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All Things TRT

Winter is Coming...Maybe?

Written By TRT Ambassador: Casey Fisher

Despite growing up in sunny South Florida, I thoroughly enjoy running in the cold. When I moved to Maryland in 2006, I went overboard and purchased a bunch of winter running clothing, however much of this gear remains in my closet unless the temps drop below freezing. Most of the time (30s and 40s) there are only a few pieces of gear I need which include a buff, mid-weight long sleeve or quarter zip, vest shell and good pair of glove liners.  

If and when the temps drop lower (teens and 20s) I will add some mittens over the glove liners or a mitten-glove hybrid, ¾ length tights or stick with shorts, and add a full shell to my long sleeve base layer. 

When it starts to get close or below zero I will add an additional layer underneath my long sleeve, such as a tank top or thinner long sleeve base layer, switch out my regular mittens for snowboarding mittens, add a buff as neck gaiter to cover my face and ears from the elements. I may also add a puffy vest under my shelI. For my lower half I will opt for ¾ or full length tights with a pair of slightly loose winter running pants over top.  I will also add an additional wool sock layer to my base Injinji or Xotoes. For shoes, I enjoy the Altra Lone Peak RSM version for the snow. 

An important consideration to make when choosing cold weather running attire is effort and duration. For instance, for your short (<60mins) winter low intensity morning run before work you may want to layer up as you will generate less body heat. Keep in mind the more of your body that is exposed the more heat you will lose to the environment. For your higher intensity training runs like intervals or tempo runs you may want to opt for less. When you are planning your weekend long run or race, don't dress for the initial temps but look at how high the temps while rise while you are out there. Below is a list of gear I like. 


Base layers

  • XOSKIN
  • Craft
  • Smartwool

Gloves

  • Outdoor Research
  • Smartwool
  • Manzilla

Headwear

  • Buff
  • Boco

Tights/Pants

  • CWX ¾ insulator 
  • Salomon Agile warm pant
  • Patagonia Houdini pants 

Jackets/Shells/ Quarter Zips

  • Houdini jacket/vest
  • Arc'teryx incendo 
  • Patagonia Capilene Midweight Zip-Neck

Socks second layer

  • Drymax winter weight 
  • Smartwool 
Photo by: Paul Encarnacion


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Shoe Review: Lems Primal 2

Review by: TRT Thundersquad Ambassador, Jim Boyer

Brand and Model: Lems Primal 2
Price: $105
Category: Barefoot/Lifestyle
Rating: 9 out of 10
Shoe Drop/Differential: 0 mm
Weight: 6.9 oz
Stack Height: 14 mm
Technical Specs: Last: Lems Natural-Shape™ Last, Upper: Super-soft microfiber + open-weave mesh (100% vegan), Lining: 100% moisture-wicking polyester, Outsole: 8.0mm LemsRubber™ (air-injection rubber), Footbed: 3.5mm removable moisture wicking PU insole

What is the shoe ideal for?: Everyone/daily wear 

Step in fit and feel: Great ground feel with just enough cushioning. Fits comfortably with my Correct Toes too!

Ideal Terrain Usage: Everyday & Activity (walking, running, hiking, gym, etc.)

Performance: Durable

Value: An extremely good value for the versatility and quality of the product!

Sizing: Euro (US full sizes only), but fits true to size in my opinion

Recommendations: A fantastic go-to-shoe for me!

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Shoe Review: Altra Torin 4 Plush

Shoe Review: Altra Torin 4 Plush

Review by: TRT Thundersquad Ambassador, Casey Fisher
Brand and Model: Altra Torin 4 Plush
Price: $140
Category: Cushioned Zero-Drop
Rating: 8 out of 10
Shoe Drop/Differential: 0 mm
Weight: 10.1 ounces men, 8.5 ounces women
Stack Height: 28 mm
Technical Specs: Insole: 5 mm Sculpted Footbed, Midsole: Quantic ™ with InnerFlex™, Outsole: FootPod™ Technology, Cushion: High, Upper: Premium Engineered Knit, Women's specific fit(I cannot comment on this)

What is the shoe ideal for?: Daily trainer, racing any distance from 5K to 100+miles

Step in fit and feel: Like most Altras they feel good right out of the box, however I felt like these shoes became more comfortable after I had logged about 40 miles in them. They seem to get more comfortable every time I put them on and the upper has not gotten sloppy/loose like some previous versions.

Ideal Terrain Usage: Road and smooth trails

Performance: I have always liked the Altra Torin since its inception. However, there have been little things throughout the previous models that were annoying. These little things include inconsistent sizing, lace length(e.g., too long or inconsistent between pairs, etc.) and durability. Unfortunately, the Altra Torin 4 Plush is still plagued by excessively long laces! However, I really enjoy this shoe, so much so it was my choice for my recent ultra on paved roads and mostly smooth fire roads.

Value: A little on the pricey side given the non-plush version is $20 cheaper.

Sizing: True to size

Recommendations: I would recommend this shoe for anyone who has liked previous versions of the Torin or if you are just getting into zero drop shoes. The Torin 4 Plush provides plenty of cushion for logging long miles or those of us who like a little more cushion. I transitioned to zero drop shoes by first wearing them daily to work and short recovery runs(3-5miles) before using them exclusively. I still rotate in the Topos with 5mm drop when my achilles or calfs get tight.

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Shoe Review: Altra Escalante 2

Shoe Review: Altra Escalante 2

Review by: TRT Thundersquad Ambassador, Quinn Kahsay
Brand and Model: Altra Escalante 2
Price: $130
Category: Minimal
Rating: 7 out of 10
Shoe Drop/Differential: 0 mm
Weight: 8.8 oz
Stack Height: 24 mm
Technical Specs: EGO™ midsole, knit upper, FOOTPOD™ TECHNOLOGY, FOOTSHAPE™ TOE BOX

What is the shoe ideal for?: The Escalante 2 is a lightweight daily trainer. It is ideal for roads, but the outsole makes it a poor choice for trails or lightly packed gravel. 

Step in fit and feel: You immediately notice two things about the Escalante 2 when you step into it. First, it is remarkable light. Second, it has a very snappy feel. The insole does not add much cushioning and it feels much more like a race shoe than its predecessors do.

Ideal Terrain Usage: Road Running

Performance: A great ride for the first six miles. After that, the midsole loses some snap and it becomes less comfortable.

Value: Decent. It would be better at $110

Sizing: True to size

Recommendations: I bought these 2.0's to be daily trainers. The constrictive fit in the mid/forefoot is excellent. I've put 130sh miles in them in the last month since purchasing them and, once they break in, the forefoot/midfoot fit is very comfortable. The midsole is much stiffer and more firm than in previous versions. Honestly, that is exactly what drew me to this version. I love this midsole version for daily running. It is responsive, it seems to also protect quite a lot, and it is so far holding up. I will say, they tend to become uncomfortable once you take them past 9 miles, so unlike their predecessor (1.5) I don’t recommend this for long runs.

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Shoe Review: TOPO Runventure 3

Shoe Review: TOPO Runventure 3

Review by: TRT Thundersquad Ambassador, Casey Fisher
Brand and Model: TOPO Runventure 3
Price: $120
Category: Minimal
Rating: 9 out of 10
What is the shoe ideal for?: Trails and trail races of any distance!
Shoe Drop/Differential: 0 mm
Weight: 9.5oz(men's size 9), 7.6oz(women's size 7)
Stack Height: 20 mm

Technical Specs: Vibram® XS Trek EVO outsole, durable mesh upper, drainage ports, ortholite footbed and flexible rock plate that still allows for good trail feel.

Step in fit and feel: Fits like a glove with enough room for your piggys:)

Ideal Terrain Usage: Any type of trails you want to throw at it! 

Performance: This shoe is light, fast, nimble, and allows your toes to splay. Reminds me of a Inov-8 or Salomon trail shoe but without the foot crunch (I have wide feet). I have been happy with this shoe on dry trails, slick rocks, gravel roads, after stream crossings, and the rock plate is protective but allows you to still to feel the trail. I ran a sole technical 50K (Thanks to Covid19) with about 10K of climbing in these babies and my feet were fine. I ran 6 hours in the rain and the shoe drained/dried very well and was still in good shape afterward. My only gripe is they removed the gaiter attachments on the heel of the shoe (Why it's a 9 not a 10). However, although normally I pick up a lot of little stones and debris in my shoes I have not had that issue with these. The mesh upper seems to let water out, but not let anything in. Lastly, I am jelly of the women's color scheme. If I had Tony Post's ear I would ask him to design some brighter colors for his shoes (specifically the trail versions)..

Value: Great price point for this shoe, especially with the vibram outsole. 

Sizing: True to size

Recommendations: If you love the performance and versatility of Salomon or Inov-8 trail shoes but end up with a neuroma if you sacrifice wider fit to wear them this shoe is you answer! 

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Topo Athletic Fli-Lyte 2

Topo Athletic Fli-Lyte 2

Review by: TRT Thundersquad Ambassador, Charissa Hipp

Brand and Model: Topo Athletic Fli-Lyte 2
Price: $100
Category: Transitional
What is the shoe ideal for?: Road running
Shoe Drop/Differential: 3mm
Weight: 8.4 oz
Stack Height: 23mm (heel) // 20mm (forefoot)
Technical Specs: Mid cushion, support, and pliability
Step in fit and feel: I never needed any "break-in" period with these shoes. They felt great the moment I put them on and I immediately switched from my trail shoes to using these for all my runs on asphalt. Runs true to size.
Ideal Terrain Usage: Road surfaces.
Performance: These have performed well over time. I'm happy with the wear on the inside and outside compared to other brands and I love these shoes now as much as I did when I first put them on. Upper mesh offers additional structure and durability without sacrificing weight or breathability.
Overview: Fli-Lyte 2 offers a soft, highly responsive and flexible ride, suitable for a variety of distances and speeds. An updated upper mesh offers additional structure and durability without sacrificing weight or breathability. The new platform is slightly softer and more flexible than our original, delivering a more natural feel.
Recommendations: I highly recommend Topo Athletic shoes to anyone looking for a roomy toe box and minimal running shoe. This is my second pair of Topo Athletic shoes and they fit my feet really well. I love the wide toe box, minimal drop and the soles seem to wear well over time. They also feel light on my feet and are very flexible.


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Altra Superior 3.5

Altra Superior 3.5

Review by: TRT member, Diana Gorham

Brand and Model: Altra Superior 3.5
Price: $110
Category: Minimal
What is the shoe ideal for?: Hiking,Trail running and Ultrarunning
Shoe Drop/Differential: 0 mm
Weight: 7.3 oz
Stack Height: 25mm/22mm
Technical Specs: Insole: 6mm contour footbed Platform: Fully cushioned Zero Drop(TM) platform and Footshape(TM) toebox Midsole: EVA/A-bound(TM) blend with Innerflex(TM) Outsole: DuraTread(TM) rubber with TrailClaw(TM) Upper: Quick dry Airmesh Other: 4 point GaiterTrap(TM) technology, reinforced breathable and flexible upper.
Step in fit and feel: Roomy toebox, light cushion, springy, responsive and grippy.True to size, but if particularly wide at the forefoot like me, remove the insole for some extra room or size up a half size.
 
Ideal Terrain Usage: A variety of trails, they excel on rocky and dirt trails


Performance: Great grip on ascents and descents, with just the perfect amount of cushion to give some spring and protection, but still maintain a feeling of responsiveness proprioceptive awareness.
Overview: Superior 3.5 is a great Versatile trail shoe. In typical Altra style, it sports a roomy toe box, plus their trademark zero drop platform that allows you to move as nature intended. The tread is grippy and gives great traction on most surfaces ( beware of wet bridges ). Where this shoe really shines is in its responsiveness. Unlike it's beefier Altra Sibling the Lone Peak, it has a removable Stoneguard(TM) instead of the full rock plate. This allows for a smoother, more responsive run, and offers enough protection for most trail runs( if you run long distance or extremely rocky terrain, the Lone peak would offer more underfoot protection). The 3.5 sports the 4 point gaiter attachment system, so when paired with Altra gaiters you can keep the trail debris out, as you speed down those descents.
Recommendations: Great shoe for trail explorers, that want a versatile, responsive shoe with light cushion, great traction on the trails and a foot shape(TM) toe-box!


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New Balance Minimus 10v1

New Balance Minimus 10v1

Review by: TRT Team Member, Leo Cucuzzella 

Brand and Model: New Balance Minimus 10v1
Price: $115
Category: Minimal
What is the shoe ideal for?: Someone who wants a lightweight shoe that works well in most situations.
Shoe Drop/Differential: 4 mm
Weight: 6..3 oz
Stack Height: 11.5mm
Technical SpecsMidfoot wrap, lightweight foam supports, synthetic upper 
Step in fit and feel: A little stiff at first but becomes flexible soon after wearing it around. Fits to size.
Ideal Terrain Usage: Road, trail, flat courts in sports
Performance: Very good for many various purposes.
Overview: This is a comfortable shoe for walking and everyday use.
Recommendations: It’s a great shoe for someone who wants a shoe that will work well in nearly all terrain and use purposes.

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MERRELL TRAIL GLOVE 4 KNIT

MERRELL TRAIL GLOVE 4 KNIT

Review by: TRT Thundersquad Ambassador, Jake Thad

Brand and Model: MERRELL TRAIL GLOVE 4 KNIT
Price: $130
Category: Ultra Minimal
What is the shoe ideal for?: Ideal for walking on non-technical paths and trails.
Shoe Drop/Differential: 0 mm
Weight: 8 oz
Stack Height: 11.5mm
Technical Specs: • Mesh and TPU upper • Traditional lace closure • Breathable mesh lining • Hyperlock™ printed TPU heel counter for security during quick descents and sharp turns • Integrated EVA footbed • FLEXconnect™ dual directional flex-groove EVA midsole for agility and stability on uneven terrain • M Select™ GRIP+ outsole with anatomical grooves is sticky and durable for superior grip and traction on wet or dry trails.
Step in fit and feel: Comfortable, stretchy mesh upper. With no tongue or insert, it truly slides on like a sock or glove. Fit as expected
Ideal Terrain Usage: Comfortable for walking on pavement, grass, or gravel trails.
Performance: Vibram sole holds up well to walking on gravel. The mesh upper is not water-resistant. Laces frayed quickly were rubbing on ribbon loops (there are no eyelets for the laces).
Overview: This is a comfortable shoe for walking and everyday use.
Recommendations: It is not recommended for running, wet environments, or technical trails. The sole is very narrow under the arch of the foot, and the rubber insole does not provide adequate support for flat feet. Adding an insole for support (such as Barefoot Science) makes one's heel high enough to lift out of the back of the shoe.


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Shoe Review: TOPO Terraventure 2

Shoe Review: TOPO Terraventure 2

Review by: TRT Thundersquad Ambassador, Casey Fisher

Brand and Model: TOPO Terra-venture 2
Price: $120
Category: Transitional
What is the shoe ideal for?: Trail and Ultrarunning
Shoe Drop/Differential: 3mm
Weight: 10.8oz
Stack Height: 25mm/22mm
Technical Specs: Vibram outsole, flexible rock plate, drainage holes, ortholite footbed, unique gaiter attachment (best I have used)
Step in fit and feel: Glove like fit for my feet - sizing is true to size
Ideal Terrain Usage: Trails, rocks, wet trails (drains fast and we'll)


Performance: Good ground feel on trails but lugs are not too deep to be annoying on the road. Quick shoe and agile on technical trail. Great all around trail shoe.
Overview: I love this shoe (this is my first pair of Topos), especially the color. Topo doesn't usually have really wild colors for their men's shoes but the yellow Terraventure 2s are bright and flashy. This shoe has many great features and has been my go to trail shoe for the last few months.

Let's start with the good: ortholite footbed (excellent upgrade from previous models), drainage ports (shoes dry before you get to the next stream), it's worth mentioning the color again, the fit for me is perfect (no blisters or hot spots) for races from 50K to 50miles, the flexible rock plate provides enough protection without sacrificing trail feel, and lastly the gaiter anchoring system is AMAZING!!!

Now for the bad: there is really only one thing for me and that is outsole and upper durability. In all fairness I am hard on my shoes and run some pretty gnarly trails (e.g., Massanuttens). After my recent 100 mile attempt I noticed the usually reliable vibram outsole was shredded (see pictures), this was after approximately 300miles of wear and tear on some pretty rocky trails but I expect more from vibram. The upper also does not handle rocks well, however I think this may be do to the breathability of the shoe which in my mind is an even trade off. For the price the shoe is definitely worth a try and I will definitely be getting another pair.
Recommendations: Definitely would recommend and this will be my go to trail shoe for 2019 for races up to 100 miles.


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