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Altra Escalante 1.5 Shoe Review

Altra Escalante 1.5 Shoe Review

One of the most popular shoes from Altra has become the Altra Escalante. If you are looking to try Altra and don’t know where to start, the Escalante is usually a good first step.

Altra is well known for their zero drop. I wrote about zero drop in the newsletter a few weeks ago.

Altra Escalante Shoe Review

Upper:

The Altra Escalante 1.5 has a very breathable upper. Altra is well known for a wide toe box, and there is plenty of space if you have bunions or a wider forefront. Altra mentions their shoes are “foot shaped,” but they aren’t wide.  I met the founder, Golden, at the Runners World Festival a few years ago, and Altra is adamant about their shoes being “foot shaped” and not wide.

One thing to make note is while any Altra shoe has a wider toe box, many brands come in wide, and other brands create a wider shoe. So yes, the regular width of Altra is relatively wide, it’s not the widest thing out there (and doesn’t come in wide). I wear anywhere from 10-11 wide and found the men’s size 9 to be the best fit for my feet.  Hopefully that makes sense: basically, Altra has a wider toe box than many brands, but it isn’t the widest shoe out there.

The upper is entirely knit and completely seamless, and as such, it feels more like a thick sock than a shoe.  There isn’t much structure to the shoe.

Altra Escalante Shoe Review

Ride:

If you like to feel the ground when you run, the Escalante is a great option. It’s light, but responsive. For me, it has a place as a workout or “faster” shoe. I wouldn’t personally do higher mileage or easy runs in it.

With a zero drop, you’ll have the same amount of cushion in the front and back. It will take some time to get used too. Like transitioning into racing flats, your calves might be sore.

Conclusion:

I like the Altra Escalante for shorter and speed workouts. It’s too lightweight for me to get away for training. I like how seamless the upper is and the amount of extra room my foot has. In all, I will keep using the shoe for workouts and speed work. If you are looking to try a zero drop shoe and don’t know where to start the Altra Escalante is a good option.

Altra Escalante Shoe Review

Current Shoe Rotation:

Easy Runs: Brooks Glycerin 17, New Balance 1080, Hoka Mach 2

Speed Work: Reebok Float ride Runfast Pro, Nike Fly

Long Runs: Hoka Cavu 2

Races: Nike Fly, Reebok Floatride

Finally, have you subscribed to the LOLZletter? It’s a free newsletter that comes out each Monday. In the newsletter, I share running industry trends and things relevant to the sport. 

Questions for you:

Have you ever tried a zero drop shoe?

What is your current favorite shoe? 

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Hoka One One Speedgoat Midi Shoe Review

Hoka One One Speedgoat Midi Shoe Review

I’ve been looking for a new hiking shoe for the 2019 season. As most people know, I like running but also appreciate and like hiking just as much. I like a good hike as much as a good run and just enjoying being outside.

I have tried a few shoes including the Brooks Cascadia as well as Under Armour BPF.  Both were good, but I’m always looking to try something new.

I’ve also wanted to try something a little higher cut shoe so when I noticed Hoka had a midlevel version of the Speedgoat I knew I wanted to try it.

Technically the Hoka Speedgoat Midi could be considered a running shoe or hiking shoe.  A boot and shoe that does it all! I will personally use it as a hiking boot since I don’t live in an area that needs this aggressive of a trail shoe.

The original Speedgoat has won several awards as a top trail shoe, so I thought why not try it. For the Speedgoat, Hoka combines their famous sole with Vibram.  Plus, it’s waterproof, so if you step in puddles (which I have), you’re fine. I’ve come to realize waterproof trail shoes are essential to me, especially when hiking.Hoka One One Speedgoat Midi Shoe Review

Upper:

The upper varies from a traditional shoe as it’s a boot. It’s water resistant, so when it’s wet, your feet stay relatively dry. I typically wear a women’s size 10-11 wide. I found the men’s size 9 to be a good fit and truthfully I liked the color of the mens better.

Hoka One One Speedgoat Midi Shoe Review

Traction

With trail shoes, traction is significant. You don’t want a trail shoe that you’re sliding around in.

The major difference between road and trail shoes is trail shoes have a more aggressive bottom.

 

Hoka has partnered with Vibram for the entire bottom of their shoe.  While hiking, I had no issue taking them through mud, dirt, washed out, or dry trails. Most people don’t realize how rocky the Appalachian Trail can be, but they have gripped well.  I haven’t had an issue where I’m like, oh that could use more traction.

Hoka One One Speedgoat Midi Shoe Review

Water Resistance

One of the significant draws (for me) is the water resistance. As I hiked through muddy and wet terrain, I didn’t have any issues with my feet being wet. Sometimes you might worry a waterproof shoe is too hot (and think lack of breathability) but the Hoka Speedgoat has a wrap-around liner.  This means it keeps water out but also allows your feet to breathe.

Hoka One One Speedgoat Midi Shoe Review

Conclusion

As someone who loves both running and hiking, I believe this shoe can do both. For avid trail runners, it’s a lightweight boot that you can put miles in a while still staying comfortable. For the casual hiker (like me), it a good boot with plenty of traction to keep you stable. Plus unlike many hiking boots, it’s not heavy. I run any trail races this summer; this is one I’ll keep in mind.

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It’s hiking szn.

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Current Shoe Rotation:

Easy Runs: Brooks Glycerin 17, New Balance 1080, Hoka Mach 2

Speed Work: Reebok Float ride Runfast Pro, Nike Fly

Long Runs: Hoka Cavu 2

Finally, have you subscribed to the LOLZletter?

It’s a free newsletter that comes out each Monday. In the newsletter, I share running industry trends and things relevant to the sport. There are giveaways, coupon codes, and more.

Races: Nike Fly, Reebok Floatride

Questions for you:

Do you have a favorite trail shoe? What is your current favorite shoe? 

 

New Balance 1080v9 Shoe Review

New Balance 1080v9 Shoe Review

The New Balance 1080v8 was the first New Balance shoe I fell in love with. It’s high cushioned, with a nice roomy toe box.  I  got through the bulk of NYCM training in them and was sad to finally retire the pair. Naturally, I was excited when the New Balance 1080v9 came out. I knew I would probably like it just as much, spoiler I did.

New Balance 1080v9

Weight: Men’s 11.1 oz | Women’s 9.9 oz
Drop: 8 mm 

Fit:

The major update for the 1080v9 comes with the upper.  The upper for the 1080v9 is much more simple. New Balance removed the conventional mesh with many overlays, seams, and plastic for an engineered jacquard mesh.  The jacquard mesh or fancy mesh has no seams or overlay.  In all, version 9 is much sleeker.

New Balance 1080v9

Included in the fit, was the removal of the bulky tongue as well as a molded 3D heel design.  The premise is to lock your heal into place.  I think it fits my foot well, but working in run specialty, I’ve had a few people that don’t care for how it hits their ankle. I’ve run over 100 miles in the shoes, and haven’t had any issues.  Typically I wear a 10-11 wide, and the 10.5 regular width is fine.

A great feature of the shoe, is the logo “N” is reflective.

New Balance 1080v9

Ride:

The update also includes the removal of about an ounce of weight. While that doesn’t sound like a lot, it makes a huge difference in how you feel while running in the shoe.  The lighter weight V9 now feels softer in the midsole, and there is more cushion and response at the forefront.

New Balance 1080v9

With plenty of cushion, it’s a great option for easy days, recovery days, or just daily runs. For me personally, it fits best on any of the 3.  The traction is there so when we had a snow storm a few days ago, I was able to run without feeling like I’m sliding around.  If you have liked the 1080 in the past, you will like it for version 9. If you have never run in the New Balance 1080 and are looking for a high cushioned trainer, the 1080v9 is a great fit.  Even though it’s high cushion, it doesn’t lack the response of a lighter weight trainer.

New Balance 1080v9

Recent Shoe Reviews:

Daily Rotation: Brooks Glycerin 16, Saucony Triumph 5, On Cloudace
Workouts: Nike LT Streak (speed), Hoka Cavu 2 (long run tempos)
Races: Nike LT Streak, Nike Zoom Fly

You Can See All Shoe Reviews Here.

Questions for you:
What is your favorite running shoe?
Have you run in New Balance before? 

 

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?

Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Mercy 3 Miler (18:20)

I thought I had written a race recap, but it turns out…it disappeared into space. Usually, I post race recaps on Tuesdays, but since it opened up my blog yesterday with none, it gets delayed a day.  I know, you’re devastated.

So anyway, on Saturday I raced my first shorter distance race since December.  It was a nice low key rust buster.

The morning itself was a disaster.  I went to get cash from my ATM card, and it was denied.  I’m actually not sure why as I do have money in my account, and my pin number was accurate, and the card was not expired, but that is here nor there.  Then the race wasn’t accepting cards for payment.  Luckily, I had a checkbook but it left me with not much time to warm up.

Other reasons to complain were I hadn’t slept well, it was cold and windy, and my legs were sore.  But I was at the race, and I was going to run.  I warmed up a couple of miles, felt meh and made my way to the start line.  At the start, I saw a lot of friends and local runners I hadn’t seen in a few months.  It was motivating, and by the time I knew it, we were off.

As you can see below, I am always talking…you never have to worry about interrupting my “prerace” 

Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Mercy

During the first mile, I found myself in fourth place, and I stayed there the entire race.  There was a pack of males whom I knew that led the way.  I never felt as though I was “racing” and more as if I was running a workout alone.  There wasn’t really anyone to run with, and it was just a sprint towards the finish.  I hit the first mile in 6:05, but it was deep underneath a couple of jackets, so I only knew my splits after I finished.

The second mile went to an out and back.  I could see the leaders as they turned around and it motivated me.   As I was coming back, I saw my friends, and it was motivating and kept me engaged in the race.  For a lot of the race, I never felt as though I was “racing.”  I hit the second mile in 6:08 and felt fine.  My legs just felt tired and couldn’t turn over any faster.

I just wanted the last mile to be over.  It felt as though I was running a marathon, not a 5k.  We went over train tracks and near a significant amount of ice.  I just took the turn wider and I felt fine.  As approached the finish line, I heard my watch beep.  Oh, exactly 3 miles.  I crossed in 18:20 and with a 6:07 last mile.

Our Lady of Mt. Carmel Mercy

The race was supposed to be a 5k, however, apparently, it was not. It was nice it was at least exactly 3 miles and I can say I ran 3 miles in 18:20 versus 3.06 in whatever.  If I had continued the pace it would have been about an 18:57 5k, which I’m confident I could have done.

Other than that, not much else to say.  I’m happy with my effort, and I felt good despite everything.  I’m just as glad to be back out there and seeing friends too.

Questions for you:

Have you run a short course?

What is the coldest you’ve raced in?

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