New Inov-8 Bags & Apparel

There’s an abundance of new gear from Inov-8 arriving in time for the start of the 2015 season, including new ISPO award winning 5 and 10 litre vest packs and a waterproof jacket and pants combination that, whilst perhaps not aesthetically to everyone’s taste, offers functionality at a price that doesn’t break the bank.

“Designed to meet all strict mandatory race day kit requirements, ultra and mountain runners will be able run lighter and faster with the Race Ultra Shell. Weighing just 125g, it boasts superb levels of protection, while its super-stretchy fabric guarantees unrestricted body movement when running. Race numbers pinned on tees/singlets underneath remain visible at all times through shell’s transparent material.”

Inov-8 RACE ULTRA 5 Vest/Pack

“Evolution of the award-winning race ultra™ vest. The Race Ultra 5 vest has been specifically designed to carry five litres of kit while maintaining a close-to-the-body fit that ensures stability and zero bounce when running over even the longest of distances. Available in two sizes (S/M and M/L), the vest has two simple-to-use adjustable clip straps at the front. It boasts a total of eight pockets. The rear can hold up to five litres of kit, while an extra zip allows access to a separate reservoir compartment. Comes supplied with 2x 500ml soft flasks with 30cm tubes.”

Features

  • Large weather resistant zipped pocket to rear
  • Separate reservoir zipped pocket
  • Two 500ml softflask with 12″ / 30cm tube
  • Two large side mesh pockets
  • Two large zipped mesh pockets to front double as bottle holders
  • Two large mesh pockets to front top
  • Two smaller stretch mesh pockets to front top
  • Whistle
  • Rear bungee compression
  • Pole loops to rear
  • Two sizes

Specifications

Volume Capacity

  • 5L / 305 cubic inches

Fluid Capacity

  • 1L in 2 x 500mL soft flasks with straw/tube (included)
  • 2L in bladder (not included)

Weight

  • S/M: 250g / 8.8oz
  • M/L: 255g / 9oz

Back Length

  • S/M: 30cm / 11.8in.
  • M/L: 36cm / 14.2in.

Sizing at chest (Unisex)

  • S/M: 31 – 38in. / 78 – 97cm
  • M/L: 38 – 44in. / 87 – 112cm
  • Note: Measure wearing the clothes you intend to wear

Materials & Design

  • Nylon / Polyester / Spandex

Included

  • 2x 500mL soft flasks with tube/straw

Inov-8 RACE ULTRA 10 Vest/Pack

“Evolution of the award-winning race ultra™ vest. The Race Ultra 10 vest has been specifically designed to carry ten litres of kit while maintaining a close-to-the-body fit that ensures stability and zero bounce when running over even the longest of distances. Available in two sizes (S/M and M/L), the vest has two simple-to-use adjustable clip straps at the front. It boasts a total of eight pockets. The rear can hold up to ten litres of kit, while an extra zip allows access to a separate reservoir compartment. Comes supplied with 2x 500ml soft flasks with 30cm tubes.

The Race Ultra 10 was voted best in the performance accessories category by a panel of expert judges and named a 2015/2016 ISPO AWARD GOLD WINNER.”

Features

  • Large weather resistant zipped pocket to rear
  • Separate reservoir zipped pocket
  • Two 500ml softflask with 12″ / 30cm tube
  • Two large side mesh pockets
  • Two large zipped mesh pockets to front double as bottle holders
  • Two large mesh pockets to front top
  • Two smaller stretch mesh pockets to front top
  • Whistle
  • Rear bungee compression
  • Pole loops to rear
  • Two sizes

Specifications

Volume Capacity

  • 10L / 610 cubic inches

Fluid Capacity

  • 1L in 2 x 500mL soft flasks with straw/tube (included)
  • 2L in bladder (not included)

Weight

  • S/M: 260g / 9.2oz
  • M/L: 265g / 9.4oz

Back Length

  • S/M: 30cm / 11.8in.
  • M/L: 36cm / 14.2in.

Sizing at chest (Unisex)

  • S/M: 31 – 38in. / 78 – 97cm
  • M/L: 38 – 44in. / 87 – 112cm
  • Note: Measure wearing the clothes you intend to wear

Materials & Design

  • Nylon / Polyester / Spandex

Included

  • 2x 500mL soft flasks with tube/straw

Inov-8 RACE ULTRA SHELL Waterproof Jacket

“Inov-8’s lightest ever waterproof running jacket, weighing just 125g. Designed to meet all strict mandatory race day kit requirements, mountain and ultra athletes will be able to race as light and fast as possible. This shell is fully transparent, so race numbers worn underneath remain visible at all times. Its super-stretchy fabric guarantees unrestricted body movement when running and packs away into its own hood pocket, ensuring it is small and easy to carry. Breathable, the Race Ultra Shell keeps you dry and protected in the wettest of conditions. Unisex.”

“If you’re an out and out racer and every gram counts, this ridiculuously lightweight waterproof is for you. It won’t handle day to day heavy use but, packing into its own hood, it’ll deliver just enough protection to get you off the hill, home or, with taped seems, past a pre-race kit check. It’s see-though so you can wear it over your number” (Trail Running Magazine)

Features

  • 2.5-layer waterproof fabric with 10,000 HH and 10,000 B-1 breathability
  • Taped seams
  • Packs away into hood – small and easy to carry
  • Fully Transparent fabric – race number visibility at all times
  • 4-way stretch fabric – allows unrestricted body movement whilst running
  • Deep centre front YKK Aquaguard zip with internal storm flap and dual locking zip heads
  • Thumb loop
  • Elasticated cuffs and hem
  • Multi-angle reflective detailing

Specifications

Weight

  • 125g / 4.5oz

Materials

  • 56% PU / 44% Polyester Soft Tricot breathable fabric (2.5 Layer)

Sizing at chest (Unisex)

  • XS: 36in. / 92cm
  • Small: 38in. / 97cm
  • Medium: 40in. / 102cm
  • Large: 42in. / 107cm
  • XL: 44in. / 112cm
  • Note: Measure wearing the clothes you intend to wear

Inov-8 RACE ULTRA PANT Waterproof Trousers

“Inov-8’s lightest ever waterproof running trouser, weighing just 95g. Designed to meet all strict mandatory race day kit requirements, mountain and ultra athletes will be able to race as light and fast as possible. These trousers are fully transparent and instantly stretchable to fit over shoes. Its super-stretchy fabric guarantees unrestricted body movement when running and and can be quickly compressed into its own integrated pocket/stuffsack. Features taped seams and lycra-bound hems. Breathable, the Race Ultra Pant keeps you dry and protected in the wettest of conditions. Unisex.”

“Designed with the same racing philosophy as their Race Ultra Shell jacket, these will mainly live in your pack to pass kit checks. They weigh practically nothing and pack down impressively small. Their fit is good over tights, they deliver a surprising amount of protection but won’t take much abuse. Ultimate weight and space-saving choice” (Trail Running Magazine)

Features

  • 2.5-layer waterproof fabric with 10,000 HH and 10,000 B-1 breathability
  • Taped seams
  • Packs away into integrated pocket/stuffsack – small and easy to carry
  • Fully Transparent fabric
  • 4-way stretch fabric – allows unrestricted body movement whilst running
  • Lycra bound hem
  • Elasticated front, flat back and waist band
  • Ergonomic fit
  • Multi-angle reflective detailing

Specifications

Weight

  • 95g / 3.5oz

Materials

  • 56% PU / 44% Polyester Soft Tricot breathable fabric (2.5 Layer)

Sizing at waist (Unisex)

  • XS: 28in. / 71cm
  • Small: 30in. / 76cm
  • Medium: 32in. / 81cm
  • Large: 34in. / 86cm
  • XL: 36in. / 91cm
  • Note: Measure wearing the clothes you intend to wear

Available from www.ultramarathonrunningstore.com

The Altra Lone Peak Neoshell – ‘Better Than Waterproof’

I’ve all but worn off the tread of my Altra Lone Peak 1.5 (Altra Lone Peak 1.5 Review) which have been by far my favourite trail shoe for at least 5 years, if not my all-time favourite. I get a decent number of shoes to test so the fact that the Altras have seen quite so much use is testament to the quality of the shoe.

As far as I am concerned, it offers the perfect balance of cushioning, zero drop and a spacious toe box, offering what is essentially the perfect ‘minimalist’ shoe for long distance running.

As such, I was interested to see the information about one of Altra’s latest releases – the Altra Lone Peak Neoshell, which is described as being ‘better than waterproof’.

“Altra Running introduces the Lone Peak Neoshell – the ‘better than waterproof’ version of its award-winning Lone Peak trail shoe – at the 2015 ISPO international sport, performance and outdoor industry trade show in Munich. The new shoe has better dryness, breathability, flexibility, comfort and toe room than traditional waterproof trail shoes on the market.

The only negative is that we have to wait until August 2015 before the Lone Peak Neoshell is available!

Specifications

  • The FootShape™ toe box allows your toes to relax and spread out naturally for more comfort and stability in uphill and downhill trail conditions
  • Sandwiched StoneGuard™ technology offers protection from rocks and other trail debris
  • Sticky rubber TrailClaw™ outsole combines unique uphill and downhill lug traction for a wide range of trail condition
  • GaiterTrap™ and full compatibility with Altra Trail Gaiters
  • Stack height: 26 mm on a Zero Drop™ platform
  • Weight: 11.5 ounces/326 grams, one of the lightest trail shoes with technical protection for wet, muddy or snowy conditions
  • Altra is the only running shoe company with a full line of gender-specific footwear created with completely unique lasts, or patterns, for every shoe in each gender, to accommodate natural differences in foot anatomy

The North Face Spring Summer Range 2015 & The Ultra MT

I wasn’t sure what, if anything, to expect from The North Face in terms of new trail friendly product given the news that they would no longer be the headline sponsor for UTMB. However, having now had a peek at the new The North Face Spring Summer range 2015, it appears that it’s full steam ahead, with, dare I say it, some sexy looking product!

What’s more, my UK size 8 feet, also happened to be the right size to fit into a pair of the pre-production Ultra MT trail shoes which The North Face kindly supplied me with. I’ve been testing those out for the last couple of weeks now. More on that below.

Unfortunately, both the Men’s Storm Stow Jacket and Better Than Naked Long Haul Short were only available in size M and, even with recent weight loss and the best of intentions, there was little hope of shoe-horning my XL frame into those garments. But hey, can’t win them all!

The TNF Ultra MT – A First Look

I really liked the The North Face Ultra Guide, running a 33 mile ultra in them after just a couple of test runs, and continued to use them until the soles started to wear through. (TNF Ultra Guide review)

As such, I was really looking forward to the prospect of getting to test out the new TNF Ultra MT.

I have to say that the brochure just doesn’t do them justice. Again, I find myself resorting to use of the word ‘sexy’. Unboxing the TNF Ultra MT for the first time, I was impressed with the striking orange and black colour-scheme and the overall aesthetics of the shoe, and then there’s ‘that’ sole – the ‘gnarly’ new Vibram® Megagrip outsole.

Unlike the Ultra Guide, there’s no way the Ultra MT is ever going to be described as ‘retro’. There was also something else that struck me about the shoe and, it would appear, I was not alone…

The website running.competitor.com describes the Ultra MT as follows:

“The Ultra MT is the most technical trail shoe yet from The North Face. (And, yes, it was modelled off the Salomon Speedcross 3.) With a knobby array of sticky rubber Vibram outsole lugs and a water resistant upper, this shoe is built to run on gnarly terrain in the worst weather. 18mm/10mm heel-toe offset.”

(Sneak Peek: 17 New Summer/Fall 2015 Running Shoes )

Aesthetically and functionally, the latest offering from The North Face certainly invites comparisons with some of the offerings from Salomon, but then, considering the reputation and range that Salomon offer, this must surely be a good thing.

I’m going to leave a full review until I have had long enough to really test out the Ultra MT but first impressions are positive. I will say that I found the toebox on my right foot (my fractionally larger foot) slightly tight, and they are most definitely less roomy than the Ultra Guide. However, once running, this wasn’t something that I noticed. It will be interesting to see if that impacts at all on longer runs.

The fit is most likely a result of the new bodymapping layer system on the upper, intended to enhance support and, from initial tests, the shoes certainly are responsive.

My inaugural run in the Ultra MT was in the Quarrelwoods on the outskirts of Elgin, an often muddy, potentially technical trail at the best of times. On the day in question I was caught in a snow storm as well so it really was a baptism of fire as far as the Ultra MTs were concerned but they performed well as I charged around one of my favourite forest destinations.

Watch this space for a full review of the Ultra MT in due course.

The North Face Spring Summer Range 2015

The following information is taken from the TNF Spring Summer 2015 Performance Brochure.

Men’s Storm Stow Jacket

More daylight during summer means running longer, which is why you should be prepared if the weather changes. This ultralight jacket is fully waterproof and windproof, but also packs incredibly small, so you can keep it on hand for any emergency. When the trail takes you further, there is no better protection to carry with you.

Men’s Better Than Naked Long Haul Short

Stay comfortable on longer runs with a wider comfort-fit waistband, stitch-free design on critical seams, and maximum storage capacity for big days.

Ultra MT

No matter what terrain you’re on, the Ultra MT will keep you running along the toughest trails. Thanks to the new Vibram® Megagrip outsole, unrivalled traction will keep you close to the ground. You’ll also have the benefit of enhanced upper support as well as breathable Ultra Airmesh over the quarter. The innovation continues underfoot, where precise stability and protection ensures a better performance with every step.

  • Upper: A bodymapping layer system on the upper enhances support on the medial side, protecting the toe area
  • Bottom: 8mm drop between heel and forefoot ensures control on uneven surfaces and supports midfoot striking when needed / Overlasted midsole increases stability of the upper/bottom connection / ESS in the forefoot secures an impact distribution on the forefoot / Vibram Megagrip full length trail specific outsole.
  • Men’s Sizes: Approx weight pair: 580g (based on men’s 9)
  • Womens’s Sizes: Approx weight pair: 480g (based on women’s 7)

Ultimate Direction FASTPACK 20 Vest/Backpack Now Available

The latest offering from Ultimate Direction, the Fastpack 20 Vest/Backpack, is now available from www.ultramarathonrunningstore.com.

“Providing all the features and capacity you need and nothing more, the Fastpack 20 is a streamlined pack that will get you there and get it done. Perfect for day hikes, peak bagging, or a quick weekend, the Fastpack takes inspiration from our Signature Series vests, with its super stable and comfortable fit.” (http://ultimatedirection.com/p-633-fastpack-20.aspx?category=hydration-packs)

I did a full product preview back at the end of August, which includes considerably more details. One for the Christmas wish list!

Ultimate Direction FASTPACK 20 Vest/Backpack

The latest offering from Ultimate Direction, the Fastpack 20 Vest/Backpack, will soon be available from www.ultramarathonrunningstore.com.

“Providing all the features and capacity you need and nothing more, the Fastpack 20 is a streamlined pack that will get you there and get it done. Perfect for day hikes, peak bagging, or a quick weekend, the Fastpack takes inspiration from our Signature Series vests, with its super stable and comfortable fit.” (http://ultimatedirection.com/p-633-fastpack-20.aspx?category=hydration-packs)

The pack offers a versatile approach to hydration, offering front, side and bladder options, or indeed all 3 or any combination of, that’s likely to be one of the main attractions of the Fastpack 20 for anyone looking for a pack that’s equally at home whether running, fastpacking or hiking.

It’s described as building upon Ultimate Direction’s Signature Range, with the functionality and capacity of a regular backpack but the fit of a running vest/pack.

With 5 accessible compartments on the front, 15 to 20 litres of capacity with compression straps to remove any excess, a waterproof rollable top closing mechanism, two adjustable sternum straps and 2 large mesh side pockets, capable of holding everything from bottles to tent poles and/or trekking poles, it’s a pack that’s likely to have wide appeal.

The Fastpack 20 comes in 2 sizes, Small/Medium and Medium/Large. After months spent waiting on the PB Adventure Vest last year I was gutted to finally receive it only to find that I couldn’t fasten the straps across my chest, so it’s good to see two sizing options for this pack.

For a detailed look at the pack features, head over to iRunFar.com for their Fastpack 20 review.

Features

  • Patent-pending Infiknit harness is a continuous, seamless back panel and shoulder strap system to prevent abrasion and discomfort
  • Large, main roll-top compartment expands from 15L to 23L
  • Rear stretch-mesh pocket with low-profile daisy chain system
  • Water bottle compatible front pockets also fold flat to store other items
  • Dual adjustable sternum straps and side straps for stability and fit
  • Integrated side compression Z-straps for varying load capacities
  • Removable foam back panel for comfort
  • Available in 2 sizes

Specifications

  • Volume Capacity: 915 – 1403 in3 / 15L – 23L
  • Weight: 1lb 3 oz. / 535 g
  • Height: 20 in. / 51 cm
  • Width: 9.5 in. / 24 cm
  • Depth: 11.75 in. / 30 cm

Sizing at chest (Unisex)

  • S/M: 24 – 40 in. / 60 – 102 cm
  • M/L: 32 – 46 in. / 81 – 116 cm

Materials & Design

  • InfiKnit Harness
  • Mono Hex Mesh
  • Cool Wick Air Mesh
  • 340g Power Stretch Mesh
  • 210T Nylon Mini Rip Stop

Available from September 2014: Available now.

Inov-8 Race Ultra 290

I’ve been a fan of Inov-8 trail shoes for many years now, and rate the Roclite 305 as one of my all-time favourite shoes. The 305s saw me through the majority of my ultramarathons between 2010 and 2013 and I went through 5 pairs, logging some serious training and racing miles before they eventually went out of production.

I moved to the Roclite 315 following this and, despite liking the shoe, never quite developed the same affinity to it as I did with the 305.

As such, I was most intrigued to see the news that Inov-8 have launched their first ultra running specific shoe, the Inov-8 Ultra Race 290, available soon from www.ultramarathonrunningstore.com.

“Inov-8’s first ever ultra running shoe. Race Ultra 290 shoes offer optimal cushioning and comfort for the long distance athlete. A flatter outsole ensures a stable ride when fatigue sets in. A dedicated Inov-8 gaiter (available separately) can be clipped on to the on-the-shoe attachment system to sensure all debris is kept at bay. The addition of an X-Static footbed, means that bacteria which feed on human sweat and cause foot odours is kept at bay.”

The Inov-8 Race Ultra 290 has already picked up awards, including an ISPO award for 2014/15.

“The ultimate in comfort and grip, this off-road ultra running shoe oozes innovation and meets the needs of this rapidly growing tribe. Be it on trails or mountains, this highly durable, lightweight shoe delivers industry-leading grip, courtesy of the Tri-C endurance outsole, which boasts three different rubber compounds. It also has a unique on-the-shoe gaiter attachment system and an X-STATIC footbed to keep both debris and odors at bay.”

With a Tri-C endurance outsole, with softer, sticky rubber on the edges for greater traction, high abrasion rubber at the heel for improved durability, and sticky rubber cleats for outstanding mid-foot grip, a fusion compound midsole to deliver sensory feedback from the trail while still providing protection over ultra distances, an 8mm drop, 3rd generation meta-shank, and minimum friction upper with gaiter attachments, the Race Ultra 290 certainly sounds like a shoe that will be of interest to ultra runners.

Race Ultra 290 for ISPO

Race Ultra 290

The Inov-8 Race Ultra 290 is available in Navy/Lime or Black/Blue (Men’s) and purple/teal or raven/ocean (Women’s) from www.ultramarathonrunningstore.com.

Columbia Gear

Back in mid 2013, I was sent a Columbia Omni Freeze t-shirt for review and was blown away at just how well it helped me maintain a desirable body temperature, from the extremes of keeping me cool while running on a treadmill in our sun house in 30°C+ temperatures, through to keeping me from freezing while being buffeted by winds at altitude while out on a trail run high in the Cairngorm mountains. It has been, without a doubt, one of the stand-out items of kit for me this past year. Further, as one of my most comfortable t-shirts, I have turned to it on a daily basis as well, not just when I require the technical aspects of the garment.

As such, I was delighted to be presented with the opportunity to review some 2014 Columbia kit, including the Zero Rules Short Sleeve Shirt,  Silver Ridge Convertible trousers (shorts/trousers), Insect Blocker Long Sleeve Shirt and Conspiracy II OutDry shoes.

Since I received the Columbia product last week, I have made a point of wearing each item as much as possible and have to admit to liking the versatility of being able to turn the Silver Ridge Convertible Trousers from trousers to shorts and back again, simply by zipping off the lower leg portion.

I will admit to being a shorts & t-shirt guy outside of work hours, regardless of the weather, to the extent that family and friends are genuinely shocked on the rare occasion when they see me in long trousers!

Unfortunately, when I am out and about, I appear to be the equivalent of a ‘happy meal’ for clegs, midges etc, and I also tend to react badly to any bites, turning red and blotchy and often requiring the use of antihistamines and creams to calm inflammation.

A few years back, a bite to my leg resulted in it swelling to the point where I had no choice but to elevate it for a week. This was bad enough. However, it was also 2 weeks before the 53 mile Highland Fling ultramarathon, hardly ideal race preparation! (I didn’t have the easiest of races but I did make it to the end)

On my most recent trip to the Cairngorms, I found that I appeared to be equally appealing to ticks, ‘helped’ no doubt by my tendency to seek out new routes on pathways that were often fairly overgrown.

As such, it makes sense for me to forego the shorts & t-shirt approach where necessary and to cover up a bit more. With approx. 3 weeks until I next return to the Cairngorms, I am already counting down the days and I am looking forward to putting my new Columbia gear through their paces. Full reviews to follow upon my return from the Cairngorms.

Product Details

Zero Rules Short Sleeve Shirt

£25, Available at Blacks

A super-cooling tech tee with stretch and sun protection, this soft and lightweight men’s shirt sports Columbia’s industry-leading cooling technology, which reacts with your sweat to lower the material’s temperature and keep you cool during dynamic aerobic activity in the heat.

Construction:

  • Omni-Freeze ZERO™ sweat-activated super cooling
  • Omni-Wick™
  • Omni-Shade™ UPF 30 sun protection
  • Modern Classic Fit
  • Comfort stretch
  • Antimicrobial treatment protects this product from bacteria growth

Fabric:

  • 100% polyester ZERO interlock

Silver Ridge Convertible Pant

£55, Available at Blacks

These durable, quick-wicking pants feature built-in sun protection and plentiful storage making them the perfect choice for active days in warm weather.

Construction:

  • Omni-Wick
  • Omni-Shade UPF 50 sun protection
  • Partial elastic at waist
  • Gusset detail
  • Pockets with hook and loop closure
  • Zip-closed security pocket
  • Mesh pocket bags

Fabric:

  • Omni-Shade Main Body
    100% nylon Silver Ridge ripstop
  • Omni-Wick Mesh Panels
    57% recycled polyester/43% polyester mesh

Insect Blocker Long Sleeve Shirt

£50, Available at Snow+Rock

This versatile button up features Insect Blocker™ technology to ward off bugs, UPF 30 wards off harsh UV rays, and Omni-Wick™ advanced evaporation keeps you cool and dry during dynamic activity.

Construction:

  • Insect Blocker
  • Omni-Wick technology actively breathes and pulls sweat away from your body to keep you dry and cool
  • Omni-Shade UPF 30 provides premium protection from the sun
  • Pocket with hook and loop closure
  • Mesh pocket bags
  • Rollup sleeves with tab holders
  • Sun protection collar
  • Vented

Fabric:

  • Omni-Wick, Omni-Shade 100% Insect Blocker nylon basketweave

Conspiracy II OutDry

£80, Available at Blacks

Superior traction meets waterproof-breathable construction for an ultra-lightweight shoe that will keep you nimble, comfortable and dry during all kinds of outdoor activities. The mesh upper is fortified with a protective rubber screen-print to maximise durability while the Fluidframe midsole provides ideal underfoot support for a lively, responsive ride.

Construction:

  • Upper
    • Protective rubber screenprint over mesh
    • OutDry waterproof, breathable construction
    • Synthetic toecap
  • Midsole
    • Techlite™ lightweight midsole, superior cushion, high energy return
    • FluidFrame™ multidensity underfoot support
  • Outsole
    • Omni-Grip™ high traction non-marking rubber
  • Weight: US size 9, ½ pair = 10.3 oz/294 g

Vivobarefoot Ulysses

Catching up on email after an excellent day spent out in the sun looking after my son, Harris, I have to admit to finding myself excited by the content of one email in particular. Vivobarefoot announced the Ulysses today,

“Refined over millennia. Perfected for summer.

Inspired by the huarache, the ULYSSES sandal is a classic reborn – we have taken a design used over millennia and simply improved it. When ancient wisdom meets modern shoe making and materials, an evolution that captures the essence of summer style is born. The ULYSSES brings barefoot functionality to the free toe summer movement.

A new addition to our on road running collection – that would be perfectly at home on the beach – the VIVOBAREFOOT Ulysses is the ultimate barefoot running sandal.”

Anyone who reads this blog will already know that I have been spending a significant amount of time in Vivobarefoot shoes of late, in the Freuds (casual/lifestyle), the Evo Pure (road), and the excellent Trail Freak (trail!).

That’s why I was so excited to read about the Ulysses this evening. I spend a considerable amount of time in sandals/flip flops over the summer months but, at least to date, there’s been nothing that has been comfortable enough to run any distance in.

That’s most likely changed with the huarache inspired Ulysees. I Know they are not the first huarache style footwear but that patented puncture-resistant sole certainly appeals to me and I have come to trust Vivobarefoot product to provide a supremely comfortable, minimalist shoe that doesn’t get in the way of letting my foot do its thing! 

New Vivobarefoot Product – The Trail Freak & The Evo Pure

I’ve had a chance to try out the Vivobarefoot Trail Freak over the weekend and I’m loving the convenience of the lock lace/toggle lacing system – no more laces coming undone, pretty much my only gripe about the Vivobarefoot Breatho Trail. Plenty of testing to do but, from walks and runs out on the trail over the weekend, really good connection, excellent traction, and super light!

If road and/or gym is your thing, then it might be worthwhile checking out another new release from Vivobarefoot – the Evo Pure.

I hope to have a review of both products in the not too distant future.

Evo Pure

“The purest on-road/in-gym barefoot performance shoe we have ever made. We removed everything your foot doesn’t need to create a shoe with less material, ensuring less friction thanks to new, lightweight upper cage technology. The EVO PURE retains the hexagon upper structure for superb breathability with superior control and underfoot sensory clarity.”

  1. Outsole construction: Road: Hexagonal two tone ultimate barefoot sole. Tuned for the road and treadmill this flexable, soft and wet/dry slip resistant sole lets your foot do its thing with pure sensory clarity.
  2. Outsole thickness: 3mm; Outsole material: V-sense TPU
  3. Removable insole: 3mm Poliyou Insole for additional thermal protection when necessary.
  4. Collar/Panel & Lining: Dri-Lex Performance lining with lycra: Lightweight, performance lining for moisture wicking and superior comfort.
  5. Upper: PU cage with thin mesh for maximum breathability, lycra lining
  6. Lace-up System: Fasten securely with classic tieup lace.
  7. Eco-Credentials: 100% Vegan
  8. Weight: Mens 210g / Ladies 190g

Trail Freak

“Vivobarefoot launch the Trail Freak, the next step in the brand’s performance range of shoes for trail running.

Scheduled for release in Spring 2014, Vivobarefoot’s most advanced trail shoe offers the ultimate off-road running aesthetic supported by the brand’s dominance in pure barefoot technology and performance.

Worn by trail running star A J Calitz (2 x Red Bull LionHeart Winner, 2012 and 2013), the Trail Freak is a lightweight, breathable shoe with a natural wide fore-sole design which allows toes to splay as nature intended, optimizing barefoot feeling and sensory feedback.

Featuring ‘V Trek’ outsole construction designed for maximum surface contact on off-road surfaces, a duo reflective mesh and printed structure giving a more comfortable and secure ‘second skin’ fit with maximum breathability, the Trail Freak is designed to allow your feet and shoes to move as one, no matter what nature throws at them.”

(Vivobarefoot Press Release)

Features:

  1. Outsole construction: V Trek Rubber outsole specifically designed for off road surfaces with multi-directional lugs to maximize surface contact for superior barefoot traction
  2. Outsole thickness: 2.5mm with 4.5mm lugs. Outsole material: V-grip Rubber
  3. Removable insole: 3mm Poliyou Insole for additional thermal protection when necessary
  4. Lining: Dri-Lex Performance lining with lycra: Lightweight, performance lining for moisture wicking and superior comfort
  5. Upper: Reflective Mesh. Thick, dual layer mesh with a reflective thread
  6. Upper: Printed Structure. Flexible yet strong printed upper gives a natural and secure fit
  7. Lacing: Toggle. Fasten securely with strong wire-like laces and toggle
  8. Eco-Credentials: 100% Vegan
  9. Weight: Mens 260g / Ladies 210g

Available in:

  • Mens: sizes 40-47 Red/Orange Navy/Sulphur
  • Ladies: sizes 35-42 Blue/Turquoise Pink/Teal

More information at: http://www.vivobarefoot.com/uk

Altra Lone Peak 1.5

Altra were kind enough to send me a pair of the Altra Lone Peak 1.5 to review for a future edition of Barefoot Running Magazine.

Full review to follow in the near future.

From the Altra web site:

Benefits

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.

Technical Stuff

  • Ideal Uses: Trail Running, Hiking, Fastpacking, Ultra Marathons
  • Designed to Reduce: Ankle Sprains, Stone Bruising, Overstriding, Forefoot Pain
  • Platform: Zero DropTM Platform, Foot-Shaped Design, NRS – Natural Ride System™
  • Weight: 9.9 oz.
  • Stack Height: 23 mm
  • Midsole: Two-Layer EVA / AltraBound™
  • Outsole: Sticky Rubber TrailClaw™
  • Insole: Mountain Footbed
  • Upper: Quick-Dry, Abrasion-Resistant Mesh with Minimal Seams
  • Lacing Structure: Asymmetrical
  • Other Features: StoneGuard™ Sandwiched Rock Protection, TrailRudder™, Gusseted Tongue, Vegan Friendly, Natural Ride System