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Archive for January, 2012

Saucony Endorphin LD3 – Our Take

January 9th, 2012

Saucony Endorphin LD3

If you’re a regular reader of this blog (and of course, you are), you’ll remember that a few years ago we kind of ragged on the Saucony Endorphin LD2 (click here and scroll to the bottom for a recap). We weren’t being harsh because the LD2 was a bad shoe (it certainly wasn’t), but because it was boring to the core. An all-white shoe with a plain mesh upper for the top-tier distance runner? Oops.

All is forgiven with the introduction of the Saucony Endorphin LD3, another amazingly lightweight and comfortable distance spike, now with some eye-catching style for athletes who want to show off their fast.

The Endorphin LD3 is Saucony’s top end distance spike, competing with the likes of the Nike Zoom Matumbo, Brooks The Wire 2 and the Asics Japan Thunder 4. At just $90.00 MSRP, this shoe undercuts the competition by a fair bit, and it also comes in at a lower weight (just 3.0 oz for men’s size 9).

The light weight is obviously the talk of the office around here, but we’re also impressed with the responsive spike plate and the quality of the upper construction. In terms of upper fit, the LD3 offers a sock-like fit with a bit more room than a shoe like the Matumbo, but not so much room that you’ll be sloshing around when turning a corner. The heel is snug as it should be and is made of a sock-type material that should prevent the uncomfortable Achilles rubbing that can occur in other spikes.

If we had to search for drawbacks, we’d say the arch of the LD3 might be a touch low, and one of our product testers noted that the spike closest to the little toe felt a bit “off.” But again, we really had to work at finding a few things not to love about this shoe.

We expect to see the Endorphin LD3 on the feet of many elite distance runners this spring.

Matt Running Shoes ,

Saucony ProGrid Mirage 2 – First Look

January 9th, 2012

Saucony ProGrid Mirage 2

This popular near-minimal shoe for the runner needing a touch of pronation control carries over with “minimal” changes to its second version. The mid and outsole may ring a few bells for all of you who currently own a pair of Mirage’s, and that’s because it’s identical. Why mess with success, right? The sole of the original Mirage struck an excellent balance of providing a good amount of cushioning, some pronation control and long-term durability on one hand while keeping weight low on the other.

Better Upper
So Saucony spent its development dollars for the Mirage 2 on an improved upper design. Fewer overlays means reduced weight and a more streamlined look. The upper is still designed to provide a bit more support on the medial (inner) side to help overpronators. It also has a HydraMAX collar lining for improved moisture wicking and combines a strobel board and an EVA sockliner for increased cushioning and support.

Reduced Weight
A shoe is pretty much irrelevant today if it doesn’t lose at least a little weight when it is redesigned. The new upper design allows the Mirage 2 to slim down by a few tenths of an ounce. We weighed the original Mirage at 9.4 oz (Men’s size 9), and the new model is estimated to come in at 9.2 oz in the same size.

Sole Recap
The midsole of the Mirage features a single-piece, high-abrasion EVA foam (EVA+). Saucony places a ProGrid cushioning unit in the heel, and also adds a Supportive TPU Arc piece in the arch for pronation control. Saucony’s claimed 4mm heel-to-toe drop remains unchanged (though we measured the original Mirage at 5mm). The outsole includes plenty of XT-900 carbon rubber for durability and improved traction.

Availability
MSRP on the Mirage 2 is $105.00. At its launch in mid-February, the Mirage will be available in Grey/Yellow (pictured), Red/Black/Yellow and White/Black/Green for men, and Blue/Pink, Silver/Blue and White/Black/Purple for women. The Mirage 2 looks to remain competitive with the Brooks PureCadence and New Balance 1190, the only other lighter weight daily trainers with a bit of pronation control.

Matt Running Shoes ,

New Balance Minimus Road 00 – First Look

January 6th, 2012

New Balance MR00

If you’ve had a drool cup sitting next to your computer since we posted the MR00 sneak peak video and WR00 sneak peak video back in September, there’s probably not much else we need to tell you about this highly anticipated shoe, except when you can put it on your foot (sit tight until mid-March).

For the rest of you who have been easing your way into the minimal running experience, here’s a little more information about the Oh-Oh, the Zero-Zero, the Double-Ought, or however else you’d like to pronounce the name. We expect to pronounce it “Big Seller.”

Oh, and if your runs ever take you off the paved path, it’s worth taking a detour to learn more about the Minimus Trail 00, the trail version of New Balance’s zero-drop, near-barefoot experience.

What to Watch For

  • Zero Drop: As you may have gathered from the two zeros in the shoe’s name, this shoe’s as level as a Rembrandt at the Louvre. Your foot sits at the same angle it would on flat ground.
  • Lightest, Lowest: New Balance road shoes don’t get lighter or lower than this model. We haven’t measured stack heights yet, but weight is expected to come in at 6.4 oz/4.4 oz (Men’s size 9, Women’s size 8). That’s over 1.5 oz lighter than the MR10/WR10 models.
  • Feature-Packed Upper: It might sound strange, but this upper combines plenty of features to make the 00 feel like less of a shoe. The no-sew upper uses an integrated tongue design to minimize rubbing on the top of the foot while still allowing a customized fit. A dual-density mesh keeps the shoe breathable, and the precious few welded overlays keep the shoe flexible while providing some necessary structure.
  • Very Fine Fit: The Double-Ought’s upper is shaped very similar to the MT110/WT110, which has been getting rave reviews from our staff for fitting snug in the midfoot and heel while giving plenty of room for your forefoot to do its thing in the wide toe box.
  • A Little Vibram Goes a Long Way: Strategic Vibram rubber covers the outer heel and areas of the forefoot most likely to come in heavy contact with the ground during your stride.

Men’s Colors

Women’s Colors

The MR00 and WR00 will both list for $110 upon launch.

New Balance MR00 (Outsole View)

Matt Running Shoes , ,

Website Feature of the Week: Shoefitr

January 6th, 2012

So last week we were sitting around talking about how the Running Warehouse website is pretty great. You know, just another day of tooting our own horn. But then we realized that there are probably a lot of our customers who don’t know just how cool the site really is, because they’ve only scratched the surface.

Well we’re here to help you scratch a little deeper. Each week, we’re going to start sharing our horn-tootin’ with the rest of you. Starting off this week, our focus is on Shoefitr.

A shoe and a ruler. That's the proven recipe for Shoefitr awesomeness.

Accurate Shoe Sizing in Seconds

Shoefitr may be old news to a lot of you. After all, it’s been on our site since summer 2010. Shoefitr’s 3D shoe images also regularly appear in Running Times magazine and on RunnersWorld.com. But some runners still haven’t seen Shoefitr in action. Here’s the rundown: Shoefitr tells you your size in a new shoe based on your size in your current shoe. How does it perform this magic? Measurements, measurements, measurements. And then some more measurements.

Shoefitr In Depth

The Shoefitr folks are based out of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where they’ve set up a product testing lab to perform detailed, 3D measurements of shoes. The goal is to measure each new model very soon after its release, while keeping an archive of older models for comparison purposes. For an accurate gauge of fit and sizing, several different sizes in both Men’s and Women’s models are measured for each shoe. Shoefitr has scanned models from 46 different manufacturers. The company currently has 1706 shoe models in its database, a number that continues to grow every month as new models are released.

Making Shoefitr Work for You

  1. Go to the product page for a shoe you are considering purchasing.
  2. Click on the ‘Show me how it fits!’ button to the right of the picture of the shoe.
  3. Enter the model and size you are currently wearing.
  4. Click the ‘Compare how they fit!’ button.
  5. Shoefitr will recommend a size and show you a 3D image of where the shoe you’d like to purchase may be tighter or looser than the one you currently wear.

Not seeing the Shoefitr button so you can get started? You can add “?disable-shoefitr-test” to the end of the URL for the product page you are on and the button will be displayed.

Stay tuned next Friday for another Website Feature of the Week!

Matt Website Features , , ,

New Balance Minimus Trail 00 – First Look

January 5th, 2012

New Balance WT00

Kind souls that we are, we gave you a sneak peak of this shoe last fall (check out the MT00 video and WT00 video). Now that we’re getting closer to the mid-March launch date, we wanted to provide a little more information on this innovative near-barefoot shoe by New Balance.

The MT00 and WT00 will both list for $110 upon launch. For all you pavement pounders out there, stay tuned for more information on the Minimus Trail 00 sister shoe, the Minimus Road 00.

What to Watch For

  • Low Rider: This is the lowest trail shoe offered by New Balance. The 00 means zero drop from heel to toe. There is only a modest midsole and thin Vibram outsole separating you from the dirt, pebbles or scrub you’re about to step on.
  • Featherlight: Not surprisingly given how low the shoe is, this is also the lightest trail shoe New Balance offers, at just 4.4 oz for the Men’s size 9 and 3.5 oz for the Women’s size 8. In fact, those weights make it the lightest trail shoe on the market, period.
  • Holy Sole: The deconstructed midsole keeps weight down while providing more cushioned lugs for ground contact. High-wear spots on the heel and forefoot are reinforced with a Vibram rubber outsole.
  • Barely There Upper: Strategically placed overlays welded to a durable nylon material creates a light, slipper-like fit. If you forget you’re wearing shoes while chewing up the trail, you’ll put smiles on the faces of plenty of New Balance product engineers.
  • Hot Spots Be Gone: The upper is practically seamless, except for some stitching where the tongue attaches at the base. Translation: if you don’t want to wear socks, you don’t have to.

Men’s Colors

Women’s Colors

New Balance WT00 - Outsole View

Matt Running Shoes , , ,

Saucony Grid Type A5 – First Look

January 5th, 2012

Saucony Type A5

The Saucony Type A4 is a favorite racing flat around the office here, so we were excited to find out that Saucony planned to cut even more weight when introducing the Type A5. The midsole and outsole is unchanged from the Type A4, so all the weight reduction happens in the upper, which now uses a lightweight breathable mesh and FlexFilm™ overlays.

Weight is expected to drop from the current 6.3 oz to 5.6 oz (Men’s size 9). That’s over 10% weight loss in an already light shoe. Pretty flippin’ sweet, if you ask us.

The Type A5 is coming soon – the middle of February, to be exact. For men, the first colorways will be the White/Red/Citron shown above and a Slime Green/Black color. Women start out with Blue/Citron/Pink and White/Purple/Black.

View our Men’s Type A5 Sneak Peak video or Women’s Type A5 Sneak Peak video for even more details.

What to Watch For

  • Lighter Upper: How do you go lighter than open mesh? Well, Saucony found a way with its new lightweight breathable mesh upper combined with bonded FlexFilm overlays for structural support. The FlexFilm also anchors the foot more securely to the platform of the shoe.
  • Same Ol’ Sole: The midsole and outsole of the A5 are unchanged from the A4. That’s welcome news for all of you who loved the low heel-to-toe drop, low stack height, and light, responsive ride of the A4.
  • New Pricing: MSRP is up five bucks compared to the A4, which isn’t all that bad considering the A4 came out almost two years ago and a bunch of technological development went into shaving almost three quarters of an ounce from an already lightweight shoe.

Matt Running Shoes , ,

Run in Your Asics…Sport Watch?

January 5th, 2012

Millions of runners trust their feet to Asics for comfort, durability and performance. The company continues to be a technology leader in the footwear category, and its innovations have extended to running apparel and accessories as well.

Now it’s time (bonus points for a bad pun, anyone?) to add running watches to the list of Asics product innovations. Partnering with Seiko, a well-recognized name in wristwatches, Asics developed two run-specific watch models, giving us a third brand of sport watches for our customers to choose from (in addition to Timex and Soleus).

Asics Seiko Race Watch Large

Asics Seiko Race Watch – $80.00
Can you say 500 lap memory, boys and girls? That’s a whole lotta data storage. And with the watch’s flash permanent memory, your information is saved even after a battery change. Speaking of batteries, you should get about 3 years of life out of the battery in this watch. And you can be confident about the watch’s reliability and performance, thanks to the Seiko “guts” that control the watch’s functions.

Other highlights:

  • Available in Medium and Large Sizes
  • Oversized, Customizable Display
  • Records Best and Average Lap Times
  • Programmable Target Lap Time with Goal Alert
  • Run Recall and Ability to Custom Name Runs
  • Hinged Strap for Better Fit and Comfort
  • Easy Touch Button Design
  • 50 Meter Water Resistance

Asics Seiko Challenge Watch – $100.00

Asics Seiko Challenge Watch Medium

How ’bout those colors, right? But color is certainly not the main story here. Asics took the features of the Race Watch and added a little extra durability, in the form of a more robust watch case design and an aluminum bezel. They also doubled the water resistance (to 100 meters). The highly asymmetrical design is meant to save weight in the watchband while allowing for an easily readable display that doesn’t interfere with wrist movement.

Like the Race Watch, this model is available in several colors in both Medium and Large sizes (you’ll have to go Medium if you want the rainbow color on your wrist). It also includes all the features highlighted above for the Race Watch. Either model you choose, you’ll have a trusted partner to help you make the most of your training workouts and race days.

Matt Running Accessories , , , ,