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Kategorie: trailrunning

shoeporn: Saucony – Xodus ISO

It has been a while since I had the chance to experience a Saucony shoe. Just when the Boston-based shoe corporation released the latest trail-running model “Xodus ISO” I was eager to get my legs murky with this super-tacky off-road missile. Lets see what this 292 Gramms have to offer.
Inside look – And there it is again. It is kind of weird but once you slip into this shoe you know exactly that you are going to experience a Saucony shoe. I ran Saucony shoes before and directly got remembered about the brand-characteristic impression. Correspondingly the sock-like “Isofit” upper is pretty exceptional and makes for a particularly snug shoe. Right from the very first stride this shoe was comfortable.
The hell cup is pretty distinctive. Whilst it might looks firm and unyielding it sheltered my feet throughout gravelly and techy runs and offers the feet quite some solidity without being to strong on the feet and the stride. The heel stack height comes in with a fine 24 mm. The whole shoe does have a 4 mm offset. A feature I particular enjoyed whilst being out on the trails.
“Run anywhere” – the kind detail on the inner of the sole explains the motto of the Saucony – Xodus ISO.
The front end – Saucony upgraded the Xodus 6.0 and made the new style lighter to guarantee more off-road fun.
A well needed feature while roaming around off-road pathways – a suitable toe shield. Saucony calls it „Toe shell“ and shaped a bendy protection that helps against rocks and everything that comes across whilst being out there.
You wont find a classic tongue on this one. The so-called Isofit upper (a system that can be found at several of Saucony’s road shoes) generates a sock-like sense. It is extremely comfortable and together with the slender and breathable material used it provides a great and safe feeling. I appreciate the close-to-feet fit a lot.
The Saucony – Xodus ISO comes with a snug but not too thick upper. Individual Lacing is dialed in quickly and offers a appropriate fitting for all individual needs. 
Collar lining occurs with a material named “Rundry”. The compassionate outfit is well able to stave off moisture.
Heart and sole – the added foam level is titled “Everrun” and has been seen in some of the latest Saucony models. Moreover the comfy upper this material marks the Xodus ISO a beast for comfort. Saucony played the sizing of the sole well to cater for huge ground feeling notwithstanding having enough material and cushion to guarantee a relaxed ride. I valued the shoe during lengthier excursions on the trails as the sole offered great cushioning all over.
The Xodus ISO is the flagship of Saucony’s trail running collection.
Essential – Some functioning of the PWRTRAC outsole. Cavernous and forceful Zigs and Zags offer a pretty distinctive sting towards the underground. The outsole is bendy with a great sensation for the path. Whilst the sole acted faultless on dry undergrounds I had certain delicate encounters while having a wet and soaked underground. Generally a great sole that never produced a unsafe feeling.
Culmination – I entirely value the Saucony – Xodus ISO for lengthier off-road outings. The Xodus ISO is a great all-rounder that also knows how to perform on tarmac. I’d dig this shoe for longer competitions and as a day-to-day training partner. It’ll be exciting to see what Saucony will throw at the busy trail-running bazaar once they’ll release and update on this one.

Checked: Dynafit – Transalper 3L Jacket

Hello rain! See this? Yes, it looks like a carrot. In fact it isn’t. This is a shiny and smart out-layer that keeps you in check. This is the latest addition to Dynafits running collection. It is ultra light and it goes by the name of Transalper. Eventually you will meet it.
Biking, running, hiking… If in doubt I always pack a light, packable sheathing. Let there be rain, cold or possibly snow. You need to have some sort of protection that does not bulk up the backpack or the shorts. With the Transalper Dynafit plays straight into that vital category. With about 185 grams it does not bother too much. The outcome is vital, though.
Dynafits emblem is a snow leopard. It embodies the fundamentals of the Austrian brand – speed, lightness, performance and technology.
Smart details – clever positioned ventilation in the front covered against rain.
The only storage solution provided – a little but useful pocket on the chest part. Enough to keep your keys or some gels. It is very laidback to use as the zipper worked particularly smooth.
On the back the leopard observes who’s following! I valued the breathable material used throughout my runs the body never overheated. Quality 3L material finished up well.
Significant during showery outings – a well shaped hood. Dynafit did a good job with this one. A real shelter without being to large. Also with a cap the hood worked well.
Another look at the hood – on the top you see a bendable band that’s fixing the hood throughout the run.
A look at the inside of the Transalper jacket. Taped seams help to keep the wet outside. An additional quality feature.
Generally an exciting and efficient jacket – I enjoyed the simple, sportive and slim cut. Specially the elasticized cuffs and hem stood out for me and summed up the proper performance. Hello rain! Try to beat this piece of equipment…

Checked: Haglöfs – Roc Helios 25 Backpack

Simple equipment stuns me. Right from the moment I received the newest Haglöfs backpack, Roc Helios in the 25-liter version, it started to amaze me. It appears that you don’t need much to construct an efficient, self-effacing but valuable rucksack for steadfast mountain undertakings.

Personally I used the pack during longer day hikes, run commutes to work and general travel activates. The well build and crafted Roc Helios already became a trustworthy partner for me. I value the fast and stress-free use as well as the packing possibilities this bag provides. Together with Italian big mountain skier Jacopo Bufacchi, the swedes created a amazing piece of gear.

Now I’m hyped to use the Roc Helios through longer mountain jaunts during the upcoming summer. I know its gonna be fun!

A humble 25-litre pack considered for steadfast alpinism and rock climbing activities. Weightiness, packed size, and flexibility is key with this one.
With 625 grams there is not much heaviness involved with this one.
Although a “standard” rucksack has its central zipper lengthwise on the front, the Roc Helios outlines the main zipper round the back of the pack. This generates astounding options and safes the gear against rain and allows to open the bag fully to see and get all gear fast. Pretty smart and something I have never seen before.
Seeing it the naive way. This case transports your junk secure and fast to every mountaintop. No gimmicks!
The backbone of the rucksack has a good padding, which is entitled “Interact”. And so it does.
Well placed mesh for extra add-ons and a rope carry.
It will be extremely challenging to demolish the exterior material. Very sturdy style paired with a slick design.
Attention-grabbing tiny features can be found ubiquitously. And they all have their purpose. It is exciting to use this pack.
The big central storage compartment wholly opened up.
Efficient storage of a laptop is also possible.
A multipurpose partner – Haglöfs Roc Helios!

Tune of the day: Throwing Snow – Lumen

Shoeporn: Scarpa – Atom (Orange Fluo)

Scarpa is on the move. On the move to further increase and improve their quality alpinist inventions. Since years the Italians are a household name when it comes to high-quality off-road outdoor equipment. Particularly the footwear union is widely recognized and highly popular among hikers, mountaineers, alpinist or Skimo competitors.

The rapid chunk of mountain and off-road undertakings have been overlooked for some time. Last year’s running shoe collection (Already I reviewed the Minima) was an exciting starter to the lighter efforts of alpine travels. With the latest signing of well-known athlete, photographer and outdoor novelist Joe Grant, Scarpa puts the emphasis on the thriving trail-running market place. With a three-year contract in its pocket, Grant will be the face to their alpine shoe product line. It will be exciting to see how his contribution will assist the corporation to settle in this market slice.

The up-to-date product pool bids some pretty exciting lightweight and minimal goods. As I was checking the fresh assortment, the Atom caught my full attention. A refined and fast looking minimal piece of foot wear. Not only the flamboyant coloring forms an eye catching shoe, it is also the vigorous 4 mm drop that generates a shoe for quick and direct off-road undertakings.

In addition to the general clean and effective look, the Atom offers some thoughtful details that will appreciated during long and short outings. I ran the Atom through varieties of undergrounds and conditions. While I was training around the Cote d Azur lately, I had the chance to take the Atom from end to end of a variation of challenging undergrounds. Although damp and indulgent forest single-lanes were an laid-back mission, the shaky and technically difficult trails along the rocky coast line were a excessive playground for this model. I was astonished by the performance of the nifty grip the Vibram Genesis Lite outsole offers. The build-in rock platter bids a boundless protection without making the shoe too inflexible.

I still appreciate my excursions with the Atom as the shoe offers great traction that ends in a secure feeling during all sorts of punishing environments. Scarpa marks a move into the correct direction. It is going to be exciting to see what the Italians issue in the future. Their knowledge among mountain shoes is countless. How they will incorporate it into the light and fast style will be interesting to witness. Certainly the new-fangled Atom is a huge move that offers so much delight along the trails.

The low stack height of the Atom is created for steep and technical trails.

The brand name stands for Società Calzaturiera Asolana Riunita Pedemontana Anonima, which means Associated Shoe Manufacturing Company of the Asolo Mountain Area.

The Atom characters a fine and exiting refresh to Scarpa’s mountain running assortment.

Race ready – fused upper material to save weight and increase the comfort!

Hailing from the Montebelluna region in Italy, the company opened their US HQ in Boulder, CO in 2005.

249g of trail running madeness awaits.

The partner for wild outings is the Vibram Genesis Lite sole.

The midsole is made out of Compression Molded EVA and works quite well.

Not only the Orange Fluo painting makes this shoe stand out.

A pretty handy element – A little pocket on the tongue stores away the laces.

All pictures: Runssel

Tune of the day: Exiles beautiful Rework of Adiam’s Runaway Feat. BLU

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

shoeporn: La Sportiva – Helios

The Helios just appeared right on time. As the season got worse and worse, my daily runs got a bit out of control. Snow and frost on the streets and challenging trail situations made up for some dodgy actions while training.

With a fine heel-toe drop of 4mm the Helios could be perceived as the bigger, bulky brother to La Sportiva’s Vertical K trail running shoe. I jogged the Vertical K and treasured the shoe for it’s minimal style and the forceful sole. With the Helios La Sportiva established an additional lightweight (8.1 oz, 231 g) shoe which can be seen as a day-to-day workhorse and light racing shoe for runners who can handle just about the perfect extent of cushioning and nothing more. We are talking about a light and steadfast trail shoe by any means. I found it hard to slow down while cruising the trails with this reliable partner. On muddy trails I found the grips to be utterly astonishing. The inner of the Helios is made up in a sock-like style. Besides a comfortable feeling it helps to pretend from slipping or sliding.

Being a admirer of an minimal approach to shoe design, I have to say that La Sportiva did a fantastic job with the Helios. I used the shoe in rain, snowfall and on dry days, on the road and on the trails. I never was dissatisfied by any means. The comfortable mood stayed with me all the time without loosing the aggressive style and touch for the soil. For me the Helios is a complete training partner and flawless racing shoe for longer trail competitions. Having a wide foot I found this shoe to be a perfect fit. Well done, La Sportiva!

Prego – 231g of italian trail running funk.

HyDrain Mesh on the outside. Feels good.

This sole goes by the name of FriXion. I dont know what it means but i know that it works. Pretty well.

Grip as you need.

Ciao Bella! Another red italian race car?

Straight outta Ziano di Fiemme.

Slick design.

Trail jogging made easy with the Helios.

Racereport 2014-09: Engadin SwimRun

Perhaps it is not the brightest idea to write down a race story when the actual contest was just two days ago. Maybe there is a good bit of neutrality gone astray. But, who cares! Let the emotional raging commence.

As soon as you tell somebody about this SwimRun thing you’ll get some questions back. Of course, you have to to run in a wetsuit. Of course, you need to go swimming with your shoes. Of course, you are permitted to bathe with paddles and a pullbuoy. No, you do not have a transition area. More less – you can do what on earth you want as long as you carry it along that course. More questions?

At the same time as this innovative team game called SwimRun is kind of a household name in Scandinavia, little is known about it outer the Kingdom of Sweden. The big mama off all SwimRun races is the legendary Ö till Ö. The organizers of this event also organized this wander from corner to corner of the Engadin valley in Switzerland. As Fabian and I are already (…and gratefully) qualified for Ö Till Ö we decided to take part in this first race outside of Sweden to collect some practical information and understanding before we get on the plane to the join the Ö Till Ö festivity.

As an location the organizers couldn’t have chosen a superior arrangement for the maiden SwimRun on the continent. The sheer splendor of the Engadin is unadulterated inspiration plus the plan to voyage all the way through the vale from Maloja to Silvaplana was just prepared for this idea of racing.

Our pre-race homework was acceptable. As total rookies in this game we did not know how to get ready for something like this. With a number of specific sessions and material testing at the local lake as well as the usual swims and runs we got ourselves set. At least that’s what we thought. The team racing characteristic is particular and produces a motivating vibrant. We were energized and also nervous. Even more worried when we got a pre-race glimpse of the Silvalplana waters before the race. Chilly would have been a nice expression to describe the water. A entire new experience. We tested the waters in our long neoprene suits and couldn’t hack the sensation of this bitter cold water. Raceday won’t be any better. We were sure about that.

As the morning sun made its way up to the blue skies we ran on. A assembly of almost 100 teams. All psyched for vertical running as well as cold water bathing. At this part of my report I need to hold it short… The opening run section just took its toll out of the race and straight away the competition was spread out. The technical part lead us over rocks and straight down the mount into the first whirl. We chatted away and joked about the imminent chill shock. When we entered it was like diving into a pool of enthusiasm. As the better swimmer Fabian is The German Sparkle Party pacing dinghy i can happily draft. I ducked in behind him. Focusing on his T7’s and the emotion of the water. At this time the Goosebumps weren’t caused by the water. We straight got in the flow of things. We straight got into the SwimRun vibe. Into the GSP vibe. When we exited on the other side of the lake we both beamed. This was our kick-start to a unique day.

What happened then can be described as fun. Sore fun. Intensive fun. Magnificent fun. Hideous fun. Icy fun. The course was asking for a superior performance. No excuses and candid racing. We had to stick together. We had to look out for each other. When I had a low, Fabian had a high and vice versa. Throughout the whole 7 hours and 49 minutes there wasn’t 10 meter sandwiched between us. To call it just right team racing would hit he note. We surprised ourselves and got encouraged by the course, the crowds and the variety of this team competition.

When we reached the shoreline of Silvaplana there was not much left. We did our best, went through a lot of dreadful patches and enjoyed the splendor of this race. Always got ourselves up and going. When we heard we got in 8th we were stunned. A notable day with a noteworthy outcome.

Thanks a lot Michael Lemmel and Mats Skott for arranging this stunner. Credits for setting up a race that has precisely what it needs. No fancy substances. No earsplitting music. No hotel buffet-like aid stations. No overfull field. No hectic. No finisher medal – just plain straightforward outdoor enjoyment.

Tack för det. Se dig i 48 dagar!

Utensils worn:

Neoprene Suit: Custom cut HUUB Archimedes (Click HERE for Preparation Details)
Pullbuoy: HUUB Big Buoy (Click HERE for Preparation Details)
Goggles: HUUB Acute (Smoke/White)
Paddles: Standard Swedish XL
Compression Socks: CEP Run Socks 2.0
Compression Calf Sleeves: CEP Quad Sleeve
Shoes: Brooks T7

In Pictures: ECCO Indoor Trail, Dortmund, Germany

Tackled the Westfalenhallen in Dortmund for some indoor trail extravaganza that past weekend. Report and extra photographs to follow. Until then people.

#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.

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