First Run New Balance Fuel Cell Propel – RunLog 11/9/19

Another first run in a pair of new shoe – the New Balance Fuel Cell Propel.

Short review that says it all – me likey.

I have been searching all year for a pair of daily trainers that I can run longer distances in comfortably on and off for most of the year. The closest shoes have been the New Balance Beacons versions 1 and 2, but they have been just a bit too firm when I get into the double digit range.

Since September I have tried several bands/models, but they all had fatal flaws that made them not work for me.

As usual the other night I was wandering around the internet and had a price alert on a pair of New Balance Propels at almost 50% off on Amazon. I didn’t immediately get them, I did a lot of reading different reviews (all pretty much positive) about the Propel, searched to see if there were better deals and then went back and forth between getting an 8.0 and 8.5.

Finally, after thinking about it arguing with myself about the pros and cons, how much trouble I would get in with the wife and did I really need yet another pair of running shoes. I decided to go ahead and just do it. They came in yesterday afternoon.

This morning I went through my new shoe ritual which means I inspected them closely for flaws, weighed them and wore them around the house for a while to see if they fit and felt like something that I wanted to keep.

They felt great, my size 8.0 fit like most other New Balance size 8.0’s tend to so they are pretty much true to size.

Saturday’s are my longer run day, but it was also pretty chilly out there first thing this morning for Bennie’s wake-up me up walk at 14*F with a light breeze. Luckily for me by the time I got out the door it was almost upta freezing and the the sun was shining.

A photo from Bennie’s 2.0 mile walk before my run

Planned Workout Description: I figured that I would head towards Goodhue and if the Propels began to bother, I could just turn around. Also today’s run was not about running faster, it was about putting longer miles on the legs.

• Day: Saturday

• Type of Workout: Longer Run

• Course: Goodhue Road 7.0 miler

• Distance: 7.0

• Duration: 1:04:18

• Pace: 9:11

• Clothes: Adidas running pants, Reebok compression shorts, Reebok black tech s/s tee, Adidas orange tech l/s tee, Brooks running jacket, Nike running vest, Saucony Beanie, Nike ball cap and running mittens.

Yeah, it was a little overkill, but I was not cold.

• Rating (1-4): 2

• Running Streak Day #: 16

• Weather: Clear/Sunny, 33*F feels like 27*F, humidity 47%, Wind 6 mph SW

Variables that impacted the run: First run new shoes, chilly, left hip and glute tight at first, left instep a bit of a nuisance, but went away

Comments: I ran most of the run comfortably at an easy pace, where if I had been running with someone else I could have maintained a nice conversation. Even though I wanted to push the pace a few times, but pulled back on the reins pretty quickly. I am attempting to be more disciplined on my runs and not overdo the workout.

Today, I was able to do that, whereas in the past I would have tested my new shoes a little differently than a comfortable longer run.

This getting older thing does have some advantages, i.e. I am not quite as impulsive most of the time.

Shoes: Mileage: New Balance Fuel Cell Propel (7.0) – They did quite nicely for a first run and a longer one at that. No hot spots, blisters, soreness caused by the shoes during or after the run. Which is gratifying. The Propels felt nicely cushioned but firm enough that if I wanted to I could pick up the pace pretty easily.

However, the Propels do not feel like a fast shoe, but they are definitely a comfortable shoe. Which is exactly what I am looking for. I have other shoes that I can run faster in or have more snap, but I need/want and maybe found a pair that will not bother my hard to please feet for daily trainer and long run duties.

I am not going to get my hopes too high, but it would be nice to finally have found something that freaking actually works the way I want, especially for longer runs. That running in discomfort or pain stuff, just takes all the joy out of the runs.

The other part is that the outsole is perfect for where I will be doing most of my runs. A nice multipurpose one that will grip in bad weather, light snow, a little slime (mud) or non technical trails.

Very good first impressions.

How did this run move me towards my goal(s)? I have been searching for that elusive daily trainer that is light, cushioned, comfortable, able to run on multiple surfaces and not break the bank, for it seems like forever.

About the only thing I would change is to make the toe box more rounded like the Beacons. It wasn’t an issue, but I could feel my big toe pushing slightly against the toe box at times.

I don’t know if I have found the beast in the New Balance Fuel Cell Propel, but this was the kind of first run that I have been imagining for quite a while.

Cardio Total: 4.22

Weight: 156 A/R

First Run Altra Impulse – RunLog 9/19/19

Over the past 7-8 years, I have had the pleasure of running in way too many pair of running shoes, but at the same time there are still a few pair out there that I really want to run in and haven’t.

Ever since Sam Winebaum did this review of the Altra Impulse, I have wanted a pair, but due to my difficulties with zero drop shoes since 2014, I couldn’t justify getting them.

When Altra running shoes first came out I was a huge fan and they were a regular part of my rotation, until I partially tore my Achilles (in a different brand). Since then running in zero drop shoes has not been something that I have been able to do without it bothering that Achilles more than I am willing to deal with.

Well until recently.

I have been working on strengthening and stretching my lower legs and have had a good experience lately with a pair of Altra Torin 3.5s.

So when I saw a pair of the Altra Impulse on eBay, in the colorway I wanted and my size, I put them on my watch list. I hemmed and hawed, thought about how much I really did not need them, but I kept looking at different reviews of the Impulse, kept thinking about how much I had wanted them when they came out and they were a pair of shoes that were on “that” want list.

Yes, the price was a bit higher than than I wanted to pay, but I haven’t seen this shoe in this condition for quite a while, so after about four days on my watch list I finally got around to ordering them.

Do I need them? No.

Will I run all that much in them? Probably not…well unless they are a fabulous shoe that I love.

Okay, so I got them and today went out for the first run in them.

They fit nicely, look great and I ran 5.0 miles on a mixture of dirt road and tar. While the Impulse were not the quietest shoe I have run in recently, but with the amount of rubber on the outsole, I would expect them to last quite a while.

Even though they are supposed to be “go faster” shoes, at 8.4-8.6 ounces the Impulse are not light-weights. Nowadays my daily trainers are lighter than that. So they are a bit heavier that I would like for running faster, but weight is not always the true test of whether shoes are fast or not, but it can be a damn important consideration.

Today was a recovery day for me, so I ran slower in them than what I would normally use them for. Also it is first time in a long time that I have run in zero drop shoes two days in a row, which did concern me a little, since I have been battling some issues with my left calf since last Thursday. However, the leg held up fine, so all that work I have done, seems to be paying off.

Sometimes running slowly tells me as much or even more than a hard run in this type of shoe.

Right off the bat, they reminded me a great deal of the New Balance 1400s as far as how firm they felt. Go faster shoes until recently typically were firmer, even when they were higher stack height – a least in my experience. So this was not unexpected and the Torin 3.5 were had a much more cushioned feel.

My Tailor’s Bunionette loved the wider forefoot and the Impulse were comfortable on the entire run. They do provide a bit more road feel and the zero drop does require a slightly different stride, especially when running downhill. Pounding your heel into the ground is not a great idea in zero drop, it just feels awkward. I find that I have to lean forward a bit more and land more towards the midfoot, otherwise my heels take a beating.

Conversely the Impulse climbed the bumps today as good or better than most shoes I currently have in my rotation. I want to take them down on my test course down to Pepin and back, to get a better picture of how they perform.

The reality is that

I had zero issues with the Altra Impulse on my run this morning, but at the same time I will have a difficult time figuring out exactly where they might fit into my rotation. They are for me a pair of those dreaded “tweener” shoes where I have better shoes for running faster and better shoes to run slower.

I have a feeling that the Altra Impulse are more a running shoe that I just need to have in my collection, much like the Brooks Green Silence and something that I will bring out for specific reasons.

Overall, I was very happy with how well a pair of running shoes from around 3-4 years ago, performed for me today. They were comfortable, ran nicely and when I wanted to step on the gas a little, I had no problems picking up the speed in these shoes.

I can see me experimenting with the Impulse some more to see if my initial impressions are valid or if I need to update my thoughts on these shoes.

Salomon Sonic RA Max v1 – 50 Mile Review

This review is more for me and to remind me about how these particular running shoes worked for me this summer.

After writing this post back in July, I decided to put the RA Max v1 under the dresser, give them a couple of months off and figured that I would get them out at some point down the road. Well it is down the road time and after wearing them twice for a mile walk, there has been no change from what I initially wrote back in July.

So I guess it is time to let them go to someone who can actually run in them.

This is what I wrote initially

Have you ever had a pair of running shoes that you really, really love, but they just don’t work for you no matter the little tweaks you attempt or how much you want them to work. That is how I feel about the Salomon Sonic RA Max v1.

It is not that I cannot run in them, because I have gotten them to 50 miles. However, to run in them I have to accept a certain amount of discomfort in my right foot, that varies from run to run, without any rhyme or reason to how much discomfort I will have to endure during a run.

The primary cause is that my right foot has a Tailor’s Bunionette that drives me crazy and limits the type/style of running shoes that I can run comfortably in. The Salomon RA Max v1 is one of a long line of great running shoes that are not comfortable for me to run in – at least in my right foot. My left foot loves theses shoes.

This Spring it seemed as though I had gotten beyond the fit issues that I had with the right foot, but for some reason the problems have returned with a vengeance since my injury (??? No idea why) and unfortunately the RA Max v1 are the shoes that it has affected the most in my current rotation.

Enough background noise.

Let’s get back to my thoughts on the Salomon Sonic RA Max v1

First and foremost I love the Vibe technology and do believe that it was a big part of my being able to return so quickly from my most recent injury – a stress fracture/reaction in my left tibia. This technology is supposed to dampen the tibial vibration and in my opinion, it works exactly as advertised. I could tell a difference between the RA Max v1 (and Sense Ride v1) and other running shoes that I walked and ran in during my recovery. It has a feel that I prefer, which is between cushy and firm that is hard to describe, but I know it when I feel it – this shoe has it.

The weight is great for an everyday trainer and easy run shoe:

For as much rubber is on the outsole, I am very quiet when running in the RA Max v1. The grip is great on dirt roads and even wet tar. I even believe they would work quite nicely for light snow, although wet heavy stuff or mud would cake up pretty quickly.

Unfortunately, the outsole also has a tendency to pick up small rocks and pebbles, which is more annoying than an issue. However, I have a feeling that the outsole will wear quicker than some other shoes, since in several places I can see where the nubs are peeling rubber off, but at the same time, I don’t see it becoming an issue for 300-400 miles.

The upper, is where I run into some issues, but only with my right foot. If I was to base running and wearing the RA Max v1 on how they felt on my left foot, I would consider them to be extremely comfortable running shoes.

Unfortunately, I have this weird right foot and it does not like the fit of the RA Max v1 at all in the toe box/sidewall. While they have a fairly wide toe-box, it seems that the angle of the shoe going past the toes to the end of the shoe is just enough to push my little toe into the 4th toe while running.

Also the structured fit while it holds the foot quite well, one of the side stripes sits directly on my Tailor’s Bunionette and pushes against it just enough that during a run or walk I notice it. When I run my finger between the midsole and lace hole, I can feel the raised ridge of the internal support on the under side of the upper, while it is is not a big deal for most people, it is just enough to bother that damned Tailor’s Bunionette.

Which after walking or running in them I feel varying levels of discomfort ranging from –

  • okay I notice it…
  • I gotta stop and take the damn shoe off

Unfortunately, there is not a lot of rhyme or reason on which level of discomfort is going to happen while I am wearing them. I have tried several different lacing patterns, different style/weight socks, different insoles and how tight I snug the laces up without a lot of success on getting the fit – just right.

Which sucks!!!

Because I do like the RA Max v1 a lot, if I could get the fit of the right foot to match how they fit the left, they would be a great running shoe for me, but unfortunately so far they have not.

So for me the Salomon RA Max v1 is not the answer to my daily trainer search. It is a great shoe for someone who doesn’t have issues with a tailor’s bunionette, but I will keep searching for a daily trainer that I can wear without worrying about what level of discomfort I will have to endure during a run.

Tomorrow, they go away.

Nike Zoom Fly v1 – 30 Mile Review

The Nike Zoom Fly v1 – Another older shoe that is finally coming down into the price range where I am willing to experiment with them, i.e. checking them out to see how they actually work with my weird running style and a body with too many hard miles on it.

20190512_194815450_iOS.jpg

I have tried on a few pair of the Zoom Fly at the Nike Outlets a couple of times and looked longingly at them at various online shopping places I frequent for cheap running shoes.

kimg0016

Unfortunately, the price point or else the size never seemed quite where it needed to be for me to justify the experiment.

Until Now!!!

Luckily things finally worked out and I managed to get a pair of Zoom Flys for a song and have been using them on a variety of runs.

Sizing

The size 9.0 Zoom Fly v1 I currently have are about a full size too big but are still working great. I had tried on a pair of 9.5 Zoom Fly SPs a few weeks ago and based my sizing on the SP version, which was a mistake.

IMG_3740

I think if I were to get another pair of v1s that I would go with a pair of 8.0s (true to size) and if I get pair of SPs I will go with a pair of size 8.5. Sometimes you gotta go with the size you get, when it is a great price and deal with the fit as best you can.

Why 30 Miles?

What is going on Harold you usually do 50 or 100-mile reviews, what is up with the 30-mile jobbie?

Supposedly the Zoom Fly line is a racing shoe and that means that I typically do not run a lot of miles in my racing shoes, so to get a review of them out before I forget about all the stuff I meant to write about them and 30 miles is a good mileage to review racing shoes.

By then I have a pretty good idea of how they work for me when I attempt to run faster in them.

What Kind of Runs?

Zoom Fly Runs 5-9-19

Treadmill, Track, Longer run, Test Course, Dirt Road, Hills – just about everything that I do with a pair of go-fast shoes – well except for a race. I am still zero for 2019 when it comes to racing. My average pace is usually somewhere between 8:45 and 9:00, so the paces in the Zoom Fly are faster than I normally run.

Short Version

I like them – a lot.

No, they are not really a poor man’s Vapor Fly, they are too heavy. However, they are a damn nice running shoe that is (in my opinion) being unfairly placed and marketed in the wrong category.

Yes, I could race in the Zoom Fly and most likely will soon, but are the Zoom Fly actually a race day shoe, especially for the 5K to 10K distances for faster runners?

In my opinion – not really.

img_3808

From where I sit as an average middle of the pack old fart with delusions of grandeur still running through the feeble bonnet on top, the Zoom Fly line-up fit quite nicely as a pair of light-weight trainers that I can run faster in. When my last two pairs of daily trainers were almost a full ounce less than the Zoom Fly, calling them race day shoes is a tough pill to swallow.

However, I will use them as my go faster shoes. 🙂

Long Version

The big question that I and a lot of runners seem to have is/are the Zoom Fly line actually a racing shoe or something else?

IMG_3781

Now that I have been running in them a bit, I really believe that the Zoom Flys are a great light-weight maximal trainer that I can run well in at any speed, but they really shine when it comes to picking up the pace for this old duffer.

In other words pretty much what I have been looking for.

When I first got them and wore the Zoom Fly around the house, they feel like crap to walk in, but when I started to run in them that feeling quickly went away. I felt that I ran “differently” and the watch was telling me I was running faster than I expected for that effort level. The more I have run in them the more comfortable they have become, so there is a certain amount of break-in with the Zoom Fly.

Milestone Pod Results

I wasn’t sure of how or what was different, so I also put my Milestone Pod on them and noticed a change in the results of the last 30 runs that was very, very interesting to say the least. Remember I have only had 6 runs in the Zoom Fly.

IMG_3785

Milestone Definition of Leg Swing is:

Leg swing is how high you get your foot off the ground and towards your butt following push-off. Higher is better. A higher leg swing means you are keeping your body movement closer to your center of gravity. The result is less work/less energy loss. …

The other metrics stayed pretty much the same, but the leg swing metric is very different and the only variable is the change to the Zoom Fly.

I have been using the Milestone App for almost a year, with several different shoes and it has consistently shown my leg swing as mostly Leg Swing on most runs. Now I am suddenly in the High range a LOT more than I had been in my: Reebok RunFasts, adidas Adios 3, adidas Tempo 9, New Balance Beacons or Nike Epic React v1.

So according to the Milestone App, I am doing something different with my Leg Swing in the Zoom Fly v1 than I have in any other shoe I have used with the Milestone Pod.

Which is food for thought when it comes to the Zoom Fly.

What I like

I run well in the Zoom Fly v1. I believe that this is the most important thing, while I will complain about the weight and some other stuff, the bottom line is that I enjoy running in them. Plus it does help that I do seem to be running some fast for me times in them.

I love the cush feeling that there is underfoot, yet it is not marshmallowly. The best part is that I do not feel as beat up after I run in them, as I do some other go fast shoes that I have in my rotation.

IMG_3712

Even though they are heavy for a shorter distance racing shoe (I prefer something in the 6 oz range), they are right in the ballpark for a light-weight trainer. Their weight is what I would prefer to run in for a daily trainer for me. The design seems to propel me forward more easily and the plate gives the shoe a little more umph/pop than the usual light-weight trainer.

20190512_195014393_iOS

The outsole has provided surprising grip on the roads out where I live and have done well in wet weather outside. Although I don’t see them being super durable, I imagine that I will be able to get around 300 miles or so out of the outsole. Which is about when I seem to retire most of my running shoes that make it that far in any case.

The Zoom Flys are comfortable for my feet and that has been an issue for many years, because of the wonderful Tailor’s Bunionette that talks to me if the shoe isn’t right for my foot.

20190512_195059568_iOS

I did undo the flywire that crossed directly over that wonderful spot on my foot and that seemed to make a huge difference in the comfort. This is where I think the FlyKnit version might be a better fit for me – once the price comes down a lot more.

They are very quiet, which means that the heel-to-toe transition is good and with the forefoot design (rocker), along with the internal plate, seems to help with my ankle/foot lack of mobility. As my old physical therapist claimed – two 2×4 nailed together had more flexibility than my feet and ankles. 🙂

Cons

On the sides of the midsole, there are compression lines already there, but my experience with this type of midsole is that they don’t mean much beyond making the shoe look older than it actually is.

img_3821

The grooves and pockets in the outsole do collect rocks more than some of my other shoes, especially on the dirt road down-back and the leftover salt/sand from last winter.

The Zoom Fly v1 are softer, err more cushioned than most of what I consider true racing shoes – something that I found out the other day when I went to the track. It was as though they were too cushioned and in combination with the track, made it more noticeable than other shoes I have run in. While I was still running decent times for me, it did feel as though I could have been going faster in a firmer shoe?

20190512_194905696_iOS.jpg

I am noticing some discomfort in the bottoms of my feet that some other reviewers have noted – it seems as though my feet need to toughen up a little to go longer in the Zoom Flys than some other shoes in my rotation or break in the shoes a little more.

img_3817

The tongue is just a piece of fabric with no padding, so I need to be careful of much I cinch down on the laces, otherwise, it does bother the top of my feet.

Speaking of laces, the stock blue laces were too damn long – they would wack against the other leg and became an unnecessary distraction later in a run when I was getting fatigued. I changed them out to shorter white flat laces and they are working like a charm.

IMG_3779

The reality is that

I see the Zoom Fly as more a light-weight/go fast trainer than I do a racing “flat” or shoe for shorter distances and I am not sure how they are at longer distances yet. In my opinion, they weigh too much and are too soft for many runners to use them as their “flats”.

20190512_194923980_iOS.jpg

So, in other words, they are probably just what I need.

At this stage of my running, I am more concerned with comfort and cushion, than I am about race fit and firm shoes. While they might not be the fastest shoes I could run in, I do not seem to be as sore after running faster in them when I am done.

Yeah, I am getting old and being able to recover from a fast/hard run is an important consideration, beyond just being able to run fast.

Quite frankly, I don’t really see the Zoom Fly as a great racing flat for shorter distances, although they will probably be on my feet when I do a race. Especially, since I do not see myself getting the Vapor Fly anytime soon and while they may not be perfect as a race day shoe, they are good enough for what I want to accomplish.

I also see my Zoom Fly v1s getting more use as a daily trainer, as my other trainers get more miles on them and the pair of Zoom Fly SP that are on their way as Bennie’s Father’s Day gift, become my go fast shoes. 🙂

It will also be interesting to see if the Zoom Fly SP version affects my Leg Swing the same as the V1s have.

Nike Epic React FlyKnit V1 – Some Initial Thoughts

Well, the Epic React FlyKnit version 2 is now out and about, that means that I finally got around to getting a pair of the version 1, at a good price from the Nike Outlet in Freeport last Saturday.

Epic React 4-14-19

This was one of those surprise purchases, but it is a running shoe that I have been looking at since it came out last year. However, it is also one that I didn’t want to get until I had actually put a pair on and see how they fit my weird feet. The reviews of this particular model span the spectrum from runners loving them to those who just hated them.

With those kinds of reviews, I just didn’t feel comfortable with the get them online choice. Saturday was the first time that I actually saw a pair that I could try on.

Amazingly, they felt really good on my feet and after trying on several pair during the day, they were the best fitting shoe that I had tried on.

They came home with me.

I now have four runs in them and over 20 miles of running, so have a pretty good idea of what my first impression of them is. Now mind you this first impression could change over the course of the next 30-100 miles, but after today…well let’s talk about it.

What kind of runs have I done?

IMG_3663

  • 10K – at a faster, but not race pace – for a first run it was surprising.
  • 5 miles in the rain on my test course, where I got down to my race pace for more than a mile – no problems with grip or picking up the pace
  • Treadmill speed workout – where I ran at my 5K race pace for a 1/2 mile repeat and several 1/4 mile repeats. A fantastic test of how my problematic right foot would hold up after a total of 7.0 miles – no problems
  • 5K Easy Run – an easy run to see how they felt at a slower pace. I kept hauling back on the reins – they just want to go fast

These runs are a pretty good representation of the runs that I normally do in a pair of daily trainers.

So how did they do?

Too good.

I have been very lucky with the last two pair of shoes, (New Balance Beacon v1 and adidas Tempo 9) have worked great for me and each has gotten more than 300 miles on them.

When I compare the Epic React v1s to those shoes, it is more than favorable.

Nike Epic React Weigh-in 4-14-19

They are for me:

  • light-weight
  • comfortable
  • cushioned – yet responsive
  • quiet – damn near silent
  • can run at a variety of paces
  • have enough grip to work well on the roads in most conditions

I am finding that the more I run in the Epic React v1, the more that I like them.

The only concern I have so far is that in the no-tongue area of the left shoe, I get a small fold in order get the right snugness for these shoes. I could almost go down to a size 8.0 mens, but then my right foot would have felt off. The fold hasn’t bothered at all, it is more a thing I see than something that affects my running in the Epic Reacts.

One of the negative comments that some have made about the Epic React has been about the placement of the harder clear outsole material and how the React outsole would hold up. For me the placement of the clear material is where I typically show wear on my outsoles, so for the way I run, they should be fine.

Annotation 2019-04-14 205307

However, the outsole tread pattern probably ain’t going to be much good outside during winter in Maine.

The other big complaint that I heard was that in cold weather they get too firm, it is spring, so the temps are not freezing and when it gets really cold now, I generally head for the treadmill or would use other shoes outside, so I don’t feel that it would be an issue for me.

Oh yeah, the purplish colorway – sucks. I am not a fan, but with how well I am running in the shoes, it really doesn’t matter what color they are. The orange ones are more my style.

The reality is that

The Nike Epic React v1s are a shoe that has really surprised me.

IMG_3664

I didn’t really think that I would like them nearly as much as I am. I think the one thing that is really making a difference for me is how my legs have felt after three pretty tough workouts in a row and still wanting to go faster on my easy run. Which could be a problem if I am not smart, which is usually a problem. 😉

That no issues thing and not feeling beat up after a tough for me 10K and speed work sessions where I ran the workouts quite well is the difference between the other shoes I have been running in and the Epic React v1s. None of the shoes I have run in a long time would have been able to match how well my legs are feeling tonight.

My first impressions are very good, now to see how they feel after 100 miles when I plan to do my next review of them.

It should be interesting over the next 80 miles.

New Balance Beacon – 200 Mile Review

Well, getting the New Balance Beacons to 200 miles did not take all that long (my first run was on January 24, 2019) and you know something there was a really good reason for it…they just work for the way I run and do not bother my feet.

Which is what I want and expect from my running shoes.

Let’s get this out of the way. I purchased the Beacons from Running Warehouse when they were on sale. So all the comments and opinions in this review are my own. Of course since we are all experiments of one, your experiences or opinions of these running shoes may be different.

If you want to read my initial thoughts or 50 mile review of the Beacons, please click the links to go there.

Pros Continue reading “New Balance Beacon – 200 Mile Review”

adidas Tempo 9 – 300 Mile Review

The adidas Tempo 9s made it to 300 miles.

A 300 mile review on a pair of shoes???

Holy crap…I couldn’t remember the last time that I had a pair of shoes make it to 300 miles. When I looked, it was a pair of Hoka Clifton 1 (Blue), back in 2015 and they were toast at that point.

Which makes the adidas Tempo 9s getting to 300 miles, still being shoes I enjoy running in and me wanting to write about them – even more impressive!

The short version is:

I can run in Tempo 9s comfortably, I don’t don’t get mysterious pains or blisters from the shoes and when I reach for the Tempo 9s I have no doubts about how they are going to perform…

Well. Continue reading “adidas Tempo 9 – 300 Mile Review”

New Balance Beacon – 50 Mile Review

At some point after all the hype and hoopla dies down about a new pair of running shoes, I finally get around to getting a pair to see what all the hootin and hollering was about.

Last summer I heard a lot about how great the New Balance Beacons were from a variety of sources, but unfortunately New Balance running shoes have historically not been a match made in heaven for me and I was skeptical that the Beacons would be any different.

However, all the reviews of the Beacons indicated that these were not your usual New Balance running shoes and so when I figured out that I needed a shoe with a little more forefoot cushioning and Running Warehouse had a closeout sale on exactly the Beacon colorway that I wanted – I bought them. Which definitely means that all the comments made in this post are my own and not influenced by any commercial interests.

Short Version

I love the Beacons.

They have performed well and were comfortable on all the runs that I have done in them.

As can be seen I have primarily used them for the exact reason I got them – the treadmill. I have done quarter mile repeats at sub 7:00 paces, shorter tempo/race pace runs, fast strides – sub 6:30, an outside 10K and a 10.5 mile long run outside.

I cannot ask any more of a pair of shoes and know that I will be using them for more than just treadmill miles going forward, especially after feeling great for that 10+ miler.

Which does mean that I will be buying another pair of Beacons for my rotation when these do wear out – I cannot give a pair of shoe any higher recommendation than that.

Long Version.

Okay, you know that I like the Beacons – a lot.

So what did New Balance do this time that was so impressive to me.

Instead of attempting to add unnecessary bells, whistles, technologies and features – New Balance focused on keeping the Beacons simple and from where I sit focused on being shoes that are no fuss, no muss and are fun to run in.

It does help that the Beacons came in at 6.9 ounces for my men’s size 8.0, have 26/20 stack heights for plenty of cushioning, used a Fresh Foam derivative innovatively and designed a simple “looking”, but comfortable upper that doesn’t get in the way when you are running.

From my first run to my most recent one, the Beacons have been a put them on, tie them up, go run and focus on the run, not how the shoes are doing, except that after the run is over, you think about how great they felt during the run.

The Bad

When I am running at a sub 6:30 (yeah I can still do it for a short ways) pace, they don’t feel quite firm enough and I would prefer the Adios 3s, if I could maintain that pace for a race. Since I don’t run that fast for any kind of distance at this point, I prefer the protection that the Beacons provide for most everything else. Not really a bad thing for me, but for some faster runners it might be a consideration.

When the temps are below 20*F I noticed that the midsole is definitely firmer than when it is warmer. Not quite rock hard, but the cold does affect the midsole’s cushioning properties.

The Good

The Beacons are comfortable. I have had zero issues with blisters, hot spots, them bothering my balky Tailor’s Bunionette or finicky Plantar Fascia (which has historically been a problem with New Balance running shoes and my left foot).

Almost Ninja quiet (they compare to the GoRun Ride 2s in this respect). I can usually tell when a shoe is working with how I run by the amount of slap or heel drag that occurs. No issues with the Beacon here.

Outsole wear has been next to none after more than 50 miles, which surprised me, since there is very little material besides the midsole there. Most of my miles have been on the treadmill, which usually tears up shoes for me, but the Beacons have done well. Although I will be interested in seeing how the wear is on the dirt road down-back after mud season is over and things dry up.

The upper on the Beacons is understated (which I like), with just the New Balance “N”s as overlays. All the extras and other nonsense that New Balance and other brands tend put on too many of their shoes just isn’t there on the Beacons and is in my opinion addition by subtraction.

The cushioning on this edition of Fresh Foam is just right – firm enough to want to run fast in them, but soft enough that running long is not an issue either. I wanted a shoe for the treadmill that had low weight and higher forefoot stack height. In this regard they do as others have said remind me a little of the original Hoka Clifton, but with a more refined feel to them and definitely a more comfortable fit for me, especially in the forefoot.

The reality is that

I may have found my Cinderella shoes.

As usual I am behind the popularity curve and most everyone has moved on to the next great thing in running shoes. The Beacons had their moment in the sun and there was a good reason for it – they are a great running shoe.

What is the Beacon best at? It depends on what kind of runner you are and the kinds of paces you typically run. For a younger and/or faster runner they are a great long tempo, easy run shoe. For the slower and older (like me), they could be a 5K or longer race day shoe, that does well on faster training runs or even just using them for daily easy runs.

I am pretty sure that I wouldn’t want to do too many trail runs in them or head outside in crappy weather, there just isn’t enough outsole there to provide good grip, although they pleasantly surprised me in wet, slushy conditions at about 20*F with how well they did.

Honestly, I when I got the Beacons I was not expecting them to “Wow” me as much as they have. I was extremely happy with my adidas Tempo 9s and didn’t think any shoe was going to supplant them anytime soon as my favorite rotation shoes. However, I when I look at my running log since I got the Beacons I don’t see too many other shoes being worn and I look forward to running in them.

Like I said, when these wear out I will be buying another pair, I like them that much and I can’t give any pair of running shoes any higher rating.

New Balance, you done good and finally provided me a pair of running shoes that I love.

The Year in Running Shoes – 2018

This has been a really strange year for me with regard to running shoes. After saying at the start of it that I would reduce the number of shoes that I would run in to around ten, I have run in closer to thirty.

Yeah, quite a lot closer to thirty pair of running shoes, actually twenty-eight and this doesn’t include the VF 4% or a couple of pair of Torin 3.5s that I got to play around with one day for short distances thanks to Sam at Road, Trail, Run. Plus all the ones that I tried on and either didn’t get or didn’t keep.

  • Green – Still in Rotation
  • Yellow – Not sure of their place yet
  • Red – Not in current rotation. Either gone, going to be gone or are legacy shoes that I will put into storage and keep the memories.

As you can see from my running log screen shot that the mileages varied considerably. Some shoes I found out pretty quickly they were not going to work that well for me and others even though they made it to the 50 mile review – they were not really what I was looking for.

Current Rotation

However, as the year went on, I was able to narrow down what works for me and have mostly settled pretty much the following running shoe rotation by December 2018:

  1. Adidas Tempo 9

  1. Reebok RunFast

  1. Adidas Adios 3

  1. Adidas Response Boost 2

  1. Nike WildHorse v1

I spent most of the year searching for a daily trainer that I could run comfortably in and while I have been able to find three to four “go faster” shoes over the course of 2018, finding that daily trainer has been an elusive beast. Well it is has been an elusive beast for several years now, so what else is new.

What kind of running shoe am I looking for as a daily trainer? Continue reading “The Year in Running Shoes – 2018”

Adidas Tempo 9 – 50 Mile Review

Every once in a while there is a shoe style that you have been looking at for several model versions. You have picked them up and looked at the style and the changes more than a few times over the years, read multiple reviews and even thought about getting a pair when the previous models have been on closeout, but never got around to doing it.

For me that is the Adidas Adizero Tempo line of running shoes. Unfortunately, since the late 80’s adidas running shoes and my feet were not a match made in heaven. The pointy, narrow toe box and often heavier than I like running shoes were not what I wanted on my feet. Plus there is nowhere locally that sells the adidas performance line of shoes, so I usually looked at other brands.

That being said, I have run in a 3-4 of adidas’ Boost based running shoes over the past 5-6 years and while I have been impressed with the Boost part of the shoes, but typically disliked the way the uppers fit my weird feet, with the exception of the Adios 3, but the performance fit was a bit too snug in the past for me.

Although I have to admit that when I read Sam’s review of them over at Road, Trail, Run, Sole Review’s words of wisdom and Dr. Klein’s review last year, I was much more intrigued by them. A stability shoe that didn’t weigh a ton, comfortable (wider toe box, narrow heel), decent outsole and best of all featuring the Boost midsole which I really like how it feels under foot.

However, I had other shoes that I wanted to try when those reviews came out.

Earlier this month I had hit a weird spot in my running shoe rotation where nothing in the house seemed to be really what I was looking for and one night while wandering around the Internet, I read a review on the Tempo 9s again and clicked the link. When I got there I found a sweet deal for a pair of Tempo 9s on Amazon and thought why not get them. Continue reading “Adidas Tempo 9 – 50 Mile Review”