Sunday, May 13, 2018

Brooks Adrenaline GTS 18 Review

The Brooks Adrenaline 14 was one of the first trainers I reviewed several years ago.  I have switched back and forth between stability and neutral for years and at the time had transitioned back to high drop with some stability due to a mild achilles irritation (from running 100 miles per week in the early parts of DPT school).  The Brooks Adrenaline at that time was the perfect choice due to the great fit through the forefoot, higher drop, the firmer ride and progressive stability.  Despite the heavier weight, the shoe felt quick due to the firmer ride and I was consistently pushed up on my toes.  Many years later now, I decided to give the 18 a shot after seeing it return to a similar feel as the 14 (I did not like the fit or feel or the 15 and 16, subsequently giving up on the line after).  In most ways, it retains the essence of what I liked about the 14, but in a different manner.  How so?  Let's talk.


Specs (per Running Warehouse)
Weight: 10.1 oz
Drop: 12mm (30mm/18mm)
Classification: Moderate Stability Trainer


Upper/Fit

The upper is significantly softer than the previous versions of the Adrenaline.  Gone are many of the overlays and in place a comfortable engineered mesh the spreads well with the toes.  The shoe fits very true to size if not a little short.  A thinner pair of socks helps this somewhat and although the toe bumper is less aggressive, it fit a bit shorter than other shoes.  I found the Adrenaline 14 to fit similar and this somewhat contributes to a close fit while still having enough room width wise.


The heel has a solid amount of upper cushioning around it, which is likely what contributes to the slightly shorter fit. For those with sensitive Achilles insertions, the Brooks Adrenaline is a great shoe due to the soft but secure fit of the upper.  The cushioning also makes for a more snug fit around the heel without being constricting. The midfoot is held securely by an internal support saddle that helps hold the foot on the platform very well without excessive pressure (no Nav-Band here for those acquainted with prior versions of the Pure series).  It fits fairly normal width, but can be adjusted very well by the laces via the adjustable saddle system.  This is not just a random addition and helps customize the fit for those with narrow, medium or wide midfoots.


The forefoot has a good amount of room as mentioned earlier due to the engineered mesh and the decreased density of the toe guard.  It is not super wide (Altra) but has plenty of room for most forefeet.


Sole

The sole continues to be what I associate with the modern Adrenaline.  The forefoot is wider, providing a stable base with just a little flare laterally and medially for some additional support.  The shoe is full ground contact, ensuring a smooth and stable transition throughout the gait cycle.  There is a good heel bevel in the back, which leads to a smooth landing (if you land back there).  There is a decent amount of posting in the heel and the midfoot via the Progressive Diagonal Roll Bar.  Combined with "flextra" in the midsole (increasing the flexibility), the support is tuned to the runner.  So for those needing a ton, landing harder and rolling more will utilize the PDRB more, whereas those who may need more light stability, will get less to work with their gait.  The Omega flex grooves provide a great transition and flexibility, especially in the forefoot. 

This is a great versatile shoe that will work for a ton of people as a trainer due to the balanced support.  The support is not obtrusive but is there is you need it.  The ride is stable no matter where you land and not controlling.


Speed/Ride

The firmer ride is something I have always loved (when the Adrenaline is done right).  The ride contributes to a faster feel for a trainer and this is definitely a lighter shoe anyways at 10.1 oz for a trainer/stability shoe.  The Adrenaline 18 is not the lightest shoe, but it can handle uptempo runs, fartleks and long runs with ease.  I would definitely use something lighter like the Ravenna 9 (REVIEW) or Asteria (REVIEW) for workouts if you like Brooks, but it is on the smoother and faster end for trainers in this category.  As mentioned previously, the ride is very smooth, no matter what speed you are running at thanks to the good heel bevel and forefoot flexibility.


Durability

As usual (not always), the Adrenaline continues to be a very durable shoe.  Version 18 is supposedly softer than previous versions, but I seeing very little wear after 100 miles.  This is a shoe I very much expect to get 300-500 miles (industry standard) or more depending on your individual biomechanics.  In the past, this is one of the few I have gotten more than 400-500 out of, but caution that this is individual and you need to pay attention to what your body tells you.


Thoughts as a DPT

There are many different parts that make up the stability in this shoe.  I touched upon the PDRB in the Ravenna review (HERE) in that I appreciated the progressive stability, which better matches the function of the posterior tibialis in eccentrically lowering the arch to assist in shock absorption, not forcing it not to move (which many traditional posts try to do). 

One of my favorite parts of this shoe is how progressively the forefoot stability is done.  I have discussed flare before (extension of sole beyond where the foot sits), but this is a very easy way to stabilize the forefoot without posting.  Not only does the Brooks Adrenaline have great flex grooves in the sagittal plane which helps facilitate forward motion and is thus a "support" feature, but the forefoot flare stabilizes the foot during toe off.  Increasing the surface area does increase stability.  The flare is not done so widely that it interferes with the classic forefoot strike, which is usually on the lateral aspect of the forefoot.  There is however just enough to create a wider and more stable base.


Have you ever wondered why forefoot strikers tend to land on the lateral aspect of the forefoot?  The reason for this is may due to the fact that they usually land in a supinated position, which further sets them up to pronate and absorb shock.  Forefoot runners land in a plantarflexed (foot pointed) position. That is why they land farther up front.  The foot and ankle rarely work in only one plane of motion, so really that plantarflexion is combined with two other motions that make up supination.  The other two components are inversion and adduction.  Thus the front of the foot is pointed down, the sole is pointed in and the ankle is pointed a bit inward.  That is why supination and pronation are considered triplanar motions.  They are actually made up of three different movements.  That is part of why most forefoot runners tend to land in that area.  There are obviously exceptions, and it should be noted that rearfoot strikers rarely land on the medial aspect of the heel (despite the three components of pronation being dorsiflexion, eversion and abduction and they usually land in dorsiflexion, inversion and sometimes a component of adduction) but forefoot runners may land in that position due to that combined motion.  Whether that is more natural or better because they are setting themselves up into the triplanar set of motions whereas heel strikers do not is up for a debate another time.  Just an interesting point.


Conclusion

The Brooks Adrenaline GTS  (Go To Stability) 18 is a modern take on a classic stability shoe.  It is lighter, faster, uses several methods of progressive stability, customizes itself to a degree to the runners, has a great fit that is not too wide or too narrow and remains durable and consistent throughout the lifespan.  I can see why this continues to be a top selling stability and running shoe in general despite the apparent shifts away from higher stability shoes in the running market.  Brooks has done a great job of adapting this shoe to the current market.  The Brooks Adrenaline GTS 18 is a great moderate stability shoe for those looking for a little firmer but good fitting trainer that can easily be combined with the Ravenna and/or Asteria for training, workouts and racing in the Brooks line.

Thanks for reading!

Editor's Note: As always, the views presented on this website belong to myself or the selected few who contribute to these posts. This website should not and does not serve as a replacement for seeking medical care. If you are currently injured or concerned about an injury, please see your local running physical therapist. If you are in the Los Angeles area, I am currently taking clients for running evaluations.

Dr. Matthew Klein, PT DPT 
Doctor of Physical Therapy
Kaiser SoCal Manual Therapy and Sport Fellow

***Disclaimer: These shoes were a personal purchase from Run With Us Pasadena and were purchased at their full US retail price. We put at least 50-75 miles on trainers and 10-25 miles on racing flats prior to reviewing them. Currently I had 104 miles on my pair. My views are based on my extensive history in the footwear industry and years testing and developing footwear. If you are a footwear rep looking for footwear reviews or consultations on development, we are currently looking to partner with companies to assist, discuss and promote footwear models. Partnership will not affect the honesty of our reviews.

Like and Follow Doctors of Running
Facebook: Doctors of Running  Twitter: @kleinruns
Instagram: @kleinrunsdpt Direct Contact: doctorsofrunning@gmail.com

Please feel free to reach out, comment and ask questions!

Sunday, May 6, 2018

New Balance 890v6 Review

This is the start of some rare shoe reviews here, as this will be one of three New Balance running shoe reviews (Matt also has one coming down the pipeline soon!). I have been hesitant to try anything of New Balance’s running shoe since my grand disappointment in the original Zante and similar disappointment in the Zante v2 (*gasp* he didn’t like the Zante?!?!?!).  The one New Balance shoe that I did enjoy was the 1500v1, but I think that is why I have enjoyed running in the New Balance 890v6 and have had blissful runs in the 1500v4 (review to follow this 890v6 review).  New Balance hasn’t pulled out any “miracle foam,” but as I have mentioned in other reviews, you have to have function follow form.  Because if the design of a shoe sucks, it doesn’t matter how good the materials are, the shoe is going to suck.  What New Balance is doing presently is designing shoes with excellent form, which lends them to perform beautifully on foot.  I digress, let’s jump into my take on the New Balance 890v6.


Specifications:
Weight – 9.6oz size 9 (men's)
Heel to Toe Offset - 6mm
Midsole Material – RevLite, TPU inserts
Category of Shoe – Neutral, lightweight trainer/up tempo

Streamlined mesh upper.  Note the midfoot region has a separate piece of fabric that works with the internal bootie to lock the midfoot down.  

Upper and Fit:
New Balance designed this shoe with an engineered mesh upper and an internal bootie design, which provides an irritant free wrap around the foot.  I am a big fan of engineered mesh and glad that New Balance has avoided using knit uppers.  Knit uppers in my experience, provide inadequate hold of the foot, cause irritation to the skin, hold moisture, and get really hot in warm weather . The upper overall is on a moderately narrow last through the midfoot, but opens up quiet spaciously in the toe box.  The heel grip is ok, as I have to use the lace lock trick and really crank on the laces to hold my heel in place.  You would think with a fairly rigid heel counter and bootie design that you would get a better hold on the heel.  This is a real shame for us narrow heeled folks, because this is a fun riding shoe! Have no fear if you have a normal width foot, because your foot will be held perfectly with a snug wrap from the bootie construction, forgiving engineered mesh, and anatomically shaped toe box.  The look of these shoes are top notch!  I love the look and they scream fast.  All the colorway options are fantastic and glad that New Balance is finally making sleek looking uppers on their running shoes.

Heel counter, which unfortunately in this shoe is not a good hold on individuals with narrow heels.  The heel counter isn't too stiff, so those with sensitive Achilles should have no need to worry.

Midsole/Ride:
There is nothing magical happening here, but the use of New Balance's tried and true RevLite midsole foam.  If you are not familiar with this EVA based foam, it is a firm fast riding foam that provides considerable protection despite its firmer character.  Those who like running on Boost, EVERUN, EGO, or DNA AMP, or mushy Hoka One One foam may not appreciate this midsole.  I am in the camp of runners who like a firm riding midsole, which potentially is due to my small frame, my gait, and the extra mobility in the posterior aspect of my feet.  This midsole is designed for speed, and speedy these shoes are!  There is one more design aspect of theses shoes that I should mention – the TPU strips that are embedded in the forefoot.  These forefoot strips act like a spring board every time you hit midstance during your gait and aggressively snap back propelling you forward from midstance to toe off.  It’s a really cool sensation and the midsole design simply works.  I like that New Balance didn’t go overboard with these TPU strips, but just enough to add tensile strength and resistance to the body’s weight on impact converting the potential energy to kinetic energy.  Paired with the firm riding RevLite, you have a fast and responsive midsole unit.  

The outsole design also is important to bring up as it contributes to the unique and fun ride of the 890v6.  The outsole is covered with blown rubber that is in segments that somewhat match the different parts of the human foot.  There is one segment that runs along the midfoot region, which acts almost as a medial wedge of support as the lateral edge of the outsole has more segments allowing for the midsole to collapse slightly more on the lateral aspect.  The outsole near the heel si quasi-decoupled in a sense, in that there is a separate “pod” of blown rubber that smooths out the landing from heel to forefoot.  Those TPU strips I mentioned before also lend to an inherent stable ride, by providing a very stable and firm forefoot to push off from.  In fact, you can kind of feel your feet rocking forward from midfoot to forefoot when you are standing still in the shoes.  By no means is this shoe a “stability shoe,” but simply has design elements that create a stable ride.  Which isn’t a bad thing!  I wish more companies would make similarly stable fast riding shoes, because the more speed oriented a shoe gets, the more unstable they seem to be.  Juts take any racing flat you have and you will notice how ridiculously narrow some of their midfoot areas are where your midfoot is practically sagging over the arch region (even Nike’s Vaporfly 4% has this same issue, with an overly narrow midfoot on a very high midsole stack height, contributing to even greater instability).

RevLite foam which is protective from wear with strategically placed blown rubber in podular sections.  Even though this has pod-like layout, the ride never feels like it.  The segments aid in giving a very smooth heel to toe transition.

Thoughts from a DPT (Dr. Matthew Klein PT DPT)
While this may not be a stability shoe, there are several elements that make this shoe stable.  Obviously the TPU strips in the forefoot add rigidity and stability up front and provide a nice pop off the groudn during toe off.  This is something that I very much liked in the Adidas Tempo 5 and 6 and Takumi Sen/Ren 1 and 2 that provided a fast and stable ride (which was then exchanged for Boost).  However, the firmer ride is important for not just shoe stability but joint stability.  In a study in 2015 by Baltich et al (with contributions from the great Dr. Benno Nigg), 93 runners were tested in three different densities of shoe firmness (categorized as soft, medium and hard).  Ankle joint stiffness increased as midsole hardness decreased across the board and decreased as midsole hardness increased.  Meaning that the body may have been better absorbing shock at the muscles rather than at the joints with a harder shoe (because it is required!).  So a firmer shoe may be better to protect joints because it may induce better protective response with muscle loading (this needs to be confirmed with EMG).  This was attributed to the reason for the increased vertical loading with softer soles.  The body needs some proprioceptive (body awareness) input to understand where it is and how to protect itself.  Softer soled shoes will provide less input, thus the body will land harder to figure out where it is.  A harder soled shoe may cause someone to land softer to decrease that loading.  So firmer shoes can be a great training tool to soften landing in those that respond and need good proprioceptive input. To those people who still slam the ground when they land barefoot, possibly due to a general lack of proprioceptive input (one of the important centers is at the foot.  The other two are at the pelvic and cervical spine), it may or may not be the best.  Further research is still needed.  However this is one of the main reasons I generally (not always) push people with poor joint sense toward a firmer ride because it is inherently more stable and provides a better sense of where the body is.  This again depends highly on the person, their individual gait and loading characteristics and why they have come to see me! 

Little wear after approximately 100 miles on the road. One can also appreciate the red TPU embedded strips in the forefoot.  They extend from behind the metatarsals up to the tip of the toes.  These TPU strips also help stabilize the forefoot and give a powerful toe off.

Durability:
I have approximately 100 miles on my pair and see little to know wear on the outsole.  Furthermore, the midsole feels as fresh as it did on day one.  RevLite is good stuff, granted you like a firmer riding shoe.  Also the engineered mesh of the upper has shown no signs of wear.  I could easily see the average person getting around 400 to 500 miles on these.

Room for Improvements:
Please fix the heel!  I think that if New Balance just added some padding around the heel it would help immensely with holding the foot on the platform.  This would allow narrow heeled folks as well as average width feet to enjoy these fun riding shoes.  Also the laces provided are ridiculously long (note the white laces I used).  Other than that, I don’t really have anything else to complain about.


Conclusions:
New Balance has done a terrific job with the 890v6.  Granted, I never ran in the prior versions and have no point of reference, but from other shoes I have run in or have tried briefly.  I tested the Fresh Foam 1080v7 and v8 in store as well as the newer Zante and Boracay when I was the New Balance store in NYC.  The fresh foam feels dead, where the RevLite has pop and an excellent transition underfoot.  The RevLite midsole with the embedded TPU strips makes for one heck of a shoe that is fast and fun to run in.  If you are in need of an uptempo trainer or like firmer light weight shoes as your daily trainer pick up a pair of these.


Thanks for reading!

Dr. Nathaniel S Kollias, DVM, MPH
Doctor of Veterinary Medicine
Masters of Public Health 
Cornell University Laboratory Animal Medicine Resident 

***Disclaimer: These shoes were a personal purchase from Running Warehouse and were purchased at their full US retail price. We put at least 50-75 miles on trainers and 10-25 miles on racing flats prior to reviewing them. Currently I have 95 miles on my pair of 890v6. If you are a footwear rep looking for footwear reviews or consultations on development, we are currently looking to partner with companies to assist, discuss and promote footwear models. Partnership will not affect the honesty of our reviews.

Editor's Note: As always, the views presented on this website belong to myself or the selected few who contribute to these posts. This website should not and does not serve as a replacement for seeking medical care. If you are currently injured or concerned about an injury, please see your local running physical therapist. If you are in the Los Angeles area, I am currently taking clients for running evaluations.

Dr. Matthew Klein, PT, DPT
Doctor of Physical Therapy
Kaiser SoCal Manual Therapy and Sport Fellow
References

Baltich, J., Maurer, C, Nigg, B. (2015). Increased Vertical IMPact Forces and Altered Running
Mechanics with Softer Midsole Shoes. PLos One 10(4); e1025196. doi.org/10.1371/journal
.pone.0125196

Like and Follow Doctors of Running
Facebook: Doctors of Running  Twitter: @kleinruns
Instagram: @kleinrunsdpt Direct Contact: doctorsofrunning@gmail.com

Please feel free to reach out, comment and ask questions!


Thursday, April 19, 2018

Brooks Ravenna 9 Review



Introduction:
Brooks running company is a shoe brand that I feel has lagged in joining the 21st century of running shoes.  I say this, because the overall design of the shoes up until recently has made one feel like you were running in the 1990s.  But this year appears to be a pivotal turning point for Brooks Running with the release of their DNA Amp midsole material and sleek new look of their uppers and midsole geometries.   One shoe in particular that exemplifies this new refreshing trend for Brooks is the Ravenna 9.  A shoe that looks nothing like its predecessor and simply calling it an update to the Ravenna 8 would be a gross understatement.  I also may or may not have found my new favorite shoe… but let’s get to the review!

Specifications:
Weight – 9.3oz size 9 (men's)
Heel to Toe Offset - 10mm
Midsole Material – BioMoGo DNA®
Stability Technology: Progressive diagonal roll bar
Category of Shoe – Lightweight stability, daily trainer

Love the look of this shoe.  Very modern with the one piece engineered mesh.  Sometimes keeping it simple is the way to go both from a functionality standpoint as well as fashion.

Upper and Fit:
All I have to say is WOW!  This shoe fits my foot perfectly!  The upper is a modern engineered mesh that is one piece with no overlays or welded seams.  The mesh hugs the foot beautifully and provides excellent ventilation on the run with no hot spots appreciated.  The lacing system is standard with an extra eyelet if you need to use the lace lock technique (you probably won’t and this is coming from me who almost always has to use it for shoes). The heel counter is firm and prominent, but amply padded to reduce irritation to those with sensitive Achilles.  It also is beveled, which means that the shape follows the natural shape of the heel.  A lot of companies still make heels that flare out way too much (Nike Epic React, Adidas Ultra Boost, VaporFly 4%), which can lead to premature contact leading to instability on landing.  But the most important aspect of the heel counter is that it actually holds the posterior part of the foot - and does it hold it well!  There is absolutely zero heel slippage or movement in this shoe.  Thank you Brooks for being the first shoe company to ever make daily trainer shoe that is narrow in the heel and midfoot with enough room in the forefoot.  I thought it would never happen, but Brooks did their research in designing this shoes upper fit.  Despite the snug fit of the upper, the foot does not feel compressed and even if you have an average to moderately wide foot, there is enough give to the upper to obtain a comfortable fit.  The toe box length is also an area where shoe companies either add too much length (Salming, Skechers) or too little (Adidas), but again, Brooks gives just enough volume for the forefoot without being sloppy.   The final point about the upper I’d like to make is the design.  These shoes look awesome!  I don’t feel like I am wearing a pair of old man running shoes.  I love the bright colors and the subtle reflective material along the midfoot saddle and the Brooks Running logo embedded within the engineered mesh.  Welcome to the 21st century of running shoes Brooks.

Note nice beveling of the heel and a slight bias (minimal flare) on the medial side of the heel.  The heel cup is firm, but there is enough padding in the heel collar to minimize Achilles irritation.
I also would like to talk about how well this shoe fits and how critically important it is (especially for a stability shoe).  First let’s talk about the heel.  The secure fit of the posterior part of the foot allows the foot to fully engage with the decoupled heel and lessens the amount of mobility in the heel/ankle region.  The end result is the foot and shoe work in tandem, which increases comfort and ultimately compliments one’s gait.  Furthermore, having such a snug upper allows the foot to fully engage with the midsole unit (see below about the progressive roll bar).  I feel this comfort and sensation of the shoe disappearing is extremely important and it appears more and more studies agree with this concept.  This is likely due to the fact that a comfortable shoe is one that works with your foot and not against it.  Why it is extremely important to try many different types of shoes and to not peg yourself into one category.  For example, I have some shoes that are neutral that I can run in without issues, but other neutral models that I cannot.  My point is, every shoe is different and every person’s foot and gait is different.  Don’t be afraid to try something new and different (but with caution).

I was able to lace these up without using the last loop.  That never happens for me on a shoe!  Even if you have a wider foot, the engineered mesh will have enough give to feel comfortable.  Also there is no overlays, so nothing to poke or irritated your foot.
Midsole/Ride:
The magic material in this shoe for the midsole is Brooks patented BioMoGo DNA.  This midsole material is described by Brooks Running as the following: “BioMoGo DNA fuses BioMoGo midsole and DNA cushioning technology for a fully custom responsive ride that adapts to the needs of each and every runner.”  Yes, I know it may sound a bit gimmicky, but it works. Basically what this foam consists of is gel and EVA that is blended together, which creates a non-Newtonium material. So you are probably wondering, “What in the world is non-Newtonian material?”  This type of material is a substance that when a force is applied to it, it behaves differently than one would expect. Before I lose you completely, I’ll give you a perfect example using corn starch. If you place your hand in it gently, it is easy submerge your hand.  But, if you attempt to smash your hand on the surface it becomes solid.  Here is a link to a cool YouTube video showing this concept in action (https://youtu.be/RkLn2gR7SyE) pretty nifty right? This is true of Brook’s midsole BioMoGo DNA technology (see link here รจ (http://www.brooksrunning.com/en_us/01-12-2010.html?q=shoes).  When running at slower paces you can appreciate a nice level of protection from the road (not pillow soft, but protective), but when the pace is increased the material firms up and you really appreciate the explosiveness of the BioMoGo DNA foam with increased force.

The magic of the DNA cushioning noted on the bottom of the exposed heel midsole.

Now that I have completely geeked out over the DNA foam component of the midsole material, let’s talk about how it feels when running.  Once again, I was (and continue) to be blown away by how freaking comfortably this shoe is.  Honestly, I cannot think of a more perfect shoe for my gait, foot shape/size, and feel.  This shoe can work for any type of run and even with a stability component can work for even neutral runners.  This is because the stability element utilized in the midsole is a progressive roll bar and a mild medial post in the heel. Using a diagonal roll bar means that the density gradually decreases from the media aspect of the shoe to the lateral aspect and is placed in the midfoot to forefoot region.  What this means is the foot is unobtrusively deaccelerated to help lessen the speed of internal rotation (i.e over pronation) of the heel/midfoot during landing and push off in the gait cycle.  This is opposite of a traditional post, which is merely a very dense piece of plastic or midsole material placed along the midfoot or heel.  In other words, one can think of a traditional post as a stop sign and the diagonal roll bar as a speed bump.  Both are designed to slow you down, but the speed bump guidance gives a gentle reminder versus the stop sign making you come to a dead stop.  That’s why my physical therapist likes this type of stability because it works with the foot, not against it.  I’ll also let Matt throw in his thoughts on this manner as well.

Medial View
Lateral View

The outsole is made up of blown rubber and has excellent traction, even on snowy roads.  I also appreciate the decent amount of forefoot flex and the rigidity of the heel to midfoot.  I point out this design aspect, because it allows a very smooth controlled transition from heel to forefoot during the gait cycle and flexes at the appropriate location (there shouldn’t be a flex zone in the heel and/or midfoot as these regions of the human foot are rigid structures with no joints).  Brooks did their homework here and prove once again how form follows function. 

Note the "X" in the midfoot region.  This is the transition zone were the diagonal roll bar engages with the foot.  The solid blue heel is the medial side and the midsole durometer (or hardness) decreases laterally and anterior (towards the front) of the shoe.  Paired with a prominent flew zones in the forefoot for the toes results in a very smooth gait cycle.

Thoughts as DPT (Dr. Matthew Klein PT DPT):


I definitely approve of what Brooks did with the Ravenna 9.  Instead of the heavily posted shoe in the past, they modified it using a diagonal roll bar or progressive posting as I call it.  I am happy that more companies are moving toward this.  Adidas is using this with progressive Boost (called energized stability), New Balance has done this with the Vongo, Skechers with the Forza and a few others. Stability should be progressive and not overbearing.  The progressive stability better mimics how the arch is controlled.  It is controlled by muscles, which lower the arch eccentrically.  This eccentric loading improves shock absorption, instead of just a rigid stop.  Rigid feet actually may have higher rates of injury compared to flexible feet due to the lack of shock absorption.  Thus the stability in shoes should reflect that progressive loading.  Hence why the progressive diagonal roll bar is such a great idea.  My other non-biomechanical input is that I am excited to see another light stability shoe on the market.  This market is small (and apparently can be difficult to sell), but personally find that a little stability goes a long way.  Whereas a great deal tends to inhibit or restrict things.  There are obviously biomechanical exceptions to this, but I personally would rather have a little stability and some muscle/movement retraining rather than a person just relying on the stability without working on themselves.  


Image from Brooks Running

Durability:
I have approximately 100miles on this pair and so far I see little to no wear on the outsole.  The midsole still has plenty of spring and cushioning life. I am very light on my feet, but for the average runner I could someone getting 300 miles out of these due to the fact that they are light weight trainers.  The uppers also have been holding up well, especially impressive since this winter (and the large quantities of salt on the road) never seems to leave here in upstate New York.

Room for improvements:
Brooks, if you happen to read this. PLEASE DO NOT CHANGE THIS SHOE.  Thanks.

Conclusions:
Brooks did an amazing job on revamping a shoe that was dated and clunky.  Brooks now has a versatile light/moderate weight daily trainer with light stability that can work for a wide range of runners.  The current trend in running companies is to slap some fancy new squishy bouncy everlasting foam and claiming it to be a miracle shoe.  The reality of the matter is that you still need to have proper form for the shoe.  The form being how the upper, midsole/outsole, and materials feel and interact with the foot.  Sure you can put a V8 engine in a minivan, but it will never have the aerodynamics of a Ferrari. Why, because form follows function.  A shoe should complement, not fight your foot and gait cycle and I feel that Brooks definitely followed that scientific principal with designing this shoe.  The Ravenna 9 is a fantastic shoe that is affordable and has the versatility to be used as an all-purpose shoe from long runs to intervals on the track and can work for neutral to excess mobility in the ankle and posterior foot alike.


Out on the run!
Thanks for reading!

Dr. Nathaniel S Kollias, DVM, MPH
Doctor of Veterinary Medicine
Masters of Public Health 
Cornell University Laboratory Animal Medicine Resident 

Editor's Note: As always, the views presented on this website belong to myself or the selected few who contribute to these posts. This website should not and does not serve as a replacement for seeking medical care. If you are currently injured or concerned about an injury, please see your local running physical therapist. If you are in the Los Angeles area, I am currently taking clients for running evaluations.

Dr. Matthew Klein, PT, DPT
Doctor of Physical Therapy
Kaiser SoCal Manual Therapy and Sport Fellow
***Disclaimer: These shoes were a personal purchase from Running Warehouse and were purchased at their full US retail price. We put at least 50-75 miles on trainers and 10-25 miles on racing flats prior to reviewing them. Currently I have 130 miles on my pair of Ravenna 9s. If you are a footwear rep looking for footwear reviews or consultations on development, we are currently looking to partner with companies to assist, discuss and promote footwear models. Partnership will not affect the honesty of our reviews.
Like and Follow Doctors of Running
Facebook: Doctors of Running  Twitter: @kleinruns
Instagram: @kleinrunsdpt Direct Contact: doctorsofrunning@gmail.com

Please feel free to reach out, comment and ask questions!

Monday, April 9, 2018

Adidas Adizero Sub2 Review

I have subtly been an Adidas fan for some time now.  The Adidas Tempo 5 remains one of my favorite trainer/racers and if they still made them, would be my go to shoe for tempos and distance races.  The unboosted Adios 2 remains a favorite for long workouts and trail races (I still have a few pairs).  The Adidas Takumi Sen and Ren 1 and 2 will forever be one of my favorite racers.  Yet I have had some trouble with the boost.  I have enjoyed training recently in the Adidas Supernova, but likely due to the wider base which can offset the occasional unstable feeling of the Boost.  I always hoped Adidas would firm the Boost up a bit to give it a more stable feeling and always wished the Adios or Takumi series would be just a bit lighter.  My pair of Sen 1 and 2s are long gone, so looking for a favorite 5k-10k racer has been difficult... until the Sub2 came along.  I had been talking with various contacts about this shoe for over a year and was very interested to see what Adidas was going to produce in the race to the sub 2 hour marathon.  Now that it is here, is it the Sub2 shoe? Well.. let's talk.



Specs (per Running Warehouse)
Weight: 5.5 oz
Drop: 6mm (21mm/15mm)
Classification: Racing Flat


Upper/Fit

The Adidas Adizero Sub2 has a very different upper from most Adidas shoes.  A full mesh upper is utilized that is thin, snug, but a little more anatomic than normal.  The mesh is almost see through, but has internal reinforcements at the midfoot (via the three stripes internally).  There is a mild heel counter that does not come all the way up, so the Achilles tendon clears it and should not cause problems.  The heel counter is flexible and has not caused me any issues.  There is a very mild and soft internal toe guard that I almost didn't notice, so that should not cause any issues.


The mesh is snug but is more anatomical than most Adidas shoes.  The medial aspect of the toebox fits straighter for the big toe while the lateral aspect is a bit more curved.  This is not an Altra shoe, but it fits better on the foot than most racing shoes.  The fit is snug and on the narrower side which is common for faster shoes, but again does so comfortably for me.


The fit is very true to size.  I would definitely not order smaller and some may need to order a half size up if wearing thick socks.  I wear thin socks and have found them to fit snug and spot on in a size 10 (my normal size for running shoes).  Overall the upper is simple but effective, which is definitely the theme for this shoe!


Sole

This is where things get interesting.  The Sub2 debuts the Boost Lite, which is a far lighter and firmer version of the traditional Boost.  It is still very responsive, but is noticeably firmer.  The Boost lite runs the entire length of shoe and makes up the entirety of the midsole (no EVA here).  There is a full length and full ground contact Continental outsole that provides great durability and traction.   


Speed/Ride

The Sub2 is very fast at high speeds.  This is not a shoe you use for jogging or easy runs.  The firmer Boost Lite responds well at mile pace up to half marathon pace for me.  I have used it for track workouts and some short tempos and will replace all my 5k-10k shoes.  I thought there would not be enough shoe for longer workouts, but the Boost Lite is surprisingly protective despite how light the shoe is.  The 6mm drop not too low and seems to be my sweet spot for most racing shoes, but for me is a a little too low for marathon racing.  For the half marathon it would be a tough call between this and the 361 Feisu (REVIEW)


Given that there is no plate and only boost, the Sub2 is  flexible. There are some very mild flex grooves throughout the shoe that allow motion but still keep some stiffness (also thanks to the Boost Lite) to make the shoe pop off the ground.  The Boost Lite is awesome and I wish this had been integrated into more Adidas racing shoes earlier.  It is firmer and far more stable than traditional Boost, making running fast easy in this shoe.  The shoe is very stable overall due to the slightly wider sole last.  There is no major narrowing at the midfoot and instead the width from the heel continues then broadens into the forefoot.  There is good heel bevel at the posterior lateral aspect of the shoe that very much smooths out landings back there.  The Boost Lite does extend beyond the foot, which would normally create a flare but it curves back under the shoe, creating a slightly wider sole and reducing flare at the same time.  Again another subtle way to create stability.  There is some toe spring, but it is mild compared to most Adidas shoes (especially the Adios 3 REVIEW)


Outsole/Durability

Adidas typically uses Continental rubber for their outsoles and this usually (the Ultra Boost is an exception) makes for great durability.  The Sub2 is no exception, even at 5.5 ounces.  After 21 miles I am seeing almost no wear and expect to get 200 miles out of this shoe or possibly more despite being a racing flat.


Thoughts as a DPT

I am very impressed at how responsive the ride of the Sub2 is just using Boost Lite and no shank or plate.  This shoe is very fast when the speed picks up.  The lack of a plate or shank means the shoe will not restrict the foot in any major spot, particularly the metatarsal and phalangeal joints.  The stability is made up for with the wider last, full ground contact outsole, firmer Boost and a midsole that extends slightly beyond the foot without being a flare (because it rounds back down under the foot). 

This shoe has done everything right that I could have asked for.  There is a slightly more anatomic last without being clown like while maintaining that snug racing flat feel.  The toebox is more rounded at the lateral forefoot and is slightly straighter along the big toe.  There is some decent but not overdone heel bevel at the posterior lateral aspect of the heel. The Boost Lite and midsole sits slightly wider than the upper/foot position, but is lightly curved to minimize any major sole flare.  There is a heel counter but it stays low and is somewhat flexible.  The whole shoe is flexible, especially in the forefoot.  However it is not so much that it qualifies as a minimal shoe, so there is enough stiffness to still be fast.  The shoe last is stable as the midfoot is not overly narrow and maintains the same width from the heel, then expanding into a wider forefoot.  I do not know why this is so hard, but that last part is one of my favorite things (other than the lightweight, boost lite, awesome fit and responsive ride).  So many companies overly narrow the midfoot, which by default makes it more unstable.

So like my previous review of the 361 Feisu, I am happy Adidas decided to do something simple but very effective. The Boost Lite is firmer than traditional Boost, so still as responsive but far more stable.  But that is it for major technologies other than a great fitting, lightweight racer.  Just making simple better.


Conclusion

I am a huge fan of the Adidas Adizero Sub2.  I see it more as a 5k to half marathon shoe at most due to the 5.5 oz, 6mm drop and ride, but many will be able to take it to the marathon.  I would really like to to see Boost Lite integrated into the Adios.  The Adios can definitely be lighter (Streak 6, Vaporfly are over an ounce lighter) and I think the firmer Boost Lite combined with a similar mesh upper  would make a more stable, lighter and better fitting shoe.  The women's half marathon world record was recently set in this shoe and I can understand why.  This is one of my favorite shorter distance racers from Adidas and I am happy they now have such a good 5k-half marathon flat after the disappointment of the Takumi Sen 3.  Looking forward to further racing and trainer development from them!

Thanks for reading!

Editor's Note: As always, the views presented on this website belong to myself or the selected few who contribute to these posts. This website should not and does not serve as a replacement for seeking medical care. If you are currently injured or concerned about an injury, please see your local running physical therapist. If you are in the Los Angeles area, I am currently taking clients for running evaluations.

Dr. Matthew Klein, PT, DPT
Doctor of Physical Therapy
Kaiser SoCal Manual Therapy and Sport Fellow

***Disclaimer: These shoes were a personal purchase from Running Warehouse and were purchased at their full US retail price. .  We put at least 50-75 miles on trainers and 10-25 miles on racing flats prior to reviewing them. Currently I had 21 miles on my pair. My views are based on my extensive history in the footwear industry and years testing and developing footwear. If you are a footwear rep looking for footwear reviews or consultations on development, we are currently looking to partner with companies to assist, discuss and promote footwear models. Partnership will not affect the honesty of our reviews.

Like and Follow Doctors of Running
Facebook: Doctors of Running  Twitter: @kleinruns
Instagram: @kleinrunsdpt Direct Contact: doctorsofrunning@gmail.com

Please feel free to reach out, comment and ask questions!

Friday, April 6, 2018

361 Feisu Review

I love Asian market racing shoes.  I loved the Adidas Takumi Sen and Ren series but was somewhat disappointed with the current iterations (reviews of v3 HERE and HERE ).  I love the Nike Zoom Rival and Zoom Speed Racers that were eventually brought over to the us (reviews HERE and HERE).  Having gone through all those shoes and not being the biggest fan of the ride of many Asics and Mizuno shoes, I was waiting for something else to come along.  I had heard about the Feisu being inspired by the Japanese racing shoes (ironic coming from a Chinese brand) but did not expect them to come so soon.  Suddenly I had a pair of beautiful racing flats on my doorstep.  And they did not disappoint.  Inspired by the Japanese design of simple and fast, the Feisu is the kind of shoe I have been looking for.  Why?  Let's talk.


Specs (per Running Warehouse)
Weight: 6.4oz (men's size 9)
Drop: 9mm (26mm/17mm Heel to Forefoot)
Classification: Racing Shoe


Upper/Fit

The upper is very simple.  What you need an nothing more.  Utilizing an air mesh upper and a micro fiber suede, the upper is lightweight and comfortable.  The mesh is breathable (definitely not a cold weather shoe) and very comfortable against the skin.  The upper suede is soft against the skin and the toe bumper is also soft, making this a possible shoe to use sockless.  I have run a few times without socks, but due to the slightly long fit, would suggest them just in case.  For those used to this, you should be fine to sail sans socks.


The fit is slightly long but I would still stick with your normal size, particularly when using socks.  Like most Japanese racers, the toe box is a little wider and the heel is a little narrower. I really like the fit as it sits just right on my foot with enough room not to squeeze the foot but snug enough through the heel and midfoot (due to the Fitz-Ritz in the midfoot) that the foot is held down well.  The forefoot is not super wide, but thanks to a greater taper on the lateral aspect of the forefoot than the medial (slightly straighter on the medial side for the hallux), the fit is a little more anatomical than most racers.


The heel fit is a little narrower and holds the foot snug. There is a heel counter that travels up to the posterior midfoot.  It is thinner and there is some upper cushion, so I have not had any issues with my sensitive Achilles insertion.


I would like to give bonus points for the suede toe guard.  Thank you 361 for not using one of the blister inducing plastic ones. This does increase the durability without taking skin off.


Sole

The sole of the 361 Feisu is (essentially) full ground contact.  This makes the shoe more inherently stable.  The addition of the mild lugs on the bottom help grip the road well.  Los Angeles has had some decent rain in the last few months and the Feisu was my go to workout shoe during that time.  I never slipped on the wet ground and found them to have excellent traction.


There are several flex grooves in the outsole.  Although there are a few in the midfoot (which is generally a no-no since there are no sagittal plane joints there), most lie in the forefoot.  With that comes much better flexibility in the forefoot, making for a very nice transition during toe off.


The Feisu has more of a performance last, meaning the midfoot is a bit narrower.  However, the sole is somewhat wider than most racing shoes (including the midfoot) making the shoe more stable.  I notice this most during slower miles as slower speeds can mean more force in directions outside of the sagittal plane (forward to back).  Most racing shoes feel terrible jogging because of the more narrow and thus unstable soles.  The Feisu not only has the light 6.4 oz going for it, but the combination with the wider last makes them stable at all speeds.


Speed/Ride

The Feisu has a fast ride.  The sole is completely EVA (no QU!KFOAM) and has a kick when the pace picks up.  This is interesting given all the companies using different foam types, that the pure EVA feels so good.  The drop feels around 7-9mm and is not too low or too high for me.  The forefoot has great flexibility as mentioned earlier and the toe off feels great at all speeds.  There is some mild toe spring but not enough to cause any issues for me.  There is also some mild heel bevel that smooths out heel landings (361 is slowly getting better at this).

This is a great light shoe for distance workouts (thanks to the higher drop, personal preference) but has the speed to run down to 5k races or do track workouts.  6.4 oz is extremely light for the amount of shoe there and reminds me somewhat of the old T7 racer and Hyperion but with a far better fit and way more stable.  This is the type of shoe I have been looking for and would be my first choice for a half or full marathon racer given the fit, lightweight, responsiveness AND protection underfoot.


There is plenty of midsole there to protect the feet over long miles.  Many shoes in this weight range have very little cushioning but there is enough that I would no doubt use this as a half to full marathon racer (as mentioned previously).   My feet have felt great no matter what the distance of the workout I have used them for (intervals or longer tempos).  So for those that need a lightweight faster shoe that will save their legs (and are not willing to spend >$250 for a shoe like the Vaporfly 4% REVIEW), try the Feisu.



Outsole/Durability

As with most 361 shoes, durability has been phenomal.  Despite being a racer, I have close to 40 miles on my pair and there is little wear.  I have only used this shoe for road running and despite my heavy footstrike (working on that), the midsole feel has also remained consistent.  The Feisu did not need any time to break in as I was able to do a workout in these right out of the box (tempo run).  Even the lugs have not worn down.  I would expect to get over 200 miles out of these if not more for others.


Thoughts as a DPT

The Feisu is the kind of shoe that reminds me how effective and sexy being simple can be.  This is a great looking and riding shoe, yet it is has a simple EVA midsole, a good fit that give a bit of wiggle room in the forefoot and a snug heel.  There is nothing magic about this shoe, yet it is what I wanted out of so many previous racing shoes.  The Adios, Hyperion, Streak, Chaser are all good shoes, but all lacked a little something.  All of those shoes have extras: plates, special midsoles, etc.  The Feisu feels better and faster than all of them, yet only has EVA.  Why?  Because sometimes the simplest answer is the best.  That is why many of the Japanese racers like the Asics Sortie series have changed very little over the years but still remain favorites in the Asian market.

My experience as a Sport Fellow at Kaiser has definitely emphasized this.  While I am learning all these cool and amazing new things (treatments, assessments, thought processes, systems, etc), I am amazed how often going back to the basics of movement, strength, coordination and endurance solve a majority of the performance issues out there.  I can't tell you how many of my elite athletes (olympic runners, professional basketball players, elite gymnasts) have weak gluteal muscles, sub par balance, poor scapular coordination, etc.  Some people have complex issues, but most don't.  So instead of making things complicated, making simple better is a key thing I have continued to revisit.  The Feisu is a great example of this.  A great fit, comfortable upper, light weight, responsive ride, decent flexibility, somewhat wider forefoot (fit and stability) a little drop (for longer races) and a snug heel are pretty much all you need for a successful distance racer. 


Conclusion

For those looking for a Japanese inspired protective lightweight racer with a little more drop and a wonderful fit, take a look at the 361 Feisu.  This is a fantastic shoe for distance races like the marathon and half marathon but is light enough to be used for shorter workouts/races.  A snug heel and a slightly wider forefoot make for a comfortable fit that combined with a great ride make for a shoe that will keep you going for miles.

Thanks for reading!

Editor's Note: As always, the views presented on this website belong to myself or the selected few who contribute to these posts. This website should not and does not serve as a replacement for seeking medical care. If you are currently injured or concerned about an injury, please see your local running physical therapist. If you are in the Los Angeles area, I am currently taking clients for running evaluations.

Dr. Matthew Klein, PT, DPT
Doctor of Physical Therapy
Kaiser SoCal Manual Therapy and Sport Fellow

***Disclaimer: These shoes were provided free of charge by 361 USA in exchange for a review. .  We put at least 50-75 miles on trainers and 10-25 miles on racing flats prior to reviewing them. Currently I had 46 miles on my pair. My views are based on my extensive history in the footwear industry and years testing and developing footwear. If you are a footwear rep looking for footwear reviews or consultations on development, we are currently looking to partner with companies to assist, discuss and promote footwear models. Partnership will not affect the honesty of our reviews.

Like and Follow Doctors of Running
Facebook: Doctors of Running  Twitter: @kleinruns
Instagram: @kleinrunsdpt Direct Contact: doctorsofrunning@gmail.com

Please feel free to reach out, comment and ask questions!