Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Brooks PureFlow 5 Review


I recently did a review of the Brooks Glycerin 13, which received Runner’s World’s Best Update Award for 2015.  It is an amazing shoe with a nice amount of cushion and feels great on the road (click here for my review).  The Glycerin 13 has a 10mm heel drop, which is more than I typically run in for my faster paced runs.  I am now testing out one of Brooks lighter weight shoes with a 4 mm heel drop, the PureFlow 5. 

Brooks is headquartered in Seattle, Washington.  Brooks’ motto is to “Run Happy” but they also try to “Live Green.”  Brooks has four categories for their shoes.

Cushion Me – Soft and protective shoes
Energize Me – Responsive and springy shoes
Connect Me – Light weight and flexible shoes
Propel Me – Fast, low-profile shoes   

The PureFlow 5 falls in the Connect Me category and while it is light, it still provides enough cushion to make sure your feet are protected not matter if you are on a training run or in a race.

Like the Glycerin 13, the PureFlow 5 uses Brooks’ 3D Fit Print, which is a revolutionary process that uses a screen-print technology to apply the structural material to the upper part of the shoe.  It applies structure to the shoe while still allowing the upper material to stretch.  This makes for a great fitting shoe that feels great. 

Another feature the PureFlow 5 has in common with the Glycerin 13 is the rounded heel that aligns the force of a heel impact with the center of your ankle joint to reduce the stress on your body.

Brooks is using their DNA LT midsole material, which adapts to each step and stride while weighing 10% less than their other midsole materials.  While there is less cushion than the Glycerin 13, I really liked the feel of the cushion.  It provided plenty of cushion and was really flexible.  Since this is part of the Connect Me category, you should be aware that the PureFlow 5 will not give you that ground contact feel that a more minimal shoe would provide, but it has more ground feel than the Glycerin 13.

The wraparound heel comfort collar provides a great fit and feels fantastic.  It locks in your heel and is a great feature for this shoe.  The tongue is awesome as well.  It is cushioned, but isn’t too bulky.  As with all of Brooks’ shoes, they use a round shoe lace that I feel is one of the best in the industry.  I never have to worry about them becoming untied in the middle of a run.

Pros:
Very comfortable
Nice low heel drop at 4mm
Great price $110
Looks awesome
Light weight at 9.2 ounces
90 Day Trial at Brooks.com (Free Returns)

Cons:
Runs a little short so I had to get a ½ size bigger.

Brooks Social Media Links





The Brooks Neuro will be released later this year.
I have been very impressed with both the Glycerin 13 and the PureFlow 5.  They are both awesome shoes that serve two different purposes.  I really like that the PureFlow 5 is a lighter weight shoe with a 4 mm heel drop.  It is really flexible with just enough cushioning and it felt great mile after mile.  The price point is great as well at $110 on the Brooks' website.  You can also find them at your local retailer (click here for locations). Way to go Brooks!  I can’t wait to see what Brooks will release in the next few months. 

Note:  I received this product in exchange for a review.  The review is my personal opinion of the product and I was not required to give a particular opinion of it.  I am not a doctor, so please use all of the products that I review at your own risk.

Friday, January 15, 2016

RAD Rod Review

I was so impressed with the RAD Roller products I reviewed a few weeks back that I contacted the company about testing out one more of their products, the RAD Rod.  It can be used in conjunction with the Helix and I really wanted to see if the RAD Rod could impress me as much as the Rad Roller and Helix did (click here to see my review).

RAD Roller is based out of Boulder Colorado, one of the healthiest places in America.  Michael Mallory, a biomechanics specialist, and Dan McIntosh, a professional triathlete, came up with the idea to fill a void in the massage tool industry.  They wanted to create a massage tool that could be used on the back that would not put pressure on the bones in your back and neck.  This is a common complaint I have with almost every foam roller out there.  That is where the RAD Roller came into existence. 

After a short time, the RAD Roller was expanded from the original (blue) to a firmer model (black) and a softer model (green).  They look like two racquetballs that are attached in the center.  RAD Roller quickly expanded their lineup.  Another product is the Rad Rod, which is a thin rod that is made to push the waste materials out of your soft tissue. 

The Rad Rod is 21.25” long and about .75” in diameter.  Its handles are covered in blue silicon, which provides a great grip.  The rotating center of the rod is made up of grey EVA foam, which is the material in the midsoles of many running shoes.  The smaller size and low weight (only 1 lb. 2 oz.) makes this an easy piece of equipment to travel with.

I was very impressed with both the RAD Roller and Helix, but the RAD Rod blew me away.  I have been able to focus on areas of my legs that I simply can’t with my traditional foam rollers.  I was able to roll out knots deep in my muscles that I never knew I had.  After only using the RAD Rod for about a week and my legs feel more rested and ready for my runs. 

Like I said earlier, you can use the Rad Rod with the Helix.  They even sell them as a kit (you save $10 by buying it as a kit).  The Rad Rod goes inside the Helix and you can roll out your muscles or have your wife, husband, or whoever else, work on your back, neck, or other hard to reach areas.  You can take turns and both feel great afterward.

Pros:
Great Price $39 Rad Rod ($78 kit)
Can easily travel with you.
Can release tension and toxin in hard to reach areas
Can really massage deep into your muscles

RAD Rollers’ Media Links:






I love my RAD Roller products.  The Rad Rod is my favorite, but you can’t go wrong with any of them.  I still use my OPTP stretch out strap every night, but my RAD Roller products have become part of my nightly recovery plan.  You can pick up the RAD Rod for $39.00 and the Rad Rod/HELIX kit for $78.00.   They are available on the RAD Roller website and at Amazon.  Check them out and let me know what you think.

Note:  I received this product in exchange for a review.  The review is my personal opinion of the product and I was not required to give a particular opinion of it.  I am not a doctor, so please use all of the products that I review at your own risk.

Thursday, January 14, 2016

Proviz REFLECT360 Gilet Review


If you have followed my blog for a while, you will know that safety is a big concern for me and I stress the importance of safety a lot.  You can never expect that drivers will see you in a bike lane next to the road, but there are some lights and clothing that will increase your visibility.

Proviz was started in London by two brothers who worked corporate jobs and commuted by bicycle.  They used equipment to help them be more visible but realized that there was a void in the market that they wanted to fill. The first device they invented was an electroluminescent light pack.  The company’s most popular products are in the REFLECT360 series which was introduced in 2014.  It is unique because it uses 100% reflective materials, which look grey in the daytime, but is highly reflective at night.  The REFLECT360 series includes jackets, gilets, vests, backpacks, helmet covers and more. 

I am reviewing the REFLECT360 gilet.  First of all, I was absolutely shocked by how reflective it really was.  The tag that came with the gilet, which is similar to a vest, said to take a picture with your camera’s flash on.  I have included pictures with my flash on and off so you can see the difference. 

The gilet has several features that really make a difference.  The shoulders are fitted, which works hand in hand with the armholes.  They hug your arms so there is no excess material, which would allow air to get in and cool you off.   They don’t restrict arm movement either.  There are two zippered side pockets where you can put your gloves, a hat, or your phone.  The back of the gilet is perforated to allow heat and moisture to escape.  There are zipper pull tags so you don’t need to take your gloves off to get your pockets open.  There is a softer material around the neck area for comfort as well.

I was very pleased with the fit and function of the REFLECT360 gilet.  It has been a little cold and the gilet allows me to keep my core a little warmer, while not totally overheating.  I noticed that my sweat made the reflective material work even better, not that it is a real selling point.  I believe that Proviz uses the same type of glass beads in their gear that is used in the striping of your local roads.  There really isn’t any comparison between this and other visibility products as far as what is more visible. 

Pros:
Decent Price as low as $52.97 (on Amazon)
Light weight and breathable
Makes you very visible to traffic

Proviz’s Media Links:






Blog 

This will be one of the products I feature in my running safety post where I provide the best safety products out there.  The REFLECT360gilet is comfortable, looks good, and it will make sure you are seen.  While you should still make sure to be a defensive runner and always pay attention to oncoming traffic, this is one product that could really help you to be safer.  You can pick yours up at the Proviz website or on Amazon. 

Note:  I received this product in exchange for a review.  The review is my personal opinion of the product and I was not required to give a particular opinion of it.  I am not a doctor, so please use all of the products that I review at your own risk.

Friday, January 8, 2016

ASICS Nimbus 17 Review



In 1949, Mr. Kihachiro Onitsuka began an athletic footwear company (Onitsuka Co., Ltd.).  He started by manufacturing basketball shoes out of his living room in Kobe, Japan. He chose the name ASICS for his company in 1977, based on a famous Latin phrase "Anima Sana In Corpore Sano," which means of "A Sound Mind in a Sound Body." Taking the acronym of this phrase, ASICS was founded on the belief that the best way to create a healthy and happy lifestyle is to promote total health and fitness. ASICS has grown to offer a full line of performance-driven athletic shoes, apparel, and accessories dedicated to bringing harmony to the body and soul.

ASICS has long been one of the leaders in the running industry.  I have been interested in trying them for a while.  They use gel as part of their cushioning platform and I have been told by several friends how much they like their ASICS so I knew I had to test them out.

ASICS sent me the Gel-Nimbus 17 to review.  I was thrilled since it was given Runner’s World’s highest award, the Editor’s Choice, in summer 2015.  The Gel-Nimbus 17 features areas of gel in key spots.  The gel pockets sit in the front and heel of the shoe to provide protection during your heel impact and toe off.  The gel did feel very comfortable, which wasn’t a surprise from what I have heard.

To be honest, it would take way too long to go ever every feature of this shoe, so I will cover the key components.  The upper material is made up ASICS FluidFit material that combines multi-directional stretch mesh with stretch reinforcements.  The eyelets are independently placed so it disperses the tension more easily.  This allows for a more customized fit, which is great because everyone feet are shaped differently.  The Gel-Nimbus 17 also has a heel clutching system to provide more support and it’s all put together without any seams.  This makes the shoe more comfortable and reduces the risk of chafing.  I really liked the feel of the shoe and how it fit.  The upper material seems very durable so the shoes should last for a while. 

The outsole has a few features that I really like as well.  The Guidance Line Midsole and Guidance Trusstic Systems that ASICS used allows for a more efficient gait while improving midfoot structural integrity.  The midsole uses ASICS FluidRide midsole material that provides a nice balance of energy return and cushioning.  This material reduces the weight of the shoe without sacrificing the durability.  The ComforDry X-40 sockliner provides higher rebound properties while having superior moisture management and breathability.  The Gel-Nimbus 17 weighs in at 10.8 ounces and has a heel drop of 10mm. 

I am used to a shoe with a lower heel drop and that weighs a little less.  I was surprised that the Gel-Nimbus17 didn’t feel that heavy and I didn’t encounter the same issues I have had with other shoes with a 10mm heel drop.  The heel drop wouldn’t be an issue for most people anyway, but I tend to run in low heel drop shoes.  The best way for me to describe the Gel-Nimbus 17 is that I went out for a run and my feet just felt great, mile after mile.  This is a great looking shoe that feels very comfortable.  I usually wear a size 10 and it was recommended to get a half size up, so I tested a size 10.5.  I would recommend going up a half size as well.

Pros:
Decent Price as low as $109
Tons of cushion
Great for short or long runs
Decent weight (10.8 oz)

ASICS’ Media Links:

I am extremely pleased with the Gel-Nimbus 17 and all of the features, from the cushioning to the Fluid-Fit upper material with seamless construction.  ASICS put together a very comfortable shoe that is perfect for any run.  I can see why Runner’s World gave the Gel-Nimbus 17 their Summer 2015 Editor’s Choice Award.  You can pick yours up at the ASICS website for $150, on Amazon for about $109, or at your local retailer (click here for locations). 

Note:  I received this product in exchange for a review.  The review is my personal opinion of the product and I was not required to give a particular opinion of it.  I am not a doctor, so please use all of the products that I review at your own risk.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

CW-X Revolution Tights Review



While the benefits of wearing compression gear during a run has both supporters and skeptics, I personally have found that compression gear can make a huge difference in my legs staying fresher longer.  The idea is that the compression gear reduces the amount of muscle vibration, resulting in less damage to the muscles.  Compression gear also reduces the onset of lactic acid buildup, which means your muscles should be less sore than if you are not wearing compression gear.

You might not have heard of CW-X, but they have been around since 1991 in Japan.  CW-X Conditioning Wear was developed by the Wacoal Human Science Research Center in Kyoto, Japan.  Using a combination of human anatomy knowledge and experience in complex fabrications and apparel design, CW-X set forth to design the first anatomically-engineered high-performance sports apparel.  The company launched the CW-X brand in the US market through the Wacoal Sports Science Corporation in 2002.

I got to test out the Revolution tights.  I have used running tights in the past, but never any with actual compression.  Let’s start off with the typical features that you might find in most running pants.  The Revolution tights have a key pocket in the waistband, the UPF+ material protects you from the sun’s harmful UVA/UVB rays, and the flat seam construction increases comfort and decreases the risk of chafing.  That is where the Revolution tights depart from your run of the mill tights.

The Revolution tights are made with a blend of 50% COOLMAX Nylon/50% Polyurathane fabrics to keep your body cool and dry.  It pulls the moisture away from your skin and carries it to the outside of the tights.  While the wicking is not all that uncommon, the material is 14% lighter than normal running tights.  The material and seam construction felt amazing.  The material provides a 4-way stretch to move with your body flawlessly.

The Revolution tights have CW-X's EXO-Lite Seamless Support Web.  This is what really sets these tights apart from the competition.  The support web helps your muscles and ligaments band together to better stabilize the knee.  This is great for people with knee pain.  The EXO-Lite Web provides gentle and continuous support to the medial and lateral heads of the gastrocnemius in the calf.  There is even extra support higher up in the tights.  The Revolution tights provide better support for your lower abdominal area, hips, and back.  This will help provide extra support and power to your core area during your runs. 

The other thing that I liked was that there are no zips near your ankles.  My zippers always seem to creep up during my runs or chafe my ankles.  The legs never crept up and the tights were easy to put on.  This is a great feature.

Pros:
Reduces muscle vibration
Looks cool (although my wife disagrees)
No annoying zipper at my ankles

Cons:
Pricey starting around $188

CW-X’s Media Links:



I have to say that these are amazing tights.  You can find them at places like Road Runner SportsBackcountry, and Amazon.  Check around because while the price is fairly standard for the tights, the 3/4 tights can be found on sale for as low as $80.  While they are pricey, I feel that they are worth the price of admission.  With premium materials, superior construction, and awesome compression, the CW-X Revolution tights are my go to pants this winter.

Note:  I received this product in exchange for a review.  The review is my personal opinion of the product and I was not required to give a particular opinion of it.  I am not a doctor, so please use all of the products that I review at your own risk.