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?

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  • 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.

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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.

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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.

First Run Nike Speed Rival 6 – RunLog 7-15-18

Another pair of new to me shoes, this time courtesy of eBay for a price I couldn’t resist. Did I really need a pair of race day shoes? Ummmm actually yeah.

While I love the Green Silence and have been using for that purpose, I can feel that they are a bit long in the tooth and don’t have the “pop” that my newer shoes have. While I don’t have that many miles on them, the midsole does feel pretty lifeless and I need every little edge I can get. So I had been sort of looking at what would be a nice race day shoe for me going forward.

Since I don’t see a pair of Nike Vapor Fly 4% in my rotation anytime soon, I needed to find something else.

I had read some pretty good reviews of about the Speed Rival 6’s and that they had a wider forefoot, which is unusual in a “racing” shoe. While I hadn’t purposely been looking specifically for them, when I was wandering around eBay last week and came on these. I figured why not put in a minimum bid and see what happened. Especially, since the seller said they had only about 5 miles on them.

I won.

When I got them in, they looked like new and only weighed 7.0 ounces.

Walking around in them the heel felt a little loose and I knew that I was going to have to play with the lacing to get the right feel with them. Also I will be honest, for a pair of Nikes (a company that prides itself on the great looks of its shoes), when I look down at them – they just look fugly. They look like some of the vintage shoes from the 70’s or 80’s with how the toe comes to a point from both sides, which is not always a good thing. Continue reading “First Run Nike Speed Rival 6 – RunLog 7-15-18”

Quarry Road Exploration – RunLog 6-29-18

Well I am back to just writing a RunLog versus a marathon training log and you know something, after sleeping on it – it was the only choice that I really had to keep moving forward.

Things are looking up, I signed up for the Friends of the 4th 5K over in Winthrop tonight and am thinking about other races that I would not be doing if I had continued with my marathon training.

So I do think some good will come out of it. I might just race a little more.

Continue reading “Quarry Road Exploration – RunLog 6-29-18”

Kipchoge and Nike Did Good

I waited a couple of days to sort out my thoughts on Nike’s #breakingtwo and what Eliud Kipchoge accomplished on Friday/Saturday morning. I also waited for most of the hue and cry to fade away, otherwise my two cents would just be added noise to the already unhealthy decibel levels.

No, I didn’t stay up to watch the event, I had thought about it and decided that while it would nice to watch live a potentially historic moment in running, the call of the pit monster was too strong.

I slept soundly and well through #breakingtwo attempt.

Plus I figured that I would get to read and hear all about whatever happened on Facebook and other blogs the next morning. Yep, the hue and cry was deafening and from what I could see almost everyone was singing their praises to Eliud Kipchoge effort and for running the World’s fastest known Marathon distance at 2:00:25.  Continue reading “Kipchoge and Nike Did Good”

Nike’s Breaking 2:00:00 Hour Attempt

There has been a lot of hue and cry lately about Nike’s and their athlete’s attempt to break 2:00:00 hours for the marathon distance. So I will add my two cents into the dithering and expounding on and on about this event from a middle of the pack runner, who has no experience with professional, collegiate or high levels of running.

First of all, this is not a race. The participants are only running against one another, attempting to keep up with professional rabbits hired to maintain a certain pace for a limited amount of time and the only competition is the clock. I don’t believe that there will be too many other runners on this course during the time trial.

In other words it is a time trial. Continue reading “Nike’s Breaking 2:00:00 Hour Attempt”

First Run Nike Vomero 11 – RunLog 4-29-17

Another new pair of shoes. Yeah, I was down to 2 pair of shoes I could wear comfortably for running, walking and work and I needed another pair. The 860 v5s & v6s caused my PF to bark way too much and the 880 v2s, well let’s just say they didn’t hold up too (there was a reason they were still around on the discount rack.

While I am liking my Saucony Guide 9’s, for a EE width shoe they are still a little too narrow for my Hobbit like feet. This was narrowing my choices down to Brooks, Mizuno or Nike’s EE width. Since Brooks never seem to fit quite right and Mizuno’s while they do okay, I never am totally happy running in them.

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Which left Nike, the company that I have probably run in more shoes, than any other brand out there. I was concerned because the last time I tried on Nike Pegasus 33 and a couple of other styles, I had to size up to 9.5 or 10.0 to get the width needed to get them on my feet comfortably. Which left a sizable overhang on the toes.

Running Warehouse had a nice sale on Nike Vomero 11 in 8.0 EE and when you added in Sam’s RTR 10% off kicker, it was a reasonable price to experiment with a Nike wide and of the EE offerings the Vomero is the one that seemed to meet what I was looking for this time the most. Comfortable, cushioned and a nice riding shoe for longer runs. Continue reading “First Run Nike Vomero 11 – RunLog 4-29-17”

What Are Brands Doing to MY Running Shoes

Whine Alert – Yes I am doing a little bit of whining here.

Yesterday, I was reading my RSS Feeds and Seth Goodin – who often has very thought-provoking posts, had an excellent one You are not the lowest common denominator and it got me to thinking about running shoes and the companies that bring these technological marvels to us runners.

Honestly, I can say that I have no brand loyalty or as Seth put it – have allowed any lock-in by any of the running shoe companies that are out there. I have written about it before here and here.

I have been called, picky, finicky, a pain in the ass and all those other endearing terms that I am sure that the brands use behind closed doors to describe runners who hop from brand-to-brand and do not show the proper loyalty to their great product lines.

Something, I think that the brands tend to forget, is that after I buy a pair of running shoes, especially if I like them.

Their running shoes become “my” running shoes and when that happens there is a huge difference in how I view “my” shoes versus other running shoes, I try.

I know that I get upset when a brand screws up “my” running shoes, especially when I go to buy another pair and they no longer work me, the same as they did in the past.

Yeah it pisses me off.

This is primarily why I am one of the many runners, who show no loyalty to a brand. Continue reading “What Are Brands Doing to MY Running Shoes”

Retiring the Nike Free 4.0 v2

P7250183It has been a good run (pun intended) for my Nike Free 4.0 v2 running shoes.

However, when I run in them for more than 3.0 miles now, my knees, hips and ankles are starting to bark at me afterwards.

Nothing serious, but when I start to feel these aches, I have learned from experience, that it is time to retire those shoes.

How did they do?

From my perspective they are a very, very good shoe with a couple of flaws that made me decide to continue to look elsewhere for that elusive “perfect” running shoe.

Pro’s

Comfort – This is without a doubt one of the most comfortable running shoes or any kind of shoe, I have ever worn. The second day that I wore them, I ran over 13 miles, the last 3.0 in pouring rain and didn’t have any blisters or other shoe related issues. It had the right amount of cushioning and protection for running on the roads.

Quiet – I ran very quietly in this shoe, no slapping the ground, which to me meant I was more efficient.

Flexible – Without a doubt the most flexible shoe I have ever run in.

Weight – Light 7.6 oz. for a size 9 according to the Running Warehouse review.

Low Drop – 6MM drop shoe, which felt pretty good to me, definitely not a high heel shoe and not a zero drop, it does a good job of transitioning from the more traditional running shoes to a lower drop shoe.

Upper Durability – The uppers look pretty much the same as they did when I bought them, just a little dirtier, no holes, major scrapes or other wear/damage. I could put them in the washer and they would come out looking pretty damn good.

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Con’s

Rocks – with all the gaps/siping in the sole (for flexibility) it had a tendency to accumulate small rocks and stuff in the sole, which could be not noticed, a minor distraction or a situation where you had no choice but to stop and remove the rock, either because it was jabbing into your foot or the tap, tap, tap of it hitting the pavement was driving you crazy.

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Road Only – due to the Free 4.0’s tendency to pick up small rocks and ground feel, running on dirt roads was not always enjoyable. Due to that and the lack of lateral stability, I didn’t run on any trails with these shoes.

Wear – Looking at the soles of the shoes, I experienced fairly decent wear, but over the last 50 miles it seemed that the wear really accelerated and it also started to have some weird wear patterns.

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This was my right shoe and as you can see for some reason (my running form) caused a very weird wear pattern on this section of the sole. I have never seen a pair of shoes wear like this and this was a major reason that I decided to retire these shoes. If they were wearing oddly, I was concerned about how that might affect my gait.

The Free 4.0v2’s had around 250 miles on them when I began to notice the little aches and pains setting in after running in them. When I got to 300 miles, I really started to notice the achiness that tells me it is time to replace a pair of shoes.

300 miles is about average mileage on a pair of running shoes for me, so this to me is the least that I would expect from a very good running shoe, but I was and am looking for 500 or more miles from my running shoes.

I probably could have gotten another 100 or so miles out of them, but instead of pushing the shoes and myself to the brink, I elected to be more conservative and change to a different pair, to make sure that I don’t get injured due to worn out shoes.

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Hot – During the summer heat, these shoes did make my feet sweat a lot, the breathability of the Free 4.0 v2, is not quite enough in my opinion.

The reality is

that the Nike Free 4.0 v2’s did a great job for me and allowed me to increase my mileage pretty dramatically after I started running in them. However, I was hoping to get at least 500 miles from my “perfect” shoe.

Overall

I enjoyed running in these shoes – A LOT.

If you run on a lot of dirt roads or are looking for a shoe that can do light combo duty on roads/moderate trails I would have a difficult time recommending the Nike Free 4.0 v2 for that, there are better models out there to meet those requirements.

However, if you are primarily a paved surface runner, who doesn’t mind picking a few small rocks out the soles of your shoe every so often or run on a treadmill, the Nike Free 4.0 v2 is a great shoe. It is extremely comfortable, good-looking, light, is a “fast” shoe and I recommend it highly.

Due to where I live, most of my runs have 1-3 miles of running on the dirt roads down back (which in the spring are pretty muddy), as well as running on pavement. Which is not one of this shoe’s stronger points and was the primary reason I chose to not buy another pair of them at this time.

If I ran primarily in an area consisting primarily of paved roads, my choice would have been different.

A Top 5 Shoe

The Nike Free 4.0 v2’s definitely made my Top 5 of all time shoe list, coming in at number 3.

My All-Time Favorite Shoes

Out of all the shoes that I have run in, the shoes on this list came closest to approaching that mythical perfect running shoe for me?

  1. Adidas Blue Marathon Trainer with the Dillinger Web (from early to mid 80’s)
  2. Brooks Villanova (late70’s)
  3. Nike Free 4.0 v2
  4. Saucony Hurricane 5
  5. Asics Gel Kayano 11

Now if Adidas would ever decide to do a retro shoe sale and have the Blue Adidas Marathon Trainer with the Dillinger Web available, I would have a pair in my rotation, to see if they are as good as I remember.

Setting the Record Straight

Adidas ThrasherThe other day I was talking with someone and I said I was looking at getting a different pair of Trail Shoes, because my current ones left the soles of my feet pretty damn sore after my two runs at Bond Brook on Thursday.

They said “Well you are just going to get some from Nike”.

I told him that Nike didn’t have what I was looking for in a trail shoe and I was actually looking at a pair of trail shoes from Adidas. The person just went “huh – I thought with the way you were writing on your blog lately, it seemed that you had something going with Nike, beyond just being a Nike fanboy”.

I told him that I have no relationship with Nike, other than I was one of the many Nike+ Running Website beta testers, which ended in May.

Shocked

I have been writing a lot about the Nike Free’s that I bought myself or using a gift card and I did a post on being able to go head-to-toe with Nike gear, but it was all stuff that I purchased – none of it was free or in exchange for my blogging great things about their stuff.

No what I have blogged about Nike shoes/apparel were my own thoughts, where I talked about something that works for me and purchased with my own funds.

Setting things straight

For the record I have no formal or informal, active relationship with Nike or any other company for blogging on A Veteran Runnah.

I want to ensure that there are no misunderstandings about who I am representing on A Veteran Runnah.

If I am provided a product to wear test or if paid to promote a product (which has not happened yet), I will make it very evident in the blog posts that I write, with the appropriate disclaimers very visible.

The other thing

To be honest, I am not really all that loyal to any brand of running gear.

Right now the Nike Frees are working great for me, however if a different shoe were to work better or the same for a lower price, I would probably take a close look at the other product.

If you looked in my running clothes drawers you would see products from New Balance, EMS, Adidas, Saucony, Reebok, Starter and Asics, as well as Nike.

The main thing thing that I look for when getting new running clothes and shoes is fit, construction and price – all three are important considerations. I admit that times I am biased towards Nike, but that is because I have had great luck with their product lines in the past, not because I have any other relationship with them.

If another company’s products work as good or better than Nike, I will use those products. I try to take advantage of end of year closeout sales, discount stores like Mardens or TJ Maxx and other sales when I buy most of my gear. I can’t remember the last time I paid full-price for running clothes – to be honest I am pretty frugal about what I buy.

Running shoes are usually the exception and it is hard for me to find shoes that I really like and that last more than a couple hundred miles. The Nike Frees that I have been running in have worked better than any shoes I have run in – in a long time and I have been bragging them up – maybe that is why that person thought that I was more than a Nike Fanboy.

The reality is that

this person’s comment took me completely by surprise and concerned me that if I was giving the impression that I had some kind of business relationship with Nike to “spread” the goodness of Nike around – that certainly is not the case.

If I do have a business relationship with a running gear/shoe company, you will know about it, because I will announce it and ensure that it is very evident who I am partnered with.

I hope that this clears up any misunderstandings about my non-relationship with Nike, other than liking their product enough to buy it with my own money.

Oh by the way, unless something changes in the next couple of days, I will probably be getting those Adidas Trail shoes, which are on closeout at a local store. No they are not minimalist shoes or a higher-end trail shoe, but they fit comfortably and will protect my feet a lot better than my current shoes.

First Runs in Nike Free Run +3

P6210001-001I won a gift card as part of a drawing during a #FitFluential chat with Blue Diamond Almonds a few weeks ago (the almonds are almost all gone Smile and were delicious) and used it towards a new pair of running shoes.

Since I was so impressed with how great the Free 4.0’s were, I ordered another pair of Nike Free running shoes. Originally, I thought that I had ordered the Free 3.0’s, but I made a mistake and ended up with the Free Run +3.

After a thinking about it and wearing them for a couple of walks I decided to keep the Free Run+3’s instead of sending them back. Things happen for a reason sometimes.

Review Process

My routine when I get new shoes is to do a quick post on my first impressions (click here) and then a post after my first run in the shoes to give a quick review of what I thought.

Last night during my first run in the Free Run+3, I was running into a Thunderstorm and was more concerned about bright flashes of light, than paying attention to how the shoes were really doing, even though I ran over 3.0 miles in them.

After that run I wasn’t convinced that I would be happy with them, there something was different about them and I couldn’t put my finger on what it was.

I decided to do my Saturday 10 mile run in them. I figured if there were going to problems with the shoe it would show-up on a long run and I might as well know about it sooner than later.

Firmer Ride

Thinking about it more – to be honest, not noticing the shoes and not having them bother me all during that first run, was a pretty good initial sign that they could be a good pair of shoes. The more I thought about it though, I did notice that they seemed to have a much firmer ride and feel less cushy than the Free 4.0 to me.

No Problems

During my 10.0 mile run they didn’t bother me at all!

I discovered that the Free Run +3 were comfortable, no hot spots and were a “fast” shoe. It also felt as though the toe box was just a little wider than the 4.0 – at least shaped differently and felt as if I had more room for my toes to splay out.

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The hyped Dynamic Fit Lacing system didn’t really feel all that different to me, but at the same time it didn’t bother me while running, so in my mind if I don’t notice something during a run, it can be a good thing.

Biggest Thing

The biggest thing that I really noticed about these shoes (much the same as the Free 4.0’s) is that I run quietly in them. I do not hear myself pounding my heels into the pavement and there is no slap when I transition to the lift-off phase. It is a smooth transition, even going uphill, which hasn’t been the case for other shoes I have run in this year.

Negatives

Like the Nike Free 4.0, the Free Run+3 collects rocks in the grooves. While this is an annoyance more than anything most of the time, if a rock get stuck in there wrong or is big enough, I will have to stop and get it out. Just one of those things.

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The reality is

that I have run over 13 miles in these shoes over the past couple of days, without any problems. No I haven’t fallen in love with them like I did the 4.0’s, but I have a feeling that the +3’s might be as good a shoe for me in the long run, maybe better (but the jury is really out on that statement).

The firmer ride of the Free +3 seems to return more energy, then the cushy ride of the 4.0.

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I have a feeling that the Nike Free line-up of running shoes is going to meet my running needs for a while. I haven’t tried on any other running shoes that comes close to the way that they fit and perform for me this year and I have tried on a lot of shoes.

Lately it seems that most other shoes tell you to break your body in slowly to them, with the Nike Free’s, my second runs in them were both double-digit runs. I think that says a lot about the shoe, that I can’t say for others I have tried this year.

The best thing about my Nike Free running shoes is that – I just run in them.

I can’t give a running shoe a much higher rating than that.