching 200kms in them, and will publish a dedicated review soon.

Some tested samples were provided at no charge for review purposes others were personal purchases. RoadTrail Run has affiliate partnerships and may earn commission on products purchased through affiliate links. These partnerships do not influence our editorial content
The opinions herein are entirely the authors'.

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