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Tuesday, March 10, 2015

Brooks Launch 2

If you're an avid runner Sneakerholic or Running Shoe Geek, you probably look forward to flipping through the pages of Runner's World Magazine or clicking the next button on Competitor.com site to see whats coming down the pike and immediately start adding "sneaks" to your wish list.  I don't maybe that's not you.  But, this is what I tell myself: "everyone is doing it so don't apologize for your obsession with running shoes".  My name is Derek and I am a Sneakerholic, there I said it.

It was love at first sight.  Pssst!! psst!! Derek you know you like me I'll be out soon please wait for me, so I did just that-I waited until it was released.  Now I'd be lying to you if I tell you I was faithful and didn't buy any shoes while waiting for the Brooks Launch 2 to land-I didn't.

To think a few years ago the Launch was on its death bed.  The folks at Brooks pulled the plug made funeral arrangements and announced its obituary online.  And now back by popular demand, the Launch 2 is back and creating a buzz in the streets.   
Damn!!! That's one sexy looking shoe!!!
The L2 is the kinda a shoe that brings bloggers out of retirement to blog about it,  Becki at The Middle Miles came out of hiding to weigh in on the L2-(her review here).  I ran the Cheshire Half Marathon last year in the Launch and it felt great, so when I saw the early pics I wanted to try the L2. 

Air mesh uppers keeps the air moving so your feet stay cool
  • Air mesh upper keeps the air moving so your feet stay cooler
  • Synthetic overlay materials add no-sew support
I really adore the fit of the upper on the new L2 especially how it greets and hugs my feet as they settle into the shoe.  The L2 offers a plush secure feeling atop my foot and along the heel counter. 

30% more cushioning that standard materials (gel or EVA)
  • BioMoGo DNA is DNA technology blended with the BioMoGo midsole to provide   adaptive cushioning throughout the midsole vs. just in the heel and forefoot.
  • BioMoGo DNA midsole includes an organic, non-toxic additive that biodegrades the midsole 50 times faster than traditional EVA when it comes into contact with   anaerobic landfill microbes (otherwise known as active, enclosed landfills).
  • 30% more cushioning than standard midsole materials (gel or EVA)
  • Twice as much energy return for more pep in your step
  • Great performance no matter your weight or running pace
  • Smoother transition from heel to toe




Brooks DNA is an innovative and uniquely adaptive cushioning system. By adapting to your specific weight, pace, gait and running surface, DNA offers customized cushioning and adds a spring to your step.  Traditional cushioning takes a one-size-fits-all approach, but we know that each runner is different. Brooks DNA was developed to continuously tailor the level of cushioning to your specific needs – even as they change during the run.


Brooks DNA is made up of a highly viscous non-Newtonian material or more simply put, a material that adapts to the specific force you apply to it. Part of the brilliance is that this compound was engineered to perform at the molecular level (picture millions of resilient 'nano springs').  If you looked at Brooks DNA through a microscope, you'd see that it's made up of individual molecules connected in strands. These strands (which form chains) react to the amount of force placed on the foot, dispersing pressure and providing resiliency. Bottom line of this physics lesson: You get tailored cushioning that reacts to your specific weight, pace, gait, movement and running environment – "made-for-me" cushioning vs. "one size fits all."  And, as with all good technology, we’ve taken it a step further (two steps actually):

Twice as much energy return for more pep in your step

If you liked the first iteration, chances are you'll love the L2.  The L2 is perfect for tempo recovery runs or a race day shoe.  Lighter than and more flexible than the Ghost 7, the L2 felt great during my single digit temperature runs in New England.  I look forward to logging many miles in them this marathon season.  Well done Brooks for listening to your loyal customers and producing an awesome update without a bombshell overall.  


Thursday, March 5, 2015

Saucony Zealot Review

Dating back to the days when my mother would buy my kicks off the rack at Woolworth, to when we finally upgraded to shopping off the tables at Models downtown Brooklyn till now-I've had some peculiar peccadilloes when it came to sneakers.  One of the first things I noticed was how a sneaker felt underfoot when I slipped it on and the second thing I peeped was how it looked when I stared at them while standing up-were they symmetrical or irregular a rubber feeling like a pair of Pro Keds or plastic like a pair of rejects-the latter came with its own street commercial.  "Rejects they make you feet feel fine, rejects cost a $1.99".  What I wouldn't give to pay a buck ninety nine for a pair of running shoes today. 

Running outdoors in the Zealot and BreakThru during the freezing temps in New England was reminiscent of wearing a pair of rejects growing up.  Taking them indoors on the treadmill and indoor track provided a different feeling.  The Zealot is the second single released from Saucony's ISOfit classic album.

Enhanced PWRGRID+ platform provides 20% more cushioning
Mark Johnson with Saucony stopped into Holbird Sports to give a brief overview of the Zealot check to the video below.  If you have 20min swing by Gerist for an extended review.

The Zealot was one of the shoes on my bucket list this year after experiencing success with the Triumph ISO-(my review here) I was willing to give Zealot the nod.  Sam provided a sneak peak in August from Outdoor Retailer 2014-(his review here)  As you know I'm a sucker for a bright shoe and the Orange Zealot screamed for a home but, I went with grey colorway to hide the dirt from the  winter slush.  Peter scored an Viziglo Orange colorway  and shared his thoughts on the Zealot-(his review here)

4mm Offset
The Upper

I alluded to my impressions on the Zealot's upper during my review of the BreakThru-(my review here)  While I was a fan of the ISOfit Technology on the Triumph, I was particularly impressed with the fit and feel of the upper-I don't why Saucony didn't just use the same material and sizing principle it, would have made for a better fitting shoe for me.  Thomas over at Believe in The Run wasn't a fan of the fit of upper either-(his review here)  If you have a wider foot your toes will appreciate the spare room in the toebox. 

Heel Stack Height 25mm Forefoot Stack Height 21
Fit and Feel

When I laced up the Zealot in search of the ideal feel before my runs and I look down at the puckering and was time hopped  to Brooklyn with my rejects.  Once I was locked loaded and stood up I loved the little bump I felt under my arch.  The Zealot weighs in at 8.3oz but it has a light feeling and is the quintessential oxymoron with a unique combination of cushioned firmness.  I enjoyed the flexible feeling in the forefoot.   

Support Frame add structure and support the heel

ISOFIT provides stabilizing support while adapting to the movement of the runner's foot
Enhanced PWRGRID+ platform provides 20% more cushioning and better druability than previous versions
Support Frame adds structure and support in the heel

Shoe Category: Neutral
Pronation: Neutral
Cushion: Plush
Construction Type: Natural Motion
Surface: Road, Track
Arch: High, Normal (Mid), Low
Water Resistant: No
Waterproof: No
Offset: 4mm
Heel Stack Height: 25mm
Forefoot Stack Height: 21mm

ISOFIT provides stabilizing support while adapting to the movement of the runner's foot
The Zealot has a firmer ride than the Kinvara 5 and a quicker feel than the Triumph.  Saucony left 2014 with their jaw dropping Triumph and kicked  open the doors to 2015 waving two smash hits.  It will be interesting to see how the Zealot and BreakThru are received by runners this season and beyond.  If you're adamant and passionate about getting the most out your runs the Zealot may just be the shoe for you swing by your LRS or shop online either way #findyourstrong 


Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Saucony BreakThru Review

Back in January I purchased a pair of BreakThru's on a whim while returning a pair Mizuno Musha's at my LRS.  I noticed one of the associates rocking a gold pair which were on Fleek.  The BreakThru's were so appealing I picked up them up without doing any research.  Saucony has been busy dropping new kicks like Jay-Z was releasing monster albums back in the 90's and racking up the Grammy equivalent awards in the process-you gotta love it.  

So wait, why would Saucony introduce the BreakThru and the Zealot and what role will they play in their line up?  Good questions, I don't have a definitive answer but, I do know if you're standing still and not evolving in this industry you'll get left behind.  

BreakThru Color way on Fleek

The BreakThru is one of Saucony's lightest daily trainers at 8.6oz with a 8mm drop compared to 9.3oz of their award winning Ride 7.  The BreakThru has a lower ground feel and firmer more responsive ride.  It seems like the BreakThru is trying to find a sweet spot between the  A6, Kinvara and Zealot.  

INFOGRAPH Comparison 

The Upper

The BreakThru is on the snug side so its recommended that you go up a 1/2 size, the upper is has a racing inspired sublimed print with minimal seams.  The uppers on the BreakThru were a better fit for me compared to Zealot.  I loved the ISO FIT on the Triumph-(see my review here)  not so much on the Zealot-for me it was a combination of the material used and the size of the toe box.  If you have a higher volume foot you'll appreciate the condo the Zealot offers for your toes to splay and play.  

8.6 oz with an 8mm Drop 
Fit and Feel

Once I sized up I didn't have any issues with the BreakThru, the fit and feel of the upper is superior to the Zealot in my opinion particularly across the top and along the heel counter.  My buddy Pete at runblogger.com called them comfy-(see his review here)

Heel-to-toe POWERGRID provides a responsive and cushioned ride

  • Lightest 8mm everyday trainer
  • The platform featuring heel-to-toe POWERGRID provides a versatile blend of cushioning and responsive 
  • The purposeful upper design with minimal overlays enhances comfort while minimizing weight
  • Eye-catching sublimated print draws inspiration from our racing line

  • Shoe Category: Neutral
  • Pronation: Neutral
  • Cushion: Responsive
  • Construction Type: Neutral
  • Surface: Road, Track
  • Arch: High, Normal (Mid)
  • Water Resistant: No
  • Waterproof: No
  • Offset: 8mm
  • Heel Stack Height: 23mm
  • Forefoot Stack Height: 15mm

SSL™ midsole material that maximizes durability while minimizing weight

The Sole

If you're an efficient speed demon you'll probably lean toward the A6 or Fastwitch but, if you're a middle of the pack runner like me needing a bit of cushion underfoot the BreakThru might be an awesome fit for you.  Saucony built the sole with their SSL™ midsole material that maximizes durability while minimizing weight.  Learning from their past mishaps with exposed eva Saucony didn't take any chances, the BreakThru comes equipped Ultra durable XT 900™ carbon rubber in high wear areas of the outsole.

Ultra durable XT 900™ carbon rubber in high wear areas of the outsole
I've take the BreakThru's on several runs on the asphalt, treadmill and indoor track and compared them to few shoes in my running shoe library specifically the Launch 2 and Zealot, hands down the L2 had the best fitting upper.  During my speed work intervals today I put all of them to the test and spent most of my time in the Zealot's.  The Zealots just felt better underfoot especially as I rounded the corners and picked up the speed on the straight aways.  If you prefer a flat firm ride with a nice blend of cushion the BreakThru is worth taking a look at especially at a buck.  Go find your strong!!  My Buddy Steve at Run Bull Dog Run shared his initial thoughts on the BreakThru-(check out his review here)


Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Go Meb Speed 3 Review

Skechers Performance Team has been busy in the design kitchen brining the heat for you to kick back miles on the asphalt and dispel critics naysayers and haters who don't  take them serious as contenders in the running shoe industry.  I'll be the first to admit I was on the fence about lacing up a pair of their kicks, after all it was the same company responsible for shape ups that I poked fun at a few years ago.  And while I'll probably still laugh if I see a pair of shape ups today, I'm not laughing at the kicks their performance division are rolling out these days.

The Go Meb Speed 3 is the next generation of Meb's signature racing shoe according to Skechers "its back and better than ever", it's the same shoe Meb wore when he won Boston in 2014.  Intrigued by the GRS 2-(my GRS 2 review hereI was curious to see how the update would pan out.  Skechers didn't disappoint.

M-Strike® Technology promotes a midfoot strike

The Upper

I don't have a particularly wide foot so I didn't have any complaints about the fit and feel of the upper on the previous version, some people found the shoe a little snug.  The upper on the Go Meb Speed 3 received a complete overhaul which included the slighter wider toe box, different materials and laces.  The heel counter received additional cushion, the solid grey tongue breaks up the Halloween feeling of the NYC Marathon Version.  While the upper remained breathable, I did notice some slight pilling in the toe box. 

Lightweight - No extra material, no extra weight, nothing to slow you down
Printed nearly seamless mesh fabric upper
Improved stability overlays with bold look
Seamless interior with microfiber lining maximizes comfort
Weight: Radically lightweight 7.1 oz. in a men's size 9
Improved fit and comfort with a wider forefoot for more natural feel
Nearly weightless printed mesh fabric and synthetic upper
Bold S side logo detail
Lace up front with reinforced eyelets  

Printed nearly seamless mesh fabric upper
The honeycomb design in the uppers have been replaced diamond plate inspired uppers which is a sleek detail.  The GRS 3 features a printed nearly seamless mesh upper and improved stability overlays with a bold look.  

Fit and Feel

I was immediately hooked on the tailored fit of the previous version and could definitely feel the difference in the new model, The Go Meb Speed's upper is roomier and the sole is noticeable beefier and softer but, still provides a firm responsive ride.  After logging several miles on the road and treadmill I didn't experience any nagging friction or hotspots.

Seamless interior with microfiber lining maximizes comfort

The Sole

The design of the sole changed but placement of the rubber pods remained in the same position.  Peter from runblogger.com helped usher the third iteration of the Go Meb to the market and provided a unique birds eye perspective peep his (GRS 3 review here)

  • Independent circular GOimpulse™ Sensors for a more responsive running experience
  • M-Strike® Technology promotes a midfoot strike.
  • Lightweight - No extra material, no extra weight, nothing to slow you down 4mm heel drop keeps foot in a nearly neutral position.
  • Resalyte® Midsole - Proprietary lightweight injection-molded compound with memory retention helps absorb impact.      
  • Dupont® Delrin® material Stability Plate in midfoot for a supportive and secure run with even less weight.
  • Weight: Radically lightweight 7.1 oz. in a men's size 9
  • 14mm forefoot height, 18mm heel height
  • 4mm heel drop keeps foot in a nearly neutral position
Independent circular GOimpulse™ Sensors for a more responsive running experience
After running several miles in the Go Meb Speed 3 I'm looking forward to taking it the "Full Monty", with the additional material in the sole I can only expect lure of the shoe to grow and it certainly doesn't hurt to have a few elite runners rocking the GRS 3.  

4mm heel drop keeps foot in a nearly neutral position
I found the sole of the GRS 3 softer and more forgiving than the GRS 2 but, it is still offers a firm and resilient ride.  Overall I'm extremely pleased with the update and looking forward to running in and reviewing the Go Run 4.  If you're looking for a racing flat with a little cushion, the GRS 3 might fit the bill.