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Lisa Hallett and 22 women who lost loved ones to war, ran their first race together at Rock ‘n’ Roll Seattle for wear blue: run to remember - a milelong on-course tribute to military members who have died during service.

2017 At 84, Beth Petersen will be one of our 81 Rock ’n’ Roll Legacy participants who will have run all 20 years in San Diego. In total, she has finished 55 marathons to date, despite her battles emphysema, asthma and chronic bronchitis.


Deena Kastor clocked 1:09:36 to finish third in Philadelphia and also set three more Masters world records at 15K (49:03), 10 miles (52:41) and 20K (1:05:52).


The inaugural Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon took place in San Diego, forever changing the sport of running.


In order to see Las Vegas in its neon glory, the race was moved to the night and the experience of running the Las Vegas #StripatNight was born.


We finished on the oceanfront at the first ever destination half marathon, Rock ‘n’ Roll Virginia Beach.


Almost 6,000 participants took to the start line for the inaugural Country Music Marathon. Now, closer to 35,000 participate in the Nashville race each April.

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CELEBRATE 20 YEARS RUNNING M A R AT H O N | 1 / 2 M A R AT H O N | R E L AY | 1 0 K | 5 K | 1 M I L E



SEP 24


MAR 18-19


SEP 30-1


MAR 19




MAR 26


OCT 7-8


APR 1-2


OCT 14-15


APR 1-2


OCT 14-15


APR 23


OCT 15


APR 29


OCT 29


MAY 27-28




JUN 3-4


NOV 4-5


JUN 18


NOV 11-12


JUL 15-16


DEC 2-3


AUG 12-13


201 8

SEP 2-3


JAN 13-14


SEP 16-17


MAR 3-4



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march 2017

2017 RUNNING GEAR GUIDE 8 Contributors

36 Men’s Apparel

46 Night Gear

• Jackets

11 Running Kits

• Shirts and tops

Our head-to-toe gear picks for

• Shorts and pants

pursuits—from race gear and

40 Women’s Apparel

stylish street running to cross-

• Jackets

training and trail-ready wear.

• Shirts and Tops • Shorts and pants

18 Road Running Shoes

56 Last Lap 48 Socks

51 Sunglasses

• Bras

52 Recovery

CM0317_FOB_TOC.indd 4

finding success in the industry.

On t h e cover: A sneak peek at a few of the items in our 2017 Running Gear Guide. Photo by Oliver Baker

B elow:

54 Nutrition

34 Hydration

Running Store of the Year, on what makes a great store, and

50 Music

26 Trail Running Shoes 32 Wearable Tech

Josh Levinson, owner of Charm City Run, 2016’s

49 Hats

a variety of running and active


Our head-to-toe running kits for style, racing, trail running and cross-training start on page 11. Photos by Nick Nacca Makeup by Savanna Allen

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With spacious cargo capacity* and standard All-Wheel Drive with intelligence (AWD-i). Prototype shown with options. Production model may vary. *Cargo and load capacity limited by weight and distribution. Š2016 Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.

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c o m pe t i t o r . c o m

E d i t o r i a l + De s i g n

Brian Metzler Adam Elder web editor Emily Polachek senior graphic designer Valerie Brugos staff photographers Oliver Baker, Ryan Bethke editor-in-chief

managing editor

senior contributing editors

Adam W. Chase, Alan Culpepper, Jason Devaney, Mark Eller, Mario Fraioli, Meb Keflezighi, Allison Pattillo, Sam Winebaum contributing writers

Workout of the Week Get weekly workouts that build endurance and increase speed at

Connect With Us

Jeff Banowetz, Jonathan Beverly, Lisa Jhung, Mackenzie L. Havey, Susan Lacke, Kelly O’Mara contributing photographers + artists

Matt Harbicht, Jeff Cohen, Sue Kwon, Nick Nacca, Victor Sailer, Aric Van Halen C i r c u l at i o n , m a r k e t i n g & P r o d u c t i o n production manager Meghan McElravy advertising production manager

Gia Hawkins

associate director, media marketing

Nicole Keilman director, public relations Dan Cruz

d i g i t a l s e r v i ce s director, web development

Nutrition Learn how to fuel properly and find healthy

Join the conversation

Scott Kirkowski director, creative services

Matthew McAlexander associate creative director

recipes at

Thomas Phan director, multimedia Steve Godwin

web developers Joseph Hernandez, Miguel A. Estrada, Rachel Blades interactive creative director

James A. Longhini junior web designers

Sean Marshall, Eddie Villanueva

Advertising chicago competitor.running


los angeles

Mark Cosby, Xochilt Llamas, Joy Lona, new york

Switch it up! Supplement your running with other exercises and activities at

Joe Wholley, Mark Baba,

Kristina Larson,

Follow us

Acc o u n t s e r v i ce s managers

Renee Kerouac, Kat Keivens


Nicole Carriker




a publication of

Trail Running New to trail running? We’ve got the latest

See what we share

news, tips and gear reviews for hitting the trails at

2017 Gear Guide Extras

Check out more gear reviews and behind the scenes action not included in this issue at



Josh Furlow Keith S. Kendrick senior vice president, global events Patrick Byerly senior vice president, finance Elizabeth O’Brien senior vice president, sales John Smith president

chief marketing officer

6420 Sequence Dr. San Diego CA 92121 For distribution inquiries: 858-768-6493 Digital Issue support: Distribution management: TGS Media Inc. •, 877-847-4621

No part of this issue may be reproduced in any form without the written permission of the publisher. Competitor is a registered trademark of Competitor Group Inc.

official magazine

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With available Bird’s Eye View Camera* and standard All-Wheel Drive with intelligence (AWD-i). Prototype shown with options. Production model may vary. Before towing, confirm your vehicle and trailer are compatible, hooked up and loaded properly and that you have any necessary additional equipment. Do not exceed any Weight Ratings and follow all instructions in your Owner’s Manual. The maximum you can tow depends on the total weight of any cargo, occupants and available equipment. *The Bird’s Eye View Camera does not provide a comprehensive view of the area surrounding the vehicle. You should also look around outside your vehicle and use your mirrors to confirm surrounding clearance. Cold weather will limit effectiveness and view may become cloudy. ©2016 Toyota Motor Sales, U.S.A., Inc.

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Contributors 8

Writers, Designers & Photographers

BEHIND THE SCENES The making of our third annual Gear Guide

Brian Metzler

Brian, Competitor’s editorin-chief, has tested more than 2,000 running shoes. He is the founding editor of Trail Runner magazine and co-author of “Run Like a Champion: An Olympian’s Approach for Every Runner” (2015, VeloPress). His next goal: qualifying for the Hardrock 100 trail race.

Adam Elder

Adam, Competitor’s managing editor, tested dozens of items this year in the wintery rain of San Diego and in the desert sun of Mexico. He thinks there’s nothing quite as motivating to get out of bed early as having a new piece of gear waiting to be worn, tested and written about.

Emily Polachek

Valerie Brugos

As web editor of Competitor. com, Emily is always on the lookout for the next viral story in running. Her selections of women’s top and bottoms, and the modern run kit therefore feature the most trending, tweet-worthy styles of the season. Next up: Finding the ideal race for a post-half-marathon PR selfie.

As senior graphic designer, Valerie led the planning, design and production of Competitor’s third annual Gear Guide. Her favorite parts were getting out of the office and being outdoors for the kits photoshoots in San Diego and seeing the final product come together.

Oliver Baker

Adam W. Chase

Mario Fraioli

Lisa Jhung

Oliver started at Competitor Group Inc. in 2006 as a graphic designer for Triathlete magazine. Today he uses those to produce imagery for CGI’s four publications and accompanying websites. For Competitor, he photographs gear and training pages every month, including every piece of gear you see in this issue.

Adam, a resident of Boulder, Colo., is the co-author of The Ultimate Guide to Trail Running. He jokes that he grew up running in the dark, primarily out of necessity, to escape the vermin and large reptiles with whom he cohabitated during his childhood. In any case, he was a natural pick to review night running gear.

Mario, the former senior editor at Competitor, now writes the morning shakeout, an email newsletter that covers running, media and other topics. He’s also the head coach at Ekiden, where he works with top marathoners and ultrarunners. Mario reviewed men’s jackets and coordinated the men’s racing kit this issue.

Lisa, a freelance writer based in Boulder, Colo., writes for Competitor, as well as Mountain Magazine, Men’s Health, Men’s Journal, Outside, Runner’s World and more, and is the author of Trailhead: The Dirt on All Things Trail Running. Lisa spearheaded and wrote the trail running shoe review in this issue.

Makeup artist Savanna Allen at our modern running kit shoot

Staff photographer Oliver Baker shooting night gear in our studio

Nick Nacca photographing our trail kit at Mission Trails Regional Park

Allison Pattillo

Nick Nacca

Sam Winebaum

Bras, women’s running jackets and hydration gear were all awesome to put to the test. But Allison finally appreciates the value of recovery and most enjoyed testing/torturing herself with the latest in recovery gear. If she’s sitting at her desk, you can bet she’s multitasking by rolling her feet out on a masochistic massage ball.

Nick, a San Diego-based commercial photographer, creates stills and video for Ford, Hot Spring Spas and SOAS Racing. Creatively blending, shaping and sculpting with light is at the heart of his vision. He photographed the four running kits in this issue—on the streets, by the bay, out on the trails and in his studio.

Sam has been running for 45 years with a long-ago marathon PR of 2:28. He now reviews wearable and music tech for Competitor, and is the editor and founder of, a site focused on in-depth run gear reviews. He splits his time, and miles, between coastal New Hampshire and Park City, Utah.


The staff reviewing pages on the editorial wall before publishing

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The Freedom. Featuring a full midsole of EVERUN Continuous Cushioning. Now available in new colors that will make your feet look as amazing as they feel. See more colors at

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2012 American marathoner Michael Wardian defended his title, marking his sixth win on the Rock ‘n’ Roll DC course.

On Saturday, March 11, 2017, the United Airlines Rock ‘n’ Roll Washington DC Marathon & 1/2 Marathon returns to take over the nation’s capital city for its sixth year. Race weekend kicks off with a twoday Health & Fitness Expo at the DC Armory on March 9-10 where participants pick up their race day necessities and enjoy a full house of exhibitors that includes leading retailers in the endurance sports industry. Early Saturday morning, marathon and half marathon runners toe the Start Line on iconic Constitution Avenue before setting off to rock the streets. Racing their way from start to finish, participants are treated to up close, monumental views of historic landmarks like the Lincoln Memorial, the Washington Monument and other national treasures. Participants are encouraged to leave the headphones at home and rock their run with live bands on course coupled with cheer squads to keep them motivated through a strong finish at RFK Stadium. 5K runners start at RFK Stadium and journey across the Anacostia River before returning at Capitol St. and Minnesota Ave. to enjoy the Finish Line Festival fun and festivities. The party doesn’t end once runners cross the Finish Line, either, because then it’s on to the Finish Line Festival at the Toyota Rock ‘n’ Roll Concert Series. Rock ‘n’ Roll DC participants will celebrate their victory with a live performance from Rock ‘n’ Roll Hall of Fame members The Family Stone at RFK Stadium. The Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series will be celebrating 20 Years Running at Rock ‘n’ Roll DC and throughout 2017. What started as one race in San Diego in 1998 has transpired into a global running movement unlike any other. Today there are 30 Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series events worldwide that bring more than 600,000 runners together each year. The Series has also shined a spotlight on various charity organizations through partnerships. Each race offers the opportunity for runners to add more meaning to their miles by running to fundraise for charity and to date, more than $320,000,000 has been raised by runners over the past 19 years. The United Airlines Rock ‘n’ Roll Washington DC Marathon & Marathon is a running festival not to be missed. Join the action and prepare to rock America’s capital city.


Ranked the #1 event in Washington DC by Destination DC, the Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series leads the pack in the capital city!

2015 Joe Harris completes his 100th Rock ‘n’ Roll Marathon Series race in DC, totaling 85 half marathons and 15 marathons under his belt.


MAR 11, 2017

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EFFORTLESSLY COOL Gear that performs but also transitions into everyday wear is the modern runner’s style—sleek and minimal aesthetics matched with efficient design. adidas’ Supernova TKO Jacket ($107) cinches at the waist for a fitted look, but achieves optimal comfort with smooth, water-repellent fabric, thumbhole sleeves, and mesh panels underneath the armpits and down the arms. Underneath, the Oiselle Smash Tank ($54) looks and feels like a basic racerback that can be worn with jeans. The asymmetrical hem and subtle Mio Mesh detailing along the shoulders and side seam give the tank a more casual look, but those same details also enhance ventilation and movability. A simple pair of black Athleta Be Free Knickers ($59) rounds out the outfit with subtle reflective accents and mesh ventilation pockets behind the knees. The Reebok ZPrint Her ($80) is especially made for a feminine foot silhouette, featuring a 3D foot-scanned bottom that creates dynamic cushion and stability. And because the modern runner leads an all-around active lifestyle, the Fitbit Flex 2 ($80) helps keep track of allday activities, workouts, sleep tracking and even smartphone notifications for a comprehensive data map of wellness.

For more gear reviews, go to | 2017 GEAR GUIDE

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The best trail gear is all about comfort and versatility. It combines the ruggedness of outdoor wear with run-specific features and a few items that can adapt to changing conditions. The Patagonia Duckbill Cap ($29) breathes great, keeps the sun out of your eyes and folds away easily, then pops back into its original shape. Roka’s Vendée sunglasses ($180) are lightweight and hold on tightly to your face, in addition to being built sturdily with carbon fiber reinforcement and spring hinges. There are more than a dozen different ways to wear a UV Buff ($25) around your neck, covering your face or on your head to keep you cool, warm or simply protected from the sun. The Fastdraw 350 from Ultimate Direction ($23) is an excellent everyday handheld bottle with a small storage pocket and 12-ounce capacity. With burly construction, topo maps on board plus route suggestions and all the typical running-watch bells and whistles, the Garmin fenix 5X ($700–$850) seems to have it all. The wool-poly blend in adidas outdoor’s Wool Tee ($69) wicks sweat and fights odor, and its raglan-cut sleeves feel great for hours on end. Inspired by beach-friendly design, Vuori’s Trail Short ($68) is built with lightweight, soft, four-way stretch fabric plus a Coolmax boxer-brief liner (with an iPhone pocket) for all-day comfort. Woven with Indestructawool technology, the Smartwool PhD Run Ultra Light Logo crew socks ($20) last and last, plus the crew length helps keep out trail debris. Hoka One One’s Challenger ATR 3 ($130) is an ultra-comfortable and agile trail shoe that feels speedy and offers decent protection from whatever you get into out on the trail.

2017 GEAR GUIDE | For more gear reviews, go to

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Some discounts, coverages, payment plans and features are not available in all states or all GEICO companies. Customer satisfaction based on an independent study conducted by Alan Newman Research, 2015. GEICO is the second-largest private passenger auto insurer in the United States according to the 2014 A.M. Best market share report, published April 2015. GEICO is a registered service mark of Government Employees Insurance Company, Washington, D.C. 20076; a Berkshire Hathaway Inc. subsidiary. © 2016 GEICO

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More than ever, today’s race apparel lets you look your best while trying to perform your best. The right blend of style and function can help you finish your next race with flair and speed. Keep sweat off your face and out of your eyes with Ciele’s GOCap Stamped Fjord hat ($38), made of lightweight, moisture-wicking fabrics with UPF +40 sun protection. District Vision’s Keiichi sunglasses ($219) are made for running: The rubber nose pad means they won’t bounce even at high speeds, while polarized lenses block annoying glare. Made of lightweight polyester, the New Balance Ice Singlet ($30) will keep you cool and wick sweat away as you pick up the pace. With the Garmin Forerunner 235 ($330) you can set custom pace and heart rate zones to keep your effort in check, set audio prompts if you need a kick in the butt, and automatically upload and analyze all of your data afterward on Garmin Connect. The North Face Better Than Naked Split Shorts 5” ($55) are quite simply the only race short you’ll ever need. They look fast, feel fast, and have plenty of pockets for whatever you need to take with you to the starting line. Add a little pop to your kit with Stance Speed Crew socks ($18). They breathe well, won’t move around and have enough cushioning so you don’t have to sacrifice comfort. Saucony’s Freedom ISO shoes ($160) are light enough to set a personal best in the 5K and cushioned enough for a marathon. They feature full-length responsive cushioning that provides a ton of energy return from the ground and a snug-fitting upper that moves with your foot at a variety of speeds.

2017 GEAR GUIDE | For more gear reviews, go to

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KITS [cross-training] 16


photo by Nick Nacca; makeup by savanna allen; styled by emily polachek

Yoga is the best form of cross-training for runners. It simultaneously works on strength, stability and flexibility—making it the ideal prerun warm-up or post-run cooldown. But in order to get your yogi on, you’ll need gear that moves with the flow. The form-fitting prAna Quinn Top ($60), a 2-in-1 tank top with a built-in bra, stays put when transitioning from one pose to the next. Pair that with the Lululemon Hot Like Agni Pant ($128) with tastefully placed mesh panels that wrap along the calf and quadriceps for extra ventilation and breathability. And every yogi needs a sturdy mat for staying grounded in his or her practice. The Manduka Welcome Mat and Blocks set ($68) provides ample cushioning and features an alignment stripe down the middle of the mat to help guide poses for beginner yogis. Plus, lightweight foam blocks are included for additional support during hard-toreach stretches.

2017 Gear Guide | For more gear reviews, go to

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I finished last among the best. That’s when I knew … I wasn’t done yet.

There’s no free pass to the front of the pack. Hear Alexi’s story of resilience in the face of a humbling defeat and discover how the GPS running watch with advanced metrics can help you beat yesterday.

Alexi Pappas, Garmin-sponsored elite runner, filmmaker, 4:44.56 miler

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© 2016 Garmin Ltd. or its subsidiaries

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With all of the changes in running shoes in the past few years, it’s hard to imagine how shoe designers will keep improving models and coming up with new ones year after year. But new materials, designs and construction techniques have kept innovation flowing and that means lighter, more flexible, more stable, better-fitting, more comfortable and ultimately faster models of shoes for you. The prescriptive limitations of neutral, stability and motion control categories are mostly gone; instead, runners can choose how they much they want to feel the ground or if they want to float over it. The 19 shoes highlighted in this overview offer a wide range of options for every type of runner. Check them out here and head to your local running store to try them on and see which ones work best for you. Note: Shoe weights are listed for men’s size 9.0 and women’s size 7.0.

Casey Blaine, David Benjes, Denise Benjes, Jim Conaghan, Alan Culpepper, Adam Elder, Mark Eller, Allison Glass, Adam Heaney, Gretchen Hein, Steve Hughes, Stephanie Jackman, Terri Kazajian, Amanda McCracken, Brian Metzler and Caitlyn Pilkington



2017 GEAR GUIDE | For more gear reviews, go to

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Nike LunarEpic Low Flyknit 2, $160 Highlight: A soft-riding shoe that fits like a sock and rides like a dream Nike made a huge splash with the first version of the LunarEpic when it came out last year—most notably because the original version had a high-top cut with a stretchy, above-the-ankle collar that fit like a sock. After much fanfare for the high-top, Nike quietly released a low-cut version, but the fit wasn’t nearly as snug and secure, partially because it lacked connectivity and it had a flimsy, free-flowing tongue. Fast forward to this spring and the second edition of the low-cut model has been retrofitted with a bootie construction and integrated tongue that snugly wrap the foot and secure it to the bottom part of the shoe (with the Flywire support system over the saddle). The well-cushioned and flexible chassis under the foot has been retained—with the same unique cushioning pods and laser-cut segments—but the more connective fit on the top half of the shoe makes the smooth and very soft ride feel more all-encompassing and energetic. Our testers raved about the fit of this shoe—which seemed to fit all shapes and sizes of feet just right without feeling too snug—and the way that fit aided the proprioceptive feel for the ground. With the amazing fit—plus how light, cushioned and energetic it is—the LunarEpic Flyknit 2 is versatile enough to run short or long, slow or fast. Really, there was nothing we didn’t like about it, which is why it earned our Editor’s Choice award. Weights: 8.8 oz. (men), 7.3 oz. (women) Heel-to-Toe Offset: 10mm; 28mm (heel), 18mm (forefoot) For more gear reviews, go to | 2017 GEAR GUIDE

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361° Sensation 2, $120

Altra Instinct 4*, $120

Adidas Supernova, $130

Highlight: A softly cushioned everyday trainer that’s surprisingly fast and energetic

Highlight: A zero-drop trainer/racer with ample cushioning and an easy-flexing demeanor

Highlight: One of the cushiest, softest and springiest high-mileage trainers ever made

Although this brand is relatively new to the U.S., it’s one of the world’s largest athletic shoe manufacturers—and an official apparel supplier to the Rio Olympics. After two seasons in the U.S., it’s starting to turn heads here with its running shoes. The updated Sensation 2 is chock full of soft, energetic cushioning that comes from its midsole’s thick layer of encapsulated foam, and also has a twinge of medial support. For an everyday workhorse trainer, it provides an energetic ride that will put a spring in your step. Our wear-test team liked it best for 10K to marathon distances, but appreciated its versatility for faster efforts like tempo runs and fartlek workouts.

Altra has never let up from its zero-drop mantra and foot-shaped designs—all of its shoes are built on a level platform and have roomier toe boxes that allow toes to splay as the foot flexes—but it has continued to develop innovative shoes. The lightweight Instinct’s neutral performance has continued to evolve with a new engineered mesh upper, an updated two-layer foam midsole with a decoupled heel that smooths the transition phase after footstrike. and a revised interior chassis for an improved fit that accommodates both wider and narrow feet. It’s an ideal tool for running or racing all distances from 5K to the half marathon. (* = The women’s version is called the Intuition 4.)

Adidas has revamped the design and shortened the name of the reliable high-mileage trainer formerly known as the Supernova Glide. More importantly, it has added 20 percent more of its revolutionary Boost foam to this version, creating an enormously springy and responsive ride. While the interior remains as plush and comfortable as ever, the new, segmented rubber outsole adds to the soft, smooth and resilient ride by improving its flexibility and lightening its load without sacrificing traction. This shoe definitely has an energetic, bouncy sensation to it, something our wear-testers appreciated as much or more in the final miles of a run than they did when just starting out.

Weights: 11.4 oz. (men), 9.0 oz. (women) Heel-to-Toe Offset: 9mm; 27mm (heel), 18mm (forefoot)

Weights: 9.4 oz. (men), 7.6 oz. (women) Heel-to-Toe Offset: 0mm; 19mm (heel), 19mm (forefoot)

Weights: 10.7 oz. (men), 9.2 oz. (women) Heel-to-Toe Offset: 10mm; 33mm (heel), 23mm (forefoot)

2017 GEAR GUIDE | For more gear reviews, go to

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ASICS Noosa FF, $140

Brooks Launch 4, $100

Brooks Ravenna 8, $120

Highlight: A greatly updated shoe most at home on race courses and tempo runs

Highlight: A reliable high-mileage trainer with a bit of pop for faster workouts

Highlight: A high-mileage stability shoe with a little more spring in its step

This performance trainer/racer has undergone a massive overhaul. ASICS not only gave a new look to the 12th edition—gone are the wild, multicolored graphics for more of a two-tone motif—the company also upgraded it with the lightweight and responsive Flyte Foam midsole and gave it a modern, engineered mesh upper that adds to the support at the arch. The result is a more energetic and versatile performance trainer that can do just about anything you ask of it. It has triathlon-specific features (including heel and tongue grips for easy on/off access and a wet-grip outsole) but our wear-testers loved it for fast workouts, tempo runs and races from 5K to half marathon.

Built with plenty of cushioning and durability to be a go-to daily trainer for most neutral runners, the Launch 4 has evolved with a bit more responsiveness to give it versatility (think tempo runs, progression runs, etc.) and put more energy into your long runs and recovery days. The outsole of the latest incarnation has more flex grooves and is made with more blown rubber for softer, quieter foot strikes. It’s also slightly lighter, has some aesthetic changes and a new subtly reinforced breathable upper made of air mesh fabric. Our wear-testers liked this shoe best for long runs, fartlek runs and tempo runs, and enjoyed the injection of a bit more pop into this update.

The revamped version of this moderately supportive and well-cushioned trainer is a bit more energetic than previous versions, thanks to a few small but significant updates. The most prominent change is the blown rubber outsole that creates a softer, smoother and slightly springier ride. A new airy mesh upper makes this year’s version more breathable, but it also helps snug down the foot for a more athletic, performance-oriented fit. For those who want modest support from a shoe, this is a great high-mileage trainer that can excel on tempo runs as well as long, slow efforts. This has become a similar shoe to the Brooks Launch 4, only more stable and a tad firmer.

Weights: 8.8 oz. (men), 7.2 oz. (women) Heel-to-Toe Offset: 10mm; 28mm (heel), 18mm (forefoot)

Weights: 9.0 oz. (men), 7.8 oz. (women) Heel-to-Toe Offset: 10mm; 32mm (heel), 22mm (forefoot)

Weights: 10.6 oz. (men), 9.2 oz. (women) Heel-to-Toe Offset: 10mm; 32mm (heel), 22mm (forefoot)

For more gear reviews, go to | 2017 GEAR GUIDE

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Mizuno Wave Rider 20, $120

Hoka One One Bondi 5, $150

Mizuno Wave Horizon, $160

Highlight: A maximally cushioned trainer that doesn’t feel bulky or heavy

Highlight: A modern stability shoe that blends comfort, support and energy return

Highlight: This revised legacy shoe is a comfortable, do-everything high-mileage trainer

The latest version of Hoka’s original super-cushioned road running shoe is still thick but fairly light (for its size), while retaining the rocker profile that creates a rolling sensation. A slightly revised forefoot shape and a new mesh upper make the Bondi 5 more accommodating to a wider range of foot shapes and more breathable than previous editions. The midsole foam configuration has also been slightly revised for more energy return and improved long-wearing durability. Although our wear-testers were unanimous in reporting this is not a quick shoe, they agreed that its soft, smooth and resilient ride is perfect for recovery runs or survival during the final miles of marathon training.

A brand-new shoe from Mizuno, the Horizon has been geared to offer a supportive ride with a soft, cushioned sensation in every stride. The secret sauce that allows the Horizon to serve up a very stable but noticeably cushy ride is the newfangled plastic Wave plate sandwiched between a soft lower layer of cushioning and a more responsive top layer of foam. What helps this shoe from feeling overbuilt is its moderately easy flex pattern, the light, airy feeling of the upper and the twinge of energetic return in the forefoot. Our wear-testers loved the support, the comfortable interior and smooth heeltoe transitions, even if it was the heaviest and least agile shoe among our test batch in this review.

For its 20th edition, Mizuno completely revamped this legendary shoe. It’s versatile, light, cushioned and protective enough for long runs, responsive enough for faster workouts like tempo runs and longer intervals and, for some, is agile enough to be the race-day choice for racing from 10K to the marathon. While it still contains Mizuno’s midsole Wave plate, gone is the firm, performance-oriented feeling and in its place is a softer, cushier and more resilient ride. The new three-part mesh upper and plush interior create a comfortable, secure fit for a wide range of foot sizes. If this is the only shoe in your quiver, it would definitely serve you well in all regards.

Weights: 10.0 oz. (men), 9.0 oz. (women) Heel-to-Toe Offset: 4mm; 38mm (heel), 34mm (forefoot)

Weights: 11.6 oz. (men), 9.2 oz. (women) Heel-to-Toe Offset: 12mm; 32mm (heel), 20mm (forefoot)

Weights: 10.4 oz. (men), 8.3 oz. (women) Heel-to-Toe Offset: 12mm; 30mm (heel), 18mm (forefoot)

2017 GEAR GUIDE | For more gear reviews, go to

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New Balance 1080 v7, $140

Newton Gravity 6, $175

On Running Cloudflow, $140

Highlight: Small updates make this maximally cushioned cruiser even better

Highlight: This high-mileage trainer has been infused with an energetic layer of new foam

Highlight: A lightweight, low-to-the-ground performance trainer with a buttery smooth ride

The sixth version of this shoe that came out last year was a huge hit after a complete reincarnation from the previous edition. This year’s update raises the bar a little bit more with slightly more cushioning in the midsole, an improved upper and more flex grooves in the outsole. It was designed from additional data of wear-test patterns, which means more runners should find this version to have a smoother, more comfortable ride. Our wear-testers generally liked this shoe a lot (especially the interior bootie), but most thought it was best for long runs and recovery runs, and lacked high-cadence pep. The only real drawback to this shoe was its length. (We’d suggest going up a half-size.)

While it’s hard to believe Newton is already celebrating its 10-year anniversary, the latest version of the hallmark Gravity trainer reinvigorates the innovative vibe around the brand. Most prominently, a new layer of softer foam adds to the already energetic and lively ride from Newton’s five-lug propulsion system in the forefoot, while a new flexible mesh tongue enhances comfort. Our wear-testers liked this shoe for medium to long runs and faster workouts like progression runs and tempo runs. Given the slightly wider shape and softer tongue, our testers agreed that adjusting to running in Newton shoes is a thing of the past. “I just put these on and started training,” one of our wear-testers said.

Although the new Cloudflow is low to the ground and very light, it has ample amounts of cushioning from its 18 uniquely shaped “Cloud” cushioning pods under each shoe. The pods are different sizes, shapes and densities, and each contributes to a smooth, natural ride with soft landings and energetic toe-offs. The upper’s woven mesh material accommodates to the slight nuances of foot shapes, especially in the forefoot, and also provides enough mid-foot support from thin but strong saddle-reinforcement straps. It’s best for shorter distance workouts and races, from track intervals to 10K but it’s surprisingly adept at tackling long runs too.

Weights: 10.6 oz. (men), 8.2 oz. (women) Heel-to-Toe Offset: 8mm; 28mm (heel), 20mm (forefoot)

Weights: 9.1 oz. (men’s), 7.9 oz. (women) Heel-to-Toe Offset: 3mm; 25mm (heel), 22mm (forefoot)

Weights: 8.1 oz. (men), 6.9 oz. (women) Heel-to-Toe Offset: 6mm; 22mm (heel), 16mm (forefoot)

For more gear reviews, go to | 2017 GEAR GUIDE

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Salomon Sonic Pro 2, $140

Saucony Kinvara 8, $110

Highlight: A fast, flexible road performer from a trail running heritage brand

Highlight: Light, fast and cushioned, this update can do everything

Skechers Performance GoMeb Razor, $120

Salomon is new to the road running scene—this is only its second year—but it’s been able to draw on its trail running footwear expertise and also listen to retailers and runners to improve its marquee model just a year out of the gate. This edition of the performance trainer/racer is lighter, offers a more comprehensive fit and produces a more fluid and flexible ride. While subtle changes were made to the upper and outsole, the midsole has been reworked to include two high-rebound foams for a more energetic sensation in every stride. Salomon also ditched its one-pull lacing system (popular on its trail shoes) for standard laces. Our testers loved the snug fit and the light, agile feeling of this shoe.

The popular Kinvara continues to evolve for the better with a few more tweaks that have given it more versatility and energy return. The newest version serves up an even more responsive ride, thanks to a new full-length layer of Saucony’s resilient Everun foam. It also has a new mesh upper with laser-cut perforations that offer a very breathable (and quick-drying) featherweight sensation and thin film overlays for support and a snug fit. It retains the light, agile feel and the low heel-toe drop that have been staples of its design since it debuted. Our wear-testers love the light and lively ride of this version and thought it was best as a speed-oriented training shoe and for short to moderate runs.

The all-new Razor is a lightweight neutral cushioned shoe engineered to run fast or long. It’s built on a single-density midsole that feels light and snappy at faster paces. It also features a new flat-knit upper that’s not only supremely breathable but also surprisingly supportive. These along with a molded internal heel counter for a hint of support make the Razor comfortable for longer training runs up to about 15–18 miles, but our wear-testers loved it best for shorter stuff like tempo runs, fartleks, track intervals, mile repeats or 5K/10K racing.) The biggest drawback was that the toe box felt a tad long (although not long enough to size down).

Weights: 8.4 oz. (men), 7.2 oz. (women) Heel-to-Toe Offset: 8mm; 24mm (heel), 16mm (forefoot)

Weights: 7.9 oz. (men), 6.8 oz. (women) Heel-to-Toe Offset: 4mm; 23mm (heel), 19mm (forefoot)

Weights: 7.7 oz. (men), 6.1 oz. (women) Heel-to-Toe Offset: 4mm; 18mm (heel), 14mm (forefoot)

Highlight: The training shoe of Meb Keflezighi is cushy, fast and responsive

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Skechers Performance GoRun 5, $100

Topo ST-2, $90

Highlight: A performance-oriented trainer with a soft and creamy smooth ride

Highlight: A super-light zero-drop minimalist speedster made for fast workouts or short races

Under Armour SpeedForm Gemini 3, $130

This shoe was the original model from Skechers Performance back in 2011 and its evolution is a good mark of the brand’s progress running shoes. The latest version is a complete retooling, and it’s the best yet. Although it remains soft and flexible, it’s not nearly as mushy as it was all those years ago. Instead, this refined version has a bit more structure and a slightly firmer midsole foam underfoot and equates to a much more fluid and responsive ride—especially compared to some of the earlier editions. The soft, circular knit one-piece upper cinches the foot down with a sock-like fit (with just a bit of wiggle room in the toe box), creating a more integrated, performance-oriented feeling.

The ST-2 is a low-to-the-ground minimalist model, but it has just enough cushioning so it doesn’t have a “barely there” feel. It has a modest amount of midsole foam that allows for great foot-to-ground proprioception while providing just enough cushioning and protection for longer runs. (The most nimble runners with good lower leg strength on our test team ran 16-milers during our wear-test sessions, but most ran 10K and shorter.) What makes this shoe special is how easily it flexes, and a mildly reinforced stretch mesh upper that conforms to any foot shape. It’s probably not an everyday trainer for most runners, but it’s one of the better modern minimalist shoes we’ve tested in years.

The new Gemini 3 proves Under Armour is coming on strong in running. This lightweight performance trainer is built on an energetic midsole chassis that offers great long-haul comfort, durability and protection with amazing responsiveness for tempo-paced runs and races. It’s a semi-firm ride that inspires speed and quick-turnover running the moment you slip them on. The third edition has been vastly improved with a more supportive upper, improved midfoot fit and a half-ounce less weight. Our wear-testers praised the versatility of this shoe as being the best of the bunch for being able to handle both long runs and faster workouts.

Weights: 7.5 oz. (men), 6.0 oz. (women) Heel-to-Toe Offset: 4mm; 18mm (heel), 14mm (forefoot)

Weights: 6.7 oz. (men), 5.6 oz. (women) Heel-to-Toe Offset: 0mm; 16mm (heel), 16mm (forefoot)

Weights: 9.8 oz. (men), 8.2 oz. (women) Heel-to-Toe Offset: 8mm; 27mm (heel), 19mm (forefoot)

Highlight: A versatile shoe with enough cushion for long runs and enough pep for workouts.

For more gear reviews, go to | 2017 GEAR GUIDE

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From burly and protective to flexible and fast, this season’s trail shoes run the gamut. The key is finding a shoe that works on the type of off-road surfaces you run on most often. We tested the latest trail footwear on all types of terrain and home in on the best kicks for whatever type of runner you are—and whatever type of trails you run—to help you find the perfect mate. Note: Shoe weights are listed for men’s size 9.0 and women’s size 7.0.

Amy Allison, Casey Blaine, David Benjes, Denise Benjes, Jim Conaghan, Wendy Drake, Mark Eller, Jennifer Fawcett, Allison Glass, Adam Heaney, Gretchen Hein, Steve Hughes, Stephanie Jackman, Terri Kazajian, Todd Kube, Jorge Rufat-Latre, Brian Metzler, Chris Smith, Jason Smith and Michelle Stoll



2017 GEAR GUIDE | For more gear reviews, go to

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Altra Superior 3.0, $110 Highlight: A natural-riding, zerodrop shoe trail shoe with loads of traction Altra knew it was on to something when it debuted this shoe a few years ago, but, as with most trail shoes, it took a few years to work out some of the design kinks. A new, much more durable upper material reinforced with subtle but strong thermoplastic urethane adds structure and stability, while a small lateral flare on the outsole adds a twinge of stability. Other trail-specific features include an updated, aggressively lugged outsole, a removable rock plate and the ability to add an optional gaiter. Our wear-testers raved about the smart-fitting, foot-shaped toe box, sufficient cushioning, reliable traction and burly protection this shoe offers, plus the versatility of being able to run dirt paths, gravel roads or rugged, rocky trails. It’s moderately light, sufficiently durable and eminently runnable. With all that this shoe offers, we believe it’s one of the best trail running shoes ever made. Weights: 9.2 ounces (men), 8.0 ounces (women) Heel-to-Toe Offset: 0mm; 21mm (heel), 21mm (forefoot)

For more gear reviews, go to | 2017 GEAR GUIDE

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Brooks Caldera, $140

Hoka One One Challenger ATR 3, $130

Inov-8 Roclite 305, $130

Highlight: Supremely cushioned and plush, with great low-profile grip

Highlight: A maximally cushioned trail shoe with reliable traction and long-haul comfort

Highlight: Exceptional feel for the trail and traction on all types of terrain

Brooks continues to add to its trail running line, this time unveiling the thickly cushioned and very responsive Caldera. The shoe is high off the ground, but not at all unstable, thanks to the ability of the dual-density foam midsole package to adapt and absorb impacts. There is no need for a rock plate in the midsole, as the Caldera is akin to a monster truck rambling over rugged terrain. With a plush interior, the fit is naturally snug and comfortable. Our wear-testers praised the low-profile lugs, which adhere to most wet and dry obstacles and do a good job shedding mud. But most of our testers were disappointed with the relatively stiff flex pattern.

An amazingly versatile performer, this award-winning trail shoe is cushioned enough for ultra-distance trail runs, but it’s light and nimble enough for fast running over shorter distances too. The third edition has been tweaked ever so slightly—a new upper, a roomier toe box and a better array of outsole lugs make this version the best yet. It still features Hoka’s rocker profile that crates a smooth-rolling ride no matter where the foot strikes the ground. Our wear-testers loved the soft (but not sloppy) sensation served up by the thick, moderately foam midsole and the improved fit of this updated model.

This well-cushioned and protective trail runner offers the best traction of any shoe in this review. The shoe offers reliable purchase on wet and dry terrain alike, but the array of relatively large outsole lugs are well-spaced so they don’t carry sticky mud. Additional protection comes from the flexible rock plate, sturdy toe bumper and reinforced breathable upper. Despite all of that protection, we loved the cushy ride on all types of milder terrain, including gravel roads and smooth dirt paths. The fit is comfortable and snug, although several of our wear-testers remarked that the forefoot fit a bit snug and they might prefer going up a half-size.

Weights: 9.9 oz. (men), 9.0 oz. (women) Heel-to-Toe Offset: 4mm; 28mm (heel), 24mm (forefoot)

Weights: 9.5 oz. (men), 7.9 oz. (women) Heel-to-Toe Offset: 5mm; 29mm (heel), 24mm (forefoot)

Weights: 10.6 oz. (men), 8.5 oz. (women) Heel-to-Toe Offset: 8mm; 24mm (heel), 16mm (forefoot)

2017 GEAR GUIDE | For more gear reviews, go to

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Mizuno Wave Hyate 3, $120 Highlight: A light, agile and technical, built for speed and fast cornering over short distances

New Balance Hierro v2, $125

New Balance Vazee Summit v2, $100

Highlight: A smooth-riding, well-cushioned shoe with long-wearing comfort

Highlight: A lightweight, low-to-the-ground trail runner with exceptional traction

When you’re running fast on trails, you need sufficient cushioning, reliable traction and subtle protection features to keep your feet out of harm’s way. The Hyate 3 has all of those features in spades, highlighted by the extra-grippy Michelin rubber outsole. It’s a low-slung, easy-flexing shoe that serves up such a natural, uninhibited ride that our wear-testers didn’t notice the thin, flexible rock plate in the forefoot. This shoe inspires speed, especially on smooth dirt paths and moderately technical singletrack trails, but it’s versatile and protective enough to run on extremely gnarly terrain too. We loved the traction and light, nimble feel: It allows for aggressive, attack-style trail running.

This maximally cushioned trail runner serves up the plush comfort and easy-riding flow more akin to a road running shoe. The thick Fresh Foam midsole serves up a resilient ride while keeping minor trail obstacles at bay without the need for a rock plate. While our wear-testers felt it was best for smooth to moderately technical trails, it can also handle concrete bike paths and gravel roads in a pinch. Although its sticky rubber outsole adheres to just about everything, it doesn’t have the trail-specific protection (think rock plates and reinforced toe boxes) for super-gnarly terrain. But we loved this shoe for comfortable cruising through the woods.

How do you improve a trail shoe that was so well-received when it debuted last year? New Balance kept the outsole and thin midsole foam chassis of this shoe identical to last year’s model—including the rock plate sandwiched in the middle—but revised the upper and added a interior bootie system to help create a snug, sock-like fit. Those subtle changes give this shoe a more synergistic connectivity that adds to the performance feel. Our wear-testers liked this shoe a lot, but most admitted that it required a runner to possess a good amount of lower leg and foot strength and agility to get the most out of it.

Weights: 8.8 oz. (men), 7.6 oz. (women) Heel-to-Toe Offset: 9mm; 25.5 mm (heel), 16.5mm (forefoot)

Weights: 10.8 oz. (men) 8.7 oz. (women) Heel-to-Toe Offset: 4mm; 26mm (heel), 22mm (forefoot)

Weights: 8.8 oz. (men), 7.6 oz. (women) Heel-to-Toe Offset: 10mm; 27mm (heel), 17mm (forefoot)

For more gear reviews, go to | 2017 GEAR GUIDE

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Saucony Peregrine 7, $120

Scarpa Spin, $130

Scott Supertrac RC, $150

Highlight: An aggressively lugged shoe for sloppy, wet terrain

Highlight: A modern minimalist trail runner with exceptional traction that demands agility

Highlight: A minimalist model with superior traction and ground connection

If you run on slippery, sloppy trails a lot, then this shoe is for you. The amazing array of outsole lugs give it the most reliable traction on wet terrain or loose dirt of any shoe we tested. It has a moderate amount of cushioning, enough to help dull the feel for the ground and keep sharp, pointy obstacles and trail debris at bay. Our wear-testers liked running over muddy trails, wet grass and messy, sloppy terrain in this shoe. The only drawbacks to this shoe are that it’s a bit narrow in the toe box, which limits toe splay on the lateral side, and it doesn’t offer enough foot protection to charge super gnarly, technical trails.

The Spin is proof that minimalism isn’t dead out on the trails. This low-to-the-ground model serves up an uninhibited ride, but the truth is that it’s not very plush or accommodating. The modest layer of semi-firm cushioning and embedded forefoot rock plate combine to serve up a responsive and protective ride. The outsole is made from the Vibram Genetic Lite rubber compound, giving it superb traction on rock, roots and other obstacles encountered on dry trails and a decent amount of grip on wet surfaces too. Our wear-test team gave this modest praise, mostly because of the stark, minimalist sensation it evoked is meant for a very specific type of trail runner.

Scott has made some of the best trail running shoes in recent years, but as a small brand it hasn’t gotten the distribution or fanfare of some of its bigger counterparts. We liked the Supertrac RC—a lightweight, low-to-the-ground speedster with superior traction and feel for the ground—and think it’s worthy of recognition as one of the best new shoes this spring. The sturdy upper materials keep sidewall abrasions at bay, although a few of our wear-testers said they would have liked a rock plate underfoot and a sturdier toe bumper. But the point of this energetic, semi-firm cruiser is that it’s meant to run fast and it demands a nimble type of running. The only other detractor is that it fits a bit narrow.

Weights: 9.4 oz. (men), 8.4 oz. (women) Heel-to-Toe Offset: 4mm; 21.5mm (heel), 17.5mm (forefoot)

Weights: 8.9 oz. (men), 7.5 oz. (women) Heel-to-Toe Offset: 4mm; 18mm (heel), 14mm (forefoot)

Weights: 9.5 oz. (men); 7.8 oz. (women) Heel-to-Toe Offset: 5mm; 22mm (heel), 17mm (forefoot)

2017 GEAR GUIDE | For more gear reviews, go to

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The North Face Endurus TR, $130

Topo Terraventure, $110

Vasque Constant Velocity, $120

Highlight: Durable and surprisingly smooth for the most rugged routes

Highlight: A sturdy trail runner built with modern minimalist stylings

Highlight: A well-cushioned do-everything shoe geared for all types of trails

Out of all the trail shoes we tested, this is the most robust and best one for tackling more technical trails. But it also offers enough soft cushioning and a plush interior to keep it from being too burly or overbearing. Built on a wide, stable platform, it serves up confidence-instilling traction from a low-profile sticky rubber Vibram outsole that sticks to off-camber terrain yet rides pretty smoothly on flat, feature-less terrain too. (We also found it to be one of the most accommodating shoes for high-volume feet that we tested.) Although it’s not a shoe that will inspire speed or amazing agility, it’s a great choice if you run a rugged terrain most of the time.

This durable, well-balanced all-terrain shoe has loads of cushioning, sticky rubber traction and an accommodating fit in the forefoot. Although it has a thickly cushioned midsole, it was built with a low heel-toe offset to deliver a more natural and fluid ride. Although it has the appearance of a light hiking shoe, looks can be deceiving. It’s one of the best shoes we reviewed for being able to tackle all types of terrain, from smooth dirt paths to rugged rocky routes and everything in between. We appreciated the protection of the reinforced upper on rougher routes, but we were equally pleased with the smooth ride and the lightweight feel on milder terrain.

This new model is a versatile jack-of-all-trails, offering a good mix of comfort, protection and traction for mild, moderate and technical terrain. It’s smooth riding and well-cushioned in the heel, but the forefoot tapers down closer to the ground, allowing for superior proprioceptive feel for the trail. It’s comfy like a well-proportioned road shoe with wiggle room in the toe box, but durable and protective too. (A rock plate, abrasion-resistant upper and reinforced toe bumper offer sufficient protection against rocks, roots and other trail debris.) Based on the overwhelmingly positive wear-tester feedback, this was one of the pleasant surprises of our test.

Weights: 11.1 oz. (men), 9.0 oz. (women) Heel-to-Toe Offset: 6mm; 20mm (heel), 14mm (forefoot)

Weights: 9.9oz. (men) 8.4 oz. (women) Heel-to-Toe Offset: 3mm; 21mm (heel), 18mm (forefoot)

Weights: 11.0 oz. (men), 8.7 oz. (women) Heel-to-Toe Offset: 8mm; 24mm (heel), 16mm (forefoot)

For more gear reviews, go to | 2017 GEAR GUIDE

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accessories [wearable tech] 32

Science of Speed B y Sa m W i n e b au m

2017 brings new run tech that goes well beyond the GPS watch and heart rate monitor. New tech frees you from carrying your phone, while sophisticated heart rate and sleep monitoring and analyzing give new insights into effort and recovery. Maps and directions now come to the wrist, and the latest sunglasses keep our eyes on the road, with stats an easy voice command away.



3 4

1. Whoop Strap, $500

2. MIO Slice, $129

4. New Balance RunIQ, $300

Highlight: Comprehensive sleep, activity and recovery monitoring

Highlight: Activity tracker and HR band with run-specific twists

Highlight: Android Wear GPS heart rate watch

Originally launched for elite athletes, this super light, incredibly comfortable band has no screen, just motion sensors and a very sensitive HR sensor monitoring your heart rate 24/7, at far faster rates than conventional bands. It measures sleep quality, recovery status at wake up, and strain during the day. At night it shows how much sleep you will need to adequately or just barely recover.

This has a steps tracker, sleep and heart rate monitoring band with phone notifications as well. It takes activity-tracking metrics such as steps and resting heart rate to a potentially more useful level for everyday athletes. MIO’s Personal Activity Intelligence Score turns your weekly heart rate intensity data into a rating of the cardiac intensity of all those workouts.

3. RunScribe Pro, $199 Highlight: Detailed 3D view of run mechanics RunScribe is made up of two tiny pods that clip to your shoes collecting deep analytical biomechanics data. There’s metrics for run efficiency, shock, motion and left-right symmetry. The data is easily sliced, diced and compared. It can possibly help inform shoe choices and potential injury prevention and recovery. There is no live feedback on the run.

New Balance partnered with Intel and Strava for this GPS/ HR watch with a sharp color touch screen, well-thoughtout run stats and a Google Play music player. Strava also powers the watch’s run app and stats storage. The companion PaceIQ wireless earbuds ($110) by Jabra call up real time run stats from the watch and its on-board music.

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accessories [wearable tech] 33





5. Polar M600, $330 Highlight: Android Wear GPS and HR smart watch The M600 is a full-featured training, activity, sleep tracking and everyday smart watch. It has a high level of sport-specific customizability, unusual for Android Wear or Apple watch run apps to date. It includes access to Polar’s excellent Polar Flow and Smart Coaching via the app and website. Predictably, with Polar being the original fitness heart rate monitoring company, HR reading is very accurate.

6. Scosche Rhythm+, $80

7. Oakley Radar Pace, $449

8. Garmin Fenix 5X, $700

Highlight: Simple, effective heart rate monitor armband

Highlight: Music, on-command voice-activated stats—and yes, eye protection

Highlight: GPS/HR plus topo maps all on the wrist

The Rhythm+ uses a soft neoprene armband and attaches on your forearm or bicep. It is waterproof and connects to hundreds of apps, devices and fitness watches. It has a super-simple one button operation and is a great choice if you don’t have an HR GPS watch, don’t like chest straps, or want to add HR monitoring to a phone app.

The classic Radar sunglasses integrate superb wireless earbuds and a mic array for music and calls, with a voice-activated system and app for stats/coaching. It’s an eyes-on-the-road solution whose features include ascent, average metrics, pace, time, distance, heart rate, stride rate, stride length, power and more. Battery life is 3.5 hours.

The 5X is big in all respects: capabilities, weight, size and price. This do-everything mountain watch has full-color topo and base maps of the U.S. with data overlays, turn guidance cues, points of interest along the way, and route suggestions. Battery life is 16 hours in workout mode and two weeks in everyday use.

For more gear reviews, go to | 2017 Gear Guide

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accessories [hydration] 34

Drinking Buddies By Allis on Pat t illo

Hydrating on the run comes down to what’s most comfortable for you and how much liquid and gear you need to carry. From vests and packs to belts and handhelds, there’s a style to suit every run and runner.

1. Nathan Vapor Howe, $150 Highlight: Feels more like a shirt than a pack Ultrarunner Stephanie Howe Violett helped design the latest vest for Nathan. Body-mapped and sized to fit, this 12-liter carry capacity pack feels more like a shirt than a backpack. With two moveable elastic straps, each with three points of contact, it has a jostlefree fit, even when loaded. It comes with a 60-ounce hydration bladder.


2. Osprey Duro, $40 Highlight: Phone storage in a no-bounce belt This sturdy hydration belt has an adjustable waist strap, plus some stretch for a no-bounce fit. It comes with one contoured, 19-ounce bottle, a zip pocket and a seethrough pocket with touch screen access to keep your phone handy and safe from sweat.


3. Hydrapak Bottle Bright, $8 for 12 tablets Highlight: Clean containers for you and someone else Forgetting to clean your favorite bottle or hydration bladder after a long run happens. So does icky black slime. One of these chlorine-free, environmentally friendly tablets (two if it’s really gross) and some hot water are all you need to give your hydration system new life. With every purchase, Hydrapak gives Bottle Bright to people in developing nations who need clean water containers.


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accessories [hydration] 35


4. CamelBak Ultra Handheld Chill, $45 Highlight: Handheld soft insulation This easy-to-hold, 17-ounce, insulated soft flask is the first on the market in a handheld. Four elastic carrying straps means it’s comfortably secure no matter how you like to hold it. A zippered pocket makes it easy to carry a phone, and there’s a separate mesh pocket for snacks.


5. Fuel Belt Fuel Pack Handheld, $15 Highlight: Streamlined design for minimalist runners Besides carrying 10 ounces of refreshment in a slim, ergonomically designed bottle, this streamlined handheld also has a 3-in-1 pocket with water-resistant storage and reflective accents. Thanks to the compact size, you barely notice you have it. It’s also easy to carry, because it’s ergonomically designed to rest in your palm.


6. Katadyn BeFree, $40 Highlight: Water whenever, wherever Taking this 20-ounce, soft flask water filtration system with you means that as long as you can find a water source, you won’t go thirsty. It’s ridiculously easy to use—fill the bottle, screw on the filter, squeeze and drink. That’s it. Drinking through the filter nozzle feels natural, with no gasping and gulping.

7 7. UltrAspire Alpha 3.0, $125 Highlight: A trail favorite gets more storage With its comfortable fit and breathability, the Alpha is already a favorite at trail races. Now its carry capacity gets a boost with a large, mesh, back zip pocket. Use it to hold extra layers or even supplement the two 18.5-ounce contoured bottles with a hydration bladder or filter. It also includes a handy, sweat-proof pocket for electrolytes.

For more gear reviews, go to | 2017 Gear Guide

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Check your excuses and get out the door on the worst weather days with the latest cold- and water-repelling shells.

Nike Shield Jacket, $175 Highlight: Stylish shell that repels really well Although it’s technically not waterproof, the Shield impressively repels the elements with its breathable outer shell. With an athletic, free-moving fit, you’ll want to wear the Shield even when the weather isn’t lousy. The removable hood is awesome to have for days when it’s dumping rain and you want to keep your noggin dry.

Tracksmith Nor’easter Jacket, $298 Highlight: Warm track jacket with modern updates

The North Face Rapido Moda Jacket, $99 Highlight: Good warm-up top that packs a bit of warmth

This piece lives up to its name and provides plenty of protection against the worst weather. Sleek and stylish, the Nor’easter’s stretch nylon shell allows you to move freely while repelling rain and keeping you dry. Its merino wool liner offers plenty of warmth—no need for much additional layering.

With a wild print that gets noticed, along with DWR coating to repel water, the Rapido Moda Jacket serves as a decent warmup top. Its woven outer layer with venting on the back will keep you warm and protect you from a moderate drizzle—plus it offers a bit of reflectivity.

Brooks LSD Running Jacket, $100

Under Armour No Breaks Jacket, $85

Highlight: Lightweight performance that stows away

Highlight: Versatility paired with reflectivity

Despite a “barely there” feel, this lightweight, breathable shell does not skimp on performance. Water-resistant and windproof, the LSD Jacket will keep you comfortable in a light rain or provide a protective outer layer on a windy day. It even packs into a pocket if the sun comes out and a jacket is no longer necessary.

This fitted jacket provides a warm outer layer on a brisk morning while also repelling water when the rain starts falling. It’s well-ventilated so you don’t overheat but its long sleeves cover up your hands when they get cold. Reflective strips on the front and back make it an awesome early-morning or late-night option.

2017 GEAR GUIDE | For more gear reviews, go to

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Gone for good are the shimmery, shiny and smelly tech tops of yesterday. Today’s run apparel features more grown-up color palates, real-world styling and luxurious but technical fabrics.

Tracksmith Harrier Long Sleeve, $78 Highlight: Stylish and soft seasonal top This long-sleeve top brings not only the style, but also the comfort with its merino-nylon blend. It’s a seasonal top that’s warm but not too warm, and the natural fabric fights the funk much better than stinky all-poly shirts ever can.

Nike Dry Knit Long Sleeve, $90 Highlight: What a long-sleeve tech running shirt should be Nike’s streamlined top kind of gives you everything. It’s got comfy raglan shoulders, extra long, hand-covering sleeves with thumbholes, and a soft, lightweight knit. The back, which is lightly perforated and has a reflective strip, provides both breathability and visibility.

Patagonia Nine Trails Singlet, $35 Highlight: Soft fabric and thoughtful construction You’ll be hardpressed to find a softer singlet than this trail top from Patagonia. Even the cut is comfy, and the subtle logo on the front is reflective. Flat-stitched, repositioned seams throughout the inside feel great whether or not you’re wearing a pack.

Brooks Distance Tank, $30 Highlight: Do-anything top, from racing to post-run coffee The Distance tank offers running-specific apparel at a nice price. Brooks’ Dry Layer material, with a small blend of cotton, feels soft while still peforming well by wicking sweat and not clinging to you like all-cotton apparel does. It’s also cut comfortably for all-day wear.

Outdoor Voices Merino Tee, $75

Vuori Tradewind Performance Tee, $48

Highlight: Luxe version of the ‘basic’ workout T

Highlight: High-performance T with a casual look

The all-business gray workout T-shirt gets a deluxe upgrade with this merino blend. It’s cut for performance and feels great on tough runs, but it also wears and looks great no matter what you do in it. This is true understated performance and style.

It looks like a lifestyle T-shirt, but look closer and you’ll see it’s micro-perforated, and made of sweat-wicking technical fabric. The Tradewind comes in a small array of tasteful, non-neon colors. The breastpocket is surprisingly useful both during and after the run, for sunglasses or small items.

For more gear reviews, go to | 2017 GEAR GUIDE

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The latest men’s shorts and pants feature materials that are getting lighter and more comfortable, but they also offer novel portability. Whether it’s to stash keys, gels or the all-important phone, the latest apparel is built better than ever.

Tracksmith Turnover Tights, $128 Highlight: Top-end tights for cool-weather running With a velvety brushed lining on the inside, welt phone pocket on the hamstring and a grippy silicone waistband that eliminates the need for a drawstring, these tights are simply luxurious. The weight is perfect (not too warm), the fabric dries in a flash, and the fit, featuring brass achilles zips, is dialed just right.

New Balance Shift, $65 Highlight: Comfy, functional minimalism These shorts are roomy but not baggy, and feel perfectly sized. It’s a minimalist design, featuring only a few laser cut holes, no liner and a single pocket big enough for a phone on the right hip. Its stretchy material is extremely comfortable on the run, and the thickly taped hem keeps the legs from riding up.

Zoot Run Board Short 7”, $45 Highlight: Casual look, exceptional comfort

Nike Zonal Strength Tight, $150

Zoot keeps pumping out this wildly popular short for a reason. It’s literally a board short made with lightweight, run-focused materials. The flat elastic waistband is among the most comfortable out there, as are the brief and the lightweight short material. The only storage is a back patch pocket—just like real board shorts.

Highlight: Style and support If you like light compression, or just the feeling of support, these tights deliver it through the grid weave around the quads and calves. They’re comfortable but never hot, and feature smart touches like a flat waistband, roomy welt pocket on the hind leg and rare reflectivity on the front legs.

Under Armour Speedpocket, $45 Highlight: Primo phone storage in linerless short This comfy, run-specific short borrows a novel design from the athleisure world: a slit pocket on the waistband directly below the navel for storing your phone securely, without any bounce. Two side pockets, mesh accents and a flat waistband round out this liner-free, semi-fitted run short.

Brooks Sherpa 5”, $48 Highlight: Do-it-all function with longdistance comfort The Sherpa is a stretchy, ultralight, race-ready short that nonetheless packs in a ton of storage. There’s an interior key pocket, a zippered, sweat-resistant lumbar pocket and two small mesh patch pockets on the hips perfect for holding fuel on long runs. Reflective accents fully round out this superbly designed run apparel.

2017 GEAR GUIDE | For more gear reviews, go to

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The most effective bracing system for runners


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RUN OR DIE ROD_HH_Competitor.indd 1

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2/6/17 10:46 AM

I run up and down nonstop until I reach a treeless plateau. I open my arms, shut my eyes, and tilt my face to the sky, letting the rain wet my face as the wind tries to blow away the drops streaming down my cheeks. I take deep breaths and launch back into a run, jumping and climbing farther up, running faster and faster. There is no boundary, no threshold, nothing that can stop me. I am happy.

THIS IS LIFE FOR KILIAN JORNET, the world’s fastest trail runner. In his book Run or Die, Jornet runs with us around Lake Tahoe, across the Pyrenees, through the Western States 100 and Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc, and up and down Mt. Kilimanjaro. Jornet tells us his secrets, what he thinks about when he thinks about running, and why, for him, life is a simple choice: Run or die. Available now in bookstores, running shops, and online. Read the first chapter free at WWW.VELOPRESS.COM. 5/22/13 6:52 PM

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Whether you’re looking to stay warm and dry or looking for lightweight breathability, the latest in performance shells offer all of those—plus a lot of style.

The North Face Better Than Naked Jacket, $120 Highlight: Excellent fit and comfort Even with the dialed fit and details like a notched neck (so ponytails don’t rub the collar) the most remarkable thing about this lightweight jacket is how quiet it is. The fabric used for the BTN doesn’t make a sound and has no next-to-skin clamminess. Ventilation slits are incorporated into the seams.

Smartwool Propulsion 60 Jacket, $180 Highlight: Extra warmth for cold runs

Outdoor Research, $99 Highlight: Breathable jacket with ample storage

Even when the weather forecast is uncertain, you’re still going to run. This jacket has just the right amount of warmth to keep you comfortable without overheating. The wool sleeves and back panel move easily over base layers, while the front panel has wool insulation and a DWR coating to repel moisture.

A wind blocking, water-resistant front panel blocks the elements while breathable stretch fabric everywhere else allows you to dump sweat. Two lower-back stretch pockets, one that turns into a stuff pocket, plus a front zip pocket, provide plenty of room for essentials. And a drop tail delivers extra protection for the mud.

Asics Reversible Jacket, $95

Brooks Fremont Running Jacket, $110

Highlight: Two jackets in one

Highlight: Stylish design with reflectivity

Upgrade your old track jacket with modern styling. This sleek, reversible model— two jackets in one!—excels both on the run and for post-run lounging, while retaining the iconic raglan sleeves, fitted waist, cuffs and stand-up collar. It’s also soft and moisture wicking with the addition of flatlock seams and reflectivity.

Running clothes may not be part of your approved office dress code, but what if no one can tell the difference? Technical stretch fabric is blended with peplum styling and delicate seams for a fully functional running coat with miles of style. It even incorporates reflectivity and two zip pockets.

2017 GEAR GUIDE | For more gear reviews, go to

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These women’s performance tops mean business. Their innovative designs blend style into function and work as hard as you do. They allow you to give it your all, sweat your hardest and run your fastest—and look good doing so.

New Balance Run Precision Tank, $80 Highlight: Flexible next-to-skin fit and feel This is the ultimate running performance tank top. It’s lightweight, seamless, doesn’t ride up, has subtle reflective detailing and stays comfortable on long runs. The best feature, though, is the thin, silk-like fabric at the neckline and within the crossback—a small but game-changing detail that prevents the straps from pulling at the shoulders.

Adidas Supernova Storm Sweatshirt, $75 Highlight: Lightweight coverage that’ll keep you dry For unexpected showers, this half-zip is a decent second layer or can be even worn on its own. The climalite fabric repels sprinkles, though it may not hold up to heavier rainfall. A stand-up collar also helps to keep water out, and reflective details along the back make sure you’re seen.

Patagonia Capilene Lightweight Tank Top, $29 Highlight: Versatile ultra-lightweight base layer

Hylete Accent II Quad-Blend Racer Tank, $50

At 1.6 ounces, the Capilene Lightweight Tank is hardly noticeable when wearing it. It’s the perfect layering tank for chillier days or on its own in the heat, which also makes it ideal for trips with unpredictable weather. The 100 percent recycled polyester fabric is knit with Polygiene odor control, meaning you can wear it multiple times without washing.

Not many performance tank tops feature functional yet stylish mesh side pockets for storing items. These are deep enough to fit a smartphone or wallet and keys, and are especially perfect for fuel items. This tank has a slim fit, but the quadblend fabric provides substantial stretch for flexible comfort.

Highlight: Unique and useful side pockets

Nike Dry Knit T-Shirt, $75 Highlight: Unrestricting, seamless design The knit fabric on this Nike T is designed for optimal breathability in high-heat areas. There are tiny mesh openings, inconspicuously blended into the fabric that let it breathe. The lack of seams along the shoulders and sides allows the shirt to fit more loosely and move more smoothly while running.

Saucony Freedom Short Sleeve, $48 Highlight: A flattering silhouette with plenty of ventilation The Freedom Short Sleeve may feel like your softest cotton T-shirt, but the patented jersey fabric has a blend of water-repelling and water-absorbing fibers for faster drying and better sweat wicking. It also has an entire back mesh panel that extends underneath the armpits to promote even more airflow on extra muggy days.

For more gear reviews, go to | 2017 GEAR GUIDE

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From shorts to capris to tights—and now a new trending 7/8th length—for women, there are a variety of bottoms to meet your running needs. All aim for a “barely there” fit and just the right amount of support, so you don’t have to think twice about them on the run.

Lululemon Fast and Free 7/8th Tight, $128 Highlight: Second-skin feel with pockets galore The 7/8th length is the new trend in running tights. It hits right above the ankle, giving it a cropped look that isn’t quite full-on capri. The Fast and Free tights are especially lightweight and glide on like butter when getting dressed. Plus, there are a total of seven pockets to store virtually everything and anything you may need.

Oiselle Flyout Shorts, $56 Highlight: A relaxed fit made for speed Let those legs fly in Oiselle’s newest running shorts. Modeled after traditional split-shorts, these have an integrated semi-split seam along the sides that provides coverage while still achieving maximum mobility. The lightweight material also promotes moving with ease, and has built-in zippered pockets for ensuring your valuables stay put during your fastest runs.

Tracksmith Van Cortlandt Short, $60 Highlight: A classic cut meets modern design

Brooks Ghost Crop, $120 Highlight: Minimal design with versatile uses Don’t be fooled, these tights may feel super lightweight and stretchy, but adjust to a variety of temperatures. The nylon/ spandex blend also helps to wick sweat, enduring all of your day’s activities from the gym to a run outdoors, and even while making post-run errands.

Tracksmith products are all about going back to running basics. The Van Cortlandt has everything you need in a pair of shorts—a drawstring, a tiny back pocket and inner liner—and nothing more. However, the lightweight mesh material with antimicrobial properties sets this technical piece apart from its predecessors.

Only Atoms Momentum Running Short, $62 Highlight: Support that stays put Most compression shorts are made of a lightweight fabric that lacks proper support. Not these. The Momentum Running Shorts are made of a thick polyester/spandex stretchy material designed with a wide waistband for extra support. More importantly, it has a builtin silicone lining inside the leg openings that prevents the shorts from riding up.

The North Face Pulse Capri Tight, $45 Highlight: Soft, compressive comfort These capris achieve cotton-like softness without sacrificing breathability, light compression and quick-drying capability. They’re a good halfway choice between shorts and tights, providing more support and coverage than shorts, and less heat than full-length tights. Plus, the flat-locked stitching on these reduces friction against the skin.

2017 GEAR GUIDE | For more gear reviews, go to

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2010 These spirited ladies have been cheering runners across the Finish Line since 2010.

2016 Starting in 2016, Reunion Lawn provided an epic finish line with skyline views.

2016 2014

Miss Texas, Ana Rodriguez crosses the half marathon finish line in just over 2 hours.

Deena Kastor set a new Dallas event record (1:11:57) and broke two U.S. Masters records for the 10 mile (55:13) and 20K (1:08:18).


MAR 18-19, 2017

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A TO B BRAS Unique designs, soft fabrics and a compressive fit are the hallmarks of these A and B cup favorites.

Zensah Gazelle Sports Bra, $54 Highlight: Excellent fit and pretty style This bra stayed at the top of the test pile because it was easy to get on and off and fit like a dream. It’s also got soft fabric and seamless construction, with wide, soft straps. It even has some pretty ruching on the front and a body-mapped design to keep you cooler.

RYU Bra Top, $53 Highlight: Soft feel Soft material feels like your favorite T-shirt, with styling that works as a bra or a cropped tank. The top has removable, anti-microbial cups and a wide bottom band to keep it in place as you run. Try it on for your best size.


When it comes to bras, a good fit begins with getting measured. Visit a bra department, lingerie or specialty run store with bra fitting at least once a year to get measured for your proper bra size. Increased muscle, your menstrual cycle, weight loss or gain and pregnancy all affect bra size.

Saucony Impulse Bra Top, $42 Highlight: Good looks with solid performance This strappy design looks awesome with your favorite tank top or on its own. A deep scoop neck, no-dig straps and supportive bottom band check the essential boxes for looks and performance. And removable modesty pads and dual-layer construction make for flexible coverage.

Skirt Sports BRF, $52 Highlight: Nicely shows off your back BRF stands for “best running friend,” and this satisfies a mix between a must-have basic bra with full coverage in the front and plenty of strappy style in the back. Whether you want less material for warm-weather runs or you’re ready to show off your strong back, this has you covered in style.

2017 GEAR GUIDE | For more gear reviews, go to

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C TO DD BRAS With this new crop of high quality bras featuring adjustable fit, comfortable straps, encapsulation and compression, on-the-run comfort is a given—no doubling up required.

Brooks Juno, $65 Highlight: Compression, encapsulation and adjustability Our newly pregnant tester said this bra stopped the painful bouncing so she was able to run again. It was her first time in anything but a compression bra and she loved the mix of compression, encapsulation and adjustability. As part of the update, Juno’s easy-to-adjust straps have been streamlined for a smoother fit.

Athleta Stealth Bra, $68 Highlight: Attention to details With its wide bottom band and shoulder straps, and compressive fit, this looks like a traditional sports bra at first glance. What sets it apart are smart details, like a hook and eye closure, zoned compression for more support where you need it and contoured stitching for encapsulation support without wires.

New Balance Power Printed Bra, $65 Highlight: Flattering look with all-day wearability It’s not often women say a highimpact support bra is flattering and pretty enough to be worn all day, but that’s exactly what testers said about the Power Printed Bra. Winning attributes were the V-neck styling, strappy back, padded, adjustable straps and secure support.

Asics Adjust Bra, $48 Highlight: Exceptional breathability In addition to bold pops of color and a strappy design, the breathability of this bra is what made it a tester favorite. Soft, molded foam cups have under breast ventilation to help minimize and move sweat, with mesh incorporated throughout for enhanced breathability and wicking.

For more gear reviews, go to | 2017 GEAR GUIDE

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accessories [NIGHT] 46

It’s Lit B y A da m W. C ha se

Whether you go for cutting-edge apparel, compact gear or smart, simple accessories, there are many ways to stay bright in the darkness—and no more excuses not to be safe.





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1. Black Diamond Equipment Sprinter Headlamp, $80 Highlight: Compact front and rear visibility See and be seen with the Sprinter’s compact, 200-lumen headlamp and rear blinking red light. This rechargeable, weatherproof headlamp allows for you to adjust the front beam strength to get an even longer burn time out of the rear-mounted, USB-charged lithium battery.

2. NiteIze ShoeLit LED, $4 Highlight: Inexpensive and easy to use These little buggers are extremely cost-effective safety devices. With snap-on, locking attachment to shoe laces, accessories or apparel, and water-resistant casing, the super light and bright LED ShoeLit lasts 24 hours with an easily replaced lithium battery. They come in four colors and are eye catching with the motion of your foot or body.

3. Nathan Strobe Light, $10 Highlight: Compact but durable and extremely bright Strobes are all the rage for ragers, but why not use their attention-getting qualities to keep you alive when running at night? Nathan’s little, outstandingly durable, waterproof and powerful package of strobe energy uses a high-visibility blinking light with various flashing modes. It attaches readily to clothing or a belt.

4. Slap Wrapz, $15 Highlight: Simple, no-excuses visibility Slappy-styled safety makes visibility easy, not to mention quick, and, practically speaking, a no-brainer. The slap band uses a bright LED light for waterproof, long-lasting attention to motorists. It comes with wafer-thin Lithium batteries that provide 100 hours of flashing burn time.

5. Gear Aid Tenacious Reflective Fabric Tape, $7

6. On Running Weather Jacket, $240

Highlight: Put adhesive reflection anywhere

Highlight: Lightweight, packable, all-weather jacket with reflectivity

Stick it and reflect brightly in your current favorite running clothing with Tenacious Reflective Fabric Tape. This durable adhesive tape can be cut to size and attached to jackets, hats or packs—and leaves no sticky residue. It is machine washable and uses glass bead reflectivity so headlights bring to life the white-glowing high visibility.

On Running’s outstanding new jacket uses Japanese-sourced resilient, weatherproof, DWR-treated material that is tear-proof and flashed with reflective taping for 360-degree ventilation and visibility. The four-way stretch, lightweight jacket packs into its own pocket, and the comfortable hood features a snug-down design so it won’t interfere with your field of vision.

2017 Gear Guide | For more gear reviews, go to

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Helping you cross the finish line.

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2/7/17 2:47 PM

accessories [socks] 48

Feet First B y B r i a n M etzl er

Not all socks are made the same. As a runner, you want them to fit right, provide cushioning, avoid bunching and draw moisture away from your skin. These socks also provide temperature regulation, compression, odor elimination and more.

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1. Run Brooklyn Achilles Socks, $15


Highlight: Moderate compression, cushioning and reflectivity This new boutique apparel brand was started with the intent of making high-quality, authentic, functional gear, and the proof is in these socks. The Achilles socks combine moderate compression with lightly woven cushioning in the heel and toe box, plus a reflective back tab as a smart finishing touch.

2. Darn Tough Vertex Tab No Show Ultra-Light, $16 Highlight: Thin, light socks with the benefits of merino wool These super-light socks with a “barely-there” feel are made with fine-gauge knitting that allows them to stay in place without bunching or slipping. Made from nylon, Spandex and merino wool, they regulate temperature to feel cool in warm weather and warm in cool weather.


4. CEP Ultralight Progressive+ Compression Socks, $60 3. Farm to Feet Raleigh 3D Active Fit, $18–$21 Highlight: Lightweight, breathable and made in the USA These made-in-theU.S.A. socks are sewn with advanced knitting methods to create multi-dimensional patterns with an ideal balance of fit, comfort, durability, breathability and performance. The sole features sculpted half-density cushioning with a dimple pattern that both enhances and minimizes ventilation, while a diamond pattern on the instep increases breathability and lacing comfort.

Highlight: Compression all the way up the calf These super light socks offer consistent graduated compression (20–30mmHg) from the tips of the toes to the upper calves. They reduce muscle vibrations, stabilize the ankle and arch, and offer optimal heat and moisture management qualities. (Or, they absorb sweat and don’t get too warm!)

5. Hilly TwinSkin, $13 Highlight: A special blend of fibers help resist blisters These are billed as the ultimate anti-blister socks because they reduce friction by keeping the skin dry. The secret is a proprietary blend of synthetic hydrophobic fibers and natural hydrophilic fibers that help pull moisture away from the skin and push it to the exterior.

6. Zensah Grit Trail Running Socks, $15-$17

7. Balega Silver Socks, $15

Highlight: Comfy cushioning and moisture management

Encapsulated with silver ions, these socks have been designed to provide long-lasting antibacterial properties and moisture-wicking performance. They’re soft and comfortable to adapt to various foot shapes without bunching or overstretching, ultimately keeping feet in an optimal environment so they remain dry and odor-free.

Zensah’s first trail running socks are made from 40 percent polypropylene, 26 percent nylon, 2 percent merino wool and 12 percent spandex, a blend that gives them cushion, support and moisture-wicking capabilities. Meanwhile, the hexagon pad array under the forefoot offers plenty of cushion and ventilation.

Highlight: Made with silver to fight odor

8. Bridgedale Speed Trail, $20 Highlight: Wool plus Coolmax equals comfort and dryness These crew socks are made from a blend of merino wool, Coolmax polyester, nylon and Lycra, giving them a no-slip fit, comfort and moisture management. They feature padding at key pressure points from a two-loop weave that offers plenty of cushioning and resilience.

2017 Gear Guide | For more gear reviews, go to

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accessories [hats] 49

Hat Trick B y A da m El d e r

Running caps are better than ever. Whether they’re built with clever function or luxury materials, borrow styles from elsewhere or reinforce a classic design, no runner should be without one these days.

1. Saucony Speed Run Cap, $25 Highlight: Rain protection in a lightweight package

2. The North Face Pop-Up Running Hat, $28


Highlight: A comfy and functional hat you’ll never want to take off

It’s hard to believe this tissue-thin baseball-style cap could possibly stop rain, but its DWR-coated fabric does keep your dome dry when the skies open up. The sweatband gets high marks for comfort, and the reflective logos on the front and back are always handy.


A go-anywhere hat with soft comfort that dries quickly, the Pop-Up is just about everything you want in a steamlined run cap. It folds up nicely but retains its shape, and the back has stretch elastic rather than nylon, velcro or snap-back.

3 3. La Sportiva Shelter Visor, $23

4. Pettet Endurance Project The Sebastopol, $30

Highlight: The best parts of a visor and headband

Highlight: All wool, all business

This simple, minimalist bit of headwear combines the sweat-wicking, or ear warming, or hair holding qualities of a headband with the sun protection of a visor. Its low profile easily tucks into your shorts when you don’t need it. The interior is ultra soft, and there’s a bit of reflectivity in the rear.

This form-fitting, low-profile, 100 percent merino wool hat is unbelievably comfortable and a reliable choice for cool-weather runs. There’s a subtle bit of reflectivity running along the rim of the bill. It comes in two sizes, but the larger size runs a bit small. Made in the U.S.A.


5 6. Ciele SPDCap, $45

5. Nike AW84 Zip, $28 Highlight: Storage in a highperformance running hat

Highlight: Stylish and original with run-specific features


While it’s otherwise a great hat on its own (the AW84 is a perennial classic), Nike cleverly added a hidden zip pocket onto this one. Obviously it can’t hold a ton, but it can easily carry a key, ID, credit card or cash without any annoying bounce. A great hat for when you’re short on pockets.


8. Zoot Chill Out Flap Hat, $35

7. Vuori V1 Patch Cap, $28

Highlight: Unmatched sun protection

Highlight: Rough and rugged classic trucker hat Many runners just love a trucker cap, and for them, this Vuori checks all the boxes of a classic. It’s got a stiff wool front panel, O.G. mesh around the rest of the crown, and a nicely curved bill. And like all good trucker hats, it’ll stand up to abuse and improve with age.

The little Canadian company that’s been making the coolest caps in the sport releases a cycling-inspired lid this spring. The front panel is water repellant, and the rest of it breathes well, wicks moisture nicely and sits snugly. It’s a fun, high-performance change of pace from the standard running cap silhouette.


Made with Chill Out fabric, which Zoot claims says 3 degrees cooler when wet—along with being all white, and having a huge, French Foreign Legion-style flap—this is made to withstand long runs at the peak of summer. The black underside of the brim deflects light. It runs a bit small.

For more gear reviews, go to | 2017 Gear Guide

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accessories [music] 50


Sounds on the Run



B y sa m wi n e b au m

The battle for runners’ ears heats up in 2017 with innovative new approaches to audio on the run: longer battery life, better sound and connections, lighter earphones, sweat-proof construction, in-ear heart rate monitoring and greater value.


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1. Beats PowerBeats3, $200 Highlight: Wireless earphones with mic

2. Scosche BT100, $30 Highlight: A low-priced “backup” with great music sound

3. Bose SoundSport, $150 Highlight: Great sound quality and a secure fit

4. Polk Boom Bit, $30 Highlight: Wireless wearable speaker with mic

5. Jabra Elite Sport, $250 Highlight: Wire-free, HR sensing, rugged and light

The latest Beats by Dr. Dre Powerbeats earphones get Apple’s W1 Bluetooth and audio management chip. It pairs quickly and strongly to iPhone with few dropouts, and up to 12-hour battery life. With Fast Fuel charging, five minutes plugged in gets you one hour of play.

Not sweat resistant but otherwise capable, these are a great option if your main headphone goes missing or is out of charge. Fit is light and comfortable with extra gels for customization. Sound quality is excellent, although phone conversation was just adequate.

Music is deep, captivating, and truly sounds like it’s coming from speakers. The buds are secure, light and pain free with a gentle seal and multiple fit options. The device is sweat and weather resistant. For $50 more, the SoundSport Pulse has an in-ear HR monitor.

Directional audio and phone call quality was great for such a tiny speaker, and we appreciated the situational awareness and rugged, rubberized construction. Running with a friend, we easily shared conversation and music. It’s a great option anywhere audio is desired.

The Elite sets the bar high, packing dual microphones in each bud for great stereo call quality and awareness of your surroundings. Plus, there’s an in-ear heart rate monitor, cadence and auto-calibrating pedometer sensor, rep counting, and wonderful, rich sound.

6. Secur SP-5005, $100

7. Yurbuds Inspire 500 for Women, $50

8. Quad Lock Run Kit, $60

9. UA Sport Wireless, $150

10. Plantronics Backbeat GO 2, $100

Highlight: Wireless speaker/ speaker phone, power bank and flashlight

Highlight: Good value for wireless earbud

Highlight: Easy to remove and use your phone on the run

Highlight: Rugged construction and 8-hour battery life

Highlight: Comfortable and soft all over with a long battery life

This ingenious case and run armband does away with tight sleeves and plastic windows. The rugged case (easily swapped out) twists and locks the phone to the arm band. Need to use the phone? Press the lever and twist off. Comfort on the run is outstanding.

Clearly designed for workouts, these earbuds engineered by JBL feature multiple ear tips for a custom fit. The button controls are tactile and large for easy access with sweaty fingers. Not only sweatproof, rain and splashproof, battery life is a long eight hours.

The GO has a soft rubberized finish over every surface that’s soft, and provides sweat and water resistance. Sound quality was vivid and sharp. The GO has a 6.5hour battery life, outstanding for its size. The case has a built-in battery for up to 13 hours more charge.

This rugged waterproof flashlight also packs a 3-watt Bluetooth speaker/ speakerphone and a battery pack to charge other USB devices. Music playback is a massive 28 hours. The 12 oz. heft and super bright beam makes it a potential self-defense tool.

With a strong eight-hour battery life and sweat/ water resistance, these are reliable run and all-day companions. Light, with soft silicone ear tips, the buds securely lock into the ear. The battery/electronics are on the cord behind your head, not hanging from your ear on the controls.

2017 Gear Guide | For more gear reviews, go to


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accessories [sunglasses] 51

Shady Business B y A da m El d e r

Whether you’re looking for elite-level performance or a stylish design with runspecific features, sport sunglasses are better than ever, and offer more options than before. They don’t slip when sweaty, many offer polarized lenses, and all can handle the sun and punishing workouts.

1. Zeal Drifter, $149 Highlight: Locked-down fit

2. Oakley EVZero Stride PRIZM Road, $170


Highlight: Great optics and a secure fit

These are lifestyle-shaped shades with great coverage that can really do the business. The curved temples seem to grip onto your head like a claw (in a good way). The frame, made of plant-based material, feels sturdily constructed, and the copper lenses offer real versatility for sunny and overcast days.


3. Goodr Running Sunglasses, $25

4. District Vision Nagata Speed Blade, $249

Highlight: Bargain shades for running Yes, they look ready for any party, but these shades by Goodr are also decent run-specific sunglasses for an unbelievable price. The frame’s slightly textured finish doesn’t slip or slide when sweaty, and the lenses are polarized to block glare. The temples and lens size both run a little on the small side.

Highlight: Retro goes high tech


These performance racing frames are inspired by the classic Carrera profile, but District Vision, an upstart New York City company, outfitted this specific version with a trail-running lens that works excellently in changing light conditions. They offer excellent coverage, block wind well, and the earpieces and nosepiece are sticky, comfy and bendable for a custom fit.


5. Smith PivLock Asana, $189


Highlight: Classic shade with new lens

6. Nike Vaporwing R, $395 Highlight: Unbelievable fit and feel

A women’s-specific sunglass at a reasonable price for performance shades, the lenses of the long-running PivLock have been stepped up to improve clarity and definition. Peripheral visibility is, of course, great, as is the fit: The sticky nose and ear pieces keep the sunglasses put but aren’t too tight.


7. Roka Phantom, $275 Highlight: Run-specific aviators that stay put Aviator sunglasses purpose-built for endurance, these stylish frames from Roka feature grippy earpieces and polarized lenses. Like all aviators, they offer decent coverage and a weightlessness that makes them easy to forget about—made more so in the Phantom by a titanium frame. They look great and can go the distance.

The clarity and field of vision on these performance sunglasses from Oakley are truly remarkable. They securely stay put and have a nice tint—not too dark, just right. Along with their comfortable fit and relatively light weight, they bring to mind the cliché about forgetting that you’re wearing them.


“Performance” style sunglasses may not be for everyone, but for those who like this sort of thing, this is the sort of thing they’ll like. The coverage and optics on these are remarkable—as is the fit: The temples and earpieces only gently lock onto your head, and yet the bridge feels like it’s hardly resting on your nose at all.

8. Maui Jim Kupuna, $299 Highlight: Like wearing nothing


These minimalist, rimless shades feel almost like wearing nothing at all. The earpieces grip oh so gently, yet they stay firmly in place. The HCL bronze lens works in a variety of conditions and offers a bit of warmth. Coverage isn’t amazing, but the tradeoff is exceptional fit and lightness.

For more gear reviews, go to | 2017 Gear Guide


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Rehab Center B y A l l i son Patti l lo

Smart recovery is essential, but it’s not always easy or fun. If you need some inspiration, these new gadgets use heat, cold and intense massage to keep your body feeling good and ready to run.


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1. Trigger Point MB2 Roller, $25

2. Pro-Tec Athletics The Orb Extreme, $25

Highlight: Loosens up a tight back

Highlight: More invigorating and less punishing on muscles

Melt away back and neck stress after long runs with this easily adjustable tool. It looks like a mini barbell with a small, no-slip, MB1 massage ball on either end. Have it in the closed position to target smaller muscles and open to work larger back muscles.

A 5-inch, high-density foam ball is wrapped in muscle-massaging nubs for deep relief of quads, hamstrings and your lower back. Place it on the floor or wall and use your body weight for an invigorating massage. It’s less intense than a lacrosse ball or golf ball, meaning longer massage sessions.

3. Addaday Nonogan, $45 Highlight: New twist on the old roller This hurts, but in a good way! With a nine-sided design of raised, soft foam ovals wrapped around a solid foam core, this goes beyond standard foam rolling. Yes, it works like a roller, but it also digs deep to target fascia and help improve mobility.

4. Vibra Cool Massaging Ice Therapy, $90

5. Dr. Marc’s Quattro Pro Massager, $40

Highlight: Two-pronged therapy for knee and ankle pain

Highlight: Foam roller and ball alternative

Ice relieves pain but can cause muscles to tighten. Vibration improves circulation. With ice packs, a vibration unit and a comfortable neoprene sleeve, this kit lets you reap the benefits of both. The high-pitched vibration unit runs for 10 minutes. You can even stretch with it in place to help with muscle mobility.

Designed by a chiropractor, this hand-held massager has four removable rollers to work major muscle groups from your neck to your feet. The knobs can be heated for a deeper release—which felt incredible on sore calves. The heat helps muscles relax, allowing for more intense trigger point work.

6. Rumble Roller Gator, $50 Highlight: The ultimate roller for masochists This evil looking roller is just the tool for cross-frictional massage. Instead of only using it as a roller, which you certainly should do, lie on the roller and shift your body weight one or two inches while maintaining skin contact. Much like a massage, you’ll feel a tugging and release of the underlying muscles.

2017 Gear Guide | For more gear reviews, go to

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Schaumburg Park District

tri athlon & du athlon

THE TRAIL IS CALLING Hal Koerner’s Field Guide to Ultrarunning will help you prepare for your first, your next, or your fastest ultramarathon. In his comprehensive book, one of America’s top ultra racers shares hard-earned wisdom, field-tested practices, three training plans, and proven tips to help you get ready for runs from 50K to 100 miles and beyond.

Splash • Pedal • Dash

Dash • Pedal • Dash

Sunday, July 30, 2017

5:15 a.m. Check-in | 6:30 a.m. Start Meineke Recreation Center, 220 E. Weathersfield Way, Schaumburg



5K Run 12.8-Mile Bike 5K Run

400-Meter Swim 12.8-Mile Bike 5K Run

Chip-timed event. Only one transition area.

All participants will receive a men’s or women’s technical T-shirt and a finisher’s medal. Top finishers in each age group receive an award.


Available in bookstores, running shops, and online. See a preview at

Park District

For information, call 847/490-7015 or visit

Register at

Through March 31: $45 • April 1–June 30: $55 • July 1–26: $65

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2/1/17 11:01 AM


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accessories [nutrition] 54

Fast Food B y Em i ly Pol ac h e k

The latest fuel products evoke a “less is more” philosophy. The fewer the ingredients, the better, and the few better ingredients, the tastier the product. These fuel items perform and provide valuable nutrition as a bar, chew, recovery drink or hydration tab while on the run.

1. Clif Whey Protein Bar Salted Caramel Cashew, $2.79 per bar

2. Glukos Energy Fruit Punch Gummies, $24 for case of 12

3. Nuun Vitamins Blackberry Citrus, $12 per tube

Highlight: Light yet satisfyingly filling

Highlight: Small bites for a fast energy boost

Highlight: Clean, everyday hydration

Need a quick energy boost midrace? These tiny gummies pack easily in your pocket and provide electrolytes your body craves on long runs. One pouch contains 24 grams of transferable glucose energy that’s easy to chew with no artificial colors, high-fructose corn syrup or artificial sweeteners.

Nuun Vitamins is a new formulation that aims to support the hydration of an everyday active lifestyle, not just on the days you work out. It has 11 vitamins and minerals, including vitamins A, B folate, B6, C, D and E for health and wellness, plus the usual electrolytes for hydration.

Clif Bar’s newest Whey Protein Bar isn’t as dense as most protein bars, but it still manages to pack in 14 grams of protein with only 5 grams of sugar. The source of protein comes from a combination of whey, organic brown rice protein, organic pea protein and cashews. Plus, it has a slight Rice Krispies consistency.



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2017 Gear Guide | For more gear reviews, go to

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accessories [nutrition] 55

4. Skratch Labs Endurance Recovery Mix with Coffee, $26 for 21oz. bag

5. Picky Bars Moroccan Your World, $27.50 for 10-pack

6. Pressed by KIND Apricot Pear Carrot Beet, $1.79 per bar

Highlight: No clumping

Highlight: Exotic flavor of savory/sweet spices

Highlight: Easy to digest on the run

Replace your morning coffee with a protein shake that not only tastes like real coffee, but also mixes smoothly with water or milk. Although high in sugar (33 grams), a single serving also provides 7 grams of protein and 25 percent of your daily calcium consumption.

Inspired by Moroccan cuisine, this Picky Bars flavor combines turmeric, cardamom, ginger and pistachios for a sweet yet savory spiced flavor. The turmeric in this energy bar is also known for its antiinflammatory properties, making it a handy recovery fuel item too.

The new Pressed by Kind bars consist of only fruits and veggies with no added sugars. It’s similar to a fruit leather bar, but with way less sugar—only 11 (natural) grams. And it’s highly nutritious, providing two servings of fruit and veggies for runners on the go.





7. GU Roctane Energy Gel Sea Salt Chocolate, $60 for box of 24

8. Gatorade Organic Mixed Berry, $20 for 12-pack

Highlight: For going the distance

Highlight: A simple alternative

A little bit of this energy gel can go a long way. The Roctane version has more sodium and amino acids than the original GU Energy Gels for ultra endurance efforts. Plus, the sea salt chocolate flavor has a less gooey and more buttery consistency that tastes like decadent chocolate frosting.

Gatorade’s Organic line is a simplified, more natural take on its popular Thirst Quenchers. There are only seven ingredients, including organic cane sugar, which provides 30 grams of carbohydrates. The flavor is also more subtle than the original, providing a clean and refreshing taste.

For more gear reviews, go to | 2017 Gear Guide

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RENOWNED RETAILER Josh Levinson, 45, Baltimore Josh Levinson has been a runner most of his life, but he spent the first adult part of it working in the financial industry in Texas. While visiting family in Maryland during Thanksgiving in 2001, his wife, Kara, noted that the Baltimore area was in need of a community-based specialty running store. Josh began researching the business—going so far as to volunteer at a RunTex in Austin to learn how to fit runners into shoes and understand the day-to-day operations of the business—and soon the couple put their house on the market and moved to Baltimore to open their first Charm City Run store. Now, more than 15 years later and five stores strong in northeast Maryland, the Levinsons’ business has been recognized as the best in the U.S. In December, Charm City Run was named the 2016 Running Store of the Year.

Why do you love to run? The return on investment of 40 to 45 minutes of running is just amazing. It’s always been the perfect balance of endorphins flowing but also a calm enough experience that allows me to think. It’s one of the most selfish things I do. It’s something that I’ll always do and always try to share that with other people.

What’s it like to change careers and work as a running retailer? To be able to work in a field that I’m passionate about is a privilege. I tell my team that all the time. It might sound hokey, but to get to change people’s lives every day, that’s pretty great.

What’s the secret sauce to a great store? I’m a big fan of Howard Shultz, the CEO of Starbucks. He has said, “Our goal is to turn the ordinary into the extraordinary”—and he actually mentions shoes as one of his examples. Starbucks is a lot more than a cup of coffee, and we have to be a lot more than a pair of shoes. It’s about getting people going and making them feel comfortable, and the shoes are a product and the channel by which we do

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that. You have to maximize every personal interaction you have and be a good listener. The important part is getting to know that person and making them feel comfortable and encouraged.

Why is running such a special activity? Running knows no social or economic bounds. People who run with us work at the deli counter at our local supermarket while others work as corporate executives and others are schoolteachers. They come from all walks of life. And runners are black, white, Latino and come from every ethnicity and background, and I love that about running.

What’s your advice to others? There are so many parallels between running and the business of running retail. It is a long, hard slog and there is nothing sexy about it, but if you love running and you love people, it’s a great way to spend your life.

What does the award mean to your team and the business? I think the closest thing it resembles is a lifetime achievement award. We’ve been doing this for 15 years and doing a decent job and some people took notice, and that’s pretty cool. The other thing is that it’s an inspiration for our team. And even though it’s an award, it’s kind of a kick in the tail too, because now there is an expectation of excellence. We have to be excellent every day and we have to earn that every day. For the complete interview, go to


What’s your running background? I was a little overweight as a kid, but I had a stepdad who wore high tube socks and sweatbands—a real 1970s runner. He got my mom and I running a little bit, and there was something that clicked. From age 10 on, I have been a runner. I was never a high school track star and have never run a cross country race, but even when I was playing football and lacrosse I would get out for a run, and I’ve never stopped.

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Run to a better place with the new Transcend 4. Its Guide Rail Technology is the future of support, guiding your whole body into its natural motion path.

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Competitor March 2017  

Running Gear Guide - 167 of the newest products to help you run fast, feel great and look cool.

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