Getting ready for a key race in the new year is both an exciting yet daunting task. For one, I’m eager to find out if I can become a better and smarter runner, as the years whiz by. Daunting because you’ve to rev the engine up again getting back into training mode.
I’ve at least narrowed down my favorite shoes to the following few. Admittedly they’re more shoes than what the average runner has but having 8 pairs on rotation are the norm for me! I’m spoiled I’ve backup shoes, wet weather shoes, shoes for regular running, shoes for speedwork, and shoes for easy days.
Over the years, running shoes have gotten very good across all categories from racing flats to highly cushioned trainers. More often than not, choosing a favorite, or several, comes down to personal preference be it in terms of responsiveness, weight, cushioning properties, and of course fit (from the heel right down to the toebox room). Between the courtesy shoes that I receive for sampling and those that I purchased, I can safely say that the ones below are those that regularly find action.
Here they are in no particular order, including their ride characteristics and mileage logged. And yes, there’s no such thing as a perfect pair of shoes.
Performance (general training, HM and FM racing)
Racing (track, up to HM)
With all the gear I ever need in place, all that needs to be done are, well, all the running.
My reviews of the shoes mentioned here are posted in the review section of the blog.
[dropcase]I[/dropcasef shoe development can be described as a footrace, Skechers Performance have been engaging in a sprint, building iterations upon iterations at a furious pace over the past 2 years. The exercise was understandable for the then-fledgling company. They need to change the serious runners’ perceptions of the brand. Having continuously enhanced the core models such as the GORun (GR), GORun Ride (GRR) and GOMeb Speed (GS), the latest versions are their best yet. I reviewed the first version of the GR back in April 2012 and how much have the shoes evolved since then. I’ve taken the latest GR4 and GS3 for a handful of very short runs and my favorite choice is already becoming clear, even at this stage.
Note: I wear a 10, so the weight shown below are that of my size.
The original GORun was Skechers Performance first model back in 2012. Until recently, the GR3 was the best version produced in the series. Now, the GR4 looks set to continue that upward progression. Revamped entirely, the shoe looks unrecognizable. The stretchy upper, which features little chevron motifs, is now made of a single piece construction. Unlike the older versions, there are very prominent reflective strips at the heel section. There are no detectable wayward seams inside the shoe. Thin overlays crisscross the upper, some fulfilling their cosmetic obligations while some reinforce stress areas. Typical of the performance models, 2 sets of elasticated laces are provided and they run through a somewhat tight tab on the moderately padded tongue. The tongue isn’t gusseted. The heel counter is now a touch stiffer towards the back but perhaps the most obvious update is the “Quick-Fit” pull tab at the collar. Replace the stock laces with bungee cords and you have your self a tri shoe.
The Resalye midsole is more sculpted than ever. Deeper grooves sweep diagonally up and backwards lending a fast look to the shoe. The GR4 has a forefoot and heel stack height of 14mm and 18mm respectively for an overall of 4mm drop without the supplied (but optional) sockliner. In terms of softness, it has a 50 durometer midsole which leans more towards the GRR4’s 47 than the GS3’s 57. The higher the number, the firmer the shoe.
On the outsole, the changes are quite obvious too. The pods (now called Power Pillars, instead of Impulse Sensors) are now more prominent and deeper. They should be more durable but we’ll see if they’re pebble magnets. The GR4 weighs in at 7.65oz without the sockliner and 8.25oz with.
I’ve since put on a some miles in them, outdoors and on the treadmill and here’s my preliminary take. The GR4 now feels (and looks) more like a traditional shoe. There’s less sock-like feel of the GR3 and depending on your preference, that may be a good or bad thing. I’ve no particular preference as long as the shoe remains light, flexible yet provides good support and cushioning for the marathon. And the GR4 certainly has those on tap. There’s more structure in the midfoot but amount of flexibility is thankfully retained. The midfoot bump is now almost non-existent and the shoe wears like a traditional performance trainer/racer in the veins of the Lunaracer 3, but without the restrictive toebox of the Nike.
The tongue secures very well and I’ve yet to encounter any slipping and sliding. There’s a little more padding here and there but there’s been no rubbing and hot spots so far. The initial apprehension on the Quick-Fit tab rubbing on the Achilles proved unfounded since I don’t run sockless. Compared to the GR3, the 4 feels a little snug in the midfoot with a tapered front. I’m not sure if it’s just the upper re-tweak or there’s been a change in the platform. I’d strongly suggest trying a half size larger before purchasing just to make sure the tapered front poses no issues.
I’ve been experimenting the shoes with thinner and thicker sockliners and found the thinner ones to work best in providing a nice blend of cushioning and responsiveness. I’ve no complains thus far and the GR4 is following me back to Penang where I’m getting some longer runs in.
The GORun 4 will be available at all local Skechers boutiques in December.
GORun Ride 4
Other than the upper, the GRR4 remains pretty much unchanged in terms of its midsole and outsole. The upper, which has been given more whizz, no longer possess a sterile look with the color gradation providing a decidedly modern feel. As you can see, it’s also given the “Quick-Fit” pull tab at the collar. There are 2 large reflective strips on either side of the tab.
The GRR4 has a forefoot and heel stack heights of 13.5mm and 17.5mm respectively for an overall of 4mm drop without the optional sockliner. While the stack heights are very close to the GR4’s, the GRR4 possesses a softer 47 durometer Resalyte midsole which is felt largely in the heel. In terms of overlays, there really isn’t much going on topside, which is kept very simple – a strip and there, that’s about it.
The GRR4 weighs in at 8.0oz without the sockliner and 8.65oz with. I’ve not run in the GRR4 but they feel roomier than the GRR3 [review here] just walking around in them. That had me wondering a bit until I did a comparison of the 3 and 4. If you look closely, the 4 no longer sports another layer of synthetics in the front lateral and medial areas (where the pinkies are). The reduced structure no longer restricts the further splaying of the foot. I hope that won’t result in the foot sliding around too much, though.
It remains to be seen if the GRR4 has a more involving feel than its predecessor. It will, however, make for a good recovery shoe or one to pull on for a relaxing 10K.
The GORun Ride 4 will be available at all local Skechers boutiques in December.
GOMeb Speed 3
The most responsive shoe among the 3 has to be the GS3. It was the shoe which Meb wore to his 2014 Boston victory. His was obviously customized to his narrower last but in the mass release version, I’m really glad that the latest Performance Fit sports a slightly wider feel than previous versions. The GS3 definitely feels less restrictive as well with a reportedly smaller DuPont Delrin stability plate in the midsole.
Like the GR4, the GS3 also has a seamless interior. I put my hand in and couldn’t feel any rough seams or stitching. As with the other models in the same release, the GS3 has a snazzy upper with added trims and highlights which look outstanding.
The GS3 has the same stack heights as GR4 with a forefoot and heel of 14mm and 18mm respectively for an overall of 4mm. However, at 57 durometer, it’s the firmest of the lot. The GS3 with its non-removable sockliner weighs in at 7.95oz which is means the GR4 sans the sockliner is 0.3oz lighter! Interestingly the GS has grown progressively heavier with each versions: GS1 was 6.75oz and the GS2 was at 6.95oz. The GS3 is a full ounce heavier than version 2! You can read the earlier review here.
Being a racing flat, the GS3 has a narrower fit throughout yet opens up just enough for the toes. There’s even some room for the toes to wiggle around. The heel is securely locked down and the minimally padded tongue doesn’t slide around nor bunch up. In my opinion, it’s the best fitting GOMeb Speed yet.
Compared to the GS2, the GS3 has a palpable softer feel, yet it retains the snappy take off of the older shoe. I suspect the softer foam has something to do with that, a really nice tuning job. Another minor tweak is the positioning of the rubber plugs, where 2 have been moved further back towards the heel. See a trend there?
Unfortunately I’ve yet to take the GS3 on an extended run around. The couple of very short runs I’ve done in them wasn’t that enjoyable due to my current fitness level. The body took a battering from the grueling 56K under the hot sun and has yet to recover. Just couldn’t shake the fatigued feeling off. Regardless, I’ll bide my recovery time and focus on strength work in the gym. Can’t wait to be back on the fast lane!
The GOMeb Speed 3 will be available at all local Skechers boutiques in January 2015, in time for your new racing season!
Disclaimer: The Skechers GORun 4, GORun Ride 4 and GOMeb Speed 3 are media samples kindly provided by Skechers Malaysia. Opinions stated are my own.
Announcing the Jabra Sport PulseTM Wireless – world’s first stereo earbuds with integrated heart rate monitor and Sport Life App; 2015 CES Innovations Award Honouree
KUALA LUMPUR: November 11, 2014 – Take your training to the next level and get the ultimate wireless workout with Jabra Sport Pulse Wireless earbuds and Sport Life Application.
Award winning Freestyle footballer, Nam the Man proved this point with his energetic performance during the launch of the Jabra Sport Pulse Wireless recently held at the True Fitness Gym, Jaya 33, Petaling Jaya. Nam also wowed crowds when he demoed the Jabra Sport Wireless – performing some thrilling freestyle moves at Radioshack, Mid Valley Megamall.
This all-in-one training solution is a world first, combining an in-ear biometric heart rate monitor, immersive Dolby® sound and real-time voice coaching, to inspire you to achieve the impossible. Cut the clutter and experience true freedom of movement without compromise.
Training the Smart Way
Jabra’s intelligent Sport Life App ensures you get the most out of your Sport Pulse Wireless earbuds with integrated heart rate monitor, helping you to plan, track and evaluate your workout. Test your fitness level and aerobic capacity; adjust your heart rate zone to optimise your training and set goals based on distance, time or calories burnt.
“Jabra has a strong legacy of innovation in hearable technology and Sport Pulse Wireless is no exception. These are world’s first earbuds to have an integrated heart rate monitor, heralding the next generation of intelligent audio solutions for fitness fanatics that allows our customers to maximise & precisely control their fitness programs based on their desired training zone,” said Ann Goh, Sales Director for Central Asia, Consumer Solutions, Jabra.
Free Your Workout with Premium Wireless Sound
Get motivated by listening to your favourite songs the way you want to hear them with a customisable and powerful Dolby® enhanced sound experience that delivers world-class wireless music performance. Personalised audio coaching provides feedback on your workout every step of the way, letting you control your music and your training within a single app.
As Tough As You Are
Focus on your workout without distraction – Sport Pulse Wireless earbuds are built to take a pounding. Tested to the extreme, they are sweat and storm-proof, so there’s no excuse for missing a training session. Ergonomic Audio Response ScienceTM technology ensures a secure, comfortable fit that’s lightweight in a compact design to keep you focused on your training, bringing you one step closer to exceeding your goal.
Track Your Workouts with Medical Accuracy
Jabra commissioned Campbell University in North Carolina, USA to independently verify the performance of the heart rate monitor technology for fitness and active usage. The comprehensive trial included runners on a treadmill and simultaneously tested Jabra Sport Pulse Wireless against a medical electrocardiogram (ECG) machine. The results clearly showed an extraordinary accuracy, proving the advanced nature of the Jabra in-ear heart rate technology.
Part of the Jabra Wireless Sporting Family
Sport Pulse Wireless earbuds continue Jabra’s tradition of world-firsts, building on our solid heritage of superior sound engineering. They enhance our family of wireless audio solutions for people who’re serious about sport, complementing the award-winning Jabra Sport Rox Wireless and Sport Wireless+ earbuds.
Jabra Sport Pulse Wireless will be on sale in stores from November onwards at a price of RM799. The product will be available at all Machines, Connect Store, Radio Shack and Harvey Norman around the country.
Jabra is the brand name of GN Netcom, a subsidiary of GN Store Nord A/S (GN), listed on NASDAQ OMX. Jabra employs approximately 925 people worldwide and, in 2013, produced an annual revenue which amounted to DKK 2,612 million. Jabra is a world leader in the development, manufacturing and marketing of a broad range of communications and audio solutions. With a reputation for innovation, reliability, and ease of use that goes back more than two decades, Jabra’s consumer and business divisions produce corded and wireless headsets, plus mobile and in-office speakerphones that empower individuals and businesses through increased freedom of movement, comfort, and functionality.
Until recently, little did I know that we have a Malaysian company which is in the business of supplying such tags. Calling itself Malaysia Military Tag (MMT), the company specializes in making customized identification tags. Other than the macho military style tags, there are also ultra durable paracord bracelets, emergency bracelets, keychains and personalized windscreen stickers. Because these folks are local, the prices are all lower making it very accessible to everyone.
Ordering is as simple as heading on to their website, select your material, size and color preferences, enter the texts you want embossed (MMT say this makes it more durable than engraving) and upload your personalized image.
MMT is not a new company. In fact, they’ve supplied large quantities to corporations and individuals, and from the reviews, providing good and responsive service shouldn’t be an issue.
For more about the Single Standard Military Tag, head on to the product page [link] Street price: Rm25.00
For more about the Single Logo Identification Tag, head on to the product page [link] Street price: RM29.00
The good people in Malaysia Military Tag have sponsored 3 Single Standard Military tags and 2 Single Logo Identification tags for this blog’s giveaway. The raffle opens Nov 13th 2014 12am (Malaysian time) and ends Nov 16th 12am (Malaysian time). As always, the draw will be randomly determined via Rafflecopter. Here’s how the it works:
a Rafflecopter giveaway
Disclaimer: Malaysia Military Tag is an advertiser on this blog. However, I receive no payment nor commission for the running of this giveaway
Like a bolt (ooops!) out of the sky, the soon-to-be-in-stores Skechers GOrun Ride 3 Bolt (GRR3 Bolt/Bolt) landed on my laps quite suddenly last Friday. Because it was so totally unexpected, I braved the Friday+Downpour+5pm-KL-Traffic phenomenon to fight my way to the Skechers office after work.
Let’s get on with some of the nuts and bolts (ooops again!) of, ummm, the Bolt.
You wouldn’t be wrong if you dismiss the Bolt, just by looking at the photos, that this is another example of a wolf in a sheep’s clothing. After all everything other than the eye-catching upper’s the same as the GRR3 [my review of the GRR3 here].
But then, there’s the knitted fabric upper. As it is, the upper found on the GRR3 is already well made, as with most of the Performance series’. FitKnit isn’t unlike other knitted upper that’s marketed by other sports companies and I’ve worn several of those (and liked them a lot too). It’s basically iterations of stitching technology that see a tighter weave around the stress-zones, for example, the toebox, heel counter and flex areas. The result is a single piece seamless upper that has good breathability.
In terms of weight, the GRR3 (with sockliner) sits between the Bolt with and without the sockliner. Even at its heaviest 8.9oz for US10, the Bolt is featherweight compared to Zoom Elite 7, Pegasus 31 and even lighter than the Boston Boost 5 (review coming up).
If you’ve not worn any shoes with a knitted upper before, you’d be interested to know that there are subtle differences to the wear experience. Due to the absence of overlays, you’ll discover a little bit more real estate in the toebox. Indeed, my US10 felt roomier than usual. My first run in the Bolt was a hilly 12.5K. I didn’t lace up as tightly as I normally do when I race. While my feet didn’t slide to and fro even when I hit the downhills, there was a slight sideway movement in the forefoot region. There wasn’t any blisters though, and there was room to lock down the lacing further. No real issues but I just thought it’s something worth mentioning to guide you when trying the Bolt out.
Interestingly, as opposed to other brands’ knitted uppers, Skechers FitKnit retains the stretch properties used in the mesh models like the GRR3. There’s not a stitch on the Bolt that adds to a stiff wear experience, even where the knit are most dense.
Coming into the scene late in the adoption of knitted uppers, Skechers GOrun Ride 3 Bolt expands the brand’s tradition of great uppers with FitKnit. The result is an all-round improved package for the runner in the tradition of the GRR3. Those looking for a lightweight cushioned trainer suitable for up to the marathon distance should check them out. They’ve the looks to go with jeans and will make an excellent and versatile shoe. Wherever I travel to, I’ve always packed an extra pair of running shoes for my exploratory runs. With the Bolt, it will serve as a 2-in-1, suitable for sightseeing and putting in the mileage while traveling.
The Bolt will hit the local stores from this weekend and will retail for RM419 (men) and RM399 (women).
Disclosure: The Skechers GOrun Ride 3 Bolt is a media sample provided by Skechers Malaysia. I’ve only put in approximately 20K in them but the ride is similar to the GRR3.
This is the final part of my take on the Samsung duo of Galaxy S5 and Gear Fit. If you’re interested to find out more about my usage of the devices, follow the links below:
First impressions| HRM, Distance Tracking and Coaching Functions
So after more than 2 weeks, what’s my take on the S5+GF combo? As mentioned in my earlier posts, I don’t bring along my phone when I go out running, so my time was mostly spent with the GF. Since I’m not an Android user, I stay away from delving too much into the interface. Where menus and UI are covered, it was done from the angle of usability rather than technical aspect. With that out of the way, let’s get things going.
What I like:
Could be better:
There you have it, a runner’s take on the GF. It’s Samsung’s first real dip into the lifestyle tracking segment and a decent entry at that. It’s the glaring misses, no doubt, include the lack of integration with online communities or for that matter with other exercise apps on the phone such as Endomondo, Runkeeper or MapMyRun. Having said that, there are a many fitness enthusiasts out there who run with their smartphones and who aren’t anal about tracking their exact mileage nor need perfection in their measurements. These group may find the GF a logical accessory to their Samsung smartphones. The competition in this segment is stiff, both in pricing and features. The S5 is currently going for RM1,999 (16GB LTE model) and Gear Fit RM599. Unfortunately there are no bundled pricing.
Disclaimer: The Galaxy S5 and Gear Fit were media review units courtesy of Samsung Malaysia Electronics (SME) Sdn. Bhd. No payments nor complimentary devices were given in exchange for this series of postings.
Note: I posted my first impression of the Samsung Gear Fit and Galaxy S5 here, so that could be your starting point.
I’ve since spent a week with the duo and gotten more at home using either gadget. The GF pretty much stayed on my wrist throughout the day, silently recording my steps, exercises and sleep. The function I use most often is the Heart Rate (HR) sensor as well as the Pedometer. The rest, not so much other than poking around. Prior to this head-to-head test, I wasn’t too impressed by the HR readings of the GF. The readings ranged from low to mid-50s (waking up), 70s (middle of the day), stressful meeting with the boss (70s) and while working at the desk (60s). Since the only time I ever monitor my HR is when I run, I found these readings strangely low. There’s only one way to find out – a throw down! In the mix, the Garmin 620.
I strapped on the Garmin HRM chest strap, stood in place and started the watch and GF. The following photos show the recording. Photo was taken by a bemused colleague.
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