Tuesday, January 30, 2018

Topo Athletic Mangnifly 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 favorite road shoe from Topo Athletic is the UltraFly because its lightweight, responsive, and has plenty of cushion.

I have tested 13 shoes from Topo Athletic and have been impressed with everyone.  Here are some of my past reviews.

Topo Athletic took the Magnifly and made some changes to get back to their roots.  Topo Athletic has been known for their zero drop shoes (with only a few exceptions in their lineup that had a low heel drop between 3-5mm).  The original Magnifly  had a 5mm heel drop and weighed in at 8.8 ounces.  The Mangifly 2 has a 0mm heel drop and weighs in slightly heavier at 10 ounces which actually surprises me since it looks like they have streamlined the second iteration of the shoe.  My guess is that the extra weight is in the midsole material.  While 10 ounces isn’t too heavy, I was curious why they added weight to the shoe since most of Topo ’s shoes tend to me on the more minimal side in both weight and cushion. 

First of all, if you are not familiar with Topo Athletic shoes, they fit snug in the heel and midfoot, while it they are looser in the toe box.  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.  They also typically have a low heel drop (most at zero drop) which promotes a more natural gait with less heel striking, generally speaking, and puts your body in a better alignment. 

The Mangifly 2 provides a 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 (it might be suitable for longer races depending on your personal preferences though).  I have been using shoes with more cushion lately because of some Plantar Fasciitis issues, but the amount of cushion on the Mangifly 2 was just fine for me. 

Topo Athletic uses a Multi-Density Midsole material with two separate levels of cushioning.  There’s a softer level near your feet and a firmer more responsive level near the outsole (ground).  I felt like I was getting the responsiveness that I crave and the cushioning that made my feet happy.  That’s not to say that there’s a ton of cushion… it definitely isn’t a Hoka oversized sole, but it’s decent.

The Mangifly 2 comes in three men’s colors (Black/Black, Bright Green/Black, and Slate/Black) and three different women’s colors (Grey/Peach, Ice/Raspberry, and Navy/Pink).  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 relatively light.  I can’t get enough of shoes with the wider toe box.  Most of my foot pain (due to foot compression of narrow shoes) has disappeared since switching over to wider toe boxes.  I really like the Mangifly 2 for the simplicity and feel you get with them.  They are not overbuilt, but provide you with a great feeling throughout your gait cycle.  You really can’t beat the value either as they only cost $110 on the Topo Athletic website. 

Lightweight (10.0 ounces)
Wide toe box allows toes to spread out
Zero heel drop allows for better form and posture
Great price ($110 at the Topo Athletic website)
Extremely flexible for a natural feel
Great mix of cushion and responsiveness

1.2 ounces more than the first version

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 Mangifly 2 takes a great shoe and made it even better in most areas.  It feels light, even though they increased the weight of the shoe.  If you haven’t given Topo shoes a shot, you really should.  Everyone has different shoes that work for them, but Topo puts out some really great products.  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.

Friday, January 26, 2018

Brooks Ghost 10 GTX Review

I have reviewed several shoes from Brooks in the past few years.  The Glycerin 13 (which received Runner’s World’s Best Update Award for 2015), Glycerin 15, PureFlow 5, Neuro, Launch 3 (one of my all-time favorites), Launch 4, Ghost 9, and the Caldera (the first Brooks Trail shoe that I’ve tested).   They all are great shoes that I use on a rotating basis in my training.  The Ghost 9 is one of Brooks most popular shoes and they have come out with a newer version, the Ghost 10.  Along with the Ghost 10, they have a fully waterproof version named the Ghost 10 GTX.  The Ghost 10 was awarded Runner’s World “Editor’s Choice” which is only given to the top shoes out there.

Brooks is headquartered in Seattle, Washington.  Maybe that is why they are so awesome (I grew up in Eastern Washington so maybe I am a little biased).  Brooks motto is to “Run Happy” but they also try to “Live Green.” Their headquarters building is right near the water and just across the street is a trail head that leads to nearly 30 miles of trails to run on.  How awesome would it be to work there?  They invite the public to come in if they are ever in the Seattle area for a free treadmill gait analysis and to check out all of the latest Brooks running gear and apparel.  

The Brooks Ghost 10 GTX has a 12mm heel drop, is a neutral shoe, and weighs in at 11.3 ounces (only 0.9 ounces heavier than the Ghost 10).  This shoe is ideal for people with medium to high arches and is a great shoe for all road running, from easy runs to races and everything in between.  Brooks describes them as offering “the smoothest ride possible with GORE-TEX® technology, for neutral runners who want a plush adaptable fit.” 

The Ghost 10 GTX has many of the same features as the Ghost 10 including 3D Fit Print overlays, which is a revolutionary process that uses a screen-print technology to apply the structural material to the upper part of the shoe.   The upper has four way stretch and moves well with your feet

Both the Ghost 10 and Ghost 10 GTX have soft cushioning which uses Brooks BioMoGo DNA midsole that adapts to your stride.  The shoe has a new plush transition zone which allow for a smoother ride.  The Segmented Crash Pad will allow your foot to flex and connect with the ground no matter how your foot lands.  I like this feature because some shoes outsoles are less flexible and can be less forgiving when it comes to how your foot lands on the ground.  Every runner’s foot lands slightly different (and it can even change in the span of a run).  Therefore a segmented crash pad will allow for a better gait and more enjoyable experience overall, which I found to be true.  There are some additional flex grooves they call “Omega Flex Grooves” which provides even more foot flexibility.

The main difference between the Ghost 10 and Ghost 10 GTX is the GORE-TEX® inner liner.   GORE-TEX® has been one of the leading companies when it comes to waterproofing for as long as I can remember.  It provides a waterproof membrane, but still allows for breathability so you don’t overheat.  While it is somewhat breathable, it will build up more heat than a standard mesh upper, so keep that in mind.  On the flip-side though, it can be a great shoe for those colder mornings, whether it’s wet or not, because it will hold in a little more heat.  I have really enjoyed the waterproof option of the Ghost 10 GTX on my 3:30 AM long training runs in the rain.  I am all about training in nasty conditions, but having dry feet is definitely a plus.   As seen in the first picture of this review, I ran through a 4” deep puddle and my feet remained completely dry.  I also ran in the rain a few times where my feet remained dry.  Not too shabby.

The laces tongue is semi-gusseted, which means that the tongue is connected (sewn in) about half way up the tongue.  That helps to keep the water out of the shoe.  The laces stay put and have two loops on the tongue itself to keep the tongue from moving from side to side. 

I have put over 50 miles on the Ghost 10 GTX and I really like the feel and comfort of the shoe.  The smooth transition and flexible outsole make running in the Ghost 10 GTX a very enjoyable experience.  They aren’t as plush/cushy as the Glycerin 15, but still feel great.   

My only complaint is that the heel drop/offset is larger than I would prefer at 12mm.  This really is a personal preference, but I tend to like my heel drop to be below 6mm.  It is something I have trained my feet for and usually look for in my shoes, personally.  That is not to say that 12mm would not be perfect for you or for me on occasion.  It really depends on the heel drop that you have trained your feet to run in and how the shoe is built.  This is not a deal breaker for me though. And I did not feel that the heel drop would be an issue for me in this shoe.

Fit true to size (for me)
Looks awesome (several color options)
Light weight at 11.3 ounces
Feels great and fits like a glove.
Segmented Crash Pad flexes with your foot
WATERPROOF!!! GORE-TEX® liner keeps your feet nice and dry
90 Day Trial at Brooks.com (Free Returns)

The 12mm heel drop can be a little much if you are used to smaller heel drops/offsets.
Price is a little on the higher side at $150.

Brooks’ Social Media Links

Brooks keeps putting out great shoes.  The Ghost 10 GTX is an awesome shoe that will let your feet stay dry and comfortable (you might need to think of another excuse on those wet days if you are trying to avoid wet feet).  The Ghost 10 GTX retails for $150 on the Brooks website.  While the price is a little higher than many of the shoes out there, they are an awesome pair of shoes that will really help you enjoy those rainy/snowy runs.  The added price may also be for the waterproofing GORE-TEX® so take that into account.  You can find them at the Brooks website or your local retailer (click here for locations).  Go to your local running store and give them a test run.  I would love to 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.