Shoe Review: Maxxed Flight 101 Running Shoes

Maxxed Flight 101 Running Shoes

BACKGROUNDER:

Neutral Trainer:

  • Recommended for about any type of runner who needs medial support and a responsive ride
  • Good second shoe for long-slow distance runs, fast-paced training and short to mid-distance racing
  • Geared towards heel strikers that offers propulsion from heel transition to toe-off
  • Weight: 12.5 oz.

Adidas Springblade Ignite

The Maxxed Flight 101 is a radically different running shoe from any other shoe you may have worn because of its heel blades. Well, it’s basically similar to the Adidas Springblade Ignite running shoes that runs from the heel up to the midfoot (The Adidas Springblade Drive 2 stretches up to the forefoot) which claims to give runners a spring- like feel when running.

CONSTRUCTION:

The upper is made up of mostly synthetic plastic overlays, a stretchable and breathable mesh located on its tongue with soft cushioning underneath that hugs the top of the foot comfortably. The foam stretches from the midfoot to the heel part for protection from chaffing and bumps.

The midsole which is mostly concentrated on the forefoot is made of phylon which gives an elastic but firm cushioning. The Flight 101 has a unique insole as underneath it is a molded, cell-chamber which traps air pressure and enhances cushioning.

The heel blades, numbering to 9 pieces comes with rubber pads protecting each hard plastic blade that directly contacts the ground.

View of the sides

The insoles of the Flight 101

The cell-like chambers of the insole which gives its cushioning properties

FIT AND FEEL:

This is probably the shoes’ strongest point, its secured fit and comfortable feel. It packs enough cushioning on the heel part to where the blades are located although there’s not much around the forefoot area.

There’s just one slight annoying characteristic to it—that is the “squeaking” sound it produces whenever you start walking or slow down to a jog that runners beside you will immediately notice! Comments like “sounds like a baby shoe” or “you should attach blinking lights to it” are always a constant. I hope this “quack” sound dissipates as the shoe accumulates more mileage.

A closer look of the heel blades

Out of the box

PERFORMANCE:

Surprisingly, the shoe was responsive enough for fast-paced running! It had a plush ride although the cushioning dissipates when you shift from the mid-foot to toe-off just like racing flats. I’ve used this on three occasions logging a total of about 45 kms.

On those occasions, the heel and midfoot fit are quite snug but the forefoot opens up a bit to the stretchable upper layer of the shoe. However, all the cushiony-feel when toeing-off as mentioned  disappears as you could feel the surface of the road when running which may be a good thing for faster runners or a bad one for those looking for an all-out cushioned running shoe.

There’s very little about the energy rebound that this shoe purportedly does but the slight spring-like propulsion gives a tinge of a quick toe-off but is marginal when you’re at high speeds.

Well-cushioned inner pads

Heel Blades

HIGHEST AND BEST USE:

If you have been hesitant about wearing this type of shoe because of its unorthodox outsole style, you’ll be on surprisingly solid ground with the Flight 101. It is ideal for short to mid-distance runs as well as fast-paced running for just about any level or type of runner.

Areas For Improvement:

Just two things that don’t sit well with me about this shoe is firstly, the squeaking sound it produces while walking or running slowly and second, the hefty price tag which is presently pegged at P6,999.00. Maxxed should reconsider its pricing so it can be made more affordable for the running enthusiasts.

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Shoe Review: New Balance 610 Trail Shoe

PROFILE:

Trail Shoe:

  • Smooth comfortable ride with adequate cushioning
  • Great traction whether in smooth or technical trails
  • Lightweight but exceptionally cushioned ride
  • Weight: 10.9 oz (size 9, M)

New Balance 610 Trail Shoe

I’ve seen this trail shoe model on many of my trail runner friends who swear by its dependability, comfort and durability, not to mention the bargain price made available in many running stores carrying the New Balance shoe brand.  It’s one of the most popular trail running shoes which i’ve worn and tested in about a dozen trail runs and races.

The New Balance 610 is a totally dependable performance trail shoe that does not budge on any surface that’s subjected to whether on rough roads, basic trails, rocky terrain or the occasional river crossings. It cuts through very nicely even on the most gnarly of trails and has enough cushioning to bump off rocks and muddy trails.

CONSTRUCTION:

The shoe has a light, synthetic upper mesh which is comfortable on the toes and gives adequate support. The mid-sole is composed of an injection-molded eva foam (IMEVA) giving it a firm yet flexible cushioning. However, i found the outer layer of the midsole to be soft as some scrapes and scratches were evident which is probably due to the constant scraping on rocks and other rough edges.

Mesh-panelled upper

The outsole has a high-traction thread made of Ndurance rubber which gives it a very durable quality and has multi-directional triangular lugs for sticky traction on most surfaces. I’ve logged-in about 100++ kms in this shoe and so far, the outsoles have been holding up very well with no issues regarding durability. The ankle collars are adequately padded with a lace up system that has string eyelets in the first 2 holes which gives it a somewhat secure fit.

Ndurance outsoles

FIT AND FEEL:

Straight out of the box, the NB 610 has a nice feel, has adequate room in the toe box (i wear 2E widths) and there is no rubbing in the inner edges whatsoever. No pinched feeling as well! The lacing system does help a lot in locking-in the feet and the padded heel counter added to the comfort when i started to walk in it.

Putting it on for the first time, the feeling is like wearing a familiar shoe that you have broken-in and worn for several times and felt very comfortable that you won’t think its new.

PERFORMANCE:

The NB 610 has been put through its paces in several trail runs from 10-k up to 30k distances like the Nuvali Rock and Road Trail Race, all PIMCO Trail Races in Tanay, test runs in Tanay and Miyamit,  Timberland Heights runs, the recent Salomon X-trail run at Hamilo Coast and many other trails outside of the city. This means running in all trail conditions and i’m giving it high marks for its versatility and adaptability.

It shines in all surfaces and treks well in river crossings. The shoe sheds water very quickly except when small sands and pebbles gets inside the shoe that i have to completely stop and remove the shoe of its debris. The shoe doesn’t lose its cushioning and stays very breathable even in hot weather running.

CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATION:

A great all-around trail shoe that doesn’t disappoint and i wouldn’t hesitate to recommend to all hard-core and beginner trail runners. Neutral and slight over-pronators will enjoy the high performance ride and do-everything versatility of this trail shoe.

(I bought this shoe at a bargain price of less than P3,000.00 at the New Balance Store branch at Shangrila Mall, Edsa).

Note: There’s a newer version of this shoe, the NB 610V2 which i hope to have and review in the future.

Shoe Review: Zoot Ultra Kane 2.0

BACKGROUNDER:

Light Stability Trainer:

  • High mileage stability trainer
  • Specifically designed for the runner needing stability, maximum cushioning and those with heavy stride.
  • Weight: 10.8 oz. (Size 9)

The Zoot Ultra Kane 2.0

Long known for its apparels in multi-sport,  Zoot hasn’t been a major player in the running market much, as its niche has always been in the triathlon racing shoes. Now, it’s trying to unshackle itself from this exclusivity and has recently attempted to broaden its appeal by introducing models that would suit traditional runners to use them for everyday training and racing.

Zoot has recently been formally introduced in the Philippines and although it has been on the shelves of the RUNNR running store for quite sometime now, its presence is still not felt in the mainstream running community not like its more popular counter parts like Adidas, Nike, New Balance, Mizuno and other popular brands.

The Ultra Kane 2.0, part of Zoot’s “running” shoe category is one such shoe that has been introduced here in the country about 2 years ago.

CONSTRUCTION:

  • The upper of this version is made of nylon air-mesh which is a deviation from the original Ultra Kane which was made of  the TekSheen stretch fabric.  The Air-mesh was probably used to appeal more to runners although the same technology was used, the BAREFIT construction in the interior which gives it a glove-like fit and can be used sock-less.
  • Regular shoe laces were used for the 2.0 instead of the Quick-lace system that was used in their first edition that catered for triathletes

  • Their midsole technology is called the Z-bound, a lightweight and resilient compound that gives it a responsive ride. Z-bound has a very high-energy return. The result is less weight and great response.

Z-Bound Midsole

  • The outsole is made up of blown rubber or the ZBR  (Zoot Blown Rubber) a custom blown rubber that gives the footwear durability and extended wear time.

Zoot Blown Rubber

Other innovations used in this shoe are the CarbonSpan+ shank molded into the midsole which provides a smooth, stable ride and the Dri-Lex Liner Fabric which is antimicrobial that minimizes moisture,  foul odor and reduces hot spots that cause blisters.

FIT and FEEL:

The Ultra Kane 2.0 is a snug-fitting piece of rubber which is comfortable in the inside. The shoe’s soft tongue is sewed-in within the upper that stretches once you slip-in your foot. Runners not used to this type of slip-in shoes might find it a bit annoying but just loosening the laces and stretching up the tongue while pulling the pull-tab at the top of the heel will do the trick. Voila!

There’s instant comfort once you walk in it. The cushioning is immediately palpable although not so much as not to be able to feel the surface while running. It seems that the use of the laces seem secondary as the seamed-in tongue does secure the foot in itself. I didn’t feel any hot spots to cause any prospective blister and although the forefoot and heel cradle were roomy enough, it still hugged the foot preventing it from sliding from side to side.

Heel counter

PERFORMANCE:

Nice to be running on these shoes on several short and long runs and i’ll give the performance high marks. Being a neutral to slight pronator, i like the mild support it gave on the longer runs. The ride was lavishly comfortable, extremely smooth and soft from my heel to toe strike. I felt that i was running on my last leg of the Kona Ironman, so let me imagine just a bit.

The heel and midfoot fit are quite snug but the forefoot opens up a bit to the stretchable upper layer of the shoe. However, all the cushiony-feel when walking on it dissipates as you could feel the surface of the road when running which is a good thing.

The shoe is responsive and agile and i would venture that this would be an ideal shoes for long distance running, from half-marathon to marathon distances.

CONCLUSION and RECOMMENDATION:

The Zoot Ultra Kane 2.0 has everything that a good solid shoe should have: snug fit, enough cushioning and enough support to give runners who need more stability.

One noteworthy feature of the Ultra Kane 2.0 and all the other Zoot running shoe line-up is their attractive styling and color combinations. These shoes have their lineage in the triathlon with all the heel tabs, slip-in wear, sock-less comfort, fast performance and other new innovations introduced in their latest models.

This is an excellent buy!

A newer version of the Zoot Ultra Kane which is the version 3.0 has just been recently released and is now available at Planet Sports Stores, Riovana, Secondwind and the Brick Store.

The Ultra Kane 3.0 version, Zoot’s latest Ultra Kane release

The Zoot collection at Riovana (BHS)

Shoe Review: “Walk, Don’t Run!” Mizuno’s BE Shoes

BACKGROUNDER:

PRE/POST Run Shoes:

  • The Mizuno “BE” is basically a  recovery shoe designed to be worn when you’re NOT running. A pre and post run shoe.
  • It helps strengthen the lower leg and foot muscles to improve running performance while aiding in the recovery of tired muscles
  • Inspired by the Japanese Waraji (Japanese 草鞋) sandals made from straw rope that were used in the past as standard footwear for the Samurai and the Feudal soldiers of Japan.

Wajari Sandals (photo credits terebess.hu website)

  • The sole of the Waraji sandals was designed to be shorter than the feet allowing the toes to move naturally up and down, to curl, grip and to activate the muscles of the foot
  • It’s not supposed to be used as a running shoe but just to satisfy your interest on how this shoe would feel like while running, you can take it out for a 3-5 km run (no more than that!) and just once!
  • Weight: 7.0 Oz.

Mizuno BE

I researched on the shoe even before its launching here in Manila and found out that it’s suppose to be worn when you’re not running. This shoe is often described as a toning shoe but that gives a negative connotation to it although it works to activate the toes and the muscles of the lower leg and feet, the same way as a toning shoe does.

The BE is Mizuno’s answer to the different recovery shoes that are out in the market. The K-Swiss Blade-Light Recover has been out in the market for about two years now while the New Balance has its own Minimus Life/Wellness Zero for post-run shoe wear.

While many runners will still prefer to wear flip-flops or slippers after a hard or long run, (including myself) make no mistake, the BE is a great casual shoe that’s great for walking, going to the mall or just wearing it to the office, if you’re allowed to wear one. This is one comfortable shoe to take anywhere!

CONSTRUCTION:

The upper is made up of a soft, suede-like canvas with breathable mesh specifically constructed on the top where the toes would normally be positioned. The toe-box is wide and roomy, designed anatomically to the shape of the foot.

The shoes insole is not removable while the midsole offers a lot of cushioning. The illustration above shows the shoes’ functions:

  • 1.  ACTIVATION SOCKLINER – Dips the toes to activate your muscles.
  • 2.  DYNAMIC FUNCTION HEEL COUNTER – Cups your heel to improve it’s cushioning function.
  • 3.  AP+ MIDSOLE- Offering cushioning and comfort at footplant.
  • 4.  BE FOOTPRINT OUTSOLE – Lightweight and durable.

The outsole

FIT and FEEL:

The BE has a nice, comfortable feel. It’s not snug by any means but it’s really made to make your toes relaxed and breathable. This shoe is one  flexible shoe i have ever tested. I like the footing which is soft but firm and there are no irritation issues with the upper and even on the heel-counter which is somewhat low.

BE’s sockliner dips just behind the toes, creating a space that allows the toes to flex and move freely, resulting in more muscle activity.

This is exactly how it feels in the toe area. Have you tried cutting the top area of an insole before because the shoe you probably bought was to narrow on the forefoot? I did this when i was just starting on running, i made bad decisions when buying running shoes when i didn’t try them on first before buying, that i ended up getting sizes that didn’t have enough space on the toe box.

So what i did was cut-off about 1.5 inches at the top of the insole, shaped them to conform with the trace of the toes and put them back to try them on. The toe-box felt roomier and the toes could feel the space that was cut-off. This is how the BE activation sock-liner feels.

Breathable mesh for the toes

PERFORMANCE:

From the first time i slipped on this shoe during its launching at Mizuno’s headquarters at Magallanes, i was sold. The inside of the shoe was very comfortable though one could easily sense what the Waraji sandals felt like, the gap of the insoles to the length of your foot. The midsole was pillowy and although there is a heel to toe differential of about 5-6 mm, the feel was like walking on a zero-drop shoe.

Although this shoe was meant just for walking, the inquisitiveness in me dictated that i should “test-drive” this shoe and took it on a short run the following day.

On that 4 km run, the shoe felt very light, meatier than the Vibram Five Fingers  “Speed” shoe but much lighter than the Reebok Realflex Transition shoe. The feel was responsive, tends to set you on mid-foot strike and glided well on asphalt road.

If we were not apprised that this shoe was made for walking only, i would have run another 4k on this without a problem. But there will probably be issues about its durability when taking this for runs so lets just leave it the way it was intended to be used, for the mall.

CONCLUSION and RECOMMENDATION:

After using this almost everyday on my daily grind for work, meet-up with friends, walking from place to place on errands, this shoe is very kind to the feet, no aches nor pains to the foot and legs, whatsoever.

Bravo, Mizuno BE! 🙂

Delays and Stuff

I’ve been really lagging behind my shoe reviews. Although i’m not yet beyond the 6 months time frame given to me by some benefactors, i did reneged when i told them that they would come out not later then 3 months, at most. Yay!

One shoe was already de-commissioned even before i could make a review of it. 🙂

I’ve lined them up and get the reviews done real soon. Regrets too that i kept many readers waiting. So Sorry!:-(

New Balance 610 Trail Shoe

Adidas Supernova 5

FILA Everest Volco Trail Shoe

Adidas Adizero Ace 3

Vibram FF Speed

Shoe Review: Adidas Response Stability 4

BACKGROUNDER:

Stability Trainer:

  • For runners who need good medial and lateral support and midsole cushioning
  • Great moderate pronation control that can be felt guiding and correcting the foot while in motion.
  • Stable ride with adequate amount of cushioning
  • Weight: 11.5 oz (size 9 1/2)

Adidas already has one of the best stability shoes in the market, the Supernova Sequence and it’s latest incarnation is the Sequence 5. I had some very good experience with their Sequence 3 model which i first tested 2 years ago and i would say that it was of the best stability shoe i ever had and i’m still using it up to this day.

It would be easy to overlook this new RESPONSE STABILITY 4 model because of the more popular Sequence but the Response Stability 4 is just as great! This is the first time i’m testing this series and i’m pretty satisfied with it’s performance so far.

Even though it doesn’t have the flashy upper and the pleasing look of the Sequence, the Response Stability series is still one of the mainstays of the Adidas line because of its hordes of followers.

CONSTRUCTION:

Construction wise, most of Adida’s newer models don’t deviate much from its predecessors. The designs are simple, but very well constructed and this particular model has a wider 3 stripes design with a thin reflectorized strip that runs across the middle of each stripe.

The upper has synthetic overlays that enhance durability and support. The medial post of the Stability 4 called Pro-Moderator is very visible with its colored (red) lining that runs at the arch of the mid-sole. The Adiprene, Adidas’ elastic inserts located at the forefoot and heel gives the shoe its propulsion and cushioning from impact to toe-off.

This model still uses its ADIWEAR blown-rubber outsole which gives it high-wear durability.

FIT and FEEL:

Now for the first time, i found an Adidas model that is wide-bodied than any of their other models i’ve tried. I particularly like the roomy toe-box which an adidas wearer should know is not one of their strong points and i’m now even using thick socks on this pair which posed no cramping and adjusting inside.

It has more than adequate cushioning on the midsole and tongue and similar to the Sequence, the fit is comfortable, snug but not too controlling.

PERFORMANCE:

This shoe had its baptism of fire on the hot concrete roads around Mall of Asia to Roxas Blvd and Macapagal Avenue. Cushioning was very adequate running on hard concrete without feeling any soreness right after the 17 km run. Again, at the asphalt jungle of Ortigas Center this time, the shoe felt responsive and during the downhill crest along Julia Vargas Street, the foothold came firm and stable but did not impinge my gait nor foot stride.

I also like the smooth ride of this shoe and the consistent cushioning whether i adjust to heel striking or whenever it goes mid to forefoot strike when i go uphills.

At 11.8 oz, this shoe is by no means very light but that’s counter balanced by the easy flexing smoothness and its ability to rev-up to higher speeds when necessary. Oh yeah, you try to rev-up when you know that your lagging behind your friends! The medial-post did its job well as i didn’t feel any “rock and roll” problems inside the shoe even when running on uneven surface.

CONCLUSION and RECOMMENDATION:

The Response Stability 4 gets high marks from me for its support, cushioning and comfort.

I would recommend this for mild to moderate over-pronators, stability- oriented runners who wants a blend of cushioning and stability.

Shoe Review: Diadora Mythos Samurai III

BACKGROUNDER:

Neutral Lightweight Shoe:

  • Recommended for about any type of runner who needs medial support and stability
  • Good second shoe for long-slow distance runs, fast-paced training and short to mid-distance racing
  • Geared towards heel strikers that offers propulsion from heel transition to toe-off
  • Weight: 10.5 oz.

I’ve been using this Diadora model for the past 5 months now and i seem to be holding off its review in favor of other running shoes which are more recent. This is not to say that this ain’t worthy enough to be given its due credit. Fact is, the Mythos Samurai III would be able to compete with other top running shoes in the market, technically and functionally.

CONSTRUCTION:

The first thing you’ll notice about this model is its flashy color combination of gray, blue and orange which gives it an attractive appeal. However, more than aesthetics, the shoe seems to be well-constructed–the design, stitching, quality of materials are all top-notch!

The upper is made of nylon airmesh, the midsole is of molded Elaston, a kind of EVA foam. The outsole is of blown Flexoft rubber located in the forefoot while the heel area is made out of Duratech waterproof compound.

FIT AND FEEL:

This shoe has had 80 to 100kms of running into it and i’ve tried it in all surfaces like asphalt, concrete, oval track, soft and technical trails and it has complemented perfectly well to all these surfaces.

Getting into the shoe posed no problem–once you’re in, you’re locked in. There’s enough room for your feet to breathe inside. However, even with their so called Elaston Eva midsole and the Flexoft/Duratech rubber and air outsole, i didn’t find that the Mythos Samurai III has a particularly cushioned feel.

Even the removable insole which is made of thin plastic Eva foam didn’t do much to cushion the shoe. Nevertheless, it still had enough bounce to make the ride more comfortable.

PERFORMANCE:

Performance wise, the Samurai III has a lot to offer. Being light, the shoe is very responsive specially on fast-paced running. Surprising too was how well it adapted to trails as the outsoles were aggressive enough to take those off-road surfaces.  I’ve used them also on a couple of 10k races and the shoes responded very well to steady-paced running and sprints with no discomforts, whatsoever.

CONCLUSION:

Though the Mythos Samurai III is a light, responsive and flexible shoe, it has a sturdy medial post making it surprisingly stable–enough for a wide range of runners. Even if it’s not cushioned enough, it’s still an agile and versatile shoe and good enough for racing. Its ideal for 10k to 21k distances for just about any level or type of runner. Moreover, it’s readily available locally at Royal Sporting House branches at a sale price of no more than P2,700.00/pair,  a very good deal if i may add!