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Brooks Cascadia 12 Shoe Review

When going out west on Vacation, I knew I needed a trail shoe.  My husband and I have hiked several times on the east coast, but many people indicated how rocky and rigorous trails could be out west.  Thinking out loud, there have probably been times I could have used a trail shoe while hiking out east too.

brooks cascadia 12 shoe review

The Cascadia seemed like a good option.  I’ve had success with many Brooks Running shoes including both the Ghost 10 and Glycerin 15.  Instead of getting a hiking boot, I opted for the gortex (weatherproof) Brooks Cascadia.

Brooks Cascadia Fit:

The Gortex version makes the shoe stiffer and less breathable but that is precisely what I was looking for.  I wanted a shoe that would protect me from harsher elements.  That being said, it still fits appropriately.  In my running shoes, I’ve worn between 10-11 wide.  I purchased a pair of 10.5 shoes and have been fine.  The upper is constructed from a double mesh material that I found highly flexible, breathable, and provided a durable layer of protection.

brooks cascadia 12 shoe review

Brooks Cascadia Ride:

Personally, I’ve used these more for climbing and hiking versus running on trails.  I’ve used them a couple of times to run, but for the most part, they have been great hiking shoes.

There is a lot of cushion for a trail shoe.  My biggest fear was getting a trail shoe that was firm or rigid.  Since we have done 10+ miles of hiking before, my feet would not be happy with that.  The cushion of the Cascadia is soft like the Ghost but hard enough to grip the ground appropriately.

It doesn’t have the grooves of a rigorous hiking boot, but did have enough for the hikes I was doing.

The Gortex version allowed me to cross several streams without too much of an issue with my feet getting wet.  Something that was ideal.

Final Thoughts:

I like the Brooks Cascadia 12, and I’m so glad I decided to purchase it.  Since purchasing, I’ve done a variety of trails including Zion National Park, Colorado Springs, and even hiking in New Jersey.  It definitely makes a difference when hiking.  I’m glad I finally took the plunge and purchased a pair.

Questions for you:

Do you have a separate pair of trail shoes?

Have you ever used a Gortex or weatherproof product?

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Nike Zoom Fly Review

When Nike created the “breaking 2 project”, they created two shoes: the Nike Zoom Fly and the Nike Zoom Vapor Fly 4%.  The Nike Zoom Fly retails at $150, while the Zoom Fly 4% comes in at $250.  That is, if you can find a pair of Zoom Vapor fly 4% in your size.

The Zoom fly is a bit heavier and made for the everyday runner (or any runner not trying to break 2 hours in the marathon).

It’s made more for training.  When we first brought them into work, I wanted to try them because “everyone was”, however, I had plenty of shoes in my rotation.  Waiting enough time also gave me the option to buy a flashy red colorway too.

Nike Voom fly red

Fit:

The Zoom Fly is more narrow than many of Nikes training shoes including the Pegasus and Vomero.  The upper is seamless so it’s able to fit wider feet.  They don’t make either in a “wide”.  I bought a women’s size 10 which is fine, but I do believe a 10 wide would be a slightly better fit.

Nike Voom fly red

Ride:

The shoe weighs about 8.75 ounces for men and 6.5 for ladies.  While it’s not the lightest, it’s definitely a lighter shoe.

The Zoom Fly has  10 mm heel-toe drop so it isn’t minimal either.  The focus of the shoe is for “everyday” training.  It’s not the shoe meant to run sub 2 hours in a marathon but the shoe to keep you healthy during training.  Nike is in the process of changing many of their running shoes to the new technology you see in the Zoom Fly and Zoom Vapor Fly.

I’ve run just over 100 miles on it and I like the fit and feel a lot.  It’s soft and cushioned but not too squishy.  It’s responsive enough that I like to do workouts in it without my feet feeling too beat up.  I was doing workouts in either the Saucony Type A or the Altra Escalante but have found the extra cushion to be nice and better to recover faster.

One thing I will say is, similar to the Nike Lunarglide, there isn’t a whole lot of traction at the bottom.  On a rainy day or mud, be prepared to not feel as much contact with the ground.

Nike Voom fly red

Finally, something I shouldn’t comment on but I will is these are a good looking pair of shoes.  It’s always fun to run in a shoe that you’re like…wow these are sharp.

Personally, I see the Nike Zoom Fly as a tempo, speed, or racing shoe.  While I know many people who do the bulk of their mileage in the Zoom Fly, I personally need more cushion.

Current Rotation:
Saucony Freedom (daily runs, easy runs)
Brooks Glycerin (daily runs, easy runs)
Brooks Levitate (easy runs)
Hoka Clifton 4 (daily runs, easy runs)
Nike Zoom fly (workouts)
Altra Escalante (workouts)
Saucony type A/Endorphin (racing)

Questions for you:
Did you watch the Nike Sub 2 hours documentary?
What is your current favorite running shoe?

Brooks Levitate Shoe Review

Brooks Levitate Shoe Review

Brooks spent a lot of time promoting the brand new shoe: The Brooks Levitate.  They built the social media hype, grabbed people’s attention, and drew people in.  It has been one of the most highly anticipated shoes of 2017.

Brooks Levitate Shoe review

We brought it into my work, and when we first got them, it didn’t wow me.  I tried it on, and it felt good, but not like the greatest shoe ever.  I knew I wanted to purchase a pair at some point but had to work through a couple of other pairs first.

Fit:

Typically I wear between a size 10-10.5 (wide) in running shoes.  I found the size 10 to fit the best, but I would love to see the Levitate come in wide.  Like the Brooks Launch, the regular width fits comfortably, but the wide would fit better.

The upper is seamless, which I’ve mentioned in several shoe reviews.  It allows for those with a wider foot to fit more comfortably, and less irritation all around.  Many running shoes are now designed to fit more like a slipper.  Brooks Levitate Shoe review

Ride:

When I first tried the Brooks Levivate on, I noticed how heavy it is compared to other models of Brooks shoes.  I was not expecting the firm sole or just the overall weight.  If you are usually Brooks fan, you will notice the difference of cushioning.  The Levitate is much firmer than both the Brooks Ghost and Brooks Glycerin.  It’s also much heavier than the Brooks Launch.  For women, it comes in at a dense 9.7 ounces.

Thinking out loud, A big draw to the Brooks Levitate is that it’s an 8 mm drop.  Most Brooks Running shoes are between 10-12 mm, and they haven’t had a good 8 mm shoe.  It’s similar to the Saucony Ride, albeit much heavier.

For me, it took about 5 runs for me to like the shoe.  I bought the shoe, so at $150 my wallet says: “I’ll like it”, but at first it wasn’t my favorite shoe.  A good shoe?  Yes, but I like both the Brooks Ghost and Glycerin better.  After about 5 runs, I grew to like it much more.  It is much more responsive, and I feel the ground more.  It cushions well.

In all, I do like the Brooks Levitate.  It’s not my favorite, nor least favorite shoe but it’s been a solid trainer so far.  I’ve run about 100 miles on the shoe, with my longest being about 10 and it’s held up well.

My Current Rotation:
Brooks Ghost 10 (easy runs, daily runs)
Saucony Freedom (easy runs, long runs)
Nike Zoom Fly (workouts) Review to come
Saucony Type A/Endorphin (Races)

Questions for you:
Have you tried a brand new shoe recently?
What is your favorite running shoe?

Runners World Festivities Recap

The Runners World Festival is one of my favorite weekends of the year.  I was lucky enough to participate in both 2015 and 2016 too.  Every year as I leave, I drive up the steep hill out of Bethlehem thinking: “Could this have been any more fun?” and it’s surprised me each time.

The short version recap is: I had, even more, fun in 2017, how that is possible, I’m not sure.

I was able to participate again as an influencer.  As an influencer, we arrived in Bethlehem the Thursday before, and receive a tour of Runners World and dinner with the editors.

The Runner’s World Organic Café has delicious food and to be honest if I worked there, I don’t know if I would ever come home with a paycheck because I would eat there all of the time.

Runners World Festival

We made salad bowls with grilled chicken, green goddess dressing, and roasted vegetables.

Friday was jam-packed, and we were out of the hotel at 6:45 am.  Typically, I’m running at home by then.  We did a shakeout run with a good friend Suzanne and Ryan Hall.  It was about 30 minutes, relaxed and I didn’t even bring a watch.  We stopped and took a photo with the sun.

Runners World Festival

Photo Credit Marty D.

After that, we met at the Steelstacks and the Altra founder: Golden Harper gave us a briefing on how Altra came to be.  He described creating the first Altra shoes in his toaster oven and how the term “zero drop” came about.  It’s a fascinating seminar, and if you ever get the chance to hear from him personally, I highly recommend it.

Runners World Festival Altra Clinic

As someone who works in a running store, I nerd out to it anyway, but Altra shoes are unique in many different ways.  They are foot shaped and allow the toes to spread out as feet naturally do and are balanced front to back with the same amount of cushion in the front of the shoe as well as the back.  You can read my recent review of the Altra Escalante here.

After that, Golden gave us a clinic on form and running more efficiently.  It’s always a useful clinic and a few of his tips such as a higher arm swing has helped me throughout racing.

After that, we had lunch and listened to the Mayor Running, himself, Bart Yasso discussed his new book Race Everything.

Bart is retiring after 30 years, and it is always such a treat to have him talk to us and listen to his stories.  He gave a powerful speech about various times he has connected with people and it made me tear up.  You never know how you are influencing someone.

Finally, we checked out the expo and picked up our bibs.  I always appreciate the unique and smaller companies at Runners World.  This year anyone doing the hat trick 5k/10k/13.1 received a hat, and anyone doing the Grand Slam 3.8 trail race/5k/10k/13.1 received a nice backpack.

Influencers were also given a tote bag filled with goodies such as socks and fun gear.  They even gave us a free one to give to readers.  All you have to do is comment with someone that has influenced or inspired you and why.  Winner will be chosen over the weekend and announced Monday.

After that, we prepared for the weekend of races. I left Friday feeling inspired by meeting so many different bloggers and Runners World Editors.

I’ll recap both the 5k and the 13.1 in the following days.

Hoka Clifton 4 Shoe Review

Hoka Clifton 4 Shoe Review

I’ve run in a few Hoka One One Clifton.  I ran in the original Clifton as well as the Clifton 3.  I skipped the Clifton 2 because it was a bit too narrow for my foot.  The Clifton has continued to be one of Hoka One One’s more popular models.  It’s light but still, has the cushion people have come to love from Hoka.

Hoka claims the differences between the Clifton 3 and Clifton 4 are the most drastic.  In my opinion, I believe sizing was a drastic change between the 1-3, but the upper is much different in the 4.

Appearance:

I rarely talk about the appearance of shoes, but Hoka has made a solid effort to make their shoes look more friendly to the eyes.  When Hoka was first developing shoes, some of their earlier models I wouldn’t ever use as a “casual” shoe.  The Hoka Clifton 4 went through such a drastic change in appearance, that it’s now a shoe I bought myself a second pair to walk around in.

Fit: 

Fit wise, the Hoka Clifton 4 is similar to the Clifton 3.  It’s important, especially if you have wider feet (like myself!).  I wore a 10 in the Clifton 3 and continue in a 10 now.

The great news for the Clifton lovers is the Clifton now comes in wide!  That deserves 10 exclamation points by itself.

As Hoka claims, they did update the upper.  The new mesh is much more breathable than previous years and also has zero seams (which is trending in the industry right now).

Ride: 

The Clifton is known to be lightweight but very cushioned.  To me, it feels like a giant spongey marshmallow underneath your feet.  The Bondi feels much more firm and dense, while the Clifton is much more spongy.

Hoka claims this year the Clifton 4 will last much longer than previous models.  As someone who has run and works at a running store, I will say that the Clifton has been notorious for not lasting as long as many other similar brands.  They sacrifice durability with decreasing the weight of the shoe.  This year, is a different story and I’ve almost run 300 miles in the Clifton 4.  A shoe I was never able to put that much mileage on.

If you have run in the Clifton 3, the ride is very similar.  It’s like a giant marshmallow underneath your feet. If you are new to the Clifton or Hoka, it’s a lightweight but a well cushioned and soft ride.  You feel the roll as you move through your gait cycle.

Hoka Clifton 4 Shoe Review

Thoughts:

I like the Clifton 4 and it will continue to keep it in my rotation.  In fact, I bought a second pair to walk around in because I do believe it does look that good.

Current Rotation:
Saucony Freedom (long runs/easy runs)
Hoka Clifton 4 (long runs/easy runs)
Brooks Ghost 10 (daily runs)
Altra Escalante (speed workouts)
Saucony Type A/Endorphin (races)

Questions for you:
What is your current favorite running shoe?

Altra Escalante Shoe Review

Altra Escalante Shoe Review

Each year, I go to the Runners World festival, I get the opportunity to learn more about the brand and company.  Altra also gives bloggers a pair of shoes (of their choice).Altra also gives bloggers a pair of shoes (of their choice).  This year I knew the most about the Altra Escalante because we carry it at work and requested that model.  I was lucky that Altra was extremely receptive and sent me the Escalante.As most people know, Altra is known for a wider toe box.  As the founder Golden has said, it’s not a “wide” shoe but it’s foot shaped.

As most people know, Altra is known for a wider toe box.  As the founder Golden has said, it’s not a “wide” shoe but it’s foot shaped.  Well my foot is wide.  Altra is actually more narrow through the arch and heel which makes it a better fit for most people’s feet.

The other component Altra is known for is their “zero drop” shoe format.  This means the heel and the forefront are at the same level and flat.  It doesn’t mean it’s a minimalist shoe, but it is flat.

The Fit: 

I do believe the Altra Escalante is one of the better fitting running shoes right now.  I usually wear between 10-11 wide in my shoes, and in the Escalante, I wear a comfortable size 10.

The upper is made from a stretchy knit which means there are no seams to rub on feet.  It’s accommodating and with minimal seams, there aren’t pressure points.  This is especially important for someone who might deal with bunions or a wide forefront. The heel counter hugs the heel, so while the toe box is roomy, there isn’t any heel slippage.

me altra escalante shoe review

Ride:

As described above, something important to note, if you have never tried Altra before they are a “zero drop” shoe.

 What does this mean?

The forefront and heel are at the same height.  If you currently run in a higher stacked or higher drop shoe, your calves might be more sore as you integrate a flatter shoe into your rotation.  To prevent injury, you should slowly work the shoe into your rotation versus starting to run in it every day.

I’ve run in a few Altra shoes including the Altra Paradigm 1.5. I prefer more cushion and don’t have a need for a trail shoe.

The Altra Escalante is the most minimal design I have chosen and I’ve used for several runs from workouts too easy runs.  When I ran my first tempo run, I felt the ground, less ground than a racing flat but more than a high cushioned shoe.  I liked how responsive it was.  

When I ran a few easy runs, I could the softness and cushion that Altra has integrated into their shoes.   In total I’ve run between 50-75 miles in the shoe and haven’t had any issues. I’ve never run in it back to back days but don’t typically do that with any of my shoes.

While all of my runs were successful in the shoe, personally I love the feeling of running tempos in the shoe. I feel like I’m giving my body more cushion than a racing flat but getting my turnover up with a flatter shoe.

Summary:

So far I’ve liked using the Escalante for workouts and as a “faster” paced shoe.  I might experiment with it as a half marathon shoe but for now, it will be my staple workout shoe.

Thank you Altra for sending me the Escalante as well as the Runners World Festival for bringing me back as a blogger.  While I was given this shoe, I wasn’t paid for the review and all opinions are my own.

My running rotation:
Brooks Ghost 10
Brooks Glycerin 15
Hoka Clifton 4 (Review to Come)
Saucony Type A/Endorphin (racing)

Questions for you:
Have you tried Altra before?
Do you prefer more or less cushion in your shoes?

Brooks Glycerin 15 Shoe Review

Brooks Glycerin 15 Shoe Review

For the past year, the Brooks Glycerin has been one of my personal favorite shoes.  I ran in the Brooks Glycerin 14 and am currently running in the Glycerin 15. Spoiler: The Brooks Glycerin is 15 is just as good, if not better, than the Brooks Glycerin 14.

A common question I recieve both at work and on this blog, is do you like the Brooks Glycerin or Brooks Ghost better?

Brook glycerin 15 shoe review

My answer is: I wish I could take the fit of the Brooks Ghost (it’s wider) and have the cushion the Glycerin.  Both have their positives and negatives and I like both shoes about the same.

In short, the Glycerin is the most cushioned shoe from Brooks.  Whether you are running 100 miles or walking 1, it’s going to provide a soft and well cushioned ride.

Brooks is not paying me to review their shoes and I’m not a Brooks ambassador.

Fit:

One major update from the Brooks Glycerin 14 to the Glycerin 15 is the redesigned upper.  There are less seams and it is a bit wider.  Without the seams, the Glycerin fits many more people with bunions or people that have fuller toe boxes (like myself). The wider toebox update is welcomed from the Glyercin 14.

Brook glycerin 15 shoe review

The redesigned upper is positive and you’ll have a lot more room for your toes to spread out.   Fit wise, I wore a 10 wide in the Brooks Glycerin 14 and I still wear a 10 wide in the Brooks Glycerin 15.  My feet have much more room and they are happier.

Ride:

The ride of the actual shoe is very similar to the previous model.  To me, it feels almost identical in a good way.  You don’t have to worry “the shoe update has changed” and it won’t work for you.  It still has a very high cushioned and soft feel.

The Glycerin Line Itself: If you’ve never worn the Glycerin, it’s a very high cushioned, soft, shoe.  There is a lot of cushioning throughout the shoe but it’s not heavy or bulky either.  A major reason I like it, is the amount of forefront cushioning.

me running brooks glycerin 15

Brooks Glycerin 15 Conclusions

The Glycerin 15 is a solid update from the Glycerin 14.  There isn’t anything too crazy changed, so you won’t feel as though it’s a brand new shoe.  Let’s be honest, minimal changes in the running shoe world are a good thing.  With the amount of cushion, it’s a personal favorite of mine.

Current Rotation:
Brooks Ghost 10
Hoka Bondi 5
Saucony Freedom
Brooks Glycerin 15

Questions for you:

Have you run in the Brooks Glycerin?

What is your favorite running shoe?

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