Friday, July 14, 2017

Topo Athletic Fli-Lyte 2 Review

If you have been following my blog for a while, you know that I really like Topo Athletic shoes.  They offer shoes with a low heel drop and wide toe box.  This allows your toes to spread out instead of feeling claustrophobic like in most shoes.  The durability of the materials that they use is excellent as well.  The MT is one of the first pair of shoes that I reviewed on my blog.  It is still one of my favorite trail shoes because it is so light, comfortable, and really flexes with your foot.  The Hydroventure is an amazing trail shoe with a waterproof eVent material that keeps the water out but is still breathable.  Topo Athletic also has some amazing road shoes.  My favorites are the Runduro, Fli-Lyte (road shoe), and the UltraFly.

If you are not familiar with Topo Athletic shoes, they fit snug in the heel and midfoot, while it they are loose in the toebox.  The wide toe box allows your toes to spread out, which has several benefits.  This will not only help you be more stable, but will also reduce foot injuries commonly caused by shoes that compress your toes. 

I have tested 12 shoes from Topo Athletic and have been impressed with every one.  Here are some of my past reviews.

Topo Athletic took one of my favorite speed shoes in the Fli-Lyte and made some improvements to bring you the all new Fli-Lyte 2, which was released in May. 

The Fli-Lyte 2 weighs in at an incredibly light 8.2 ounces for a men’s size 9.  It has a 4mm rubber outsole and a total stack height of 23mm (rear) and 20mm (front) meaning that it has a 3mm heel drop.  Lower heel drops promote a more natural gait with less heel striking and puts your body in a better alignment. 

The Fli-Lyte 2 provides an ultra-responsive ride that is not only good for speed or track workouts, but is a great everyday trainer.  They would even be good on race day for shorter distances up to maybe a half-marathon (some people might be able to use this longer, but I like a more cushioned shoe like the UltraFly for marathons).   

What is different between the Fli-Lyte and Fli-Lyte 2?  Topo Athletic updated the mesh upper with more durability and structure and did so without adding any additional weight.  The midsole is a little stiffer and more flexible than the first version and I really like the new feel.  The original Fli-Lyte fit true to size as does the Fli-Lyte 2, but some people said to get a ½ size down.  I didn’t feel the need to do that and the fit was great in my normal size.  Other changes include a little less rubber in the outsole and the tongue had more meat too it (thicker).  

The Fli-Lyte 2 comes in three men’s colors and three different women’s colors.  The shoes really feel great from the moment you take them out of the box and give you enough cushion to really push, while still remaining extremely light.  I was able to click off some fast laps on the track followed by a very fast tempo run a few days later.  These are simply a really light pair of shoes that feel great.  I can’t get enough of shoes with the wider toe boxes.  Most of my foot pain (due to foot compression of narrow shoes) has disappeared since switching over to wider toe boxes.  You really can’t beat the value either as they only cost $100 on the Topo Athletic website.  I have even seen them for around $75 online if you want to shop around. 

Lightweight (8.2 ounces)
Wide toe box allows toes to spread out
Low (3 mm) heel drop allows for better form and posture
Great price ($100 at the Topo Athletic website or cheaper elsewhere)
Extremely flexible for a natural feel

Topo Athletic’s Social Media Links:

As I have been saying with almost every review, Topo Athletic continually ups its game with each release of a new shoe.  The Fli-Lyte 2 took one of my favorite speed shoes and made it even better.  It feels so light that you can just run and not worry about what’s on your feet.  You can get a pair at the Topo Athletic website, or check the Topo Athletic Store Locator for a store near you.  Give them a try today 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.

Wednesday, July 5, 2017

Pearl Izumi Spring ‘17 Cycling Gear Review

Pearl Izumi was started over 50 years ago in Tokyo, Japan by a father who wanted to make bicycle racing clothing for his son.  It has become one of the largest makers of cycling apparel in the world.  The name Pearl Izumi means “fountain of pearl” and was named after Izumi, which is an area of Japan known for its clear water and the gem, pearl.  They have been selling their gear in the United States since 1981 and have branched out into selling gear for running and triathlons as well. 

I have been using Pearl Izumi cycling products for over 15 years and have found that the quality of their gear is top notch.  The durability and design has never left me disappointed.  I have several different Pearl Izumi cycling shorts, bibs, and jerseys and love them all.  My favorites are the P.R.O. series shorts and bib shorts, which shouldn’t come as a surprise since they are Pearl Izumi’s top of the line products.  You can check out my review of the amazing P.R.O. Pursuit Bib Shorts and ELITE Escape Jersey (click here for my review) from last year.  I have also reviewed the P.R.O. Escape Thermal Jersey, P.R.O. Softshell Lite Glove, and the P.R.O. Thermal Skull Cap (click here for my review).  I received the latest and greatest from Pearl Izumi’s Spring/Summer lineup a few months back and have been testing them feverishly.

ELITE Escape Semi-Form Jersey

The Elite Escape Semi-Form Jersey is one of Pearl Izumi’s newer jerseys and has a great balance of price and features.  The semi-form fit is made for those riders that are average to bigger in size, but still want a high-performance jersey.  It also works well for smaller riders that want a looser jersey.  Not all riders want a race cut jersey.

One of the really cool things about this jersey is that they use their Elite Transfer In-R-Cool® fabric powered by Ice-fil®.  This fabric provides excellent skin cooling capabilities along with the Direct-Vent panels to allow for extra ventilation.  It worked really well in the 90 degree heat of my training rides.  I felt cooler than when I wear most of my other jerseys. 

Other great features include a full-length zipper   There is a silicone gripper on the back to hold the jersey down (nobody likes when their jersey rides up).  It even has reflective elements for extra visibility in low-light situations.

The Elite Escape Semi-Form Jersey has three large pockets in the back as well as a two smaller pockets for gels or keys.  You have a great deal or storage with these 5 pockets and your items stay put. 

This is really a great jersey that can help make your Spring and Summer rides more enjoyable.  It’s made from 100% polyester and is UPF 50+ so you get sun protection as well.  You can purchase the Elite Escape Semi-Form Jersey for $85 on the Pearl Izumi website or at a local dealer near your (click here for locations). 

Elite Transfer In-R-Cool® fabric powered by Ice-fil® keeps you cooler
Ventilated panels
Full-length zipper
Silicone grippers keep your jersey from riding up
Three full pockets and an additional zipper pocket
Reflective elements to provide better visibility in low-light

ELITE Escape Bib Short

I used to be all about bike shorts and never wanted to wear bib shorts in the past.  I tried a pair of Pearl Izumi P.R.O. Pursuit Bib Shorts last year and love them.  The ELITE Escape Bib Short is a great bib short that you can enjoy for longer rides as well as shorter ones.  Its form fitting and has a great price for the features.

The ELITE Escape Bib Short uses the new P.R.O. Transfer fabric in the body of the shorts for better comfort and amazing moisture transfer.  It really will keep you cool and comfortable mile after mile.  Other areas use SELECT Transfer fabric for great moisture wicking.  The leg openings use raw edge P.R.O Transfer fabric with silicone for a softer stretch that still will grip your leg and prevent riding up.  It has a 9.5” inseam to provide more muscle hugging compression further down your leg. 

The new ELITE Escape 1:1™ Chamois with a floating top sheet is used in this bib short and reduces friction for all day comfort.  It provides enough cushion without feeling like you are wearing a diaper (like some of the cheaper bib shorts out there). 

The ELITE Escape Bib Short uses BioViz™ reflective elements for added visibility on low-light situations.  I was really impressed with the quality of the ELITE Escape Bib Short, which is not quite as nice as the P.R.O. series, but does cost a less as well.  You can get yours for $140 on the Pearl Izumi website or at a local dealer near your (click here for locations). 

Great ELITE Escape Chamois
Awesome moisture wicking
Great fit all day long.
ProViz™ reflective elements
Decent Price at $140

P.R.O. Gel Vent Glove

The Pearl Izumi P.R.O. Gel Vent Glove will help keep your hands cool and dry on those hot days.  They are super lightweight but provide enough cushion thanks to the patented Direct Vent palm design that has built in ventilated padding.

The padding in the palm is made of gel and is really comfortable.  There is some mesh over the gel and the glove uses Clarino™ synthetic leather around the mesh for a soft, durable feeling.  Like most gloves out there, the P.R.O. Gel Vent Glove has an area on the thumb to wipe off sweat or a runny nose.  The material on this glove is softer and was made to be low-profile. 

The closure is made of hook and loop and there are loops on two of the fingers to make the glove easier to get off.  It truly is a great glove and by far the most comfortable glove I’ve used to date.  You can get yours for $45 on the Pearl Izumi website or at a local dealer near your (click here for locations). 

Ventilated gel palm cushion
Soft Clarino™ synthetic leather
Loops to help remove glove
Extremely light weight and comfortable
Decent Price at $45

Pearl Izumi’s Social Media Links:

I’ve never been disappointed with the products that Pearl Izumi makes.  As always, I am very pleased with the quality and value that these three products offer.  I will be using them a lot this summer and think that you should definitely give them a try.  You can purchase these items on the Pearl Izumi website or at a local dealer near your (click here for locations).  I would love to hear what you think about these products, so please leave a comment and let me know.

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.