Category Archives: Nike
As I’m getting ready to catch some really long-overdue break, I thought I’d put out a quick post to recap the notable gear that I’ve had the chance to try the past 12 months. My running are done almost exclusively on roads, within sane distances and timeframes, making my gear needs rather simple. I’ve no need for hydration vests, 50-hour GPS watches, trekking poles, whistles and space blankets ! While it’s not surprising that the resulting list came out rather short, it was eye-opening to discover that my favorites were nearly all old releases! It is true that good stuff need not be the very latest gear to come out into the market nor be the most expensive.
You’ll see that all my favorite shoes, aside from the lime-green colorway preference, were released in 2014, with 2 arriving on our shores early this year. In no particular order, here they are…
- Saucony Kinvara 5 (Q2 ’14). Marathon PR shoe for 2 consecutive years. I didn’t review the regular K5 but did one for the Runshield version which you can read here.
- adidas Boston Boost 5 (Q3 ’14). Its forefoot fit is a little narrow and rides firm up front but I’ve enjoyed my races in them. Reviewed here.
- Nike LunarTempo (end ’14/early ’15). Looks like the Lunaracer but it’s not the Lunaracer. An all-round shoe for speedwork, long runs, Half and Full Marathons. This is one of the best shoes of the year and I rank it higher than the Zante for all the mentioned versatility. Plus the LunarTempo has a forgiving ride and even an accommodating forefoot! Reviewed here.
- NB Zante (end ’14/early ’15). Love it for shorter races. It just edges out the GOmeb Speed 2 due to its softer feel and sock-like fit. Reviewed here.
The observant runner will notice that the mentioned shoes retail between RM399 to RM450. With the price of goods ever soaring, that price range appears to be the sweet-spot for performance shoes nowadays.
I’ve worn the 405, 620, Fenix 1 as well as the Polar RCX5 over the years but where technological advancements progressively make better equipment can be seen on what we wear on our wrists. The Garmin Forerunner 225 is a simple watch, has no annoying bugs like the Fenix, easy to use, and has a built-in Mio-based HRM sensor which is accurate (as cross-verified during an ECG test). The sweetener was the fact that I bought it at the GCAM15 expo at a price that’s cheaper than in Malaysia (with a TNF backpack thrown in!) means this watch is a keeper. In case my wife reads this, I’d like to state that I’ve sold off all the older watches!
Sony Smart B-Trainer. I don’t think I’ve seen a single piece of gear which can do this much. Your smartwatch definitely can’t spin your tunes without a paired phone, can it? Well, this Sony can. It plays music, tracks your activities with a built-in GPS, measures your heart-rate, reads out your run metrics via a plethora of sensors, takes voice memos, works in the pool, connects via Bluetooth and NFC. That feature set alone warrants a special shout-out. Last I checked, the price has dropped to RM799. Reviewed here.
Shoe geeks are already rubbing their hands in glee with the teasers coming out of the Outdoor Retailer expo in the US. But my wishlist is pretty simple. I’ve eyes on the Saucony Kinvara 7 and the Triumph ISO 2 which will be updated with the Everun material. If the K7 fits anything like the K5, my racing shoe of choice for GCAM16 is already a foregone conclusion! I’m also curious about the Skechers GOTrail Ultra 3 (moving away from the GOrun Ultra nomenclature) and other FitKnit models from the company.
What about you? Any gear in particular that you’re eagerly awaiting? What are your favorites of 2015? Let me know in the comments.
Thinking of running your best marathon on a scenic and flat course? Well entries for the 2016 Gold Coast Airport Marathon is open now. With public holidays slated at that time of the year next year, join many fellow Malaysians and I in Gold Coast next July where you and your family can run and then enjoy what the place can offer. For details, please refer to my blog post here where I’ve shared some important info for you to plan your travel and race!
How do you review a shoe which started out with the same name as one half of 2 trailblazing shoes but looks completely different from that classic, had that name changed in the middle of its product cycle resulting in 2 confusing labels in the market, *draws breath* and yet bears a striking resemblance to yet another updated model? By going back to 2008.
Back then, the Beaverton company released what I’d call a game-changing midsole, the Lunarlite. I covered the product launch in this post. Done reading that?
OK, the pair of shoes launched back then were the Lunaracer+ (review) and LunarTrainer+. Of course, the “+” has been dropped some time ago since the company stopped integrating the NikePlus sensor into their core line of shoes. The gaining popularity of wearable tech such as GPS watches and smartphones saw to that demise. Coming back to the shoes, the Lunar midsole generated as much hype as adidas’ Boost did in recent years. Deservedly so, in my opinion, because both midsole technologies were 2 of the best I’ve worn to-date with the Lunar material holding an edge over the Boost in that it’s lighter. I ran the 2008 New York City Marathon in the Lunaracer, so it holds a special place in my heart.
Note: When I mention Lunar midsole, I’m actually generalising since Nike has several flavours of the midsole from Lunarlite in the case of the original Lunaracer+ and LunarTrainer+, to Lunarlon we see today.
I’ve a love-hate relationship with the Lunaracer 2+ (a dreadful misfire – review here) and subsequently Lunaracer 3 (which I didn’t review). The issue I had with them was primarily the toe box, which was extremely constricting to my feet. More often than not, I’d end up with blackened toenails after my marathons. Then along came the LunarTempo (LT) earlier this year. A completely new shoe, there’s more than a passing sense of familiarity with it since it bears a lot of resemblance to the Lunaracer.
When it was first launched, the label on the LT read Lunar Trainer, which was misleading. If you’re a Nike devotee, you’d think that this is a reboot of the original Lunar Trainer. Several months later, new colorways of the LT started emerging on the shelves bearing the new LunarTempo moniker. The pair used for this review still bears the old name though.
So how does the LunarTempo feel like? Pretty amazing. Gone are the restrictive upper, the LT has a wider forefoot and fits truer to size. Even though I could wear the US10, I opted for a 10.5 just so that it’s more accommodating. Toe box height is a little more than the Lunaracer’s but it’s really about the updated engineered mesh which is now softer and forgiving as opposed to the stiffer and unyielding variety found in the racers of yore. I obviously love the fact that the 10.5 weighs only 7.15oz, thus keeping to its lightweight lineage. To put the weight into perspective, 7.15oz for US10.5 is even lighter than the US10 Free 3.0 v5 (reviewed here). Yet for all its lightness, the LT still provides adequate support and cushioning for distances up to the marathon for me.
Along with the updated upper, the first eyelets have been moved further up, allowing for a more relaxed fit around the forefoot are. The padding on the tongue and heel collar are neither too thin nor too plush. There’s a certain balanced feel to the shoe. Everything feels just right.
The Flyknit strands, which have plenty of reflective accents, now peek from under the outer mesh in both the lateral and medial parts of the upper. There are also greater use of reflective materials, most notably in the heel counter. All in all, the upper now looks tidier compared to the Racer’s mess.
There’s no wayward stitching on the walls of the interior, no exposed seams and there’s a layer of thin mesh (the black portion in the photo above) which prevents the Flywire strands from rubbing on the feet. I also stuck my hands inside feeling around for any potential hotspot areas but couldn’t find any.
The midsole design retains a similar (but not exact, in particular the lateral heel section) look to the accordion folds of the Racer and thus offer the same lightweight smooth ride. The LT has a softer ride than the Adios Boost, Boston Boost 5, Hitogami, ST Racer, Breakthru and Zante but a touch firmer than the Kinvara 5.
The outsole now sports more (and thicker) solid rubber plugs which should add greater durability. As mentioned, the ride is quick and smooth. Though there’s no overt flex grooves, the Lunarlon midsole is quite flexible – not as supremely bendy like a Nike Free or Skechers GObionic 2 but more than sufficient for a performance trainer.
The heel cushioning is more than adequate and while the toe-off is firm, it retains a tangible softness to it. Most fans of the LT will wear it for uptempo runs and as a marathon shoe but it will be quite at home at slower pace as well. For trackwork, however, I’d go with a firmer shoe.
I snagged the LunarTempo at a great price of RM230 (RRP RM379) at Sportland IOI Mall. Gems such as the LunarTempo (and Lunar Launch) are not sold in Tier-1 Nike boutiques but rather Sportland and Stadium outlets, so when shopping for running gear, be sure to also look to the smaller retailers for great deals.
Note: This is a repost from 2008 as I’m migrating some shoe reviews from another website.
My love affair with the Lunar series continue with the trialing of the Lunaracer+. Being one half of the 2 models released by Nike which feature the space age Lunarlite foam, the racer took my running experience to another level.
When Wong (EKIN with Nike Sales Malaysia) handed me the shoebox, I had to shake it to ensure that the shoes were inside and when I opened the package to reveal the shoes, my colleagues were astounded by its lightness. One remarked that if thrown at someone across the room, the shoes may not reach their destination and if used to smack someone, it may not cause any pain! While I won’t try out the latter theory, I certainly want to test them out as quickly as I can.
I made a visual inspection of the shoes and saw that the midsole construction looks that of the Trainer. The main difference is on the upper. Instead of the Trainer’s white mesh, the racers sport a grey white translucent paper- like material. No visible stitching are seen. In their place, certain stress points had additional strips of yellow suede “welded” or crimped to the upper. Threads of Flywire interlaced the upper material providing just enough structure to support the shoe shape and the wearer. The sockliner is a thin foam and under the left piece is the spot for the Nike+ sensor. The outsole difference is less apparent. What’s obvious are the more liberal application of the BRS1000 and solid rubber plugs for better durability.
I made the right call by opting for 1/2 a size larger for the racer. The shoe fits like a glove and here’s where the next difference lies – their lack of weight. At 5.5oz, they are nearly half the weight of the already lightweight Trainers. The racers are low profile (see Notes section) and you’ll feel your calves walking around in them. With a planned 21K the next day, I limited my first run to a 5K and try as hard as I might,I had a hard time slowing down! I didn’t know if it’s the build, weight or material I just automatically ran in a light and efficient manner. Tap and go, tap and go. More mid to forefoot landing than on the heel. I simply went faster and couldn’t wait for the tougher run the next morning.
21K later, I was astounded. My calves and shins were just a bit sore but that was the legs adjusting to the lower ride. Since the first 2 runs, I’ve put the pair to some really hardcore workouts which included back to back long runs at different pace.The racers defy logic – mad science at work. Consider the following facts:
- I’ve not worn any kind of shoes below 9oz. I’m just not biomechanically efficient enough. Yet I was happily running in these 5.5oz babies chewing up the miles.
- The legs didn’t feel trashed. I managed 166K mileage over 9 days which included 3 back to back long runs and several shorter workouts with only a day’s rest. The longest run completed so far in them was a 32K done at marathon pace.
- Durability is top-notch. After over 100Ks in them, even the “nipples” on the outsoles are still there.
Pulling on the racers give you a boost of confidence.You run lighter and faster. I saw my running form improved and ran faster in training than in race.They totally eclipse my hitherto favorite, the Lunar Trainer and that’s saying a lot, since the Trainers can certainly hold their own.
The Trainers are better ventilated. It felt warmer in the racer. I spoke to Wong and he confirmed that said that this could be due to the upper material used to support the utilization of the Flywire. The typical mesh won’t hold the fibers, so a stronger material was used.
In conclusion, all I can say is that I’m completely bowled over by the racers. Prior to them, there is no way on earth that I can wear shoes this light but they have everything a weekend warrior needs. I’m all the more efficient and faster runner because of it.
If you think the Trainers are good, wait till you try the racers. It dispels the notion that a shoe this minimum and light can’t be worn by non- elites. Both the Lunar Trainer and Lunaracer are now available at the Nike stores.
As you can see from the photos on the left and bottom, the shoe is really holding up with the mileage work. I’ve since logged over 170K in them and the outsole looks just a little worn, which is really good for a racing shoe.
Needless to say the shoe is Nike+ enabled, so you can wear it with a Nike+ Sportband.
The Lunaracer is definitely built like a racer.According to a shoe techie, the racer’s heel is 6mm higher than the forefoot. The racer’s forefoot is 16mm while the rear is 22mm.The forefoot-heel ratio of 6mm is half of a typical training shoe’s build.The Nike Free 3.0 is 19/23 (4), Free 4.0 is 17.5/23.5 (6), Vaporfly 21/33 (12).
For: Efficient, lightweight runner seeking an ultralight, responsive yet stable cushioned shoe for speedwork and racing.
Not for: Runners seeking more stability should look to Nike’s stability models such as Structure Triax and Equalon. A bit of pinching on the right shoe when toeing off. Some may encounter rubbing as well.
Bottomline: Wear socks that protect the heel and instep area, especially where the shoe flexes. Experiment with various lacing configuration. The Lunaracer+ is the shoe you’ll want to wear if you’re gunning for a personal best.
Disclaimer: The Nike Lunaracer+ is a media review pair provided by Nike Sales Malaysia.
Choon Yuen returns with another shoe review. We collectively wish he buys more shoes.
Here I am again hijacking the blog, pretending the blog is mine and spending a few minutes blabbing about shoes LOL. With my first major race for 2015 over back in early April, I was looking around for a nice pair of shoes to replace my current favorites the Asics Electro33 (my PB shoes, mind you) for the upcoming Gold Coast Airport Marathon (GCAM) in July. Come to think of it, I really didn’t need to look for a new pair as I’m pretty sure the Asics still have enough life to carry me for another race before officially retiring it into my walking shoes. Nevertheless hanging out with Jamie and Nick, you will always be poisoned with buying new pair of shoes even you really didn’t need to.
Now let’s see what we have here. My first pair of running shoes purchased was the original Nike LunaRacer then followed by Nike LunaRacer+3 (Racer) skipping the version 2. When Jamie poisoned me with the Nike Lunar Tempo (Tempo) which is the trainer version of the racer, immediately I was sold even before looking at the actual shoes. True enough the Lunar Tempo according to Nike, was designed for runners who often take the Racer for long run training. In other words, you will have the best from the Racer (lightweight and fast) plus the extra cushion you need for day to day training from the LunarTempo. Judging from experience with the Racer, I upsized my purchase with a full size to combat the narrow toe box which was a big mistake…well not that big, but still a mistake.
Honestly, after 40km or so I didn’t feel right at home with the Tempo, something just didn’t feel quite right. Nick advised me to try on thicker shocks, and it worked!! In hindsight, I should have tried upsizing by only half instead of the full size due to a welcome improvement on the upper mesh which I will explain later. For the next 20km +, it felt like I have found my shoes for GCAM, at least for now, let’s wait until I test run the NB Zante in the coming weeks before deciding which pair flies with me hehe.
The Tempo by nature is designed to be the trainer version of the Racer, naturally you are right to expect a few familiar characteristics brought over from the Racer+3. First off, on the weight department, weighing at 6.8oz for a Size 9, it’s just a mere 0.4oz heavier than the Racer, impressive for a trainer. Secondly, the responsive Lunarlon midsole are retained with a slight tweak in the groove pattern near the heel area. Then there is the Nike Flywire system used for fit adjustment wrapping your feet like what a pair of socks would do holding your feet firmly preventing any slide. Other than the above, the Tempo is a different shoe from the Racer+3.
The highly breathable seamless upper mesh has a slight tweak; it now feels softer and it is more stretchable, effectively taking away the narrow toe box feeling experienced from the Racer (my mistake to upsize by a full size). Couple with the Flywire over the midfoot allowing variable wraparound pressure/tightness adjustment depending on individual preferences holding your feet in place. Once it is adjusted properly, I did not notice any foot sliding even with upsizing. The heel collar as with the shoe tongue is slightly padded and there are no visible plastic/film over the heel counter. Instead the heel counter is packed with patterned reflective material, effective and pleasing the eyes.
The insole sees a change; it is softer and thinner compare to the Racer version and is made with Ortholite material. Lunarlon midsole are slightly thicker as you can see from the picture below. It delivers sufficient cushioning yet not taking away the ground feel returning the rebound energy that one would expect from a racing flat. Carbon rubbers are placed strategically at the wear zones with very minimal visible wear noticed after closed to 70km now. Overall the ride is comfortable and smooth.
Although it is still too early to draw a conclusion on durability with merely 70km mileage, but there isn’t anything to pick on the shoe. It is lightweight, responsive, flexible, has good ground feel and fit snugly thanks to the stretchable mesh and Flywire system. The shoes has grown on me since the initial rubbish 40km that I’ve done earlier and this little package can double as a my racing shoes too (note: I am not a fast runner and you may not agree with me on the racing bits). Okay perhaps there is one thing I want to pick on the shoe which is the colorway available in this part of market…boring!!!
Nike LunarTempo is retailing at RM379 but strangely you will not find it in Nike store in Malaysia. This pair was purchased at Stadium KLCC.
The NUC is happening this weekend. Standards are raised for this year’s edition – its 2nd year running – and to qualify for the finisher swags, one would have to tackle at least 50K. I’ve only gone up Nuang once (Trans Nuang epic recap here) and that was achieved in a totally different condition than presently. The terrain was impossibly slick with deep ruts on the ground cut by heavy rainfall ready to trap some poor ankles.
Now that we’re deep into a drought season with temps nudging at 40 Celcius everyday, the same paths up the 530m CP will be bone dry. The ruts will still be there and it will be hard going for most runners. There’s also a chance of bush fires, reported over the last few days. Other than staying well hydrated, carrying too much additional weight won’t make sense. One would already be working against the harsh weather and long and challenging ascent/descent afterall. It was with those considerations in mind that I thought about what shoes I should be going with. For awhile I thought of sacrificing a little efficiency by going with the Fellraiser but after sleeping on it for a few nights, I’m beginning to feel that taking that beast out on Sunday would be akin to bringing a howitzer into an urban warfare setting.
The choice naturally narrowed down to 2 low-drop shoes. One is light, has great cushioning, roomy toebox and 4mm drop. The other has a touch less cushioning resulting in a more responsive ride, possesses a roomy toebox, 4mm drop and aggressive lugs. And those 2 shoes would be the Wildhorse and GObionic Trail. They go well with my favorite Drymax socks too. I believe they should excel on the dry trails and therefore would accompany me to Nuang.
My gear’s all packed which is quite an easy thing to do since I’m keeping everything simple, and it does get easier as one does more of such long haul events. The drive to Pangsun will be very early since the race starts 6:30am. I’ll need to catch some good sleep these few nights.
If you’re going to Nuang this weekend, be it to run or to support, don’t hesitate to scream, “You worm!” and go all Gunny on me. I’ll need the extra shot in the arm to get me through hell, but go easy with the waterguns, ok?
The new year has entered its 2nd week. Chances are there will be a number of folks out there who made the decision to start exercising and maintain an active lifestyle (read: spending less time on the Couch of Doom playing Call of Duty – both CoD!) running into motivational challenges. It’s tougher when you’re in it alone, with your friends opting for a session at the corner mamak stall rather than out sweating.
Other than being really strong-willed and determined, it’s good to know that there are gear and apps out there which can nudge you along until such time when even a monsoon won’t keep you indoors. I’ve no experience in sport accessories like Fitbit and Nike+ FuelBand (Google them up) but such devices employ the use of sensors and accelerometer to track movement – some can even track your sleep pattern – and convert them into points, which you can then track online. Nothing like seeing the points go up to keep you motivated.
If you don’t have such gear, you can always rely on the piece of electronics which we always have with us – the smartphone. The iPhone especially have a wide range of apps for just about anything. In this case let’s have a look at the Nike+ Move app which was launched to capitalize on the iPhone 5S M7 co-processor. The M7 manages and tracks the phone’s gyro, accelerometer as well as compass. It works quietly in the background sipping battery power so, on paper at least, it won’t be the power hogger that most of us fear.
When you launch the Nike+ Move app for the first time you’ll have a step-by-step walk-through of how you can start collecting points. As you swipe through the screens, you’ll be apprised of your progress over the weeks, and you can see the breakdown of your activities, put yourself in a Leaderboard, with options to share your achievements to the social media channels (but of course!). The following are the screen transitions
Since it does all the above, one may wonder if the app is cannibalizing Nike’s very own FuelBand. To which the answer from Nike was a “No”. I don’t have the FuelBand, so I’m unable to comment on that. The app is a quick and simple starter for fitness newbies who want to track every bit of their movements throughout the day. It doesn’t track your mileage nor intensity but rather in minutes and NikeFuel points. It’s a standalone and doesn’t integrate with the Nike+ website which is a downer. As the newbies progresses, he or she may find other apps more appropriate when it comes to tracking specific activities and relegate the use of this one to keeping the time spent on the couch/office chair to a minimum.
The Nike+ Move app requires an iPhone 5S (due to the M7 co-processor) and is available free in the iTunes Store. Download yours here. Nike also has other fitness apps like the ones below. Search them out in the iTunes Store.
Nike Tech Pack debut with its first installment–the Nike Tech Fleece Collection.
Malaysia, August 27th 2013 – For Fall/Holiday 2013, Nike updates classic styles with a revolutionary reinvention of the fabric of sport: fleece. Evolving the fit, feel, and function of Nike’s most iconic sportswear silhouettes, the Nike Tech Fleece Collection represents the next generation of classic sport apparel.
The Nike Tech Fleece fabric offers the ultimate in lightweight warmth that responds to the natural motion of the wearer. Plush foam placed between layers of cotton jersey creates a tri-layer fabric that provides the ultimate in comfort and warmth when needed. The smooth jersey facing gives the garments a modern, streamlined look both inside and out, while the inner foam enhances the fleece’s functionality. It is lighter, warmer, more breathable than its predecessors, and looks as good as it performs.
To highlight the ground-breaking fabric, each style was stripped down to its essential elements and rebuilt from the inside out. Arms were articulated for enhanced mobility while restructuring helped slim the silhouettes and reduced overall top stitching and seaming. Additionally, traditional ribbed cuffs were replaced by black elastic micro binding for a snug, ergonomic fit and updated appearance that complements bold black zippers and a traditional grey palette.
The collection’s backbone, the Nike Tech Fleece Windrunner, revamps our most iconic jacket. Available for both men and women, it combines a full-zip front with side zip pockets and elastic micro binding at the hem. Plus, the women’s version features thumbholes at the cuffs for enhanced hand coverage.
The Nike Tech Fleece N98 and Nike Tech Fleece AW77 are updated with a seam-bound—instead of stitched—kangaroo pocket for a clean appearance, enhanced access, and more spacious storage. The left chest features a zip pocket suggestive of the Nike Destroyer Jacket, but even bolder with a bonded zipper and two internal media pockets for digital devices, phones, and more—all of the elements of modern life on the streets. Similarly, the Nike Tech Fleece Crew retains its timeless cut while a kangaroo pocket and variable ribbed hem add to its contemporary feel.
Pushing the classic hoody into the future and specially crafted for women, the Nike Tech Fleece Hoodie and Nike Tech Fleece Cape introduce a slightly thinner fleece for enhanced drape. Boasting an oversized funnel neck that can be worn as a hoody or cowl, the Nike Tech Fleece Hoodie presents a toggle at the neck, side zip pockets, a bound hem, and thumbholes at the cuffs. The Nike Tech Fleece Cape pushes the shape even further by combining the same detailing with an off-center zip and unconventional line that includes an exaggerated dropped back hem. The women’s Nike Tech Fleece Pants offer a classic bottom featuring an elastic waist and cuffs, with zippers at the hem for easy on and off over shoes. The men’s Nike Tech Fleece Pants provide the same easy fit along with a draw cord waistband, open side pockets, and inset construction for enhanced knee articulation.
It’s everyday sportswear made innovative for everyday life. It’s the modern look of sport.
The Nike Tech Pack, Tech Fleece Collection will be available Aug. 29 at your local Nike Sportswear retailer
About NIKE, Inc.
NIKE, Inc. based near Beaverton, Oregon, is the world’s leading designer, marketer and distributor of authentic athletic footwear, apparel, equipment and accessories for a wide variety of sports and fitness activities. Wholly-owned NIKE subsidiaries include Converse Inc., which designs, markets and distributes athletic lifestyle footwear, apparel and accessories and Hurley International LLC, which designs, markets and distributes surf and youth lifestyle footwear, apparel and accessories. For more information, visit www.nikeinc.com.
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|David Joshua Lau