Mix It Up with Asics

Too much of a good thing can lead to trouble. And running too much in the same shoe style? That’s just bad news bears. So mix it up! And make sure your shoe rotation isn’t stuck in a rut.

Asics understands how imperative it is to have choices when you lace up and head out. That’s why it has configured its minimally inspired Natural33 collection to fit seamlessly into a closet full of traditional running shoes. The styles are designed to work with the 33 joints of the foot to encourage a more natural running experience. Pairing a shoe from this collection with a more traditional choice helps to activate and strengthen different muscle groups, which can reduce your risk of injury.

Natural33 Technologies

A handful of Asics’ core technologies are featured in the Natural33 collection. The most notable is the brand’s Featherweight Asics Speed Technology (F.A.S.T.). This system of technologies work together to give you the feeling of a racing flat with the performance of an everyday trainer. The toe-to-heel differential in the Natural33 shoes is 6 mm—which Asics calls F.A.S.T. drop—encourage a midfoot or forefoot strike upon impact. A F.A.S.T. Ride midsole increases responsiveness and enhances the ride from contact to toe-off while the F.A.S.T Heel reduces weight thanks to its lightweight heel construction. Finally, F.A.S.T. Sole means the shoes have minimal outsole material in only high abrasion areas.

Clearly, Asics wants you to go FAST on race day and every day.

Which style will give you the superior ride for your stride?

If you generally run in a structured cushioned shoe such as the Asics Kayano or Asics GT-2000, try on the all-new Asics Super J33 for size. It’s the sweet spot for mild to moderate overpronators who want a featherweight style without sacrificing support underfoot.

superj

If you’re an underpronator to mild overpronator whose shoe of choice is usually plush with cushioning, try the Excel33 3. In its latest update, it has a new engineered mesh upper with a lightweight seamless construction. Note that this is the only Natural33 shoe that keeps a more traditional heel-to-toe offset of 10 mm.

excel

And if you underpronate or have a neutral gait? Lace up the Lyte33 3. For its third birthday, it’s celebrating dropping almost two ounces. Not too shabby for a shoe that already had the word “light” in its name! In fact, this is the lightest and most flexible shoe in the Natural33 line-up.

lyte

 

Do you like to mix up your shoe rotation? How many shoes are you running in right now?   

 

Find Your Running Solemate

Picking your running shoes is as important as picking your significant other. You spend hours—literally HOURS—with them each week, so you don’t want to pick something you’ll tire of in a month. You definitely feel your best when the two of you are together. Will anyone ever forget how great crossing their first finish line is? And if you have a particularly terrible day? You can bet they’ll be waiting by the door the minute you walk in ready to be your therapist. 

This Valentine’s Day, cozy up to some quality miles with your running solemate. (Trust us, they’ll make the chocolate taste even better later.) We’ve curated some of our most eligible running shoes who are ready to sprint off into the sunset with you.

Take, for instance, the Asics Gel-Noosa Tri. He has one of the most colorful personalities you’ll ever meet. He is looking for a fierce competitor who isn’t afraid to take things fast—across the race course, that is.

gelnoosa9

Looking for a more stable relationship? The Saucony Guide is everyone’s favorite girl-next-door. Secure and supportive, she is the gal your momma always wanted you to end up with.

guide7

Or maybe you dig award winners. If so, choose the New Balance 890. He likes to brag because he won a blue ribbon from the Runner’s World editors after his most recent update. Spoiler alert: He got rid of some of his baby fat and is now quite svelte.

890

 

So what do you say? Find your solemate, and run happily ever after. Meet all of our eligible solemates.

 

Top 10 Products from Winter Outdoor Retailer 2014

Outdoor Retailer brings together the biggest and best names in specialty running, and we were at the center of it all. We mingled with thousands of #runnerds, all gathered in one place to talk about running shoe updates for fall 2014. Our conversations included words like “polyurethane,” “tread patterns” and “cushioning compound” (which is to say, standard runnerlease). But what can we say? We had to ask the hard questions to get you the answers we know you look for when shopping for shoes.

It was hard to narrow down everything we saw into a top 10 list, but somehow we managed. To see all the new product we scoped out, check out our YouTube page for tons of new videos featuring fall 2014 styles.

Winter Outdoor Retailer 2014 Top 10
Saucony Kinvara 5

It’s hard to believe the bread and butter of Saucony’s Natural line is already on its fifth iteration. And we think it’s the best update yet. Watch for a decoupled heel that promotes smooth-as-silk transitions.

 

Merrell AllOut Flash

Merrell expands its AllOut series with the AllOut Flash. It is the collection’s style that has a true road outsole but still sports the series’ signature 6-mm drop.

 

New Balance 1260v4

New Balance’s premium stability trainer gets better with each update. The fourth generation has increased ground contact while the upper’s FantomFit technology holds the foot in seam-free luxury.

 

Brooks PureGrit 3

The PureGrit underwent a heavy design change, especially in regards to the outsole. The lugs are a bit more aggressive, which means you can amp up terrain you tackle while wearing the trail runner.

 

The North Face Ultra Equity

This is the first stability running shoe from The North Face. It has a tri-density midsole, which is ideal for overpronators; the densities work together to slow the rate of any inward rolling of the ankle. That way, your feet won’t tire before you do.

 

Nathan SpeedDraw Plus Insulated

Look, Ma, no hands! The SpeedDraw Plus offers the most natural grip possible so as not to interfere with your stride. It has hi-viz reflectivity to act as another point of light in lowbeam areas, too.

 

Saucony Ride 7

Lighter by .5 oz. but still manages to pack an even stronger punch than its predecessor? You betcha. The Ride 7 has a redesigned outsole for even more durability and plush cushioning. Saucony also removed the plastic shank to help the shoe move with you for supreme comfort and responsiveness.

 

Brooks Ghost 7

The seventh update to this perennial favorite has BioMoGo DNA, which means the gel inserts are gone. Instead, the DNA material is blended with Brooks’ midsole compound for adaptive cushioning. In addition, the upper has TPU -welded overlays to prevent seams that can cause blisters.

 

Merrell Bare Access Ultra

Take the Bare Access, add twice as much cushion underfoot, and you get the Bare Access Ultra. The best part? It still has the signature 0-mm drop that is the center of the Bare Access philosophy.

 

Salomon XA Pro 3D

This all-weather adventure shoe improves its fit, durability and has an outsole so sticky you know you aren’t going anywhere but forward. Pretty soon you’ll be itching for tough terrain just to see how much this shoe can handle (spoiler alert: It can handle anything).

 

 Brooks Glycerin 12

The update has consistent groundfeel throughout the outsole and features a full-length segmented crashpad to disperse energy upon impact. Plus, the weight was reduced thanks to the new Brooks Super DNA paired with a 3D printed upper.

 

We’ve Got Your Exclusive Look

Talking with Saucony at OR Summer 2013

Talking with Saucony at OR Summer 2013

Reporting live from Salt Lake City! We’re at Outdoor Retailer, a glorious event in the running industry that pools together the biggest and best brands in specialty running. We’re getting a sneak peek at new gear that’s coming down the track for 2014, and we’re here to share it with you! (And a business trip where we hang out in nothing but running clothes? Count us in.)

Make sure to follow us on our Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Google+. You don’t want to miss a thing.

Got Resolutions? We do.

2014 is here and ready to rumble. What’s topping your resolution list? We’ve got five to help you get started. And what’s even better? We’ve curated a list of shoes that we and our customers swear by. That way come February, you’ll be still on track for everything you want to accomplish.

Run outside as much as I can.

The treadmill can be a great option. It offers an alternative to running in the pitch-black darkness, and when the windchill is in the single digits, the ‘mill is ever-so appealing. But that doesn’t mean it has to be your only option! When you wear shoes with amped-up reflective features, those dark, dreary mornings are suddenly bright with possibilities.

We swear by:

 

Saucony ViziGlo

Saucony ViziGlo

 

Run my first marathon

We don’t have to tell you—26.2 miles is a long (…long) time. Especially when you cover the distance on only your two feet. Although it’s not the time to think about pampering your feet, it’s also not the time to totally neglect them. Give them a bit more support, and they won’t be squealing nearly as much when they propel you over the finish line.

We swear by:

 

asics kayano

Asics Kayano

Embrace the trail

Road running has seen quite the popularity boom over the past decade. And now? Trail running is taking control of the spotlight. The Western States 100 Miler has more participation than ever, and more and more races are popping up that are dedicated to tracking trails. So don’t miss any of the camaraderie that you are bound to find out there. Note that when you give trail running a spin, it might be wise to diversity your shoe collection a bit. Trail runners have super luggy outsoles to increase all-around traction and midsoles that specifically protect against stone bruising. Additionally, many shoes are water-resistant or waterproof. You never know what sort of world you’ll find between the start and finish lines.

We swear by:

 

xrmission

Salomon XR Mission

Clinch a 5K PR

Got a pesky 5K time that just won’t budge? Make it get its act together. For a race distance on the lower end of the running spectrum, you can get by with minimally constructed shoes. (After all, you’ll be going too fast to notice them.) Make your feet really fly by picking lighterweight options. You’ll feel like you’ve pinned on wings along with your race bib.

We swear by:

 

Saucony TypeA

Saucony TypeA

Drink more water on the run

When you carry your hydration with you, you don’t have to worry about faulty water fountains or worse, frozen ones. And if you’re eating any fuel while on the run? Water is an absolute must. So go ahead and make your life easier! (That’s probably another resolution on your list, right?) Keep your cool throughout your run so you can keep going and going.

We swear by:

 

Nathan Trail Mix

Nathan Trail Mix

What’s your running resolution for 2014?

 

RunBlogger Curated Shopping Guide

The running shoe world can be a hard one to navigate. Words like “minimalist,” “EVA” and “stack heights” are thrown around with abandon. Two shoes can look similar but feel radically different once they hit the road or the trail. Knowing how much you pronate—or don’t pronate—is the golden ticket to identifying which styles will elevate your run from good to great.

With so many shoes waiting to treat your feet to an endorphin-laden sweat fest, how do you know which pair is your Goldilocks? The one that’s not hard or too soft but fits your needs just right?

That’s where Pete Larson comes in. He has been writing running shoe reviews since 2009 for his blog, RunBlogger. His findings are detailed with a scientific precision and leave no question unanswered. Suffice to say, he’s run around the block a few times. We sat down to chat with him via telephone for a more in-depth look at RunBlogger’s Curated Shopping Guide to further break down styles he swears by and ones that are on his wish list.

RunBlogger’s Recommendations

Saucony Virrata

Saucony Virrata

Specs

Type: Barefoot

Weight:6.5/6.0 oz. (Men’s/Women’s)

Drop: 0 mm

Major Pluses 
  • The mono-mesh upper is reminiscent of the first generation Kinvara
  • HydraMax collar lining wicks away moisture to keep feet dry.
  • An internal bootie means you can run sockless with a reduced worry of blisters
Pete’s Perspective

“It has really nice forefoot cushioning for a zero drop shoe,” Larson says. “I ran my spring marathon in them. They worked great. It’s an all-around good, zero-drop shoe for long distance running.”

Pearl Izumi EM Road N 1
Men's Pearl Izumi Road N 1

Pearl Izumi Road N 1

Specs

Type: Minimalist

Weights: 7.7/6.9 oz. (Men’s/Women’s)

Drop: 1 – 4.5 mm (Dynamic Offset)

Major Pluses
  • Pearl Izumi’s Dynamic Offset changes with the gait cycle rather than staying stagnant from foot strike to toe-off.
  • A seamless upper hugs your foot like a glove.
Pete’s Perspective

“It’s a really smooth riding shoe,” he says. “It’s firm, but it’s not slappy. I was really surprised by it. I wasn’t sure I was going to like it the first time I ran in it. But the more I ran in it, the more and more I felt drawn to the shoe.”

Mizuno Wave Universe 5
Mizuno Wave Universe

Mizuno Wave Universe 5

Specs

Type: Racing or Minimalist

Weights: 2.8/2.2 oz. (Men’s/Women’s)

Drop: 2 mm

Major Pluses
  • Feather-light mesh upper for a sock-like fit.
  • The U4ic midsole is 30 percent lighter than Mizuno’s AP+ midsole compound.
Pete’s Perspective

“It’s just a fun shoe to run in,” he says. “It’s under 3 oz. It has a fairly wide forefoot, which is kind of unusual for a racing flat. And I think that combination makes it a really fun, fast shoe to run in.”

Asics GEL-Lyte33 2
Asics GEL-Lyte33 2

Asics GEL-Lyte33 2

Specs

Type: Structured

Weights: 7.8/6.4 oz. (Men’s/Women’s)

Drop: 6 mm

Major Pluses
  • Featherweight Asics Speed Technology mixes the feel of a racing flat with an everyday trainer. There is minimal outsole material only in high abrasion areas while the lightweight heel construction reduces weight.
  • A flex groove on the outsole lies along the foot’s natural progression to enhance gait efficiency.
Pete’s Pespective

“It’s a shoe that is a nice step-down for someone in a more traditional shoe,” Larson says. “It’s not a big step; it’s constructed more like a traditional shoe. I think it’s a nice, easy step if you’re looking for something more minimal.”

Injinji Run Lightweight No-Show Socks
socks1

Injinji Run Lightweight No-Show Socks

Major Pluses
  • Mesh top for excellent breathability.
  • Arch support for secure and stable fit.
  • Anatomical right and left foot design for a true-to-fit feel.
Pete’s Perspective

“I’m a fan of Injinji because I like the toe separation,” he says. “I think from a blister prevention standpoint, they work better than any other socks that I have used.”

Mizuno Evo Ferus
Mizuno Evo Ferus

Mizuno Evo Ferus

Specs

Type: Trail or Minimalist

Weights: 8/6.8 oz. (Men’s/Women’s)

Drop: 0 mm

Major Pluses
  • Outsole pattern delivers multidirectional grip over rugged terrain.
  • Mizuno’s Wave technology in the forefoot makes this shoe an ace pick for the netural, midfoot striker.
  • Seamless overlays slash weight while increasing durability.
Pete’s Perspective

“It’s what I’ve been wearing the most recently,” he says. “It kind of surprised me. It’s a nice, wide forefoot. It’s zero drop, but it has kind of a cushy feel to it even though it’s pretty low to the ground. I think the durability will be much better than the other Evo shoes because it’s a trail shoe. I also like the fact that even though it has trail grip on it, it’s very capable of running on the roads.

RunBlogger’s Wish List

Pearl Izumi EM Trail N 1
Pearl Izumi EM Trail N 1

Pearl Izumi EM Trail N 1

Specs

Type: Trail or Minimalist

Weights: 9.6/8.5 oz. (Men’s/Women’s)

Drop: 1 – 4.5 mm (Dynamic Offset)

Major Pluses
  • Perforated foam in the tongue repels water.
  • A forefoot rock plate protects against bruising and gnarly trail hazards.
Pete’s Perspective

“I have the Road N 1, and I really like it,” he says. “The trail version will be similar in terms of construction, and I’ve heard really good things about the trail version from other people I know who have run in it. It would be an obvious choice for me to have on a wish list.”

Brooks PureGrit 2 
Brooks PureGrit 2

Brooks PureGrit 2

Specs

Type: Trail or Minimalist

Weights: 10/8.2 oz. (Men’s/Women’s)

Drop: 4 mm

Major Pluses
  • A split toe enhances forefoot flexibility.
  • BioMoGo DNA in the midsole responds to the amount of force placed on the foot and disperses the pressure to provide a sweet spot of resiliency.
  • The outsole’s concave shape increases balance by splaying upon foot strike to create more surface area for ground contact.
Pete’s Perspective

“I ran in the PureGrit 1, and I really liked it, but the traction was really bad on wet surfaces,” he says. “I’ve heard that the traction on this version has improved. I like the fit, I like the ride a lot. The traction was just an issue [in the first generation].”

The North Face Hyper Track Guide
the north face

The North Face Hyper-Track Guide

Specs

Type: Trail

Weights: 12.5/9 oz. (Men’s/Women’s)

Drop: 8 mm

Major Pluses
  • Cradle Guide technology in the midsole absorbs impact upon foot strike, stabilizes the foot and promotes a biomechanically correct stride.
  • A Northotic footbed has plush cushioning that doesn’t skimp on stability.
Pete’s Perspective

“I’ve never run in a North Face shoe, and I would be curious to try out the brand,” he says. “And that is the one that fits my needs most closely—lower drop, lighter weight.”

New Balance 1010v2 
new balance

New Balance 1010v2

Specs

Type: Trail or Barefoot

Weights: 8.5/6.4 oz. (Men’s/Women’s)

Drop: 4 mm

Major Pluses
  • A minimal Vibram outsole gives traction where you need it most.
  • New Balance’s REVLite midsole compound is responsive without weighing you or the shoe down.
  • A flexible, protective layer called RockStop keeps feet free from rocks and helps disperse shock energy.
Pete’s Perspective

“It’s one where I have heard good things about it and that the update is an improvement over the original,” Larson says. “It’s a cushioned trail shoe that meets my standards. I like a more low-profile trail shoe that has a little bit of cushioning. This would be my first time [in the 1010 series], so that would be another reason to try it.”

A Conversation With: Buddy Teaster

Buddy Teaster,

Buddy Teaster, CEO and president of Soles4Souls

Buddy Teaster is no stranger to pounding pavement. He has run a dozen 100-milers and numerous trail races, the power of patience and persistence never leaving his side. And the most important gear he owns? His shoes.

It makes sense, then, that he is the CEO and president of Soles4Souls, an anti-poverty organization and RunningShoes.com’s charity partner. The organization began as a way to help victims of the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami as well as Hurricane Katrina. Since then, Soles4Souls has distributed more than 21 million pairs of shoes and millions of pieces of clothing in about 127 countries.

Soles4Souls collects new and used shoes and clothing from manufacturers, faith-based organizations, schools, civic organizations and individuals. It then distributes donations directly or through its partnerships with micro-enterprise programs that help facilitate job growth in poor communities.

“The importance of shoes goes way back,” Teaster says. “You can look in lots of traditions and see how people talk about shoes as a metaphor and as a way to understand what it means to really be in need. It turns out to be a very powerful symbol. Everyone understands why having a pair of shoes in important.”

The organization aims to see five million people this fiscal year alone benefit from Soles4Souls’ donations. In three years, Teaster hopes this number reaches 10 million annually.

Soles4Souls distributes donations for free and through micro-business efforts. Describe why the organization uses these two strategies.

We give away shoes for free to people in need because they’re in a tough spot. That might be because of poverty or might be after natural disaster. About half of our business is that free distribution. The other half is micro-enterprise. We think about the free distribution as a way to help in the short term. The micro-enterprise side clearly has a much longer term impact. It’s harder to explain, it’s harder to implement, and it’s a much more ongoing relationship. But long term, we believe that giving people the tools and the resources to help them create their own incomes is what makes a big difference.

S4S 1

A pair of shoes that a Soles4Souls donation replaced.

How does Soles4Souls decide which countries to begin these micro-enterprises in?

What we’re looking for is a great partner. In Haiti, for example, we are partnered with a group called the Haitian American Caucus. They have a micro-credit program where they loan small amounts of money to women who want to start their own businesses. For us, that is a perfect match because HAC knows the community, and the community knows them. We are able to come in and say to HAC, “Those of your clients who are in the used shoe and clothing business, we can provide them better quality product at a better price more consistently.” And that turns out to make a huge difference for these women. Three quarters of the country lives on less than $2 per day. Now, they might be able to earn $5, $10, $15, $20 a day. It has a dramatic impact.

A number of the shoes Soles4Souls collects come from shoe drives. What’s the most number of shoes collected at a shoe drive that you have heard about?

This past spring, we had a contest to collect used shoes and clothes, and whoever collected the most won a trip for two with us when we traveled to Haiti. We had a woman who, over the course of three or six months, collected 75,000 pounds of shoes and clothes. And the second place person out in Colorado collected 60,000.

Describe the life cycle of a shoe once its hits a Soles4Souls warehouse.

Most, if not all, go through our warehouse in Alabama. With our new shoes [that we get from manufacturers], we know we have this many of this kind, and we’re ready to say, “OK, we need 200 pairs to go to the Union Gospel Mission in Nashville, we need 300 pairs to go to Oklahoma, and we need 5,000 pairs to go to Jamaica.” New shoes don’t have to be sorted and graded. They come packaged on pallets, very organized. The other shoes may be a mess. There may be new, high-quality stuff in there, and there might be stuff that really ought to be thrown in the trash.

What happens with the shoes that you all receive that don’t quite meet the standards?

There is very little that we can’t use, but we’re working on some different ideas. Right now, they’re stacking up. The solution that we had previously was to incinerate them in a high energy thing that turned waste into electricity. It was very expensive for us to dispose of them in that way. We are talking to a couple different partners now who have come up with a couple of new, lower-price alternatives to that. There’s a company called TerraCycle that has done some amazing work at recycling the toughest kind of products, including footwear. We talked to a company called Austin Rubber, and they are developing technology to recycle the rubber in shoes in a totally different way. Our commitment is that no more than 1 percent of what we get goes into the landfill.

Soles4Souls travels around the world on distribution trips through its Travel4Souls program. Tell us more about these initiatives and the experiences people can gain from traveling abroad. 

We do 20 to 25 trips a year. We go to Haiti, Honduras, Jamaica, Guatemala, Costa Rica and Tanzania. For a lot of people, it’s the first time they have ever left the United States. It’s an invitation into another world. It’s a powerful experience to be there and wash people’s feet and put shoes on them and interact with them and try to understand a little bit about their lives. Collecting shoes is great but to actually see the impact that a pair of shoes has in the developing country—you come back changed from that experience.

Shoes distributed by Cornerstone Church, a nonprofit partner of Soles4Souls in Kenya.

Cornerstone Church, a nonprofit partner of Soles4Souls, distributed shoes at an orphanage in Kenya.

People can also raise money for the organization through Charity Miles, an app that donates money per each mile ran, biked or walked. Tell us a little about this new initiative.

Charity Miles is a blast. Until I hooked up with Charity Miles, I would never run with my iPhone, but now I do every time. It’s a clever, clever thing that they’re doing at Charity Miles—finding partners and sponsors who want to connect with an active audience and incentivizing people to run, walk, bike and then making a contribution for that. We’ve had thousands and thousands of people sign up for the app using Soles4Souls for the selected charity. It was a great response, and we love their model.

Discuss the idea behind the Barefoot4Them movement, a day that Soles4Souls sponsors to encourage participants to go without shoes.

What we’re trying to do is give people a little taste of what it’s like to be without shoes for a day, knowing that we have a choice [to not wear shoes]. You can’t go into stores or where you don’t want to walk. If you had on shoes, you would never think about it. It’s just a little insight into what that would be like every day for millions of people.

What sort of responsibility do you think Soles4Souls has in helping eliminate poverty?

The work that we are doing shows us that one pair of donated shoes in Haiti adds $19 of economic value there. It does a lot of things for the economy in Haiti, especially for the person who is selling the shoe in the market. We have the tools, infrastructure, relationship, reputation to do that in more places and to help more people. I think we have responsibilities as humans to help our fellow people. I think at Soles4Souls we have that responsibility 10 times over because people trust us, they give us their stuff to make a difference. It’s a lot of responsibility and a tremendous opportunity.

What’s New: Fresh Styles for November

With the days getting shorter, it can be hard to convince yourself to head out the door rather than read the latest issue of Runner’s World while snuggled on the couch. But you know what always helps us lace up and head out faster? When we have a new pair of shoes ready to make our acquaintance. Lucky for you, we have a slew of new running shoe styles ready to revamp your run this November.

Asics GT-2000 2 BR

Our Price: $114.95

November: a month of Turkey Trots, pumpkin pie… and mustaches? You bet. Ever heard of “Movember?” It’s a charity organization that raises prostate cancer awareness throughout the month of November by encouraging men to grow mustaches. The idea is to change the face of men’s health. Thus, the furry facial accessory is now ubiquitous in prostate cancer awareness efforts. And Asics is joining the mustache madness.  For every pair of limited edition Asics GT-2000 2 sold, Asics will donate $2 to the Prostate Cancer Foundation. Although the full GT-2000 2 line comes out in December, you can reap the updates early and support a great cause in the process. The shoes sport the signature blue ribbon color for prostate cancer awareness, but that’s not all. The tongue features a fun, furry material. See it as the shoe’s rabbit foot, helping you ‘stache some good luck during your run.

Look at that tongue!

Whoa, baby! Look at that tongue!

Brooks Adrenaline 14

The most popular girl in school is about to be even more popular. And luckily, she didn’t lose an ounce of the greatness that rocketed her to stardom in the first place. The Brooks Adrenaline GTS has its history baked right into its name—GTS stands for “go-to shoe,” a more-than-fitting qualifier for the tried-and-true style. For the Adrenaline’s 14th iteration, modernization took center stage. The upper is made of 3D Fit Print, a no-sew material that was first used in the Glycerin last season. Think of it as the ultimate no-itch, no-stitch fit. The new Comfort Eye Row—that is, where the laces rest—distributes pressure evenly across the top of the foot to take away any added stress, further perfecting the upper. Moving to the outsole, Brooks removed the plastic TPU shank, which means the shoe now sports lateral ground contact. What does this mean for you? The Caterpillar Crash Pad extends all the way through the midfoot for silky smooth transitions from heel to toe.

Brooks Adrenaline GTS 14

Brooks Adrenaline GTS 14

Merrell Bare Access 3

For the commitment phobes, the Merrell Bare Access 3 is the golden ticket. It’s perfect for runners who want to dabble in the barefoot running movement without relinquishing a cushioned feel underfoot. A 0-mm drop gives you that coveted barefoot feel, but it’s paired with 8 mm of cushion from heel to toe. Although your feet will land flat, protection won’t be sacrificed in the process. The ultrabreathable mesh up top keeps feet dry and comfortable while arms on the sides give added stability without adding weight. No matter your activity, this versatile shoe will keep you moving naturally.

bare access 3

Merrell Bare Access 3

Mizuno Wave Creation 15

Our Price: $159.95

Want to stand out at the starting line? The Mizuno Wave Creation 15 is sure to turn heads. The vibrant colors and patterns of the Wave Creation are a way of revamping the white shoe trend, which is set to make its comeback as we head into 2014. For the shoe’s vibrant look, Mizuno employed a Japanese paint scheme that is similar to tie-dyeing, a nod to the brand’s history. But the Creation didn’t undergo just cosmetic changes for this stellar update. A few technologies changed as well. The midsole unit switched from Mizuno’s AP+ to the new U4ic—pronounced “euphoric”—which can also be found in the Mizuno Wave Sayonara. It’s lighter than the AP+ midsole but doesn’t skimp on responsiveness or durability. And the Infinity Wave Plate, the piece of the shoe that rests beneath the midsole foam, was redesigned for this model to walk the line between responsiveness and cushioning.

 

Mizuno Wave Creation 15

Mizuno Wave Creation 15

New Balance 890v4

Our Price: $99.95

You don’t have to be a speedy elite to get the most of the shoe—the 890v4 is ready to go fast, whatever that pace means for you. The shoe is clutch for any runner who is looking for that neutral cushioned trainer with a fast feel underfoot.  In fact, it garnered the “Best Update” award in Runner’s World‘s Winter Shoe Guide 2013. The fourth version looks quite a bit different than its predecessor, but its technical updates are not quite so drastic. The Fantom Fit upper vanishes like a ghost, contouring to your foot so seamlessly you swear it isn’t there. The highly segmented outsole optimizes your foot’s flexibility, and blown rubber lends itself to smooth-as-butter transitions. The 890 was one of New Balance’s first shoes to use REVLite foam in its midsole, which gives you a springy, lightweight responsiveness every step of the way.

New Balance 890v4

New Balance 890v4

Saucony Guide 7

Our Price: $120.00

Let your conscious be your guide—and let it guide you to the Saucony Guide 7. The style is Saucony’s No. 1 shoe, and its seventh update makes it an even more attractive choice.  It’s a mild to moderate stability shoe so if your ankles covet just a touch of support, the Guide is there to pamper and please them. The outsole gets an update with more ground contact, and more flex grooves in the forefoot increase the shoe’s flexibility. PowerGrid foam runs the length of the shoe, which is Saucony’s proprietary cushioning technology. It distributes the force of impact without taking energy away from the runner.  In the upper, Saucony increased the toe spring by about 6 mm so that you will feel light and springy upon toe off. Lace ’em up, and let these shoes guide you to your strongest runs ever.

Saucony Guide 7

Saucony Guide 7

Saucony Triumph 11

Our Price: $140.00

Think of the Triumph as having your cake and eating it, too. It has a soft, underfoot feel but still packs a punch with stability features. As Saucony’s high-end neutral shoe, it’s infused with premium materials for a premium running experience. With IBR+ blown rubber in the forefoot, your toes will rest of a pillow of plushness that won’t hinder your foot—or the shoe’s—flexibility. The upper uses Sauc-Fit, a fit system that securely wraps the midfoot and locks in the heel. Like the Guide, this shoe boasts PowerGrid foam for ultacushioning with an optimized energy return. That way, the only thing you’ll feel when you nail that that last mile is pure triumph.

Saucony Triumph 11

Saucony Triumph 11

8 Great Costumes for Race Day

It’s a bird, it’s a plane—it’s a cliché costume for any runner! Odds are you have seen Superman cruise past you a few times during a Halloween race. After all, the Metropolis Marvel did get his chiseled look from logging hundreds of miles, right? At least, that’s what you tell yourself while you’re training. We all do: “I WILL get abs of steel from this 10-miler.”

Alas, it takes a little more than pounding the pavement to get a six-pack, but that doesn’t mean you can’t fake it. Runners everywhere don costumes for Halloween-themed races like the Rock & Roll Las Vegas Half Marathon. You’ll see everything from the uber cool and conservative to the incredibly inappropriate (albeit hilarious). We did a little research and found eight costumes that—though cliché—are always a hit on the road. As they say, a little creativity never hurt no run.

1.       Forrest Gump

runjenn.com

runjenn.com

 If you have been a runner during the last decade and have not heard someone yell, “Run, Forrest, Run!” then you, my friend, are in the minority. That lovable Greenbow, Ala., native achieved fame in the running community for his trek across America, which many of us pondered doing for a half-second while watching the movie.

So, “run, racers, RUN” to find a pair of khakis, plaid shirt and Bubba Gump hat.

2.       Pre

loft3pd.com

loft3pd.com

The man, the myth, the legend: Steve Prefontaine. We all secretly want to be him anyway, so you may as well fake it on Halloween. Oregon green and yellow butt-huggers and racing jersey? Check. Killer ‘stache?  Check. Unrealistic but totally deserving dreams of winning this race? Yup—you’re good to go.

3.       Pregnant nuns

bestracecostumes.wordpress.com

bestracecostumes.wordpress.com

Irreverent, yes, but always good for a laugh. We see pregnant women running all the time (kudos to them, by the way). Whether or not you have a bun in the oven, a mommy-to-be in a habit is about as cliché as you can get in terms of costumes. A pregnant nun on the run? Classic.

4.       Road kill

bestracecosumes.wordpress.com

bestracecosumes.wordpress.com

Gruesome though it may be, this is a costume that kills. You basically wear all black with a two yellow stripes and a blob of guts and hair. If you run on the road, you recognize that jumping a pile of road kill is a rite of passage.

 5.       Pamela Anderson

bestracecostumes.com

bestracecostumes.com

Anyone who was alive during the early ’90s knows that Pamela Anderson owns running on the beach. In fact, her daily beach jogs are a big part of what made her an icon. True, she was running on the beach in a small bathing suit that showed off her, um, running buddies. But that doesn’t take away from the fact that a red swimsuit and clever stuffing makes a great Halloween costume.

6.       Richard Simmons

lazy-american.com

lazy-american.com

If you have Pamela Anderson on the list, you have to have Richard Simmons. High energy, awesome hair and hilarious outfits? Yes, there will be many Richard Simmonses racing this fall.

7.       Super heroes

pfitblog.com

pfitblog.com

Spiderman, Batman, The Flash, Superman. It just makes sense to dress as a super hero while you are doing something physically active. It might even give you a boost of energy, knowing your cape is proudly floating in the air behind you as you spring toward the finish line. If nothing else, the fake muscles will make you look good.

8.       Elvis

californiabeat.org

californiabeat.org

Often imitated but never duplicated, The King makes one heck of a running costume. Bell-bottoms go great over running shoes, and that beautiful wig can sop up your sweat. Whether you are running in your hometown or shacking up in a heartbreak hotel on the road, an Elvis costume is a tried and true staple of race costumes.

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Guest author Phong Chieng is an avid runner and cyclist that enjoys competing in both small, local 5K races as well as large races like the Rock n Roll Marathon Series. He also writes regularly on the Trail Running Blog.

The Mental Side of Marathons: An Interview with Vicki Weitz

The Royal Mile. Photo: edinphoto.org.uk

The Royal Mile. Photo: edinphoto.org.uk

When researching marathon training, we hear a lot about running schedules, nutrition plans, avoiding injuries and the best clothing and shoes to wear. But what about the psychological training it takes to go the distance? We set out to discover more about the mental aspects of marathon running by speaking to someone who really understands the challenge inside and out.

During this year’s Edinburgh’s Fringe Festival, Vicki Weitz undertook the monumental challenge of running 26 marathons in 26 days, up and down the crowded Royal Mile. The festival is the largest arts festival in the world, and Weitz, a performance artist, intended for her pursuit to be seen as art rather than a feat of sport.

We asked her more about her experience and how she overcame the physical and mental hurdles of her multimarathon undertaking.

What was your schedule on the morning of the marathons?

In the mornings I had to be extremely regimented. I woke up at 3:55am and weighed myself. Then I ate porridge with water and soy milk and put a banana and grapes on top with a glass of orange juice. I filled in my forms and recorded mood, sleep quality, urine and weight (I worked with the Human Performance Unit (HPU) from Essex University) and then had a protein shake before going back to sleep until 5:45 am. When the alarm went off I would get up, have a shower, get dressed and drink 300 ml of warm water.

After walking to the starting point, I’d have a quick stretch, chat to anyone who had come along that day, then say hello to the Palace Guards at the bottom of the Royal Mile. I’d then ask them to start me off – I found it important to have someone to say, “Go!” every day.

How did you recover and prepare for the next day after each marathon?

Immediately after finishing, I would stretch my muscles and walk the short distance home. I’d then have a cold bath for 10 minutes whilst drinking an optimum nutrition recovery shake and taking a shower. About an hour or so after finishing, I’d eat my main meal (usually chilli, chicken and vegetables or lamb chops and couscous) before the 15 minute walk to my daily physio appointment.

After walking home, I’d sort out my data for the day for HPU, making sure I’d had enough calories and logging my food and fluid intake. I’d also write my blog before preparing everything I needed for the next day.

Later I’d eat something light like a sandwich or toast and almond nut butter before using my foam roller to stretch some more. Each night I would unwind by reading or watching a comedy before going to bed at around 9 p.m.

How did you overcome distractions and stick to your routine?

My routine changed on day 15 when my children came up with my mum. My mum would help a lot by keeping them out of the house until about 7 p.m. and then bring them home so I had time to do everything I needed to do. I could then eat with them and spend some time chatting with them before bed, which helped me relax as well.

During the marathons you must have encountered varying factors such as crowd size, interaction with people and difficulty maintaining pace. How did you deal with aspects outside your control?

The first few days were very much about letting go. I very quickly lost the concept of time—it didn’t matter how long I was out for. It always felt the same. Normally time can make me quite anxious, so it was a relief that this melted away. Mainly I didn’t think about pacing. I just listened to my body and did what I could do at the time.

My running time turned out to be fairly consistent, but the amount of time I stopped for increased a lot. This was because more people would stop me to chat, but I was always happy to stop and chat as I felt that was intrinsic to the performance of the marathons.

I learned to accept what I couldn’t change: things like the traffic and the traffic lights and the crowds. I started to feel slightly removed from it all. I also began to enjoy running through the crowds — people would offer encouragement and support as I went by, or would run with me for a few meters, which boosted my spirits.

Interestingly, whilst I was letting go of physical factors outside of my control, my emotions also started to let go. I found that in the first week, I was doing a lot of grieving that I hadn’t realized needed to be done.

The whole performance must have been significantly draining both mentally and physically. What was your lowest point during the month, and how did you find the strength to carry on?

Leading up to the halfway point, the challenge became difficult emotionally. I went through a moment where I felt I wasn’t good enough. My running style had changed a lot, and I felt as if I looked broken. I had a really good cry, and my friend then ran with me, which helped to distract me.

Around this time, my sports psychologist came up to see me. He said I actually looked very comfortable, and if I looked this good on day 13 then I’d have no problem finishing. I was still a bit low, and he said to me that since I wasn’t a natural runner, I probably wouldn’t enjoy it—I just needed to get my head together and get the job done.

I resolved to make more of an effort to enjoy the experience—I didn’t want to waste it. I began to smile more and make eye contact with people, to look around me and think of things that make me happy. I also drew a lot of strength from the support I received from people back home as well as people talking to me on the day.

If you were to do it all over again, would there be any changes in your approach and preparation, either physical or mental?

On reflection, I feel it would have been good to have more physio before I started the challenge. My calves were always very tight, and I had a rotated pelvis that needed straightening most days, so more physio beforehand might have helped. Saying that, my aches and pains were much less than I expected them to be.

Finally – would you do it again?

Definitely!

Do you feel inspired by Vicki’s achievement? Get on track to your own success story; find out how to get started with marathon training and avoid running injuries with expert advice from Bupa.

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Guest Author Euan Taylor is a keen writer, blogger and occasional runner. Working with leading health organizations, Euan covers various topics focused around health and fitness.