Brooks Ricochet Shoe Review

Brooks Ricochet Shoe Review

Right now, Brooks is the top brand in run specialty. Since they only make running and walking shoes, they do a good job. The Brooks Richochet is a new shoe from Brooks. Similar to the Brooks Levitate 2, it uses DNA AMP. It’s much more responsive than both the Brooks Ghost or Brooks Glycerin. Just because you like the softer Ghost or Glycerin, doesn’t mean you’ll like the firmer Richochet or Levitate. In fact, most people prefer one or the other.

It’s lighter with less cushion than the Levitate 2, but still a lot of cushioning. Personally, I’ve thought the Levirate 2 feels like a bulky shoe. Generally, I like bulkier shoes, but the Levitate 2 has always just felt like a brick. I was excited to hear Brooks made a lighter version of the Levitate.

Brooks Ricochet Shoe Review

Fit:

The fit of the Ricochet is interesting. It fits similar to the Levitate with an almost sock-like fit that comes up higher than a traditional shoe. It’s seamless and has plenty of space for those (like me!) with a wider forefront. I typically wear between a size 10-11 wide, and the 10.5 fits fine.

Diving more into the upper, the higher sock-like fit was created to keep “the foot more secure” as well as not allowing dirt in. I’m not a fan of it in any shoe or brand that does this (unless it’s a trail boot) and would prefer a traditional upper. It does take time to get used too.  It is seamless and doesn’t rub, so that is a plus. Do I feel more secure with the higher upper? No.

Ride:

The Richoet is different than most of the Brooks line.  It has a layer of DNA AMP to provide the maximum of amount of energy return.  There is also a layer of DNA foam to cut down on weight (Which is why the Levitate is so heavy).

As Brooks says, this design is supposed to provide flexibility between the two layers of cushion while also being responsive.

Brooks Ricochet Shoe Review

While running, I could feel how responsive the shoe was. I appreciate how firm and responsive the shoe is without being overly heavy or bulky. While I don’t think it would be the best speed work shoe, I think it’s a much “faster” shoe than most of their neutral shoes.

Something to note, which I’ve been finding more and more with several models across brands, is the lack is traction.  During rainy or slick days, the Richochet does not grip the found like many other shoes. I save them for dry days or the treadmill.

Conclusion:

I think the Richoet is a good shoe from Brooks for someone looking for a firmer and more responsive shoe from the Glycerin or Ghost. It’s also a good shoe for someone who likes the Levitate but wants a lighter shoe. Would I personally choose it over the Ghost or Glycerin? No, but I prefer a softer shoe.

From Brooks, I’m team DNA forever. I think the Ricochet could use tune-ups from the upper to just the overall weight, but typically most new shoes need some help. I’ll continue to use the shoe for workouts and occasionally for daily runs, but I still prefer the Glycerin or Ghost.

Shoe Rotation:

Daily Runs: Brooks Glycerin, Hoka Cavu, New Balance 1080,  Saucony Triumph

Workouts: Nike Fly, Brooks Richochet

Races: Nike Streak LT, Nike Fly

Questions for you:

What is your current favorite shoe?

Do you prefer a heavy or light shoe? 

Saucony Triumph ISO 5 Shoe Review

The Saucony Triumph ISO 5 is a high cushioned neutral trainer from Saucony. More cushion than the Saucony Ride ISO. I’ve run in several models of the Saucony Triumph ISO, with my favorite being the first.  The Triumph is a high cushioned, but lightweight trainer.

I’ve typically had a version of the Triumph in my rotation but recently moved towards the Ride.  For the last year, the Ride has felt better to me personally. When it was released, I was eager to see how the Triumph felt.

saucony triumph iso 5 shoe review

Fit:

The Saucony Triumph ISO has run short for several versions, but this year it runs true to size. I typically wear a women’s 10-11 wide, and 10.5 has been great.

Like many Saucony shoes, the Saucony Triumph ISO 5 uses Saucony’s ISO Fit upper. What ISO Fit? It helps to lock in your foot while moving and adapting throughout the run. It can also fit more feet; whether you have bunions, narrow feet, or full but don’t worry, the shoe also comes in wide.

The second update to the Triumph upper includes a “Jacquard” engineered mesh. According to Saucony, this helps to accommodate more foot types (with the updated ISO  fit, it does).  The jacquard mesh is basically fancy mesh.

saucony triumph iso 5 shoe review

Ride:

New for this version, Saucony added 2mm of EVERUN Topsole cushioning.   There is supposedly more energy return than ever before. The topsole is on top of the Everrun, so the shoe feels more cushioned and more energetic.

Something to note is the grip is much better than previous versions too.  I’ve run in the downpouring rain, and the traction has been fine.

The Saucony Triumph ISO 5 feels closer the original ISO 1 than ever before. Maybe I’m just reminiscing on the shoe, but it finally feels like Saucony put more into the again. For the past few generations, it’s taken a backseat to the Freedom or even the Ride.

saucony triumph iso 5 shoe review

I’ve run about 100 miles in the shoe (long runs, easy runs, workouts) and for me, it’s best fit as a daily trainer or long run.

Conclusion:

I like the Saucony Triumph, and I think the Saucony Triumph ISO 5 is the best it’s been since the first version. I’ll continue running it.

Current Rotation:

Easy Runs: Brooks Glycerin 16, Brooks Ghost 11, Hoka One One Cavu

Workouts: Nike LT Streak, Nike Zoom Fly

Races: Nike LT Streak

You Can See All Current Shoe Reviews Here.

Questions for you:

What is your current favorite pair of running shoes? 

Have you run in Saucony before? 

Nike Streak Lt 4 Shoe Review

Nike Streak Lt 4 Shoe Review

I’ve got a few new shoe reviews coming out soon.  Some of my favorite shoes have been updated, but I’ve also branched out to try a few new ones as well.

Anyway, I rarely do a running flat review, because they are all basically the same. Lightweight, used for racing.  With the release of the Nike Vaporfly 4% last year, the running flat game has changed.

Nike Streak Lt 4 Shoe Review

That being said, I’ve been a Nike LT Streak fan since it the first version came out. Something about putting on a brand new pair has always made me feel fast. It’s a lightweight, racing shoe, that has been great for both workouts and races. I’ve done everything from 400s to a half marathon and never had any issues. That being said, it’s so important to work yourself into a flat. Don’t go from a trainer to a half marathon because you will get injured.

Nike Streak Lt 4 Shoe Review

Fit:

Like any racing flat, the Nike Streak LT fits narrow.  I wear from a women’s 10-11 wide. Since the shoe is unisex, I found the mens 9.5 to fit the best (women’s 11).

New for the Streak LT 4, is a Flymesh upper.  According to Nike, the Flymesh makes the shoe more durable as well as breathable. There are also vents along the forefoot and sides to eliminate hotspots.

I appreciate this year, the overlays that give the shoe more overall structure.  It’s not you’re your foot is just free floating around in a shoe. Of all the versions of the Streak LT, I think the 4th version fits the best. It has the most structure and your feet feel most secure in a flat.

Ride:

The Air Zoom Streak LT 4 is one of the lightest racing flats out there. It’s possibly what drew me to this shoe way back when. Lighter (whether it’s body weight or racing shoe), doesn’t mean faster, especially in distance. The Lt Streak hits a good spot with about the most amount of cushion for the least amount of weight.

So how is it so light? Nike uses a Cushlon LT midsole, aided further by “Zoom Air” in the shoe’s heel. The cushioning is durable for paved roads, track, and trails.  While I personally wouldn’t do a fast workout with them on the treadmill, they should be fine there too.

Nike Streak Lt 4 Shoe Review

The Air Zoom Streak LT 4 is a 4mm drop.  This is a drastic difference between most trainers so if you’re using them for the first time, take a few weeks or workouts to get used to them. The lower drop allows the foot to move more natural and there isn’t additional support there. You feel more of the road or terrain.

Another important feature to look for in a racing flat: traction without weight. This is one of Nike’s best “bad weather” racing shoe (unless you race in a trainer).  I’ve run races like Shamrock in torrential downpours and slicker conditions and still had traction.  Not every racing flat is great in bad weather and both the Nike Zoom Fly and 4% do not perform well in rain.

Conclusion:

I like the Zoom Streak LT 4 and will continue to use them.  Typically I go through 2 pairs of racing flats a year.  They last 100-200 miles (as most racing flats do before your cushioning is gone).

Nike Streak Lt 4 Shoe Review

Current Rotation:

Easy Runs: Hoka Cavu, Brooks Glycerin, Saucony Triumph ISO 5 (shoe review to come)

Workouts: Nike LT Streak 4, Nike Zoom Fly

Races: Nike LT Streak 4, (I think the Vaporfly will just be a marathon shoe for me and I have no plans to do another one for a while)

Questions for you:

Do you use different racing and training shoes?

What is your favorite racing shoe? 

 

Fitbit Iconic Review

As most people know, I’ve been searching for a new watch to update my Garmin 220. I’m basically 4-5 watch updates behind with Garmin at this point. I use my GPS for workouts, long runs, and races, but I typically leave it at home for easy runs.

I like going by effort and being honest, a 9:03 mile versus a 9:30 mile doesn’t mean much to me on an easy run.  So finding a watch that has the functionality of a 220, but is nice enough to wear all day has been a challenge. I’ve had to give up a few features in the Fitbit Iconic, which doesn’t make it a perfect fit but it’s a good watch for life.

I bought the Fitbit Iconic and don’t have any relation or partnership with any GPS brand.

Personally, I’ve been looking for a watch with all of these qualities:

  • GPS function (distance, time, pace, elevation)
  • Heart rate monitoring
  • Less Sporty Exterior look to wear daily
  • Interval timer and ability to log workouts

To my knowledge, there hasn’t been a watch that has all of those qualities that isn’t $400+.  I don’t use my GPS for every run or workout, but I do use it for measuring mileage in new spots, and for races, and workouts.  I’m not a stranger to either Fitbit or Garmin, as I’ve had both.

GPS:

The primary reason I went with the Iconic versus the Surge, is the built-in GPS.  The older Fitbit models like the Charge 2, lacked accurate GPS. A few years ago, I ran Broad Street 10 miler, and Fitbit said I ran 8.7 miles. The race is literally a straight line down Broad Street.  The Fitbit Iconic is by far the best GPS, Fitbit has come out with.

The GPS connects quickly, and I’ve used it in many places with no delay or lag.

I’ve compared the Ionic’s GPS against the Garmin 220, and my husband’s Garmin D2 and it’s always been within .05. I’m also into elevation and climbing (especially with hiking), and it’s just as accurate.  For a daily run, walk, or hike, the GPS in Fitbit is fairly accurate.  It’s by far Fitbit’s most accurate GPD, and it’s as good as any model of Garmin I’ve used.

The only complaint with the running and fitness logs, is there is no history unless you use Strava. I don’t use Strava, and I don’t foresee myself using it either. This would become more of an issue since I can’t look back a year, from now and see what I did.

Battery Life:

The Fitbit Ionic claims to have over four days of battery life. I’ve used it for over a month now, and I’ve had success with that.  I like to charge the watch every 2-3 days to keep it full. It also claims 10 hours of GPS life, and I find my daily runs don’t take up much of the battery.

Display:

The Ionic’s display is easy to read, even in lower light. I find the Fitbit easier ro read than any Garmin watch.

There are three physical buttons as well as a touchscreen front. The display screen stays off unless you tap the touchscreen or move your wrist.

As mentioned the screen is easy to read which is a huge plus for me.  I want a watch I can use daily for the actual time.  Plus I can see progress towards a goal such as steps and calories (which isn’t something I care much about).  But seeing progress is always nice. 

If you swipe up on the home screen, you can get recent notifications from texting or third party apps.  It’s easy to control which notifications you receive. I like to only receive texts, but if you want twitter, facebook, and whatever else, you can.

 

Music:

To use the music feature of any smartwatch you need Bluetooth headphones. I run with my phone anyway, so this isn’t a feature I look much into.  You can use any Bluetooth headphone you prefer.  Fitbit sells their own headphones, but any will do.

One of the many apps the Ionic comes with is Pandora app.  It also has 2.5GB  of storage for music.  Isn’t that most than the original iPods?

Apps and Notifications:

One of the big draws of the Iconic is the ability to load apps like weather, Pandora, and even Starbucks. This isn’t a feature I use but makes it more comparable to the Garmin 645 with music or the Garmin Vivoactive.

You can also get texts through the phone but can’t respond. I do like the ability to see a text while out. Sometimes it can important, sometimes not, but I do appreciate it.

Wrist-Based Heart-Rate Tracking:

I like to know my heart rate, but the feature isn’t a “make or break” for me.  My heart rate was consistent with that of the Garmin Vivosport.  The 220 doesn’t have the feature.  My resting heart rate as well during workouts was about the same through the two devices.

 

Fitbit App:

In my opinion, the Fitbit App is much more focused on overall health. Garmin Connect, is great for running and that’s it. The Fitbit app is more user-friendly option too. Daily stats are easy to find too. You can see steps, sleep, flights of stairs climbed, calories, and water.  I think it’s a lot easier for someone who wanst ovrall health versus just “how far did I run”. I wish Garmin had a better app with easy to see and use features.

So What Features Is Fitbit Lacking?

Interval Tracking: I like doing 400s, 800s, mile repeats, and any interval tracking. The Iconic doesn’t do it. The lack of this feature is why it cannot become my primary running watch.

History: I know I’m one of the few, but I’m not a strava member. I would prefer to have a watch that you were able to look back at runs throughout time.

Conclusion:

I like Fitbit more for everyday watch wearing.  It’s a watch I can wear around the clock. It’s a great eatch to measure easy runs or even races you just want mile markers, but if you are looking for a “just” running watch, it wouldn’t be the first watch I would recommend.

Two major issues make it not a perfect watch for me, or even most competitive runner.

  • The absence of laps and the ability to program workouts
  • The availability of history only on Strava

If Fitbit added both of these features, it would compete with Garmin and other GPS runner focused watches.

That being said, I’ll continue to use my Fitbit Iconic. I like the app better, daily use, and the look if far better than Garmin.  I’ll continue to use my old 220 for workouts and races until there is a Garmin I like enough to buy that isn’t $500.  I like the rose gold 645 with music, but I can’t justify the price for what I need in a watch.

Questions for you:

Have you used Fitbit?

Which watch are you using? 

Why use compression sleeves or socks?

Why use compression sleeves or socks?

Many people have asked, if “compression socks or sleeves really work”?

The short answer is yes and no.

Before the running boom, compression socks were used by diabetics and airplane pilots.  Now, you can’t go to a race without seeing runners of all abilities wearing them (myself included!).Why use compression running

So if “everyone” is wearing them, there must benefits, right?

Most of the benefits in studies have been mental versus fitness gain.  Running is 80% mental anyway. Personally, while wearing compression my legs feel better during and after runs.

So what are some benefits of Compression? 

Recover Faster:

Compression promotes blood flow and in turn accelerates the removal of metabolic waste.  In short, it encourages blood flow with oxygen and nutrients to muscles faster.  As someone who deals a lot of with calve tightness, I’ve found that compression helps to speed up recovery after a hard workout or race. 

Stabilize:

If you’ve ever had issues with needing stabilization (for instance a rolled ankle), compression can help stabilize tendons and ligaments.  A few years ago, when I rolled my ankle, I used the CEP compression ankle sleeve. 

What to Keep in Mind:

There are a few things to keep in mind though, and not every compression sock brand is the same.  Some are just glorified tube socks.  The average quality set of compression sleeves cost about $40, while the average sock is about $60.  I personally have had the most success with CEP compression (they aren’t paying me to tell you that).

Socks or Sleeves?

If you aren’t having foot pain and issues, I highly recommend the sleeves versus socks. It can be tough to get a perfect fit between a calf size and foot size. For instance, my feet don’t match up because my calves are size 3 and my feet are women’s size 10-11!  Plus with the sleeves, you can use your own socks or if you feel like you need a pair of compression socks, purchase the right foot size. 

Look for Medical Grade:

You want to look for a brand that uses “Medical Grade Compression.” Medical Grade Compression is designed to promote and target blood flow. Typically colors are more boring and aren’t on sale every 10 minutes.

Medical grade compression comes in several different levels of compression:

  • Mild (8-15 mmHg)
  • Medium (15-20 mmHg)
  • Firm (20-30 mmHg)
  • X-Firm (30-40 mmHg)

Most runners don’t need anything more than medium or firm.

Get Measured:

The last thing to remember is to get measured. If you need a size 11 and are wearing a size IV, then you probably won’t feel much of the benefit. You want to measure the widest part of your calve.  Keep in mind to measure both, as many people’s calves (and feet) are two different sizes. Compression socks should fit snug. They should be tight enough to leave small impressions from the fabric, but they shouldn’t ever be painful.  The first time you put a pair on, it should challenge you.

Finally, When to Wear Them:

There are no rules about when to wear compression socks. Many runners like myself, wear them while running to increase circulation. Others use compression after a workout or run. If you are having shin and calve issues, wear them during a run or workout, as well as after.  (Don’t wear them 24-7 though, your feet need time to breath). If you’re using them for recovery, use them post run.  The beauty is, you can experiment is figure out when feels the best to you.

underarmour killington 25k

Question for you: Do you wear compression?  Socks or sleeves?

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