Thursday, August 12, 2021

Giant Quick Strides 12: 2022 Introductions-Altra, Scarpa, Atreyu, Kayano Lite 2, Petzl, Speedland, USWE, Lorpen. Gold Bond, RC Elite v1 outsole, Vaporfly and More!

Article by Bryan Lim, Ryan Eiler, Michael Ellenberger, Jeff Beck, and Sam Winebaum

A giant Quick Strides this week with coverage from Sam and Jeff from  The Big Gear Show in Park City, Outdoor Retailer in Denver including Altra, Camelbak, USWE, Scarpa, Sawyer, Lorpen, Skratch, and more.  

Bryan shares a first look at the GEL-Kayano Lite 2 while Cheng discusses the advantages of the Vaporfly, Ryan the long term durability of the RC Elite v1 Dynaride outsole, and Gold Bond Friction Defense. Sam also gives initial takes on Atreyu Base Model V2, a video demo of Speedland SL: PDX’s features, and initial thoughts for the Scarpa Spin 2.0.

Sam (New Hampshire and Utah)

I attended two outdoor trade shows this week: The Big Gear Show in Park City (all outdoors in tents to the left in picture above) and Outdoor Retailer in Denver. Both and especially Outdoor Retailer reflected the current pandemic status with smaller crowds, fewer exhibitors and masks. I was joined at OR by RTR Contributor Jeff Beck, a Denver resident. 

It was cool as after several years of working together we had never met in person!

There were a number of cool finds in Park City at the Big Gear Show.

I saw a new zip reservoir series, Fusion, from Camelbak as well as in line filters designed in partnership with LifeStraw.

Watch Camelbak's presentation new Fusion reservoirs and new in line and bottle filters

I saw new run lighting options from LedLenser and Petzl. I filmed folks from each company demonstrating their new products with the videos below.

2022 Ledlenser trail lighting introductions and demo

2022 Petzl NAO and IKO trail lighting introduction and Demo


A big find or I will say a new connection was Scarpa. Their 3 shoe Spin line all looked great and they lent me a pair of their Spin 2.0 with its PEBA/EVA blend midsole, hardened EVA rockplate  and all purpose Vibram MegaGrip outsole for a few days.  

My initial testing included a 15K faster effort in Park City’s Round Valley, familiar test grounds with its smoother single tracks and rolling terrain. Pace was limited by terrible air quality (120 AQI) but they proved agile, well protected and cushioned for such a light shoe (8.75 oz / 248g)  and fun to run with that distinct PEBA energy properly tamed and stabilized by the EVA, rock plate, and full coverage outsole. 

Review shortly Spin 2.0 is a clear and very strong competitor to shoes in its class such as Salomon Sense Pro 4, Inov-8 Terraultra G270, Skechers Razor TRL, and Hoka Zinal. 

Scarpa also showed us two 2022 trail runners in what they are calling the Golden Gate series: 

Golden Gate Kima RT ($179), a flexible carbon plate aggressively lugged high mountain runner 

Golden Gate ATR ($139), a max cushioned door to trail maybe ultra focused shoe with an unusual dual density midsole, the colors below indicating the densities with the yellow softer than the gray,  

There is no plate rock or propulsion and none is needed it appears It is clearly designed to complete with various Hoka, North Face Vectiv series, Fresh Foam More Trail, and Salomon Ultraglide, 

Both weigh 290g / 10.22 oz in a US9 so svelte for substance and both have Scarpa Presa rubber derived from their famous climbing shoes. They will be available in Spring 2022.

Watch the 2022 Scarpa Preview Video

Jeff Valliere and I also continued testing the Speedland SL:PDX with review soon. 

This shoe is incredibly adaptable and even on the run from its dual BOA with micro loosen/tighten adjustments to easily and rapidly (like less than a minute for both shoes including taking them off and putting them back on) removable/replaceable flexible carbon plate. The upper has a wonderful secure yet comfortable fit and it too via the BOA is highly adaptable to foot shapes and  terrain conditions.There is so much to show hands on that I prepared a video demo of its features and adaptability here.

Hands on Demo Speedland SL:PDX

The SL:PDX is the most expensive and most adaptable and customizable shoe I have ever tested with state of the art materials including  PEBA midsole, Carbitex dynamically flexible plate, and Dyneema fibers in the upper and thread to hold the Michelin outsole to the upper.  How does it actually run? Very well indeed, and I find quite differently with plate in (propulsive smooth terrain speedster) or out (more agile, softer but still decently well rock protected as we have 5mm of very firm EVA below the PEBA main midsole).

I took the new Atreyu Base Model V2 for a first run and give the details in the video below before sending them on to our Atreyu specialist Michael for more testing for a full review and comparisons, 

Atreyu Base Model 2 initial run review and shoe details video

Suffice it to say that the Base Model now has a supercritical chemical and C02 processed  foam midsole and a new well supported yet minimal upper. Weight creeps up a tiny bit to 6 oz but well worth it as the shoe is considerably liviler and the upper considerably more supportive and secure. They will be available in September for $85

Jeff Beck (Denver, CO)

I only hit one trade show this week, Outdoor Retailer, and it was my first experience of a running/outdoor industry  trade show. While a number of the bigger shoe manufacturers opted to skip out, there was still PLENTY to see, and a number of things were both surprising and impressive.

Altra Timp 4

While Altra Running wasn’t there in full force, they did have a presence at the Healthy Foot Alliance, and while they weren’t really showing it off - they did have a single Timp 4 on display. 

The midsole is made of two different materials split at the midfoot. From the midfoot back is much softer, and the lateral side has the small designation “Ego Max”, and from the midfoot forward the midsole is much firmer. 

Perhaps it is just a mesh web on the outside sidewalls, similar to what we’ve seen with the Saucony Endorphin Trail, but the feel (at least in hand, I wasn’t able to try it on) is substantially different. 

Also, the Timp 4 upper feels a bit like a throwback to Altra five or six years ago, with less sharp lines. Lastly, the heel pull tab might be the most substantial pull tab I’ve ever seen on a shoe, it feels like you could lift a Volkswagen with it since it is integrated into the upper, almost like it is folded back on itself. No anticipated release date or price, but whenever it’s coming, I’m ready for it.


The night before the show kicked off, Altra Running invited us to their 10 year anniversary party, and it was pretty cool seeing how far the brand has come in the last decade. 

What’s also cool is the next Lone Peak is an homage to their original Lone Peak, with design elements clearly harkening back to one of their earliest shoes, and I believe their first trail shoe.

Altra Co-Founder Golden Harper gave us a demo of the key above all else for him to run form: “wrist to ribs”.

Lorpen socks, a Spanish company with a strong emphasis on sustainability (they use many recycled materials, ~90% of their employees walk or bike to work, the plant is entirely heated by the sun and they have a number of other environmentally conscious policies) creates socks for running, hiking, hunting, winter sports, and more. 

Some models have variable thicknesses, with thinner padding in the forefoot to allow the foot a little more feel. Overall, the fit and finish as well as design of the trail running pair they gave me is top notch, definitely a brand to keep an eye out for. 

We also spent some time at the Tasc Performance booth - which was especially great for me. I’ve logged at least 99% of my runs over the last ~8 years in a Tasc Performance shirt (just checked my closet, I have 24 of them hanging up right now) and I can’t say enough great things about them. They’re made of bamboo fiber, which is breathable, doesn’t chafe, doesn’t smell (seriously, several of my oldest shirts have no scent whatsoever despite literally hundreds of uses), and is exceptionally soft. They showed me their newly released socks, as well as some of their cold weather gear, and I’m excited for all of it. They’ve also further expanded their golf and casual wear line, and I’m likely going to be picking up a few for wearing to the office, they feel that good.

Sawyer Products had a handful of water filters both for use in the home and out on the trail. The trail focused ones are pretty crazy, with the thought that you can use almost any standard threaded water bottles (even really dirty gross ones you find as someone else’s garbage) and push the water through the filter and out comes clean water. They’re technology is way beyond what everyone else is using, with tiny holes that are a uniform 0.1 microns. We filmed a demo of the product below.

Sawyer Water Filters Demo

USWE running vests were eye opening. They all feature a single front plastic disk push to snap/remove  central disc.

I never realized how much other running vests inhibit arm movement, and by designing the straps to come slightly in on the chest, instead of in front of the arms, they free your arms up to do whatever they need to. 

They have a wide assortment of vests, with many different activities in mind, and while some of them are fitted by size, others are one-size-fits-all and have a number of adjustment points to really dial in the fit. 

I’d never seen a pack that adjusts vertically in the back, raising or lowering where the straps leave the pack. Pretty cool stuff.

Skratch Labs hydration powders have been a mainstay in the Beck household for a few years, but I didn’t realize that they also make bars for mid-run nutrition. 

They only recently introduced bars that seem to use a rice crispy base (standard marshmallow, strawberry and marshmallow, and chocolate and marshmallow) and while those were good, I was taken aback by how good the Raspberry and Lemon flavor was. They weren’t good for a nutrition bar, they were good, period. You don’t need to be a dozen or two miles into a run to appreciate the flavor, these would be great even just sitting on the couch.

Taking Outdoor Retailer out of the equation, I’ve been doing something I haven’t done in a while - run in whatever shoes I want. I’ve had a seemingly non-stop lineup of review shoes land at my doorstep (not complaining!), and I’ve all but worked through my backlog. And while I’d like to say I’ve been checking out a number of different shoes that I want more miles in, I find myself constantly going for the Brooks Aurora-BL (RTR Review). 

The more I run in that shoe , the more I like it. Loft v3 is rapidly becoming my midsole of choice, and I can’t wait to see what other shoes it lands in over the next year or two, and how it works with other designs or more fleshed out rubber outsole. I’m still impressed that Brooks went there with this shoe. More mileage on them means more wear on the exposed midsole and thin strips of rubber that make up the outsole, but I don’t think their eventual death will be premature.

Bryan (Australia)

Asics Gel Kayano Lite 2

I have been testing the GEL-Kayano Lite 2 this past week and have been thoroughly impressed with this stability trainer. Usually running in neutral shoes, I have found it to be a pleasant addition to my rotation as I continue my recovery from plantar fasciitis. Not having run the Lite 1 (RTR Review), it does not seem that too much has changed since superficially where the Lite 2 retains the engineered mesh upper, made from recycled materials and FlyteFoam eco, which is made from organically derived materials. 

Asics Australia has advised the Lite 2  essentially is a no-frills version of the regular Kayano. It is targeted at the mid-forefoot runner with an efficient cadence. Therefore, you will notice there is no “Gel” in the heel as in the regular Kayano models but there is as before a small disk Twist GEL in the forefoot.. 

Instead, what we have are 3D Space Compression pillars found in the heel and lateral side of the forefoot, which are essentially honeycomb shaped cut outs within the midsole to increase stability due to compression upon impact. There is also a gel insert in the medial side of the forefoot.. The Kayano Lite 2 as one would expect comes in at 27g / 0.95 oz lighter than the Kayano 27 (M9.0), whilst retaining a wide base and medial support through the sculpting of the midsole in the rear. Overall, it is a smooth riding practical stability trainer .

Ryan (Massachusetts, USA)

Meanwhile, in Boston…

we’ve been cheering on several notable MA residents/natives competing in Tokyo. Molly Seidel’s marathon performance was nothing short of astounding. Eighty-six degrees at the finish, and somehow a woman who has trained in the Boston climate manages to hang with the best of the Kenyans. Folks around here will be running a few extra weekend miles after witnessing that effort. Elle Purrier St. Pierre, Gabby Thomas, and Heather MacLean also have ties to the area, so it’s been even more fun to watch.

I continue to be impressed by the NB Fuel Cell RC Elite V1, which we reviewed nearly a year ago. I’ll often reach for them to tackle some of my harder fartlek runs or long runs. Unfortunately for me, they never give me an excuse to miss my goal pace, as they haven’t lost any of their spunk after nearly 200 miles on asphalt. The Dynaride outsole is the most remarkable part of this pair, showing hardly any signs of wear yet retaining its tenacious grip. It’s a shame that NB isn’t likely to bring back this exact design, most likely due to its cost -- one NB insider mentioned to us that its construction was ‘crazy expensive’, and was hand made at a small factory in Japan. Hopefully the NB employee who dreamt up Dynaride hasn’t been fired for cost overruns, and that the company will consider bringing back something similar in the future.

it has been beyond humid out in these parts, which means three things: trench foot, chafing, and armageddon-like numbers of mosquitoes. To combat the latter, all you can do is keep running. For the former two, I’ve found it best to keep the socks as thin as possible, stick to shoes with less-absorbent uppers, and rely on an old, reliable friend: Gold Bond Friction Defense.

the running world feels fairly normal at the moment, with most local running groups nearly back to their pre-covid ways. Tracksmith, our beloved hometown brand, has been organizing bus-supported training runs for the upcoming marathon, as well as a couple twilight 5ks. Even one of our two weekly, casual 5k Parkruns is back open for business. I like to believe that a silver lining of this whole mess is that it’s encouraged some new people to give running a shot (maybe they’ll even enjoy it!).

Michael (Chicago, IL, USA)

It feels good to be back in the swing of training again (or getting back into it, anyway!), as I’ve upped the mileage to around 50-55 (and hopefully headed to 60-70 soon) and begun putting together some structured workouts. I still find myself running well off more generalized sessions - longer progresive or tempo runs have become my bread-and-butter - but it’s always fun to get on the track.

Footwear-wise, I’ve been in a bit of a rut. After working through some seriously good trainers (the new Endorphin Shift comes to mind), I’ve had trouble finding the sweet spot. That keeps me coming back to my favorite, the Atreyu base model (I know Sam is testing v2 - hopefully I can get in on that soon!) and the Craft CTM Ultra (RTR Review) for longer efforts. Those are both extremely good trainers, but not “new” in my head, and I’m hoping we get something crazy coming our way soon. For faster stuff, I have the usual rotation of carbon-doped racers, but I was recently reminded again of the frustrating and toe-nail-losing upper of the Skechers Speed Freek. It’s such a fast shoe, and they’ve nailed the midsole foam and plate so perfectly, but man - anything more than an hour, and my big toe is in serious risk, just like in the Speed Elite and Razor Elite. Moving down the upper from the Razor+ would be an extremely good move, in my eyes.

Finally, the Olympics are over (when you read this; winding down when I write this!) and while shoes and gear have taken a backseat - I don’t think I’ve heard a single debate about carbon-plates - it’s worth noting that Molly Seidel’s epic bronze medal performance was run in the Puma Deviate Nitro Elite (RTR Review). I’m not sure whether there were other Puma-sponsored runners in the field - I know that at least the Swedish athletes had Puma singlets - but that’s a great performance for Molly (duh!) but also for the team that concocted that shoe. Kudos all around - especially to the Wisconsite. 

Cheng: (Michigan)

Why Olympic Marathoners Prefer Vaporfly Over Alphafly

For as significant of a shoe as it is, Nike’s Alphafly, there’s been surprisingly little in-depth discussion by reviewers. After hitting multiple new PBs in both platforms, I now believe I have enough performance and engineering insight into how each shoe works as well as why Olympians prefer the Vaporfly. Here, I’ll briefly introduce how the Vaporfly works before continuing this discussion in a subsequent more in-depth article.

Much of this comes to Nike’s key design patent: the curvature of its carbon fiber plate. This ladle-shaped design is critical in performing three main functions:

  1. Stabilizing an otherwise unstable midsole, especially its rocker geometry

  2. Vectoring foam compression/decompression cycles in a forward and upward direction

  3. Allowing maximal midfoot-forefoot foam compression while distributing/transitioning forces across entire midsole

Here, the plate acts as an all-in-one rocker/stabilizer/shank. The ladle-like dip at the forefoot enables the plate to be close to the outsole, working to both maintain the aggressive rocker while giving enough room above for maximal foam compression. Further, the upward taper of the plate toward the heel acts as a stability shank, distributing impact forces across the entire midsole and improving transitions. Look at the plates of all the successful supershoes and you’ll find the same applied concept. Even the Adios Pro’s rods act in the same manner, along with its additional and separate in its case heel plate.

I’ve heard from multiple patent attorneys that Nike’s key innovation isn’t necessarily just its foam-plate product, but that it patented the key to making such a design work. Perhaps Adidas got around this by using rods + plate (that do the same thing) in lieu of a single plate.

Regardless, this entire design was turned on its head with the Alphafly, at least with the publicly released version…

And with this cliffhanger, that’s it for now boys and girls. I’ll continue this discussion in a separate write-up. Meanwhile, those intending to run the Detroit Free Press Marathon can use my code CHENGROCKS for 10% off your race entry fee! I look forward to continuing conversations with ya’ll via Instagram (@MrChengChen) or below.

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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Curt said...

Actually love that Lone Peak "Classic" colorway. Although... did they finally get rid of the trail rudder?

Anonymous said...

Hi RTT Team, hi Sam,

i am looking forward to read your review of the Scarpa 2.0. How do you compare the sizing "Inov8 Terraultra G270 vs. Scarpa 2.0"?

I am a solid UK 8,5/42,5 in the terraultra and want to try the Scarpa.

THX a lot for your reviews - GREAT JOB!

BG Stefan