Archive for February, 2012

Montrail Bajada Our Take

February 7th, 2012

Montrail Bajada Men's Running Shoe

Our Tweet

For runners needing a little more shoe than the Rogue Racer, the Bajada feels responsive and gives added confidence on technical trails.
(View the Men’s Bajada and Women’s Bajada)

Big Features

  • Gryptonite Outsole: Montrail’s sticky lug technology spans the length of the outsole for solid traction on the toughest terrain.
  • Light Midsole: The Bajada uses a compression molded EVA foam midsole for lightweight performance and a good amount of cushion on the trail.
  • Rock Protection: A flexible composite material called Trail Shield is sandwiched between the midsole and outsole for protection from rock bruising.
  • Forefoot Flexibility: Even with the Trail Shield material in the forefoot, the Bajada stays flexible with forefoot flex grooves.

Trail Test

A shoe built for the trail but capable on the road as well, the Bajada brings a nice mix of cushion and traction to the trail category. The midsole and outsole are flexible but still provide the protection that a trail runner needs to feel confident on a range of terrain.

In terms of fit, look for a very locked-in heel and snug midfoot, opening up to a roomy toebox. You have more material wrapping around your foot than you would in the Rogue Fly or Rogue Racer, but the Bajada is still a far cry from the chunky overlays of trail shoes from the past. A few testers noted that the additional structure of the upper gave them added confidence in lateral movements on the trail.

Overall, the Bajada is a versatile shoe. If you’re looking for a true performer on the trail that won’t beat you up on the road (and actually will keep you feeling pretty darn good), put the Bajada on your list.

Runners Say

“I could see this shoe working for a mile or two on the road on your way to your favorite trail.” – Daniel

“Montrail made a lot of good choices for this shoe. Cushioned but flexible, structured overlays but comfortable fit. I could easily rack up the miles in the Bajada.” – Lauren

“The transition on this shoe would be pretty amazing for a road model, but as a trail-oriented model it is that much more impressive.” – Matt

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Introducing New Balance Minimus Apparel

February 7th, 2012
New Balance NBx Minimus Apparel

New Balance NBx Minimus Jacket and Minimus Short

NOTE: Due to availability issues, Running Warehouse will not be carrying the New Balance Minimus apparel line for the Spring/Summer 2012 season. We will post more information on the Fall/Winter 2012 collection when we know more about confirmed delivery dates.

The New Balance Minimus footwear collection is light and nimble, with a focus on performance. Our customers have been gobbling up shoes such as the MT110 / WT110 and MR10 / WR10, proving that the idea of stripped-down running gear from New Balance resonates with more than a few runners out there.

So it’s not surprising that New Balance’s product developers decided to extend the Minimus idea to a running apparel collection. And here you have it: the Minimus apparel collection launching in March 2012 will have a full range of pieces, including Men’s and Women’s jackets, short sleeve tops, singlets, and split shorts.

What makes an apparel piece worthy of the Minimus name? Start out with lightweight, breathable fabrics. Add in a simple, modern design that’s free of embellishments and unnecessary add-ons. Top it off with X-STATIC, a 99.9% pure silver fabric layer that gives the garments antimicrobial, anti-odor, anti-static, and temperature-regulating properties.

A Look at the Line

New Balance NBx Minimus Jacket Detail

New Balance NBx Minimus Jacket (Detail)

  • NBx Minimus Jacket: Water resistant, breathable, and weighing just a few ounces, this jacket also features laser-cut ventilation and front and back visibility.
  • NBx Minimus Short Sleeve: Lightweight material, jacquard patterned ventilation areas, and X-STATIC technology keep you cool in this advanced running shirt.
  • NBx Minimus Singlet: Strategically engineered areas of breathability, along with X-STATIC fabric coating, makes this a highly technical singlet that’s ideal for hot weather.
  • NBx Minimus Split Short: Combine a stretch-woven front panel, knit back, and inner X-STATIC brief and you have a recipe for staying cool and comfortable.

Keep an eye out for each of these apparel pieces on our site the first week of March.

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New Balance MT/WT110 Product Video

February 7th, 2012

The New Balance MT110 and WT110 have been some of our biggest sellers at Running Warehouse since their introduction in early January. If you run on trails, you need to know about this shoe.

We had a chance to sit down with Bryan Gothie, a senior product manager at New Balance, to talk over the technical aspects of the MT110.

If you want even more info after watching the video, be sure to check out our blog on the MT/WT110, along with the MT110 Product Review and WT110 Product Review on our site.

New Balance MT110 Running Shoe Interview

Click the Image to View the Video

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2012 Running Trends – Olympic Fever

February 6th, 2012

You might not know it with how much coverage there’s been of the 2012 Presidential race, but there will be quite a few other races to watch this summer. The Olympic Games are coming to London this August.

Athletics events will take place at various times throughout the Olympic Games schedule, from August 3 through August 12. As you probably heard, the U.S. Olympic Marathon Trials took place in Houston on January 14. Meb Keflezighi, Ryan Hall and Abdi Abdirahman will run the Men’s race for the U.S. Team, while Shalane Flanagan, Desiree Davila and Kara Goucher earned a starting spot in the Women’s race.

But there are still plenty of qualifying races to watch before the Games start. Many of you probably already have your flight booked to Tracktown USA. The 2012 U.S. Olympic Team Trials in Track and Field will take place from June 21 to July 1 in Eugene, Oregon. There will be television coverage of many events on NBC and its affiliates for those of you who can’t make it to Hayward Field to witness the drama firsthand.

If you’ve never gone to an Olympic Trials event, we’d encourage you to check it out. Our staff who have made the trip in the past always found the events to be exciting, and it’s a real hoot to chat with other fans from across the country who love the sport as much as you do.

We’ll keep an eye on more Olympic stories as summer approaches, but we expect an exciting year of competition ahead. What are you looking forward to in this year’s Olympics?

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Mizuno Wave Musha 4 – Our Take

February 4th, 2012

Mizuno Wave Musha 4 Men's Running Shoe

Our Tweet

The Musha 4 bulks up a bit and improves midsole for extra bounce. Still tops for slight overpronators who want a versatile racing shoe.
(View Men’s Musha 4 and Women’s Musha 4.)

Runners Say

“These are majorly flexible and springy, especially for a Mizuno product. I wasn’t expecting the level of comfort this shoe delivers.” – Joanna

“The green and red colors, combined with a comfortable upper and silky smooth transition, make it Christmas every day you put the Musha 4’s on your feet.” – Matt

“This shoe compares well with the DS Trainer, but for me the arch was just a bit too high and felt like it was positioned a little too far back in the shoe.” – Daniel

Big Updates

  • Women’s Model: The Musha 4 is the first version of the Musha series to have a dedicated Women’s design, shaped for a woman’s foot and in the standard B width for women.
  • Increased Weight: The Men’s model has gone from 7.8 oz to 8.5 oz (Men’s 9). Still, the Musha is light on the scale and more importantly feels light on the foot.
  • Greater Responsiveness: Mizuno upgraded the Musha 4 to their AP+ midsole technology, which is designed to provide better bounce without adding much weight.

Road Test

All male testers reported finding a comfortable fit as soon as they laced up the Musha 4. The story was much different for our female testers. Joanna first picked out her regular size in the Women’s version, only to find them much too small. Once she and another female tester sized up a 1/2 size, they were able to fit properly in the shoe, but still didn’t feel entirely comfortable. Both staffers said the shoe has a low-volume midfoot and narrow forefoot, combined with a heel that felt a little loose. That said, once they got the shoe moving, they both loved its smooth transition and responsiveness.

In fact, the responsive midsole received universal praise. It’s pretty impressive that Mizuno was able to make such a flexible and springy shoe that offers a bit of cushion in this weight class. The AP+ midsole technology provides some extra bounce compared to the already springy step in the Musha 3.

Outside of the fit concerns in the Women’s version, few complaints were heard. Daniel noted that the midsole felt a touch too high on the lateral arch, but still said he would be comfortable using the shoe for road races, mile repeats or even as a weekly tempo trainer. We expect the Musha 4 to continue in the 3’s footsteps, competing well with the upcoming Asics Gel DS Racer 9 (Men’s DS Racer 9 and Women’s DS Racer 9).

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2012 Top Running Trends – Streamlined Trail Shoes

February 3rd, 2012

New Balance MT110, One of Many New Streamlined Trail Shoes

A lot of innovation has been happening in the trail running shoe sector over the past year. Trail shoes are echoing their road counterparts in that they are getting lighter, lower and more nimble.

Not long ago, trail shoes were characterized by stiff midsoles, aggressive outsoles, and uppers with plenty of overlays. The keyword was “protection” from trail debris. But in recent seasons, trail and ultra runners have been demanding speed and better connection with the ground along with adequate protection. We think it makes sense that runners who prefer natural terrain are also attracted to the idea of a more natural running experience.

As every runner knows, lighter weight is an essential component of a faster shoe. Manufacturers are introducing more trail models that are stripped down but still offer the core features your feet need to stay safe on the trail.

Examples of Streamlined Trail Shoes

  • Asics Gel Fuji Racer: Get in touch with the trail in Asics’ lightest trail model yet.
  • Brooks PureGrit: A perfect example of a trail shoe stripped down to its core elements.
  • Inov-8 X-talon 212: Sticky lugs and a snug upper allow for fast, stable running on dirt, grass mud and other terrain.
  • Merrell Bare Access: 8mm stack height in heel and forefoot, engineered with just a touch of cushion.
  • Montrail Rogue Fly: Mesh upper + responsive midsole = fast and light.
  • New Balance MT/WT110: Extremely popular, this shoe is proof that nimble trail shoes are hot, hot, hot.
  • Saucony Kinvara TR: A light, flexible trail running shoe with multi-surface lugs and a welded upper.

Of course, there are several minimal models for the trail runner as well, including the Merrell Trail Glove, Vivobarefoot Neo Trail, and the upcoming New Balance MT/WT00. We think the latest crop of elemental trail shoes strikes a healthy balance, offering grip, rock protection and a little cushioning along with a nimble feel for the ground.

What will be your shoe of choice for the trails in 2012?

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Race of the Month: Cupid’s Undie Run

February 2nd, 2012

We're pretty sure this guy's doing it wrong.

It’s the shortest month of the year, and we’re celebrating with the shortest race we’re featuring all year. Cupid’s Undie Run is just 1.5 miles long, meaning that for a lot of you it’ll be over before you can say “Meb Keflezighi.”

So what’s the big deal? Well the name says it all, people. Keyword: Undie. February 11, 2012 is your chance to run with hundreds of other people in natty nighties, boffo boxers, and too-revealing tighty-whities. Add in a pretty solid chance for brisk weather in most of the cities hosting an event (New York, Washington DC, Cincinnati, Atlanta, Denver and Seattle) and you’ve got a recipe for race-day memories.

All this fanny freezin’ is for a good cause of course, with proceeds benefitting The Children’s Tumor Foundation, an organization dedicated to ending neurofibromatosis through research. Race organizers have raised over $75,000 to date for research into this debilitating genetic disease.

PR in Your PJs

We’re betting this all sounds like a pretty big hoot. But, you say, I don’t have an undergarment that’s ready to see the light of day. First of all, that’s a little nasty. Seriously. Put underwear on your next Target shopping list. But also, think about buying a pair of “custom Cupid’s undies” to clothe your behind and raise a little extra cash for the cause.

So you’ve got the time, you’ve got the skill, you’ve got the undies and you’ve got a bunch of race locations to choose from. It’s not too late to register and run, unless you live near DC. Then it is too late. That race is sold out. But still 5 cities are just waiting for you so register today for this race on February 11, 2012!

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Inov-8 f-lite 220 Our Take

February 2nd, 2012

Inov-8 f-lite 220 Men's Shoe

Our Tweet

The f-lite 220 is ideal for runners who prize a smooth ride, along with those who love the 230 but have been wanting a road-specific model.
(View Men’s Inov-8 f-lite 220.)

Runners Say

“You feel close to the ground in this shoe, but cushioned at the same time. I haven’t experienced that in many other shoes. And your foot feels extremely secure in the upper. Inov-8’s design and engineering team put together a winner.” – Joanna

“The CrossFit features are immediately apparent, but they don’t get in the way of making this a smooth and comfortable running shoe.” – Matt

“I am surprised by how soft this shoe feels underfoot. I could see the grippy outsole working well on a slick road.” – Daniel

Big Features

  • Reinforced Upper: The 220 has extra material wrapping around the base of the upper to add durability and give the foot more lateral support. The upper also features TPU lacing supports to keep your foot secure on the platform.
  • Two-Arrow Midsole: Inov-8 indicates a 6mm heel-to-toe drop in this shoe, making it a “two-arrow” design (each arrow corresponds to 3mm of offset). We measured the 220 at a 5mm differential.
  • Light Weight: Even with the reinforcements to the upper, this shoe comes in at only 8.3 oz (Men’s 9). That’s pretty impressive on its own, and especially considering that Inov-8’s comparable run-specific models are only a few tenths of an ounce lighter.
  • Translucent Rubber Outsole: Designed to be non-marking on a gym surface, this outsole offers a few other benefits as well. The rubber is grippy to help with the quick lateral movements that occur during a CrossFit workout, and runners will like the extra bit of cushion this material offers.

Road Test

A blindfolded runner (running a very straight, obstacle-free course we hope) would be hard pressed to tell that this is Inov-8’s first dedicated entry for the sports of CrossFit and Parkour. Even though this shoe is built with extra material wrapping around the base of the upper and has a gum rubber outsole designed for sticky traction, the ride on the road is still smooth and, dare we say, supple for a shoe with such a thin mid/outsole.

Inov-8 f-lite 220 Outsole View

Durable Upper, Grippy Outsole

The giveaway that something may be a little different with this shoe is the crinkling in the forefoot that occurs because of the thicker material that wraps around the outsole. The mesh material on a typical running shoe is designed to crumple straight across the shoe during toe-off. The thicker upper material on the 220 prevents a clean crease from forming. This causes a crinkling noise during the run gait but should not be an issue that causes blisters, discomfort or other performance issues.

Everyone liked the gum rubber outsole, which provided tons of grip and added a cushioned feel on landing. Several testers wondered about the durability of this rubber material on asphalt surfaces, since it it is really intended for a smooth gym floor. Time will tell and we’re eager to hear how the outsole holds up for the customer who uses this as a road runner. Even though it may look pretty rugged, we’d pick another Inov-8 shoe, like the Roclite 285 or the X-talon 212, for dedicated off-road travel.

Last but not least, this shoe definitely ticks all the boxes on the CrossFitter’s wish list. The upper is reinforced in all the right places, the laces cinch down nice and secure, the midsole is flexible and the outsole is perfect for the gym. You get all these goodies in a lightweight package too. We’re excited to see Inov-8 adding such a versatile shoe to its lineup.

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Inov-8 Trailroc Sneak Peek

February 1st, 2012

INOV-8 Trailroc Series (255, 235, and 245 Pictured)

Designed for running on loose, rugged and eroded trails, the Trailroc wants to be your new buddy for when the going gets tough. This is a brand new design from Inov-8, available in three flavors to give you just the mix of cushioning and protection you need. It’s also the first Inov-8 shoe to use three different types of rubber compounds on the outsole to optimize grip and durability.

This series of light, low and nimble trail shoes is set to compete with the New Balance MT/WT110, along with the upcoming Asics Gel Fuji Racer and Saucony Kinvara TR.

What to Watch For

  • Tri-C Compound: Inov-8 uses a soft sticky rubber on the toe and arch areas for improved grip, an endurance rubber spanning from the heel to the metatarsals for durability, and a hard sticky rubber on the medial and lateral forefoot for improved wear rate. Note that the sole is a uniform color on the sample shoes shown but will be three different colors in production to showcase the technology.

INOV-8 Trailroc 245 Outsole View

  • 3 Offsets Available: The Trailroc 235 is a zero drop model. The Trailroc 245 has a one-arrow shock zone, measured in our sample shoe as a 4mm heel-to-toe drop, and the Trailroc 255 has a two-arrow shock zone, measured in our sample shoe as a 7mm difference between the heel and forefoot.
  • Light Weight: All the Trailroc models break the 10.0 oz barrier, with the 235 weighing in at 8.3 oz, the 245 at 8.7 oz, and the 255 at 9.9 oz (Men’s sample size 9).
  • Met-Cradle Lacing: Lightweight overlays help to keep the upper snug on your foot and hold your foot securely to the mid/outsole for confident performance wherever the trail takes you.
  • Meta-Shank: Included in the 245 and 255, this built-in rock guard offers added protection from rocks and other ornery trail debris.
  • Anatomic Fit: A wider toebox gives the toes room to splay out, particularly helpful for a midfoot strike pattern.

The Trailroc series has a targeted release date of July 2012. Based on prior new releases from Inov-8, we could see that date getting pushed back a month or more, so we’ll keep you posted as we get closer to summer. UPDATE: We are now expecting the Trailroc 235, 245 and 255 to arrive in late August 2012.


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2012 Top Running Trends – Minimalism…with a Twist

February 1st, 2012

Pretty much everyone who’s followed running trends in recent years knows that minimalism – a movement inspired by barefoot running – has been as hot as an Alabama August. So the trend’s going to continue unabated in 2012, right?

Not so fast. We have no doubt that many die-hard minimalists will continue to keep this segment of the sport alive and well in 2012, and perhaps even a few more converts will learn about minimal principles and integrate minimalism into their running regimen. But a lot of runners who dabbled in minimalism are looking for something in between a minimal shoe and a traditional shoe, something that will give them a little more protection while still keeping them in touch with the asphalt or trail.

New Trend Alert: Elementalism

What we’re really excited about, and what we think will be the hot trend this year, is a new category of running known as elementalism. It has its roots in minimalism, but adds back in some elements of traditional running. The basic idea is that elemental running slots in between the minimal experience where your foot does most of the work and a more traditional approach where your shoe is loaded to the gills with the latest cushioning technologies.

Elemental Shoe Characteristics

  1. Mid-Tier Stack Height: The stack height of most elemental shoes slots in between a minimal shoe and traditional running shoe models, getting you closer to the ground for better feel while still providing protection and cushion.
  2. Low Heel-to-Toe Drop: A more level platform is a key characteristic of shoes in this category. The low heel-to-toe drop of between 0 to 8mm encourages a mid-foot strike.
  3. Sub-10 oz Weight: Men’s elemental shoes universally come in under the 10oz weight that arbitrarily defines a “light” shoe. Most elemental shoes clear this barrier by several ounces.
  4. Flexible Midsole: Elemental shoes are designed to let your foot do more of what it wants during the natural running gait. Flexibility, particularly in the forefoot, helps the foot transition and improves toe-off.
  5. Streamlined Upper: Reduced overlays help to reduce weight and allow the foot to move more freely.

Some Current and Upcoming Elemental Models

Will Your Next Shoe Be Elemental?

So, what do you think of this latest trend? Will 2012 really be the year of elementalism? Drop us a comment with your thoughts.

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