Friday, July 23, 2021

Mizuno Wave Sky 5 Multi Tester Review

Article by Dominique Winebaum, Jeff Beck, and Sam Winebaum

Mizuno Wave Sky 5 ($170)


Introduction


Dominique: Back in March, I reviewed the Wave Sky 4 (my first introduction to Mizuno running shoes) and since this past June, I have been running in the Wave Sky 5. There are many upgrades, from the upper to the outsole and especially the midsole,  which makes this fifth edition of the Wave Sky more exciting than its predecessor.   Running at slow pace (most of the time), twenty some miles per week, the Wave Sky 5 is a good fit for me: protective cushioning; responsive ride; comfortable fit; and attractive looking without calling attention.

Sam: The Wave Sky 3 was my favorite easy run shoe of 2019 for its excitement for a big shoe rebounding ride. The firmer, duller Wave Sky 4 with its overdone knit upper was a comparative dud. 


Sam: Clearly a neutral (but inherently stable) heavy duty, highly cushioned, easy run or big and burly style daily trainer, the Wave Sky 5 is designed to last and last, to provide a reliable day in day out ride that even at its up there weight is not ponderous at any moderate pace. So what did Mizuno do to potentially re-capture some of the Wave Sky 3’s magic? 

Left to Right: MIZUNO ENERZY FOAM, MIZUNO ENERZY CORE, U4icx


For the Wave Sky 5 MIZUNO ENERZY FOAM  (white) becomes the bottom layer instead of the top layer which remains U4icx. Very soft rubberized MIZUNO ENERZY CORE (red) is used in place of PU beads embedded in TPU based XPOP as a central core. U4ic X (gray) becomes the top layer instead of being the bottom layer. It is a lighter form or Mizuno’s long time EVA midsole foam.  


The Wave interface between layers now also appears to be lower in the stack. There is no plastic Wave plate here. The Wave effect is created by the geometry of how the 2 main layers join.

The outsole is reduced in rear to mid foot coverage with a flatter coverage and no massive lugs as before but remains Mizumo’s X10. Upfront, instead of an array of bulky lugs, broad wavy  bands are used. The flex grooves in the outsole are joined by grooves in the top layer of the midsole. For a big 28mm front stack the Wave Sky flexes well.

The upper becomes a smooth stretch woven material in place of the prior Waveknit, a denser thicker knit.


And all of these changes get the Wave Sky to 10.9 oz dropping about 0.4 oz / 11g  from the Wave Sky 4. All of this is promising to say the least.   

Wednesday, July 21, 2021

Top 2021 Technical Run Tops for Men: Odlo, Craft, Patagonia, adidas Terrex


Article by Sam Winebaum


The humble tee and tank continues to evolve with yet lighter and more technically evolved fabrics. Comfort, feel, moisture wicking, quick dry, odor resistance, natural and recycled materials all are on board these highly evolved picks each with a different “personality” and best uses while all are highly effective. The top picks are: Odlo Chill-Tec Tee and Tank, Craft Pro Hypervent, Patagonia Cool Merino, and adidas Terrex Parley Agravic Trail Running All-Around Tee.


All have been tested for several months in a variety of dry and humid summer heat, cooler weather in spring, and wet conditions. They been the only tops (other than occasionally older Salomon S/Lab Sense T and Send Pro tank) I have run in for months


In a change from most recent performance tops all but the Patagonia have a roomy long fit. 

Of course this is not an exhaustive list of all the great technical run shirts around but each here has its distinctive differences and strengths.


Master of the Heats


Odlo Zeroweight Chill-Tec Tee ($55) and Tank ($50)

We are huge fans of Odlo at RTR. They are the masters of winter base layers for active sports such as nordic and alpine skiing and last year's Blackcomb Pro T-shirts were our favorite all around run and do everything shirts for their performance and classy looks.

This year Odlo launches Chill-Tec t-shirts and tanks.  They are made of a very thin, highly air permeable jersey fabric with quick drying and anti odor properties. More textured than the others here, the fabric never sticks to the skin and has an airy, always cool feel also in part helped by the roomy long fits, something I like for summer heat. 


They have proved the most comfortable in both dry and humid hot conditions, if not quite the softest on the skin as the others here, the standoff from the skin from the texture of the mesh part of the cooling magic. All the seams are carefully finished and there are reflective details.


I liked the tee Odlo sent for the test so much that I purchased the tank and it will be my 2021 race shirt for sure. I tend to reach for the Odlo most of all this summer.


Shop for Odlo Chill-Tec, including new Engineered Zeroweight at Running Warehouse  HERE

Shop for Odlo Chill-Tec, including new Engineered Zeroweight at Backcountry HERE


The Comfortable All Around Performer


Craft Pro Hypervent Running Shirt ($60)


Stretchy, well vented with a luxurious soft and roomy fit, the Pro Hypervent is an all around great technical run shirt. The styling and colors are bright and distinctive but not overdone. The fit is long and lean and, as with the Odlo I was sent a half size up from norma,l and would stay there although as the stretchiest shirt here I am sure I would be fine at my normal size. The shirt has body mapped mesh ventilation in three grades including two at the back joined with taped seams along with extensive black reflective highlights. 

The Hypervent performs very well in all conditions and temperatures and is the most comfortable run shirt overall here although the Odlo out performs it ever so slightly in humid conditions.  


Shop for Craft Pro Hypervent for men and women at Running Warehouse HERE


The Stealth Tech Traveler


Patagonia Cool Merino Shirt ($59)


The Cool Merino is made from a blend of 65% RWS (Responsible Wool Standard) certified merino wool and 35% recycled polyester. More fitted than the others, with less fabric texture it tends to be a bit stickier and slicker feeling when wet than the others but is still a high performance shirt. It’s classy colors and fit make it my choice for days when I not only run but have to look “presentable”. It is my top choice here for fall running, travel, everyday wear, and multi day trips and hikes.  



The Mountain Specialist disguised as an old school undershirt 


Terrex Parley Agravic Trail Running All-Around Tee ($40)


Made of Primeblue recycled materials including partially of Parley’s recovered ocean plastics, this “plain white” non dyed shirt is the softest of these t-shirts with a feel reminding of the very finest cotton/silk...undershirt and for sure if you need an undershirt it can do double duty.  It is highly wicking, with a center back long mesh for increased ventilation and moisture evaporation and dries incredibly fast especially if any kind of breeze is present. 


Testing in hot weather where it performed very well but was bit stickier than some of  the others in more humid weather but great in dry heat.  I wore it more than once in driving rain in the mid 40’s  under the Agravic Pro Jacket and was surprised how comfortable the combination was, never cold and clammy and then drying very quickly. 

As such it is my top choice as a base layer / t-shirt for mountain and foul weather summer to fall runs and hikes where the weather is variable. 


Shop for Terrex Agravic apparel at Running Warehouse HERE

Shop for Terrex Agravic Trail Running Tee at Backcountry HERE


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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Mission Workshop x Tracksmith Backpack Review

Article by Michael Ellenberger

Mission Workshop x Tracksmith Backpack 

Specs

  • Price: $238

  • Availability: Now, from Tracksmith 

  • Dimensions: 18 Liter (20" Tall, 10" Wide, 6" Deep)

  • Laptop Storage: Sleeve for 13” Laptop


Introduction

Run commuting has always been an aspiration of mine - with limited time in the day, and the need to squeeze in a run around work, I’ve always loved the idea of using my legs to get to work. Well, the COVID-19 Pandemic changed that - what I thought was two weeks at home to “flatten the curve” turned into me working remotely for nearly 16 months, and eventually accepting a fully remote position at a patent boutique - but, there are still plenty of opportunities where running (as opposed to driving, biking, or public transit) is still the easiest way for me to get somewhere. 

Against that backdrop, I tested the Mission Backpack, a collaboration between fan- (and reviewer-) favorite Tracksmith, and hard-wearing, made-in-USA Mission Workshop, which is familiar to any bike commuter or bag enthusiast. The result is undoubtedly the best looking run commuter bag I’ve ever seen, but the performance is mixed; I think the Mission Backpack is ultimately a better backpack than run commuter bag (at least for me)... but I’ll cover all the good and bad below! 

Monday, July 19, 2021

Skechers Performance Go Run Speed Freek Multi Tester Review

Article by Derek Li and Joost de Raeymaeker

Skechers Performance Go Run Speed Freek ($205)

Introduction

Derek: I have been fortunate enough to test various editions of Skechers’ racing flats over the years, often on my own dime. It started with more traditional racers like Speed 3, evolving into the very solid and responsive Speed 6. Shortly after the Speed 6 was released, Skechers started entering the carbon plated arena with their Speed Elite Hyper, which I think many will agree is a very good short distance racer. I think they intended for it to be a marathon racer, but modern appetites for higher stacks meant the Speed Elite Hyper ended up being more of a 5k/10k type of shoe. 


Skechers, to their credit, take feedback very well, and they went back and beefed up the shoe to get one that could handle the marathon distance. The result is the Speed Freek. I think one of the first rumors I heard about the Freek was that it was basically a Razor Excess with a carbon winglet forefoot. Well, I don’t quite see it that way and I’ll tell you why. Nowadays I measure the stacks on all the shoes, and the Freek has a heel stack of 34mm vs the Razor Excess with a heel stack of 28mm. 6mm of stack difference is significant. (New Balance RC Elite 1 vs 2 is only a 2mm heel stack difference) So the Speed Freek has all the right ingredients on paper. Does it perform? Let’s find out. 


Joost: Skechers has been firing on all canons with fast Hyperburst midsole shoes. There are currently four different Razor models, the Speed, the Speed Elite and now the Speed Freek, a beefed up Speed Elite. I've been a huge fan of Hyperburst from the first time I put on a pair of Razor 3. More Hyperburst and the carbon infused winglets I really like in the Speed Elite should definitely be a recipe for a great longer distance racer. Let’s see if it pans out that way.

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 www.oaklandcountytrack.org 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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