Archive for the ‘Products’Category

New Balance Releases Donald Duck Disney Shoes

New Balance Releases Donald Duck Disney Shoes

Donald Duck Fresh Foam Boracay (Photo: New Balance)

“Oh boy, oh boy, oh boy!” New Balance has revealed yet another pair of Disney shoes, this time modeled after Disney’s favorite duck. The Donald Duck Fresh Foam Boracay is coming to Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend presented by Cigna in honor of Disneyland Resort’s 60th Anniversary celebration. The shoes will be available at the runDisney Health and Fitness Expo starting September 3.

New Balance Releases Donald Duck Disney Shoes

Red bow tie (Photo: New Balance)

Donald’s signature look is woven throughout the shoe, from his red bow tie to a black heel tab evocative of the ribbon on Donald’s hat. The Donald Duck kicks will sell for $140.

New Balance’s Fresh Foam Boracay is a neutral cushioned shoe meant to carry runners for many a mile. I tried and reviewed the new kicks; read all about them here:

Testing 3 New Balance Shoes: Zante, Boracay, 890v5.

New Balance Releases Donald Duck Disney Shoes

Donald’s signature (Photo: New Balance)

Along with Disney shoes for adults, New Balance is also releasing kids versions of the Donald Duck Fresh Foam Boracay and Tinker Bell Fresh Foam Boracay. They will also debut at the Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend.

Here are a few more views of the new Donald Duck Fresh Foam Boracay Disney shoes. Read the rest of this entry →

New Balance Releases Tinker Bell Disney Shoes

New Balance Releases Tinker Bell Disney Shoes

New Balance Fresh Foam Tinker Bell Boracay Disney shoes

UPDATE 8/25/15: New Balance has announced a pair of Donald Duck Fresh Foam Boracay Disney shoes. Check ’em out here:
New Balance Releases Donald Duck Disney Shoes

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New Balance and runDisney are at it again! New Balance announced the release of another pair of Disney shoes for the 2015 New Balance runDisney collection, debuting at the Tinker Bell Half Marathon Weekend presented by PANDORA jewelry at Disneyland in California from Thursday, May 7 to Sunday, May 10.

The Fresh Foam Tinker Bell Boracay Disney shoes in green and yellow are inspired by the pixie of Peter Pan fame. New Balance’s Fresh Foam Boracay is a neutral cushioned shoe meant to carry runners for many a mile. The Tinker Bell kicks glow in the dark and will sell for $140. I tried and reviewed the new kicks; read all about them here: Testing 3 New Balance Shoes: Zante, Boracay, 890v5.

New Balance Releases New Disney Shoes For Princess Half

The 2015 New Balance runDisney Retro Collection

The Fresh Foam Tinker Bell Boracay are the third pair of New Balance Disney shoes to debut this year. New Balance previously launched the 860v5 performance shoes and 990v3 recovery shoes, part of the 2015 runDisney Retro Mickey and Minnie collection modeled after Mickey Mouse’s 1928 debut in “Steamboat Willie.” The performance 860v5 Disney shoes are $135, while the recovery 990v3 kicks are $180.

Buying New Balance Disney Shoes

New Balance Releases Tinker Bell Fresh Foam Boracay Disney Shoes

Fresh Foam Tinker Bell Boracay in action.

You can get your hands on a pair of the Fresh Foam Tinker Bell Boracay Disney shoes at the Tinker Bell Half Marathon Weekend expo in Anaheim, California from May 7-9.

But don’t just march to the expo. Runners can sign up at NBvirtualqueue.com using their bib number starting Thursday, May 7 at 6 a.m., and all other guests can sign up Friday, May 8 or Saturday, May 9.

Visit NBvirtualqueue.com for all the details about buying procedures, inventory availability, and updates throughout the weekend.

After the Tinker Bell Half Marathon Weekend presented by PANDORA, the New Balance Disney shoes will be available at other runDisney race expos throughout the year. You can’t buy them online or in stores. Read the rest of this entry →

Testing 3 New Balance Shoes: Zante, Boracay, 890v5

Testing 3 Neutral New Balance Shoes For Spring

The Fresh Foam Boracay and Zante in action (Photo: New Balance)

New Balance shoes have been a part of my running shoe rotation for two years now. Last fall, I included the 890v4, 1400v2 and Fresh Foam 980 in my Guide To Neutral Running Shoes. In the last few weeks, I’ve been trying out the three newest New Balance shoes in the neutral running category: Fresh Foam Zante, Fresh Foam Boracay, and 890v5. How does each pair stack up? I’m happy to report that these are three excellent updates that will suit different types of neutral runners.

The shoe vitals are as listed by New Balance for the women’s version. I tried each pair in a women’s size 9, courtesy of New Balance, and listed them from lightest to heaviest.

Testing 3 Neutral New Balance Shoes: Fresh Foam Zante, Boracay + 890v5

Fresh Foam Zante

New Balance Fresh Foam Zante

MSRP: $100
Weight: 6.4 oz
Drop: 6 mm
Colorways: 3 standard

The New Balance Fresh Foam Zante is for folks who want to run—or feel—fast. The lightweight shoe rivals the New Balance 1400 in responsiveness, but with feel-so-good cushioning and an insole that cradles your arches like your favorite pillow. The Fresh Foam’s midsole design of interlocking convex and concave shapes means the shoe gives where you need flexibility and holds firm where you need support, much like the Fresh Foam Boracay. But New Balance used biomechanical data from faster runners to build the Zante.

Testing 3 Neutral New Balance Shoes: Fresh Foam Zante, Boracay + 890v5

Fresh Foam Zante

The result? A shoe that rides like a dream—a dream where you’re setting PR after PR. You may not run a 5-minute pace, but you can imagine what that feels like in these shoes.

Springy and speedy, the Zante promises a quick heel to toe transition with an “aggressive toe spring.” It delivers. The shoe is light, supple, and downright fun to run in.

The upper is a soft and flexible mesh bootie that hugs in all the right places—at the heel, arch, and outer ball of the foot—while leaving breathing room in the toes. In short, this shoe fits like a glove and responds like a race car.

The stripped down design has just what you need and nothing more. Best of all, it has enough cushioning to take you on long runs too.

I love everything about this shoe, and don’t have a singe critique for it. I totally see why Competitor Magazine named the Fresh Foam Zante the 2015 Road Shoe of the Year. It’s earned a spot in my personal shoe rotation and might even be my favorite pair of New Balance shoes yet.

Will you love it as much as I do? Yes, if you like to feel the road under your feet in a light and soft ride. Maybe not if you prefer a beefier or more plushly cushioned shoe. Read the rest of this entry →

Testing Nike LunarTempo Shoes at Mile High Run Club

Testing Nike LunarTempo at Mile High Run Club

The Nike LunarTempo Shoes (Photo: Nike)

I’m a runner who loves ultra lightweight running shoes and ultra soft cushioning. I want to feel like I’m running on clouds and I want my shoe to weigh something in the range of clouds. So I was excited to try the new Nike LunarTempo shoes at a media workout at Mile High Run Club, a treadmill studio in New York City. Nike has billed the Nike LunarTempo as a shoe with “ultralight cushioning for high-speed miles.” The workout at Mile High Run Club would put that tagline to the test.

Nike LunarTempo Shoes

Testing Nike LunarTempo at Mile High Run Club

Nike LunarTempo in action. (Photo: Nike)

When I arrived at Mile High Run Club, a locker with my name on it was waiting for me, filled with complimentary running gear, including the new Nike LunarTempo shoes.

How did they fare in one treadmill run? The neutral shoe is a bit like running on clouds.

Nike used their Lunarlon foam midsole, which is indeed one of the cushiest rides in town. I currently wear the Nike Flyknit Lunar2 with Lunarlon. That oh-so-soft landing under the heel is one of my favorite things about that shoe, and the Nike LunarTempo didn’t disappoint.

But this time around, Nike has re-engineered the Lunarlon foam to make it even lighter at 6.2 oz for a women’s size 8, more responsive and just as supportive. After a few short wears, I can confirm that this shoes feels fantastic underfoot if you love a soft ride like I do. Read the rest of this entry →

New Balance Debuts New Disney Shoes At Princess Half

New Balance Releases New Disney Shoes For Princess Half

The 2015 New Balance runDisney Retro Collection (Photo: Disney)

New Balance and runDisney are at it again! New Balance announced the release of another pair of Disney shoes for the 2015 runDisney Retro Mickey and Minnie collection.

The new 860v5 are a performance shoe meant to compliment the previously released 990v3 recovery Retro Mickey and Minnie shoes. Steamboat Willie, Mickey’s Mouse’s debut character in 1928, was the inspiration for both styles, along with New Balance’s classic styling. Using black, grey, and white like the original black-and-white film, the shoes also feature musical notes and images of Mickey Mouse and Minnie Mouse.

New Balance Debuts New Disney Shoes At Princess Half

2015 New Balance runDisney Retro Mickey & Minnie Collection (Photo: Disney)

The 860v5 is a stability shoe with soft cushioning for runners who overpronate moderately. Two levels of foam make up the midsole with a lightweight TBeam for stability and arch support, along with an asymmetrical heel counter for added stability. The upper is a stretch air mesh with no-sew overlay for lots of wiggle room in the toes. And mono mesh paired with an underlay create a secure mid-foot wrap. Read the rest of this entry →

14

Feb 2015

Koss FitClips & FitBuds Earbuds For Running Giveaway

Earbuds For Running

Koss Fit Series featuring Olympic Swimmer Dara Torres

Like many runners, I love listening to music when I workout. While I don’t always run with music—leaving them at home for races, track workouts, and busy roads—I’d say I run with them most of the time. I do the bulk of my running in parks, car-free rec paths, and the treadmill.

But I’ve blown through many different earbuds for running—earbuds that don’t fit or constantly pop out, earbuds with clips that hurt or tug on my ears, earbuds that soak up my sweat and stop working, getting crackly or cutting in and out. I’ve never fallen in love with a pair of earbuds for running or included them in my annual gear roundup—until now.

Favorite Running Gear of the Year

Koss FitClips

Enter Koss FitClips and FitBuds, headphones made for women, by women in five fun colors and two styles. I stumbled upon the Koss Fit Series at a press event for a different product. But after trying each of the FitClips and FitBuds, it was love.

The FitBuds are just six millimeters in diameter, 33 percent smaller than most Koss earbuds. With three included ear cushion sizes, Koss’s earbuds for running fit my ears perfectly and stay put during sweaty runs.

Plus, they’re comfortable. I barely notice they’re there, even the clips around my ears. The key? A soft and very flexible clip that hugs in the right places and doesn’t squeeze where it shouldn’t. And they’re super light too with a sweat resistant coating.

Once I got the Koss FitClips and FitBuds, I handed my old black and red headphones to my husband with a, “Here. You can have these.” FitClips are it for me now!

Earbuds For Running

Win it!

Giveaway: Koss FitBuds and FitClips Earbuds For Running

I’m excited to give away two sets of Koss earbuds for running, courtesy of Koss. Two winners will each get both the Koss FitClips and Koss FitBuds, which each retail for $29.99.

The giveaway is open now until 9 a.m. Eastern on Friday, February 6. Enter through the Rafflecopter widget below! Enter via the options you want and skip the ones you don’t. You get one entry for each. Read the rest of this entry →

How To Buy New Balance Disney Running Shoes in 2015

How To Buy New Balance Disney Running Shoes in 2015

The 2015 Retro Mickey and Minnie shoes (runDisney)

UPDATE 8/25/15: Disneyland Half Marathon Weekend

Runners can sign up at nbvirtualqueue.com using their bib numbers starting at 6 a.m. Thursday, September 3 for an early chance to buy the shoes at the Disneyland Half Marathon Health & Fitness Expo. Everyone else (and runners too) can sign up at 6 a.m. on Friday, September 4 and Saturday, September 5. The queue is first come, first served. Scroll down for more info on buying the New Balance Disney running shoes.

Plus, New Balance has released a new pair of Donald Duck inspired Fresh Foam Boracay shoes for the occasion! Read all about it:

New Balance Releases Donald Duck Disney Shoes
UPDATE 5/1/15: Tinker Bell Half Marathon Weekend

Runners can sign up at nbvirtualqueue.com using their bib numbers starting at 6 a.m. Thursday, May 7 for an early chance to buy the shoes at the Tinker Bell Half Marathon Health & Fitness Expo. Everyone else (and runners too) can sign up at 6 a.m. on Friday, May 8 and Saturday, May 9. The queue is first come, first served. Scroll down for more info on buying the New Balance Disney running shoes.

Plus, New Balance has released a new pair of Tinker Bell inspired Fresh Foam Boracay shoes for the occasion! Read all about it:

New Balance Releases Tinker Bell Disney Shoes
UPDATE 2/14/15: Disney Princess Half Marathon Weekend

Runners can sign up at nbvirtualqueue.com using their bib numbers starting at 6 a.m. Thursday, February 19 for an early chance to buy the shoes at the Disney Princess Half Marathon Health & Fitness Expo. Everyone else (and runners too) can sign up at 6 a.m. on Friday, February 20 and Saturday, February 21. The queue is first come, first served. Scroll down for more info on buying the New Balance Disney running shoes.

Plus, New Balance has released a new pair of Mickey and Minnie inspired shoes for the occasion! Read all about it:

New Balance Debuts New Disney Shoes At Princess Half
UPDATE 1/14/15: Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend

Runners can sign up at nbvirtualqueue.com using their bib numbers starting at 6 a.m. Thursday, January 15 for an early chance to buy the shoes at the Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend Health & Fitness Expo. Everyone else (and runners too) can sign up at 6 a.m. on Friday, January 16 and Saturday, January 17. The queue is first come, first served. Scroll down for more info on buying the New Balance Disney running shoes.

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2015 Disney Running Shoes Unveiled

The Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend presented by Cigna from January 7-11 is just around the corner, which means the arrival of the 2015 New Balance Disney running shoes!

How To Buy New Balance Disney Running Shoes in 2015

2015 Retro Minnie Shoes (runDisney)

New Balance announced they’re releasing a new limited edition runDisney shoe for 2015: Retro Mickey and Retro Minnie 990v3 inspired by Steamboat Willie, the black and white film that introduced the iconic mice to the world in 1928. The new pairs of kicks (above) debut at the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend Health & Fitness Expo starting January 7.

The black and white shoes in men’s sizes ranging from 7 to 15, and grey and white in women’s sizes ranging from 5.5 to 12, have musical notes on the front sole, images of Mickey and Minnie, character signatures and Mickey heads on the liners. They will sell for $185. Check out a 360 degree view of the shoes and scroll to find out how to buy them.

How To Buy New Balance Disney Running Shoes in 2015

The 2014 shoes

2014 Disney Running Shoes Return

Didn’t get your hands on any of the 2014 shoes? Not to worry! New Balance is bringing them back to the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend presented by Cigna in Florida and Star Wars Half Marathon Weekend presented by Sierra Nevada Corporation from January 15-18 at Disneyland in California. That includes the stability 860v4 Sorcerer Mickey & Pink Minnie Disney running shoes and the neutral 890v4 Goofy & Cinderella Disney running shoes.

How To Buy New Balance Disney Running Shoes in 2015

Want to snap up a pair of the 2014 or 2015 Disney running shoes? They’re only available at runDisney race expos throughout the year. Your first chance is coming up soon at the Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend.

The only way to get a spot to buy the shoes is through NBvirtualqueue.com. At Walt Disney World Marathon Weekend, two of the four expo sales days are reserved exclusively for runners, with the general public able to make an appointment to buy shoes during the other two days. Read the rest of this entry →

Best Running Gear Of The Year: Karla’s Favorites

Favorite Gear of the Year

Running in some of my favorite gear of the year. (Phil Hospod)

Christmas is right around the corner and New Year’s isn’t far behind. Putting together a wish list for your running resolutions? Still need a gift? Here is my favorite running gear of 2014.

The products on this list are the best clothes, gadgets and running gear that I’ve tried this year. There are more than 50 items from more than 25 brands. For every item here, I’ve sampled another two or three things that didn’t make the cut, including products in every category. Companies send me loads of samples, many unsolicited, and I often receive products in swag bags at races and events. So I didn’t buy anything you see here. I also don’t keep most of what I receive.

But if it’s on this list, I officially own it and love it—I don’t list anything I haven’t used myself. In clothing, I’ve tried the women’s versions, but many come in men’s options too. And I’ve included the list prices, though you’ll find many items for less than that.

Also, if it’s been in a past gift or gear guide of mine, I didn’t include it here. But many of the products I highlighted in the days of yore are still available. So here are my gift guides from 2013, 2012, 2011, and 2009.

Looking for running shoes? The Best Running Shoes? A Guide To 10 Neutral Pairs.

Looking for triathlon gear? Triathlon Gear List For Runners, Beginners and Beyond.

Without further ado, here is all of my favorite running gear of the year.

Favorite Running Gear of 2014

Digital Gadgets

Favorite Running Gear of the year

Bia Multi-Sport GPS Watch

Bia GPS Sports Watch, $279

Bia is a new two-piece device consisting of an ultra-light, slim wrist piece paired with a GPS “Go Stick” that clips onto your top, waist-band, visor or anywhere else you want to wear it. The Go Stick is the brains of the operation with an SOS safety alert, fast-connecting GPS, automatic uploads to your training log, and multi-sport functionality.

Run, swim, bike or do all three in one workout. And with live tracking, your friends and family can follow you on race-day or when you’re along in a remote area. I tested it while I ran the Nike Women’s Half Marathon in San Francisco, and it worked wonderfully. Best of all, Bia comes in six fun colors. I have it in purple. Stay tuned for my full review.

Favorite Running Gear of the Year

Timex Ironman Run x20

Timex Ironman Run x20 GPS, $100

Are you looking for a small, simple, and streamlined GPS watch? Look no further than Timex Run x20. In three bright colors plus basic black, this watch is the antidote to the big, bulky, expensive GPS watch with features you never use.

Instead, you get the features you really need: reliable GPS workout timing with speed, pace, and distance; run/walk timer; interval timer; stopwatch; automated pace alerts; night-light; alarm; and water resistance up to 50 meters. The interface and menus are supremely easy to use. Plus, it’s really easy on the eyes.

Best Gifts For Runners 2014

Nike Fuelband

Nike+ Fuelband SE, $99

The Nike+ Fuelband SE is the first fitness tracker that I’ve tried, so I have no basis for comparison. That said, I love it (and I’ve tried a few other watches and gadgets this year that I can’t say the same about).

I work from home, so I don’t take nearly as many steps in my daily “commute” as most folks. In other words, if I’m not running, I barely move from my desk chair. Wearing the Nike+ Fuelband has shown me just how little activity I really have in a day unless I make a conscious effort to get up and move more. Thankfully, the Fuelband reminds me when to move, tracking my steps, Fuelband “points,” calories, and more. It’s motivated me to make my days more active outside of my workouts. That’s a win!

Favorite Running Gear of the Year

Koss FitClips

Koss FitClips and FitBuds, $30

Headphones made for women, by women in five fun colors and two styles—clips or buds. With three different ear cushion sizes to choose from, Koss FitClips fit my ears perfectly and stay put during sweaty runs. The FitBuds do too. Plus, they’re comfortable. I barely notice they’re there, even the around-the-ear clips. And they’re super light too. Once I got these, I handed my old black and red headphones to my husband with a, “Here. You can have these.” FitClips are it for me now! Read the rest of this entry →

Your Guides To Compression Socks and Fitness Fabrics

Your Guide To Compression Socks and Fitness Fabrics

Compression socks and fitness fabrics, explained

In addition to fun race roundups like Night Runs, Costumes Races and Mile Runs and 60 Destination Races For Your Next Runcation, I’ve also been writing about the science of sweat and fitness fashion for SHAPE.com. I learned a lot doing these two stories that break down what we wear and why we wear them when we run.

best gifts for runners

Asics Printed Calf Sleeve

Your Guide to Compression Running Gear

You’ve seen countless runners sporting them at races, maybe you even wear them yourself, but what exactly do compression socks do?

From compression socks, recovery socks, calf sleeves, arm sleeves, tights and shorts to tops, I looked at what each piece of compression gear claims to do, and whether or not research backs it up.

I also picked my faves in each category. For the record, I loves me some compression socks. I’ve got six pairs. Read the rest of this entry →

How To Buy Disney New Balance Shoes At Wine & Dine and Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon Weekends

How to buy Disney New Balance shoes at Wine & Dine and Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon Weekends

New Balance 890v4 runDisney Cinderella shoes

Runners, your last chances to buy the 2014 Disney New Balance shoes are here: Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon Weekend at Walt Disney World in Florida from November 7-8, and Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon Weekend at Disneyland in California from November 14-15.

The procedure for buying the Disney New Balance shoes will be the same for each race. Registered runners have the chance to get an appointment at the runDisney Health & Fitness Expo on Friday of each race weekend. The general public can march straight to the expo on Saturday. Runners can also go to the expo on Saturday.

How To Buy Disney New Balance Shoes At Disney Wine & Dine Half Marathon

Registered runners can sign up with their bib number online at NBvirtualQueue.com, beginning at 6:00 a.m. Friday, November 7 to get an early bird appointment to try on and buy Disney New Balance shoes.

How to buy Disney New Balance shoes at Wine & Dine and Avengers Super Heroes Half Marathon Weekends

2014 Sorcerer’s Apprentice Mickey Mouse Shoe

You can reserve one style and size through the virtual queue, and pick up to five more pairs at your appointment.

Spectators and other shoppers can buy the Disney New Balance shoes at the expo on Saturday. For more information and to sign-up, visit NBvirtualQueue.com.

After you sign-up, you’ll get a text or e-mail confirming your group letter and a time to return to the expo. Then you’ll get a second notification when it’s time to high-tail it to the expo for your appointment. Head to the New Balance tent to check in near the West Entrance to the Jostens Center. They’ve got a queue that tells you when it’s your turn. Read the rest of this entry →

Get Your New York On With NYC Inspired Running Gear

The 2014 TCS New York City Marathon on Sunday, November 2 is here! I’ll be at the finish line in the announcer’s booth all day, cheering runners in. The race’s motto this year is “Get Your New York On.” You can, quite literally, with some of the running gear inspired by the town so nice, they named it twice.

Get Your New York On With This NYC-Inspired Gear

ASICS NYC Marathon Map Long Sleeve

ASICS 2014 TCS New York City Marathon Collection

As the official running gear sponsor of the TCS New York City Marathon, ASICS’ line of tanks, shirts, shorts, pants, socks, hats, shoes and more has the official marathon logo and seal of approval.

They even made two shoes for the occasion: Gel-Nimbus 16 NYC ($150) and Gel-Kayano 21 NYC ($160), along with bags, arm warmers, jackets, gloves, vests and any other running gear marathoners could possibly think to put on their bodies. I like the NYC Marathon Map Long Sleeve ($34).

Get Your New York On With NYC Marathon-Inspired Running Gear

Brooks Adrenaline Freedom

Brooks Adrenaline Freedom GTS NYC

Lady Liberty is the star of Brooks’ Adrenaline Freedom GTS NYC ($130) limited edition shoes, available in select stores and online. Inspired by Libertas, the Roman goddess of freedom, the shoe borrows the oxidized copper color of the Statue of Liberty with orange accents, representing her flame. Throw in black-and-white photos of the gal herself, and you’ve got one inspiring pair of shoes.

Brooks sent me a sample of these puppies; they’re even more beautiful in person. This New Yorker says, “It’s love!”

Get Your New York On With This NYC-Inspired Running Gear

lululemon NYC Run Inspire Crop

lululemon Limited Edition NYC Marathon Capsule Collection

Available only in New York City stores while supplies last, lululemon’s NYC Marathon Capsule Collection says “been there, run that.” As a New Yorker and three-time New York City Marathon finisher, I love it!

lululemon gave me the Run: Inspire Crop ($96), which features the NYC skyline from the Statue of Liberty to the Empire State Building and beyond. The Home Stretch Crew ($198) in gold and black with a color contrast skyline and NYC2014 logo is also available. But hurry. This running gear will be gone in a New York minute.

Get Your New York On With NYC-Inspired Gear

New Balance Fresh Foam Zante NYC

New Balance Fresh Foam Zante NYC

New Balance releases a New York City-inspired shoe every year, but this time around they’re pre-releasing their newest line with the Fresh Foam Zante NYC. The city’s concrete sidewalks inspired the grey upper and the skyline graces the liner. Tie them up with the the state motto, Excelsior, written on the shoelaces. Read the rest of this entry →

01

Nov 2014

The Best Running Shoes? A Guide To 10 Neutral Pairs

The Best Running Shoes? A Rundown

New Balance Fresh Foam Trail shoes in action at Machu Picchu in Peru. (Phil Hospod)

One of the most common questions people ask me is: “What are the best running shoes?” Variations include: “What running shoes do you wear?” “What’s your favorite brand of running shoes?” and “Who makes the best running shoes?”

My answer is always the same. There is no one best kind, or pair, or brand of running shoes. What works for one runner might not work for someone else. And what worked for one runner a year ago may no longer work for them now. We all have different foot shapes, sizes, gaits, body weights, stride lengths, form, muscle weakness, imbalances, strengths, injuries and all the other things that affect how we run. And even then, it’s good to rotate your shoes and wear different types of shoes for different types of workouts. Brian Metzler at Competitor wrote a great column about it: Why You Should Have A Quiver Of Running Shoes.

And yet, we’re all on the quest for the perfect shoe. I’m no exception. I was once fiercely loyal to Mizuno’s Wave Rider, until they dramatically changed the shoe and it was no longer my personal glass slipper. Since then I’ve worn other pairs of Mizuno, ASICS, Nike, New Balance, K-Swiss and Saucony searching for that perfect pair. Here’s what I’ve found in 2014.

The Best Running Shoes? A Rundown of 10 Pairs: New Balance runDisney Shoe

New Balance 890v4 runDisney Cinderella shoes

Karla’s Best Running Shoes of 2014

I’ve tried 30 pairs of running shoes in the last year. What can I say? I really like shoes. I am a Cinderella runner after all. Athletic companies sent complimentary pairs of some for me to try. Others I purchased myself. Some I took for a treadmill run or two only to return them because they didn’t work for me. Others, I kept to test on the road. Among those, I give some away once I decide they’re not for me. But I keep the best of the rest.

These are the 10 best running shoes of the bunch for me. Keep in mind that these are all neutral shoes and I am a neutral runner with high arches. If you have low arches, wear a stability or motion-control shoes, these may or may not work for you. (Need to learn more? Read: Gait Analysis For The Nike Women’s Half Marathon SF)

All the shoe vitals are for the women’s version as provided by each respective manufacturer. I tried each pair in a women’s size 9 and I’ve listed them by brand. Happy shoe shopping!

The Best Running Shoes? A Rundown

ASICS Gel-Kinsei 5

ASICS Gel-Kinsei 5

MSP: $200
Weight: 9.4 oz
Drop (from heel to forefoot): 10mm
Colorways: 8

I bought the Gel-Kinsei looking for a sturdy trainer for marathon and half-marathon training. I got more than I bargained for. Read the rest of this entry →

Triathlon Gear List For Runners, Beginners and Beyond

Triathlon Gear List For Beginners. At the Wild Dog Triathlon

Coming out of the water at the Wild Dog Triathlon. (Phil Hospod)

As I stare down my sixth triathlon— Triathlon Valleyfield in Salaberry-de-Valleyfield, Quebec on Sunday, August 24—I realize that I have fully fallen down the multi-sport rabbit hole. In that hole is an assortment of athletic equipment that I’ve accumulated to help me swim, bike and run my heart out. Before every race, I write out a triathlon gear list to be sure to pack for race day.

Triathlon Gear List For Beginners

Biking my second triathlon. (Capstone Photography)

Unlike running, triathlon is incredibly gear intensive. All that “stuff” is the main barrier to entry for runners who are interested in dabbling their toes in the open waters of the sport. Buying everything at once can be intimidating and expensive. I’ve staggered my purchases over the course of three years, reached out to sponsors, and still don’t have all the gear a truly competitive triathlete calls their own, like a tri-specific bike, areobars and the like. But that hasn’t stopped me from getting into the sport and it shouldn’t stop you either.

So here is my triathlon gear list. Some of these items are essential, some merely nice to have. But once you know that the sport of triathlon will be part of your regular racing routine, you’ll want each of these items in your gear bag.

I’ve listed the full price for each item, but in many cases I found them on sale or got them for free, and have indicated where that was the case. Where gender specificity is a factor, I’ve listed the women’s gear. But most items are available in men’s options too.

Triathlon Gear For The Entire Race

Tri Kit

Your tri kit is the outfit that takes you through all three events. Ideally, you can swim, bike and run in it. You don’t have to buy a fancy tri kit. I certainly didn’t. Here’s what I use to race and train. Both of my kits have two things in common: 1) They’re designed and tested by female triathletes for female triathletes, and 2) They’re from American companies that manufacture the majority of their products in the U.S. Read the rest of this entry →

The Tutu-Da-Loo Running Tutu Giveaway Winner Is…

Tutu-da-loo Running Tutu

Princess Aurora tutu (Tutu-da-loo)

Thank you to everyone who entered my running tutu giveaway! I wish I could pass out tutus to you all.

But if you’ve got your heart set on one of Tutu-Da-Loo’s magnificent creations, use code “Karla” to get 15% off your next purchase at Tutu-Da-Loo. I’ll be wearing a Tutu-Da-Loo design, courtesy of Tutu-Da-Loo, at an upcoming race.

Tutu-Da-Lu Elsa Frozen Tutu

Elsa Frozen Tutu (Tutu-Da-Loo)

Whether you’re looking to run as Elsa from Frozen, Lilo from Lilo & Stitch, Captain America or some other character, Tutu-Da-Loo has an inspired design. Enter the coupon code at checkout for a 15% discount off any running tutu in the shop. Tutu-Da-Loo’s tutus normally range in price from $30 to $45. The code is good through Sunday, July 27. I don’t get compensated for your purchase in any way. Just want to pass along some savings.

Now, without further ado, the winner is… Read the rest of this entry →

WorkoutLabs Exercise Cards Make Workouts Simple

WorkoutLabs Exercise Cards Make Workouts Simple

WorkoutLabs Exercise Cards

WorkoutLabs compensated me for the time it took me to test their product, write about it, and share it on this blog. Compensation I receive from any company is not compensation for my good opinion. Consider this an advertorial where I have complete editorial control.

I travel a lot. And while I do my best to squeeze in runs wherever I go, sometimes I’m traveling in an area or at a time when I don’t feel safe running alone; can’t stomach the tiny, windowless gym in the hotel basement; or might not have access to a gym at all.

I’m also a fan of calisthenic workouts. I’ll often roll-out my mat in front of the TV to squeeze in 30 minutes of exercises while I watch an old Friends or Seinfeld episode. But my rotation of exercises often gets stale, and I’m constantly losing the pages of exercises I’ve clipped from magazines over the years.

Enter WorkoutLabs Exercise Cards.

WorkoutLabs Exercise Cards Make Workouts Simple

Deck contents

WorkoutLabs Exercise Cards: The Basics

The concept is simple—a deck of cards, the size and shape of playing cards, depict an exercise or stretch per card. Each deck has 40 exercises that don’t require any equipment, nine stretches and five workouts plus a stretching routine. A blank exercise card and workout card are also included, so you can create your own favorite routine among the included exercises or add an exercise of your own. Read the rest of this entry →

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