Tag Archives: lightweight trainer

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.

adidas Adizero Adios 2

This is just a fan favourite.

Quick update to let you know that we’ve got a batch of adidas Adizero Adios 2.  This is the shoe that perennially owns the marathon world record.  Of course, there are some pretty fast guys doing the work…but that could be you too!

You said you want to go FAST?
You said you want to go FAST?

The adios 2 is designed as a racer, but with it’s cushioning for the marathon, it is also equally adept as a lightweight trainer for daily use.  With the extended Torsion web in the outsole, the adios 2 remains one of the stiffest neutral shoes available.  The other benefit of the Torsion web is that the shoe is exceptionally responsive.   Along with the high traction Continental rubber outsole, you won’t miss a step with these shoes.

The adios 2 retails for $189.

5 Minute Review – New Balance RC1100 V2

For many runners, the previous version of the RT1100 was a lightweight option that offered a good amount of cushioning with mild support features.  The one gripe was that the heel unit often felt chunky and this prevented runners from turning to the RT1100 as a race day option.  If you fell into this group, you will appreciate the improvements in the latest version of this shoe – the RC1100 V2.

185g for a men's US8
185g for a men’s US8

My first impression was that RC1100 looked way sleeker than the previous RT1100.  The new RC-1N racing last and decision to reduce the heel-toe offset to 4mm give the RC1100 that close to ground feel.  This isn’t something that has been readily available with many New Balance shoes in the past (aside from the RC5000 & RC1600) and it’s cool because the shoes feel fast even when you’re just standing around in them.

High traction & full ground contact outsole
High traction & full ground contact outsole
Extended Web support
Extended Web support

 

Dynaride and ABZORB cushioning are standard.  Those fancy, high traction studs on the bottom always nice to look at and are indeed grippy on a variety of surface.  New to the RC1100 is the of the T-Beam shank (that silver bit) that helps to improve torsional rigidity and provide support.  It is more substantial than the older Stability Web and you will notice something under your arch the first time you slip these shoes on but doesn’t feel like “too much”.

All the fancy features
All the fancy features

The RC1100 has all the good stuff – the REVlite compound reduces the weight without sacrificing cushioning and the FantomFit upper make this one of the most comfortable shoes I’ve tried from New Balance.  FantomFit is a no-sew technology that is lighter and stronger, it gives the shoe a closer fit with improved comfort.  The RC1100 felt a bit narrow in midfoot area initially but felt better after a couple of minutes.  The 2E width makes for a roomy toe box.  I experienced some mild heel slip even when I laced up to the last eyelet, but the FantomFit upper locked down the midfoot and I didn’t notice any excessive movement otherwise.  These shoes seem to run a little big, so I would consider sizing down by half a size when you get your’s.

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Red shoes always look fast

I’ve not run extensively in the New Balance shoes that use the newer REVlite compound so I admit that I didn’t love these shoes straight away.  The RC1100 is not stiff (like the adidas adios 2) but it is firmer underfoot than shoes like the Asics Hyperspeed 5 or Nike Lunarspider LT+ 3.  It has a responsiveness and feel that grows on you and is very stable whenever you plant your foot.  This is unlikely to be your weekly long run shoe but for workouts at the track to your extended tempo runs, it will work a treat.  On race days, this shoe will easily take you from your 10km up to the marathon.

The RC1100 V2 is a unisex shoe.  It is available in sizes US6 – 12 and retails at $185.
For runners looking for a shoe with a little less cushioning for those really fast days, just look at it’s older brother, the new RC1300 V2.

5 Minute Review – adidas adizero Hagio 2

Alistair Brownlee wore the adidas adizero Hagio 2 on his way to winning the Olympic Triathlon gold last year in London.  He ran 29min07sec for the 10km (after swimming 1.5km and riding 40km).  While I’m sure most of that was due to A.Brownlee being ridiculously quick, the Hagio 2 has got to be a fast pair of shoes to keep up with him.

I think this is colourway is called InfraRed
I think this is colourway is called InfraRed

The Hagio was brought in as a replacement for the adizero Pro 4 and the Hagio 2 continues where it left off.  Using the same midsole as the Pro 4, the full forefoot adiprene+ gives the Hagio 2 great response and cushioning.

170g for a US8
170g for a US8

The Hagio 2 has a Sprint Web upper that is seamless and extremely comfortable.  This is the same upper that is found on on the adidas spikes.  The Coolever mesh upper is very breathable and this is is quite possibly even more comfortable when worn without socks.  I have very delicate feet and usually blister at the smallest thing, but I experienced no hint of irritation at all so far.

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I did feel a bit of heel slippage when I tried these on the treadmill.  The heel cup is cut fairly low so runners that are used to more built up shoes might find this freedom around the ankle to be a bit unsettling initially.  However, after a quick re-lacing of the Hagio 2 to make use of the last eyelet, everything seems A-okay.  The Hagio 2 also has a 6mm heel drop.

Ever present Torsion in the outsole
Ever present Torsion in the outsole

A improvement that many runners will appreciate will be the full forefoot Quickstrike that not only increases the shoe’s flexibility and feel, it is also supposed to significantly improve it’s durability.  The Hagio 2 offers very good traction over all surfaces and the ever-present Torsion system ensures that as little energy is wasted after toe off.

Overall, I think the Hagio 2 is a nice option if you’re looking for a racing flat with a nice amount of cushioning.  This is unlikely to be your go-to shoe for every day training, but you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how much cushioning you feel when you’re running in the Hagio 2 so a tempo run in them is definitely on the cards.  It is not as harsh some other racing flats are, but they are responsive and will do great for anything from your 2.4km IPPT to a half marathon.  There will be some of you that will fancy this for the full marathon as well.  With a couple of local races coming up, triathletes looking for a sockless option for race days will also want to remember the Hagio 2.

The adidas adizero Hagio 2 retails for $169 and is available now at The Runner’s Gait.

Nike – Spring 2012

We’ve been very busy this week getting some new stock into the store, we’ve even got new stock of Vitamin Water!

refreshing drinks while you shop

But on to business!  The last of Nike’s Spring 2012 lightweight trainers and racers have dropped.  Here’s a look!

Lunarspider R2 – flat out racer ($199)

guaranteed to get you to the pub the fastest!

Lunarspider LT+ 2 – responsive lightweight trainer, also a race day option ($199)

slightly more tame colourway than the previous pink ones, but just as quick!

Zoom Speedlite+ 4 – lightweight trainer with support ($189)

my personal favourite for training

All available right now at The Runner’s Gait!

 

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 – 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.