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Archive for the ‘Product Review’

Oakley Lenses for Trail and Road

August 26, 2013 By: John Blue Category: Product Review

The email came out of the blue: “Running shoes aren’t the only thing necessary for running,” it read. “It’s important for runners to also protect their eyes with quality, high-performance, activity-specific sunglasses. Avid runners need quality gear.”

We get this kind of email from time to time, and generally ignore them. But this time, the email came from Oakley.

I have to admit I was an easy mark, as I’ve been a big fan of Oakley sunglasses for many years and already own three different pairs. I’ve long used them because the optics are fantastically sharp and the frames fit my face. They also don’t slide down my nose when I run.

My old friend Richie played an important part in my enthusiasm for eye protection and quality lenses. It started in the summer of 1974 when Richie got a Wrist Rocket slingshot for his birthday. When we weren’t busy terrorizing (but never successfully hitting) squirrels throughout the neighborhood, we were busy using it to break things.

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Trail Test: Mizuno Wave Ascend 7

August 11, 2012 By: John Blue Category: Product Review

Mizuno Wave Ascend 7

Some have theorized that there is a perfect trail running shoe. Is this possible? They would be nimble yet sturdy, soft and grippy in the mud but stiff enough to protect from the assaults of sharp rocks.

It would be a miracle to find all this in one shoe, and that is probably why I keep several in rotation.

I have kept a pair of the Wave Riders on hand for the past year or so, but I was unfamiliar with what Mizuno has to offer for the trails. I was recently offered a free pair of Mizuno shoes through their Mezamashii  Project, so I decided to try something I hadn’t run in before—like the Wave Ascend 7.

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Road Test: New Balance Minimus Road Review

April 28, 2011 By: John Blue Category: Product Review

The Minimus Road in garish blue and yellow. (Go Bears?)

Until now, I couldn’t imagine finding a running shoe that I ever felt was worth writing home about. I always enjoy getting new running shoes, but for me shoes are by nature a utilitarian purchase, something not typically freighted with emotion.

But, there is something different about these particular running shoes.

Dear Mom and Dad,

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Trail Test: New Balance Minimus Trail Review

April 14, 2011 By: John Blue Category: Product Review

NB Minimus Trail

The New Balance Minimus Trail is another in the growing herd of “minimal” style trail running shoes. It was designed with the assistance of bearded ultra-runner phenom Anton Krupicka.

When you pick up the Minimus, the first thing you’ll notice about the shoe is that it is amazingly light in weight. The shoe weighs in at a measly 7.1 ounces–2.5 ounces lighter than my current light-weight trail favorites: the Saucony Peregrine!

Other details you’ll notice upon closer inspection are the lack of a removable insole, a rather thin and flexible sole, and a set of stretchy stability straps wrapping the forefoot and back of the heel. The heel-toe drop is a slight 4 mm, going from 15 mm in the heel to 11 mm in the forefoot. This is the same drop as the Kinvara or Peregrine, but in the Minimus you’ll feel considerably lower to the ground.

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Trail Test: Saucony Peregrine Review

February 28, 2011 By: John Blue Category: Product Review, Trails

The Saucony Peregrine in blue, cleaned up after a long, muddy run.

I’ve spent the last few months enjoying the roads in a pair of Saucony Kinvara, and I’ve come to appreciate their super light weight, soft ride and minimalist construction. I was looking for a shoe that was more accommodating to my increasingly fore-foot strike. I could feel the thick heel on my regular trainers interfering with the normal mechanics of my foot and Achilles tendon.

The Kinvara, with its lower heel feels much more natural to me. I’d be careful about them if you are a heel striker or need some motion control, as they are a completely neutral shoe. But as I said, I’ve been very happy with them, running distances of up to 22 miles.

But right now, I’m not training for a road race. I’m training for the Way-Too-Cool 50Km and the American River 50, both of which include a wide variety of trails—rocks, mud, technical, hills, etc. Whenever I’d hit the trails for training runs, I’d put on my Montrail Masochists.

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