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Kategorie: product test

shoeporn: Salomon – Index.01

The mix of diverse resources that are used to produce a shoe, often makes it problematic or even impossible to reprocess. The awareness of burning shoes after they have been used was one of the driving forces in Salomon’s footwear development squad when they set out to form a running shoe for the roads that could later be recycled and used for other goods. The first design concepts of the Index.01 looked simple, unique and promising. Finally, it was time to release the end product.
The generous wedge of sole material is a nitrogen-infused, TPU-based foam named INFINIRIDE. The bottom unit of the Index.01 can be milled into small fragments and recycled as soon as the shoe has reached the end of its lifecycle. The sole is comfortable, not too soft and with the rocker geometry does a great job to improve a comfortable stride and swift toe-off.
Setting a mark – generating a full recycle loop entails some more actions. For example, the most environmentally friendly homecoming of the castoff product. With the presentation of the Index.01, Salomon also announces a reappearance strategy were users must register under Salomon.com. They obtain a shipping label that enable to send the shoes to a nearby collection center – free of charge. To diminish transport volume, the shoes will be collected there and shipped in bulks back to France for Salomon to use in future products.
The upper of the shoe is thin, breathable and comfortable. Comfort is a big thing with this shoe as there is basically nothing to complain about. No rubbing or pinching wherever at the heel or toe section. Salomon chose the use of recycled polyester, which in case of this shoe, originates from old plastic bottles. The plastic flasks are undone into polyester fibers, which prevents the bottles from landing on landfill or being incinerated.
The Index.01 is the first creation out of the promising and exiting Play Minded Program. Salomon aims to take the full life circle of their product and tries to keep the impact on the environment as low as possible. It will be exited to see what’s next.
A comprehensive look at the back part of the shoe highlighting the unusual designed silhouette of the gigantic white TPU sole.
A meek but very substantial detail that this shoe has to offer is the plain performance. Overall, this is a no-nonsense shoe. The stride feels natural and there is no unusual stress to the body of any kind. It is a fantastic and reliable training shoe and the curved sole drives a good bit of speed into the stride without stressing too much.
To guarantee a proper all-around recycling circle, simplicity is key. Primarily the Salomon engineers were targeting to use just only one material to reach their prime goal. Previous prototypes I had seen used only one material – thermoplastic polyurethane foam (TPU). Still this concept wasn’t strong enough, so a second material had to be added and the upper is now made from recycled polyester as described earlier.
Like the midsole, the outsole is also made of the same TPU material. This is unlike many other brands that use rubber material for this part of the shoe. The durability of the Index.01 is not affected by this. Also because the heavy used parts of the sole are build extra rigid. Minor studs shape the design of the sole and the grip on road runs is faultless and I liked it a lot. Smooth and simple design is also put into the place at this part of the shoe.
The design is simple and smooth and mirrors the approach Salomon has with this line. The white colorway will eventually be obliterated by where the user takes this shoe.
In a quite a short time, I have become a vast admirer of this shoe. For me the Index.01 offers everything I enjoy in a day-to-day training shoe. Notwithstanding the weight, the shoe is fun to run in and quicker stuff is not a real problem. Would I race with it? Doubtless not. But everything in between is fine. The entire idea that is being the shoe ticks all my boxes and I love that Salomon takes this on so offensively and well thought out. Some companies have tried to tackle the environmental matters but no one in the way Salomon has. To me, the concept completely makes sense and I’m really looking forward seeing what else is next. Until then, I just go out for another loop in my Index.01.  

Movie of the day: Tony Martin – Qualen, Lehren, Perspektiven

Tune of the day: Anchorsong – Remedy

shoeporn: The North Face – Flight Vectiv

Something that these days is part of the shoe business, is the rumor mill. Since months Alameda, California grounded outdoor powerhouse The North Face, was set to drop a carbon plated shoe. Well, it seems that all major shoe corporations are on the outlook to apprise their respective top range models with this technology. But suddenly it was a brand that is not necessarily known for its shoe building skills, that joined the hype.
Since 1968 The North Face distribute and produce outdoor equipment. It all started with climbing gear and then grew into a brought variety of accessories, clothing and footwear. Personally, I have tested more than a few of their off-road running shoes in the past. Although their jackets, vests, caps and technical gear have been a stable in my wardrobe over the last decade, none of the shoes have majorly impressed me and it seems that technical clothing was more the focus then suitable footwear. Now they released a performance oriented trail running shoe that goes by the name of Flight Vectiv, merging a 3 D carbon fiber footplate, midsole rocker geometry and SurfaceCTRL grip into the first trail specific shoe using the prominet carbon technique.
I had a chance to spot the Flight Vectiv last April as Spaniard and The North Face athlete Pau Capell wore the shoe throughout the 2020 version of the Fjällmaraton around Åre, Sweden where he came 2nd in the 100 kilometer distance. Pau was part of the development process of the Vectiv equipment range and mostly this shoe. TNFs VP of Global Footwear, Jean Marc Djian aimed high when the company took on this project. The company recognized that another try into the footwear market had to be an innovative and exciting.
The Flight Vectiv is the top model of the novel TNF shoe assortment. It is the one shoe that contains full-length carbon plate combined with a rocker geometry. This combination is intended to upsurge the energy return and I was more than keen to see how this mix turned out in a shoe that is intended to be used off the road, a setting where the carbon technology is more to be seen in up-to-date shoe releases. On the picture above some details of the carbon plate are teased on the external.
Even though the sock-like silhouette of the shoe looked like a pleasing feature, I was quite staggered how rigid it was to get into the shoe. The opening is rather small and that undoubtedly created some matters to me. As soon as you’ve entered the shoe, there is not a tense sensitivity. It just appears that the entering part of the shoe is pretty close-fitting. After a while I got used to it and know how to enter as the reinforced, breathable-knit upper is pretty strechable. Running this shoe throughout wintertime, I have the feeling that the body-hugging fitting also stops all sorts of muck to enter the inside. To me something that is very helpful particularly with the heavy use of salt and sand on the local streets. Frequently the small particles find a way to enter a shoe. Not so in this one. Generally the one piece upper that is elasticated and hugs your upper foot and ankle is super nice and fits around the foot like a glove.
With the Flight Vectiv, The North Face planned a shoe for the longer and ultra-distances. The company paid attention to durable ingredients such as kevlar, polyamide and matryx materials that they also tested and used in other equipment. This time it seems that The North Face was able to familiarize their extensive knowledge from mountain equipment into footgear. The Flight Vectiv is an overall quality shoe that is very well made. Till now I spend somewhat over 100 kilometers in this shoe and I’m constantly surprised how it tackles different grounds and weather situations. The picture shows the 3D-molded heel counter for a better fit, another nice detail in a well build shoe with a quality finish.
There were times when The North Face allowed their sponsored athletes to use different shoes and switch from their very own models to the ones that the competition offered. This has clearly changed now with the new shoe range. Several athletes have been smashing FKT’s last year. One of my favorite runs has been the record setting Grand Canyon R2R2R-alt FKT effort by TNF legends Mike Foote and Rob Krar. Check their video here. Time for these two to tackle some SwimRun competitions i guess.
Without a doubt, the climax of this shoe must be the so-called 3D Vectiv plate. It offers momentum and in combination with the stability Rocker shape, the foot placement is optimized. The shoe is not super soft as many other carbon running shoes, but this is something that aims the runner while running on technical ground. At the start it feels like the shoe is rigid as it does not provide much flexibly, especially to the sites. Although it feels stable and the feel for the ground is certainly given. Officially The North Face labels the Vectiv technology as “revolutionary soling architecture.” Fundamentally what they are describing are the layers beneath the feet. These are all the different foams and treads that work together to deliver a cushioned, safe and springy sensation.
Despite the fact there is a lot of advanced and new material that has been incorporated in this shoe, the outsole is known from previous models. Grip on wet and dry terrain has been the attention in the development procedure. If you expect a super aggressive and “deep” outsole, you will be dissatisfied. The lugs are well and smartly placed but come in with 3.5 mm which is not a standard in trail shoes. After some sketchy situations, the design and traction really grew on me. To me it is a great mix of traction and control. The lugs are places in proper distance and that means that snow, dirt, or whatever sticky stuff you encounter, will not get stuck. I try to break in shoes on the treadmill. Until now, this tradition has never been used with trail shoes. It was different with the Flight Vectiv. It certainly is a versatile sole.
A detailed look at the outsole construction that protects the 6 mm toe-to-heel offset. This shoe facilitated 14 North Face sponsored athletes to set FKTs wearing different Vectiv prototypes during a nearly race free 2020.
To me, the Flight Vectiv delivers a high level of comfort and proper cushioning that still allows to feel the ground but not the pounding. Combined with the securely sensation of the sock-fit paired with a minor, cushioned padding at the upper heel region, this shoe ensures thoroughgoing comfort and support.
Throughout the punitive dark and slushy time of the year and now, when all the lovely white stuff is about to dissolve, this shoe has really gotten to me. It’s fun to run due to the pleasant and well thought cushion, the ground feeling is excellent and joint with a well-planned outsole, it generates a certain security during the cold season. I ran the shoe a lot on icy and wintry streets but also took it around the local, technical, trail system. I get to treasure a well thought out shoe that I never saw coming from The North Face. Having run plenty of carbon-based road running shoes, I really valued this innovative tactic and the way it was shifted into a running shoe aimed to hit he paths. It can be discussed if it makes sense to issue a trail shoe that has a white upper, but at the end I felt it was enjoyable that the daily run was able to produce the color line. A very philosophical slant to this debate, I know. Its some sort of a minimalistic approach, even from the design. Typically trail shoes do look a bit unlike. The Flight Vectiv seems more like a road shoe. Yet, I have the feeling the shoe will continue in my daily rotation for a bit longer.

Tune of the day: Pete Rock & C.L. Smooth – It’s Not a Game (Instrumental Version)

Read of the day: Cathal Dennehy: Welcome to the age of the super shoes

shoeporn: Hoka One One – Vanquish 2

Hoka is back with its second version of the neutral Vanquish. More cushioning does not mean more weight. So the new form of the Vanquish happens to be even lighter and offers this characteristic and remarkable sensation of sensitivity combined with an incredibly light performance. With a total weight of 276 grams (size 42) this shoe is considered to be a partner for a smooth gallop.
Gossip has it that Hoka is well known to be pretty narrow. Width-wise I never experienced any difficulties. The Vanquish 2 adds to that impression and offers enough space for my ordinary sized feet.
As usual, the framework design is very distinctive. Not a surprise when it comes to Hoka. A robust two-layer foam shell saves the legs with its dense core construction. It benefits the feet to stay in place without being too inflexible. A foam layer close to the foot delivers cushioning. Foam on the outer assists a robust and agile stride.
Frenchman’s Jean-Luc Diard and Nicolas Mermoud formed Hoka One One with the intention to offer more cushioning paired with a wide and firm stand based on light and durable fabrics. When they searched for a name they came by the Maori expression of “flying over the earth” which means Hoka One One.
A robust, well-muffled sole is the key factor to transport firm support in an active and responsive ride.
A Dual-Layer Midsole Construction that fuses rebound EVA in the body with a cushioned EVA on top, offers customary HOKA ONE ONE Ultrasize cushioning with a bit of extra springy ‘zing’ in the stride.
The images display the Vanquish 2 in the “Grey / Orange Flash” colour theme.
Properly there is not a spookier midsole out there then the one you witness here. Hoka uses the midsole to intensify lateral structure to their produces. This works tremendously well with this exemplary. A feature that makes the brand stands out from the competition. As far as I’m concerned there is not a comparable technique around with the competition.
This shoe is considered for road running and the “Full Ground Contact design” bids a secure feel. In the past the Hoka outsoles caused some light issues as the wear and tear was an problem. Not with this one.
Several geometrical details: Offset: 5 mm, Forefoot: 27 mm, Heel: 32 mm
The Vanquish 2 makes for a great long-distance training shoe – bouncy and reactive. A joy for training crushed up jogging limbs.

Other Hoka One One Reviews:
Hoka One One – Speedgoat
Hoka One One – Huaka
Hoka One One – Clifton 2

All pictures (c) runssel

Checked: Norrøna 29 dri3 Coat

Casual and useful can go together. Since I picked up this exquisite chunk of gear I fell in love with it. The plain simple and hands-on approach is perfectly executed with this coat. The Norwegian gang of Norrona shows how its done properly. Despite considered as a “urban” jacket, the 29 Dri3 Men’s Rain Coat offers a lot more. I took it to the mounts as well as to work. The clean style is great and shows that useful outdoor equipment doesn’t need to have unexciting shapes and mind-numbing colours. The well shaped 2 handwarmer pockets combined with the small chest and back pockets give enough space for all needs and are placed pretty perfect.

The three-layer Dri3 membrane feels great and saved my ass (yes, also that part of the body thanks to the lovely length…) not only during a jaunt to the grocery store but also while hiking in the mountains all day. I also valued the light and flexible material as you can roll this coat up pretty easily and compact.

Norrona shows how to combine style with function.

Little Product Clip

#shoeporn: Ecco Biom Ultra GTX

Since 1963 Karl Toosbuy’s company creates shoes. Somewhere in Denmark he began to craft unique footwear. Still they are the only major shoe company to own and operate their own production and retail facilities. Only in the last couple of years Karl’s business went into the creation of running shoes. However the collection is still fairly little, Toosbuy’s people entered the trail running market just a while ago. Now they further increased their line with a fresh model – The Biom Ultra.

Ecco’s Biom Running shoes have a pretty distinctive look. All their current models do stick out of the competition. The simple and clean style is something that Ecco is easily recognized for. And with the Biom Ultra they keep this pretty straightforward. I receive a test model and I’m instantly stunned by the quality of the shoe. The typical Ecco craftsmanship is obvious. The sewing, the material, the sleeves… all well finished and manufactured. This feels special and finishes the high-class look.

Ecco’s Lead Designer, “Bartie” Bikowski, authoritatively declares: “By pushing the core elements of our BIOM NATURAL MOTION system — flexibility, low-to-the-ground design, anatomical fit and biomechanical support — we have created a one-of-a-kind trail running experience. This is how it should feel to run in nature.” Ecco also states that they designed this shoes “…as our dream trail shoe”. This is unquestionably somewhat to look forward to. So how do Danish people think their fundamental off-road jogging shoe would be like? I’m ready to find out.

I lace them up and head out. As I look at the watch to find out that I’m out the door for 5 minutes it starts to drizzle and eventually it is raining. German winters do pay off but perfect weather for the Biom Ultra I tell to myself. The Gore-Tex-Membrane is one of the key characters of this piece. There is also a cheaper version available that comes without the waterproof material. The first muddy trail is just about to start. Rain has previously slogged the earth the last couple of days and weeks. A clean shoe does not longer exist as I cross around the trees and through the mud and puddles.

The first experience is not really tremendous. This one has enough cushions but a bit too much for my likes. For my style of running it does not really feel dynamic to run with this shoe. Grip is certainly there with the well-constructed sole and brilliant outsole but I cannot get the movement out of these kicks. On one of my favorite downhill parts I do not feel comfortable and lack the feel for the ground.

While the midsole is pretty adaptable it does not help me to support my usual stride. Ecco states that an anatomical fit but my feet do not really fit in. I feel to high up and not comfortable with the ambiance. Not connected enough and therefore not relaxed. It could be the support that the midsole provides that I’m not used to or the weight (330 grams) that would be a bit too much for my likes.

The Biom Ultra is undeniably a well-made shoe for longer distance racing and training. For my likes it misses the energetic feel and the effortlessness that a typical running shoe should offer. The more I run in this shoe the better I feel. As stated above the quality of the shoe is great. The inner sole and the tongue are in a good shape. I continue testing the shoe and get more pleased. Maybe I’m not used to that kind of shoe or maybe it is simply “too much shoe” for my likes.

I never ran in the Racer or Trainer Biom models that Ecco offers, but I guess the more minimal attitude with these shoes can be joined in a more dynamic and minimal trail shoe. While the Gore-Tex outer functioned incredibly well and also the heel part of the Ultra is pretty impressive, the overall feel is something that can be further enhanced. I can see potential in the Ultra. Currently I think it is something between a hiking and a running shoe. Toosbuy and crew know how to make shoes so I guess they will come back with a real dream trail shoe.

#shoeporn: Haglöfs Gram XC

Swedish outdoor enterprise Haglöfs is not really a trademark you would associate with foot gear. Since a couple of years they build some pretty nice alpine and hiking shoes besides their key range of clothing. Recently they paired up with Japanese footwear powerhouse Asics to please the booming trail running market. The distinguishing presence of their main model Gram XC is nothing to oversee. This shoe is red. Just red. Funky.

Appearance is a lot for me when it comes to running shoes. If I don’t like the look of a shoe I would not really use it. Indubitably taste is something that is interpreted in a lot of special ways. For me this shoe looks good. I like the shape of the shoe and the little gimmicks that come with it. It is well build and pleases the eye with its individual monochrome design. Something new in a very special way.

It is raining and storming when I lace up the Gram XC to go out in the forest for a test ride. The first couple of kilometers lead me past the local farm roads and through grass tracks. The shoe feels solid on tarmac. Sometimes trail soles feels awkward running on normal, even ground. This one is a bit unalike. The lightness of the shoe is a main feature according to the product information. Yes, the shoe is light but not any different to comparable models. It feels good and for a shoe with this amount of cushion it certainly is not heavy.

Just when I take a sharp turn into a soaky grass trail I get to feel a nice feature this shoe has to offer. The grip is pretty awesome for a sole of that style. A very sweet foam mixture of the sole and the shape makes it nice to move aggressively in corners and on technical trails. A very responsive feeling is something you really appreciate with this shoe. I continued on some slippy trails through the local forest. Hurdled some trees and cruised along rock sections that generally make a road running shoe scream. Not so the Gram XC. Very straightforward performance by this guy.

I continue to wonder about the flexibility of the Gram XC and certainly feel that this shoe obviously does have a Rock Protection in the AHAR (Asics High Abrasion Resistance) sole, as I land on some sharp gravels. The Asics Gel system nevertheless works nice and for a forefoot runner like me the cushioning is well placed in that shoe. As always I could do with a bit less plastic on the back. After running the shoe for a couple of weeks now I have to say that the sole material looks pretty “run down” at some parts. Something that other shoes in my rack don’t.

As you will see the pictures the Gram XC has some mesh covering the lacking. They say it is a ‘lace pocket’. I could not really fit the laces in there, as it is cut way to short and rigid. I tried it twice but lost the interest in that feature pretty fast. Other then this feature it is a nice protection against rocks and sand. Not so against water and rain. I found the shoe to get soaked pretty fast. Even with light rain and misty trails. The lacing system does come across a bit thin but feels good and holds the feet in a secure position. Also the cut of the shoe in the back gives a nice and secure feeling and all kind of undergrounds.

So did I like this shoe? I certainly did. Despite being a shoe designed for trails and off-road running the Gram XC pleased me on all king of terrains and weather conditions. It is a nice and well build all-day training shoe. For me the highlight is the sole and the way it supports you and keeps you on track. I’m exited to see what Haglöfs has on offer for the next round of trail running models. The start was ok. Lets see what the future holds.

Jabra Sport Wireless+ Bluetooth Headset Review

Earphones without a cable? Well, that is certainly interesting. Bluetooth apparently is the connector between your device and the pieces in your earhole. Jabra, equal with Bluetooth expertise, designs numerous earpieces for all instances. They came up with this behind-the-ear shape piece for sport a while ago and just released an update, which I was able to exam throughout training.

Several of my runs I do with headphones, as I like to listen to podcasts or radio. On easy runs it is the best entertainment and a good time to listen to noteworthy shows and interviews. Since I run I use headphones. Usually I find it hard to find the real pair. I tried heaps and never was 100% on the fit. Currently the fit is more essential for me then the sound. Nothing is more frustrating then correcting the earphones while jogging.

A massive problem with the earpieces is the cable. Nowadays when you need to wear some layer to cover yourself against rain and the cold the movement of the cords tend to pull out the plugs. When I received the Jabra headset this was my first concern that got off the table. When I saw the pack with seven different pairs of ear gels I was pretty stoked. Fixing these things in the ears should be possible. Yet I wanted to go out without any of those additional plugs. I craved for the run and I just took the pre-installed peace. I took my time to adjust the earpieces around the ear. Stopped after some minutes to slightly rearrange and that was it. Now that I know how to put them on, they never fall out. And after a test phase of a couple of weeks they never did. No matter if I run trails or if use them on the mountain bike – Rock solid without being annoying or unpleasant.

The play button as well as the volume control can be found on the right ear bud. Once used to the buttons and the menu that is very easy to understand you will enjoy the control of your synced device pretty easy. What sounds delicate and complicated (…pressing some buttons behind your ear) is a task that can be done with light gloves and also through light headwear. To control the sync process and to change FM stations is stress-free. The rubbery material provides a good, controlled feeling and makes is an exercise-friendly headset.

Apparently these bits offer “military grade resistance” against dust and rain and whatnot. I ran them heavily throughout rain and took them through pretty soaky mountainbike spins. No problem there. The military seems to be right. The whole piece feels pretty durable and long-lasting. The mini-USB (to charge the battery) entrance is placed nicely and the cover solution is pretty well thought out. The radio antenna sits in the earpiece and provides OK coverage. Do not expect too much. Once I entered the forest it got a bit doggy sometimes.

I synced the headset with an Iphone 5, an iPad, a Samsung Galaxy S4 as well as with my car. I do not need my phone while I run but I wanted to try the microphone that is in the left earpiece. The connection to all mediums was easy and fast. Talking on the phone was good but I never tried it while running. I don’t believe in this anyway.

Lets talk sound now. Not the very best to be exact. I expected a bit more power and better sound characteristic. As everything on those headphones is high quality you also want to have a decent bass and well as a composed sound nature. In my option the excellence of the sound is not really there. It’s a bit muffled and does not have the pressure I would like to get even from such a small headphone. As you probably got from the text so far, I really do like the Jabra Sport Wireless Plus for the extremely good fit and the superb usage. The sound is a minus. Not a major one but definitely something that can be amended for the next update. If that can be sorted out these pieces are hard to beat.

Battery & Power

Talk Time: Up to 4 hours
Talk Time is the maximum time you can talk before a device runs out of power
Standby Time: Up to 120 hour(s)
Standby Time is the maximum time a device can remain powered on

Connectivity

Wireless Technology: Bluetooth
Supports Bluetooth™ for wireless connectivity
Bluetooth version: 3.0
Supports Bluetooth® version 3.0
AVRCP: Yes
You can control your music from this device when it’s streaming from another device, such as your mobile phone
Music Streaming: Yes
Device can stream music from a source, such as a Smartphone, Bluetooth enabled laptop, tablet, or MP3 player

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