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! 🙂

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: New Balance 880

New Balance 880

BAKGROUNDER:

Neutral Cushioning Shoe

  • Recommended for neutral runners looking for support, cushioning and a responsive ride.
  • An excellent shoe for fast-paced training or logging long distances
  • Weight: 10.9 oz

About a year ago, New Balance offered a low-key shoe called the NB759. It wasn’t very technical and despite its simplicity, it attracted a lot of following a runners appreciated its responsive, well-cushioned ride. Its direct descendant, the New Balance 880 doesn’t appear to be too special either. But looks can be deceiving because peso for peso, the NB880 is an excellent shoe and perhaps one of New Balance’s best road shoe.

A little more expensive than the venerable NB759, the new NB880 is essentially the same shoe with two minor differences: First, the 880’s midsole incorporates a stability web shank that makes it a notch stiffer but gives more support to the shoe. Secondly, it has incorporated NB’s ACTEVA Lite midsole which makes the shoe essentially lighter and provides great cushioning and shock absorption.

I’m confident enough to impart what the 880 can do as it has already logged about 80 kms since I got them last January. I like it so much that I am now using them exclusively for races, from 10k to the half-marathon distances. So much for that in a while.

CONSTRUCTION

I like the soft materials used for the upper which has plenty of open mesh and runs constant from the forefoot to the heel area. The tongue has a larger open mesh with soft cushioning underneath that hugs the top of the foot comfortably.

The outsoles are fairly aggressive that would adjust well in many surfaces. The hard rubber provided great traction on pavements and even on wet dirt roads. The midsole is made up of NB’s Acteva Light and the Stability Web. The Stability Web stretches from the arch to the heel portion which locks down the arch and gives some heft of stability at the medial port.

It almost looks like a stability running shoe except for the segmented “N-ergy” on the arch’s upper midsole that gives the shoe a noticeable rebound and produces a soft ride.

FIT and FEEL

This is probably the 880’s strongest point, its secured fit and comfortable feel. The forefoot, the upper and the heel area seem to mold into my feet like a perfect globe. The feeling was like wearing a made-to-order shoe. With the right socks and just the right amount of pressure when lacing the shoe, it was “love at first fit” and I just couldn’t wait to give it a spin out on the road.

PERFORMANCE

Just as I had expected, the 880 was light enough, it had a plush ride and I felt the softness from the midfoot to toe-off. Running felt very comfortable and the easy agility was evident, one I would compare with the great hugging Saucony Pro-Grid Ride that I had a few years ago.

The shoe felt responsive on forays of short and long runs. It is well cushioned and for a neutral shoe, it has a solid base for support. Until recently, it’s been almost impossible for me to find a good training shoe that I could dabble with into a racing shoe. The 880 is one example of why that’s no longer the case. In fact as I earlier mentioned, I am now using this exclusively for races and I intend to get another pair of this model before it gets phased-out.

CONCLUSION

Although the 880 is a durable cushioned shoe for the neutral runner, it’s light enough to be used as a fast paced trainer or racing shoe. And as a neutral shoe, it has a sturdy medial post making it surprisingly stable—enough for a wide range of runners. It is also an ideal long-distance training shoe for just about any level or type of runner, which I highly recommend!

A Quick Peek Of The Skechers’ GO RUN Running Shoe (Part 1)

Santa came knocking on my door this Christmas and left me one of his small sacks which contained some running shoes, well just two which was for me to review and post in this blog. I got Skechers’ new running shoe, the GO RUN and the New Balance 880.

I’m not going to give a comprehensive review on these shoes just yet as i’ve just wore-tested them at home and outside just to get the feel of it. I couldn’t resist to try the GO RUN shoes though, as i was curious about the review given by top American marathoner Meb Keflezhigi who wore the Go Run in setting his personal record of 2:09:13 and placing 6th at last month’s New York City Marathon.

The shoe just weigh a 7 oz. on my size 10 feet and felt feather-like as i warmed up for an 18 km run. There’s a bit of a “lump” on the middle of my arch or under the midfoot which sort of softened the impact. The rocker stance is less pronounced here than their SRR or Liv models and the usual cut-off under the heels is still present to encourage a mid-foot strike which it did, exactly like the LIV model and that’s coming from a heel striker like me.

The 18km run was a bit of a mixed feeling.. soft, light  and very comfortable although i was consciously landing on my mid-foot all the time which takes a while to get used to. I like the wide toe box and the fit was excellently snug. There was enough cushioning on the shoe although i wish they would have put more of it in the forefoot. The downside of it though was after the run, i felt some heat below the big toe and had i ran 2 kms more, i would have developed a blister at the big toe mound. I should have applied a lubricant or a petroleum jelly as i usually do when trying out new shoes.

Aside from this minor discomfort, i found the shoe very responsive, a definite shoe for racing or fast paced training. Light and fast-paced runners will definitely like its soft underfoot and spring-like response upon toe lift.

I’ll be making a comprehensive review once i try this out on different surfaces and get more mileage on it. But judging from this initial test run, Skechers might have already delivered a winner. The shoe brand is getting serious with their running!:-)

Shoe Review: On-Running Cloudsurfer

BACKGROUNDER:

Lightweight Cushioned Shoe:

  • For efficient runners, forefoot strikers and underpronators who want good cushioning and a light flexible ride
  • Good second shoe for fast-paced training, racing and long distance runs
  • Won the Avansa Over-all award at the recent ISPO Brand New 2010 Awards for Innovation in Sports
  • Weight: 10.0 oz (estimate)

Engineered in Switzerland, made in China.

Well, the production in China is mostly a given, where majority of running shoes (or nearly all of them) are made there but the ON-Running shoe has its roots in Switzerland and no less than the Swiss Federal Laboratories for Material Testing and Research has tested and acknowledged the cushioning capabilities of this shoe.

The ON is relatively new in the market making its debut at the International Trade Fair for Sports Equipment and Fashion in Munich last year. It is presently available in Europe, the United States, Australia, Singapore and Malaysia and developed by Ironman Triathlon Champion Olivier Bernhard and endorsed by former New York Marathon Champion Tegla Laroupe.

I was able to test run this shoe last week and the model i have is the “Cloudsurfer”. The fact that this shoe has nothing to do with surfing, it was created to simulate a glide-like soft landing and to make a powerful push-off with the help of its lugs.

CONSTRUCTION:

The Cloudsurfer is one radical-looking running shoe that i’ve tried. Its big advance: to land as soft as landing in soft ground and to push off effectively by using its 3D CLOUDTEC Cushioning technology which are pieces of circular rubber lugs they call “clouds” embedded on the outsole. That’s right, the outsole! ON shoes has become one of the first shoes to take the cushioning battle to the outsole. Gimmick or not? Not.

ON shoes accomplishes this with 13 circular “clouds”, 9 of which are located in the forefoot area and 4 much sturdier clouds on the heel side. With these, the clouds compresses, locks and rebounds for a powerful push-off and compresses back to a very cushioned landing.

Aesthetically, the shoes are very well built with a lightweight mesh fabric while the panels are wide enough for cooling ventilation.  The sock-fit insole are removable and well cushioned to conform to the shape of the foot for comfort and support. The collar and tongue are well padded as the stitching and overlays are very well done.

FIT AND FEEL:

There’s no problem getting into the shoe, so once you’re in, you’re locked-in. The pull-up tab on the heel was not necessary, in my opinion. The fit is snug and wraps around your foot nice and comfortable. It flexes in the forefoot and is flexible enough for both forefoot and heel strikers. The inside feel is roomy and did not overheat even when used in hot weather.

PERFORMANCE:

The ON is a solid workhorse and running an initial 13k on asphalt and concrete on my first try did not pose any inconvenience, whatsoever. The ride was smooth, transition was very responsive and there are times when you don’t feel the ground as those “clouds” may have been doing its job in dissipating the shock.

The light, glove-like feel seem to float on fast-paces and even running on cement (which i hate and try to avoid) seem to be inconsequential as your concentration remains to moving fast and efficiently, as possible.

The following day was my tempo and interval day and tried to see how responsive it was on faster-paced running. True to form, it is light, agile and very receptive. From a tartan track to a dirt track and back on the roads, the ON did show its adaptiveness and i’m tempted to try it on a trail one of these days.

HIGHEST AND BEST USE:

High marks for this shoe! On a scale of 1 to 5, 5 being the highest, i’ll rate this at 4.5. Ideal for efficient runners who want a responsive, lightweight trainer and a good second shoe for fast work-outs or as a well-cushioned racing shoe.

CONCERN:

This shoe doesn’t come cheap and will be lumped with other expensive running shoes like the Newton and Somnio. So with the price, the questions are: Are the rubber clouds durable enough and for how long will they last? I’m sure there have been tests on longevity and durability conducted on this and would like to know of the outcome. So, the jury is still out, as for now. The On-Running shoe will be available at Chris Sports in early September, 2011.

She's Chris Sports' Marketing Manager Arleen Lindo giving my test pair last week. Thanks, Arleen!

Shoe Review: Adidas CC Ride

ADIDAS CLIMACOOL (CC) RIDE

BACKGROUNDER

LIGHTWEIGHT TRAINER/RACER

  • Recommended for efficient runners as a fast-paced trainer or short distance racer
  • A very flexible shoe that can perform well on a variety of different surfaces
  • Weight: 8.2 Oz. (Size 10)

The Adidas ClimaCool (CC) Ride should have been lumped in the minimalist shoe category, as with the Nike Free Run+2 or the Saucony Kinvara but it’s being marketed as a conventional running shoe that provides a 360-degree CLIMACOOL cooling system which makes it extremely breathable for the entire foot.

When i tried it on the first time for a test-walk, i felt that this shoe was even lighter than the Adidas F50 Runner which i reviewed a few months ago (here), and it leaves very little between your foot and the ground and has very little stability than the latter shoe. It has a very thin, perforated sock liner and runners who frequently suffer from blisters will find this to their liking because of its adequate ventilation.

CONSTRUCTION

The upper is minimally constructed with thin layers of open mesh, similar to that of the Saucony Kinvara, simple and nothing fancy, just designed with air-channels to emphasize breathability. It seems that this shoe was built for runners who run in hot, tropical weather. The only one that’s padded is the heel area, a non-woven fabric lining to give additional comfort.

The outsole has a soft, zigzag design that has similarities with the Reebok Zig Tech and the Nike Free versions. The crevices between the zigzag design gives it its flexibility on the forefoot. The arch is partly supported by 3 extra ports running from the outsole to the midsole, just under the arch part.


FIT AND FEEL

The CC Ride is half-size bigger than the sizes you usually wear and has a remarkably smooth feel for such a minimalist shoe. For my first test-run, i went to the Ultra Track Oval and gave it a few spins. Even when running on the tartan track, i felt the rubber ground underneath which would be favorable perhaps for lean and efficient runners who would like a feel of the surface underneath when running fast tempos.

The fit was snug from heel to toe. Moreover, with its lightness, it was very responsive and because of its flexibility, it allowed your foot to move freely as if running on barefoot. Me and my friends ran repeat up the stadium stairs and felt nothing to hinder the steps up.

I took it the next day on the roads and anticipating some rough terrain, i decided to insert silicone heel pads on both shoes to give it additional cushioning. Ran it on asphalt, cement, short dirt trails and hills to check how the shoe felt on the different surfaces. I still felt the terrain underneath specially when i intentionally stepped on small pebbles and stones so i sticked on running on the smoother surfaces and felt just fine.

PERFORMANCE

Performance of this shoe was highly satisfactory as expected, and runners who race frequently would appreciate the smooth, agile ride and the responsiveness was evident, great for mid-foot or forefoot strikers.

OVER-ALL IMPRESSION

My over-all impression of the Adidas CC Ride is generally positive. It feels fast and it got that natural feel, just a smooth ride from toe-off to landing. The flexibility and agility you feel when running on them is immediately instant. As an afterthought, there was really no need to break in the shoe.

Nevertheless, the thing i wished for this shoe was they should have put a little stability on it and add more cushioning if they had it intended as a conventional running shoe. Otherwise, this would be one shoe minimalist runners would like to have. It’s an excellent neutral shoe for those who would do lots of speed work on their runs and to those who want to incorporate barefoot-like training into their routine. It comes in different color combinations.

A caveat:  Heavy runners or over-pronators who need greater stability and cushioning should look elsewhere.

Shoe Review: Sketchers Resistance Runner (SRR)

INTRODUCTION:

  • Originated from their walking and cross-training shoes which falls under their “Shape-Ups” technology.
  • The SRR is now their running/jogging shoe which was introduced recently.
  • Uses Kinetic Wedge technology
  • Weight: About 14-15 oz.

A running shoe? Seriously!

So, what’s a shoe brand known for leisure-walking doing on these pages? Frankly at first, i wasn’t sure what to make of this shoe except that it’s price, at P6,295.00 (US$143.00) a pair really took me by surprise. It’s Sketcher’s version of a running shoe, the Resistance Runner. I was fortunate enough to be given one from Sketchers Philippines and i took it from their store in Market! Market!, Taguig. The shoe came in a large box with a monitor-like illustration of its features, an extra shoestring and a pamphlet.

Having ran on them a number of times, mostly on leisurely runs, i might say that i have a good grasp of what this shoe can do and what it isn’t. So, this is going to be a short review.

The shoe has a rocker bottom, a wedge that’s similar to a rocking chair and putting them on first then standing still, you feel the sway once you move your body and tilts your feet in different directions which kids would surely enjoy doing.

But all this rocking and swaying dissipates as soon as you start running. The wedge on the heel part is so curved that you’d think that it was overly cut-off. Immediately, i notice that i was landing on my mid foot and the spring back up when you push from your forefoot is very evident, propelling the body into the next stride easily. You get accustomed to the feel and find yourself landing naturally on your arch or mid-foot.

When your mid-foot lands on the ground, you feel the springy soft midsole kick-back which they call the “kinetic spring system.”

TECHNOLOGY SPECIFICATIONS:

  • Ultra-light injection molded kinetic footbed
  • Kinetic Return System
  • Resamax Kinetic Wedge technology
  • High-Abrasion, ultra-light rubber outsole

FIT AND FEEL:

The SRR offers a nice fit, a bit roomy inside and as mentioned earlier, the rocker-feel comes into play which keeps your legs in constant motion even when standing still.

The forward motion is excellent as you feel going into stride smoothly with some forward bounce. Likewise, the midsole is very cushiony and the spring-like effect is palpable, specially on easy runs.

PERFORMANCE:

While the ride is smooth and cushiony, one of the main drawback of this shoe is its heavy weight, which feels that you’re dragging combat boots while on fast-paced running. Because of the weight, i felt my feet and my legs fatigued in less than 30 minutes of running.

Moreover, there is not much ventilation inside the shoe as i felt the heat accumulating even if i was wearing light socks.

CONCLUSION:

While there are good things going on for this shoe like its wedge technology and kinetic spring system, the SRR is definitely NOT for fast-paced running nor is it for long distance runs. The shoes are far too heavy and heat accumulates easily inside for lack of ventilation. This is not an ideal shoe for the serious runner.

However, the SRR is a good alternative shoe for leisurely jogs of less than 5 kms and perfect as a walking-shoe. It’s also an excellent wear for recovering after a marathon or an ultra-marathon.

==

<p

Shoe Review: Adidas Adizero F50 Runner

BACKGROUNDER

LIGHTWEIGHT TRAINER/RACER

  • Recommended for biomechanically efficient runners who wants a responsive lightweight trainer or racer
  • Good second shoe for fast work-outs or as a flat-out racer
  • Weight: 8.4 (oz.)

Picking up where the equally light Adizero Ekiden (reviewed here) left off, the Adizero F50 Runner blends a lot of cushioning, lightness and space, so roomy in fact that the size seems to be half an inch longer than your regular shoe size.

I usually don’t wear light shoes as a training shoe except when I go out for tempo runs or fartleks but the F50 seems to have enough support for those short uptempo runs. Last Tuesday morning, I wore-tested them for the first time and set-off for an easy 6 km run and found them to be lavishly comfortable and extremely smooth and soft from heel to toe.

 

Later that night during our aNR sessions at UP, I wore it again and tested how it responded to faster paced running. I did 2 laps at the academic oval (4.4kms) at tempo pace and the shoe was indeed responsive which should please runners looking for a “quick” shoe for fast-pace runs or racing.

CONSTRUCTION:

The upper has a retro-look that reminded me of uppers that were constructed during the 80s. You feel that it was made of canvas but it’s actually composed of layers, a net-like layer of open mesh contained into a semi-transparent outer layer. You will only notice the transparency when you look from the inside. Naturally, this gives a lot of breathability that would provide for maximum ventilation when running.

The positioning of the three (3) stripes has been altered as it is now laying horizontal-like rather than the usual vertical positioning. The layering of the stripes gives it a “faster”, sporty look.

The shoe has an extended heel notch which I assume was made so the Achilles tendons won’t get irritated or rubbed against especially in fast-paced running.

Insole: Molded respoEVA lining that provides an ergonomic fit

Midsole: adiPtene and ForMotion technology that covers full forefoot to give that extra propulsion and increased responsiveness.

Outsole: molded lightweight rubber

 

FIT AND FEEL:

The midfoot fit is quite snug although the heel part seems to be a bit roomy and opens up a bit and you’ll notice it when walking. However, I find the feel inside “homey”, meaning comfortable and secure enough with no irritations whatsoever.

PERFORMANCE:

Performance-wise, it made a very good impression based on the easy run and tempo run tests. The agility and responsiveness are palpable in the mid-foot and forefoot.

 

DRAWBACK:

There’s a slight drawback I noticed about this shoe. As Adidas Ph provides me shoes to use and review (for the aNR series), this particular shoe they sent me had a minor flaw. Before wear-testing any shoe I review, I usually put the new pair on top of a table, observe it at the rear and check if the whole shoe would lay flat-out on the surface and would stand upright.

I noticed however, that the right pair tilted a little on its left side as if an overpronator had used them. It also didn’t lay flat on the surface like there was a small gap underneath the forefoot (see picture below).

With this slight glitch, I didn’t think it would cause any problem while running as it hardly made any difference when I was wear-testing them.

CONCLUSION:

Except for this minor flaw, the Adizero F50 Runner is still an excellent option for faster-paced runners with neutral or high arches who want a lightweight trainer or those looking for speedwork or a race day shoe.

However, I would not recommend this for over-pronators or heavy runners who need greater support.