Latest Running Shoe, Gear, and Apparel

By clicking on the "Latest Running Shoe, Gear, and Apparel..." here you can see a list of my recent reviews and articles organized by category.

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Initial Review: adidas Terrex Boost- Trail Monster but can it Dance?

I spotted the adidas Terrex Boost at Outdoor Retailer as as Boost fan knew I had to learn more and try them.  The adidas Terrex Boost is in the Spring 2015 (release date) adidas Outdoors catalog as a 10.2 oz, 290 gram 6mm drop mountain/trail running shoe, $160.  There is a women's version too.  The early size 9 sample pair that adidas sent me at no charge weighed in at 11.6 oz, 320 g. I will inquire what the final weight will be.

I titled this review Trail Monster as on first sight this is one beefy shoe. Huge lugs,
adidas Terrex Boost
a substantial upper with overlays along the rand and toe, a shoe clearly design for rough trails, rocks, mud. The question in my mind was what would Boost, the TPU based high rebound midsole that I like so much in the adios boost racer on both roads and yes trails (review here), add to a dedicated trail shoe? I say adios Boost as close as I can tell the  white Boost layer in the Terrex looks identical to the adios, at least in the forefoot and appears to sit on top of EVA that wraps up the sides. The orange Terrex and Boost logoed seen around the heel are a TPU based film support element and wrap all the way around the heel. The orange TPU is not hard plastic but have some give when pressed and when running, clever.
adidas Terrex Boost

Comparison Review: Hoka One One Clifton and Huaka

Hoka One One recently launched two fabulously light, super cushioned shoes: The Huakaand Clifton  . Having now run in both and reviewed the Huaka earlier here, where I called it the first "fast" Hoka,  I can say now having run in both that these close "cousins" are quite different in feel and even purpose.  Hoka's marketing theme is "Crazy Fast. Crazy Light. Crazy Does." and for sure marketing spin meets reality with these shoes although I will quibble that the Huaka is for me  a faster shoe than the Clifton. 

By the numbers
Huaka (9.3 oz/264g M9 , 2mm drop, 27mm heel/ 25mm forefoot, $150)
Clifton (7.7 oz/217g M9, 5mm, 29mm heel,/24mm forefoot, $130)
Both fit me true to my size 8.5 with the Huaka initially feeling a touch to roomy until I removed the speed laces.

The Huaka is a no compromises road and trail hybrid with an energetic and dynamic midsole with great rebound (RMAT)  and decent support and traction for all but the roughest or muddiest trails. The Clifton has a softer compression molded midsole (CMEVA), particularly softer than Huaka in the heel, and while some will run some trails with it, its purpose is as a road running shoe. 

I have run 2 half marathons including a 1:36 AG win on a downhill course in the Huaka ( I purchased them retail) , many Utah smoother trail miles, along with both hilly and flat roads in this most versatile shoe. Surprised how stable the RMAT midsole is on trails for such a light shoe. The Cliftons (provided at no charge by Hoka for review purposes) are new to my rotation but are a welcome addition with more miles and updates to come.

The two shoes share a similar upper material pattern but the Clifton's seems to be made of a softer thread and thus for me less plasticy and easier to adjust than the Huaka. While a lighter shoe overall,  Clifton has more sewn on overlays and leaves out the 6th lace eyelet of the Huaka upfront. The Huaka has no sewing that I can see, and thus I must assume as it is a bit heavier, that the additional weight comes from the denser RMAT midsole material. 

Overall I find the forefoot fit and comfort of the Clifton better than the Huaka and the rear foot fit of the Huaka more secure than the Clifton where there is actually some sagging of the upper on the medial side when standing, not noticeable when running.  
Hoka One One Clifton

The Clifton on toe off seems narrower and more agile on the road than the Huaka but on measuring the outsoles they appear to be the same width. This feeling may come from the great full contact of firmer outsole upfront on the Clifton (the green areas) as well as the slightly softer more flexible upper whereas there is less coverage upfront  of firmer outsole (blue areas) on the Huaka. 

 The heel feel of the Clifton is noticeably softer than the Huaka, too soft for my taste out of the box. There is 2mm more foam and softer foam than the Huaka in the heel. Seem to sink in more than I would like but don't get me wrong this is one incredibly light cushioned shoe.  I think this comes from the softer EVA in the Clifton and also a far more pronounced heel bevel than Huaka (see below). All is not lost as adding a Superfeet Carbon insole to my Clifton's changed the ride a great deal. firming up the heel and springing me forward faster. I use the same insole in my Huakas when I run trails giving it even better stability and support.

                Clifton                                                                         Huaka

As with all Hokas today the smooth ride comes with a softer outsole or in places no outsole. Hokas tend to wear fast initially for me in the toe and far back of heel then once "worn in" the wear tends to slow down. Others online report some delamination of the upper overlays. I have 150 miles on my Huaka and there is a bit of delamination but nothing that overly concerns me. I also cut off the speed laces from the Huaka and replaced with the supplied laces as the speed laces just didn't seem to give me a good fit and tended to loosen. Clifton and future Hokas will only come with laces.

Runners will not go wrong with either of these fabulous shoes. Out of the box, without the after market insole, my nod goes to the Huaka for its versatility and dynamic feel on both roads and trails. I plan more fast runs in the Clifton with Superfeet Carbon insole but tend to think the softness of the midsole especially in the heel takes some pop out of my ride when compared to Huaka. Huaka does cost $20 more than Clifton and its outsole may wear a bit faster on the road but so far its my first pick of these 2 close cousins.

My review of the Huaka here
Coverage from Outdoor Retailer of Hoka One One's Spring 2015 introductions including an upcoming trail version of the Clifton the Challenger ATR  here
All my Outdoor Retailer posts including Saucony, Altra, Salomon, Brooks, New Balance, and adidas here
You can support my blog by considering purchasing your Cliftons or Huakas or both! as well as SuperFeet Carbon insoles via the links below. Thank you!

Monday, August 11, 2014

OR Summer 14: Sigvaris Sports Compression- Light with True Graduated Compression

Sigvaris is a 150 year old Swiss company specialized in medical compression garments. They have been in medical compression for over 50 years. Medical compression garments are used for varicose veins, DVT, maternity, diabetes, leg ulcers, etc... In recent years compression garments and especially leg sleeves/socks and shorts have become popular in endurance sports.
Sigvaris says:

 Athletes who wear SIGVARIS SPORTS products will benefit from:
- Increased circulation
- Improved blood flow through the veins
- Increased oxygen to the muscle tissue
- Less lactic acid buildup in the legs during exercise
- Reduced exercise-induced muscle soreness in the legs

I have used a number of compression products over the last several years, primarily calf compression sleeves,  including the first I found on the market CEP, then Zanesh, Salomon, SmartWool and more recently CEP again. While I am not sure about the performance benefits of improved circulation, improved blood flow and oxygen and less lactic acid build up I am pretty sure, that at least for me that with compression:
  • I have less exercise induced soreness after wearing sleeves 
  • My legs feel more aligned in the direction of travel
  • I am quite sure they  help reduce calf cramps in long events by stabilizing the muscles, reducing vibration and preventing nerves from twitching into cramps. According to this article in Competitor quoting Prof. Schwellnus of the University of Cape Town “The mechanism for muscle fatigue and muscle damage causing cramping is best explained through an imbalance that develops in the nervous system control of muscle. Muscles tend to become very twitchy when they become fatigued or are injured,” said Schwellnus. "
The issue with calf sleeves  has been one of comfort for me. Zanesh was too thick and hot and while the latest CEP are fine, I keep looking for thinner and more comfortable options.

Found what I was looking for at Outdoor Retailer from Sigvaris .

Saturday, August 09, 2014

Dominique Guest Post: Pakems -- Fun Apres Sport Footwear - WaterResistant and Packable

With thousands of exhibitors and 200 new exhibitors each year at the Outdoor Retailer Show, it can be a challenge for new product lines to stand out and catch the attention of the passerby.  Pakems caught my eye. They are lightweight, water resistant and packable footwear meant to be worn after/apr├Ęs a sport activity, such as hiking and skiing.

Outdoor Retailer Summer 14: Skechers GOmeb Speed 3- I Ran in Meb's Boston Winning Shoe!

Well I ran a minute or so on a treadmill at the Skechers Performance  booth and found the GOmeb Speed 3 to be one serious snappy racer.  This is the exact shoe that Meb wore to win Boston and the only difference between his shoe and yours will be that they have a special last to exactly fit his foot.
Speed 3 is more shoe than a traditional racing flat with decent race cushioning. The stats are 6.9 oz, 14mm midfoot/18mm heel 4mm drop. This marvel can be for many. including me, a fabulous 5K-Half racer. For the fleet footed and light or flatter courses a sensational and  one would have to say, proven marathon shoe.
Skechers GoMeb Speed 3
Earlier this year after reviewing the GoRun Ride 3 and GoRun Ultra I was tickled pink to be invited to participate in Skechers future models wear testing and feedback program. In addition to Meb, Skechers recently signed Kara Goucher.
While the GoMeb Speed 3 is Meb's shoe I can say that Skechers listens to its middle of the pack testers most closely. I have been amazed by their rapid iteration of changes, their careful listening and responding, and their follow through. It was a thrill to see some of the shoes I tested, and others, almost ready for production for Spring 15 at their booth. Lots of exciting shoes coming from Skechers.

Back to the GOmeb Speed 3 and a comparison to the GOmeb Speed 2 now on the market. First as people will ask the GOmeb Speed 3 will be available sometime in January but... there will be a special NY Marathon available in November.

Seth Hasty, a grassroots coordinator for Skechers Performance and the founder of the Running Shoe Geeks Group on Facebook gave me the tour and compared the Speed 2 to Speed 3. Read on to discover the differences.