Sunday, February 18, 2018

Skechers GOrun 6 Review

This review comes from a combination of Chris Park, a fellow shoe geek and contributor to Doctors of Running and myself, Dr. Matthew Klein, PT DPT. I had the pleasure of receiving this shoe early from Skechers Performance while Chris came upon it later. We both have unique thoughts on the shoe and are excited to share them.

Chris - Don't judge a shoe by its brand. While hundreds of people have preconceived notions about the Skechers brand, I ask that you keep an open mind with these reviews, for you might be surprised. The Skechers GOrun Ride 7s are my favorite and current daily trainer. Since its release, I have logged hundreds of miles of slow long runs and fast track workouts. Recently, Skechers released another of their new line, the GOrun 6. Toted as a ligthweight, cushioned neutral running shoe, the GR6 are designed for speed and comfort in an "all in one package".

Dr. Klein - I loved the GOrun 5 as a performance shoe that I used for many fartlek and interval sessions. It was the kind of shoe that asked for speed. The problem was that it was very similar in function to the Razor, which was confusing. I was very surprised to see the update with version 6. This shoe reminds me what I wanted during my minimal running days. A lightweight flexible upper and a low drop sole is something that I would have loved at that time. Now my tastes are a bit different, but I appreciate what Skechers has done with this shoe. It has several different personalities, so let's talk about them.


Specs:
Weight: 7.2 oz (size 9)
Drop: 4mm (20mm/16mm)
Classification: Lightweight Trainer

Chris - According to Skechers, the GR6 is the "latest generation in the Skechers GOrun series
of lightweight, cushioned neutral running shoes." Like the Vazee Pace 2s I reviewed
previously (REVIEW), the GR6 is marketed as the "jack of all trades" because of its lightweight,
responsive construction while still having enough cushion to be a daily trainer.


Ride/Sole/Drop:

Chris - As previously mentioned, the GR6 is marketed as a lightweight, daily trainer with
the needed cushioning to run a marathon but enough responsiveness for 200m repeats.
This is largely due to Skechers new FLIGHT GEN midsole which delivers a great responsive,
snappy ride. Skechers has been implementing FLIGHT GEN in many of their recent shoes,
and I can definitely say that I’m a huge fan of it. Despite the incorporation of FLIGHT GEN in numerous models, each model provides a completely different feel. Whereas the Ride 7s provide a softer, plusher ride, I would say that the GR6 offers a firmer, lower to the ground midsole.
It reminded me of a more responsive, comfortable, and lower to the ground Zante.



As I mentioned in my review of the New Balance Vazee Pace v2s, it was hard to fit those
shoes into a particular niche. While they were great shoes, the Pace v2s felt more like a
lightweight trainer than a racer. Unfortunately, this made the entire line quite confusing
because there were other models – from New Balance themselves – that offered more
versatility.  The GR6, however, I believe is the perfect blend between the Ride 7,
which is a cushioned, “long run” trainer and Razor 2, the perfect racing flat for a marathon.
It has the needed responsiveness and better ground feel in a lighter package to distinguish
it from the Ride 7s, but also the needed cushioning and comfort in a slightly heavier
package to separate it from the Razor 2s.  


Although I prefer a 6mm drop in most shoes, I was still a fan of the 4mm drop. The offset
helped the shoes feel more like a racer and distinguish it from the GoRun Ride 7s. A lower
drop encourages greater toe off and midfoot strike, hence why lighter racing flats feature little
to no drop.



Dr. Klein - Having tested the entire range of the new Skechers line, I have begun to appreciate
the many forms of FLIGHT GEN. The GOrun 6 is definitely a more minimal and slightly
firmer demonstration of this midsole. The shoe runs somewhat close to the ground, which
makes sense that it would be a bit firmer. It is not bone crushing firm and the FLIGHT GEN
adds some bounce for sure, but it is firmer than the GOrun 5. The nice thing about
Skechers is that their soles are very consistent. The same material and design is utilized
throughout the midsole, so expect to have similar riding features no matter where you land.
Like the previous version, gone is the M strike. The sole has a smoother ride and has full
ground contact. This contributes to better grip and a slightly more stable sole. The chevron
pattern on the outsole does add some mild grip to the road as well as awesome flexibility
throughout. This shoe is definitely the moderate minimalist's dream.

The sole appears to be slightly wider than the previous version. This makes the shoe
a little more stable and would have set it up to be a great uptempo shoe (which again would
have made the difference between the Razor and GOrun confusing), however the flexibility
of the upper defeats this a bit (read on below).




Fit/Feel:

Chris - The GR6 features a compression knit upper and molded heel counter.
While I am a huge fan of the sole/ride, the GR6 is not without faults. Don’t get me
wrong, initially I was a huge fan of the Compression Knit Upper. Right out of the box,
it felt extremely soft and almost supple to the touch. Unfortunately, this was the source of
my problems. Most uppers feature some sort of mechanism for lock down and support.
With the GR6s, however, I found that the upper had no sort of heel, midfoot, or forefoot
lockdown. Despite tying the laces as tight as I could, my foot was not stable (I believe this
is partly due to the upper and lace hole construction).

The Compression Knit Upper reminded me of the Adidas Energy Boost 3. It was extremely
stretchy. Almost too stretchy. While comfortable, I found that the stretch compromised some
mid/forefoot support. Again. This is all subjective. There were many people who were
absolutely thrilled with this breathable, knit upper. I, however, did not find it to pair well
with the responsive, snappy midsole. I found that my heel slipped out with the slightest tug
on the back. *I have fairly narrow feet and prefer a tight fit around my foot when running.
If you prefer or do not mind a looser fit, the fit may not bother you.



Despite the presence of a molded heel counter, I did not notice much of a difference in
comparison to similar knitted shoes (Nike Flyknit) with a knit heel counter. I want to
emphasize that these shoes were not uncomfortable by any means. I just found
them to be a little too loose around the heel and midfoot for a tempo/faster shoe. As I
mentioned, during some faster tempos, I was worried that my heels would slip out of the
shoe. **I am a huge fan of the upper on the Ride 7. While it is also knit, I found the upper to
provide far better lock down and heel support.

Dr. Klein - While the upper is incredibly comfortable and fits like a sock against the skin, it
is too flexible for faster running. I actually like the GOrun 6 better as a casual shoe than as
a running shoe to be honest for this reason. I used the GOrun 6 as a minimal trainer for foot
strengthening, but did not do much faster running other than one workouts and many strides.
There is not enough hold on the foot to handle changes in speed or quick turns. Turning in this
shoe would have my foot sliding off the platform. There are no additional mechanisms for
lockdown in the upper. It is stretchy throughout even with a very mild heel counter, which is
mostly just increased density of the knit upper.



I do understand what Skechers Performance was trying to do with the upper. The
"Compression Knit Upper" is designed to fit closely to the skin and try to hold the foot.
While this works great with low speed activities, it does not suffice for high speed or turning
movements. That being said, the upper is incredibly comfortable against bare skin and I have
been able to wear these sockless both for short easy runs as well as casually (they have some
cool colorways out there). There are points of increased density in the upper in an attempt
to hold the foot in certain places, but I do not feel like it is enough to provide a really
secure fit.

This shoe does fit very trued to size and I would stick with your normal size. The GOrun 6
runs a bit snug due to the stretchy upper If you find them a bit too snug, you can easily take
out the sockliner and that should give you more room. I actuallyprefer running without the
sockliner as I get a little better proprioceptive feedback (since I mostly use this shoe as a
short run shoe for foot strengthening).


Notice the laces integrated into the upper. This does a great job of snugging the upper
down but does not add additional lock down or security for the foot.


Thoughts as a DPT

Dr. Klein - Again I appreciate the more anatomic shape of the upper and the flexibility for
toe splay. However, balance is key here. The upper of a shoe needs to help secure the foot
to the platform (sole) while not being too restrictive. The amount of flexibility in the correct
areas is key to helping the foot move the way it is supposed to without having it fly out of
the shoe. In the case of the GOrun 6, the entire upper is flexible. Some people will love this.
Personally, I have found this makes faster running very difficult as there is little to no
foot lock down or security.  A key area the foot needs to be able to move at are the
toes, especially medial and laterally for toe splay.  Most of the rest of the foot, particularly
the midfoot, can be locked down decently.  Of course if one has sensitive calcani (where the
achilles inserts) then flexibility is great back there too.  However, having a locked in heel is
great to prevent heel slippage, something I felt was going to happen every time I tried to pick
up the pace in the GOrun 6 (although it never actually happened to be fair).

Skechers did attempt to change the densities of the upper to match where they wanted flexibility.  However I do not think it was enough to provide a secure fit. Somehow though you have to keep that foot locked down.  I highly suggest Skechers simply further increase the density of weave in the midfoot and heel to hold the foot down better.  Decreased security of the upper may lead to other methods of the body trying to keep the shoe on, with toe clenching (flexion) being the most common one I see.  This is very common in people who wear flip flops a great deal.  The toes curl and you over utilize the long flexors of the foot to try to keep those on.  Then people wonder why their feet hurt after walking all day doing that. Regardless, improved foot lock down in this shoe could help decrease some of those compensations (although people toe clench for many other reasons, but that is a post for another day).


Weight/Durability:

Chris - On Runningwarehouse.com, the GR6 is listed at 7.2 ounces in a size 9 US. This is the
perfect weight range for a shoe in this category. Not too light, but also not too heavy. It helps
distinguish the shoe from other models and fits into a larger niche: lightweight, daily trainer.
The outsole features Skechers’ Parametric Web Outsole which provides great traction on trails,
tartan, and asphalt. These are definitely durable shoes. While I’m not too sure how the upper
will hold up, if the GR6 midsole is anything like the Ride 7s, I expect the FLIGHT FOAM to
last well over 300 miles.



Dr. Klein - The GOrun 6 is light. As Chris mentioned, it is listed at 7.2 oz. Definitely
one of those very lightweight/minimal trainers. I'm sure some people could get away with
racing in this shoe as it is light enough. I personally would want something far more secure for
racing.
Durability is fairly average, especially for a ligthtweight trainer. I would not expect more
than 250-300 miles out of these but my pair have handled both running and casual wear
quite well. The midsole does last due to the FLIGHT FOAM but the outsole is wearing at a
fairly average rate.




Conclusion and Room for Improvement:

Chris - This shoe has a ton of potential. Although I’m not the biggest fan of the upper
lockdown, I love the responsive FLIGHT FOAM midsole. In future models, I’d like to see
a change in the upper design. I think I understand where Skechers was going, but I didn’t
really work for me. The soft upper made it felt more like a casual, walking shoe more than
a performance running shoe. I would recommend these for anything up to the marathon
distance and for anyone looking for a lightweight, versatile trainer. They will definitely
handle any workout or long run without beating up your legs. I appreciate what Skechers
did with their incorporation of the GR6 in their full lineup. It is now a very different and
unique shoe from the Razor 2.

Dr. Klein - I love this shoe as a casual shoe. The upper is so comfortable against bare
skin and actually looks decent. As a running shoe, the upper is not secure enough for
uptempo work (the Razor 2 definitely shines there) and there is not enough sole for me to
use as a daily trainer. Thus the GOrun 6 fits perfectly as a very lightweight or minimal
running shoe. Those that like minimal running shoes (and are still holding on to barefoot
running extremes) will love this shoe as a balance between cushioning and minimal feel.
This shoe is now VERY different from the Razor, so there should not be major confusion
between the two anymore. I do hope that Skechers does lock down the foot a little better
in the GOrun 7. The GOrun Ride 7 has a great example of this where the mesh is stretchy
but there are aspects of the upper that still hold the foot well. So it can be done.

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.


Currently Chris has 25 miles on his pair of GOrun 6s and I have 143 on mine. We put at least 50-75 miles on trainers and 25 miles on racing flats prior to reviewing them. 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.

Chris Park 

Dr. Matthew Klein, PT, DPT
Kaiser LAMC Manual Therapy and Sport Fellow

***Disclaimer: These shoes were purchased by Chris Park for their full US retail price.  Skechers Performance provided my pair to me free of charge in exchange for a review.  This did not change the honesty of these reviews.  

References

Neumann, D. (2012).  Kinesiology of the Musculoskeletal System: Foundations for Rehabilitation - Second Edition.  St. Louis, MI: Mosby Elsevier
Noakes, T. (2003). Lore of Running - Fourth Edition. Champaign, Il: Human Kinetics
Perry, J. (1992). Gait Analysis: Normal and Pathological Function. Thorafare, NJ: SLACK Incorporated.

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Saturday, January 20, 2018

361 Meraki Review

I will be the first to admit that I can be very particular about things.  Starting in college, I made sure to do my easy and long runs in my trainers but did every workout in lightweight trainers or racing flats.  The reason was to let my body get used to the racing shoes so I would be more comfortable on race day.  I have stuck to this, partially due to paranoia about trainers slowing me down during workouts.  The 361 Meraki is the first shoe I have violated that rule with.  Despite being a 10 oz trainer, I was able to take it on a great tempo run (6 miles at ~5:30 per mile) that felt relaxed and smooth.  So I have to amend that rule a bit.  Can I do workouts in trainers?  Yes.  Do I prefer to?  No, but let's talk about some of the things that make the Meraki a little different.


Stats*:
Classification: Trainer

Weight: 10 oz (Men's size 9)
Heel Drop: 9mm
*per Running Warehouse


Upper/Fit:

The Meraki is very much a "disappears on your foot" kind of shoe.  While I was apprehensive about the toe guard at first (which will likely be changed in the next generation as seen by the upcoming Sensation 3) I did not have any issues with rubbing.  The upper uses a seamless engineered mesh, which creates a smooth fit throughout the foot.  I have not had any rubbing or chaffing issues.

The midfoot is held quite well in this shoe.  361 uses a design called "Fitz Rite" in the midfoot to wrap the foot securely.  I did not notice this until I realized how well the shoe held my feet.  This further contributes to the shoe disappearing on the foot.


The tongue of the Meraki is on the thin side.  They designed this perfectly as it is thin enough to not get in the way but not so much that it is flimsy.  I have not had any irritation from the tongue, which is somewhat rare with me.  Usually I get some minor rubbing breaking shoes in with the tongue, but the Meraki was ready to go from the first step.



There is a heel counter in this shoe but there is some cushion in the upper to protect anyone with sensitive calcani.  As always, if you have anything like a Haglund's deformity ("Pump Bump") you may want to try this shoe before buying. 


The fit is very true to size.  I am normally a size 10 and that is exactly how the shoe fit.  It does have a slightly narrower fit throughout that gives it a more performance feel.  However, those with normal to slightly wide width feet should not have any issue.


Sole/Ride:

This is the area I was most impressed.  361 managed to combined appropriate flexibility with a plate that adds wonderful responsiveness when the pace picks up.  There are flex grooves throughout the length of the shoe, but the forefoot is what really shines.  There is a plate that feels like it runs from the midfoot through the forefoot.  The heel has mostly QU!CKFOAM that makes for a stable but protective landing if you land back there.  From the midfoot forward, the QU!CKFOAM stays as a significant top layer while the plate takes over the middle midsole.  This is why I have been able to use this shoe as both a trainer and a tempo/interval shoe.  The springy QU!CKFOAM combined with the responsive plate make it great for a variety of runs.  The flex grooves throughout the shoe do work well to smooth the ride out.  I would prefer if they were mostly in the forefoot (where most sagittal plane motion occurs in the foot, not ankle) but they are not overdone anywhere else.


The outsole is incredibly durable.  This is characteristic of 361 as their shoes tend to last for long periods of time.  I have 320 miles on my pair and there is very little wear on them.  Other than being dirty from the amount of trails I have also used them for, they feel almost the same as when I first put them on.  So expect many miles out of this shoe both from the durability of the QU!CKFOAM as well as the outsole.


The Meraki is meant as a neutral trainer but the plate does add some element of stability, especially toward the front of the shoe.  However, the sole overall is slightly on the narrower side, so those needing some extra stability may want to look at the upcoming Sensation 3.  The Sensation 3 is essentially the same shoe with no toe guard and some light posting in the midfoot.


Something I do appreciate that 361 is (slowly) starting to add a bevel to their heels.  I understand the design influence from Asics as many of their developers originally migrated from that company.  The Meraki now has a bit more of a bevel at the posterior-lateral aspect of the heel, which should smooth out and landing posteriorly rather than causing a jarring impact from those rigid non-beveled heels (that irritate me both personally and biomechanically).  So for those that have difficulty with this, know the ride is smoothing out.  I have found the ride of the Meraki to be very smooth thanks to the flexibility, plate and the mild heel bevel. 


Thoughts as a DPT:

Sole width is an easy way to both change the weight and stability of a shoe.  A narrower sole obviously has less material there and will weigh less.  The trade off is that a narrower platform will have less lateral stability and resistance to motion in the frontal plane.  Racing flats and performance shoes often has this feature as a way to cut weight, but there is a trade off stability wise.  On the flip side, stability shoes often have very wide soles to provide a more stable and broad platform. While this increases stability, it obviously adds a ton of weight.  A wide sole is only one of the many ways one can increase or change the stability of a shoe.  Hoka is very well known for having wide soles which is one of the reasons many report them feeling more stable.  361 has a bit more normal to narrow sole width, as seen by the traditional use of second density foam in their stability shoes, the Strata and Sensation.  The Spinject (REVIEW) stands out from many of 361's other shoes due to the slightly wider platform, which is why I had so much success with.  Despite being a neutral performance shoe (with great flexibility and turnover), the wider base made the shoe more stable for me and I was able to handle far more in that shoe than others in the 361 neutral line.  I really do like the Meraki, but given the narrower sole, I would classify it more as a performance trainer, especially with the added propulsive plate in the sole.


Room For Improvement:

I might widen the base of the sole just a bit to increase stability.  That is a personal preference and many find the fit and sole just fine.  I do like the fit as it feels like a performance trainer, so those needing a bit more shoe should look at the 361 Strata or Spire 2 (REVIEW).

I believe this is already in the works, but I would like to see the toe guard toned down like it is in the Sensation 3 (coming soon).  I think this will improve the already good fit.


Conclusion:

This 361 Meraki is not the lightest shoe but it is one of the more versatile.  I can see people using this as a do it all shoe, many using it as a marathon racer, others using it as a solid performance trainer.  At 10 oz there are lighter shoes on paper, but thanks to the QU!CKFOAM, the plate and the fit, this shoe feels much lighter.  This shoe has responded well for me on long training runs, tempo runs, intervals and even some sprints.  While I do prefer using lighter shoes for workouts, I kept reaching for this shoe during testing even when I thought I might want something lighter.  Each time they performed very well and I hit my splits.  So for those looking for a performance trainer that can handle faster paces, check out the 361 Meraki.

Thanks for reading and don't forget to tack on!

As always, my views are my own.  My blog 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 LA area, I am taking clients privately for running evaluations based on my Orthopedic Residency and upcoming Manual Therapy and Sport Fellowship schedule. 

Dr. Matthew Klein, PT, DPT
Doctor of Physical Therapy
Casa Colina Orthopedic Resident

Kaiser SoCal Manual Therapy and Sport Fellow 2018

***Disclaimer: These shoes were provided free of charge in exchange for a review.  I put at least 75 miles on trainers and 25 miles on racing flats.  Currently my pair of 361 Merakis have 320 miles on them.  A big thank you to 361 for sending me these.  This in no way affected the honesty of this review.  I have no problem being brutally honest with a review because I do this for the consumer and those reading this blog.  I must disclose that my girlfriend is sponsored by 361 as a professional runner, but this did not influence this review. 

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Friday, January 19, 2018

New Balance Vazee Pace v2 Review

Today's review comes from a new contributor to KleinrunsDPT. Chris Park is a high school student with a very keen interest in footwear and human biomechanics. As a future doctorate, he will continue to share his thoughts as he explores those worlds. Today he provides a review of the New Balance Vazee Pace 2. Read on as we continue to match science with running footwear.

I’ve been an ardent supporter of the New Balance brand for the last couple of years. Although I didn’t have much experience with the brand outside of several versions of the 1400 and Zantes, I was attracted to many of their lines including the Vazee, Boracay, 880, and Hanzo models.  Thankfully I was able to try out the Vazee Pace v2s and share my thoughts.


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Specs:
Weight: 8.6 oz (Men's Size 9)
Drop: 6mm (24mm/18mm)
Classification: Lightweight Trainer

The Vazee Pace 2s are marketed as a lightweight, cushioned shoe for tempos and faster workouts.According to Runningwarehouse.com, the Pace v2s weigh 8.6 ounces in a size 9 US and have an offset of 6mm with a stack height of 24mm in the heel and 18mm in the forefoot. Although they aren’t the lightest shoes on the market, the REVlite foam contributes to a rather firm, responsive ride while providing enough cushioning for a half marathon.




Foam/Drop:

The New Balance Vazee Pace v2s are listed as a lightweight, cushioned shoe. While they aren’t the “lightest trainers/racers” available, the responsive REVlite midsole, lower drop, and toe spring give the shoe a snappy ride.  Despite this responsiveness, however, I found them too heavy to be used as a racing flat or even a fast, lightweight trainer.


REVlite: According to New Balance, REVlite is an “innovative EVA foam compound,” that provides the same responsiveness and durability of most other EVA foams 30% heavier.   Unlike Fresh Foam or Nike Lunarlon, REVlite provides a firmer ride creating a stable platform for the foot during speed work.   New Balance offers REVlite in many other models; with the Pace v2s, I found that it provided the responsiveness for mile repeats, but also the needed cushioning for anything under 13 miles. The recommended distance with any shoe is unique to every runner, however, I found that anything over 13 miles with the Pace V2s beat up my legs. I would recommend these shoes for those that follow the minimalist trend in regards to heel drop and fit but still want a decent and traditional amount of underfoot cushioning. 

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Toe Spring: Although it seems minimal, toe spring definitely contributed to the overall snappy, smooth ride. Toe spring is the slight raise of outsole aspect of the toes above the ground. I won't go into too much detail about it, because Dr. Klein has a great post about it (HERE).   Simply put, toe spring mimics the forefoot rocker of the foot. This is an important feature, because it assists in maintaining forward momentum during a stride.

I really enjoyed the 6mm heel to toe offset/drop. Personally, I’m not too big on anything over 8mm (hence why I am not a fan of most Nike shoes). The 6mm encourages a midfoot landing and greater toe off. In other words, the lower drop encourages a stronger push off from the toes and therefore faster turnover and power. I believe having a midfoot strike is important because it reduces impact when the foot collides with the ground allowing for a faster turnover rate (Editor's Note: I am not the biggest proponent of focusing exclusively on footstrike as I believe it is one part of a larger chain.  I do not think forefoot, midfoot or heel striking is necessarily better than the other as the research simply states that each one loads different structures differently.  A midfoot strike does tend to even things out a bit and a balanced/even approach is usually best.  However, I urge those reading to focus on your overall strength, flexibility, stability and form rather than only focusing on one area of the body.  The foot and ankle are VERY important, but should not be the primary focus when you have far greater force generation potential higher up the chain). 


Although I loved the 6mm drop, it contributed to my overall confusion with the purpose of these shoes. The higher drop made the shoes feel like a trainer rather than a “faster tempo shoe.” While I was a fan of the 6mm drop, many other brands- even from New Balance themselves- offer "lighter more responsive" trainers for speed work with a lower drop. I understand that New Balance wanted to cater towards the "fast, lightweight trainer" market, however, I do not think it was executed properly. When looking at their own line, the Zantes offer more versatility while keeping the same weight profile as the Pace v2s. Furthermore, the 1400 line provides a more response responsive, comfortable cushioning in a lighter package.



Fit/Feel:


New Balance, please keep this!   The upper consists of a smooth, soft textile with overlays for support. I did not experience any blisters or hotspots during my runs. Similar to the Zantes, they incorporate a bootie construction for better mid foot lockdown and overall comfort. The fit around the achilles/heel was soft and did not cause any discomfort. Despite the smooth interior, I would not recommend wearing these sockless unless you are experienced with that. 



New Balance offers the Pave v2s in a standard (D) and wide fit. Therefore, if you have a wider foot, I would suggest trying both versions. The toe box is a little wider than most of the other shoes from New Balance which helps with toe splay. 


toe%20splay%20second.png
Photo from YShu et al., (2015)


Toe Splay is the natural spread of the toes. Most shoes change the foot shape and impede some of the foot's natural ability for stabilization and propulsion. Most commonly, the big toe falls out of line with its corresponding metatarsal bone. Shoes that facilitate a proper toe splay may influence an pain and injuries including plantar fasciitis, bunions, and even metatarsalgia.


Editor's Thoughts as a DPT:

Chris brings up a good point and this is something I tend to hammer with the companies I consult for (as many of them find out quickly). A wide overall shoe fit is not usually necessary but allowing neutral greattoe alignment is very important.  
Bunions are not genetic.  They have many sources that usually arise from limited motion or mobility somewhere.  For those with stiff calves or hallux (first toe) joints, the body cannot progress over the forefoot well.  So instead it usually pivots the foot outward (abducts and everts) to roll off the medial aspect of the first toe.  This throws many things out of alignment all the way up to the pelvis (and occasionally up to the cervical spine as I found with one of my patients recently), but the body needs to get over that forefoot somehow. The continued abnormal loading of the medial side of the big toe joint eventually causes the bone to grow in response to the repeated stress.  This further contributes to the big toe being pushed laterally (hallux valgus) and overstretching of the abductor hallucis.  The abductor hallucis is a very important intrinsic stabilizer of the arch, so this can also contribute to collapsed arches as the body compensates further with excessive abduction and eversion of the midfoot.  So great toe (hallux) alignment is very important, especially for foot and ankle stabilization.  Not everyone has the mobility in the joint as often happens in the older population, which is where something like toe-spring may help to create that natural forefoot rocker.  For everyone else, make sure that joint stays mobile and get shoes that properly fit the foot.  

Weight/Durability:

The main factor that contributed to my confusion with the shoes was the weight. The Vazee Pace v2s are listed at 8.6 ounces in a size 9 (US). As I mentioned before, New Balance themselves offer other models (I.e. Zante, 1400 line) that are the same weight or lighter. Furthermore, they are just as, if not more versatile.

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After 60 miles of rough concrete

I was a fan of the grippy, durable outsole rubber. The mix of carbon and blown rubber contributed to their overall grip. Considering I have put around 60 miles in these, the Pace v2s are an extremely durable shoe and I expect them to last well over 300 miles.




I want to make it clear that I thoroughly enjoyed the shoes. However, I did not find them to be the “greatest” lightweight, responsive racer available. Personally, I couldn't really place them into a niche. Were they a racer or a trainer?

Conclusion and Room for Improvement:

While this is a great shoe for those that prefer more ground feedback/feel, I would like to see a lighter model in the future. Whether they shave a couple ounces off the outsole or thin down the midsole, these would be a great daily, lightweight trainer. As I mentioned before, at 8.6 ounces, many other brands (including New Balance) offer the same snappy, responsive ride in a lighter package, so I would recommend taking a look at all the options before making a purchase.

Thanks for reading and don't forget to tack on!

Editor's Note: As always, the views presented on this blog belong to myself or the selected few who contribute to these posts. My blog 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.

Currently Chris has 60 miles on his pair of New Balance Vazee Pace v2. We put at least 50-75 miles on trainers and 25 miles on racing flats prior to reviewing them. 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.

Dr. Matthew Klein, PT DPT and Chris Park

***Disclaimer: These shoes were purchased for their full US retail price.  We put at least 75 miles on trainers and 25 miles on racing flats.  Currently Chris has 60 miles on them.  

References

Neumann, D. (2012).  Kinesiology of the Musculoskeletal System: Foundations for Rehabilitation - Second Edition.  St. Louis, MI: Mosby Elsevier

Noakes, T. (2003). Lore of Running - Fourth Edition. Champaign, Il: Human Kinetics

Perry, J. (1992). Gait Analysis: Normal and Pathological Function. Thorafare, NJ: SLACK Incorporated.

Shu, Y., Mei, Q., Fernandez, J., Li, Z., Feng, N., Gu, Y. (2015).  Foot Morphological Difference between Habitually Shod and Unshod Runners.  PLos One: 10(7): e0131385.  doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0131385

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