Archive for the ‘Reviews’ Category

Reebok? Reebok. Time to Floatride.

March 30, 2017

Listen, I won’t beat around the bush, I’ve long used Reebok as the butt of many a running shoe joke. Yes, I make a lot of running shoe jokes. Yes, that is not a particularly compelling source of comedy for the greater population, but I stick to what I know for my humor. Mostly, I’ve focused on the brand’s constant reversion to gimmicks to sell sneakers, rather than just making a good pair of running shoes, think DMX cushioning. I say all this not to rag on Reebok, but to say to you that I came to the Reebok Floatride as an extreme skeptic, prepared to add it to the heap of previous efforts, notably the “all-terrain” shoe.

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So, with that introduction, we come to the new Reebok Floatride shoe. The shoe is built around Reebok’s new Floatride cushioning. According to Reebok, the cell structure of the midsole foam, which delivers “the optimal mix of cushioning and responsiveness so you can float through your run.” It is supposed to be lighter than traditional EVA foam as well. This foam took Reebok 6 years to develop and, based on my experience so far, it was time well spent.

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Here you can see some of the other features that set the Floatride apart from the competition, in particular the lace cage (the black plastic diamonds), the stretchy knit upper, and the heel cup. According to Reebok, the heel cup is made in a bra factory, which seems to be a trend in the shoe industry these days. I don’t have a weight to report, but I can say that this shoe feels light. I’d put it in the same category as the Brooks Launch. Drop is 8 mm.

The combination of the heel cup and knit upper that extends fairly far up the foot can make putting on this shoe a little bit of a challenge, particularly because the upper can get bunched if you aren’t careful. For this reason, I can’t recommend it as a triathlon option, even though I do think it would be comfortable barefoot. That said, once you get it on, the “socklike” fit is comfortable, with the heel cup feeling soft but supportive enough, and seamless knit upper wrapping your foot.

When it comes to the lacing, I was worried about how the cage system would work, particularly with only three eyelets.

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As it turns out, I didn’t need to worry. You can’t tie the shoes up like you normally would with your other shoes, but it is definitely possible to tie them up to the point where you feel like your foot is locked in. Personally, I leave the top knot a little looser on these shoes than I might with a different shoe, otherwise I get a painful spot on the top of my foot.

Traction comes via a sort of conveyor belt/waffle looking tread that seems to get the job done.

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Once you get the shoe on, you immediately can feel the difference in the Floatride cushioning, much the same way you can feel the bounce in a pair of adidas Boosts. It’s the kind of bounce that makes you go “ooooh, I want to run in these.” Sure, it sounds hyperbolic, but put a pair on and you’ll see what I mean.

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I’ve now put in two treadmill runs with these shoes, and can comfortably say that I really do like this shoe a lot. There is most definitely a springiness to the ride that doesn’t veer off into the bouncy softness of early Hokas. It’s just there enough to provide a unique run experience that makes a run fun, and this is from a guy who generally likes a fairly firm shoe. As a “Barney Rubble” footed individuals (narrow heel, wide forefoot) I can report no blister issues.

Now, during my first run I had some pain along the outside of my feet where the lace cage met the midsole. That pain disappeared after about 20 minutes and I didn’t have it the second run.

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A second caveat is that if you believe you need a shoe to prevent overpronation, this is not the shoe for you. I overpronate. I used to wear motion control shoes to prevent overpronation, but no longer do and have been much happier in neutral shoes. But, again if you are looking for a shoe you will not overpronate in, this is not that shoe.

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So, my final verdict? The Reebok Floatride should absolutely be on your list to consider if you are looking for a lightweight, neutral, “responsive” cushioned trainer. I consider myself a convert to the Reebok brand and look forward to what they come out with featuring their Floatride cushioning in the future.

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Disclaimer: I received these shoes free of charge from Reebok as part of their Reebok Elite program, but all opinions expressed are mine, and mine alone.

Wave Rider 20 Review

November 1, 2016

Fact: Getting new shoes is always fun. Double Fact: Getting new is especially fun when they come in shiny boxes.

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It even came with a note!

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The shoes inside the shiny box did not disappoint in terms of commensurate shininess.

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All about the platinum.

 

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And the outsole.

Some basic facts about the Rider, according to Running Warehouse at least, the heel stack height is 30 mm, and the forefront is 18 mm, resulting in a 12 mm drop. RW lists the weight at 10.4 oz., but Mizuno’s own site says 9.6 oz. soooooo, who knows. But you get the general idea. This is a traditional, neutral running shoe.

Like most Mizunos I’ve run in, the Rider 20 offers a firm, responsive ride well-suited to both tempo runs and longer training runs. I haven’t yet tried them for pure speed work, as I prefer a more low-slung, lighter shoe, for that purpose, but I do think that they would be firm enough for the track. The uppers of the Rider feel like they will be great in warm weather, but I do have my concerns about the airy mesh as the temperature dips. But, hey, nothing a thicker pair of socks can’t fix.

If you’ve never run in Mizunos before, you’re probably wondering where the cushioning comes from. While other brands, rely on air, blown foam, or gel, Mizuno uses a Wave plate, which you can see as the wavy black thing in the heel. The Rider uses Mizuno’s Parallel Wave, which is for their neutral shoes. The Wave works by dispersing force through the plate, rather than absorbing it vertically like other cushioning systems.

So far my only concern to report is a hot spot on my forefoot about 8 miles into an uptempo treadmill run. I’ll report back on whether that continues as well as durability of the outsole and upper as I put in more miles. Until then, I’m happy to have another shoe in the rotation!

 

Salomon Trail 20 Review

September 29, 2016

It’s been a long while since I’ve done a review of any sorts, and that’s probably some combination of laziness and wanting to do in-depth reviews with lots of pretty pictures and whatnot. But I figure there may be some useful value to just sharing thoughts on products I use on a regular basis, not worrying too much about getting into nitty gritty tech specs, but just with the hopes of making your next purchase a little bit more informed.

Since moving from the suburbs to roughly 5 miles bikeable distance to Boston, I’ve been biking to work almost daily on my GT Grade. In fact, as of the time I started drafting this post, I think I took the subway 3 times into work as opposed to riding. It’s been a really wonderful change to my daily commute, certainly coming from upwards of 75 minutes by car from our suburban home, and I look forward to it on a daily basis.

Of course, one challenge when bike commuting is how to transport your clothes needed for work. Luckily, I work in an office with a pretty casual dress code, i.e. no dress code, when we don’t have clients, so my daily officewear is jeans, a button down, and sneakers. Since I started riding into work, I’ve left a pair of sneakers in the office, cutting down on the things I need to transport. I also am able to leave my U-Lock and cable locked to the bike rack in our office building. For the rest of what I need, I use the Salomon Trail 20 backpack.

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In this bag, I can comfortably fit a pair of jeans, shirt, and foundation garments (socks too!). Although I generally don’t take my lock with me, I can also fit the U-lock and cable when needed. I would not say it’s appropriate for a suit, but it’s fine otherwise. I think it’d also be tight if you bring shoes with you on a daily basis, but, again, not a concern of mine. For what it’s worth, Salomon states the pack’s volume is 20 l. and 1220 ci.

To keep the pack secure as you bomb through urban streets, the pack has both a chest and waist strap, both of which I find keep the pack exactly where I want it to be. I don’t experience any kind of slipping around, whether when “sprinting” or climbing. The waist strap has two pockets, a zipped one on the left, and a mesh open pocket on the right side. The zip pocket comfortably fits my wallet and keys. Each side of the pack also has deep mesh pockets, which I often use to hold my phone in case I need to access it quickly for, you know, directions. Definitely not for selfies. I never take selfies when riding.

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OK, this ONE time I stopped and took a selfie, but that was purely to illustrate the backpack for this post. Except that I took it a couple weeks before starting this post. And before I decided to write this post. Also, I take a lot of selfies while riding.

So, there you have it, if you’re looking for a streamlined pack for bike commuting, I’d recommend checking out the Salomon Trail 20!

Hannukah Gifts/Stocking Stuffers For Your Triathlete

November 20, 2015

With the weather in Boston in the 50s today, it seems crazy to think that the holiday season is nearly upon us.  I’m not even sure how I’m supposed to know it’s the holiday season when Starbucks cups are just plain red in color, devoid of any symbolism.  Still, Hannukah is a scant couple of weeks away, which I did not even realize until beginning this post, starting the night of Sunday, December 6, and Christmas is, the 25th?  It’s hard to keep track of it with it changing dates year to year!

Last year, R and I switched things up and did a gift each night of Hannukah, rather than one big gift.  I think we kept the price range under $10, allowing for some bigger gifts balanced by some smaller ones.  It made us think a bit more about what we’d get for each other and was pretty fun.  I figure the same guidelines work for stocking stuffers, but I’ll admit I’ve only ever received a stocking from my in-laws, and have never stuffed one myself.  There is truly no shortage of holiday gift guides out there for runners, cyclists, running cyclists, swimmers, triathletes, etc., but I honestly never find them all that useful, and most don’t focus on smaller gifts.  So, here’s hoping this list of gift ideas for the triathlete in your life, any of which I’d want to receive myself (hint hint R if you’re reading this) proves helpful!

1. Bike Tubes

Any cyclist will tell you that you can never have too many spare tubes around.  I’ve ended rides thinking that I was coming home on a perfectly good tube only to find the next time I went to go out that I’d somehow gotten a puncture at a late point in the ride and was in need of a tube.  Road tubes will generally be 700 (diameter) x __ (width).  Do some digging in your triathlete’s stash to see if you can get the size they use.  Otherwise, something in the low 20s will be just fine.

It’s tough to go wrong with a Continental tube.

2. CO2 Inflator and Cartridges

So, you’ve got a flat, you take out your brand new spare tube, and what do you use to inflate it?  While some roadies keep a frame pump or mini-pump on them, those pumps often can’t get a high enough PSI for a road tube, are bulky and heavy to carry (heavy in a roadie sense) and don’t work with tri bikes.  Maybe it’s not the sexiest of gifts, but it’ll help keep your triathlete rolling!

To actually use the cartridge, you need a chuck.  The chuck screws on to the cartridge and lets you actually get air out.

If you want to splurge a little, I use the Portland Design Works Shiny Object CO2 Inflator with 16G Cartridge set, which is $27.76 on Amazon.  What I like about this set is the chuck lets you regulate the flow of air into the tube, which is quite helpful when changing a tube, and the leather sleeve protects your hand from the cartridge, which gets very cold in use.

3. Socks

Good socks are the best.  Like, seriously, the best.  Some prefer short socks, some prefer long socks.  Me?  I like long socks when it comes to training, short for racing, mostly for ease of use with an ankle chip strap.  Socks have special significant, for some reason, in the cycling world, earning multiple references in the Velominati rules, and are a source of expression for riders.  Plus the good ones are super comfortable.  Personally, I prefer socks from The Athletic, based out of Portland.

4. Casquettes de Cyclisme/Cycling Caps

I first fell in love with the cycling cap from an unlikely source…

That’s right, White Men Can’t Jump.  Now, I’ll admit, these hats are rather controversial, with some very strong opinions on both sides.  I happen to love them, both on the bike and off, and have a fairly good collection going right now.  Some hats are made from technical fibers and go well under a helmet to help keep sweat out of your eyes.  They are also great for sweaty trainer rides.

There is a large variety of hats out there, some are vintage cool.

Some are groovy.

And some are just wicked awesome.

5. Fuel

Having the right fuel for training and racing is vitally important.  Especially during peak training periods, this means going through a lot of gels, chews, powders, waffles and bars.  You really cannot have enough of your favorite source of energy and these items make great small gifts.

For drink mix, I like Skratch Labs Exercise Hydration Mix, which is sold both in 1 lb bags and singles.  The singles are great for their portability, which is especially handy for traveling for races and for taking on long rides to refuel with.

For chewy fuel, I dig Skratch Labs Fruit Drops, as documented in my review.

6. Tools

Is your triathlete a tinkerer?  Does he or she like to do maintenance on his or her own bike rather than take it into the shop every time it needs an adjustment?  If so, your triathlete might enjoy some new additions to the toolbox!  This might be the kind of thing where you might have to do some inquiry into what tools are already in hand, and what may be needed.  Your triathlete may also have a brand preference for tools.  Personally, I love the look and performance of Park Tools.  Some options to consider include:

A pedal wrench.

Three-way hex wrench.

Mini Chain Brute Chain Tool.

7. Lube

Get your mind out of the gutter.  A properly lubed bike drivetrain is a happy drivetrain.  Give your triathlete the gift of a well-lubed machine.

 

8. Custom Name Stickers

This gift was absolutely my favorite one from last Hannukah.  Most pro riders have custom name decals for their bikes, and now your triathlete can have the same.  Name stickers help set your bike apart from the rest of the field, make you feel like a pro, and give you a chance to add some self-expression to your steed.

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9. Swim Gear

Finally, swimming involves a surprising amount of training tools, many of which your triathlete may not have bought for him/herself, instead relying on the grody stuff at the pool.  To upgrade their gear, consider:

TYR Pull Float

Speedo Mesh Equipment Bag

TYR Kickboard

 

Should I happen upon some other neat-looking gift ideas, I’ll be sure to update this post.  Until then, happy holidays to all!

 

 

Quick Review: Speedo Air Seal Tri Goggle

November 19, 2015

I’ve recently become comfortable with the idea of calling myself a “cyclist” in addition to “runner” and “triathlete.”  To me, that means that I actually really enjoy riding my bike, even if it’s not “training.”  I’ve even done some pure bike races, with nary a transition to be found!  When it comes to swimming, however, I am still a triathlete who has to train in the pool.  I am not a “swimmer,” though I am working on that and have even found it enjoyable from time to time.  That said, I look absolutely terrible in the water.

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Don’t look at this too long, or your form may suffer as well.

All the same, I figured I’d share some impressions on my new goggles that I purchased during the City Sports going out of business sale, the Speedo Air Seal Tri goggle.  Of course, I’m a sucker for anything “tri-specific,” and these goggles promised to have the most comfortable eye gaskets, which is something I’ve had issues with for other goggles.  The ones I got are mirrored, helping to reduce open water sun glare, presumably.

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And, oh, what’s that?  That’s just my finisher’s backpack from Timberman, big deal.

The straps adjust in back just by pulling.  I found the system works pretty well and you don’t have clips to fiddle with on the side of your head that might dig into your temple.  I’ve not had any issues with the straps coming loose or, for that matter, leaks in the gaskets.  Similarly, no issues with fogging yet.

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As for comfort, in the couple of swims I’ve worn them for so far, the eye gaskets are as comfortable as advertised.  They feel soft against the face and create a nice seal.  No complaints there.  However, if you take a look at the picture, you’ll notice the nose bridge doesn’t look all that soft.  In fact, it’s not.  I’m not sure if it’s plastic, but it’s hard and rigid and I can definitely see the potential for it to dig into your nose if that’s the way your face is shaped.  It hasn’t been an issue for me yet, but I haven’t worn them for a truly extended swim yet.  I will update this post should it become intolerable.  All in all, I really like these goggles so far and hope they continue to perform well!

For size and comfort reference, I’d note that I like the Speedo MDR 2.4, and wore them for Timberman, though they do start to put pressure on my eyes after a while, and DO NOT like the Aqua Sphere Kayenne, which has a habit of leaking on me.

So, apparently it is possible to have a blog post under 1000 words!  Happy swimming all you swimmers, and happy training in the pool everyone else!

XX2i Sunglasses Review

August 4, 2015

It is with great excitement that I can say I am now a part of the Rudy Project/XX2i team!  If you’re into the cycling or triathlon world it’s a virtual certainty that you’ve heard about Rudy Project before.  Their helmets dominate the Kona field year after year and their sunglasses are a superb combination of technical features and style.    XX2i is distributed by the same company as Rudy Project, Running And Cycling Enterprises (R.A.C.E.) and has been making a name for itself alongside Rudy Project at race expos as a more affordable entry into performance optics.  There are a wide range of options available in different frame styles starting at $59.99, putting the sunglasses at the same price point, or cheaper, than Tifosi or Optic Nerve, which occupy the same space.  The difference?  XX2i glasses are plain and simple better.

For my review, XX2i sent me a pair of the France2 glasses with the crystal frame, green tips, and green flash lenses.  The lenses on this frame are interchangeable, with replacement lenses only costing $24.99.  The glasses come with a great case that keeps your glasses well-protected with foam while not taking up too much space in a bag.  Also, it looks much cooler than competitors’.

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Here are the glasses themselves.

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I seriously love that green, and it just so happens that it matches my bike, which is super-important!  You can see the nose piece looks a little misshapen, but that’s just because it’s adjustable and got bent a little before I took the picture.  The ear tips are also adjustable.

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Now, of course, sunglasses for running and biking aren’t just about looks –   what matters is how they perform.  I first took the glasses out on a commute ride, about 24 miles, on a hot, humid, sunny morning.  As you can see in the picture above, one of The Rules I adhere to when pure road riding (as opposed to triathlon racing) is ear pieces over helmet straps.  I found the glasses to be very comfortable on my face, with no discomfort in the nose or ear regions.

You can see just how much face coverage the France2 provides.  I haven’t experienced any eye tearing with these sunglasses as the lenses do a great job of providing both sun and wind protection.  The clarity is also excellent, better than my Tifosis, giving me confidence when going from sunlight into shade and not worrying as much about seeing road imperfections.

The coolest feature of the sunglasses though is how they shed sweat.  I didn’t notice this feature until I felt a cool stream on my face and couldn’t figure out why.  With my other sunglasses, sweat would streak the lens and dry, making it hard to see.  Not so with the XX2i’s.  Even on hot, sweaty rides, I haven’t had any issues with the lenses staying fairly dry, a huge plus during a New England summer.  Similarly, I had zero issues with fogging while riding.  If I stopped long enough at a light the lenses did fog up, but that went away immediately when I started back up again.

Two other important features to note from the XX2i website:

WARRANTY: Lifetime Warranty! No questions asked, you break or scratch them, send them back to be replaced for a nominal shipping and handling fee!

RETURN POLICY: 365 Days! We know it may take some time to try on and get comfortable with a pair of sunglasses bought online so that’s why we give you a full year to do so! That’s right, take up to 365 days to determine if you want to keep them and if not, send them back for a full refund less any shipping and handling fee.

You can call me an XX2i convert, which I suppose is a good thing if I’m going to be on the team.  Though I was sent these glasses free (that’s my obligatory blogger disclaimer), these opinions are all mine and completely uninfluenced by RACE, Rudy Project, or XX2i.  Silly though it sounds, I want to ride more so I can wear these sunglasses more.  Feel good, ride good.  Here’s the best part, if you’ve made it this far in the review you can be rewarded with a 50% off discount code for Rudy Project.  How’s that sound?  To get the code, leave a comment with your email address and I will send you directions forthwith.

Happy swimbikerunning!

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Cannondale Slate Details and Pictures

July 11, 2015

Note: In my previous race recap, I included a review of the brand new Cannondale Slate.  But, it occurs to me that it might be helpful to break it out as well for better accessibility and readability.  Now, on to the review.

This bike is so new it’s not even on Cannondale’s site yet.  The Slate is a dropbar bike in the vein of the relatively new segment of “gravel racer” but what truly sets it apart is the inclusion of Cannondale’s famous Lefty fork.

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That’s right, that bike is missing half its fork.  You might think it’d be weird to ride, but it never even occurred to me once I was going.  The fork, dubbed the Lefty Oliver, has 30mm of suspension, which isn’t a lot if you’re bombing down mountain trails, but soaks up a lot more than you would think.  I hit several larger, sharp rocks during the race (sorry Cannondale) and the bike never flinched while others were getting flats and banging up their rims.  I’m 99% certain that, without the fork, I would have been on my butt many times during the race when I picked less than ideal lines or simply didn’t execute the line I had picked.  There is a lock-out button at the top of the fork that you can press “to climb,” or sprint presumably, but I did not engage this during the race.  Standing still it worked just fine.

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The wheels are 650b size, as opposed to the usual 700cc found on road bikes.  650b is the size you’d typically find on the smallest size of a road bike.  However, the Slate’s 650b Stan’s ZTR Flow EX MTB wheels have 42mm wheels, which apparently wind up producing the equivalent of a 700 x 22 wheel.  All I know is these tires did not feel small.

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It’s a pretty snazzy bike, right?  I got many comments from spectators on it, everyone intrigued by the genre-defying bike that has been, until recently, shrouded in mystery.

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My bike was set up with an Ultegra drivetrain (“Road gearing?” asked one onlooker), disc brakes, and a super-comfortable Fabric saddles.  Seriously, I became a big fan of these saddles after riding two races on them.  The frame is aluminium, but I BELIEVE the fork is carbon.  Having shouldered it through a roughly 20 yard rock garden, I can report it feels lightweight.

All in all, the only word I can use to describe my experience racing this bike is “FUN.”  I don’t know how it’ll ride on every cross course, but it handled this one magnificently, which I feel qualified to say given my lack of cross experience.  Still, I’d like to believe that I am the first person to ever race a Slate in an official cyclocross race.  Despite a lack of knobby tires, it never felt skittish, even on the gravel and bark dust.  This is a versatile bike that will turn heads when you ride it.  For an idea of some of the terrain, upon which the Slate did not falter, here I give you photographs.

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Now, tell me you don’t want to see what you can do atop this bike.

Review: NiteIze KnotBone Stretch Laces

June 11, 2015

As may be coming more and more apparent on the blog, I’ve really been getting into the whole “triathlete” thing.  You could even argue that I’ve made the “transition” from runner who also swims and bikes to bona fide triathlete.  From everything I understand, part of triathlon is getting stuff that is “triathlon-specific,” which unsurprisingly extends to your feet.

To that end, I was recently sent a pair of NiteIze KnotBone Stretch laces to try out.  I was particularly excited to try these as, assuming they would work, they would allow me to lace up my sneakers then easily slip them on when transitioning from the bike leg to the run leg of a race.  I mean, it says that’s what they do right on the package.

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The “installation” of the laces is pretty straightforward, especially if you have ever laced up shoes in your life.  Really, the only difficult part was cutting the tips of the laces at an angle, the better to thread the lace through the eyelets, as the material is quite resilient to cutting.  I ended up using the blade of a pair of scissors to basically rip the lace.  Not the prettiest of solutions, but it worked.  After that, it was a piece of cake to load up my kicks with their new laces, which, I must say look pretty flashy.

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I could have cut down the end of the laces, but I get paranoid that I’ll tie them differently the next time I need to and won’t have enough lace.

The next test was seeing just how well I could slip on the shoes with the laces intended to making slipping on the shoes a dream.  Behold.

So, yeah, they work exactly as advertised, making very quick work of the shoeing.  This will really help cut down on that T2 time!

Next, I took them for a run to see how they’d perform, which, arguably, is as important as how they are put on.   Well, I’m happy to report that the stretch laces performed…like regular laces.  I wish there was more to say about them, but probably the best endorsement I can give is that I did not notice them being any different from standard laces.

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These are good laces and they will make you put your shoes on faster.  If you’re looking to speed up your transition times and/or want to keep your lacing constant, you should do yourself a favor and get a pair.

Disclosure: NiteIze sent me these laces for free to review.  However, all my opinions expressed are my own.

Skechers GOrun Ride 4

May 21, 2015

It has been way, way too long since I’ve done any kind of review here but, today, that drought ends.  If you’ve visited the blog before, you know I’m a big fan of the offerings of Skechers Performance, having previously reviewed the Ride3 and Bionic.  I’ve now had a good amount of time to test out one of the newer entries in the SP lineup, the Ride4, including using it for the Cherry Blossom 10 Miler in Washington, DC and trying it out in a sprint triathlon.

To get the basics out of the way, the Ride4 is a neutral shoe with a 4 mm drop.  Like many other SP shoes, you can remove the stock insole to turn it into a zero-drop shoe, which I’ve done with the Bionics and have really liked.  The Ride4 also makes use of SP’s M-strike technology, which is meant to encourage a midfoot strike, and their GOimpulse sensors, which are designed to provide more sensory feedback with the ground.  Reported weight comes in at 8.4 oz.

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I’ve yet to be disappointed by an SP shoe and the Ride4 has proven no exception.  I particularly like the update in the upper from the 3 to the 4, which features a lot more mesh and improved laces.  What you cannot see, unfortunately, is the inclusion of a small thumb hole in the ankle of the shoe, which allows for the shoes to be pulled on quickly, aided by the slightly elastic upper and softer heel cup.  I rarely even untie these shoes on a day to day basis.  While many might not make much use of the pull hole, I found it very helpful when I tried them out in a sprint triathlon, allowing me to slip on the shoes quickly in transition.

On the triathlon side, though, I would note that the seem at the top of the forefoot, where gray meets black, did not agree with my bare feet…at all, giving me a pretty decent abrasion when I tried the shoes sockless.  With socks, I’ve never experienced any issues with irritation.
The sockless issue aside, I love running in these shoes.  Whether or not the M-Strike technology actually affects my stride, I don’t know, but I do know I at least FEEL like it’s easy land on my midfoot, with the ride never feeling clunky.  It’s hard to pinpoint why, but these shoes feel a lot lighter underfoot than the claimed weight might indicate.  What I particularly like is that, unlike many lighter weight shoes, the Ride4’s toe box feels generously wide, without feeling like my feet are sloshing around side to side.
So, if you’re looking for a lightweight trainer or racer for triathlons or longer races, I’d highly recommend you check out the Skechers Performance Ride 4 as an option!

 

Road Runner Sports R-Gear High Five 5″ Short

May 27, 2014

This post kicks off an exciting new relationship with Road Runner Sports!  RRS was kind enough to send me some great clothes from their house R-Gear brand, along with a sweet running dufflebag, for me to review.  I’m going to kick off the reviews with the R-Gear High Five 5″ short.  Here they are, pictured below front and back.

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Anyone who has seen my race pictures knows that, when it comes to race shorts, I like to keep things as short as possible, usually in the 3.5″ range.  Still, there are times when having a bit of extra coverage is more appropriate, particularly when it comes to group runs when I don’t want to be “that guy in the short shorts.”  What I love about these 5″ shorts is that they give me some extra coverage without making it feel like I am wearing basketball shorts.  You can see where they hit my leg here, which is to say about an inch or two above the knee.

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This is pretty much my ideal length.  The shorts feature a fairly standard built-in mesh brief that didn’t bind or chafe.  The shorts were, in a word: comfortable, even when tackling the stairs of November Project.  When I run, I don’t want to have to think about the clothes I’m wearing, either in a positive or negative light.  If I’m not thinking about them, they are doing their job, and I’m very happy to report that is the case with the High 5 shorts.  When I first put them on, I noticed that the waistband seems a bit thicker and…for lack of a better word, sturdier, than some of my other shorts.  I thought this might wind up bothering me, but instead it proved to be a positive feature, as the waistband material did a better job of staying put without a lot of need for a tight drawstring, which can cause unpleasant pressure in other shorts.  The shorts stayed put, no riding up, no twisting.

A final noteworthy aspect of the shorts are the pockets, which, for anyone training for a longer race, are quite important to get right.  What’s very cool about these shorts, and, I believe, unique among all the shorts I own, is that these shorts have 3 pockets, two of the “holster” style, i.e. slanted on the back hip with velcro closures, and one zip pocket right at the small of the back.  I typically prefer velcro pockets because they allow faster access to gels and I never have to worry about not being able to get a zipper undone when I’m really hurting for fuel.  At the same time, a zippered pocket is really idea for when you want to be certain you don’t lose something important like a key or hotel room card.  3 pockets, one zippered, two velcro, that is the way to go.  Hands down.  Overall, I really liked these shorts and, for $35 they’re priced right too.  I definitely recommend these shorts!

Full Disclosure: These shorts were sent to me free of charge by RRS.  All opinions are my own.