Sunday, March 20, 2011
Test run reviews
Saucony's ProGrid Kinvara is the first minimalist running shoe that I have ever tried. Since I've often asked myself if I needed more support and stability and love my shoe to be lightweight. I was excited to take the Kinvara out are a 20k run on last Saturday along the usual BA-Hartamas-BA route. This route will give me chance to test out the Kinvara on different terrain - up hill and down hill, then follow by flat and fast cruising terrain.
I've found that it’s an excellent choice for your ‘first time minimalist’ because it provides a surprising level of cushioning for its feather-like weight and structure. Anyone who has read Born to Run and is working on becoming a “light and easy” style of running (a mantra I frequently find myself silently repeating to myself on tough runs) will find Kinvara as the shoe that you have been looking for. You can hardly feel the weight of the sneaker when it’s in your hand and it’s even more invisible on foot.
The shoe has a snug feel and ride was comfortable for the entire run. The feel is like running barefoot hitting the ground but with the right amount of cushioning and support. Thanks to the Progrid Lite that lined the entire shoe. So with the kind of feeling the Kinvara will be a good option for barefoot running or those that owns the VFFs but still want a minimalist that gives the same feeling. The Kinvara holds very well on uphill climb and down hill sprint. Even on a straight flat route, one get the right amount of cushioning and support while you up your pace tempo. Your feet will feel really spice up by the shoe when pushing hard, all aided by the diamond studs (Saucony trademark sole design) position at the sole (forefoot)
Ventilation of the shoe is good, as I dont feel any overheating during the run. More important it doesnt gets hotter when I put the shoe to test on high friction when I increase my pace along a flat straight route, plus by climbing the Tinjani stretch (hilly) in a much higher tempo pace. The shoe remains cool after this hard workout. Passed the ventilation test as its extremely important for a minimalist (bcos the sole is much thinner and the heat getting to the runner feet is much faster, compare to a normal travel where the sole is thicker)
At this moment I am putting away my hat as a supplier for Saucony and put on the hat as a runner/consumer. Overall I am very happy with what the Kinvara have to offer, and am sure it will have a big impact on the market. The trend in running shoes seems to be “minimalistic” “lightweight” “barefoot” “midfoot/forefoot strike”. The Kinvara arrives at the right moment with the right shoe.
I am amazed by the lightweight feeling (merely one ounce heavier than your average racing shoe) and great running feeling. The upper is seamless, snug and light; the sole feels fast and it is somehow supportive – probably given the pretty wide base.
Tested the shoe on wet concrete pavement and the sole holds firmly to the ground without any slightest slip during the lift off. Although the sole looks slippery, it actually holds very well on wet surface whether its on a climb or downhill.
And the sweetest part… the price at RM330.00 is an extremely competitive price for a shoe so well executed. I might have reserves on the shoes’ durability but again dont expect too much from any minimalist (the mileage done and the wear/tear will tell!) And for that kind of price I hope to see runners giving this shoe a try.
Next was the CompresSport R2 Calf Sleeve that I wore during the run.
As claimed by CompresSport, they approaches the actual science of compression a bit differently. Most compression gear features graduated compression, that is, compression is strongest at the toe or foot and decreases as you move up the leg or calf. This is great for hospital compression where the goal is to prevent blood pooling in the lower regions, but not ideal for exercise. CompresSport uses a different approach to compression. For the Race and Recovery Calf Sleeves, the compression is lighter around the top and bottom of the sleeve and is most strong at the calf. The Race and Recovery sleeve provides 12-14 mmHg of compression at the top and bottom and 30 mmHg at the middle of the calf. This means that you get the most compression where you need it.
The calf sleeves are very comfortable and provide a great deal of compression. Although the top and bottom bands don’t have the same gripping or tension features, the bands are wide, comfortable, and keep the sleeves in place. The fabric used by CompresSport is very lightweight and breathable. The fabric allows heat transfer and wicks moisture extremely well. The fabric doesn’t retain water, as can be seen after my 20k where the sleeves are still dry. So with such functoinality, you could easily wear these guards into the swim and not have to worry about putting them on when you’re wet. The Race and Recovery Sleeves aren’t damaged by Body Glide or other lubricants (as informed by CompresSport) The sleeves holds the calf muscle very well during the run, not allowing much movement but yet providing the right comfort and compression needed.
Overall I can conclude that the CompresSport Race and Recovery sleeves provide a good level of compression. You will be surprised by the level of support and compression these sleeves provide. It might take a day or two to get used to this increased level of compression (if you have used other brands of compression calf sleeves), but your body will thank you. In addition to providing a high level of compression, they are quite good looking and striking too. They don’t look dull or like hospital clothing. Though appearance isn’t the most important, it certainly helps that these are very attractive looking sleeves.