Tag Archives: 5 minute review

5 Minute Review – New Balance RC700

We’re on a reviewing overdrive here at the moment.

The next shoe we’re going to talk about is the New Balance RC700.

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180g for a US 8.5

This pair of shoes probably hasn’t registered on the radars of many athletes out there.  The RC700 is a take-down model from the RC series and is predominantly meant for the Japanese market.  Simply put, this is a lightweight trainer (LT) without all the latest New Balance bells and whistles.

Haven't seen this blown rubber outsole for a while
Haven’t seen this blown rubber outsole for a while

We still see the use of Revlite in the midsole, but it is different version of the cushioning compound that is found on the higher end shoes.  The outsole is largely blown rubber, which should make this shoe a bit more durable and ideal for training.  The addition of the Stability Web will provide a light amount of support and runners will appreciate that as the workouts get a bit longer.  It feels like the heel drop might be about 8mm.  As with many traditional LTs, midfoot strikers might feel the shoe is a bit close to ground but heel strikers are offered a good amount of cushioning.

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Some retro-stylings on the RC700

The upper of the RC700 takes on a more traditional approach.  No visible heatbonded Fantomfit overlays that you find on many of NB’s newer offerings.  What you get is still a breathable mesh upper with some traditional sewed overlays and a snug heel cup.  With many of the ‘lower tier’ shoes, you often feel that they’ve cut corners and smudged over the details especially when it comes to fit.  I have to say that I was pleasantly surprised with the RC700.  The fit is snug in the right places, there didn’t seem to be any excess material where it was not needed and even the extra bit of support in the arch wasn’t obtrusive.

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Reminiscent of simpler times…

The RC700 feels like a throwback to a time before the different brands starting coming up with all these fancy names for their fancy new technologies.  The RC700 is not super fancy and certainly not cutting edge in it’s use of materials.  It is instead, a well put together workhorse of a lightweight trainer.  Compared to the recently review RC1600v2, the RC700 feels like it lacks a little something and is surely not as responsive, though I’m sure it is not meant to be.  The RC700 will slot into your current shoe line up as a “go to” LT, one that isn’t afraid of getting dirty.  It is simply a shoe that gets the job done.

The New Balance RC700 is in store now and retails for $129.

5 Minute Review – adidas adizero Takumi Ren 2

The Takumi series of shoes is designed with direct input from Master Craftsman, Hitoshi Mimura.

The original Takumi Ren boasted the use of premium materials in the upper (a different suede from all other adizero shoes) with adidas’ Torsion & Sprintframe systems blended into an outsole with a (claimed) 4mm heel drop.

205g for a US 8.5
205g for a US 8.5

The new version of the Takumi Ren comes in at the same weight as it’s predecessor.  My size US 8.5 weighed 205g, a little lighter than many of the other lightweight trainers from other brands.  And yes, the Takumi Ren 2 remains the ‘training’ model of the Takumi series.

Similar outsole to the first generation Takumi Ren.  Minor difference in the tread pattern
Similar outsole to the first generation Takumi Ren. Minor difference in the tread pattern

With little to no information on the Takumi Ren (in English, anyway) available, I’m going to guess that they retained the same heel drop for the Ren 2.  I tried both pairs on and it’s hard to tell them apart.  That having been said, it seems that the outsole unit has remained fairly unchanged – the Takumi Ren 2 are close to ground, responsive and lightly cushioned.  While the Ren 2 are no where near as stiff as the adios 2, you get plenty of return from them and you’ll definitely be trotting along with a spring in your step.

Lightweight mesh upper is thinner than on the original
Lightweight mesh upper is thinner than on the original

The biggest difference in the new Takumi Ren seems to be in the upper.  The lightweight mesh is thinner and more breathable than before.  In fact, it is reminiscent of the Takumi Sen.  The upper has taken on a bit more seamless technology especially around the toe box, so leaving your socks at home when you’re running in these will not be a problem.  The more minimalist upper does have a trade off though.  Compared to the original, the Ren 2 feel more comfortable with it’s soft, supple upper.  However, even with what looks like a similar heel cup, the Ren 2 does not lock the foot in as securely.  I experienced a small amount of heel lift in the Ren 2 where there was none before.  This was not a big deal as I appreciated the additional comfort and a simple re-lacing of the shoe got the job done.

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Pretty Sweet.

The Takumi Ren 2 feels like a good update.  Personally, I am glad they went for a slightly more minimalist feel with this one.  It makes the Takumi Ren 2 feel like a faster shoe that you would be happy to race in, but still has a bit more cushioning than a real racing flat.  The Ren 2 is true to size and has a generous amount of space in the toe box.  Experienced runners will like the Ren 2 for their faster sessions and tempo runs especially.

The Takumi Ren 2 retails for $199 and is available now in sizes US 6.5 – 10.5.

This is a limited release so please email us at [email protected] or call 64567868 to reserve a pair.

The 5 Minute Review – Nike Zoom Speed Cage+ 3

We usually see some exciting lightweight trainers and racers being launched in Spring.  We’re glad to present the first new release of the season from Nike, the Zoom Speed Cage+ 3.

Weighing in at 225g for a men’s US8

The Speed Cage+ 3 is a throwback to the days when Nike Air seen everywhere.  These days, the Nike Air unit makes its appearance in less shoes given the rise of Nike’s new Lunarlon cushioning system.  I always thought the exposed air unit was a cool look and enjoyed the feel of it when I had a previous variant of this shoe, the Katana Cage, a few years back.

"caged" air unit
 
The upper is consists of an open mesh combined with Hyperfuse.  At first look, you’d be forgiven for thinking that the upper was not going to offer much in terms of support because of its minimalist look.  I’d advise that you wear nice socks because everyone will be able to see them.  However, once you lace up, you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how securely the upper wraps your foot without being stiff.  This is due to the Hyperfuse which offers a high level of strength (and stability) at a very light weight, similar to what Flywire does in shoes like the Lunarspider and Lunarelite.

Breathable upper? You bet.
 
I don’t have any figures for the heel drop on the Speed Cage+ 3 but I’ll guess that its about 8mm.  The shoe still feels pretty close to ground.  This isn’t a flat out racer, but for a lightweight trainer that you could do the miles in, it toes the line between comfort and performance very well.  The forefoot area of the Speed Cage+ 3 is flexible and allows for a responsive toe off during speedwork.  Regardless of whether you’re a heel striker or not, you’ll enjoy the plush cushioning that the Nike Air unit provides on those longer runs.  The upper isn’t completely seamless, but I tested the shoes sock-less (I have very sensitive feet) and for the 5mins that I ran in them, they were alright.

Drainage! No flooding like Orchard Road here.
 
As an extra feature, heavy sweaters and triathletes will appreciate the drainage holes in the outsole located at the forefoot area.
 
The Speed Cage+ 3 is a good option for runners looking for a cushioned race day shoe or a lightweight trainer that can mix it up on long runs and up tempo days.  It is available now at The Runner’s Gait in sizes US 7 – US 12 (it is a unisex shoe and fits true to size) and retails at SGD$189.

The 5 Minute Review – inov-8 Road-X 233

Inov-8 is best known for being one of the leaders in minimalist trail shoes.  Now they have taken their know-how and released a line of road shoes as well.  Using their 4 tier Shoc-Zone cushioning system, Inov-8 believes that over time, all runners can transition towards a more natural style of running.  And part of that transition, is the movement towards the “less is more” style of footwear.

I like to do most of my running in lightweight trainers so I was interested in trying on a pair of Inov-8s that was similar in weight to my usual trainers.  Right on cue, we have the Inov-8 Road-X 233.

220g for a men’s US8 (UK7)

The Road-X 233 (its supposed to be 233g for a UK8, hence the name) is light compared to most other trainers on the market.  And while its easy enough to find a pair of lightweight trainers that is as light, you’ll be hard pressed to find one that also has as little heel drop as the Road-X 233. 

 
The Road-X 233 features a heel-to-toe differential of only 6mm.  Such differentials are often reserved for racers, so its interesting to see a trainer with the same characteristics.  It has a 2 arrow Shoc-Zone, which means that the shoe offers minimal underfoot protection and cushioning.  If you normally run in a pair of ‘traditional’ trainers with a very substantial cushioning unit, you’ll be surprised by how different these shoes feel the moment you put them on.  The Road-X 233 is low to ground and runners instantly have an improved feel for the ground.  Its like you’ve suddenly developed super powers (if extra perceptive feet count as a super power)!
 
The design of the Road-X 233 puts your foot in a more natural position and this aids in making it easier to land on the midfoot while running.  Due to the relatively low levels of cushioning, its hard to run poorly (if we assume that running with a heel strike equates to poor form) in these shoes because you will feel the shoes slap the ground rather ungracefully if you opt to land heavily on your heels.

Road-X 233 - nicely done
The Road-X 233 has a well ventilated mesh upper and the lacing system locks down the midfoot well.  The heel cup is alright though not as snug as I would like.  The shoe is true to size, but I found the toe box too roomy.  As a result, while comfortable, I felt the Road-X 233 didn’t have an ‘aggressive’ enough feel to it for a shoe of this weight and heel drop. 
 
That having been said, I think this is a great shoe for you if you’ve already started to move away from shoes with maximum levels of cushioning and are looking to change things up during training.  Runners just beginning to experiment with less cushioning and support might be better served trying out the Road-X 255, which will allow for a more gradual transition towards minimalist footwear.
 
The Road-X 233 is available now at The Runner’s Gait and retails for $208.
 

The 5 Minute Review: New Balance RT1100 Black Rainbow series

We actually got 2 shoes from the Black Rainbow series by New Balance delivered today – the RC1300 and the RT1100.  Since this is the first time the RT1100 has hit our shelves, I’ll do the review on them instead.  But I have worn both pairs of shoes, so I will point out what I think are the differences between them along the way.

And we’re off!  You can be sure that these shoes are head turners.  Don’t just rely on your running speed to be noticed, throw a pair of these on!

Wait for it...

The RT1100 weighs in at 200g versus the 195g RC1300 in a men’s US8.  While the weight difference will go unnoticed (both are pretty light anyway), the extra 5g gives the RT1100 substantially more cushioning.  You aren’t quite as close to the ground in the RT1100, but responsiveness is good and the ride is smooth.

Just in case you wondered where the rainbow was

I felt the shoes were true to size.  The RT1100 has a roomy toe box with just enough wiggle room for your toes and a quick tightening of the laces locks the midfoot down well.  They are comfortable but I would have liked a more secure heel counter, just for those really fast paced days.  The Stability Web provides an extra hint of support and will help put the minds of mild overpronators at ease!

Abzorb in the heel provides high level of cushioning for a lightweight shoe

The RT1100 has all the toolings of a racer but with enough support and cushioning features for it to be used extensively for training.  Not ready for a “racer”?  Or looking to move on from heavier daily trainers?  The RT1100 should definitely be on your radar.

If nothing else, the Black Rainbow series of shoes is a cool looking shoe to wear when you’re hanging out at your favourite running store (that’s us!!) or grabbing a coffee.

Below are a few photos of the RC1300

The RC1300 black rainbow

Closer to the ground with less heel drop

Japanese series features in the outsole

Slightly thinner mesh upper with less overlays

black heel collar instead of pink

The RC1300 and RT1100 are unisex shoes and are both available now at The Runner’s Gait!

The 5 Minute Review – New Balance RC1400

The RC1400 is the latest shoe from New Balance to feature the Revlite midsole and the first racing flat to do so.  I’ve been waiting to see these shoes for a while so I was quite excited to put them on.

190g for a men's US8

These shoes are pretty light, but they aren’t super-omg-light.  Weighing 190g for a US8, they are comparable to the Adidas Adizero Feather and Nike Lunarspider+ LT, which are positioned by their respective companies as lightweight trainers and not racers.  However, I think they’re alright weight-wise unless you are an absolutely shoe weight-weenie and will give most runners more confidence in wearing them for longer races.

Revlite midsole is 30% lighter than traditional Abzorb cushioning

The outsole unit is blown rubber and feels like it will provide a good amount of traction even on slick surfaces.  The Revlite midsole provides the same amount of cushioning as traditional cushioning compounds with a weight saving of 30%.  The full ground contact sole unit is meant to improve stability and reduce the amount of pronation as a result of fatigue later into your run.  An open mesh, no sew upper completes the shoe.

10mm heel drop on this nice looking shoe

Ok technical specifications covered, on to the actual shoe.  The RC1400 is a good looking shoe and continues New Balance’s commitment to making not just functional but fashionable shoes.  Nowadays its cool to wear NB and not have them referred to as “that army shoe brand” (for non-Singaporeans reading this, New Balance used to supply the Singapore Armed Forces with running shoes and let’s just say they won zero style awards).  Length-wise, the RC1400 runs true to size, but take note that they are only available in D width for the men, so they might be on the narrow side.  While the fit was snug, I felt most the upper was tighter on the outside of my foot and a bit not-tight-enough on the inside of my foot at the medial area.  The no-sew seamless welded upper is very comfortable though and in fact, the shoes felt a bit more comfortable when I took my socks off.

The 10mm heel drop is a tad on the high side for me and the RC1400 does not seem to have the feel of an aggressive racing flat.  The shoe is stable and fairly responsive but its outsole is not as flexible as some other shoes in this same category.  It was comfortable for my 2minutes on the treadmill but the RC1400 may not be my first choice for the next road race (if asked to choose between the RC1400 and the RC1300 – I’d go with the RC1300).  However, I think its a good option as a lightweight trainer for a bit of speedwork and even middle-mileage runs. 

RC1400 blue/orange for Men

If you like the New Balance 890 and want an upgrade, the RC1400 is right up your alley!  The RC1400 will definitely appeal to runners looking for a lightweight option but aren’t prepared to go for minimal cushioning just yet.

Available now at The Runner’s Gait!

The 5 Minute Review: Adidas Adizero Feather

New from Adidas for the last quarter of the year is the Adidas Adizero Feather.

Adizero Feather for men (black colourway)

Why is this a “5 Minute Review”?  That’s because I literally wore these shoes for 5 mins, which included a minute and a half on the treadmill.  So here’s a very brief, first impression of these shoes. 

185g for a US8

Weighing in at a featherweight (get it?  featherweight?  the shoe is called the ‘Feather”?  no?  ok less comedy, more reviewing) 185g for a US8, this shoe is touted as Adidas’ lightest trainer ever.  If your first thought was that this looks more like a soccer boot than a running shoe, its not your eyes playing tricks on you.  The Feather is actually modelled after the very popular Adizero F50 soccer boot.  The Feather uses a open mesh SPRINTWEB upper that is reinforced in key areas to provide great support, comfort and breathability.

the unique SPRINTFRAMEYes, thats a hole in the outsole
What’s interesting about this shoe is really the outsole.  Adidas utilises their SPRINTFRAME which had full forefoot adPRENE+, usual Adidas features Torsion and adiWEAR are also there.  The SPRINTFRAME is actually missing parts of the outsole that you would expect to see in a ‘traditional’ shoe.  This helps with the weight reduction of the shoe I’m sure and does not compromise the level of cushioning.  In fact, I was very surprised at the responsiveness and cushioning of the Feather. 
 
Standing around in the Feather, they are very comfortable but I had my concerns about how much support they would provide for me, the runner low arched feet.  Once you start running in them though, the SPRINTFRAME provides a nice responsive ride and I personally wasn’t worried about pronation (and believe me, I pronate quite a bit). 
A nice option in the lightweight trainer category
 
 The Feather runs true to size and the upper has a narrower fit as you’d expect from a shoe in this category.  It is a comfortable shoe but I would recommend socks as it does not appear to have a no-sew construction in the upper.  My only gripe is that owing to the unique shape of the SPRINTFRAME, it felt like there was a linear bump running across my midfoot when I put my weight down which coincided with the area of the outsole that was removed from its construction.  Without more time in the shoe, it is hard to know if it is something you get used to.
 
Overall, an interesting shoe that is worth checking out if you’re looking for something a little different in terms of design.  A responsive, well cushioned shoe in a lightweight package.
 
Available NOW at The Runner’s Gait.