Barefoot Running Magazine, the world’s first barefoot and minimalist running magazine, has a new web site www.barefootrunningmagazine.com with news, events, competitions, reviews and more! One of The Team may even be familiar to some of you!
The web site also contains links to current and back issues of the magazine.
All 3 are impressive shoes but I’ve particularly taken to the Trail Freak and the Altra Lone Peak 1.5 for longer distance running. It’s going to be interesting to see what the Lone Peak 2.0 has to offer.
Issue 12 weighs in with a massive 174 pages and includes ‘In Focus: The indomitable spirit of Sir Roger Bannister’, ‘Vibram’s $3.75 million settlement’, and all the regular columns, review, tips and Q&A sections.
Inspired by Lone Peak, one of the rockiest, toughest mountains in the Wasatch Range, The Lone Peak™ was designed to conquer the Wasatch 100. While the foot-shaped design allows athletes to stay relaxed and comfortable for hours, this do-everything mountain shoe promotes happy feet, increases ankle stabilization and improves form with the Zero DropTM platform. The Lone PeakTM features an innovative, sandwiched StoneGuardTM system that deflects rocks into the midsole for a smoother, more stable ride. Stand above the rest with the ultimate trail running shoe.
Waist packs are excellent for holding keys, gels and fluids that would otherwise be cumbersome to carry. The latest offering from Ultimate Direction, the Jurek Endure Hydration Belt, is an excellent minimalist waist pack with space for the bare essentials.
Anyone at all familiar with the ultramarathon scene should be able to immediately identify the man behind the belt, ultrarunning legend Scott Jurek, and it would appear that Jurek’s vast experience has been well tapped to create a quality product where the attention to detail is second to none.
The Jurek Endure hydration belt is available in black or citron. While I actually do like the citron/lime green colour, the pairing of this with aqua blue just doesn’t work for me as far as colour combinations go and, as such, I opted for the far more sedate grey and black offering. I can see, however, that the brighter option is not without merit as it would likely benefit the wearer in terms of increased visibility.
The Jurek Endure is so light and free of movement that it’s possible to forget that you are wearing it. Most waist packs that I have tried in the past have suffered from bounce and/or movement of some form, more often than not leading to chaffing. This is not the case with the Endure.
The first time I used the Endure, I adjusted the belt strapping to provide a comfortable but secure fit and I have not had to touch it since. This is largely due to the elasticated holder that serves a dual purpose. It secures any excess strapping, stopping it from flapping about. Further, it ensures that the desired strap positioning is retained. I’ve had packs in the past that have required constant adjustment and it ranks as one of my pet hates, especially when said adjustment has to be done mid race. As such, I think that this is a particularly neat feature.
Another plus point is the left hand side fastening, which ensures that there is no direct pressure on the stomach area, something that helps to avoid digestion issues when running.
The Jurek Endure is constructed from strong, lightweight, highly breathable Hex Mesh. The mesh does not absorb moisture and, at the end of one particularly sweaty run, I was surprised at just how sweat free the pack was, unlike the soaking wet t-shirt and shorts that I was wearing at the time. The pack also makes use of Silnylon, silicone impregnated for ultra lightweight and durable waterproofness, and Velvetex, super comfortable and soft edge binding.
Typically, waist packs come with a single 5-600ml bottle or two 5-600ml bottles. The Jurek Endure comes with two 10oz/295ml bottles. The reduced bottle size obviously impacts on the volume of fluid that can be carried, thereby impacting on the distances that the pack can be used for. However, the use of 2 smaller bottles spreads the weight evenly, adding to the stability of the pack. Further, the 2 bottle approach opens up fluid options. Typically, I have opted for one bottle for plain water, with the other carrying some form of juice or water with a High 5 tablet added. In terms of volume, I have found the two 295ml bottles to be sufficient for short to medium distances, even on hotter days. However, fluid requirements vary from person to person.
The bottle holders on the Jurek Endure are stiffened at the front, which helps when it comes to retrieving and re-holstering the bottles on the move. An elastic cord helps to ensure that the bottles remain in place. This is fairly easily removed and re applied as and when required and there is a small plastic clip to assist with this. I did find that the plastic clip isn’t always all that easy to grab and, ideally, I would have preferred a larger, cloth based method of pulling the elastic back. This aside, the fastening mechanism works well and I always found the bottles to be secure.
I’ve already mentioned that the belt strapping provides a perfect fit, secured by the elasticated holder. There’s also one further useful addition, two moveable race clips that permit the attachment of a race number to the belt. If, like myself, you hate sticking pins in t-shirts, you will no doubt appreciate this functionality. Further, given that the weather in the UK often necessitates the use of waterproofs, your race number will remain visible. While you might resort to a waterproof jacket on your upper body, covering any number attached to a t-shirt, rarely do you see runners use waterproof trousers.
There is a large, moveable side pocket on the right hand side of the Jurek Endure. This well sized pocket is perfect for carrying gels or energy bars and can be worn on the left side if preferred. It’s also a good fit for an iPhone 5 but, with the addition of a headphone connection, can be fractionally on the tight side, especially if you are prone to taking your phone in and out for the purposes of taking photographs and/or answering texts and phone calls. If I have one criticism of the pocket, it is that the zip placement, on the top of the pocket, occasionally results in the pocket moving rather than the zip opening, necessitating a two handed approach to retrieve the contents of the pocket.
There’s a stretch mesh pocket on the rear, located between the two bottles, that is fastened with a small Velcro strip. As with the bottles, an elastic cord can be used to help secure any items placed in here. There’s not a huge amount of space in the pocket but you can, for example, squeeze in a buff and a pair of thin gloves at a push. Alternatively, it will hold a few gels and/or energy bars. It’s also possible to secure items on top of the pocket, such as a lightweight jacket, using the elastic cord. I am always concerned that anything positioned here disappears without my noticing and, as such, I always try to somehow clip the item on to the pack.
Safety reflectors positioned on the rear of the waist pack serve to increase your visibility to traffic.
The Jurek Endure from Ultimate Direction is my new go-to waist pack for short to medium distance runs and supported long runs where there is no compulsory kit requirement. It’s the perfect pack for those who like to travel light and its limited capacity ensures that you are never going to over pack for your run.
Granted there are a couple of minor adjustments that I would like to see to make the Jurek Endure truly perfect. However, it does come close to perfection, especially with regard to the lack of bounce and the fastening mechanism that ensures it stays exactly in place.
“Ounce per ounce, the Jurek Endure belt does more than any other waist pack. Scott wanted twin bottles because they balance the load, and you can use one for water and the other for your sports drink mix. One can quickly stash a windshell, gloves, and even a hat into the stretch mesh pocket and innovative bungee system, and the movable front pocket allows you to whip out a bar gel without breaking stride. Hydration products should be at your finger tips when you need them but they should just provide you with the bare essentials and the Jurek Collection from Ultimate Direction really does that.”Scott Jurek
Fluid capacity: Comes with 2 * 10 oz. bottles
Weight: 163g / 6 oz (8.5 oz with bottles)
Pocket Size: 16.5 x 7.6 cm / 6.5 x 3 in
Pouch Size: 10.2 x 10.2 cm / 4 x 4 in
Bottle holsters are stiffened with lightweight foam for quick access
Front pocket is sweat resistant and moveable, with foam backing
The latest Barefoot Running Magazine is now available. Issue 8, Spring 2013, includes everything from articles on Anton Krupicka to the Boston Marathon and a conversation with ChiLiving founder Danny Dreyer, together with the usual mix of questions & answers, tips and reviews.
There’s also an addition to the Long-Term Test Team – me! I contribute to Barefoot Running Magazine for the first time with my review of the Mizuno EVO Cursoris.
Back at the beginning of the year I received an email informing me that I had been selected to join a mixed bunch of experts, elite runners, ultra marathoners, marathoners, fitness runners and running newbies on the Mizuno EVO UK Test Team. The purpose of the team – to test out the new minimalist offering from Japanese company, Mizuno, their first zero drop shoe, designed entirely from scratch and promoted on the their website as being suitable for ‘midfoot running’.
As a self-confessed trainer addict, my delight was compounded with the arrival of not one but two new shoes, the Mizuno EVO Cursoris and the Mizuno EVO Levitas, with 12mm and 8mm of cushioning respectively.
For my first product review, Barefoot Running Magazine have given me the opportunity to share my thoughts on the Mizuno EVO Cursoris.
“Offering a thicker 12mm AP+ cushioned midsole and wider platform, the EVO Cursorsis provides moderate protection and allows for a more natural gait. Exceptionally light and incorporating Mizuno’s renowned Wave technology, Mizuno EVO Cursoris running shoes have been meticulously crafted as a ‘training tool’ for the newer midfoot runner, providing a smoother and more efficient transition from strike to toe off”
As soon as I received the email about the UK Test Team I was straight on to Google for a quick search to see what I could find in terms of both information and images. As such, I did have an idea of what to expect when the shoes arrived. However, even ‘pre-armed’ with this knowledge, I don’t think I was adequately prepared for the reality of seeing the shoes ‘in the flesh’.
Subtle, they are not – Quite the opposite in fact! Aesthetically, the shoes make a statement. From a purely personal perspective, the vibrant orange Cursoris fares better than the very purple Levitas. Fortunately I love orange and, as such, didn’t find the vibrant orange colour scheme objectionable. However, these shoes are never going to blend in so expect plenty of subtle, and not so subtle, passing glances when you are out running in them!
At the end of the day, however, aesthetics are secondary to the fit and performance of the shoe.
There’s no disputing that the Cursoris is supremely comfortable. I would go so far as to say it has an almost slipper like fit. They are not ‘the’ most comfortable trainers that I have ever worn but would definitely rank in any comfort top 10.
There are a distinct lack of overlays in the upper of the Cursoris and, as such, the feet move freely, barely constrained by the porous mesh upper. It would be nigh on impossible not to find this comfortable! As someone with wide feet, it’s refreshing to find a shoe with such flexibility in the upper, providing a comfortable instead of overly tight fit.
The Cursoris uses asymmetric lacing for improved fit and flex, and I personally found that this resulted in a nice secure fit. However, I have come across comments on line that suggest others have found it difficult to get the perfect fit, finding that they lace too loose or too tight.
My one and, it has to be said, only real gripe with the shoe, has to do with slight upwards pressure that I feel midfoot when I initially slip on the shoe. However, once running, this slight pressure soon
disappears and, in all likelihood, there’s a good chance that I only notice this because I spend quite so much time in sparsely cushioned zero drop shoes.
I did try running barefoot in the Cursoris but it just didn’t feel right and I was concerned that a toe or toenail would do some damage to the soft mesh upper. As such, I opted to wear a thin sock when running in the shoe.
Finally, in terms of sizing, I found that my usual UK size 8 provided the perfect fit so there was no need to size up or down.
The Cursoris are well constructed, neatly stitched, with no annoying seams that I have experienced. My only ‘concern’ would be the long-term durability of the mesh used in the uppers. However, this kind of concern is fairly typical with a lot of the current lightweight, minimalist offerings.
The Cursoris is touted for those new to midfoot running and/or looking to run longer distances in a minimalist shoe. With 12mm of cushioning you don’t have to scan ahead quite so diligently as you might with less cushioned shoes and, If you land on a stone, the cushioning should protect you from injury. With 12mm cushioning it’s more forgiving than most minimalist shoes but it’s not a comfortable shoe to heel strike in and, as such, this helps to promote the intended midfoot to forefoot landing style.
The Cursoris is designed with road/pavement running in mind but I have actually taken them ‘off road’, on to my favoured terrain. They coped pretty well with the fairly uneven, often rocky path but there were a couple of ‘ankle turning moments’, highlighting the lack of support in the upper. Fortunately for me, these didn’t come to anything. Given the fairly basic tread on the Cursoris, I doubt very much whether they would cope with, for example, muddy terrain and, as such, I will most likely stick with their intended purpose in future.
Note also that this is not a shoe for speedwork. If this is one of your requirements, consider instead the Levitas, with its additional heel support which provides the increased level of stability required when running at higher speed.
You might also want to consider how you feel about wet feet if the weather is inclement as the porous mesh upper does little to stop the rain and water from puddles. The consolation to this is that what easily goes in just as easily comes out!
The Cursoris sits flatter than your average trainer so that the toes are engaging the ground, excellent in terms of stability and enabling you to push off in the most optimum way.
Landing midfoot, you want flexibility both from heel to toe and, also, laterally, and the Cursoris provides this flexibility with deep multi-directional flex grooves, allowing for a versatile, natural movement. The flex grooves split up the front sole area into a number of ‘pods’, some of which are covered with a reinforced rubber in perceived high wear areas. The rear of the shoe is relatively smooth, offering little in the way of grip.
In terms of feedback, I would describe the level of feedback as moderate, most likely towards the upper end of what you would consider acceptable for a minimalist shoe.
There is a small Wave plate under the forefoot area which filters some of the impact and returns energy during the propulsion, ‘pushing off’ phase, something that I think can be felt when running. There’s a definite feeling of ‘assistance’ from strike through to push off.
There’s an excellent, very thorough review of the Cursoris and the Levitas by Fred Brossard over at the Runblogger website. Fred captures the essence of the shoes in his review:
“Mizuno’s designers have obviously read and studied the ‘What should a real minimalist shoe feature?’ theories that flourish on the web. In their first minimalist offerings, they very seriously tried to respect 5 key principles of minimalist shoe design: zero-drop, wide toebox, minimal structure, light cushioning, and flexibility under the metatarsals which leads to two quite different shoes: the Levitas is a real racer, and the Cursoris is great for smooth, easy runs.” (runblogger.com)
Retailing at around £75-80, the Cursoris is a reasonably priced shoe for anyone looking to make the transition to ‘midfoot running’. For those who have already transitioned, the Levitas retails for around £80.
The Cursoris is a good first entry into the minimalist market from Mizuno, ticking all the boxes for a minimalist shoe. The only question would be over the 12mm of cushioning which may prove to be too much for some runners. Consider that the shoe is aimed at those looking to transition and/or those looking for a minimalist trainer capable of distances and, as such, the 12mm can be justified in this respect. For anyone looking for a higher level of connectivity with the ground, there is always the Levitas with 8mm cushioning. Having tested both shoes, that 4mm difference is indeed noticeable when you drop down to the 8mm sole. Retailing at around £75-80, the Cursoris is reasonably priced, just don’t expect not to stand out when wearing them!
Specifications from the Mizuno website:
Named after one of the oldest known bipedal creatures, the Eudibamus Cursoris
Designed to provide a more stable platform and cushioning for someone transforming to a midfoot strike
ZERO RAMP offset between the heel and forefoot provides a natural plane tailored to a midfoot strike
WAVE TECHNOLOGY in the forefoot for maximum protection, comfort and a smooth ride
Flat-bottomed forefoot design coupled with a wider platform provides stability and assurance from foot strike to toe-off
12mm/12mm heel-forefoot design offers a more protective ride