Archive for February, 2012

Asics Gel Nimbus 14 Sneak Peek

February 29th, 2012

Asics Gel Nimbus 14 Women's Running Shoe

The Big Papa of Pillow for the neutral runner goes on a bit of a diet but still maintains a plush ride.

Launch Date

April 2012



What to Watch For

  • Lower Weight: The Men’s and Women’s Nimbus 14 is estimated to weigh about a half oz less than the prior models.
  • Better Breathability: Asics designed the mesh upper for better breathability to keep your feet cooler and drier.
  • Flatter Platform: An increase of 1mm in the forefoot and decrease of 1mm in the heel flattens out the Nimbus just a bit but is not likely to result in a noticeable difference.

Men’s Colors

Women’s Colors

Running Shoes ,

Asics Gel Cirrus33 – Our Take

February 27th, 2012

Asics Gel Cirrus33 Women's Running Shoe

Our Tweet

New Math: Cirrus33 + 1 left foot + 1 right foot = Cushioning3. You won’t find a more cushioned shoe to keep you protected and comfortable.
(View Men’s Gel Cirrus33 and Women’s Gel Cirrus33)

Big Features

  • Rearfoot and Forefoot Gel Cushioning: The Cirrus33 has the largest volume of Gel cushioning of any Asics shoe.
  • 2-Layer Midsole: SpEVA foam provides additional midsole cushioning and sits above a denser layer of Solyte foam for added stability.

Road Test

If you’ve got a wish for squish, you can’t miss Cirrus33 on your list. (Say that 5 times fast!) Cush is the headline here – the Cirrus33 is more gooped up with Gel than any other Asics model. Ever. Run in the Nimbus or Vomero? Then you need to take the Cirrus33 for a spin.

Every tester was surprised by just how much more cushioning this shoe offers than other Asics models. But it’s not a one-trick pony. You can tell that Asics put the work in to make this shoe runnable and fairly responsive given its pillowy protection. That said, a few testers noted hot spots at the top of the heel and on the lateral side of the upper near where the Asics logo joins up with the midsole.

While we’re on the subject of hot, several testers felt that this shoe ran hot, and would have liked to have seen a little more breathability, particularly in the midfoot. Fit received high marks overall, with many testers liking the heel and the forefoot. This shoe is not as low-volume as some other 33 Collection shoes, which makes sense for the runner who is looking for a cozy daily trainer rather than a streamlined racing shoe.

Runners Say

“Tremendous cushion for heel strikers, with a smooth transition for the runner who wants that near-effortless roll from heel to toe. It’s more forgiving than the Nimbus and a lot like the very first Nike Vomero.” – Jonathan

“The Cirrus33 gives you bottomless cushioning. Seriously, I could not find the bottom of the cushioning in the heel and forefoot.” – Joanna

“It’s like a hotel mattress for your foot. For the ultimate in cushioning, choose this shoe.” – Matt

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Introducing 4 New Salomon Skin Packs

February 24th, 2012

Salomon XA Advanced Skin S-Lab 12 Set Pack & XT Skin Pro 3 Set Pack

Many trail runners already know about the snug fit and feature-packed versatility of the Salomon XT Advanced Skin S-Lab 5 Set Pack ($180.00). In addition to offering exceptional comfort, this pack provides over half a dozen different pockets and an advanced bladder system.

With the popularity of the S-Lab 5 Set pack, it was only a matter of time before Salomon would roll out additional models. All of the new models, in addition to our new shipments of the S-Lab 5 Set pack, include a Hydrapak PVC / BPA free 1.5 L bladder.

4 New Salomon Packs

  • XA Advanced Skin S-Lab 12 Set Pack ($200.00): Built to carry the hydration and equipment needs of UTMB and other endurance races, this pack is considerably larger than the S-Lab 5 Set pack (12 L volume vs. 5 L volume), and will weigh in about half a pound heavier when empty. The design is very similar to the S-Lab 5 Set pack, with highlights including breathable mesh construction, numerous zippered pockets, and several storage areas. Like the S-Lab 5 Set pack, the S-Lab 12 Set pack is available in two sizes for a custom fit.
  • XA Skin Pro 14 + 3 Set Pack ($135.95): As the 14 + 3 in the name implies, this pack can hold up to 17 L of hydration and equipment. The pack also features zippered expansion for a customized fit based on the amount of gear you’re carrying.
  • XA Skin Pro 10 + 3 Set Pack ($126.95): Carry up to 13 L of hydration and gear in this form-fitting pack. Except for size, the design of this pack is identical to that of the 14 + 3 Set pack.
  • XT Skin Pro 3 Set Pack ($109.95): A compact pack with a focus on hydration and carrying only the essentials, the 3 Set pack gives you a secure and lightweight platform (under 12 oz) to support you during shorter to moderate-length runs. It’s available in bright red and light green (shown above).

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Student Athlete? Save $50 on Garmin

February 23rd, 2012

Garmin Forerunner 610, Forerunner 210, and FR70 + Foot Pod

Now until May 15, 2012, Garmin is offering student athletes and school coaches a $50 mail-in rebate for the Forerunner 210 and Forerunner 610, along with the FR70 HRM when bundled with the Garmin Foot Pod.

How do you get the rebate? Purchase an eligible model and send in the Garmin Rebate Form along with the product UPC barcode and copies of your receipt and student ID. It’s that simple to get a little extra cash in your pocket.

Rebate Model Rundown

FR70: When paired with the Garmin Foot Pod, this heart rate monitor becomes a complete training tool, offering pace and distance calculation along with heart rate data. It features:

  • 100-Lap memory and heart rate zone training
  • Custom Interval Training for speed work
  • Wireless data transfer to your computer with included ANT+ Stick
  • Ability to compare and analyze data with Garmin Connect and Garmin Training Center
  • Comfortable HRM chest strap

Forerunner 210: The 210 is one of Garmin’s most affordable, easy-to-use GPS watches. It’s available on its own, with a heart rate monitor, or with a heart rate monitor and foot pod bundle. Big features include:

  • GPS with HotFix to sync up with the satellite quickly
  • Live pace and distance data with totals when your finish your run
  • Custom Interval Training for speed work
  • 1,000-Lap memory
  • Ability to compare and analyze data with Garmin Connect and Garmin Training Center

Forerunner 610: In addition to all the features of the 210, step-up with these added key features:

  • Touchscreen interface that works when wet or when wearing gloves
  • Vibration alerts for time, distance, run/walk breaks and more
  • Virtual Racer feature to compete against previous course PR’s
  • Virtual Partner feature to train alongside a digital person
  • Auto Pause automatically stops/starts timer for you based on speed
  • Wireless data transfer to your computer with included ANT+ Stick

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New Balance 890 v2 – Our Take

February 22nd, 2012

New Balance 890 v2 Men's Shoe

Our Tweet

The 890 v2 is a refined lightweight trainer – low and light with excellent road feel. The full redesign is an evolution, not revolution.
(See Men’s 890 v2 and Women’s 890 v2)

Big Updates

  • Lower Drop: The 890 v2 sports an 8mm heel-to-toe offset, 3mm lower than the original.
  • Lighter Weight: Weight is down by about half an ounce in the Men’s and Women’s versions.

Road Test

The original 890 has received truckloads of positive customer comments since its release in February 2011. Now, just one year later, New Balance has updated the formula. But New Coke this ain’t. The 890 v2 is a subtle update that should keep the faithful happy and win over some new fans.

The shoe has been completely redesigned on a new last with a lower heel-to-toe drop. Even though the original 890 fit well, the v2 fits even better, and most testers liked being a little lower to the ground in the heel. The close fit makes this shoe feel fast, but watch out if you have a high-volume foot: this shoe will make you feel claustrophobic, particularly in the toebox. (Like the original, the 890 v2 comes in wide widths, which will give you a little more room if you need it.)

It’s hard to imagine that the transition of this shoe could be much better. “Linear” is the best way to describe the transition – the shoe keeps your foot moving fluidly whether you strike in the heel or midfoot. Testers were also impressed with the cushioning technology. The dual-layer RevLite and ABZORB midsole foam provides a mix of road feel, cushion and protection unlike any other shoe on the market. Frankly, we’d like to see more shoes treat our feet this well.

Runners Say

“This is a low-volume upper, but I found it very comfortable. The toe box is on the low side, so if you prefer having some room in the forefoot of your shoe, this might not be the best match for you. Personally, I like the streamlined feel.” – Jonathan

“I had a tough time characterizing the feel of the cushioning of this shoe. The ride is firm, soft, light and responsive all at the same time. Maybe like a pencil eraser? A dry sponge? Anyway, I like it.” – Matt

“The excellent transition of this shoe is due in part to its full ground contact. Once you get the 890 going, it doesn’t even feel like you’re wearing a shoe.” – Joanna

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Nike Flyknit Sneak Peek

February 21st, 2012

Nike Flyknit Racer Men's Running Shoe

If you haven’t yet heard about Nike’s Flyknit technology, get ready for a marketing onslaught in the coming months. Nike has spent the last 4 years designing and engineering a lightweight, knit upper material that fits the foot like a sock but still has the dynamic structure needed for a supportive fit.

A Closer Look

  • Flyknit ain’t a bunch of leftover yarns and threads from your grandma’s closet. It is precisely engineered material with varying yarn densities and knit structures that creates a featherweight, formfitting and virtually seamless upper. The material offers precise support, flexibility and breathability all in one layer.
  • Flyknit technology eliminates the need for overlays – the major source of added weight in a shoe’s upper. Additional weight savings are seen in the knit fabric itself, which is extremely lightweight but tested extensively to be durable over the shoe’s lifespan.
  • Flyknit technology will be on the feet of many elite runners this spring and summer. The Flyknit Racer was worn by several competitors at January’s Olympic Marathon Trials, including Dathan Ritzenhein and Mo Trafeh. It is likely to be the marathon shoe of choice for runners from the U.S., Kenya, Great Britain, Russia and other countries in London this summer.
  • An improved environmental profile comes from reduced waste and using less material when constructing the upper. Nike claims that construction of the upper only produces a few pieces of string as a waste product.

Models Using Flyknit

The following models are expected to launch July 2012, with additional models using Flyknit technology on the horizon. The names of the models may be changed prior to the public debut.

  • Flyknit Racer: The poster shoe for the collection, the Nike Flyknit Racer weighs only 5.6 oz in a Men’s size 9. To put that in perspective, it is almost 20% lighter than the Nike Zoom Streak 3.
  • Flyknit Trainer+: Designed as an everyday running shoe, the Nike Flyknit Trainer+ comes in at 7.7 oz. It offers a Lunarlon midsole and is designed to bring the weight and fit benefits of Nike Flyknit to runners of all levels.

There also will be a limited-edition HTM Flyknit collection, which includes an Olympic-colored Flyknit Racer (possibly called the “London Racer’) and two Trainer+ models with distinct upper designs.

More Info

For more details and a brief product video, take a look at Nike’s site all about Flyknit:

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Now Available: Heart Rate Data for iPhone 4S

February 20th, 2012

Wahoo Fitness Blue HR Heart Rate Monitor

Your problem: you want heart rate data, but you want it with your favorite running app on your nice, new iPhone 4S.

Traditional chest strap heart rate monitors transmit data in a format that isn’t compatible with your new phone. So are you out of luck?

Nope. Blue HR is the first heart rate monitor strap made just for the iPhone 4S. The company that makes it, Wahoo Fitness, is a leading sports-electronics innovator based in Atlanta.

The Blue HR Heart Rate Strap for iPhone 4S is available now. It retails for $79.99.

Why You Need It

  • The Blue HR monitor uses Bluetooth Smart, a next-generation transmission technology that sends data in real time to your iPhone 4S without the need for an adapter.
  • The monitor works with apps including RunKeeper, iMapMyRun, 321Run and the free Wahoo Fitness App.
  • Bluetooth Smart uses less energy than traditional Bluetooth, meaning there’s no need to charge the Blue HR monitor and the coin-style battery lasts a year or longer.

Wahoo Fitness App Screen Shot

  • Setup can’t be simpler. Open up the package, scan the included QR code to download the Wahoo Fitness App, then open the app to pair up the sensor. You’re ready to run from there.
  • The Wahoo Fitness App displays real-time heart rate along with workout time, calories burned, max and average heart rate, and workout zones.
  • The Blue HR sensor was engineered for improved measurements over ANT+ and older data transmission technologies. This means pinpoint accurate heart rate readings. It was tested thoroughly by athletes at Georgia Tech University to refine the calibration.
  • More smartphones such as the Motorola Razr are adding Bluetooth Smart technology. The Blue HR monitor will be compatible with more devices as time goes on.
  • With the Blue HR strap and your favorite fitness app, your iPhone 4S becomes a full-service training device. Track speed and distance, monitor heart rate, access GPS maps and listen to your favorite tunes all in one device.

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Mizuno Wave Nirvana 8 – Our Take

February 17th, 2012

Mizuno Wave Nirvana 8 Women's Running Shoe

Our Tweet

Minor updates to the Nirvana 8 keep things humming for runners who want a protective, comfortable ride along with some road feel.
(View Men’s Nirvana 8 and Women’s Nirvana 8)

Big Updates

  • Redesigned Upper: The upper of the Nirvana 8 was designed for increased breathability and reduced weight.
  • Slimmer for Guys: The Nirvana 8 is nearly an ounce lighter than its predecessor in the Men’s version, but almost identical in weight in the Women’s model.
  • Identical Mid/Outsole: Mizuno made no changes to the platform of the Nirvana 8, meaning all the weight reduction was achieved through lighter materials in the upper.

Road Test

There’s a lot to like about the Nirvana 8. Mizuno’s premium moderate-support shoe, the Nirvana series is all about protection and smoothness, not the pillowy cushion you get with many other high-feature shoes in this category.

The Nirvana 8 has one of the tallest heels of any running shoe we carry. So it’s not surprising that the heel feels substantial underfoot – testers labeled it “beefy,” “bulky” and “built-up.” Heel strikers liked the transition of the shoe less than midfoot strikers, but all appreciated the amount of road feel the shoe offered.

The fit received wide praise, with several testers commenting that they liked the snug heel and the placement of the laces. We’re not quite sure that they achieved nirvana, but Mizuno has assembled an impressive set of technologies to wrap a runner’s foot and keep you comfortable.

Runners Say

“It’s a Mizuno, so it delivers on its promise of a smooth ride. But it feels too bulky for my taste. At 155lbs, I think I am too light for this shoe.” – Jonathan

“While the heel felt comfortable in the Nirvana 8, the forefoot almost felt too cushioned, even for a runner looking for a plush ride.” – Lauren

“When I midfoot strike in this shoe, the transition is seamless. I really like the tight heel collar, which anchors you in and gives you confidence.” – Daniel

Running Shoes ,

Asics Gel Fuji Racer – Our Take

February 16th, 2012

Asics Gel Fuji Racer Men's Running Shoes

Our Tweet

Gel Fuji Racer blends racing genes with trail genes to produce a hybrid monster that gobbles up terrain at a terrifying rate.
(View Men’s Fuji Racer and Women’s Fuji Racer)

Big Features

  • Racing Flat Origins: To construct the Fuji Racer, Asics started with elements of its Gel DS Racer 9 and Gel Hyper Speed 5 flats, adding in trail-ready features including a more durable tread material, breathable upper, and outsole drainage.
  • Low and Light: At 8.7 oz for the Men’s version (size 9) and 7.8 oz for the Women’s version (size 8), the Fuji Racer is Asics’ lightest trail shoe to date. And stack heights of 22mm in the heel and 16mm in the forefoot mean that this shoe is low to the ground with only a 6mm offset.
  • Rock Protection: Even though the shoe is light, Asics didn’t skimp on features to keep it durable on the trail, including a forefoot rock plate layered in just above the outsole.

Trail Test

Asics may want us to associate this shoe with the challenging terrain of Japan’s most regal mountain, but this shoe actually makes us think of two other Japanese phenomenons: Godzilla, and the Toyota Prius.

The Fuji Racer is a true monster on the trail, towering over many other trail models past and current to offer good grip, a smooth ride, and plenty of protection. It doesn’t breathe fire, destroy cities, weigh several tons, or take scantily clad women hostage, but the Fuji Racer is a tenacious beast on the trail.

So OK, maybe Godzilla isn’t a perfect metaphor for this shoe. That’s where the Prius comes in. The Fuji Racer is a hybrid any way you look at it, blending road racing flat with trail grip and durability. Like the Prius, the Fuji Racer blends technologies to achieve a very specific goal – in this case, to help a runner achieve speed on the trail.

Whatever it is, how does it run? Every one of our testers found this shoe pretty impressive. The stripped down weight doesn’t mean you have to give up your favorite Asics features, including Gel cushioning, Solyte midsole foam and the Trusstic System to maintain midfoot integrity and proper flex points.

The upper is form-fitting and moves well with your foot. The transition is as smooth as you’d expect for a road-derived midsole, and the shoe feels more cushioned than its racing flat counterparts due to the springy lugs on the outsole.

Runners Say

“I like the Hyper Speed feel with increased trail durability. I’m not convinced that the wet-weather traction is entirely dialed in, but that’s a minor issue for a majorly impressive shoe.” – Erik

“Surprisingly bouncy for how low and lean it is. They really nailed the upper – it feels close but not claustrophobic.” – Joanna

“A lot of runners are looking for a shoe that’s comfortable on the trail and the road. The Fuji Racer fits the bill.” – Matt

Running Shoes ,

Asics Gel Blur33 2.0 Sneak Peek

February 15th, 2012

Asics Gel Blur33 2.0 Men's and Women's Shoes

The shoe that launched the Asics 33 Collection is set to get a refresh this summer. The Gel Blur33 2.0 debuts in April 2012 with a new upper on the original Blur33’s mid/outsole.

What to Watch For

  • MONO-SOCK Upper: The upper is now constructed with a stretch mesh that holds the shoe on the foot with a slipper-like feel
  • External Cage: Material surrounding the MONO-SOCK wraps the midfoot for a secure and comfortable fit.
  • Price Bump: MSRP on the Gel Blur33 2.0 will be $100.00.

Men’s Colors

Women’s Colors

Running Shoes ,