3 Products I Want to Test

by nomeatbarefeet

I was talking with my brother the other night about living minimally and trying to withstand the continual pull to buy-buy-buy. Katie and I live as minimally as possible, purchasing only when we need it and trying to live as un-extravagantly as we can…

…that being said, I still suffer from “the runner’s condition.” That is, I love new running gear. I might not buy it; in fact I probably won’t. But I love to think about how cool it would be to try it. So, these are just three of the things that I want to try:

1. Altra Superior

While Altra is a relatively new shoe company, they did amazingly well with their first trail shoe: the Lone Peak. I love this shoe. The new shoe, the Superior, is a bit more stripped down compared with the rugged nature of the Lone Peaks. The Superiors have a removable rock plate that allows you to customize the shoe depending on the terrain. They are also lighter than the Lone Peaks. Finally, they have a dramatically different lug system on the bottom of the shoe: certain lugs are meant to help with ascending and and others help with descending.

Superior Weight: I have seen 8.9 oz. w/ the rock plate (maybe even 7.9 oz.; still pretty minimal)

Lone Peak Weight: 9.9 oz. (though i have also seen 10.9 oz.)

Superior Stack Height: 12mm

Lone Peak Stack Height: 17mm

Why I want to try this: I love running in my Vibrams; and I love running in my Merrell Gloves. BUT, I also love running on gnarly, rocky terrain with ascents and descents. I love plowing down hills and that puts a real strain on my feet—especially over distance. The Lone Peaks are amazing, and I will continue to champion their resourcefulness; yet, they can be a bit boxy and cumbersome when moving at faster pace (since I am use to much more minimal footwear). So while I will keep the Vibrams and the Trail Gloves, having a lighter zero-drop cushioned option will allow me to keep me feet protected when I want to run fast but with protection.

You can get the Superior at Altra’s website or at Runningwarehouse.

2. Ultimate Direction Signature Series Running Vest

There will be a few vests in this series, but I think that I want to try the TK (Tony Kurpicka) version. This will be the most minimal of the vests: it sounds like it will weigh in under 10 oz. and will include the two 20 oz. water bottles. Pockets on the back sides, elastic drawstrings to hold extra gear, and a place to stow a bladder (or coat) if desired.

Why I want to try this: I run with an old EMS hydration pack with a Camel Pak water bladder (it is actually Katie’s but she has gracefully let me use it). It is bulky, doesn’t have much capacity, and doesn’t breath well. I have wanted a hydration vest for a while now, and the prospect of carrying bottles (I do love handhelds) as well as having them up front really intrigues me. It will allow ease for water filling at aid stations or on long solo runs (I can buy a filter for longer training runs on the Long Trail) and give me the option to run with a bladder if need be. I like running as minimally (and inexpensively) as possible, plus I ain’t going to be going on any 50 mile runs through the wilderness anytime soon.

The Signature Series vests aren’t out yet, but you can follow the progress on Ultimate Direction’s blog. The word is that the Jurek will be out in November 2012 ($125), and the TK in January 2013 ($90).

3. Salomon Sense Hydro S-Lab 8 oz. Handheld 

This handheld was developed in conjunction with Kilian Jornet, who field tested it during the 2011 Western States 100 (which he won). He doesn’t like to run with handhelds so, he and Salomon developed this soft flask/glove combo. The handheld comes with two 8 oz. flasks (left and right) but will fit both a 5 oz. and (supposedly) a 17 oz. flask. The glove is supposed to be very comfortable, with breathable mesh and a terry cloth backing for wiping sweat.

Why I want to try this: I run with an Amphipod handheld, which is very comfortable and which I really enjoy. Sometimes, however, I don’t want to carry 20 oz. of water. Plus, during races I don’t always like getting water at aid stations (for a number of reasons), and often (espeically during “shorter” races) I wish I had a smaller capacity handheld that could allow me to carry just enough water to get through. The Hydro S-Lab seems like a real possibility, and one that sounds “hand comfortable.”

You can get the 8 oz flask here ($40) and individual 5 oz flasks here ($15). No word on when the 17 oz. flask will be available.