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Showing posts from 2015

REVIEW: ASICS MetaRun

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ASICS strikes me as a brand that wants to maintain that traditional feel in a running shoe. Indeed, their most popular racers in Japan, e.g. the Tarther Japan (one of only a handful of their running shoes still made in Japan, with the others being outsourced to China), have only undergone upper updates for >10 years. It is difficult to deviate from a formula that clearly sells. If you look at the shoe counts at the Ironman World Championships in Hawaii over the last couple of years, ASICS has consistently come out on top, all this despite minimalist/maximalist trends.
A brief comparison:

2013 2014 2015 ASICS 17.5% 17.7% 17.5% Saucony 16.5% 14.5% 14.3% Hoka 1.9% 6.0% 11.6%


I can only imagine how hard it is to get funding to develop new technologies at ASICS, but they’ve done it. The MetaRun took two years to develop, which incidentally coincides with how long BASF and Adidas have had Boost on the market. In that process, they created two main new technologies: a new Hybrid Gel called X G…

REVIEW: Mizuno Wave Sayonara 3

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Mizuno has two main “medium-weight” trainers in the neutral category: The Sayonara and the Rider. Both have very similar stack and weight but differ quite distinctly in terms of feel. While the Wave Rider (currently in its 18th version) is designed to provide a cushioned ride and handle the bulk of one’s daily miles, the Wave Sayonara is designed for uptempo work, to provide that responsive feel in a durable package that is perhaps somewhat lacking in their lightweight trainer, the Wave Hitogami.

The Sayonara 3 is the first Mizuno shoe I’ve tried. There are updates to the Sayonara 3 from version 2 and I will highlight them here but I have not personally tried version 2, so I can’t give a feel comparison. However, I have put some miles in the Sayonara 3, covering medium distance easy runs, and some faster tempo workouts to get an idea of how best to use this shoe. That said, let’s delve into it.
My Sayonara 3 in size US9.5 comes in at 260g, which is about what you would expect for a …

X Bionic presentation

Last month, i had the opportunity to try out some running attire from X-Bionic, a Swiss-based sports apparel brand, which uses some pretty nifty tricks and technology to approach heat management during exercise. This was part of a final year project by some really great students at Republic Polytechnic, and I am really glad i took them up on the offer to be part of it.

Here's their video presentation on the project. I think it looks really professional!

*i'm sorry but it does not seem to play from mobile platforms. It will work if you play it on a desktop/laptop.



REVIEW: ON Running The Cloud 24/7

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On Running has been around since 2011. I first came to know about the brand when I visited their booth at the 2011 Ironman 70.3 World Championships Expo in Henderson, Nevada. They were an up and coming brand at the time and were getting some attention from the Slowtwitch forums, so I decided to check them out. They had only one commercially available shoe at the time, the Cloudrunner, retailing for a then promotional price of ~US$140 if I recall correctly. The folks at ON Running took a rather novel approach to midsole cushioning, and that is a compressible ring of rubber (coined a Cloudtec Element), which is supposed to compress during footstrike and rebound back into shape as the foot takes off. This in turn generates a sort of cushioned and bouncy feel to the shoe. Back in 2011, I was quite new to running technology and I had arrived at the race planning to wear my trust Brooks Launch on race day, but a short jog around the expo in their demo samples had me sold. I promptly bought…

FINAL VERDICT: SONY’S SMART B-TRAINER™

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I’ve had the privilege of using Sony’s Smart B-Trainer™ for about a month now, and I find myself using it for a lot of my outdoor runs. I have used heartrate monitors in the past before, but never very diligently because I tend to find HR straps uncomfortable to wear, especially on longer runs, and it’s just a little too time consuming to wear for my tastes, having to wet the sensor and get the position right before each run. I have also had problems with abrasions from the sensor piece on long runs, though some of my friends have recommended using adhesive tape to protect the skin but that’s just one step too many for me, when my running is already packed with gadgets. With the Smart B-Trainer™, it’s simply a matter of putting it on before the run, switching it on while I wear my shoes and then it takes a few seconds to capture a GPS signal before I’m off. I like to wait and see whether the Garmin captures the signal first or the Smart B-Trainer™, and overall I think it’s pretty muc…

KEY FEATURES: SONY’S SMART B-TRAINER™

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Sony’s Smart B-Trainer™ is packed with six types of sensors – heart rate, acceleration, GPS, compass, gyroscope and barometer, and records 11 types of running metrics – heart rate, burned calories, distance, time, speed, pace, cadence, steps, stride, running route and elevation. Here, I shall focus on three main features which I feel give it a big edge over the competition: standalone GPS tracking capability; built-in heartrate (HR) monitoring; intelligent music playback and real-time voice coaching.
GPS capability
I’ll start with the GPS tracking capability. As far as I know, it’s the only running headphone on the market which does not require concomitant use of a smartphone to provide GPS tracking capability. I know many runners, myself included, who hate to run with a cumbersome phone. While modern GPS watches have shrunk in size quite a bit in recent years, they still tend to weigh more than the average conventional watch, not to mention the fact that you have to glance at your (s…

FIRST IMPRESSIONS: SONY’S SMART B-TRAINER™

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I’ve had the opportunity to use Sony’s Smart B-Trainer™ for over a week now and have clocked about 90km so far in the trainer as of this post. I’ve used Sony’s previous offerings of waterproof sports MP3 headphones so I had a pretty good idea of what to expect in terms of fit and sound quality. Nevertheless, the Smart-B Trainer™ appealed to me on several fronts. Firstly, I like that it is the only sports-targeted headphone on the market that has everything built into one device: GPS, Heart Rate sensor, step counter and timer. Secondly, it has Bluetooth® capability which allows immediate syncing of data to your smartphone for you to analyse your data via Sony’s “Smart-B Trainer™ for Running” app. Finally, the fit of the headphones has been further refined with more earbud options and even a tension adjustment silicone strap to ensure a more secure fit when running. All these things combine to ensure that the fit is secure and sound quality is not affected when running even on uneven te…