Category Archives: Gear Reviews

PUMA FAAS 500v2 Trail Shoe review

#ForeverFaster

Caution Endurance Event in Progress

Caution Endurance Event in Progress

PUMA have come along way since the days of the NightFox and the TrailFox trail shoes, so far in fact that it is almost hard to believe that those shoes and the shoe we are reviewing today come from the same stable. Not to say that the previous models were bad. Rather it is a testament to how technology and science behind manufacturing, state of the art, performance gear has advanced. As trail running popularity is growing in leaps and bounds (excuse the pun) all the major shoe manufacturer’s are keeping their fans happy with gear purpose built for smashing through the toughest of terrains. Some go a more balanced route like the PUMA FAAS 300v2 Trail Shoe which we reviewed a few months back and some go all out manic!

We are happy to report that PUMA have not neglected the most hardcore of the trail running community. Those that shun the idea of having to put time on the road, those of us who are offended by single shot skinny latte’s. Those of us who would rather have a double shot full cream cortado put some extra hairs on our chest. You get balanced and then you get crazy, and that is how we would describe the Faas 500v2 TR… certifiably nuts!! I mean just look at them…

Aggression personified in a shoe!

Aggression personified in a shoe!

Now before we get ahead of ourselves we are not saying that PUMA have nailed it and can now sit back, rest on their laurels while the other brands try to catch up. No, not at at all. They have come a long way since the TrailFox released in 2006 but they still have a ways to go, but more on that later. Lets dig into the specs and see what makes this shoe tick before we make any suggestions on improvements.

OutSole:

Right off the bat you can see these shoes mean business. Just look at that grip. If we had to liken these shoes to an animal it would hands down be a Velociraptor. If the unfortunate humans who became dinosaur food in Jurassic Park were wearing these shoes while running through the jungles we think they might have had a bit more screen time. With the claw like talons protruding from the bottom of the outsole there is plenty of grip, and confidence to go with it. We were almost too nervous to run easy in these shoes for fear of them slapping us and telling us to get a move on! As we see in pretty much every PUMA running shoe the Faas 500v2 TR features the brilliant ‘EverGrip’ technology which according to PUMA is ‘Abrasion-resistant’. If by ‘Abrasion-resistant’ they mean that the shoe doesn’t wear very fast then yes, I would say it is very ‘Abrasion-Resistant.’ I was happy to see that the lugs on the outsole did not crack or break off after some pretty long (7 hours plus on one instance at UTCT) and technical runs. Value for money will always be a major factor when purchasing a new pair of shoes and for us these shoes score brilliantly in durability. Think DuraCell Bunny. Multi-Direction lugs give you plenty grip on the up hills, through the technical singletrack and also provide some breaking force on the down hills.

Claw-like outsole.

Claw-like outsole.

MidSole:

The Faas 500v2 TR has a slightly more plush ride than the Fass 300v2 TR we mentioned earlier. With a stack height of 22mm at the forefoot and 26mm at the heel and a 4mm footbed there is plenty of cushioning without completely taking away any feedback you might want to get from the trail. A 4mm heel-to-toe drop encourages a midfoot strike which we like a lot. Even though you get some extra cushioning you won’t sacrifice on the weight. The shoes still weight in around the 340g mark. As the name suggests the Faas 500v2 TR features PUMA’s lightweight and versatile Faas foam midsole. The midsole is built to provide a more gradual transition from heel to midfoot by slowing down the rate of pronation. This is done by some ‘release grooves’ in the midsole. These grooves give a little more flex to the midsole by dispersing the force generated from running evenly throughout the midsole. While we found this worked fantastically well on hard pack or more ‘flatter’ surfaces unfortunately it did add a bit of instability on the super technical terrain. We found there was a little too much lateral movement at times causing the ankle to roll slightly to the outside of the shoe. Nothing major, but just enough to be aware of it. In terms of cushioning the midsole felt exactly like a Faas midsole, consistent in that it was comfy and smooth as the Faas foam is.

Plenty of grip to open the taps with confidence.

Plenty of grip to open the taps with confidence.

Upper:

This is where version 2 has received the most upgrades from the first version of the Faas 500 TR. The Upper has been upgraded with PUMA’s WeaveMesh technology. This provides the midfoot with a lot more support and really does make the shoe feel snug and fit well. One thing we notice with more ‘cushioned, higher mileage’ shoes is that they can feel cumbersome and a bit sluggish but the Faas 500v2 TR does very well to still give you a spring in your step. The WeaveMesh plays a big part in this. The Gaiter-compatibility and the Gusseted tongue will keep debris and unwanted irritations like little stones etc. out of the shoe, a welcome advantage when running for hours on end. PUMA were one of the first major brands to feature Ortholite’s EcoOrthoLite technology in their shoes. The technology has proved to be very popular and the Faas 500v2 TR features a sockliner made of that same technology. The benefits of this include advanced breathability, moisture control, and anti-microbial properties. All of these aid in preventing chaffing. Another great advantage for those long runs.

We also found that the heel cup and tongue of the shoe came up nice and high on the ankle which provide great support on the technical stuff. Even though the release grooves in the midsole let the shoe down a bit the added support on the ankle more than made up for it. Having said that if you prefer more movement around the ankle this shoe might not work for you.

The Upper as a whole looks incredibly solid. We have yet to see any tears or breakages in the mesh after a good few long runs in some dense terrain.

EcoOrthoLite Technology in the sock liner.

EcoOrthoLite Technology in the sock liner.

What would we improve?

So earlier I said that PUMA have come a long way since the TrailFox but that we still feel they have a little way to go before they have an industry changer on their hands (in the trail shoe department). As great as this shoe is we still believe there is something missing. You see I unfortunately blame Puma for this. I blame them because of a little shoe called the PUMA IGNITE. The IGNITE midsole has ruined the Faas midsole (and almost any other midsole for that matter) for me, the one piece IGNITE foam is so insanely comfortable and responsive the Faas foam feels like a stack of A4 pieces of paper stuck on top of each other with Pritt glue. Don’t get me wrong, the Faas midsole is comfortable! It has worked for PUMA for years! I have an 8 hour trail run in the blistering rain at the 2015 Ultra Trail Cape Town with no blisters or sore feet to prove it. The Faas midsole is fantastic, but stacked against the IGNITE midsole it doesn’t even come close.

We hope a day will come when PUMA start bringing out trail shoes with the IGNITE midsole as a feature, for us that would be a game changer! On that day Trail Runners perception of PUMA as a trail running shoe will literally change forever. Unfortunately that probably won’t be a reality for a good year or two, maybe even 3. So we will just have to be happy with the Faas foam for now, till our dreams of an IGNITE Trail are realised.

Grip for days.

Grip for days.

Please like & share:

New Balance MT910v2 Running Shoe review

New Balance MT910v2 Running Shoe

New Balance MT910v2 Running Shoe

New Balance MT910v2 Running Shoe

Have you ever heard the expression don’t bring a knife to a gun fight? Well that pretty much sums up my early years as a kid. I had a pretty rough time in Primary School. It was a decent private school with all the luxuries that came with it but when it came to the playground it didn’t matter what car your daddy drove. It was survival of the fittest, the strongest and the meanest. Since my genes decided to bloom later on in life I somehow always managed to be separated from the herd. An easy prey for the stalking wolves of the concrete playground.

Now why am I telling you this? It sure isn’t so that you feel sorry for me. I don’t regret those early days, they toughened me up, taught me a lot about preparation and survival. I learnt early on that to win a fight you needed to be, either, A: Stronger and Faster or B: Have a bigger stick. Take world wars for example, the country with the biggest weapons and baddest armies usually come out tops. Add Nuclear Warfare to the equation and you have a slam dunk. In World War 2 Japan was giving America and the allies all kinds of hell on various fronts. Refusing to give up they fought with honour and ferocity.

That is until. Hiroshima.

After the US dropped the atom bomb “Little Boy” on Hiroshima Japanese authourites must have realised they were fighting a losing battle, America had a bigger gun.

Fighting smart with what you have might help you win the battle, but having a bigger stick can win you the war. When it comes to a maximal cushioned trail shoe purpose built for Ultra’s that is what New Balance have in the new MT910v2 trail shoe. A bigger stick. This shoe has been phenomenal for me. I have run in many New Balance shoes over the years. With the MT910v2 it is so blatantly obvious why their RevLite technology has put New Balance on the map and won many battles for them in the past. So lets get down to what makes this shoe tick.

Out Sole:

The New Balance MT910v2 features a HHR rubber outsole with aggressively shaped lugs throughout the base of the shoe. As I said earlier I have run in many a pair of New Balance and these are without a doubt the best outsole New Balance has ever produced. The grip is insane, granted you don’t get much feedback as the shoe is highly cushioned but it is a grip you can trust. The rubber is sticky in the wet and smooth in the dry. Since the shoe is made for Ultra’s and for varying terrain the shoe performs best in slightly wet to dry hard pack conditions. It isn’t an out and out mud shoe with deep lugs but it will offer stability and a sense of confidence on a wide variety of terrains. Even on the tar and hard pack it performs brilliantly.

HHR rubber outsole

HHR rubber outsole

MidSole:

I mentioned the Revlite tecnology earlier which in this shoe, is simply outstanding. It has the perfect amount of stiffness for stability yet at the same time offers a very comfortable ride for those insanely long runs. Revlite offers a 30% reduction in weight compared to other New Balance foams without sacrificing on comfortability and stability. One great feature of the midsole is the addition of an full EVA “strobel board”. A strobel board is a sheet of EVA that is glued to the midsole and then the Upper is stiched to the material. It does make the midsole less flexible but adds a massive amount of stability to the shoe. The MT910v2 has a relatively low heel-to-toe drop of 8mm which will put less strain on the calf muscles over the long haul, although to be honest I would have preferred a 4mm drop it will appeal to a wider market of runners. Add a Rock Stop® to all this and you have one of the best Ultra running midsoles on the market.

Upper:

Sublime design

Sublime design

It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to figure out that this shoe is oh so nice to look at! It is simply stunning. The nuclear orange contrast with the black midsole is enough to frighten even the hardest of enemies. The full synthetic mesh upper is breathable and tough. I was glad to find it standing up against possible scuffs and scratches from branches or rocks on the trail. The Toe Protect feature in the front of the shoe is a welcome addition as well, adding to the confidence needed to go in guns blazing when you need to. The shoe has also been designed to keep stuff out, the tongue is secured to the edges of the upper ensuring small stones etc don’t get into the shoe and a thick gusseted heel arch also keeps dirt out at the back. New Balance really have gone to town to ensure that this shoe will be the least of your concerns in an Ultra distance race.

Full Synthetic Mesh Upper

Full Synthetic Mesh Upper

Conclusion:

As Ultra running is becoming more and more popular we are seeing battles raging for the top spot. Runners are looking for well constructed and practical products that can get them through the distance. No Ultra runner is looking to bring a knife to a gun fight. Preparation and a big stick will ensure victory. With the MT910v2 New Balance haven’t just won the battle, they might have just won the war.

#Alwaysinbeta

#Alwaysinbeta

Spec Sheet

Spec Sheet

Please like & share:

Altra Running Superior 2 review

Enjoying the Grey and Green contrast

Enjoying the Grey and Green contrast

The Times They Are a-Changin’ – a review of the new Altra Running Superior 2 Trail Shoe

In 1964 Bob Dylan released a song titled “The Times They Are a-Changing”. It is said that he was inspired by Irish and Scottish ballads and it was his intention to attempt to inspire a hunger for change through the song. In 2005 it was ranked #59 on Rolling Stone’s list of “The 500 Greatest Songs of all Time.” The song became heavily influential in causing society to seek change where change was necessary and has been covered by many artists after Dylan wrote it.

When I think about the running shoe industry the song that comes to mind is this one, and boy the times sure are a-changing! For the first time in a long time shoe manufacturers are actually listening to their customers requests and feedback. They are finding what works through extensive testing with their Pro athlete’s out in the field as well as through the consumers who actually buy and use their products. The days when the companies set the trends, in terms of shoe function, are gone. The new era of the informed consumer seeking specific specifications has dawned. We as runners, have essentially changed the running industry. I think Bob Dylan would be proud.

A few years ago a book called, “Born to Run”, came out and people went ballistic for minimalism and barefoot running. Although you still get the die-hard fans (myself being one of them) the demand dried up quite quickly as the masses went straight into running barefoot without the proper coaching and transitioning, resulting in injuries and ironically a backlash in the industry to the other side of the spectrum.. Maximalist shoes (Think Hoka One One). I am not for or against any size of cushioning but one thing I am a huge fan of is the low heel-to-toe drop. The best thing that the barefoot running craze did for the running industry was show people how important a minimal (0mm-4mm) heel-to-toe drop is.

Altra's award winning Superior 2.0

Altra’s award winning Superior 2

I first came across Altra Running on the net when it was still only available in America, to me it seemed like the perfect balance. Some shoes with minimal cushioning, some with maximal but thankfully everyone one of them with 0mm heel-to-toe drop. How the company started making the shoes in the first place could have been a music video for Bob Dylan’s song. Runners used to bring their shoes to Altra Running founder, Golden Harper, who began cutting up and melting down runners shoes to decrease the amount of drop between the heel and toe. It became more and popular as customers were seeing results that eventually Altra Running was born. Altra has carved a serious niche for itself in a fiercely competitive industry

So how does the shoe that has continued to inspire change, like Dylan’s song, perform on the trials.

The view :)

The view :)

One word. Fantastic.

OutSole:

Let me start with the negatives so we can get to the good stuff, as fantastic as these shoes are I unfortunately have an issue with one aspect. I am sorry to say but in the wet this shoe is a hazard. It really has poor grip in the wet, and by wet I mean running in the rain over wet and slippery rocks. In the shoes defense no shoe is going to give you complete stability on the very wet and rocky surfaces but unfortunately I found these to be a little too slippery for my liking. It’s not all bad though because in the dry they are phenomenal. If Formula 1 teams have different tread for different conditions then these would be Ferrari’s dry tyres. There are a lot of different factors that have made this shoe one of my favourite dry ground, semi-technical shoe. The TrailClaw™ outsole features canted lugs which, in the dry, provide you with fantastic grip regardless of the terrain. The low stack height gives you a low ground feel and the zero drop platform all come together in an incredible way. All 3 factors really do make for a fast and agile ride on a dry trail.

Photo: Chris Walley

Photo: Chris Walley

MidSole:

As I mentioned earlier the shoe has a low stack height which is great for confidence. This gives you more of a feel of what’s going on underneath your feet giving you the confidence to push the pace. The stack height is 21mm all round which in my opinion is still minimal. The shoes come with a removable rock plate for really technical terrain, this works very well in releasing some of the pressure from below. There are grid-like grooves in the midsole which allow your feet to flex freely. There is very little rigid feedback from the shoe. This also inspires a more ‘natural’ and agile feel to your run. The shoe for me feels like it has more than 21mm of cushioning as it is more comfortable compared to other shoe’s I have run in with a similar stack height. Altra uses what they call “A-bound” technology in their midsole, which according to them helps recycle the energy and return it to the running gait. Reducing the impact of hard surfaces and adding a spring to the step. I found this to be true, especially on tar or hard pack running. In fact this shoe for me has been brilliant on the tar.

Photo Cred: Altra Running

Photo Cred: Altra Running

Upper:

The Upper has been very well constructed. As far as I have run in the shoes I have not seen the Upper coming loose from the sole or tearing in any places. My favourite feature of the Upper is the wide toe box, there is nothing worse than cramped toes in a tiny toe box so Altra have made sure this is not the case in the Superior 2. Use with a pair of INJINJI toes socks and all your little piggies will have as much space as they need. There are no stitching overlays inside the shoe the which adds to the comfort and the Superior 2 breathes incredibly well. Not only do your toes have space but the breathability of the shoe keeps them fresh. The shoes do ride a half size bigger according to Altra (I went a full size bigger) so if you are buying these online I suggest trying on a pair at a local running shop first. The grey and green contrast really give the shoes a ‘classy’ feel for me.

Conclusion:

All in all these really are an award-winning shoe, very comfortable, and have all the right features to keep the performance levels up there with the best. They unfortunately aren’t great on large wet rocks but if you looking for a fast and comfortable dry weather shoe you won’t go wrong with these. The terrain I found these shoes to perform at their absolute best was desert / dune / beach running. The wide surface area of the outsole gives you a massive advantage on the soft sand, this along with the Gator Trap behind the heel and the high breathability make this the absolute perfect shoe for a Desert Race.

Beach Running Bliss in the Superior 2.0

Beach Running Bliss in the Superior 2.0

Technical Specs

  • The Men’s Superior 2 runs 1/2 size short.
  • Weight: 8.7 oz
  • Cushioning: Light
  • Ideal Uses: Trail Running, Hiking, Fastpacking, Trail Racing
  • Designed to Improve: Running Form, Toe Splay, Stability, Traction, Comfort, Trail Protection
  • Platform: Zero Drop™ Platform, FootShape™ Toe Box
  • Stack Height: 21 mm
  • Midsole: Dual Layer EVA with A-Bound™ Top Layer
  • Outsole: Sticky Rubber TrailClaw™
  • Insole: 5 mm Contour Footbed with Removable StoneGuard™ Rock Protection
  • Upper: Quick-Dry Trail Mesh, Minimal Seams
  • Other Features: Trail Rudder, GaiterTrap™ Technology

Please like & share:

Camelbak Circuit Hydration Pack Review

Introduction

They say that the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles power was in their shells, they were the original heros of the half-shell. Fearless. Agile. Able to overcome any obstacle and defeat any foe. I remember, as a young boy, pretending I was Leonardo with swords drawn running around the garden fighting off Shredder and his evil villains. Granted it was all in my imagination but I fully believed it was real, even if my ‘swords’ were just sticks and my ‘mask’ an old cut up blue shirt. I felt free, invincible, courageous, able to tackle any adventure. Never did I expect to feel like that way again, that was at least until I put on the Camelbak Circuit Hydration pack. All of a sudden those images and memories from my childhood came rushing back in like a flood and it suddenly hit me, I finally had my ‘half-shell’. Instead of running around the garden defeating Shredder and his posse I was now running over mountains defeating rock monsters and roaring winds, imagination still alive and kicking :)

Perfect positioning for a lightweight pack

Perfect positioning for a lightweight pack

As Trail Runners we are often frowned upon by our cousins of the tar with our back packs bulging with food and water bottles, trucker caps, buffs pulled over our faces, waterproof jackets and bearded faces. This reminds me of one particular morning in early winter a few years back where a few of us set out from Fish Hoek beach to run the Old Fishermans Trail to Hout Bay. It was a chilly morning and the weather on top of the mountain was looking wet and windy. While running the tar section to the trail head we passed some road runners out on their morning jog, them in their flimsy vests and 2 inch Split Polly Shorts, and us? We were kitted out head to toe for the usual gnarley winter mountain weather. I remember them chuckling to themselves as they passed us but what our cousins of the tar failed to realise is that support is a critical part of being a successful trail runner. Unfortunately most people starting out in Trail Running also take this for granted and a scary experience while venturing out unprepared can ruin the beauty and purity of running in the mountains. (If you missed it we discussed why the mountain is so unforgiving here and why it will chew you up six ways to Sunday if you are not prepared.)

One of the key ways of being prepared is ensuring you have adequate kit, water and fueling with you to safely complete whatever route you are attempting to do, this is where hydration packs come in. They make it massively convenient for you to carry your water, energy food, cell phone, extra kit or anything else you might want to take with you. Unfortunately they can be also quite cumbersome and uncomfortable at times, which really ruins the fun factor. It is horribly frustrating  being smacked from behind by your Llama Bars while trying to run and your phone is jabbing you in the ribs, yes Llama Bars give a could kick but they shouldn’t have to literally kick you. This has taught me that you can also be over-prepared (although this is a whole let better than being under-prepared). It is this reason why I am so thoroughly enjoying my new half-shell, the Camelbak Circuit. It has just enough space to ensure you are safe in most situations yet at the same time you are limited in packing space to ensure you remain light weight and agile. There is no doubt about it, this pack is a lightweight, race your face off, hydration and fuel when you need it kind of pack. It does not mess around. It is so comfortable and snug fitting at times you will forgot you are even wearing a pack, don’t get me wrong I have a few niggles but we will get to those a little later.

Camelbak Circuit Review

The pack sits perfectly between the shoulder blades, high up on the back and completely out of the way of your elbows as you run. This for me is one of the reasons why the pack is so comfortable. You will struggle to have it weigh in over 2.5kg fully loaded and I found that having it sit so high up put a lot less pressure on my lower back than other packs I use that sit lower down on the back. What this does for stability and confidence on the trail is massive, not once did I feel the pack throw me off balance as I shifted sharply on the trail. Where I went, the pack went. The Hydration Pack is so snug it literally feels as a part of you as your shoes do (provided they fit properly).

Many packs have a ‘ventilation’ pad at the point where the pack makes contact with your back, often you don’t really feel the difference but with the Circuit it is very obvious early on that you have a lot more breathing room than normal. I always find it so ironic when the pack that is meant to keep you hydrated causes you to sweat more because it doesn’t breathe well enough which causes overheating and dehydration. This is not the case with the Circuit. As you can see from the image below, the vents are large and numerous which aids in keeping you cool. Especially if you have ice in the pack, it really helps to keep you cool through the vents on really hot days.

Effective Breathability

Effective Breathability

So what about packing space and access to it all out on the trail? Call me crazy but the one thing that makes me feel like an Ultra Runner is having bottles on the front of my pack, I don’t know why but I feel badass when I run on the trail with bottles nestled nicely on my chest, there when I need them, looking cool when I don’t. The Camelbak Circuit has space for not one, but two bottles in the front of the pack, that is if the 1.5L reservoir is not enough for you. This enables you to comfortably carry 2.5 liters out on the trail (I found 500ml bottles fitted best, 750ml felt a bit top heavy for me). If you only need one extra bottle you have an extra pocket to store a buff, energy bars, gels or even a rain jacket.

The reservoir has a wide opening for easy cleaning and also features hanging clips which speed up drying after use, there is nothing worse than your reservoir going gunky cause it stays wet in your cupboard, thankfully the developers at Camelbak thought of this.

Depending on the distance and duration you are heading out for you will need to be creative in how you pack your kit to maximise it’s effectiveness. For example, this last Saturday I was out running with the pack for about 7 hours on Table Mountain. Water is scarce up there at the moment but I opted to leave the bottles at home so I could carry my TNF Verto Storm jacket in one of the mesh pockets and enough food to last 7 hours in the other. I only needed to refill the bladder once and found it really easy to do with the reservoir still in the pack. The opening is very large and the pack clips nicely behind the opening making it quick and easy to refill.

If you need to carry less food, there is a smaller envelope type pocket which fits about 2 or 3 bars and a gel giving you the space in front for the extra bottle. Each person is different and their nutrition requirements out running are different so you will need to find what works for you.

Ample space for extra bottle

Ample space for extra bottle

There is also a great, sweat proof, pocket with a zip on the front of the pack which is perfect for your keys, card, phone or anything else you don’t want to lose out on the trail. It is small though, an iPhone 5s fits perfectly in there but if you have a larger phone you are going to struggle to get it in there. If you are fortunate to have a waterproof storm jacket that folds up into it’s pocket the mesh pockets on the pack are perfectly sized for holding your extra layer should the weather make a turn for the worse.

TNF Verto Storm jacket sitting 'purty' :)

TNF Verto Storm jacket sitting ‘purty’ :)

This is Camelbak’s lightest pack available, a mere 270g (pack only) yet what surprised me the most about it is that it is not only for a short run. This pack can go the distance, a massive distance, if you are clever with how you pack and have a good refueling strategy. So if you are needing a lightweight pack that will enable you to stay nimble and agile but has the features to cover proper distances then I would suggest looking at getting this pack. I am interested to see how far one can go with this pack, I intend to test that out at the 80km Puffer in August.

Right so as I mentioned earlier I have one or two niggle with this pack, nothing major but issues that for me would make a great pack even better if adjusted. First one is very small but the dual sternum straps which are very comfy and keep the pack fitting snug have no clips or loops for the slack that is left in the strap after pulling it tight. This means that they ‘flap’ around a lot as you run. This probably won’t bother most people but it bothers me, it’s not that fun being tapped on your chest by a lose strap for hours on end. That being said it is an easy fix, I just used some elastic hair bands to secure them down.

The other issue, and it could be because the pack is still relatively new, but it is a little too difficult for my taste to get the PureFlow tube out of the clips when you need a drink. Like I said it could be because it is new and hopefully the clips will loosen over time but running along technical rocky sections tugging at the pipe with both hands while watching where you are going can be risky. As a temporary fix I just looped the pipe through the chest straps which works really well.

BBTR4All in all I really do rate this as one of the better packs I have run in, light, fast, comfortable, and great looking. Camelbak have been making packs ever since I can remember. My first memory of them is as a boy, my dad had an early generation Camelbak Classic that we used on our missions together in the mountains, must have been about 15 years ago. It was a great pack then and I am happy to see that they are still one of the worlds best masters of hydration.

If the Turtles’ power was in their shells, then a runners power and strength is directly effected by their Support / Hydration pack. It is well said that Ultra running is basically an eating and drinking contest with some exercise thrown in the mix. That being said any decent trail run is essentially an eating and drinking contest. The technical terrain and radical elevations that you are covering is so taxing on the body you burn through calories faster than Michelangelo burns through 6 large Pepperoni Pizza’s. If you don’t hydrate, you die. Thankfully the Camelbak Hydration Pack, has your back!

Key Features:

  • External fill
  • Sweat-proof phone pocket
  • Stretch overflow storage
  • Reflectivity
  • Fits 30″-46″ chest.

Designed to Carry:

  • Water bottle
  • Extra layer
  • Nutrition
  • Phone
  • Keys

 Specifications:

  • Hydration Capacity: 50 oz / 1.5L
  • Total Capacity: 1.5L Reservoir
  • Total Weight: 9.5 oz / 270g (pack only)
  • Dimensions: 17 x 13.5 x 2 in
  • Torso Length: 30 cm
  • Back Panel: Air mesh
  • Harness: Fixed harness with cargo pockets and dual slider™ sternum strap. Fits 30″—46″ chest.
  • Fabric: 70D reverse chain nylon.

Check out this video to see the pack in action: VIDEO

If you don’t already follow us on Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter head on over and follow / like our pages to keep up to date with all that is going on at BBTR.

Thank you to Cape Cycle Systems for sending us the pack.

Stay classy fans of BBTR!

Please like & share:

Don’t Run, IGNITE!

Yes, we know this is a road shoe :) Trail Runners also run on the tar, occasionally, and since we hate wasting the amazing grip of our trail shoe on the tar here is a review of a road specific shoe so you can save your lugs for hugging the mud.

Enter the Puma #IGNITE:

Don't run, #IGNITE

Don’t run, #IGNITE

Every now and then a shoe comes out that even before you have seen it in the flesh you know it is going to be a great shoe! It is usually accompanied by a very good marketing campaign and a few pro athletes throwing their hard earned experience in with the shoe to create a demand that will hopefully exceed the supply, and catapult the companies new creation into legendary status. Has Puma achieved that with the IGNITE? Have they set a new industry standard? First impressions would say a definite “hell yeah”!

Puma, for me, has always been one of the coolest and hippest brands of shoe out there. Their Lifestyle collections are jaw droppingly stunning, but if I am brutally honest I have often found that they haven’t quite been able to carry that innovation, style, class and industry shaking ‘PUMA-ness’ into their performance ranges as well as I would have hoped. There is no denying the shoes are good, Usain Bolt wouldn’t be running in them if they weren’t, but I couldn’t shake the feeling that Puma was missing a shoe for the non-lightning-like and aspiring speedsters to enjoy and thrive in. My hopes were realised when a comet came crashing into my life. A comet in the shape of a brand spanking new pair of the recently launched Puma IGNITES!

The IGNITES are designed from the inspiration of a comet.

The IGNITES are designed from the inspiration of a comet.

Once they cooled down enough after entering the earths atmosphere at a serious speed I was able to put them on for the first time and man were they comfortable! The soft, ultra-thin suede tongue was the first thing I noticed. There is nothing worse than a thick tongue digging into the top of your feet and these are so thin you actually forget they are there, yet they still disperse the lace pressure perfectly over your foot. The sock liner is a molded EVA and is another great feature that adds to the comfort. The fact that there are no sew lines inside the shoe means the shoe really fits around your feet like a glove, making your IGNITE experience a really fast one.

Puma have labelled this shoe their “most responsive running shoe ever” and they are not wrong. The IGNITE midsole is made from Puma’s PU foam which offers a high-rebounding ride which really does disperse the impact of the forces generated while running extremely well, yet the shoe still offers an incredible amount of response and feedback through your feet which enables you to turn all of that cool sounding stuff into some serious speed! Some shoes are so focused on cushioning that you lose out on actually feeling what’s going on underneath you, you are basically made to run with pillows strapped to your feet at the expense of all your agility, power and fun-factor. The IGNITES take the best of what’s out there in terms of cushioning and still allows you to run like a cat through your city. Mobile. Agile. Free. Lets face it this shoe is hot, probably one of the best looking shoes that have been launched in the last while. The designer, Jacob Garia, designed the shoe around a comet. We think he nailed it!

Outside is free.

Along with the cushioning and responsiveness the shoe is incredibly light off the toe as you roll through your running gait, some shoes feel lethargic through the ‘toe-off’ phase but Puma have given the shoe amazing flexibility through the forefoot flex grooves. The other aspect of this I really enjoy is that the shoe actually stays together at the points where the forefoot flexes and moves as you run. Some shoes start pulling off the mid-sole or the logo starts separating from the upper as the shoe flexes and it is really annoying, the quality Puma have nailed with this shoe is going to ruffle some serious feathers in the industry. The mid-sole also features some clever and very cool looking Chevron flex grooves along the side of the sole, at first I thought it was just for show but they add a decent amount of flexibility to the sole which again turns effortlessly into some serious speed. Thanks to Puma’s EverTrack technology the high-wear areas of the shoe are beefed up with some added durability.

No excuses, only endorphins.

No excuses, only endorphins.

Not only are the clever cats at Puma clever enough to design this stellar shoe but they are also clever enough to know that people don’t just buy brands for the sake of buying brands, people buy brands because they want to belong to a community. When you buy a pair of IGNITES you are not just buying a pair of shoes, you are buying into a community. With the connectivity of social media that is not just a local community, but a global one. Thanks to Puma’s app, PumaTrac, runners looking to get fit have run out of excuses. City’s compete against each other using their various hashtags (for us Capetonians it’s #IGNITECapeTown) and the app features a variety of rewards and challenges to accomplish. If ever you needed some decent motivation, this is it. The other day I found myself not feeling like a run but then the thought of JHB, Durban or even Mumbai catching up to us was enough to make sure I laced up my shoes and hit the ground running. #NoExcuses.

2015-03-27 14_FotorPuma are completely revolutionizing how their customers are responding to their brand and their products. Now instead of just being one of the top shoe salesman in the world they are facilitating everything a runner needs for success in his or her running career. They are literally creating a platform for the brand to be there for their fans. Every. Step. Of. The. Way! They have built a world wide community, which is why they can confidently say, “Don’t run, #IGNITE!”.

Puma… We the fans, salute you!

Don't run, IGNITE!

Don’t run, IGNITE!

 

Please like & share:

Puma FAAS 300 v2 TR Review

Let me ask you a question? Why is it that you think we as runners read these types of reviews? Is it for insight, or is it maybe that we don’t always trust the marketing “schpeals” that come with the shoe? It could even just be for pure entertainment, for example I thoroughly enjoy watching the Ginger Runner reviews for a good laugh. Mostly though I think it is because we would like to know how the product handles in the real world on real trails etc. It’s easy to read a bunch of complicated high tech and fancy sounding words but until you actually run in the shoe, one has no idea how it is going to play out in the real world.

It is because of this fact that I believe Trail and Mountain Running as a sport is really starting to hit a sweet spot at the moment. 5 years ago we were very limited in terms of shoe options, as well as kit and accessories options. As the sport has grown and as more and more events are filling up the calendar companies are really putting their R&D budgets to work to ensure they stay ahead of the curve. (Sometimes they go a little too far ahead like these particular what-ya-ma-call-its??? but hey let’s not blame them for wanting to push the envelope). This also means that existing models are being revamped often, as technology improves and companies receive constructive feedback from their pro athletes and customers. What this means for us as trail runners is that we are no longer scraping the bottom of the barrel to find good quality products to feed our hunger for the dirt. Companies like Puma that were solely a lifestyle, road, track and field brand have started developing competitive ‘trail-specific’ shoes that are really going to shake a few tree’s once word gets out how good they actually are.

Which brings me back to this review, the cool cats at Puma South Africa very generously sent me a pair of the FAAS 300 v2 TR in the recently launched ‘NightCat Camo’ edition and straight out the box these shoes were made to impress. (For our review on the ladies FAAS 300 TR version 1 click here.) Looks wise they are stunning, as you can see from the images they really are a very photogenic shoe with the “360 degrees of camo-inspired reflectivity which makes you visible in the dark” (hence the name ‘NightCat’). Let’s face it, running is way better when your kit looks cool whether it’s in the day time or at night :)

2015-03-07 09.00.01-1The outsole features a high abrasion resistant rubber in high wear areas which gives the outsole added durability, all that means is that they have put a material that lasts longer on the parts of the shoe that usually wears down the fastest. Trail shoes take a pounding on sharp rocks, loose gravel, and running through mud so added durability is always a plus in my book. This is also one of the key features that makes this shoe a great trail to tar shoe, not all of us live in the Alps or at the Western States trail head so some tar running is usually needed to get to the trail. These shoes are great for that, one of my favourite features of this shoe is that they are just as comfortable on the road as they are on the trail.

The multi-directional lugs, which are found in most trail shoes worth looking at, provide that added stability and grip on the steeper descents. We trail runners appreciate that extra stability when things get a little hairy. I will be honest, when I saw the outsole I thought to myself that Puma might have made a decent road shoe with some off road capabilities. Thankfully looks can be deceiving and I was sheepishly surprised after taking the shoe onto the trail and finding out that the grip was magic. The shoe holds it’s own out on the trail and they did not shy away from the technical rocky sections. The rock grip of the shoe is decent, I experienced very little slippage jumping between the larger rocks. It usually takes me a few runs before I can ‘trust’ the capabilities of a shoe to really open up the taps. After only a few km’s into the first run I felt like I had been running in the shoe for months which is one of the best things Puma has going for this shoe. Have you ever met someone for the first time and after a coffee and a good chat you feel like you have been friends for years, that’s what it was like for me and the FAAS 300 v2 TR.

The outsole can't wait to get a grip!

The midsole, as with all the other FAAS models, Puma has gone with their FAAS Foam which is a lightweight one-piece blend of foam and rubber and it really is light and it really is comfortable, oh and it really is fast! This shoe is light, in fact they are just over 230g for a pair of size 8’s which by our standards is very pleasantly light. Again the comfort of the midsole and the lighter weight make it a great tar to trail shoe. Not everyone has the finances to buy a pair of shoes for every kind of terrain so if you are looking for a shoe that isn’t a “jack of all trade’s and master of none” but actually performs when you need it to this is definitely one of the best shoes out there. The FAAS Foam takes the impact of the tar as well as protecting the foot from sharp rocks on the trail. There is no rock plate but I found that it really isn’t necessary as the midsole provides adequate protection, this also keeps the shoe very flexible and allows for a fast roll off on the toe, as you can see from the image below.

The flexibility of the shoe is great!

The Upper of the shoe has been designed really well, it features minimal ‘no-sew’ overlays which provide great support to the foot. On the trail the more support you get the better. The ‘no-sew’ overlays also mean less abrasion on the foot inside the shoe, this helps to prevent blisters very well. The shoe breathes and displaces water incredibly well, having water sloshing around in the shoe after running through a river or a stream is not fun at all, thanks to what Puma calls it’s “Air Mesh Upper” water is able to escape fairly quickly and your foot can breathe better on those hot summer days. One of the fun features that I have begun to appreciate is a small ‘pocket’ at the top of the tongue that you can fold the laces into, I hate having laces flapping around while I run so this was a great feature, plus it keeps the shoe looking super fast and sleek which my OCD enjoys thoroughly.

The only issue I have with the shoe is the narrow toe box, although in the shoe’s defense I do have freakishly wide feet so for a normal size foot they would more than likely be fine but I personally did find the toe box quite narrow. As you can see from the image below it could actually be the sole itself which is a bit too narrow for my feet (see how my foot stretches out over the sole in the load phase). Next time I will go for 1 size up (like I had to do with the New Balance Fresh Foam) and see if that makes a difference. If you, like me, have a more wider foot try fitting a half size or full size bigger than you would normally go for.

Notice how my foot stretches over the sole in the load phase.

I do believe Puma has made a massive effort to improve a number of key areas of the shoe, some areas I would have liked to see an improvement were left out (specifically wider toe box) but the version 2.0 is monumentally better than the version 1.0 – in fact it is probably the best improvement I have ever experienced between different models of a shoe on all the brands of shoes I have run in. The key is that they made lots of small adjustments that most people might miss and say ah it looks just like version 1. Trust me, it is not! Those little adjustments and improvements add up to one great shoe. When those pesky software updates come out for my iPhone I don’t always install them, some of them are lame and change my phone so much I don’t even recognise it. This, though, is definitely one of those “software updates” you want to do. #ForeverFaster

lightweight flexibility turning into speed :)

 

Please like & share:

VIVOBAREFOOT Breatho Trail Shoes – A Long Term Review

Written by: Bearded Brothers (Theo and Rae)

VIVOBAREFOOT Breatho Trail Shoes

The VIVOBAREFOOT Breatho

So before we start I have to admit, I might be a little biased in this review. As this is a long term review, I am giving you an opinion on a shoe that has been my go-to trail friend for the last year. It is a bit like giving you an opinion on one of my children, I think they are beautiful, warts and all (not that they have warts but you get the point). Now that you know that, here goes.

Quick Overview

Pro’sCon’s
LightweightLaces
Mad gripTakes a while to get used to
Helps you make the most of the sensory feedbackNot great on tar (if you run to the trail head)
Stylish looksCould do with a bit more underfoot protection
Good moisture management
Did I say lightweight?
Arch protection

A little background understanding – Proprioception

Proprioception is basically a fancy word to explain how your body is good at adjusting how you perform actions based on sensory feedback. It uses nerves to provide feedback to the brain of the environment that surround you. The brain uses this feedback in turn to adjusts your actions. Go on, try it out, take your shoes off and run on different surfaces and see how your body automatically adjusts your stride.

Why is this important to know? Well, Minimal / ‘Barefoot Running’ shoes allow maximum Proprioception in order to allow you to develop an efficient and effective barefoot running style. The team at VIVOBAREFOOT have set out to create shoes that help the body make the absolute most of all this data and turn it into speed, running efficiency and most importantly… fun!

First Impressions of the VIVOBAREFOOT Breatho Trail Shoes

VIVOBAREFOOT Breatho Trail Shoes

Good looking shoes, very easy on the eye indeed!

Key Features of the VIVOBAREFOOT Breatho Trail Shoes

The Look

It is safe to say the VIVOBAREFOOT Breatho Trail Shoes are very, very easy on the eye. The design and colour scheme give it a very relevant appeal in today’s world of brightly coloured and designed shoes.

The Sole

VIVOBAREFOOT Breatho Trail Shoes

These soles grips like you cannot believe!

The lugs at the bottom of the shoe are what caught my eye first, all 4.5mm of them and with the bantam 2.5mm outsole they ensure maximum grip and sensory feedback.

The lugs on the heel face the opposite direction as the lugs on the front. This helps to keep you on your feet on those steep and slippery descents. During testing in wet wintery conditions this shoe very seldom lost grip. To say that I was impressed with the grip of the VIVOBAREFOOT Breatho Trail Shoes would be an understatement.

There is something to be said about having peace of mind in the ability of your shoes to grip. Knowing you can take a few more risks or be a little more adventurous all adds to faster times and less time spent on the ground.

The Upper

Apart from the brilliant grip of the shoe I noticed on the first run how the breathable mesh really allows for great ventilation around the foot. Running through rivers and in heavy rain the mesh upper also allowed the shoe to drain quickly.

The Inside

The 3mm insole sports a hex-flexmoisture management system which helps to keep the feet warm in colder conditions, you can run in socks in these shoes but I never do.

One of my absolute favourite features of this shoe is the added arch protection on the side of the shoe. A sharp rock into the side of your foot is never fun and I appreciated no rock punctures into my foot arches in these shoes.

A wide toe box allows your toes to spread. This in turn gives better balance and running efficiency, nothing worse than cramped toes! If you have ever been on a 4×4 trip you would know that on soft sand sections you let air out of your tyres to increase grip by giving the tyre a larger contact area. The same concept works here, wider toe box gives a wider surface area which gives more grip.

The Weight

One of my other favourite feature, and for the weight weanies amongst us, the VIVOBAREFOOT Breatho Trail Shoes weigh in at an incredible 272g, I had to look down at times to check I still had shoes on my feet while blitzing along the trail.

VIVOBAREFOOT Breatho Trail Shoes

Proper running technique is important to avoid injuries with these puppies.

General Impressions of the VIVOBAREFOOT Breatho Trail Shoes

Back to Proprioception. Since the outsole is a mere 2.5mm you need to be very conscious of not ‘heel striking’. At first my heels were a bit sensitive and my calves and achilles quite sore, but as I ran more and more in the VIVOBAREFOOT Breatho Trail Shoes, I started to get the hang of the ‘Barefoot Running’ technique.

This isn’t a shoe you can get ‘lazy’ in. I seldom ran with the removable in-sole as I preferred the heightened sensory feedback you get without it. This however also meant less cushioning. Don’t be fooled, there are no gimmicks here! To run in these shoes properly you will need to adjust your technique. This takes time. The shoe is a tool but you need to learn proper technique and allow your body time to adapt to a new ‘Barefoot Running’ style. Dial back your miles if you are new to minimal / barefoot running shoes. Get the technique right and then you will enjoy many injury free miles in the VIVOBAREFOOT Breatho Trail Shoes.

VIVOBAREFOOT Breatho Trail Shoes

Good Moisture Management

Things I Did Not Like About the VIVOBAREFOOT Breatho Trail Shoes

This wouldn’t be a proper independent review if I didn’t touch on the things I didn’t enjoy about the shoe.

I would change the laces on the shoes. A silly and small thing I know, but they are far too long. If I didn’t tie them in a triple knot they would kept coming undone as I ran. The last thing you want is to suddenly find yourself face down on a jagged rocky section because you tripped over your own laces. The elastic loc-lace type laces would be my first choice for a shoe like this (which is what VIVOBAREFOOT did for their Trail Freak model).

My other comment, not so much an issue was that the sole only partially protected your feet from sharp objects. This is because it is a ‘Barefoot Running’ shoe and the whole point of Proprioception (sensory feedback) is to provide feedback, I know. None the less, you need to make peace early on with the fact that these are not cushioned shoes and you’re feet will have to adapt to the lack of underfoot protection.

In Conclusion

These shoes are radically fast (maybe because of the increased confidence and traction) and light. They feel solid on any terrain you run on and conditions you are running in.

The toe box is nice and wide which improves the grip and ensures that you do not end up with black toenails. I did runs of up to 35km (21.7mi) in them and they felt great. Even during multi-day events I did not feel that I needed more cushioning in the shoe.

The shoe handles getting wet fairly well and drains water rapidly. I did find they took long to dry out completely though. The shoe has good ventilation and is cool in hot conditions.

On the durability front VIVOBAREFOOT need to do some work. Although the shoes are a year old and have seen many miles on some very unforgiving rocky terrain they did start to deteriorate fairly early on. No show stoppers but at the price point the shoes comes in on I expected more in the durability department.

So my advice to you if you decide to buy these shoes is this, give it some time. You will need time to adapt your running style, get your body strong (feet and calves in particular) and get used to the increased sensory feedback. If this is your first pair of minimalist / barefoot shoes this can take some time, don’t rush it. Start pre-season when mileage is minimal and build up gradually as you feel your body adapting.

I personally would recommend the VIVOBAREFOOT Breatho Trail Shoes. I have used them for a year now and still love them. I tried a pair of cushioned shoes a couple of days ago and turned back after a couple of hundred metres to change to my VIVOBAREFOOT Breatho Trail Shoes.

VIVOBAREFOOT Breatho Trail Shoes

We’ve been places, me and my VIVOBAREFOOT Breatho Trail Shoes

Please like & share:

The Fresh Prince of Boston – New Balance Fresh Foam 980 Trail Shoe

New Balance Fresh Foam 980 Trail Shoe

Striking shoe – New Balance Fresh Foam 980 Trail Shoe

If you were a teenager in the 90’s you will at some point have had your favourite TV show set on The Fresh Prince of Bel Air. A quirky comedy about a typical mischievous and rough around the edges teenager who get’s thrust into the high life when he moves in with his wealthy Aunt and Uncle who live in Bel Air. Just why it was such a big hit I believe is that in some ways we can all relate to Will Smith’s character. Even if we weren’t a teenager at the time it is highly likely that we secretly dreamt to be a youth again. You have to admit it, being a teenager is pretty exciting, fun and carefree. As a teenager you have very little responsibilities, you think you know everything, and life is a beach. It is fun not being grown up, to have an excuse for your wild behaviour. I mean when did we as adults become so serious about everything? Maybe it’s the bills to pay at the end of the month, or the car or house we want to buy so we work extra hard to get it. I don’t know about you but I constantly need to remind myself to slow down once in a while and actually have some fun, to not take life so seriously..

Enter The Fresh Prince of Boston. The quirky, mischievous and a little rough around the edges teenager of the running world. The Fresh Prince of Boston, also known as the New Balance Fresh Foam 980 Trail Shoe (this particular review is about the trail version hence the name of the site). When New Balance first brought out the Fresh Foams they had an air of mischief to them, in many ways they were nothing like New Balance had ever brought out before. Moving from it’s Rev-lite and minimus mid and outer soles New Balance was taking a gamble, in a sense rewriting it’s legacy in an over saturated industry. A bold move that is not unlike a teenager who is not afraid to challenge the status quo, not afraid to try something fresh, throw off the mundane and have some fun. I mean just look at the colour options you get with the shoe, if that doesn’t scream a wild carefree teenager like spirit then I don’t know what will.

Don’t get me wrong, just because I am comparing this shoe to a wild and fresh teenager doesn’t mean the shoe shouldn’t be taken seriously! In fact this shoe, while being wild and fresh, is very serious about it’s business and it’s business is performance.

New Balance Fresh Foam 980 Trail Shoe Review

Bearded Brother taking the New Balance Fresh Foam 980 Trail Shoe for a test drive.

Lets look at some of the specs:

The New Balance Fresh Foam 980 Trail Shoe Upper:

I have to admit I was a bit surprised to see that New Balance went with a singular stitch mesh design for the Fresh Foam Trail 980 Upper. It does breathe nicely which is great but it also hamper’s it’s strength and durability on the trail, I am happy to report though that the v2’s will come out with a cross stitched dual density mesh which will make it much stronger on the trail. Along with the padded heel bridge and the ‘Gusseted” tongue which very effectively keeps debris out of the shoe the Fresh Foam Trail’s hug your foot very nicely. Out on the trail I experienced very little niggles to my feet inside the shoe, the fact that the overlays are not sewed makes a massive difference and enables the shoe to comfortably be worn without socks.

The New Balance Fresh Foam 980 Trail Shoe Midsole:

As mentioned before New Balance has gone with a foam design on the midsole, this according to New Balance allows you to “Experience the science of soft — off road. With the same impossibly plush and natural underfoot feel as the road version, the Fresh Foam 980 Trail delivers a smooth yet stable ride.” The smooth yet stable ride comes from a ground clearance of 29.3mm at the heel and 22.7mm at the forefoot. This equates to an approximate 4mm heel to toe drop which for me is my most favourite feature of the shoe. New Balance have kept their philosophy from their more natural running inspired minimus shoes and kept the drop as minimal as possible while still offering a smooth and comfortable ride for the longer runs.

The New Balance Fresh Foam 980 Trail Shoe Outersole:

Any trail shoe worth it’s salt will always be graded according to grip and ride-ability. The fact that the Fresh Foam 980 Trails has a full ground contact out sole with multi-directional lugs which ensure fresh grip on even the most mischievous uphill and downhill tracks is a massive plus for this shoe. A “fast finish” angle to the outsole gives the shoe a great ‘roll-on’ effect as you run along the trail which I enjoyed quite a lot.

New Balance Fresh Foam 980 Trail Shoe

Good looking shoe – New Balance Fresh Foam 980 Trail Shoe

New Balance Fresh Foam 980 Trail Shoe Performance:

So how does it perform? It’s one thing to list a bunch of fresh sounding specs but out in the real world, on the trail, does it all come together like an inside out California roll or is it a fresh flop? First let me give you some context to my running, I am and always will be a ‘running with the fairies’ minimalist runner. For me less is always more when it comes to a running shoe so it is safe to say I was little skeptical of running in a ‘maximal’ shoe again. I was not disappointed. In fact I literally had to hide the Fresh Foams away after two weeks so I could go out in my minimus shoes again. Out on the trail they are incredibly comfortable, and at 8.9oz (230g) they are mischievously light! They handled the rocky, technical sections of the mountain really well and I felt very confident in their grip. They were, simply, a breathe of fresh air! The ride was soft yet surprisingly responsive and on the steep descents they were care free and agile. On hard pack and tar they were fantastic. The one thing to consider though is they do ride about a half size too small so if you are looking at them then try a size up as the toe box is a bit narrow.

New Balance Fresh Foam 980 Trail Shoe

Bearded Brother review – New Balance Fresh Foam 980 Trail Shoe in Action

I do still find my minimus shoes faster at higher speeds through the really technical stuff but for holding a consistent pace over the long haul the Fresh Foam 980 Trail Shoe is about as comfortable and responsive as you can ask for.

So I guess the question you need to ask yourself is how seriously are you taking yourself? Do you need a bit more fun in your life, a bit more foot loose and fancy free vibes? If so then you need to meet The Fresh Prince of Boston, the quirky mischievous and a little rough around the edges teenager of the running world.

New Balance Fresh Foam 980 Trail Shoe

Bearded Brother putting the New Balance Fresh Foam 980 Trail Shoe through its paces.

Please like & share:
10416596_637108013066972_1532502318853269322_n

PUMA Faas 300 Women’s Trail Shoe Review

 

PUMA Faas 300

The ladies will like this!

If I think of female super hero’s Cat Woman usually comes to mind, for me she has always been one of the best and most fiercest of all the female super hero’s. Being one of DC Comic’s master’s of villainy she would always prove to be a fierce rival and a force to be reckoned with. Her Cat-like agility and stealthy thievery enables her to thwart even the strongest and toughest of opponents. If Cat Woman had a hobby, it would be trail running, and she would be pretty darn amazing at it with her fierce agility and power.

Now unfortunately for the ladies out there, you can’t all be Cat Woman but fear not because the team at PUMA have given you the next best thing, the PUMA Faas 300 Trail Shoe. Designed specifically for ladies who crave those cat like reflexes and agility that Cat Woman seems to enjoy so much!

Sole of the PUMA Faas 300

Right out of the box it is clear that this shoe means business. The sole of the PUMA Faas 300 is littered with claw like lugs just waiting to tear at the dirt and rocks as you whisk along the single track, just like Cat Woman would leap and skip between buildings with her loot on a moonless night in Gotham. Running on wet, muddy or loose gravel will give you great confidence in the grip of the shoe, our tester even said, “They are super grippy, I could even probably walk up an acute angled wall if all the odds were in my favour.” Once you hit the hard pack don’t think yourself crazy to stop and check if the lugs (read claws) have retracted into the sole as the spacing between the lugs (read claws) and the comfort of the Faas Foam gives you a wonderfully smooth and flat ride on the harder stuff.

Staying with the sole lets look at the midsole, PUMA have used their Faas Foam throughout the midsole which gives the shoe a great ride and is very comfortable (according to our lady tester, Lona Trew-Browne). They say a cat always lands on her feet and with this mid and outer sole any lady is going to be happy to land on her feet on a rugged and technical trail. One of my favourite aspects of the PUMA Faas 300 is how PUMA have managed to give the shoe a decent and comfortable amount of cushioning while still keeping it light, agile and in a ‘minimal-shoe’ bracket. The one thing that it is missing though(which has been added to the V2 model) is a rock-plate which along with the Faas Foam keeps the shoe nicely flexible but does slightly lack in the under-foot protection department.

Heel to toe drop on the PUMA Faas 300 will bring you out at 8.0mm with Heel Height of 26.4mm and a Forefoot Height of 18.4mm. These measurements with the pliability of the Faas Foam gives you a very lightweight shoe weighing in at fierce 8oz. (or 225g).

The PUMA Faas 300 Upper

The Upper has not let down in the comfort and agility department either with a padded tongue as well as a cushioned heel bridge. PUMA have gone with an upper that is reinforced with their Translucent Webcage Technology and has a dual density mesh throughout which is very effective in keeping dust and dirt out of the shoe.

The Look

One benefit of buying shoes that are made by one of the largest Lifestyle and Sport Shoe manufacturer’s in the world is you are sure to get some great colour options. This particular pair came in a flaming purple which will definitely turn a few heads, yet it is dark enough to hide the dirt a bit longer than a lighter colour.

So there you have it ladies, there can be only one Cat Woman but thanks to the team at PUMA everyone can run like her.

Please like & share: