Altra Lone Peak 1.5 Review

A few weeks ago I was in the market for a new pair of trail shoes. I always seem to be struggling to find a shoe that has a wide enough toe box that keeps the sides of my big toes happy on long runs. There may be something in my mechanics that cause me to rotate and push-off them, I’ve had a few people look at my stride and none of them have been able to see anything..So I will continue to blame my shoes.

Altra Lone Peak 1.5

Altra Lone Peak 1.5

I went down to Footzone and told them all I cared about what finding a wide toebox trail shoe. They brought out some of the usual shoes; Brooks, Nike’s, and New Balances but none seemed to meet my feet’s needs..That was until the brought out the Altra Lone Peak 1.5’s.

When I first put them on they almost felt like slippers. Roomy and soft. Plenty of room in the toe box and uppers that were snug but not too tight. I plopped down my $110 and gladly took off for my runs.

Altra Lone Peak Soles

Altra Lone Peak Soles

A few weeks later, I have about 130 miles in them and have used them for all my long runs and my first 50k last weekend. Overall I think this is a great shoe, no major complaints and they are still as comfy as the day I bought them.

They are a 0 drop shoe which is a difference from the typical 4mm drop in the Saucony’s that I was wearing. I didn’t think 4mm would be much of a transition, but I have noticed some tightness in my ankles and calves. I still rotate in my older saucony’s on shorter runs to hopefully keep the strain on my achilles to a minimum and let it get used to the additional strain.

There are a couple unique design features that the Altra Lone Peak 1.5’s have.

1. Trail Rudder – This is a piece of sole at the back of the shoe that supposedly helps you stay in control while on the downhills, I honestly couldn’t tell the difference. One thing it may offer is reduced debris that gets flicked up into your shoe.

Altra Lone Peak Trail Rudder

Altra Lone Peak Trail Rudder

2. Gaiter velcro – I don’t have a pair of gaiters yet, but these have a built-in velcro strap to attach your gaiters to on the heel. Something I haven’t seen in any other shoes.

Durability

I still haven’t put a ton of miles on these yet, but so far they seem like they will hold up. I have one area on the toe where the outsole is starting to pull away from the upper. I had read another review of these that had the same problem. I am going to email Altra and see what kind of glue they suggest to reseal it. I can imagine it’s only going to get worse.

Altra Lone Peak Separating Sole

Altra Lone Peak Separating Sole

Overall

Barring any major breakdown of the shoe materials, I think this may be my go to trail shoe from now on. The only potential problem would be if I need to go back to a 4mm drop shoe. Altra only makes 0 drop shoes.

 

Nathan HPL 020 Hydration Vest Review

Nathan-HPL-#020-FrontLast summer when I decided to up my mileage to tackle a marathon, I knew I had to do something about hydration during the long runs. The handhelds work great for shorter runs. I have tried a few hydration belts, but can’t stand having something tight around my waist plus the constant bottle bumping my rear end was driving me nuts.. I also found during a hot run that I couldn’t carry enough water in a 3-4 small bottles with the waist pack.

Enter the Hydration Vest.

This was my first vest, so I didn’t have a preconceived idea of what I was after. The first decision was what kind of bladder size I wanted. There are a variety of bladders ranging from 1 liter to 2.5 liters, If I was going to drop this kind of coin on a vest, I might as well get something that can hold enough water for whatever I planned on doing (hiking, day long runs, etc). You always have the option of not filling it all the way depending on how long you are going to be out. The dry weights between the smaller and larger vests/bladders was pretty minimal, but something to consider.

The other item I knew I wanted was some storage; easy access pockets up front, along with some pockets in the back. The Nathan HPL 020, had both of those. The front has a single zipper pocket along with a mesh sleeve and another shock cord pocket.

Now that I’ve had it a while and put a few hundred miles on it, I’m still very pleased with the purchase.I picked one up for about $80 from a local REI (They can be had for about $50 now I think).

There are several straps to adjust how the vest rides on your shoulders/back, and I will typically adjust them once or twice during a long run. The main shoulder straps

The two pockets up front have plenty of storage for my phone, camera and some shot blocks/gels. I wouldn’t mind having an extra sleeve or two to hold some additional gels. (something the next model up 028 now offers).

Drinking from the tube while running can take a little getting used to. It’s a bite nipple valve so you just lightly squeeze with your teeth to open it up and suck on it. I haven’t had any problems with either the bag or nipple leaking during runs.

Nathan-HPL-#020-BackThe downside to running hydration vests in general that i’ve found are

  • Sweaty Back – These make you sweat more, that’s for sure. You can negate that somewhat by filling the back with some ice before you run.
  • Sloshing Sound – The constant sloshing can bother some people, I can easily tune it out, not a big deal for me.
  • Limited to a single source – This can be a big one for some. With a belt, you can fill one bottle with water and another with some kind of electrolyte drink. You don’t have that flexibility with the vest. I’ve never found a drink other than water that doesn’t make me feel bloated while I run, so it’s a non issue here.
Newton Gravity Shoes

Newton Gravity Shoe Review


A few months ago, as part of being a shoe testing guinea pig, I received a free pair of some Newton Gravity Shoes. I’ve put close to 100 miles on them so far and wanted to give a short review on my impression.

Newton Gravity Shoe Review

Newton Gravity Shoes

Newton calls this shoe a “Neutral Performance Trainer”. It offers some support and structure, but a 3mm drop. My Saucony’s are a 4mm drop so this fit right in there with them.

One of Newton’s differentiators is their Action/Reaction technology. These are really a line of “lugs” in the midfoot section of the shoe that are supposed to help you become a midfoot runner, compared to a heel striker. They take some getting used to. You feel a bit like a road cyclist wearing lock in shoes. Once you get past that and start running, you do notice a big difference in where you foot falls.

Newton Midfoot Lugs

Newton Midfoot Lugs

Shoe Fit

These are comfortable shoes! I do not feel any pinch points in them and find the toe box to be plenty wide enough for me. I could almost say it’s too wide. The heel is nice and snug with no movement.

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Shoe Stability

This would have to be my biggest complaint on these shoes. For road and even surfaces they perform great. But anything that resembles a trail and I just don’t feel like I have much control. Numerous times I have felt like my ankle wants to roll in them. That being said, these are not advertised as a trail shoe, so I will stick to road only on these.

Shoe Uppers

The uppers breathe really well. Toe box has open mesh which allows dirt and debris to get in, so again, not a shoes that would be appropriate for any kind of trails.

Newton Gravity Front

Newton Gravity Front

Overall

My overall impression is that I like them. I will be using these for my tempo and speedwork runs. The retail price is $175, a lot of money for a pair of running shoes. The majority of shoes I have purchased have all been in the $100-$140 range. The durability will determine if these are a good value at this price. My guess is the lugs will flatten out over a short period of time, but we shall see.

Saucony Running Shoes Reviewed

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I’m not a shoe junkie by any means, compared to what i’ve witnessed in other people. I don’t have wallets deep enough to try various brands and styles of shoes. Like most things, I find a brand that seems to deliver a great consistent product at a reasonable price and I will be a customer for life. I’m pretty brand loyal. Saucony is one of those companies for me. I’ve gone through a several pairs of a few different styles from them and they never seem to disappoint.

Saucony Kinvara3 (Right) Cortana 2 (Left)

Saucony Kinvara3 (Right) Cortana 2 (Left)

 

I switch off between two models for the most part, the Saucony Cortana and the Saucony Kinvara 3. Both of these are a 4mm drop shoe that I would consider are a hybrid shoes (can be trail or road shoe)

I use the Kinvara for shorter runs (less than 6 miles usually), they are light, have a tight feel to my foot but can get a little tight for me in the forefoot area. On longer runs as my foot swells a bit more, I can really start to notice it.

The Cortana’s I use for longer runs, it has the same 4mm drop as the Kinvara’s but has a bit more padding overall and a roomier forefront. The Corana’s have won several awards from running magazines and seems to be well received by anyone that puts them on.

I was getting serious painful callouses on the side of my bit toe, but those seem to have gone away since i’ve started using the Cortana’s for my long runs.

Both shoes work well for me on both trail and road. I’d recommend either of these to someone looking to try a new shoe.

Saucony Durability

If I had one complaint about both of these shoes it would be the durability. They seem to start to break apart rather easily. On my current Kinvaras I have about 200 miles on them, but already had some tears along the side. My older Cortana’s I have almost 400 miles and they are also tearing. I don’t feel like i’m particularly rough on my shoes, mostly road or non-technical trails. Perhaps there is something mechanical about my running that is causing it, but both shoes are breaking down in different areas, so not sure.

Saucony Kinvara3 Tearing

Saucony Kinvara3 Tearing

Saucony Cortana Tearing

Saucony Cortana Tearing

Book Review – Scott Jurek: Eat and Run

eatandrunA few weeks ago I finished up reading Scott Jurek: Eat and Run. For those that don’t know Scott is one of the most accomplished ultrarunners in the world. He has won the Western States several times and has a slew of other wins and course records to his name. He is also a pretty outspoken vegan and lays a lot of his success to his diet.

His book starts with this childhood and the relationship he had with his parents. His mother suffered with MS for most of his life and his relationship with his father was detached. Running for him became a way to overcome some of the challenges in his life.

The book is a blow by blow of some of his highs and lows throughout his childhood and running career. Intermixed with the stories is some commentary about the vegan lifestyle and the process he went through to find a diet that worked for him.

Overall I thought this was a good read. Some of the vegan recipes in the book looked interesting as a non-vegetarian, but more importantly is got me thinking about my own diet and how it can impact my running performance and my overall quality of life. I have no intentions of switching to a vegan diet, but I will probably be making some different decisions because of this.

I did feel that the book could have used another round of edits, at times, he would be in the middle of telling a story then go off on a 6 page rant about the western diet, only to come back to the story right where he left off. A bit hard to follow.

Towards they end, it did get a bit monotonus, felt like the same story was being told over and over.

I’d give it a solid B. The recipes and training tips at the end of each chapter were great to have and can spark some questions about your own diet perhaps.