Movie of the day: Tony Martin – Qualen, Lehren, Perspektiven
Tune of the day: Anchorsong – Remedy
|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.|
All pictures (c) runssel
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.
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.
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.
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
Wireless Technology: Bluetooth
Supports Bluetooth™ for wireless connectivity
Bluetooth version: 3.0
Supports Bluetooth® version 3.0
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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