Thursday, September 18, 2014

Gear Review - The Running Shoe Rotation

I am taking a break from racing and focusing on building miles and this is the gear I will be using.  Here is post on the shoes in the rotation.

Altra Paradigm
The Paradigm has taken the place of my old Hoka Mafate as my road recovery shoe.  It feels light enough and comfortable enough but I do feel like I loose some energy to the ground because of its cushion.  That being said my splits are still fast whenever I wear it so its definitely a “feel” thing.  
The shoe has an odd pattern on the top which I don’t really understand but it seems to give the shoe structure but without adding more weight.  (obviously the guys at Altra know things).  The shoe allows me to shuffle if I need to and sprint when I want to.  I have had to re-do the laces and wear this shoe loose because its so cushioned whenever i tighten it it feels like a racing flat and I push way too hard and my form goes to trash…thus self regulation but thats a me thing rather than a shoe thing.

Altra Olympus
The olympus is my long trail run shoe, exploratory trail run shoe and whenever I am unsure my road shoe.  Altra Running hit it out of the park with this shoe because it can fill so many roles in a runners arsenal.  The shoe itself has a great tread pattern that feels secure on the trails, not the best for technical trails but it will not let you down.  It is also cushioned and zero drop so you can maintain form while checking out new areas or going long.  I think of it like the running back or running shoes…you can use them for their stated purpose but with some vision you can use them in a lot of different scenarios.

Newton Gravity (4 lug)
The first time I saw a pair of newtons I thought that a 3 year old holding crayons had been given cart blanche.  They colors are loud, but since they have grown on me.  I saw Craig Alexander wearing them during an ironman championship as he ran down elite athletes one after another.  I thought to myself…I want that.  He swan over 2 miles, rode over 100 and choose that shoe; so there must be a reason.  There is…speed.  These shoes promote a forefoot strike and proper form…if you don’t get it right the shoe will correct you.  The 4 lug version will roll out slightly if you are not careful so i generally use these shoes for longer tempo or fartlek runs where I want to have some protection against the pavement but still want to push the speed.  Definitely they stay parked when my calves are tight because going uphill they will make you run right and not cheat.

Skora Phase
Skora Core
Skora Form
I am really excited about this company and even asked if I could be an ambassador for them.  The shoes feel like putting on your first pair of nice dress shoes but you can throw down marathon in said shoes.  I first wore the phase for a night run because they are bright green and have plenty of reflective surfaces..so I figured it would be a good minimal shoe for night runs.  They would force me to run with good form and raise the probability of being seen by drivers.
The first thing I noticed was that my ankle felt supported and snug.  The lacing system (slide slant) allows the shoe to tighten but not restrict the mid and forefoot.  My toes can fully splay and the tread, though not “aggressive”, has plenty of grip on the roads and after 30 miles the shoes still look new.  Doing some research I found that many Skora runners were putting 1000 plus miles on a pair and loving every minute of it while reducing their propensity for injury.
My goal is to run an ultra marathon and marathon in SKORA and hopefully become an ambassador for the brand because I feel that their focus on quality and user feedback is second to none.  I am going to work up my miles in these shoes and hopefully make my body bulletproof come AR50 next year.

New Balance MT1010 (discontinued model) 
I am so glad I stocked up on this shoe when it went on sale and if I had known that it was no longer going to be made I would have probably purchased a few more pairs.  NB seems to be going to HOKA maximalist route an offering more cushioned shoes.  They are going for a broader market and I understand that but this is the shoe that Anton built and I Iove it.
The MT1010 have a “plastic-ish” exterior that despite its construction material breaths well and drains well.  I have never had a concern running in this shoe in the rain or in the heat.  For a fast trail run (13.1 or less…maybe up to a 50km) this is what I grab.  The tread pattern is aggressive so this shoe stays on the trails, but whenever I wear it the tread, which feels awkward on pavement, disappears and I can run as hard as I want while maintaining form since they have a 4mm drop and are very light.  Really hope NB brings back this pattern…if not this maybe the last NB shoe I buy.

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