Sunday, January 6, 2013

Brooks Pure Drift

REVIEW: Ran 5 km with these new Brooks Pure Drifts. Sizing wise they run big, with a very generous toe box. When I purchased them, I also tried the new Pure Connect 2, and even though they are both Pure, they feel very different. The PC2 felt narrow and “tall.” The PD felt roomy and flat to the ground.

PROS: very comfortable despite being the most minimalist Brooks so far. Felt close to the ground. Despite the thin outsole, my feet felt protected. The generous toe box gives lots of room for my toes to splash and splay, and balance my strides. Ground feeedback is good to excellent. The shoes I compared these to are the zero-drop Skechers Go Bionics. The Drifts give you “two-in-one shoes” option = WITH the removable insoles, it’s a 4 mm drop shoes. WITHOUT the insoles, voila! they become zero-drop shoes. I ran WITH the insoles and the Drift felt as flat as the zero-drop GoBionics. In terms of feedback and road feel, the Bionics is more responsive (i.e. you WILL feel the shocks when you heel strike). Built on anatomical lasts (photo # 3), the Drifts felt like an extension of the palm of your feet.

CONS: for whatever reason, these shoes made more noise than the GoBionics during my strides. The Drifts also has a thin outsole (photo # 3), with exposed parts of the midsoles. It was mildly drizzling when I ran with these (after a full evening of rain, so the road was wet), and I could feel my socks becoming wet during the run. It was fine on a 5k run, but these “water leaks” over 10k plus run may cause blisters. This means the Drifts are more suited for dry road-runninng, or short distance in the rain/wet roads.

CONCLUSION: looking forward to putting them on again, mainly because they felt like an extension of the palms of my feet.

Photo # 2: Injinji 5-finger socks and Pure Drifts, a match made in heaven! :)

HB Tune "Palm-band"

REVIEW: HB Tune smartphone hand-holder: Ran 6 km with this earlier. It made me run faster and increased my cadence …NOT!

…seriously, the concept is absolutely GREAT. Your smartphone, secured in the palm of your hand, without worrying for it to fall/drop, AND full access to screen. BUT, they slightly tint the plastic screen and it basically RUINS the whole concept (because when you’re outdoors, sunlight plus slight tint = unreadable screen). BUMMER! Oh well :-)

Saturday, January 5, 2013

HOKAS Stinson Evo Tarmac

HOKAS One One, Stinson Evo Tarmac. REVIEW: Went out for a 5 km run in the Hokas this morning.

The PLUS = running in these is really like running on cloud, much more so than on the “On-Cloud” branded shoes. Fit is on the large side, but still snug enough (the perils of online ordering). Despite its size, the weight (+/- 320 grams) is really quite okay and on the light side, and my feet didn’t feel like they were carrying bricks (though they looked the part!). The cushioning really works to absorb a lot of the shocks. I had no trepidation to pound my feet in these (not recommended at all).

The MINUS = can’t feel the road, less feedback than I prefer (in return, you get “on-cloud” cushioning). My shoes scraped the ground a couple of times, because of the tall stack-height (I’m trying to run close to the ground, to minimize pounding).

CONCLUSION = still unsure, but that means I want to take them out again for future runs. Despite its towering stack-height, the heel-to-toe drop on these is 4mm, like minimalist shoes (!) So these Hokas are a combination of many things. My feet need time to digest all the mixed messages!

UPDATE (Feb 24, 2013): I have now put 44 km (27 miles) on the Hokas, and they are definitely like running on cloud! I did notice that the soreness after wearing the Hokas is in the thigh area, distinctly different than the tightness in the calf area (after using minimalist shoes). I guess as long as there is no knee pain, all should be okay. Will continue to observe and see how this goes in the long run :)

Skechers GO BIONIC

REVIEW: I have been interested in these Bionic for a while. Last Friday I saw them at Gandaria City at 20% discount, plus an additional 10% OFF with Citibank card. I finally pulled the trigger, at nett price that came to Rp.700rb-ish (usd 75). 

FIT & WEIGHT: this shoe has wider toebox than the GoRuns, but still a snug fit (as it should be). All my toes, in the 5-fingers Injinji socks, has total freedom to “splash” and “splay.” At 190 gr each for my shoe size 11, these shoes are CRAZY LIGHT (lighter than NB Minimus, and significantly lighter than Nike Frees). No hot spot after my test run. All in all, TOP NOTCH

FEEL: despite its weight, these shoes doesn’t feel as HARD as my NB Minimus or Vivo Barefoot. And these shoes are CRAZY FLEXIBLE (see photo). The bottom sole has “dividers” which look like your feet. The combination of these, in theory, should allow the shoe to mimic your natural foot strike, as it will bend according to your landing pattern.

TEST RUN: I ran 10 km in them, and for a “minimal” shoes, they feel GREAT. I could feel the road (just like the NB minimus and Vivos) but I felt LESS impact. The only drawback is the “divider” in the bottom sole, which caught a small rock, and I could FEEL the rock on the palm of my feet (not a pleasant experience). Other than that, the ZERO DROP, the (absence of) weight, the flexibility, REALLY allows a natural ride (which is different for each individual). 

These shoes also force you to watch your landings, as a hard heel-strike would immediately be felt up at the knees.

CONCLUSION: these shoes are a keeper! Temporary Grade = 9/10, based on one 10k run. 

PS: here’s a more extensive review, by a much more experienced runner: