Posts Tagged ‘Shoe Review’

Mizuno Wave Sky Review

June 14, 2017

Ever since adidas introduced their Boost cushioning system, there has seemingly been a wave of new shoes from companies looking to have their own version of a highly cushioned, but responsive/springy shoe. It’s not often that Mizuno releases an entirely new model, but the Wave Sky seems to be their entry into this new category.

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The Wave Sky features Mizuno’s new Cloudwave cushioning system “paired with an articulated U4icX midsole and Strobel lining.” No, I’ve got no idea what any of this means, or how it works, but what it amounts to is the softest, plushest Mizuno you’ll ever lace up, especially compared to the typical firm Mizuno ride.

IMG_9947

According to Running Warehouse, the Wave Sky comes in at 11.1 oz. for a men’s size 9, which is definitely on the heavy side for me, but it runs lighter than its weight, like a heavyweight boxer dancing around the ring. That may be a bit of a stretch, but it’s not often I get to wax poetic in a shoe review. The drop is 10 mm.

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Now, how about the actual running part of the shoe? I honestly didn’t expect to like this shoe all that much. Highly cushioned shoes aren’t really my jam, as a rule. I generally lean more towards lighter weight shoes with good road feel. That said, I am a fan of the Wave Sky through my early runs in them. While not quite as bouncy as an adidas Boost shoe, the Wave Sky did have a surprising amount of noticeable rebound without feeling squishy or sacrificing responsiveness.

I’d note that the forefoot seems to be fairly roomy, even for someone like me who has a wider forefoot. So, if you have a particularly narrow one, this may not be your shoe. Take note of the right lacing I had to do to get cinched in.

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I think this is going to be a winning entry in the Mizuno lineup, offering an option to those who prefer a softer rider than Mizuno is known for. I will keep updating this entry as I put more miles in the Wave Sky!

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Disclaimer: I received these shoes free of charge for my review. As always, all opinions expressed are my own and are without influence.

 

 

 

 

 

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FIR (First Impression Review): adidas adizero Adios Boost

April 11, 2014

Hello, and welcome to a new feature on Once A Runner, Always A Runner that I’m calling FIR posts, a.k.a. First Impression Review.  I’ve been very fortunate in receiving shoes every now and then for review purposes, allowing me to take some time and put in some miles on various terrain, at different paces, etc.  Sometimes, though, my experience with a product is limited to a wear-test at a group run. With the caveat that all FIRs will be based on limited experience, and therefore should be taken with a grain of salt, I’ll share some details about the product itself along with my thoughts on its performance.  To kick off the FIRs, I give you the adidas adizero Adios Boost.

The Adios is adidas’ lightweight, performance trainer/racer entry in its new Boost line (you can read my review of the Supernova Glide 6 Boost here and adistar Boost here).  According to Road Runner Sports, the Adios weighs in at 8 oz. with a 10.5mm drop (Pete Larson over at Runblogger has them listed at 7.8 oz. and 10mm).  The shoes really burst on to the scene at the 2013 New York City Marathon, where Geoffrey Mutai won wearing them and 12 of the first 100 finishers were also Adios-ing.

Mutai Winning

 

And here’s me wearing them at the Greater Boston Running Company – Newton run.

photo (1)

Also, they come in orange, which you can find at Greater Boston Running Company – Andover.

adidas-adizero-adios-boost-2014-mens-orange-side

The Run

Slip these shoes on your first thought will be “I WANNA GO RUN!”  The Adios is just one of those shoes that makes your legs want to move, and move fast.  Despite the 10.5mm drop, the ride on these shoes felt a lot closer to a 4mm drop shoe in the sense that I felt like I was achieving a midfoot strike, and not on my heels.  As expected, this shoe felt extremely fast, even to the point where I felt like my feet were flailing a bit, unused to that racing flat feel.  Although most of the run was at a moderate to slower pace for me, I did put the Adios through its paces on the hills, including Heartbreak Hill.  The shoes felt like a real asset when pushing uphill, removing any extraneous resistance on the incline.  I did feel like my feet were slapping the pavement some, but I don’t really know what to attribute that to.  It didn’t take away from the ride of the shoe, which I absolutely loved, but it may have annoyed my fellow runners.  Fitwise, I was wearing a size 9.5, only because that’s what was available, when I usually wear a size 10 in adidas.  The 9.5 fit me, but not in a way that I’d want to run in all the time.  Point being I think they fit true to size and have a roomy enough toebox for someone who finds Nikes narrow.

Now, truth be told, in terms of body type, I am no Mutai, more…Moo Shu.  I bring this up to point out that this shoe is likely best for lightweight runners who are biomechanically efficient.  I have a feeling that a lighter runner may have found more cushioning in the shoe, which would make it better for longer distances than I’d feel comfortable in.  Personally, I think this would be the perfect 5K, and pushing it 10K, racing flat, but I can absolutely see how it would work extremely well for the svelte runner looking for a 13.1, or maybe even 26.2 racer.  I’d also take these for a spin for interval work, and think they’d perform exceptionally well on the track.

So, there you have it, my first FIR.  If you get a chance to check out the adizero Adios Boost…do so!

Brooks Transcend Review

March 14, 2014

Few running shoes in recent memory have gotten the promotional roll-out that the new Brooks Transcend model received.  Not only did Brooks take out many, many large print ads in magazines like Runners World, they went so far as to include an actual video IN THE MAGAZINE itself as an ad.  The incomparable Pete Larson shot a meta video of the video, as seen below.

Combined with quirky race expo booths and a flashy website dedicated to the new shoe, Brooks did everything it could to get the Transcend in front of consumers, but they saved the best for their pros and specialty running customers, sending them a sweet spaceship shoe box, as shown below.

The Specs

So, what I guess you’re probably wondering is, “what is actually so special about the shoes?”  Well, I’m glad you asked.  The Transcend is ostensibly meant to be Brooks’ entry into the “maximalist,” or highly cushioned, market.  Brooks achieves this through the use of its Super BioMoGo DNA cushioning built into the midsole, an “adaptable” full length foam cushioning system.  According to Brooks: “Super DNA delivers adaptable cushioning that provides 25% more cushioning than BioMoGo DNA and smartly adapts to your every stride.”  You can see the cushioning as the white part of the shoe in the coral version.  Coincidentally, I just happen to have some pictures of the mens and womens Transcends to show you.  Right now!

First, the men’s.

Mens Blue Mens Profile CoralNext, the women’s.

Womens

Womens Pink

Now, you may notice the black band right above the white midsole on the men’s versions, which band is teal and fuchsia on the women’s versions.  That band is what Brooks calls the Guide Rail system.  The Guide Rails, as the name implies, are designed to guide the foot through the heel to toe transition and provide a moderate level of support against overpronation.  So, this shoe is billed as a stability shoe.

Other Brooks tech featured in this shoe includes the Catepillar crash pad, “a segmented crash pad that flexes with the foot, offering customized cushioning and stability for a smooth heel-to-toe transition” and Omni-Flex Grooves, which “enhance midsole flexibility without compromising cushioning” according to RunningWarehouse.com, at least.  You can see both below:

Mens Sole

For the Running Geeks out there, Running Warehouse lists the stack height at 30mm in the heel and 22mm in the forefoot, for an 8mm drop and 12.2 oz weight.  For comparison’s sake, the same site lists the Adrenaline at 31/19/11.2.  As you can tell from the numbers, despite its looks, the Transcend is, in theory, not as built up as the Adrenaline.  It is, however, more shoe than the Ravenna, which comes in at 28/20/10.7.

Road Runner Sports also has a great page dedicated to the Transcend, including an informative video, which you can check out here: Brooks Transcend | Road Runner Sports

The Ride

With the geeky stuff out of the way, the question becomes “how does it feel when running?”  Now, here’s where I may be a bit contradictory.  For me, at least, the Transcend doesn’t live up to the hype of offering a cloud-like ride, and that’s just fine by me.  Most would probably agree that Hokas have set the bar for those who like a marshmallow for a shoe and I was worried that the Transcend would be similarly squishy.  Instead, while you can certainly tell there is a fair bit of cushioning by the fact that you don’t feel the pavement smacking into your feet with each step, you also don’t get the feeling of pushing through the shoe, such that the Transcend remains responsive despite the wealth of cushioning.  To me, the shoe felt very similar to wearing an Adrenaline and slightly firmer than the adidas Adistar Boost.  Because of its 8mm drop versus the Adrenaline’s 12, the Transcend felt like it encouraged more of a midfoot strike to me.  While some have called the ride clunky, I did not find this to be the case at all, even when doing hill repeats at a hard effort.  I never felt like the shoe was getting in the way of what I wanted to do, which is really what you want in a shoe, isn’t it?

All in all, I would say that the Transcend is an interesting middle child in Brooks support family, with more cushioning than the Ravenna, but less support than the Adrenaline.  Fit-wise, I found the Transcend was true to size and really like the plush upper it offers, which makes it a very comfortable shoe to wear.

I highly recommend the Transcend as a daily trainer for those who like some cushioning underfoot but don’t like squishy shoes.  If you aren’t one to care about having a light shoe for tempo runs/interval work, the Transcend could absolutely be your only shoe, though I know I’ll rotate it in among other models.

Happy running to all!  And, if you like what you see here, please consider supporting me as I run the 2014 Boston Marathon for the American Liver Foundation’s Run For Research Team!

Disclosure: I received these shoes free of charge from Brooks Running for review purposes, however all opinions above are my own and free of any outside influence.

New Balance 860v4 Review

January 6, 2014

I was recently given the opportunity to wear-test New Balance’s stability shoe, the 860 (now in its fourth version) thanks to the kind folks at NB providing me with a pair, on the house.  My last NBs were from sometime around 1999, a beautiful pair of RC1s that weighed somewhere around 2.6 oz and fit like a dream.

RC1

Until fairly recently, NB was most-associated with gray trainers worn by middle-aged men with pleated khakis but, friends, the times they are a-changing.  NB has gone on a style tear as of late to compliment the signing of top runners like Andy Baddeley and Jenny Barringer Simpson.  I mean, these are not your grand-daddy’s walkin’-around shoes:

NB 1260v3

NB 1260v3

So let’s get to the 860v4, which uses NB’s proprietary T-Beam technology coupled with high-density EVA foam and ABZORB® Crash Pad to provide stability for overpronators.  According to the NB website: “T-beam is a lightweight, flexible TPU shank engineered to deliver optimum torsional stability and arch support through a unique center beam design.”  The closes comparison in terms of both pronation control  and fit would be the Brooks Adrenaline.  For those interested in the more technical specs of the 860, it features a 12 mm heel-toe drop, is built on NB’s PL-12 last, and weighs 10.9 oz for a men’s size 9.  Looking at the picture below, you can see the higher-density EVA foam as the gray portion of the midsole on the left shoe pictured.  You can also see the NB crash pad that contributes to the shoe’s stability.

Outsole

Here’s what the rest of the world will see when you lace up your 860s.

Profile

And here’s what a plane will see:

Top

If there’s one word to use to describe the 860 v4, it’s “workhorse.”  If you’re looking for a wisp of a shoe that is little more than a slice of rubber between your foot and the road, keep on looking.  If, however, you are looking for a great blend of cushioning, stability, and responsiveness, then the 860 might just be the shoe you’ve been looking for, particularly if you need a bit more room in the toe box, as I do.

I’ve put roughly 40 miles on my 860s now and have been very happy with the results.  the ride of the shoe feels cushioned without being mushy – the kind of shoe that won’t protest if you want to throw in some uptempo miles during your long run.  The 860 will accommodate both mid-foot and heel strikers equally, though I think the mid-foot strikers will find a more responsive ride as the shoe can trend toward the clunky side when heel-striking.  No one is going to mistake any stability shoe for a racing flat, but the 860s do exactly what they are designed to do, and they do it exceptionally.  One observation, the 860 seems to have a rather high cuff, so I’d suggest wearing something like the Run.Com Performance Crew Socks, which it just so happens are 50% off at Greater Boston Running Company.

The takeaway?  If you over-pronate and are looking for a stability shoe on the lighter end of the spectrum without sacrificing cushioning, try on a pair of New Balance 860s!

Note: I received these shoes free of charge from New Balance thanks to my employment at Greater Boston Running Company.  All opinions expressed are my own and have not been influenced in any way by NB or GBRC.

I Wear My Adidas [Supernova Glide 6 Boosts] Review

December 19, 2013

I recently had the chance to do a test run in the brand spankin’ new adidas Supernova Glide 6 Boost, part of the new lineup of Boost shoes from adidas complementing the original Energy Boost.  [NOTE: What follows is a semi-lengthy explanation of the BOOST technology, to jump to the review of the Glide itself, click here.]

You may notice the common denominator between these two shoes is the word “Boost,” which refers to Adidas’ proprietary BOOST mid-sole.  In an interview with GearInstitute.com, adidas America’s Director of Running, Mikal Pveto, described the BOOST mid-sole as a “non-EVA foam that is made up of individual energy storing capsules that are then blown together in a unique molding process. During the development process, each capsule forms a skin on the outside which, when blown together forms the technology called Boost. There are more than 2,000 individual capsules in a size 9 Energy Boost shoe.”  According to adidas, BOOST mid-soles last longer than traditional EVA foam and aren’t affected by temperature, particularly the cold.  Anyone who has left their shoes in the car in the winter knows that they always feel stiff afterwards.  A shoe that doesn’t become a rock in the cold is no small thing when training through the winter.

When the Energy Boost was first released, retail stores were given displays that had you drop a metal ball on a wire onto a traditional EVA foam pad and another onto a pad made out of the BOOST material.  Now, you’d expect that adidas wouldn’t encourage this comparison if they weren’t fairly certain that the ball would bounce up higher from the BOOST pad than the standard one and, lo and behold, that’s exactly what happens, providing a fun visual on the relative springiness/bounciness of BOOST compared to EVA.  adidas even released a video demonstrating the test.


Of course, the question is, does BOOST work as advertised?  Runner’s World confirmed through mechanical testing that the BOOST mid-sole did behave as advertised.  In a blog post, Amby Burfoot described the findings of biomechanist Martyn Shorten, PhD, director of the Runner’s World Shoe Lab: “Martyn confirmed what adidas is claiming: the shoe has ‘industry leading’ energy return (more on this soon), thin and lightweight but effective cushioning, tremendous resistance to heat and cold, and more durability (perhaps twice as much) as conventional EVA midsoles. The boost midsole is a TPU foam that some describe as styrofoam-like, but both compressible and springy.”  Burfoot remained skeptical though about whether the mechanical testing results would necessarily translate into running performance.

After Burfoot’s piece, Peter Larson of RunBlogger.com described the results of a study done by the University of Calgary entitled “Running shoe cushioning properties can influence oxygen consumption.”  Larson writes:

“The study utilized a fairly simple methodology. Twelve runners ran both overground and on a treadmill in shoes with the Boost midsole and in identical shoes with a sole composed of more traditional EVA foam. While running, their oxygen consumption was monitored as a measure of running economy (increased oxygen consumption at a given pace = lower economy).

Results indicated that in both treadmill and overground running the subjects were slightly more economical in the shoes with the Boost midsole (differences were statistically significant). Here are the numbers:

O2 Consumption

O2 Consumption

 

 

EVA Shoe

BOOST Shoe

% Difference

Treadmill

44.7 ml/kg/min

44.3 ml/kg/min

0.9%

Overground

40.7 ml/kg/min

40.3 ml/kg/min

1.1%

Though the differences were significant, the actual differences were quite small between the shoes on both running surfaces. Thus, BOOST improved economy by about 1%.”  It’s worth reading the rest of the post to get more of Larson’s opinions on the subject.

Now, on to the Glide Boost (hereafter referred to as the “Glide”) itself.  First impressions, the Glide Boost is a looker.  It comes in two colors for men, a relatively conservative blue, black and white option, and a stylish neon yellow color brought over from the Energy.  The women’s version also comes in two colors, a predominantly black and predominantly gray version.

The dimpled white mid-sole you see is the BOOST in all its glory.  One thing to bear in mind is that, unlike the Energy, the Glide does have some EVA foam, but it has BOOST where you need it, including a cut-out in the EVA in the forefoot for a BOOST crash pad.  When you first slip on the shoe you may feel that bad in the forefoot but it’s not noticeable on the run.  What is noticeable though is a feeling of bounciness when you take your first few strides.  I count myself as a skeptic when it comes to technology that seems like a gimmick, like a mid-sole that claims to have the highest energy return EVER, but I have to admit, the Boost feels unlike any other running shoe I’ve worn (except for that time I tried the Energy, I guess).

Here’s the thing though, just because a shoe feels springy and soft doesn’t mean it’s going to perform well.  I tend to like a firm ride to my shoes, especially when it comes to uptempo training.  What I loved about the Glides was that they felt cushioned when I was going at a slower pace but firm and responsive when I picked it up.  My test run was essentially laps around the Boston Common, which features a long, moderately steep hill then slight downhills and flats.  I pushed the uphills at good clip (for me at least) and never felt like I was squishing through the shoe, quite the opposite in fact.  The Glides felt swift underfoot, never clunky.  Taking the pace back down during the recovery phase, I noticed the BOOST energy return more again.  All this is to say I think the shoe would perform equally well on a long, slow distance run as a quicker tempo run.

One other thing to mention is that the run was on particularly slick sidewalks fresh off a Nor’Easter, a not-uncommon condition for Boston.  I inadvertently gave myself a good chance to see how the Glides perform in the winter by stepping of a sidewalk directly into a deep, icy puddle.  Though my feet were fairly frozen immediately thereafter, the shoes dried remarkably well and I was soon back to normal.  Just to prove that one time wasn’t a fluke, I did it again later in the run.  Maybe I should look closer when stepping off sidewalks…but I digress.  Aiding in traction on the sidewalks is a section of Continental (like the car tires) rubber on the toe section.  I did find that I had more grip on that section of the foot than the rest of the shoe, but it was otherwise on par with other running shoes I’ve used in similar conditions.

Glide Outsole

I wear a size 10 in most running shoes but found that a 9.5 fit me well in the Glides.  Having a wider foot, I had to really loosen up the bottom laces to get a comfortable fit, but that did the trick.  That leads me to the one thing I would change about the Glides i.e. the lacing system.  I found it difficult to get even tension across the laces, which are of the non-stretchy variety but eventually was able to get it dialed in.

I’d heartily recommend that neutral runners check out the adidas Supernova Glide 6 BOOST.  Even as over-pronator, I thought the shoe worked well for me.  It may even become my go-to trainer…time will tell.  For now though, do yourself a favor, try on a pair of BOOSTs and see if it puts a bounce in your step!