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Product Review: Saucony Peregrine 8 Ice+

Cory Soulliard is a Runner’s Edge Ambassador for the 2018/19 season. You can usually find him volunteering or running at almost all of our Runners Edge events! Since he is an avid winter runner and always braving the elements, we asked him to review the Saucony Peregrine Ice 8+. Check out his thoughts below and you can also follow his adventures with his pup on intagram @corysoulliard.

Caution, ice is slippery!

Now that we have that out of the way I will start with a few things that these shoes cannot do. They do not prevent ice from being slippery. They also will not prevent the string of curses that will enter your mind later this winter (and may come out your mouth) after too many weeks of running on the rutted, icy, frozen roads in Missoula.

What will these shoes do for you?
Well have you ever driven a car in the winter weather with snow tires? I would consider these shoes the snow tires of the running world. I don’t take my snow tires off if the roads are dry and I would not hesitate to wear these shoes when the roads or trails are free from ice and snow. In fact I think that is possibly the biggest asset of these shoes. If you know you will be spending your entire run in snow and ice then I would recommend picking up something from Kahtoola, DueNorth, or your favorite sharp winter accessory. If you don’t have any then I am sure the crew at Runners Edge can fix that problem. If your run is like many of mine have been lately (mix of pavement, dirt, rocks, ice, and snow) then these shoes will help a lot. Since they are built on a proven trail shoe they can handle every type of trail I throw at them. The traction is terrific! When I come around the shady corner into the snow there is no need to change my stride. If the next corner is solid ice, well then I still do need to run with a little caution. They do not act like metal spikes! However, like a good set of snow tires, they do improve traction over regular trainers and with a few carefully placed steps I am past the ice and still running. I will throw out the disclaimer that I have already owned Peregrines in the past and loved them so I probably went in with high hopes and they did not disappoint.

How about the shoes?
There have been some changes with the Peregrine 8 from previous models. They have removed any kind of rock plate and increased the amount of foam underfoot. In a recent trip around Lake Como (when I was not running across the actual frozen lake) I was intentionally taking some of the lines that were littered with rocks to see if I could tell a difference. My feet did not feel any discomfort. The biggest increase in comfort I noticed was due to the Runshield upper. They are not waterproof, but they are extremely water resistant. I have had them in the cold snow, wet snow, and rain and my feet have been dry every time. The dry snow is usually fine, but I often return with wet feet after being out in the rain or sloppy snow. I plan to add a pair of short gaiters and continue testing these all winter! The outsole has changed a little and the Ice+ have the addition of the Vibram Arctic Grip to help with the slippery sections, but they still maintain the great grip I remember. They are still a neutral trail shoe sporting the 4mm drop and a great new upper.

Conclusion
Traction devices for your shoes are like tire chains, the absolute best when the going gets really rough. On all those other days when you want to be able to cruise at higher speeds and across varied terrain then these trail shoes will not let you down. I think the Peregrine Ice will see a lot of use this winter!

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Product Review: Noxgear Tracer 360

Cory Soulliard is a Runner’s Edge Ambassador for the 2018/19 season. You can usually find him volunteering or running at almost all of our Runners Edge events! We asked him to review a new safety vest from Noxgear that is new to the Runners Edge and you can read his review below. You can also follow his adventures with his pup on intagram @corysoulliard.

Noxgear Tracer 360

“I like yer jacket” he said out the window. I smiled and said “thanks.” I took it as a compliment even though I wasn’t wearing a jacket.

It was my first real night run of the season. I was out doing mile intervals during an 8 mile run and I was on the final interval when I heard him coming. The deeper engine sound of a large pickup truck. I was working up the last hill and he was slowing down. Was it someone with a witty comment? His window was down and he looked over and said “I like yer jacket. It makes ya really easy to see.” I wasn’t wearing a jacket. It was a warm night compared to the last 2 weeks and I only needed a light long-sleeve to keep warm. I was however trying out my new Noxgear Tracer 360.

Wearing it

Out of the box it was a little tricky to put on. I generally wear a men’s small or medium shirt and I opted for the small of the Tracer 360. I had to figure out top from bottom and left from right. It helps if I were to actually read the word “left” on one of the straps. By the third run I had it figured out. Once on it nearly disappears from my mind. There is one high-viz, elastic, chest strap that feels similar to a heart rate monitor. This strap is your main support and the focus of the sizing. My small vest is adjusted to fit me but still have room to get larger and certainly can get smaller. Once adjusted, the thin cables that carry the light are barely noticeable. The main battery pack looks a little large for running with but the size does not mean it is heavy, it is actually very lightweight. I wonder how it would feel in the summer for a 24-hour relay race?

The lights are awesome!

As the name implies, it provides 360 degrees of visibility. The first night wearing mine I saw another runner make a turn over ¼ mile away and I could instantly tell they were wearing the same vest. That might not seem unusual in Missoula but after dark on a weeknight in Hamilton, the streets are not exactly crowded with runners. I was also impressed that I could not only notice the runner but I could tell what they were wearing. They chose one of the solid red color for their run. With the push of a button you can choose from 6 solid colors or 5 flashing patterns. The solid colors are great and adjustable to your mood but the flashing options are when this party vest comes to life. I mean I am seriously considering wrapping it around our Christmas tree when I am not out running. My 6 year old friend loves when I stop by wearing it!

Concerns.

There are two main concerns. I am not a fan of using batteries. This vest uses 3 AAA batteries and I would prefer in internal, rechargeable battery but with a 40 hour runtime I will really only use 1 set per year. The second warning is that the on/off/mode button is in the middle of your back when you are wearing the vest. Although not the easiest, I can reach it while running. Other options would be to turn it on before donning the vest or having a friend hit the button for you. Although then you will be at the mercy of their selection and if I am choosing for you, I am going for party mode.

Summary

The vest may look a little crazy but I suggest you try one on. Drivers can be easily distracted or just not see the lonely runner. If you are going to be on the roads at night, don’t take any risks and make sure you are seen.

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Product Review: Cotopaxi Teca-Technical Windbreaker

Cory Soulliard is a Runner’s Edge Ambassador for the 2018/19 season. You can usually find him volunteering or running at almost all of our Runners Edge events! We asked him to review a jacket from a cool company, Cotopaxi, and his thoughts are below… You can follow his adventures with his pup on intagram @corysoulliard.

Fall is here. The mountains are dusted in snow, the mornings are frosty, and the views are amazing. It’s that great time of year when I want to be out on the trails as much as possible before they are covered in snow. A well timed run means I can still enjoy shorts and a t-shirt but heading back one of the the canyons in the bitterroot means I should not go without an extra layer. Do I take a layer for warmth? To stop the wind? To shelter me from the surprise
rain or snow? How about one that will take on all of those roles?

Quick notes:
Pros                                    Cons                                              Notes
– Light (4.6oz)                   – Pockets do not zipper                  – Bright, bold colors
– Packable                          – Elastic waist does not                  – Half-zip available
– Hood                                   cinch
– Collar protects neck
when zipped
– Vented back
– DWR finish
– Quiet

The Cotopaxi Teca jacket will only take up a little more space than a tennis ball and weighs a scant 4.6 oz so there are few reasons to bring it with you. I was able to shed the wind at the top of Trapper Peak and fend off a light rain around Lake Como while just wearing a light t-shirt underneath. Trapper was a classic fall trip that starts warm from the car but without some protection at the top there would be no way I could hang out and enjoy the view. My Teca jacket was basically nonexistent on the hike up but ready when I needed it at 10,157ft. The run around Lake Como started cool and damp so the jacket was in for a more thorough test.

The first thing I was noticing about the jacket was the noise. Many light jackets are more disruptive but I quickly realized that it was just the hood that I was hearing. The hood was not needed on this run so I tucked it in the collar and ran in almost silence. After a couple miles in 38 degree weather I started to heat up. There is an inch wide strip that runs the width of the back to ventilate while on the go and when I started overheating I just lowered the zipper a few inches to let some extra air in and ran on in comfort. Although the rain was minimal the DWR finish did keep me dry despite the efforts of all of the low hanging branches that were saving up their water for my passing. My legs and my socks did not remain so dry.

At 5’10” and roughly 140 lbs I decided on the men’s medium and I would say the fit is about right. The body is large enough I will be able to add a warm layer and wear this jacket through the winter but not so large that I feel like I am wearing a parachute. The sleeves are plenty long
so the elastic cuffs can actually meet my gloves. If needed the collar covers your neck when zipped up and the hood will wrap around your head to keep the heat in. My wife may have stolen the jacket for an early morning run and she approved of it. Although a size down would have been better fitting I get the impression that I might notice it missing again in the future.

Now I must be honest, I dress for function, not fashion. I would expect this Teca jacket to be worn by a stylish runner slipping through the crowds of NYC or on the cover of some running magazine instead of on minimally maintained trails. I don’t think I would have purchased the jacket because the 1990 style, bright, block coloring might be too bold for me. After wearing it a couple times I don’t feel as self-conscious as I expected. In fact on the dull grey days I think I like the addition of color to my world. As with all ultralight jackets I hope it can withstand the abuse on the trail. A recent run up Bear Creek Canyon did push the limits of the DWR as I was continually slapped with branches full of the previous night’s wet snow. Although I am not sure I stayed dry, I would say I was able to stay comfortable for the 2 hour adventure.

Anyone growing up in the late 80s-early 90s may feel right at home with the styling. Many companies tried their hand including The North Face seen here. If you miss the kangaroo pouch pocket be sure to check out the half-zip Teca. You will have plenty of room to bring along your sandwich, walkman, and a few slap bracelets for your friends.

Product Review: Comparing Superfeet Blue and Comfort Run Thin

Cory Soulliard is a Runner’s Edge Ambassador for the 2018/19 season. You can usually find him volunteering or running at almost all of our Runners Edge events! He recently just crushed the Blue Mountain 30k! We asked him to compare the old Superfeet to the new Run Comfort Superfeet, and his thoughts are below… You can follow his adventures with his pup on intagram @corysoulliard.

Right out of the box I would say the original version of the Superfeet Blue (top) has gone through some improvements that lead to the new RUN Comfort Thin (bottom). Although fashion might not translate to function, the RUN Comfort looks much better than the original Superfeet Blue. I did notice before trimming the insoles that the RUN version does have a little bit more space available in the toe area. If you happen to be at the top of the size range and enjoy shoes with a wide toe box that may be helpful. Both version needed to be trimmed to fit my shoes so it did not change the performance for me. The newer version does talk about carbon fiber which always means better (except for emissions) when dealing with performance. I would say the integration of the solid support in the heel and the foam padding does seem to be a little more refined in the RUN insole as well as the heel cup appears to be a little deeper when placed side-by-side.The updated insole also sports a H.I.T. gel insert at the point of heel impact to help with shock absorption.

A quick trace of my old insole with a pen and a little trim and I was ready to slide the insoles into my Waveriders. Both insoles were thin enough that I would not have to worry about sizing up my shoes to handle the extra volume. At first I tried them just walking around the neighborhood with the Blue in my left shoe and the RUN in my right shoe. I could tell that the RUN version had a more defined arch and overall shape to the footbed. At first that was less comfortable to me. After wearing them for acouple hours I didn’t even notice the difference because my feet had adjusted. Next step, running in them. Since both feet had adjusted to their respective insoles without problem I was ready to run. I would highly recommend taking time and easing into any major changes to your running especially when the feet are concerned. I went for a short run first and I could instantly feel a change in the drop of my shoes. Generally I can swap from high to low drop without issue but the waveriders are on the higher side and the insoles boosted that even more. It did not cause any problems but I was happy I did not just take them out for a 15 miler.

In an effort to give the most comprehensive Superfeet review possible I did a little research on
the product, their claims, and the company in general. The most compelling quote from their
website was in reference to how the insoles work: “The human foot is designed to adapt to
uneven, natural terrain. Our world has become hard and flat, thanks to man-made surfaces like
sidewalks, tile floors and paved roads. For your foot, it’s exhausting, and can be painful.” I
spend as much of my running time on trails as possible and the trails in the Bitterroots are rarely
described as flat but all of my working hours are spent on said flat surfaces. Unfortunately I also
learned that I did a terrible job testing the product to provide this review. According to the
website, Superfeet are designed to be used in “a wide variety of footwear, from high heels to
hockey skates, hiking boots to high-tops.” I failed to attempt running in any of the mentioned
footwear.

To sum up my experience I would say if you were a fan of the Superfeet Blue then I would
expect that you will enjoy the improvements that have been made with the Comfort RUN Thin.
The RUN version looks better and has updated the insole to better meet the needs of most
runners. I am currently experimenting with using the insoles in my work shoes but I do not feel
the need for them on my daily runs. If you have never used insoles before then you can expect
the insoles to easily fit and provide improved stability, a better platform for your foot, and a slight
increase in the drop of your shoe. Should you be experiencing any difficulties with your running
that may be shoe/foot related, stop in and see your friends at Runners Edge and discuss your
options with an expert. They might have an insole for you to try or they might suggest you stop
running in hockey skates!

Product Review: Ultimate Direction EDC “Every Day Carry”

Cory Soulliard is a Runner’s Edge Ambassador for the 2018/19 season. You can usually find him volunteering or running at almost all of our Runners Edge events! He is always a friendly face in the crowd usually sporting a big smile! You can follow his adventures with his pup on intagram @corysoulliard.

Growing up in Pennsylvania my high school running hobby was a pretty simple one. My running shoes were replaced when the outsole fell off, and my summer runs were either as the sun came up, or after it went down. The morning runs were before work but the evening runs were to allow the summer temperatures to drop from 90 degrees down to a brisk 88. Never did my running ever have the need for nutrition or water. The plan worked great until after college when I decided to train for my first marathon. On one of my first 20 milers I was so thirsty that I asked a
stranger to drink out of his garden hose. He was washing off his riding mower and told me “Sure. It’s too hot for me to ride this mower any longer so I am going inside.” I had six miles left.

Needless to say I still do not carry water on most of my runs unless it is long enough that I wear a pack. My experience with bottles was never terrible but also never really enjoyable. The Ultimate Direction EDC is by far the easiest one I have used. The soft flask and the simple design make it a no brainer. The 0.5L capacity is no joke either! Since my bicep strength training is similar to my high school nutrition plan I will warn you that 1+ lbs of weight at your hand does feel a little heavy after enough miles. Since that weight is almost entirely water it drops to a few grams by the time the run ends. Two side pockets can easily hold keys, ID, or credit card sized items. One almost hidden pocket in the bottom is probably best used to stash a Fizz or Nuun tablet if needed. The soft flask bottle has a large opening (for adding ice, energy mixes, or even quick fills). The bite nozzle pops up and down like a traditional sport top so it can be locked (down) to make sure you don’t drain the entire bottle on your shoes while driving to the trailhead. I am guessing at least a few of you have similar camelback stories. When the nozzle is open (up) the water was easy to drink, but it would not leak even when I squeezed the bottle and waved it around like I was trying to signal a passing plane.

Summary(seen with 2 gels, 1 bar, and full of water):
Pros

● 0.5L capacity
● Useful pockets
● Easy use design

Cons

● Water is heavy (No fault of EDC but try it before racing a 50k with it)
● Water gets warm in summer (Duh, but the opening is big enough to add
ice!)

Test Run Reports:
1. Since this is called an “every day carry” I decided my first use would be taking the dog to the river. There was a little running involved but mostly just holding a leash while running the roads and throwing some sticks. I was really happy with how functional my hand was even when holding the bottle. It does not impede my ability to hold a leash or treats or various other items.

2. I was just starting to build miles again after a tough spring so my long run was the next test at 8 miles on the road with moderate elevation. This is where I felt the weight a little but it was not enough to affect my pace at all. I threw in a few surges and climbed a couple hills and never felt impeded which was my concern. I did not have anything in the pockets of the carry which allowed me to pick up a small tool I found along the road during my run. I like bringing home free running loot but I also thought it would be a good test of the pockets since the small but solid metal piece could have slid right out when running. I forgot it was there until I got home and heard the thump on the counter as I set it down so I am pretty sure the pockets are solid. I also tried taking the bottle off my hand, switching hands, and adjusting the strap while running and found it to be a no-brainer, easy on-the-fly adjustments.

3. The next test was an 8-mile rocky run around Lake Como. This time to combat the warm water I added a few ice cubes before leaving. The ice did not last long in 90-degree weather but the water did remain cool much longer. The opening on the bottle was large enough that adding ice was no problem. During the run I took the carry off my hand, gave it to my wife and had her carry it for a few minutes, which she handed back. This was all done on the run which would not have happened with an old velcro strap and a hard bottle I had used in the past. She did like the feel and the design but the weight of a full bottle was more than she expected. She rarely carries a bottle and if she does it only holds about 5 ozs. Continuing around the lake I felt like I was able to maintain my pace and flail my arms when needed for a particularly fast and rocky descent.

4. The last true test was plogging during the Great American Running Store celebration at Runners Edge. Rubber glove on one hand and water bottle in the other…where do I carry the trash? Well the strap allows me to carry it in a few different configurations so during some of the plog I turned it so the bottle was on the back of my hand which left my fingers, thumb, and palm completely unobstructed. I would not recommend running this way at a fast pace with a full bottle but that is not the purpose of plogging. This gave me a gloved hand to pick up trash, a hand to carry the trash bag, and a bottle that stayed clear of contamination. I also carried a car key in one of the side pockets and had no real fear of losing it. There is supposed to be a “secure key pocket” but I think it is a little small for the modern, giant car keys.

5. Bonus Report- After a successful run many people like to sit down with a cold beverage. It is always wise to ensure you are hydrated to properly maintain your healthy lifestyle. Now if you happen to be well hydrated because you were able to easily carry 0.5L of water on your run then you might be interested in having alternative recovery beverages. I have heard that 16oz cans fit well! Maybe I need to skip the run and just bring this to my next BBQ!