Tuesday, March 22, 2022

Quick Strides 31: Puma FAST-R Nitro Elite, Altra Mont Blanc, Satisfy Running, Saucony Kinvara 13, Altra Rivera 2, Eco Trail Paris-Pulsar to the Eiffel Tower, GEL-Cumulus 24 to NB 880 v12 to Puma Velocity Nitro 2 Comparison Video

Article by Johannes Klein, Cheng Chen, Jeremy Marie, and Sam Winebaum

Quick Strides 31: Puma FAST-R Nitro Elite, Altra Mont Blanc, Satisfy Running, Saucony Kinvara 13, Altra Rivera 2, Eco Trail Paris-Pulsar to the Eiffel Tower, GEL-Cumulus 24 to NB 880 v12 to Puma Velocity Nitro 2 Comparison Video

Johannes Klein (Germany)

Saucony Kinvara 13

Fit & Upper

The upper of the K13 is where (basically) all the changes happened.
The materials remind me a lot of the Endorphin Speed 2: a thin layer of well-ventilated engineered mesh that’s been strategically reinforced with another, transparent layer in places where increased tear resistance is needed. The result is a light, but not very stretchy upper that breathes and holds your foot well. 

The heel construction is not as sturdy, as it lacks the 12’s rigid overlay. Viewed from above, the collar seems a bit more rounded. In my view, heel lockdown is not as solid as before, but still adequate. Two elongated, rather nimble overlays provide some lateral and medial support. All in all, an upper that is not as substantial as its predecessors, but offers a lot of the qualities that the Kinvara is known for: Light, breathable, with a tendency to disappear on foot.

I was a big fan of last year’s upper, and I’d still prefer it over the K13’s if the changes didn’t account for a significant drop in weight (20g in my size). I can’t possibly hold Saucony at fault for making this shoe even lighter, especially if the weight cut is executed as quietly as it is the case here. My first impression was that the shoe fits a tad more loose in the heel (nothing that the right lacing technique won’t fix) and a bit tighter in the front. I’m sure the toebox mesh will keep adapting to my foot, though.

Midsole & Ride

Saucony says the midsole contouring was changed incrementally to provide a more “streamlined” fit, which I can confirm by comparing to the K12. It seems like the forefoot platform got a tiny bit narrower. While not being labeled as such by the company, the K13’s foam (Still PWRRUN, EVA + TPU blend) does feel slightly bouncier than last year’s. Maybe that’s just in comparison to my K12s, which are near end-of-life, though. 

One thing is for sure: the weight cut contributes to a more nimble and fast-feeling ride. Runners with an efficient stride should have no problems using the K13 for anything from base building efforts to track workouts. Not so much recovery runs. If there’s one thing I love about the Kinvara, it’s that it seems to disappear on foot once you get moving. The K13 is no exception.


No changes here.

Weight (EU 45 / US 11): 220g (Kinvara 12: 235g)

My German language Review

English Multi Tester Review

Kinvara 13 Available Now!


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Altra Rivera 2

Fit & Upper

Similarly to the Kinvara 13, the Rivera 2 is an upper update. The mesh is less dense and more porous, especially across the forefoot, which makes it breathe better. To my initial dismay, the already shallow toebox feels like it has been reduced in height even more. I was surprised to learn that this didn’t really affect the top of my toes while running. The shoe fits a tad short, but I went true to size and so far, I’m not regretting it.

There is a toe bumper now, which could be contributing to the feeling of tightness across the top of the toes. The ankle collar sports a bit more padding and height, which results in a slight improvement in heel lockdown. In general, the upper is more structured and midfoot volume has been reduced, resulting in better lockdown here, too.

Midsole & Ride

Virtually unchanged. Altra EGO midsole foam is as soft and bouncy as ever. Deep flex grooves and balanced cushioning make for a smooth ride across all paces.


As I have put nearly 350K into the Rivera 1, I’ve come to the realization that a little more high-abrasion-rubber would’ve gone a long way for runners with a similar foot strike as me. The lateral fading of the soft rubber makes the platform tilt a bit, which is why I’m not going to use the shoes for running anymore. That’s why I was a bit disappointed that the outsole on of the Rivera 2 was the exact same. If you look closely, you’ll notice the same wear starting after 35K on the right.

Weight (EU 45 / US 11): 265g (Rivera 1 : 270g)

Sam’s Altra Rivera 2 Review

Rivera 2 available now!


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Cheng Chen (Michigan)

Nike Pegasus Trail 3 GTX

Following up from RTR’s previous review of the Nike Pegasus Trail 3 (Review Link), I acquired a Gore-Tex version for spring trail running. After some miles, I can concur with the former positive reviews of this platform’s unique ride!

Nowadays it’s not a cop-out to say that nearly every well-reviewed shoe has a great ride. Much of this is due to the maturity of the running shoe market with brands hyper-focusing on specific, unique ride qualities. While this phenomenon was previously relegated to mostly road running shoes, trail offerings have caught up.

If you want a hyper-minimalist ride, there are options ranging from Vibram FiveFingers to Vivobarefoot to Merrell Trail Gloves. If you want rocker-galore, ASICS Trabuco Max and Saucony Endorphin Trail are excellent choices. There are also countless variations of heel/forefoot/waterproof/water-drain trail shoes, all with unique rides fit for every variation of form and environment. How does the Nike Pegasus Trail 3 GTX fit in this marketplace?

100% middle of the [trail]! But don’t let mediocrity fool you, doing it well is not easy…

Mediocrity, Well Done

As mentioned in the previous review, the platform does an excellent job of providing a stable and cushioned ride. I’d like to further elaborate, focusing on the specific blend of React cushioning and unique geometry of the midsole.

Here, I noticed a far softer, relatively more compliant blend of React foam. This might be counterintuitive given the typical need for more ground-feel in trail running. However, technical running is clearly not the intended purpose of this platform. Along with a relatively insecure heel lock, the upper also gives plenty of room, atypical among most Nike shoes. Rather, the Peg Trail 3 excels at providing a daily-trainer like feel for miles and miles of smooth running.

I’m typically not a fan of the significantly flared midsole of which the Peg Trail 3 prominently features. This instantiation, however, is uniquely pleasant. The flared platform provides a large surface area to cover bumps on the trail, minimizing the risk of a rolled ankle. Such shoes can be very unpleasant to run in as they force the feet to comply with awkward ground contact angles. Not so here.

The relatively roomy upper and gentle heel lock shines forth as they allow for a just-right amount of internal foot rotation so as to not be bothered by every off-angle landing. Here I’d like to emphasize that the Gore-Tex waterproof lining does not get in the way of the ride. In fact, the slick texture of the membrane almost helps to lubricate internal foot motion, minimizing friction points with a glove-like feel. Combine this with a soft midsole and the entire platform provides a confidence of stride that allows the runner to relax and run the trail like the road.

The Pegasus 3 Trail Gore-Tex is my current 2022 best-pick for a door-to-trail daily cruiser.

Cheng is a CrossFitter turned runner hybrid-athlete. He lifts and base builds in the winter while racing in the summer with personal bests of 5:29 (Mile), 1:20 (Half), and 17:53 (5K). He passionately brings an engineering stance to analyzing running, shoes, and tech. Follow him on Instagram (@MrChengChen) for more.

The Nike Pegasus Trail 3 is available from Running Warehouse HERE

Peg Trail 3 GTX on clearance at $130 same price as non GTX

Jeremy (France)

Racing: Ecotrail Paris 30km

I had the opportunity to get a very late bib for a race that I enjoy very much: the Ecotrail Paris. It takes place on known forest trails, and ends up at the Eiffel Tower feet (or for the longer 80km option, at the first floor!), so the finish is quite scenic.

Among the distances (18, 30, 45, 80 kms), I’ve opted for one of the shortest at 30kms. A little more than 2h effort, I didn’t want to race longer, and only got the bib one week before the race.

The weather forecast was ideal for running, with a low 8-9°C at the start, 15-17°C around midday and lots of sun! Dry forest trails and a 9kms stretch on pavement along La Seine to get to the finish made the shoes choice easy: Salomon Pulsar! (RTR Review)

As usual I went light and minimal: 

It’s no surprise that the Pulsar delivered on this rolling course. Many runners went with road shoes, but the Pulsar are lighter than most, cushier than most, with an effective rocker on flat/hard ground. It’s just another confirmation of the greatness of those shoes for everything rolling and dry.

As far as the race, everything went well. There were some strong runners at the front, I decided to stick to my pace/intensity, pushing on the last flat miles with a strong headwind to pass 4 riders to finish 13th.

It’s a really nice and accessible race that I advise to French runners.

Satisfy Running apparel

I’ve been lucky enough to receive some test sample pieces from Satisfy Running, a French brand that produces very uncommon running apparel. Coming from a fashion background, they ethically produce, mainly in Europe, very “lifestylish” running apparel using top notch fabrics.

The Cloud Merino top is incredibly soft to the skin, light and dries very quickly. And you gotta love that unique Tie & Dye color scheme!

The 8” TechSilk short with an integrated liner is equally light and soft. A zipper pocket at the back, a key clip and one of the most efficient internal phone pocket I’ve tried are just some of the thoughtful details that can be found in their production. And once again, look at that unique look!!

The third piece I got is a warm baselayer, very fitted (much more than the top despite being the same size) that uses coffee charcoal to get its color and heat conservation attributes.

I’ve tried it under 5-6°C (low 40s F) with a light vest and it proves to be working very well.

Full reviews are coming soon along with some other samples that Sam is testing.

But be cautious: the price tag is eye-watering!

PUMA Fast-R Nitro Elite

Due to the race, I've only got a quick run in the brand new PUMA Fast-R carbon-plated long distance racer just in for our RTR review.

I’ve always heard that carbon-plated shoes are made to be run fast, but the Fast-R was no slouch at endurance paces (a bit slower than marathon pace).

The stretchy integrated tongue, close-fitting upper with a nice toe-box make for a comfortable fit - I just had to untie the laces a bit middle-run.

As a very first impression, the heel feels more unstable (while walking) than it really is than on the  run. The generous amount of EVA foam at the back is springy and responsive, but the shoe really shines with mid-to-forefoot strike. I’ve raved about the Nitro foam in my Liberate NItro review (RTR review) and the Nitro ELite foam used in the Fast-R feels a bit denser, and more responsive. I expected to feel the plate a bit more, and even be bothered by it at first especially during a moderate run, but I find it quite natural - more so than the Zoom Tempo Next % at the same paces.

I can’t wait to put more miles in them for the upcoming review!

Sam Winebaum (Utah and New Hampshire)

With the snow melting and mud season on the way and after 2 incredible months in Park City with great for me better trail and road running  it is time to return to New Hampshire.

I ran one race while out here, one of my favorites, the Antelope Island Buffalo Run 25K on a spectacular late winter weather day with snow on the ground in places. I managed first in my AG in about the same time as my last Buffalo in 2019.

I wore a carbon plated trail shoe we will be reviewing shortly and for the first time in 3 attempts no final miles cramps on a course with 2000 feet of climbing and relatively non technical terrain. Not the lightest of trail shoes it is very agile, climbs well, and is energetically cushioned with stout grip.

Most of the way I wore my 2022 winter mainstay, the incredibly light, totally windproof and lightly insulated GoreWear Drive Jacket but as the morning warmed and after the last climb it came off.

I had 3 super fine last runs in Utah before returning to New Hampshire.

An 8 miler high above Park City on the Bonanza Flats multi use snow trails with RTR contributor Mike Potaski. I finalized my Altra Mont Blanc thoughts for our just posted Multi Tester Review there and on a road run through Park City. The new EGO Max midsole foam is energetic and soft with the 30mm zero drop platform stable. I am not convinced it is a technical ultra shoe but it is for sure a super fine door to trail and more moderate trails option. 

The new Swiftwick Flyte XT Trail socks have been a constant companion the last month or so. They combine Swiftwick’s Olefin footbed and Merino for moisture transfer with GripDry fibers and AnkleLock tech for some support. Neither a super soft merino or a scratchy tight support sock they blend comfort and performance very well.

I also ran indoors A/B/C comparing the GEL-Cumulus 24 (RTR Review soon), Puma Velocity Nitro 2 (RTR Review), and New Balance 880v12 (RTR Review). They are all fine daily training options with clear differences I try to explain in the video below.

Finally, all three of my last runs in Park City, each in very different conditions: cold and windy trail, warm indoor track, and moderate temps on the road were in the exact same Satisfy Running apparel and for every run I was totally comfortable and the apparel appropriate.

Satisfy is a Parisian brand fortunately all my samples were “basic black’ and not Jeremy’s tie dye which reminds me too much of my youth! Satisfy is high French fashion, meets highly technical fabrics, and high high functionality. All at a steep, steep cost of course, bien sur!

The Justice Merino 7” Shorts ($277) were comfortable with 2 giant easy to reach front drop in zip pockets ideal for a phone, gloves, etc…as well as zip rear pocket. 3 other pockets are called out..still looking for them but plenty enough carry here.

A very thin outer 4 way stretch material from a very old and now technical fabrics French firm is bonded to a very thin merino layer. The outer fabric is quite windproof and water repellant so it was great in wind on the pass, never over warm, no liner, and is  easy fitting without being baggy and when the pockets were loaded no snag as there is also a very effective and comfortable drawstring and inner waistband. I am not usually a fan of long shorts but these will be a great shoulder to winter season run, hiking, and everyday wear option as well as layered over tights in deep cold.

The label is on the outside and can easily be removed leaving just the Satisfy branding strip, same for the AuraLite Long Tee below.

The AuraLite Long Tee ($155) is another marvel. This incredibly light and soft Japanese fabric takes the tech long sleeve to a whole other level. It evaporates moisture incredibly fast so I was never chilled in sub freezing and breezy on Empire Pass, was never over warm indoor running, dries very very quickly and has great odor resistance. 

Base of Park City Mountain: 2002 Olympic Half Pipe, GS and Salomon behind.

Finally the last sample Satisfy sent me is their PeaceShell Cap ($78) Very light and easy to wear, it absorbed and evaporated sweat flawlessly and no surprise as it has Schoeller’s 3XDry finish which not only repels water and dirt but dries up to 3X faster according to Satisfy. 

Full Satisfy Running apparel reviews with Jeremy 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 in this article. These partnerships do not influence our editorial content. The opinions herein are entirely the authors'

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