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Brooks Levitate 2 Review

Brooks Levitate 2 Review

The Brooks Levitate 2 is the newest version of the Brooks Levitate.  I ran in the original Levitate, and while it wasn’t my favorite shoe, it also wasn’t my least favorite shoe.  The Levitate 2 was updated early.

Brooks levitate 2 shoe review

At work, when people ask: “was my shoe completely redesigned from the last version,” usually the answer is no.  In this case, the Levitate to Levitate 2 has seen drastic differences.  Everything from the upper and lacing system to the heel collar is different.

The shoe is marketed for tempo runs and daily to long runs (so basically most things).  Personally, I’ll keep it to easy recovery runs.

Please keep in mind, what works for me might not work for you.  We all have different feet.

See: Why you Need to Be Fitted for Running Shoes or How to Find the Perfect Pair of Running Shoes.

Brooks Levitate 2 Upper:

The upper is all on one seam which makes it great for anyone with a wider forefoot or bunion.  There are fewer seams to rub. There is enough structure to the upper that your feet feel secure and like it’s not free-floating around in space.  I typically wear a women’s size 10-11 wide, and the 10.5 seems to work well (as usual for most Brooks shoes).

One thing, I must mention is the extreme heel collar of the shoe.  The Brooks Levitate 2 comes up higher than any other trainer out there right now. I dislike it. It is the first shoe to ever irritate my ankle and even give me a heel blister. I’ve run through over 100 pairs of shoes in my running career and never gotten a blister on my heel.  There is a first time for everything.  Once it healed, I was fine, but I hope this doesn’t start a trend for Brooks.

Brooks levitate 2 shoe review

Brooks Levitate Ride:

The Brooks Levitate 2 is one of the heaviest shoes out there.  I’m not sure, why so many bloggers continue to talk about how “light the shoe is” but the fact of the shoe is it’s heavy. The women’s size 8 weighs 9.7 compared ounces compared to the Brooks Ghost of 8.4.

Of the Brooks shoes, the Levitate is by far the firmest and poppy design. It’s far more responsive than both the Ghost and the Glycerin.  You feel the ground a lot more.

Brooks levitate 2 shoe review

One thing I found was you do slide more when the pavement is wet.  It’s not my first choice to run on a rainy day.

Other than that, I found the shoe to be responsive as advertised but I did feel like I had a Sherman tank underneath my foot.

Brooks Levitate 2 Conclusions

Like the Brooks Levitate, this wasn’t my favorite shoe.  Although, it’s much lower on my like list and I think the original Levitate was much better.

The positives are there is plenty of firm cushion in the shoe, and it fits well.  The negatives are the heel collar, the grip on a rainy day, and then the weight (a shoe I felt noticeably dragged down). I’ll keep the shoe for easy runs but won’t do anything more in it.

Shoes in my Rotation:

Easy/Daily Runs: Brooks Glycerin 16, New Balance 1080, Underarmour Sonic, Hoka Clifton 5,

Workouts: Nike Fly, New Balance 1400, Nike LT Racer

Races: Nike Fly, Nike Lt Racer

Trails: Underarmour Horizon BPF

Questions for you:

Have you run in the Brooks Levitate 2?  I’m curious to hear others!

What is your favorite shoe? 

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Underarmour Horizon BPF Trail Running Shoe Review

Underarmour Horizon BPF Trail Running Shoe Review

Recently, I tried the Underamour Horizon Trail shoe.  Between the Underamour Sonic and the Trail Horizon BPF, it has been my first time logging significant mileage in an Underamour shoe.

I’ve wanted to try both the street shoes: the Bandit as well as the Sonic.  Anyway, at the Copper Mountain Trail race, I tried them on and thought they felt very comfortable.  As poor of an idea as it was, after my initial try on, I thought they were extremely comfortable, and I raced in them.  They felt great, and as most people know, I had a good race.  So yes, my first time running in the shoe was the Copper Mountain 25k.  They did well and I would 100% wear them again for the race.  It is definitely not something I recommend with any shoe, but they felt great and I couldn’t be more pleased.  I also recently raced the Killington 25k and they were just as good.

underarmour Horizon BPF shoe review

Underarmour Horizon BPF Fit:

I typically wear between a women’s size 10-11 wide.  I found the women’s 11 to be the most comfortable on my foot.  It’s relatively true to size.

The upper of the Under Armour Horizon is durable and is very breathable.  Since the primary function is a trail running shoe, it also provides a lot of protection from rocks and trail debris.  The great part is it’s waterproof which came in handy when I was plowing through mud puddles in Killington.

underarmour Horizon BPF shoe review

Ride:

The outsole has a high-traction rubber which is actually designed by Michelob tires.  So yes, the same rubber your tires have, your shoes have.  Most people know I’m incredibly clumsy and I found the shoe to grip every part of the trail.  I never felt as though there was a surface I couldn’t handle.  I found the rubber extremely helpful for Killington and I’m not sure how well I would have done with something less aggressive.

But the shoe is not all rubber! The Underamour Horizon also has plenty of cushioning and is both soft and lightweight. It is not as rigid as many trail running shoes and provides plenty of cushion during your run.  I like the shoe a lot for running because it’s soft and relatively light for a trail shoe, with plenty of traction.

underarmour Horizon BPF shoe review

Conclusion:

Right now, this is my favorite trail running shoe.  I also own the Brooks Cascadia which I find better for hiking but the Underamour Horizon better for running on trails.  If you are looking for a good, sturdy trail shoe, I would definitely look into this shoe.  It will probably stay my primary trail racing shoe (when I do trails).

Questions for you:
Do you run trails?  What is your favorite trail shoe?
What is your favorite running shoe?

Hoka Clifton 5 Shoe Review

Hoka Clifton 5 Shoe Review

I’ve run in most of the versions of the Hoka Clifton.   Since the Clifton 1, I’ve found the Clifton itself to become more and more durable.  One complaint I’ve heard over the years is the Hoka Clifton has gotten heavier.  That is accurate but with the few ounces in weight, has come a lot more rubber on the bottom as well as durability.  From a specialty standpoint, it’s definitely one of the most popular Hoka models.  For some runners it’s their racer, for others it’s their easy and recovery day.  For me, it’ a daily trainer and I prefer a heavier model such as the Bondi for recovery days.

Hoka one one clifton 5 shoe review

Fit:

The upper of Hoka Clifton 4 saw the most significant change from the 3.  It became a seamless engineered mesh.  The Clifton 5 removes even more seams, and it also fits true to size.   I wear between a women’s size 10-11 wide, and in the Hoka Clifton 5, I wear a 10.5

The Clifton 5 uses fine engineered mesh in the upper which gives it more structure.  Your feet don’t feel as though they are “free floating” around like in some seamless uppers.

Hoka one one clifton 5 shoe review

Ride:

If you have never worn Hoka before, know it feels very different from any other brand you’ve worn.  You either like Hoka, or you don’t, and there is no shame in either.  Your feet sit lower to the ground than you think.

Many people ask: “will I fall because I’m higher” and the answer is no.  What people don’t realize is most Hoka models are actually flatter, and it takes time to get used too.  A lot of cushioning, especially in the Clifton is more visual, and your feet sit much lower than you think. Most models are between a 4-5 mm drop versus 8-11 like many traditional brands.

Personally, I find the cushioning in the Hoka Clifton 5 is much better.  It’s a bit firmer.  I’ve heard from several people who got arch pain in the Hoka Clifton 4, just because of how soft the shoe was.  If you have ever imagined running on marshmallows, the Clifton 4 was the closest thing.

The Hoka Clifton 5 is much firmer (not as firm as the Mach or Bondi).  I prefer the Clifton 5 much more than the 4 regarding ride.

Hoka one one clifton 5 shoe review

Conclusion:

In all, the Hoka Clifton 5 is a great update, and if you like the 4, you’re fairly certain to like the 5 too.  If you had issues with the arch of the 4, the 5 is worth your while to revisit because Hoka has firmed it up.

Like the Clintons before it, the ride I still very smooth and soft.  If you’re looking for a more responsive shoe, you’ll want to go with the Mach. It’s a great shoe in the rotation for both recovery or daily runs.

Other Shoes I’m Currently Running In:

Daily Runs: Brooks Glycerin 16, Hoka Clifton 5, Saucony Ride ISO, New Balance 1080

Workouts: Underarmour Sonic, New Balance 1400

Races: Nike LT Racer, Nike Zoom Fly

Questions for you:

Have you tried Hoka?

What is one shoe you’ve run in most model of? 

New Balance 1080v8 Shoe Review

New Balance 1080v8 Shoe Review

Truthfully, I haven’t run in a lot of New Balance.  Many moons ago, I was injured in my final year of running cross country.  I had been “fitted” for a pair of New Balance shoes, and they were the last pair of trainers before my cyst injury took me out in 2012. It wasn’t the shoes fault, but since then I haven’t found a lot of New Balance shoes that feel comfortable to me.

I’ve tried the New Balance 880 as well as the Fresh Foam Zante.  Both are quality shoes, but they both didn’t have the maximum and plush cushion that I prefer.

new balance 1080 v8 shoe review

Enter the New Balance 1080.

This has quickly become a staple in my rotation as one of my favorite shoes.  New Balance isn’t paying me to tell you that, and I’m not Emma Coburn’s teammate.  In fact, I’m as a surprised as you are of how much I like the shoe!

New Balance Fresh Foam 1080 v8 Fit:

As someone with a more full foot and toebox, I appreciate that the 1080 has a full, seamless, toe box.  It’s deep enough to hold an insert and wide enough to have plenty of space if you’re dealing with bunions or need extra space.  I wear anywhere between a 10-11 wide in running shoes, and the 10.5 regular width is comfortable for me.

New Balance Fresh Foam 1080 v8 Ride:

I’ve tried on previous versions of the 1080 but never run in them.  This is my first review of the 1080.  From my knowledge, the 1080v8 hasn’t been updated too much since V7 (version 7). Most people who have liked the previous versions, also like the V8.

For how much cushion is in the 1080, it’s much stiffer than other plush models such as the Brooks Glycerin or Saucony Triumph.  The stiffness allows a bit more responsiveness.  Another note is the shoe feels much flatter than many other plush brands and has an 8 mm drop.

One thing I appreciate is the flex grooves in the forefoot.  As someone who runs very far on their forefront, it’s support and flexibility I need.  I’ve run both on the treadmill and outdoors, and the shoe feels great.

New Balance Fresh Foam 1080 v8 Conclusions

Although I haven’t worn previous versions, I know there aren’t significant changes to the shoe. If you like the previous version, then you will continue to like the 1080.  If you’re new to the shoe, like me, then you’ll enjoy how soft and cushioned it is.

new balance 1080 v8 shoe review

As you can see, my shoe rotation has currently changed, and I have a lot of shoe reviews to catch up on:

Easy Runs/Daily Runs: Brooks Glycerin 16, New Balance 1080, Saucony Ride ISO, Hoka Mach

Workouts: Nike Fly, New Balance 1400

Races: Nike LT Racer, Nike Fly

Questions for you:

What shoe brand are you “most loyal” too?

Do you like maximum cushioned or minimal shoes? 

Under Armour Sonic HOVR Shoe Review

Under Armour Sonic HOVR Shoe Review

My shoe rotation has almost entirely changed in the last 2 months.  Many of my favorites have been updated, and many of my shoes have gotten enough miles that it is time to be donated.  The next couple of months will be filled with several reviews.

Until recently, I had never run in an Under Armour shoe.  Most people know how great the apparel is, but the running specialty shoes weren’t up there.  Well now they are, and I’ve found myself pleasantly surprised with both the Under Armour Sonic and Horizon BPF (a trail shoe that I ran Copper Mountain 25k in).

under armour hovr sonic shoe review

Fit:

The Sonic Hovr has a different fit than many other brands.  The knit surrounds the entire foot including the heel counter at the back.  It’s all one piece with the tongue attached too. The heal is not as “plush” like many other brands, but honestly, it doesn’t make a difference for me.  Typical I wear a women’s size 10-11 wide, and a 10.5 fits fine and with no sliding.

One thing I will include is that if using a custom insert, it might be more challenging to fit into the shoe without feeling like you’re sliding out.

What is “Hovr”?

Hovr is the technology Under Armour uses that makes up the midsole of the shoe.  Every brand has their own technology.  Adidas uses Boost, Nike: Air, Mizuno uses the Wave Plate, Saucony now uses Evverrun…every brand uses something different.

under armour hovr sonic shoe review

Ride:

The weight of the Sonic is about 9.6 ounces and the heel to toe drop is 8 mm.  It’s a soft but well-cushioned shoe.  I feel as though I’m well cushioned in the beginning and throughout the entire run.  I’ve done a few workouts as well as a 15-mile run and haven’t had any issues.  The grip is also good, and I don’t feel as though I’m sliding in rainy or wet conditions.  In all, it’s one of the softer and lighter shoes I’ve tried.

Conclusion:

The Under Armour Hovr Sonic is an excellent shoe for multiple purposes from everyday training to a “faster” paced shoe.  For me, it fits into a tempo shoe because I appreciate the lightweight but extra cushion it provides over a flat.  It’s responsive but fast enough that I feel as though I get a good turnover in.

I’m pleasantly surprised with the Under Armour HOVR Sonic.  If you had asked me a year ago if an Under Armour Shoe would be one of my current favorites, I’m not sure if I would believe you.

Shoe Rotation:

Easy/Daily Runs: Brooks Glycerin 16, Hoka Clifton 5, Brooks Levitate 2, Diadora Fly, Saucony Ride ISO, New Balance 1080

Workouts: Nike Fly, Under Armour Sonic HOVR

Racing: Nike LT Racer, New Balance 1400

Trails: Brooks Cascadia 12 and Under Armour Horizon

Questions for you:

What is one brand you want to try?

Have you tried Under Armour shoes before? 

Brooks Glycerin 16 Shoe Review

Brooks Glycerin 16 Shoe Review

For the past few versions, the Brooks Glycerin has been one of my favorite shoes.  It’s soft, neutral, and like a sponge underneath your feet.  If you’re looking for daily training with a lot of cushion, then the Glyercin is a great choice.

When the Brooks Glycerin 16 came out, I knew I wanted to try it sooner rather than later. After going through a few pairs of running shoes, I decided it was time to replace mine.  Keep in mind, I’m not associated with Brooks in any way.  I work in a running specialty store and like shoes.  Also what works for me, might not work for you so take every shoe review (including mine) with a grain of salt.

Brooks Glycerin 16 Shoe Review

So What Updates are there?

Fit:

As with most running shoes, especially Brooks, most of the upper is now seamless.  It accommodates wider feet, bunions, and just more feet in general.  Seamless toe boxes allow companies to fix as many feet as possible. I wear a 10-11, and the 10.5 regular widths have been excellent for me.

The upper is a double mesh that is both breathable and stretches to adapt to movement.  Your feet don’t feel constricted (not that they ever should in a running shoe).  If your feet tend to overheat quickly, this breathability will allow for more airflow.

Brooks Glycerin 16 Shoe Review

The Ride:

More Cushion

Or as I say to customers that come into the running store, more cushion for the pushing.  The biggest update for the new Glycerin is the addition of the DNA Loft Cushion.  What does that mean?  Why does it matter?

DNA Loft Cushion is a combination of the Brooks signature material.  It’s a mix of their signature cushion: DNA foam, as well as air and rubber.  This provides a soft feeling while still responsive and “poppy”. Slightly Different from the Hoka Clifton, that is just soft all the way around.  The ride itself feels smoother.  You won’t feel like you’re clunking around in a high cushioned shoe.

Conclusion:

I liked the Brooks Glycerin 15, and I like the Brooks Glycerin 16 just as much.  I don’t feel “too different” in the shoe, and for the past few years, it’s been a reliable shoe in my rotation.  I typically wear it in daily runs and occasionally for warming up or cooling down at a race too.

Current Shoe Rotation:

Daily Runs: Brooks Glycerin 16, Diadora Fly, New Balance 1080, Hoka Clifton 5

Workouts: New Balance 1400, Nike LT Racer

Races: Nike LT Racer, Nike Fly

(as you can see, I have a few reviews to work on, but I always wait until I have at least 100 miles on shoes)

Questions for you:

What is your current favorite shoe?

What is a shoe you’ve had in your rotation?

Saucony Triumph ISO 4 Shoe Review

Saucony Triumph ISO 4 Shoe Review

Recently, I integrated the Saucony Triumph ISO 4 into my rotation.  It’s one of the few shoes I seem to try each updated model.  In summary, I personally liked the original Triumph ISO the best.  As the shoe is updated more, I’ve found other Saucony shoes that I like better included the Freedom and even the cheaper Saucony Ride 10.

saucony triumph 4 shoe review

Fit:

The fit is different than the Triumph 3 and actually reminds me a lot more of both the original Triumph ISO and the Triumph ISO 2.  The shoe is actually a little longer than the 3, but still narrow.  Throughout the years, I’ve worn anywhere from a 9.5-10.5 wide in the Triumph.  This year, I find the 10 wide to be the best fit for me.

I found an interesting issue, I haven’t had before with the Triumph that the midfoot is much more snug.  Typically, I have liked the Triumph ISO, because it is a wider shoe model.  While there is sufficient room, I did find the updated model to be much narrower (even the wide) in the midfoot region.

Finally, if you have never run in Saucony shoes, the heel counter is much lower than other models.  I’ve never had an issue “running or slipping out of the shoe,” and don’t know anyone who has, but it is something to be aware of!  We have many people that come into work that don’t like the shoe because of the low heel.  It’s also a hard shoe to put orthotics and inserts into.

Ride:

The Saucony ISO 4 has gone through a few significant changes.  One is that the entire bottom is lined with the Everun foam.  Previous models included about half EVA and half Everrun.

Now, it’s full Evverun.

Why does this matter?  It makes the Saucony ISO 4 much firmer than previous models.  It’s has become much more responsive, but still cushioned shoe.  In fact, it’s much more similar to the Saucony Freedom.

Changing to an entire bottom of Everun means the shoe’s dynamic drastically changes.  If you have run in the Saucony  Freedom, it will feel much more similar.  The Triumph ISO 4 feels much less soft and much firmer than the previous Triumph models.

Summary:

  • I do personally like the Saucony Triumph ISO 4.  I’ve put just over 100 miles and not had an issue.  While the midfoot is tighter than previous models, it’s not uncomfortable.
  • The shoe itself does feel drastically different, both in fit as well as ride.  It’s definitely not a model of shoe I would buy blindly online.
  • Sadly, with the integration of the full bottom of Everrun, the retail price of the ISO 4 has gone up to $160.
  • Personally, I’ll continue running in it, and I think it’s one of the better versions Saucony has made in the last two years.  The original ISO was still my favorite.

Keep in mind, these are all personal preferences.  Saucony is not paying me to review their shoes.  What works for me, might not work for you.  All of our feet are different. 

Current Rotation:

Daily Runs: Saucony Triumph ISO 4, Brooks Glycerin 15 and Hoka Clifton 4
Workouts: Altra Escalante, Nike Zoom Fly
Races: Saucony Type A and Saucony Endorphin

Questions for you:
What is your favorite running shoe?
Is there a model, you’ve run through several models?

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