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Archive for January, 2012

Mizuno Wave Elixir 7 – Our Take

January 31st, 2012

Mizuno Wave Elixir 7 Women's Running Shoe

Our Tweet

Mizuno Elixir 7 has the winning formula as a versatile shoe that’s ready to handle tempo runs, daily training and race day.
(View Men’s Elixir 7 and Women’s Elixir 7.)

Runners Say

“This is my kind of ride. It has a tautness about it which feels great at faster paces. Definitely a performance shoe, but for me this is the kind of shoe I will use for any distance. My only complaint is that the heel feels stiff when walking, but hey this is a running shoe.” – Jonathan

“I feel very connected to the ground in this shoe. I didn’t feel this way about the Elixir 6, but I would totally make the 7 my daily trainer.” – Joanna

“Very cushioned in heel…makes me think ‘Is this really a Mizuno?’ The second-skin fit and responsive forefoot make me happy. Finally this shoe feels like serious competition to the DS Trainer for me.” – Matt

Big Updates

  • Lower Weight: The Elixir 7 sheds about half an ounce in both Men’s and Women’s versions (based on Men’s size 9 and Women’s size 8).
  • Revised Fit: the fit of the upper has been slimmed down a bit compared to the prior version, with a slightly narrower heel and lower toe box. The arch feels a little lower as well.
  • Flex Controllers: These additions to the outsole maximize energy optimization by improving efficiency during the final stages of toe-off.
  • Wider Base Net: The mid/outsole is broader than the previous model to spread out impact forces over a larger surface area.

Road Test

We liked the Wave Elixir 6. We pretty much love the Wave Elixir 7. There’s nothing earth-shattering about the update – you can see above that no big changes were made – but everything comes together to generate big praise from a wide range of runners on staff.

Both Daniel and Matt, who regularly run in the Asics DS Trainer series, were particular fans of this shoe. Like the DS Trainer, the Elixir 7 has a light and flexible feel, but the shoe lets you know it has you covered for the long-haul with just the right amount of cushioning. The shoe also carries on Mizuno’s reputation for solid build quality. The outsole seemed just a little too fussy for daily training use, but we haven’t heard any negative customer comments about similar outsole designs on prior Elixir models.

If you’re looking for a ride that lets you feel connected to the ground, with a silky smooth transition and enough cushion to go the distance, Elixir 7 needs to be on your list.

Matt Running Shoes ,

2012 Top Running Trends – Record Race Turnout

January 30th, 2012

Go on a site like www.active.com or www.runningintheusa.com and you’ll find hundreds of races of all kinds happening all over the U.S. in the coming year. While more and more runners join the sport each year, growth in the number of races and in the turnout for many races has outpaced the growth of the sport in general.

There are some fascinating stats published in Running USA’s latest National Runner Survey (http://www.runningusa.org/statistics). Anyone who loves seeing the sport grow will have a lot of fun and get a lot of satisfaction from seeing the most recent statistics. It all adds up to 2012 being a banner year for running races. Here’s what’s happening:

More Race Finishers

From 2005 to 2010 (the most recent year for which data are available), the number of road race finishers increased by 35%, to 13 million. That’s a much bigger increase than the 9% seen from 2000 to 2005. Anecdotal evidence suggests that the increased interest in racing has continued over the past couple of years, with 2012 set to be a record-setting year in terms of race participation.

Women Outnumbering Men on Race Day

So where are all these new racers coming from, you ask? Overwhelmingly, the growth comes from female runners, who represented over 50% of race finishers in 2010 (53%, to be exact). The number of female finishers grew from 3.6 million in 2000 to 6.9 million in 2010. Male finishers went from almost 5 million to just over 6 million.

Big Growth in Half Marathons

Again according to the National Runner Survey, the number of participants in half marathons has skyrocketed. Half-marathon finishers rose from 482,000 in 2000 to 1,385,000 in 2010, an increase of almost 200%. In comparison, over the same time frame the number of marathon finishers rose by only 44%.

What This Means for You

For starters, the clear message is that if you have your eye on a particular race, make sure to register early. Many of the country’s most popular races are set to sell out early, so you better get your bib number well in advance.

Bigger race turnout also means you’ll have more opportunities to connect with runners in your area and at your skill level. Here’s a good New Year’s Resolution (if you don’t have a few already): make a new friend at the next running event you attend. What better way to feel like a part of the growing run community?

Matt Running Sport , , ,

2012 Top Running Trends – Color!

January 29th, 2012

Here at Running Warehouse, we’re all about offering products that give our customers the performance features they need to achieve their best on the road, trail or track. But if you can do all that with a little flair, then why not? That seems to be the thinking of a lot of our manufacturers too, who have stepped up their color combos big time for 2012.

Shocking Shoe Shades

For many years, we’ve been fans of shoes that make a big first impression on your foot. Think Asics Gel Noosa Tri, Brooks Green Silence, Nike Zoom Victory and some of the other lively track spikes that have come out in recent years.

Apparently we were just ahead of the curve, because now every manufacturer is ramping up color across their line. We mentioned this last week with a sneak peek of Asics Fall 2012 shoes, but expect to see a rainbow of colors from New Balance, Nike, Brooks, Mizuno and pretty much every other shoe manufacturer this year as well.

Taste the Rainbow of Shoe Colors

Fantastically Flaming Fabrics

Bright, bold colors can help to keep you safe on the road, so it’s no surprise to see neon greens, yellows, pinks and oranges in the Brooks Nightlife collection and the ViZiPro line from Saucony. But color’s not stopping there, with popping apparel pieces in the Spring lineup for Brooks, Nike, and more.

Look for many saturated colors this spring, along with some fun pastels and some bold Men’s color combos too.

Fashion Show?

We’ve been toying with the idea of showing off some of the colors, along with some of the latest designs and fabrics, in a Spring 2012 Fashion Show. What do you think? Would a video intro to some of the colors on tap this Spring help you decide whether this season’s color choices are a fave or a flop?

Matt Running Sport , ,

Montrail Rogue Fly – Our Take

January 27th, 2012

Montrail Rogue Fly Men's Running Shoe

Our Tweet

Montrail’s lightest trail shoe, Rogue Fly impressed our feet with a seamless, sock-like mesh upper on Rogue Racer’s mid/outsole.

Runners Say

“For me, this shoe’s a winner. Traditional trail protection in a light and fast package. I was surprised how different this shoe feels compared to the Rogue Racer, which sits on the same midsole/outsole. The Fly has only a few tenths of an ounce on the Racer, but feels like a much more nimble shoe for my foot.” – Jonathan

“I’m impressed by the fit of the upper, particularly given that there’s not much material covering your foot. The fit is somewhere between sock-like and slipper-like to me. I had to cinch down the laces pretty snug to feel anchored on the platform.” – Matt

Big Features

  • All-Mesh Upper: The first thing you notice about this shoe is the clean, simple upper. There’s a surprising amount of structure, with reinforcements along the lateral side and toe of the shoe in particular that give you extra confidence on highly technical trails.
  • Montrail Rogue Fly Outsole View

  • “Fly” Weight: The Fly lives up to its name, and is indeed the lightest trail shoe Montrail offers. Our measurements came in at 7.7 oz for Men’s size 9. The stripped-down upper design makes the Fly a few tenths of an ounce lighter than the Rogue Racer.
  • Flexible, Responsive Midsole: The midsole of the Fly is unchanged from the one in the Rogue Racer, which has earned praise for its low weight, smooth transition and long-haul comfort.
  • Rock Protection: Benefit from both a TPU shank and Trail Shield technology in the forefoot for protection when you’re out on the trail.
  • Gryptonite Outsole: Gryptonite is Montrail’s proprietary outsole material that provides traction where you need it. It’s perforated to keep weight down.

Trail Test

Even though it’s based on the mid/outsole of the Rogue Racer (see Men’s Rogue Racer and Women’s Rogue Racer), the Rogue Fly feels like a very different shoe. All the changes in the upper come together to create a shoe that feels more nimble, and dare we say a little faster, than the Rogue Racer.

The all-mesh upper is obviously the big story in this shoe. A few testers felt a bit too much lateral movement in the shoe, but even so, all of us were impressed by the balance of structure and flexibility in the upper of this shoe. We’d like to see more manufacturers introduce such clean, elemental designs in their road and trail models.

Out on the trail, you still get all of the great features Montrail has packed into the midsole and outsole, including Gryptonite to keep you firmly moving forward and rock protection in the mid and forefoot. With many stripped-down and minimal trail shoes moving to a lower heel-to-toe drop, some folks may find it strange that Montrail is sticking with a 10mm offset. But we think that the feel under foot is so good that the heel-to-toe drop shouldn’t be a major factor for most buyers.

The Men’s Rogue Fly in Red/Laser Yellow and Titanium/Bronco is available now, with the Women’s Rogue Fly in Red/Yellow coming in April.

Matt Running Shoes , , ,

2012 Top Running Trends – Crazy Races

January 27th, 2012

Apparently, some of you out there thought that running 26.2 miles in a row wasn’t enough of a challenge, or at least wasn’t sparking quite enough fun in your life. Races with a little bit of zany (or a lot, in the case many past runnings of the Bay to Breakers) have been going strong for quite some time, but we’re impressed by the sheer volume of crazy races, obstacle courses, mud runs and nude dashes that have been put on in the past few years.

Looks like we’ll have a bumper crop o’ crazy in 2012, as some of the big names add more locations and dates while many other races see a rise in registrations.

Obsessed with Obstacles

Warrior Dash: Adding 14 more race locations than there were in 2011, the Warrior Dash is going strong with its “hellish” obstacle courses. (info)
Spartan Race: With nearly 50 events in North America and the UK this year, Spartan Race promises “pure primitive craziness.” (info)
Urbanathalon: Started in 2006 by the publishers of Men’s Health, this year’s event locations have yet to be announced. (info)

Small but Silly

Dark and Dirty Run: Get ready for 6.66 miles of nighttime trail running in rural Pennsylvania. As the organizer says, “We provide the organization, you provide the illumination.” (info)
Urban Iditarod: Want to watch people dressed in crazy costumes bark like dogs and pull shopping carts around for a few miles? Head to Portland, Oregon on February 25. (info)
Holiday Runs: Plenty of good times can be had at fun runs in your area for St. Patty’s, Halloween and Thanksgiving too.

The Competitor Has No Clothes

Maybe we’re just a bunch of nevernudes, but we find it a bit hard to wrap our heads around why you want to race naked. That’s a whole lot of unnecessary flippin’ and floppin’. Just sayin’. But don’t let us harsh on your fun if you’re planning to take part in the Bare Buns 5K, Bare Dare 5K, Streak the Cove 5K, or another less well clothed, er, we mean known, naked race happening somewhere in this big ol’ country of ours.

Matt Running Sport , ,

Mizuno Ronin 4 – Our Take

January 26th, 2012

Mizuno Wave Ronin 4 Women's Shoe

Our Tweet

Want silky smooth speed? Get runnin’ in Ronin, now in its 4th version with minimal changes to its winning formula for fast.
(View Men’s Ronin 4 and Women’s Ronin 4.)

Runners Say

“The Ronin 4 is an impressive racing flat, but my foot just couldn’t quite settle into the upper. I had to cinch the laces pretty tight to feel securely in place, but then my midfoot was cramped. Still, I enjoyed the firm, flexible ride.” – Matt

“This shoe is super flexible and fast. My foot felt at one with the ground, thanks to the very natural transition. I had to go a half size up to get the right fit.” – Joanna

“Bit of a strange shape in the upper. The toebox had some extra room, but it didn’t affect performance. When speed is the objective, this shoe delivers.” – Daniel

Big Updates

  • Fresh Design: The Ronin takes a big step forward in design, with a flashier look compared to prior models that flew under the radar.
  • Flex Controllers: These additions to the outsole maximize energy optimization by improving efficiency during the final stages of toe-off.

Road Test

Many of you out there probably know what a ronin is. Japanese samurai who became masterless were known as ronin, which translates in English to “wave man.” They got this name because of their status as warriors who were socially adrift. The Mizuno Ronin 4 certainly hasn’t lost its way, but wave man is quite a fitting description, given the shoe’s Wave cushioning technology.

Mizuno Wave Ronin 4 Women's Shoe Outsole View

Version 4 of the Ronin looks very fresh but rides much like the outgoing model. You still get plenty of tech in this shoe, including Wave plate cushioning, AP+ midsole, AIRmesh upper for better breathability and a G3 outsole for lightweight grip.

It was a challenge for our testers to feel much of a difference between the Ronin 3 and Ronin 4. Many commented that the latest version felt just a touch more responsive in the forefoot, which probably can be attributed to the Flex Controllers placed on the outsole. Like its predecessor, the Musha 4 has a 10mm heel-to-toe offset, but the shoe feels flatter than that on the road. The slipper-like fit received a lot of praise, letting the foot do its thing without too much interference or slipping around.

While the Men’s version fit true to size, we recommend purchasing a 1/2 size bigger in the Women’s model. The bottom line is that Mizuno didn’t mess with success on the Ronin 4 design, and that will be music to the ears of the many Ronin fans out there.

Matt Running Shoes ,

Asics GT 2170 Trail – Our Take

January 25th, 2012

Asics GT-2170 Trail Women's Running Shoe

Our Tweet

Asics’ popular 2170, with a fresh outsole geared for trail duty. This hybrid shoe offers a sticky outsole that can give you just the traction you need off-road.
(View Men’s 2170 Trail and Women’s 2170 Trail.)

Runners Say

“As expected, this shoe still feels just like a 2170 – which is to say, it’s got great comfort, an amazing fit, and a smooth transition. It’s a good option for someone who does a mix of road and hard-packed trail running. But this shoe’s certainly not right for the serious trail runner – the technical features just aren’t there.” – Matt

“Of course the fit and ride of this shoe is great, since it’s on the 2170 platform. I could see a runner who just loves the 2170 buying a pair of these for days when they want to do a little off-roading.” – Joanna

Big Updates

  • 2170 Design Updates: The 2170 trail benefits from the new design of the 2170 road shoe. Asics was careful to innovate without rocking the boat too much in this popular model.
  • Gusseted Tongue Gone: The 2160 Trail had a gusseted tongue to keep out rocks and debris. Customer feedback indicated that feature wasn’t particularly necessary, so Asics went back to a traditional tongue on this model.

Road Test

As you would expect from a comfy road shoe injected with just a smidge of trail DNA, the GT 2170 Trail rides a whole lot like the road version of the shoe. In fact, we’d bet that most runners wouldn’t be able to tell the difference in a blind race test.

That’s a good thing if all you want in a trail shoe is a little bit of extra grip. And we do mean a little bit. The trail-specific outsole on the 2170 Trail is definitely stickier than the road shoe’s outsole, and it adds a bunch of tiny pyramid-shaped grips on the outsole as well. But that’s really the only thing differentiating the Trail from the road version. It’s a great choice for the runner who wants to option to go off-road and feel confident about having a little extra traction. Other shoes in this category worth a look are the Nike Pegasus Trail (Men’s and Women’s) and Brooks Adrenaline ASR (Men’s and Women’s).

For someone who needs a more dedicated trail shoe and would like to stick with the Asics line, there are a few other models to consider. In the support category, the Asics Gel Trabuco 14 (see Men’s and Women’s) still provides plenty of cushion along with a water-resistant, trail-specific upper and a WET GRIP outsole designed to increase traction on wet surfaces.

In the neutral category, the Trail Sensor 5 (see Men’s and Women’s) is Asics’ most high-feature trail shoe. It offers a cushioned ride along with many helpful features for the trail, including a specially designed lacing system, Trail Sensor midsole that adjusts to uneven terrain, and a forefoot rockplate to minimize stone bruising.

Matt Running Shoes , ,

2012 Top Running Trends – Personal Coaching

January 25th, 2012

Consider a Coach in 2012

Certainly, coaching has been around for centuries. And probably every one of you has had a coach or two along the way who has inspired you to perform better and try harder. So what’s so special about coaching in 2012?

Well, coaching has been getting a fresh look in recent years, as more runners in their 20s, 30s, 40s and beyond turn to a personal coach for guidance on topics such as improved running form, race strategy and injury prevention. You can partner with a coach longer-term, or use coaching resources to help you do better with a specific goal.

If you’re looking to get in better shape this year or shave time off your next race, a coach can certainly help. A good coach can get you closer to that new PR, and can provide motivation for more casual runners who want to get deeper in the sport. They’ll help you develop a personal training plan and follow through with regular feedback about your performance.

OK, So I Need a Coach. What’s the Next Step?

There are many ways to find a coach. If you’re part of a running club or group, ask around to see if any of the other members have had a personal coach and get their feedback on that coach’s strengths and weaknesses. You can also go online to find a coach. One helpful site is the Road Runner’s Club of America, which offers a Find a Coach service, though there are several other coach locators on the Web as well. The service from RRCA is particularly nice because every coach it lists has completed a certification program

If you’re looking for educational resources to supplement the coaching you receive, be sure to check out our selection of Running DVDs that can help you improve your strength and your race times.

Matt Running Sport , , ,

Saucony Kinvara 3 Sneak Peek

January 24th, 2012

Saucony Kinvara 3 Women's Running Shoes (May '12 Colors)

You’re forgiven if you couldn’t tell much a difference between your original pair of Kinvaras and your latest pair of Kinvara 2′s. And Saucony is forgiven for making minimal changes to their most popular minimal shoe last time around – the shoe rocked it, right out of the gate. But to stay on top, it was time for a closer look at the Kinvara, and Saucony gave the Kinvara 3 a top-to-bottom refresh.

Get ready for a whole new look and improved technology in the Kinvara 3, which releases in May 2012. At the initial launch, there will be four Women’s colors (the two shown above, along with a Blue/White color and Grey/Purple color) and four Men’s colors (the three colors shown below, along with a Grey/Red color). Two more Men’s colors and two more Women’s colors will be available in July.

What to Watch For

  • More Durable Sole: Saucony heard the feedback about the durability of prior Kinvara models and responded by adding XT-900 rubber where it counts. Added rubber on the lateral midfoot and forefoot means you can expect more mileage out of your Kinvara 3′s compared to previous pairs.
  • Same Heel-to-Toe Drop: Though many other Saucony models are lowering their offsets, 4mm is still the name of the game for the Kinvara. You know it, you love it, and Saucony didn’t mess with it.
  • Smoother Transition: Already known for its flexible, light, and comfortable midsole, the Kinvara series is now designed to move with your foot even better thanks to a de-coupled and beveled heel, along with added flex grooves in the heel. While the Kinvara remains geared toward a midfoot strike, these updates make the shoe a little more welcoming for heel strikers as well.
  • Still Lightweight: Official weights from Saucony are 7.7 oz (Men’s size 9) and 6.7 oz (Women’s size 8). That’s a few tenths of an ounce heavier than our measurements for the Kinvara 2, but identical to the official weights for the Kinvara 2, so we’ll have to wait to see whether or not the shoe has really bulked up at all.
  • Redesigned Upper: Look for a streamlined upper with improved fit thanks to the use of FlexFilm™, a thin material bonded to the upper to secure your foot to the sole a little better throughout your gait.
  • Widths Now Available: For those of you with a wider foot, Saucony is producing 2E widths in the Men’s version and D widths in the Women’s version.
  • Pricing Uptick: All these innovations come at a price, specifically: ten bucks. MSRP on the Kinvara 3 rises to $100.00. We still think that the Kinvara is a tremendous value, especially since we expect increased durability in the latest iteration.

Men’s Colors

Women’s Colors

Saucony Kinvara 3 Men's Running Shoes (May '12 Colors)

Matt Running Shoes , , ,

Adidas adiStar Ride 4 – Our Take

January 24th, 2012

Adidas adiStar Ride 4 Men's Running Shoe

Our Tweet

A max feature shoe for the neutral runner, Ride 4 doles out plenty of cush and plush but doesn’t totally disconnect you from the road.
(View Men’s Ride 4 and Women’s Ride 4.)

Runners Say

“There’s a ton of cushion in this shoe – particularly in the heel – but there’s a feeling of integrity in the cushioning technology that makes me think you’ll enjoy that ‘first try on’ feeling longer in this shoe than other maximum feature trainers.” – Daniel

“For long-lasting comfort, it’s hard to beat the Ride 4. Your feet sit high off the ground, surrounded by a plush upper. I liked the heel cushioning, and it’s impressive how much comfort they packed into this shoe given its weight.” – Joanna

“At first, it was Tale of Two Shoes for me in the Ride 4. I’d land on a chunky, pillowy heel and then get some actual road feel in the forefoot, which isn’t as soft as many other shoes in this category. But after a little more time in the shoe, I started to appreciate the heel-to-toe transition.” – Matt

Big Updates

  • Microsuede Upper: This lining provides a soft and cozy home for your foot.
  • Active Formotion: A stretch panel in the midfoot wraps the foot for an adaptive fit.
  • Memory Foam Heel Collar: For a more customized fit in the heel, adidas adds a Fitfoam heel collar.

Road Test

“Cushion for sale…get your cushion here…lots and lots of cushion!” We envision an Adidas product rep shouting out something like this on the nearest streetcorner to attract some interest to the Ride 4. And cushion certainly is a big story for this shoe – but not the only one.

The Ride 4 gets a healthy dose of adiPRENE+, an EVA-based foam cushioning technology, along with a decoupled heel to help you land safely and securely. The upper also envelopes your foot with a soft, rich fit.

But it’s not like you’re just sticking your foot in a big tub of butter. The technology that gives this shoe structure never feels completely lost, so you still feel some connection to the road and a stable, purposeful ride. The forefoot in particular feels responsive at toe-off.

All testers were impressed by the build quality on this shoe. More than one of us commented that it reminds us of a high-end German car in terms of fit and finish, comfort and solidity.

Matt Running Shoes ,