Gear Reviews
Home  »  Community News  »  Gear Reviews
Oct
18
james wilie
Lululemon Athletica Apparel Review
Apparel, Gear Reviews
0
, , , , ,

Founded in Vancouver BC in 1998, Lululemon designs yoga and running apparel.  Let’s take a look at the running line from Lululemon.

INITIAL IMPRESSION & TRAIL TESTING

Metal Vent Tech Short Sleeve Shirt

Vent Tech SS

 

The Metal Vent Tech Short Sleeve Shirt is a great all around athletic shirt.  Lululemon’s “anti-stink” feature (Silverescent) keeps the odor at bay.  A great design that is seamless – no chafing experienced on those long 4+ hour training runs. It has a great next to the skin comfort.  I like the fabric in that it does not look worn on the wear spots from using a hydration pack or vest (still looking for a hydration pack or vest that does not wear the tech-shirts in one place or more).  Overall, a great versatile piece of apparel on the run or just hanging out.

Surge Shorts

Surge Shorts

The Surge Shorts come lined with boxer briefs (Luxtreme Liner) which contains the “anti-stink” feature (great addition to the fabric).  The liner is longer than the outer short length. The boxer liners are very comfortable and a great protection from chafing.  There is a small left hip zippered pocket that can hold two GU’s (or keys), but no smartphones.  There is a small inner back pocket that can hold one GU if needed (potential upgrade to the shorts could be a larger outer back pocket(s)).  I did wish for more pockets on the longer training runs.  There is an interesting outer double loop system on the back part of the waistband of the shorts that is designed to hold your shirt.

shorts loop

 

 

 

 

 

In summary, chafe-free, comfortable, but wanting more pockets to store running essentials.

Reflect Jacket

Reflect Jacket

 

The Reflect Jacket is a nice overlay on those cold and windy mornings.  The Reflect jacket is water resistant and sheds away light precipitation.  It has multiple pockets: two zippered hand pockets and one inner zippered chest pocket (can hold a smartphone or items you want to secure).  It has two vent zippers in the front next to the armpits.  Nice collar lining with a no-pinch flap over the top of the zipper.  Reflective piping all around the front and back.  The Reflect jacket is for colder days in the fall/winter that can handle light precipitation in an attractive package for running and just hanging out in town (also a great post-run jacket).

TECH SPECS

Metal Vent Tech Short Sleeve Shirt

  • Material – 66% nylon/30%polyester/4% x-static silver nylon
  • Fit – Semi-Fitted
  • Number of Pockets – 0
  • Weight – 4.15 oz (Men’s Small)
  • Made in – Sri Lanka

Surge Shorts

  • Outer Material – 86% polyester/14% spandex
  • Lining Material – Coolmax (83% nylon/13% lycra)/4% x-static silver nylon
  • Fit – Athletic
  • Liner – Briefs
  • Number of Pockets – 2
  • Inseam Length – 7 inches
  • Weight – 6.60 oz (Men’s Small)
  • Made in – Vietnam

Reflect Jacket

  • Material –100% polyester
  • Fit – Semi-Fitted
  • Number of Pockets – 3
  • Weight – 11.90 oz (Men’s Small)
  • Made in – Vietnam

 

 

 

Jun
26
james wilie
ICEBUG ARDOR OLX SHOE REVIEW
Gear Reviews, Shoes
0
, , , , ,

“New style in the Icebug running line! Ardor is a durable off trail and orienteering shoe for training and racing when a higher level of shock absorption is desired.”

The ”OLX” is the Icebug’s traction technology for off trail shoes.  Yes, there are ”studs” (carbide tips) fixed and exposed for gripping action.

INITIAL IMPRESSIONS

Carbide tips for super traction in wet, muddy, and icy conditions.  17 fixed carbide studs to be exact.

outsole

carbide 2

carbide

The Ardor fit true to size and comes in at 11.8 oz (335 grams).  The upper is made of non-absorbing material.  In wet conditions, the material does not absorb moisture thus not adding additional weight to the shoe.

See additional pictures below.

side view

side views

top & bottom

front & back

insole

TRAIL TESTING

Super traction going up and down hills and on multiple terrain – dirt, mud, gravel, and rocks.  I had no issues with traction even when crossing streams on top of wet rocks.  However, the carbide tips are definitely not made for road – meaning you can run on the road, but is sounds like you are in baseball cleats, which was very helpful during the family softball holiday game.

The Ardor felt great on the feet and performed well.  After crossing streams when the shoe is submerged under the water, they do not drain very well.  I assume that the Ardor was designed for ice/snow/wet terrain with the water repellent upper.  Overall, the Ardor exceeded my expectations with its traction, stability, and comfort.

Tech Specs

  • Offset: 5 mm
  • Gusseted tongue
  • Stability  Shoe
  • No Rock Plate (But well cushioned)
  • Midsole – EVA
  • Upper – Synthetic
  • Made In – Vietnam
  • Women’ Version   

Weight Table

weight table

Feature Guide

feature guide

CONCLUSION

The Icebug Ardor Olx is designed for the trail runner looking for stability and cushioning with ultimate traction on all types of terrain. The Ardor is an excellent addition to the shoe closet for those days when you need superior traction, but try not to submerge the shoe under water.

Jun
25
james wilie
Brooks Cascadia 9 Shoe Review
Gear Reviews, Shoes
0
, , , ,

How many versions can a shoe go through and still maintain their success? Runner’s World has selected the Cascadia 9 as their Editor’s Choice for the Spring 2014 trail shoe guide.

For you Cascadia lovers, Version 9 did not stray too far from last year’s version (Cascadia 8 Review). Let’s take a look at the new Brooks Cascadia 9.

INITIAL IMPRESSIONS

Cascadia followers can trust its durability and feel of the traditional shoe.  Great fit out of the box.  There seems to be more room in the toebox in this version.  The shoe comes in at 12 oz (340 grams) similar weight of other versions. Brooks increased the drop by 2mm (currently at a 12mm drop).  Brooks kept the BioMoGo DNA material in the midsole for a cushioned ride.

The outsole is the same as last version.

outsole

There is a slight change to the upper material with suede-like overlays that provides a secure fit around the foot.  This updated did not make the shoe any lighter.

upper

 

See more photos below.

1 side view

3 upper

4 top

5 insole

TRAIL TESTING

The Cascadia 9 – great shoe that handles wet, muddy, technical and non-technical trails, roads, and fastpack trips.  They can handle whatever you can through at it.  A solid performer on whatever you want to throw at it.   There is ample protection under the foot.  I didn’t have any issues with the two guidance loops on the tongue. The Cascadia 9 is an all-around solid performer (again).

TECH SPECS

  • Midfoot Height -16 mm
  • Heel Height – 28mm
  • Drop – 12mm  (2mm increase from the Cascadia 8)
  • Gusseted tongue
  • Neutral  Shoe
  • Rock Plate (forefoot)
  • Midsole – EVA
  • Upper – Synthetic
  • Made In – China
  • Women’ Version

Weight Breakdown

weight table

CONCLUSION

The Brooks Cascadia 9 is designed for the trail runner looking for an all-around trail shoe that is durable and can handle all conditions.  Although there is a 2mm increase in the offset (honestly, we can tell a 2mm difference), the Cascadia 9, along with its predecessor, is a solid performer on the trail in all types of terrain.

 

 

Jun
24
Scott Warr
Montrail FluidFlex II
Gear Reviews, Shoes
0
,
fluidflex2a

CLICK HERE to listen to our audio review of the Montrail FluidFlex 2

  • 4 mm drop
  • 8.3 oz
  • $90
  • Seems to run ½ size bigger than Mt. Masochist

Good

  • Big Montrail fan (owned ½ dozen
  • VERY lightweight
  • minimal shoe with the additional cushioning
  • very flexible
  • Good room in toebox
  • Two foam pads on either side of the Achilles heel
  • Great Bargain at $90

FluidFlex2b

Bad

  • Cushion may be an energy suck
  • Lugs are not good for muddy trails

 

Jun
24
Scott Warr
Salomon S-Lab Ultra Sense
Gear Reviews, Shoes
1
, ,
Salomon_S_LAB_Sense_Ultra

CLICK HERE   to listen to our audio review.

If you want to look fast from the ankle down the Salomon S-Lab Ultra Sense is the shoe for you.

Salomon builds this shoe as a light weight (8.5oz),  minimalist  trail racer.  It seems as if Salomon understands the desire for trail runners to remain light on the feet with the requirement for adequate protection to survive the rocky technical terrain.

Pros:   Sexy, great lacing system, unique forefoot sense technology combined with protection at the perimeter of the shoe

Cons:  Narrow toe box (my opinion) not the cheapest shoe on the shelf

I have always liked the looks of the Salomon trail shoe and now I enjoy the run of the Salomon too.

Jun
4
james wilie
SAUCONY VIRRATA 2 SHOE REVIEW
Gear Reviews, Shoes
0
, , , ,

Wow! Super light (sub-7 oz) in a zero drop package with ample protection!

INITIAL IMPRESSIONS

The Saucony Virrata 2 fit true to size.  You will notice an update to the upper – a “breathable and quick-drying mono mesh upper.” I think it is a great upgrade from the first version (similar to the Kinavra 4 upper) – it feels more durable.

upper

Saucony also states an “internal booty that creates a sock-like fit and feel.” I would call it a shoe with a better than average gusseted tongue. The shoe fit just right and not too snug.

inside

You will notice a TPU heel wrap allowing a more secure fit.

heel

The outsole is a molded midsole with triangular shaped traction with blown rubber in the heel and toe areas.

outsoleoutsole

Overall, Saucony didn’t go too crazy with this update, keeping the Virratta close to the original and keeping a good thing.

See additional pictures below.

sides

top & bottom

ROAD (SOME TRAIL) TESTING

Nice and smooth on the road.  Again, super light even when wet.  I love them for my faster paced running sessions.  I loved the way they felt on my feet in a zero offset shoe.  I’m not sure how durable they will be in the long haul, but they are designed for the runner looking for a zero offset shoe in lightweight package.

I am impressed with the overall performance on the road/track.

NOTE: I did some trail running. All went well until you start running over gravel or small rock sections. The rocks get lodge in between the triangular lugs. Better stick to the roads or smooth surfaces.

Tech Specs

  • Stack: 18 mm
  • Offset: 0 mm
  • Gusseted tongue
  • Neutral  Shoe
  • No Rock Plate (Road Shoe)
  • Midsole – EVA
  • Upper – Synthetic
  • Made In – China
  • Women’ Version   

Weight Table

weight table

CONCLUSION

The Saucony Virrata 2 are for the runner looking to get into a zero drop shoe without sacrificing cushioning and protection. They are extremely lightweight and breathable.  For a sub-$100 shoe, you won’t be disappointed in their performance.