Those who are no stranger to trail runs are certainly no stranger to Salomon. As one of the foremost brands in the trail running industry, Salomon has blazed the trail (pun intended) in brilliant innovation and design.
S-LAB designated products take Salomon trail running to the next level. S-LAB stands for “Salomon Lab”, which alludes to the research lab at Salomon’s headquarters in Annecy, France. This is where the magic happens. Designers and developers at Salomon work to create the pinnacle products for elite athletes of the trail running scene.
The usual progression for developing product in the running marketplace (or any marketplace, for that matter) is to figure out what attributes a product should have, and what the price will be. Then, choices are made to produce the given product within those price constraints. Salomon took that idea and threw it out the window with their S-LAB products. They approached the innovation and design of their products with a different standard – each product should be made to the highest quality and lowest weight without consideration to price. Once they nail it, achieving a premium performance product, they determine whether or not to make that product available to the public.
While this elite product is being developed at the lab, it is tested by athletes and tweaked accordingly. This ensures that the product is made with the athlete’s needs in mind. Many S-LAB products are started with a specific athlete and event in mind. And through that process, they set goals. If a certain athlete is planning to run a given race, what could make their experience better? What could make them run faster? How could the products they use enhance their running experiences, allowing them to run better? Ergonomics, fit, weight, and protection are all taken into account, and real-life situations are applied in order to find solutions to problems the athlete may face. Then, the S-LAB product is produced and made available to the public.
What about all of the Salomon products that aren’t S-LAB, then? Are those products for the dogs? Well in one word, nope. Salomon takes the things they learn through innovation in the lab and applies it to all of their products. The difference lies in the premium quality of the materials. For example, if in the lab Salomon comes up with a new pocket design that is convenient for runners to access, they will carry that design through to all of their packs, not just S-LAB. The difference between a regular Salomon jacket and an S-LAB Salomon jacket would be that the S-LAB version will be made of lighter materials. Both jackets will be durable and made with excellent quality, but at different price points to reflect the weight difference and the cost of making something lighter while maintaining durability.
From shoes to apparel to packs, S-LAB has developed the foremost product on the market and made these elite quality pieces available for trail runners who want their running products to be as uncompromising as they are when they’re running.
With their S-LAB apparel, Salomon asks their athletes, “What do you find problematic with your running apparel as you run? How can we make it better?” One example of this concept is the Salomon Men’s S-LAB Hybrid Jacket. Problem: Finding a good place to stow your jacket on the run. Solution: Stow it in itself in a comfortable band around your waist.
The S-LAB Wings Shoe and forthcoming S-LAB Speedcross Shoe are examples of where Salomon took an existing product and gave it the S-LAB treatment to make it lighter. The S-LAB Sense Ultra is an example where Salomon started at the top and then produced the more mainstream Sense Mantra and Sense Pro, so that a broader range of the public would have access to a low-offset Salomon trail shoe.
The XT Wings S-LAB Set pack redefined the hydration pack category. It was leaps and bounds ahead of anything ever produced before. The low weight, ergonomic fit, access to pockets, and adjustability made the pack perform as an extension of the body. And as great as that first one was, the current line-up is even lighter and better.
Daylight Savings Time came this past weekend, giving us all a slight sense of jet-lag. Morning runners lost the bright morning hours that they had started to become accustomed to, and evening runners gave a collective “wahoo!” as evening runs became lighter, warmer, and safer. Regardless of which time of day you prefer to run, one thing is for sure – Spring is coming. And it will be here this Sunday. Lighter, longer, warmer days are ahead, ladies, and we need to prepare accordingly!
Saucony is back at it for this Spring’s line of their Daybreak series of women’s running apparel. The Daybreak apparel collection has always brought unique, eye-catching looks to the table, and this Spring is no exception. These four gorgeous prints make their appearances on the Daybreak Tank, Daybreak Long Sleeve, and Daybreak Hat, too.
Burnout pattern – The unique look of the burnout pattern provides a visually interesting texture and design while also adding enhanced breathability.
Soft hand – The buttery, silky, and smooth fabric provides you with excellent next-to-skin comfort and efficient moisture-management.
Vibrant colors – What could be more appropriate as we run into spring than some brightly colored pieces of running apparel? The color combinations are eye-catching and the print patterns are unique.
Versatility – Don’t let the chic design of these pieces fool you. Sure, pair the tank with your favorite cutoff jeans on your next beach day with the gals, but don’t forget that the Daybreak series stands up to your most demanding runs, too.
Feminine details – A hat with a ponytail hole and a feminine fit, a tank with a twist in the back for added fashion, a long sleeve top with a female shape and thumbholes for comfort… Saucony wanted these pieces to shine for more reasons than just the bright colors.
Shop all Saucony Women’s Apparel.
When the Saucony Kinvara first came out, it wasn’t long before runners of all types became obsessed. This was a versatile shoe that pleased faster and slower runners alike, and there wasn’t much negative feedback to be said about it. The second version of the shoe maintained the reputation as a lightweight, responsive shoe that was just plain pleasant to run in. As Saucony was trying to find ways to improve the shoe, they looked to it’s one weakness – durability.
And so, the Kinvara 3 amped up the durability, and in doing so the soft, yet responsive ride became a more firm experience. This caused varied emotions from runners, and ever since then (in versions 4, 5, and 6), the Kinvara has received mixed reviews. It just wasn’t as much of a do everything shoe anymore and felt best at faster paces. With the Kinvara 7 update we feel Saucony took a look to the OG Kinvara as inspiration to get back to its roots.
The Kinvara 7 is the happy medium between the versatile first rendition of the Kinvara and the latter updates. The ride experience of the Kinvara 7 should prove to be much more universally accepted, bringing back Kinvara lovers who may have wandered from the fold, while attracting new runners looking for a low heel-toe offset shoe that will perform well for virtually any type of run.
Don’t take our word for it. Try the Kinvara 7 yourself, courtesy of Running Warehouse and Saucony. In honor of the release of the Saucony Kinvara 7, we are giving away a free pair of Kinvara 7 running shoes to two winners. Entering the contest is easy – just fill in your name, email address, and answer a few questions in the form field below and you’re entered to win. Contest ends March 18, 2016 at 12:00 pm PST. See Contest Rules for more information.
Hidden behind the glamor and excitement that surrounds the Olympic Marathon Trials are the personal stories of the athletes that made it there. Typically, the media focuses on the success of the top dogs – the men and women that will represent our country on the international stage in Rio. And to their credit, they deserve their place in the spotlight. Sometimes at such prestigious races, the spotlight also shines on other standouts, and at the 2016 Olympic Marathon Trials this included the last place finisher, Chris Barnicle. The story of finishing, even if last, is an intriguing story that the general public can more easily relate to, and it makes for a great headline. However, some of the most inspiring athlete stories elude the spotlight, and we would like to bring one of these to light. Not only because it’s a touching tale, but also because it hits close to home for us here at Running Warehouse. This is the story of the men’s second-to-last place finisher, a true fighter and dear friend of mine, our very own Chris Frias.
Barely meeting the qualifying half marathon mark with a time of 64:49, Chris was hardly competing for a top-three spot. But, his journey throughout the race transcended the obvious goal of punching a ticket to Rio.
Like all of his fellow athletes, a wave of emotions flooded Chris’ mind as he toed the line of his first Olympic Trials race in LA last February. However, as much as the race, his mind was focused on his mother, Jan Frias, who just a few months prior had been diagnosed with Stage IV pancreatic cancer. Granted a break from her bi-weekly chemotherapy, she was able to muster up the strength to cheer Chris on in person on the streets of LA.
“It meant the world for me [for her to be there], it wasn’t solidified until a few days before,” Chris said. “The fact that she was even able to be there was a miracle in itself.”
With emotions of joy and relief that his mother was able to see him run his very first Olympic Trials and very first marathon, Frias got off to a good start with a pack of 8-9 runners that looked like they could carry him to a strong finishing time. However, around the half marathon mark, fatigue began to sweep over Frias’ body. Around mile 15, for the first time in his running career, thoughts of dropping out of the race invaded his mind. Nobody would have blamed him either. By the end of the race nearly 40% of the entire men’s field had called it quits due to the horrendous conditions.
But with his mother watching from the sidelines, Chris continued to run.
On his struggle to conquer the distance, Chris said, “I thought about the pain she had gone through, all those chemo treatments… it really gave me that ultimate strength to keep going not only for her, but for Cayla (his girlfriend), my family, my teammates, and myself.”
Grimacing in pain at every step, not a single muscle in Frias’ body was without ache. He counted at least 15 times he had to stop and collect himself, stretch, and press forward. Calves cramping, quads burning, arms numb, his determination perfectly reflected his mother’s ongoing battle with cancer. Her strength to fight mirrored his, as both experienced the toughest battle they had ever faced simultaneously. There was nothing that could stop him from crossing the finish line.
With many spectators still lining the streets long after the top finishers had gone by, Chris Frias plodded his way down the last stretch of the race to huge ovations from supporting friends and strangers alike; finally breaking the tape at 3 hours, 6 minutes, 10 seconds. By no sense of the word was it an elite mark, but it was truly an Olympic effort. Upon finishing, Frias found his way to a nearby bench and burst into tears, the whole experience washing over him with a torrent of emotion.
Frias said of his ability to finish, “Dropping out had never crossed my mind [in any previous race] but for this race it did countless times…but I didn’t care how slowly I was running, I didn’t care how bad I must’ve looked, I just knew I had to finish that race.”
After collecting himself, Frias exited the athlete’s tent greeted by his family, glowing with unwavering pride at the feat he had just accomplished. Frias shared a warm embrace with his mother, knowing his battle was finished.
However, his mother’s battle, while going well, is far from over. Diagnosed with stage IV pancreatic cancer in September 2015, her doctor believed she would have only lived another 3 months had she continued to go untreated. Through supernatural strength and determination that runs deep in the Frias family, she has responded miraculously well to chemotherapy treatments, reducing her overall tumor markers from 400,000 to 149 by the end of February. Her doctor truly considers her his miracle patient.
Of his mother, Chris said, “She’s just a grinder, she has faced so much adversity in her life, and she taught me early on if I really want something to work hard for it. She’s instilled good morals and ethics in me and has helped me become the person I am today. She’s been the foundation of our family, really kept us together. She’s our rock.”
With the amount of treatments she receives, the medical bills continue to stack up for the Frias family, and money is starting to become a straining factor. If you wish to support his family’s battle, Chris and his girlfriend Cayla have recently set up a GoFundMe campaign where you can learn more about his mother, share the link to their story, and donate. They have set a modest goal of $5,000 and will greatly appreciate any amount you can contribute. Please keep the Frias family in your thoughts and prayers, and help support one of the most kind-hearted, strong families I have ever met.
Follow this link to go to the Frias’ campaign: https://www.gofundme.com/wagehopeforjan
The Kinvara 7 is a better shoe. With a more compliant landing, the ride is smoother and feels better at a greater range of paces.
At first step-in, it didn’t seem like there was much of difference between the Kinvara 7 and 6. The heel fit and overall volume feel identical. The midfoot volume visually looks lower on the Kinvara 7, but it’s an optical illusion. The amount of material through the midfoot seems to be equal and the midfoot wrap feels the same. The toe-box fit above the big toe and center of the shoe is the same, while the toe-box gets a little shallower toward the pinky toe. While it is shallower, there is still plenty of space around the lateral side of the forefoot. As with version 6, the Kinvara 7 is a good representation of a medium fit.
Since the fit did not change much, the improvement of the Kinvara 7 takes place underfoot. Gone is the PowerGrid heel inset, which has been replaced by Everun. However, I think this change is only a small part of why the Kinvara 7 feels better. More so, I attribute the change to the midsole sculpting along the lateral side of the shoe. The sculpting allows for more compression and a smoother feeling of deceleration of impact forces. Also, the outsole IBR lugs have a different orientation and are wider for better shock dispersion. The result is a more comfortable ride. A ride that moves in the direction of the original Kinvara and its first successor.
When the original Kinvara first launched in 2010, it had the amazing ability to feel soft at easy paces, yet would feel more taut and responsive at faster paces. This made it a supremely versatile shoe. To improve durability, outsole coverage/placement changed on version 3. While midsole/outsole durability was improved, the feel became more firm and tended to relegate the shoe to faster running days. This feel held fairly true for versions 3, 4, 5, and 6.
With the Kinvara 7, you get a shoe where the ride falls between versions 1&2 and versions 3-6. The overall ride is closer to versions 3-6, but the increased compliance at touchdown makes the shoe noticeably smoother at slower paces. No longer does the Kinvara feel at its best when it is pushed hard. It still feels just as great at faster paces, but with the Kinvara 7 there is more comfort for a larger range of paces.
Saucony Kinvara 7 – MSRP $110.00
Stack height: 23mm heel, 19 mm forefoot, 4mm heel-toe offset
Sometimes runners smell. Bad. Action Wipes are here to help with that. Because it’s not our fault if we smell bad, we work hard to log our daily miles whenever and wherever possible, and that doesn’t always allow us to take a much needed shower to freshen up.
Curt Van Inwegen is a Partner and founder of Life Elements, Inc., and Action Wipes is their innovative solution to help keep us runners feeling fresh even when we can’t shower. Life Elements’ products are free of harmful chemicals, ethically sourced, cruelty-free, AND made in the USA. So you can feel good about using Action Wipes – it’s a good product with good brand behind it.
Oh, and one more thing – they’re our neighbors here at Running Warehouse. Okay, not like next-door neighbors… but they are based out of a neighboring city, Atascadero. How cool is that?
I asked Curt a few questions over email, and he answered, filling me in on some interesting facts about Action Wipes.
My wife, Martha, has a background in aromatherapy, and her grandmother taught her all about essential herbs and oils – how they worked and what was good for the body. So she created the product and it was originally part of another product line that she was selling to spas and resorts. We found out that people were using this really premium package of wipes to clean up in-between workouts and taking them camping and to Burning Man. We rebranded the product as Action Wipes and launched them at the Wildflower Triathlon, where they were a huge hit.
How long have Action Wipes been around?
We launched at the 2008 Wildflower Triathlon and were really just a very small one-product company that Martha was running out of a spare bedroom. We were profitable but realized we needed to scale in order to grow, so we licensed Action Wipes in 2012 to a fitness company. But that deal fell apart after issues on our partner side, so they returned the brand back to us (in shambles) and we were off of the market for all of 2014. We re-launched last year and the company is back in our control, stable and doing extremely well.
The quality of our wipe material and ingredients are superior. The Action Wipes formula uses premium natural ingredients like Tea Tree, Eucalyptus and Coconut Oil, which all have naturally anti-bacterial properties that help to clean your body without chemicals, alcohol, perfumes or parabens. No other body wipe has a sudsing action that helps break down and lift the dirt, bacteria, and funk off your body. Additionally, our fabric is designed to hold the moisture and is strong enough so you can really scrub your body and won’t pill up on rough or unshaven skin. And it is safe for the ENTIRE body… just start at the top and work your way down, front to back… not the other way around. :)
Word on the street is that you can use these wipes if you have a run in with poison oak/poison ivy. Do tell.
Trail runners and ultra runners love the Action Wipes Single Pack because it is a multipurpose body tool. They are light and easy to stash in your pocket or running pack and can be used to clean and disinfect cuts, bites and rashes. And… we know Action Wipes help reduce the effects of Poison Oak, Ivy and Sumac. In fact, we field tested the process and wrote a blog about it a long time ago (https://actionwipes.com/pages/aw-research-lab). There is science behind those statements, too. Tea Tree oil has antiseptic, antifungal, and drying properties. Eucalyptus contains menthol, which helps numb the itch and cool down the inflamed skin. Coconut oil has incredible anti-viral properties. All three of these ingredients in Action Wipes combine to help reduce or eliminate the toxic components of Urushiol oil, which is what causes the nasty rash.
How do the wipes hold up? Are Action Wipes reusable?
Part of the value of Action Wipes is the fact we use real fabric that helps hold the moisture, allows you to really scrub (to get you cleaner) and won’t leave little white fuzz balls all over your beard or rough skin. The durability becomes an environmental discussion as well because it means you can launder Action Wipes and repurpose them for everything from shop rags to makeup removers or even recharge them with our Action Wipes ReCharger – just add water and a shot of our recharger powder and your laundered or rinsed Action Wipes are good to go again and again.
“What’s with the fanny pack?” Whoa whoa whoa, hold up. This isn’t your mom’s fanny pack.
Hey, we’re not knocking fanny packs (or your mom). An 80s staple, fanny packs held all the stuff your pockets couldn’t store, and proved less cumbersome than purses or backpacks.
Performance running belts are much more than that, though. Running belts are designed for comfortable storage on the run, and with a technical construction, you can be sure that they are made to stand the test of even your toughest runs.
Since your running needs are diverse, we offer a diverse selection of running belts. Here are a few of our top picks.
The Nathan Hipster and the FlipBelt are both waistband style belts because, much like an elastic, wide waistband, it stretches around your waist (no attachment, hook, or buckle) for a snug, low profile look. These belts both provide stretchy material that helps to hold your items in place as you run, and since there is no attachment piece, it causes less irritation. The Hipster comes with four large pockets within the band, containing partitions for separation with easy access from the outside. The FlipBelt, however, provides you with one continuous pocket sleeve with no separation of compartments, and you flip the belt over for secure storage, making this belt more ideal for storing items you don’t need easy access to while on the run.
Not all running belts come with room for hydration, so the Salomon Agile 500 Belt provides an option for runners who want a convenient spot to stow their liquids. With enough storage space for the 17 ounce flask that comes with it, this belt comes with an additional zippered pocket in back for the other essentials you may want to bring along. If you don’t want to use the hydration flask on your run, the front zippered pocket becomes freed up for additional storage of gloves, a small jacket, or even an iPhone 6 Plus.
Race Day Belt
The UltrAspire Quantum 2.0 Belt comes with various technical features built in to not only enhance your training runs, but also for your next race. With a spacious zippered pocket in front and two small rear pockets (one open mesh with elastic closure and one water-resistant with magnetic closure), you can hold your keys, nutrition, and smartphone (up to an iPhone 6 size). The unique elastic waist attachment system allows you to easily adjust the fit, and allows for a small flex as you run to help prevent bounce. Not only that, there is less chance of irritation as you run. Race number clips are hidden in front, making this belt perfect for race day. With all of these features, this belt still maintains a slender profile.
Women Specific Belt
Ultrarunner Jenny Jurek collaborated with Ultimate Direction and other female runners in the design of the Ultimate Direction Jenny Meow Belt. Not only has it been tested by women runners, the slender profile and narrow strap and closure offer a sleek, feminine look, and the stretch mesh construction moves with you as you run, fitting a variety of female body shapes. The zippered pocket has an internal divider, perfect for the woman runner who likes to keep her essentials separated. With an internal hook, your keys won’t jump around as you run, keeping them secured in place.
Spring is less than two weeks away, and even though El Nino may have us feeling like winter is never going to leave, as runners we should start preparing for warmer days ahead.
When it’s cold outside, you layer up. You grab your baselayer, add in a thermal layer, and if need be, wear a protective, weatherproof layer on top for ultimate protection. But what do you do when it’s warm outside? You can only shed so many layers. How can you amp up the cooling properties of your running apparel?
Under Armour is taking cooling to the next level with a fabric technology that enhances the cooling sensation you get when you sweat. While you’re running and you begin to perspire, the crystal like pattern on the inside of the Coolswitch fabric activates, drawing heat away and cooling your skin at the same time.
Shop all Men’s Under Armour Running Apparel.
With a virtually identical fit and no change in ride, the Brooks Launch 3 is a very minor update to the Brooks Launch 2.
The Brooks Launch 3 carries over the same midsole and outsole used on the Launch 2. As such, the two shoes deliver the same ride. The underfoot feel is taut, meaning the shoe gives a little at impact but snaps back with good energy return. As a result, the Launch 3 excels as a tempo shoe.
So what’s new with the Launch 3? The upper received some minor changes. The open-hole mesh between versions 2 and 3 is nearly identical. However, the soft underlying mesh of version 2 has been removed and replaced with a top layer screen mesh. This change has allowed Brooks to shave a fraction of an ounce in weight off this shoe, while also improving the durability.
Additionally, the upper has a new 3D Fit Print pattern applied to the outside of the upper, which adds structure and support. While the pattern is different than the previous version, the fit seems the same. The only noticeable difference is the crease line in the toebox when the shoe is flexed. So depending on your foot, you may feel different pressure on the top of your toes. The tongue is the same, further minimizing any noticeable change in fit.
With a 10mm heel-toe offset, the Launch is a great go-faster compliment for runners training in traditional running shoes with 10-12mm offsets. And as it stands, the Launch also does very well as a daily trainer.
Brooks Launch 3 – MSRP $110.00
Stack height: 27mm heel, 17mm forefoot, 10mm heel-toe offset
adidas adizero Boston 5 – MSRP $120.00
Stack height: 26mm heel, 16mm forefoot, 10mm heel-toe offset
ASICS Fuzex Lyte – MSRP $110.00
Stack height: 26mm heel, 18mm forefoot, 8mm heel-toe offset
Mizuno Wave Sayonara 3 – MSRP $110.00
Stack height: 28mm heel, 18mm forefoot, 10mm heel-toe offset
Nike Zoom Elite 8 – MSRP $110.00
Stack height: 27mm heel, 19mm forefoot, 8mm heel-toe offset
Saucony Breakthru 2 – MSRP $110.00
Stack height: 26mm heel, 18mm forefoot, 8mm heel-toe offset
The most important thing about nutrition on your run is having carbohydrates and electrolytes to keep you performing your best. The second most important thing is how that nutrition is delivered. Because let’s face it – some packaging is more convenient than others.
You don’t want to have to stop mid-run to figure out how to open up your energy chews, and then fumble around with the packaging to just eat one or two, trying not to spill the rest, and then stuff it in your pocket hoping that the rest don’t fall out into your pocket creating a sticky mess. Ain’t nobody got time for that.
Clif heard the runner’s outcry for smart packaging and designed the Clif Bloks Energy Chews with us in mind.
Most energy chews come in square pouches, but Clif had no problem breaking the status quo. With a design that has been likened to a “push-pop”, each chew pushes out one at a time, making them easy to access, and the secure, slender wrapper won’t cause them to all spill out on accident. And since you may not need all 6 energy chews on one run, Clif made the wrapper easy to fold over at the opening, saving the rest for later.
An easy tear corner near the top is convenient for on-the-run access, but if you are planning ahead and want to make it even easier on yourself, you can use scissors to cut off one end before your run. Just fold over the packaging on top after you cut and stow away your Bloks. On the run, you can eat one-handed!
Shop all Clif Running Nutrition now.