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Lee Macholz is one of our 2018/2019 RErun ambassadors. She is a stud! After work and family time, she still manages to volunteer and/or run many events through Runners Edge and Run Wild Missoula. We got a new trail shoe called the Cloud Venture. Since Lee rocks the trails, we asked her to test out these shoes and her thoughts are below…

OnCloud Cloudventure

Specs: 6 mm; Neutral; 7.9 oz

I grabbed a pair of Cloudventures just before heading down to Moab, UT for spring break play time with the family. I was set to run the Behind the Rocks 30k and still hadn’t decided which shoes to wear. But since I didn’t have the time to take them out for a test run before the race, I stuck with my Xodus because I was already completely un-trained for the race and felt it was not terribly smart to add new shoes to the mix as well. However, we still had a full week to play after the race and I wore the Cloudventure for the rest of our time running and hiking in the desert. I also raced the Bitterroot Runoff in them last weekend so these shoes have seen some great early-season action.

OnCloud is a new brand to me, I’d seen a few folks in them over the past year or so, but I had not yet tried them on. In the store, my initial impression was that they were stiff and didn’t have much cushion.
This impression didn’t last though. As soon as I got out on the trail with them, they proved to be really responsive and comfortable. I find that I don’t need, or even want, as much cushion in my trail shoes as I do in my road shoes. The Cloudventure has good support throughout the shoe. I can feel the arch support just enough to know that it is helping my foot, but not so much that it is too tall. The arch support does feel like it extends forward more than other shoes I’ve worn. It was noticeable enough to wonder if it would hurt or fatigue my foot, but it didn’t take long to get used to it and by the end of my first run I’d forgotten all about that. I tend to get a couple tender toes, but I have not had that issue yet with these shoes. The rest of the fit is good, with skinny laces that don’t come untied and a soft tongue that doesn’t slip or pinch. And they are really light weight – easily the lightest running shoes I’ve ever worn!
The really noticeable thing about the Cloudventure is the sole. It is really knobby and kind of crazy looking. Most of the cushion for this shoe seems to be in the material of the sole. I am not the lightest on my feed on the downhill but the sole absorbs impact really well. The downhill sections of the
Bitterroot Runoff felt really great in these shoes. Then there is the traction. I love the “Missiongrip” traction on these Cloudventures. Wearing these in Moab was super fun and I felt kind of like spiderman on the rocks in these shoes. They gripped everything – going up and going down. The one thing that annoys me about the sole is that the spacing and depth between the lugs will pick up rather large rocks.
You know the feeling/sound when you get a little rock stuck in the tread of your shoe? Yeah, instead of smaller-than-pea-sized rocks that are usually easy enough to scuff out of your tread without stopping, I get thumb-sized rocks stuck and usually have to reach down and dislodge the rock. I’m not sure yet if that was just a factor of the rocks in Moab, or if that will continue to be an annoyance on the trails
around Missoula. We’ll see.

All in all, I think the Cloudventure is a great trail running shoe. My favorite things about them is how incredibly light they feel and how grippy the soles are. This makes going up and down hills a dream. If you are looking for a new trail shoe, check them out and come join me in chasing clouds in the mountains this summer!

Lee Macholz is one of our 2018/2019 RErun ambassadors. She is a stud! After work and family time, she still manages to volunteer and/or run many events through Runners Edge and Run Wild Missoula. Bunions effect many people around Missoula and the world and they can be very irritating when wear or buying shoes. We brought in a Bunion Relief sock and asked Lee to review our new product. Her thoughts below…

OS1st Bunion Relief Socks

I have to say, I really like these socks. I can’t tell you first-hand if they relieve the pain of a bunion, but I did a little research and here is what learned. Bunions develop slowly over time, so while I don’t have one now, I can see by the shape of my foot that the potential is there for one to develop. A bunion is a bony bump on the inside of your foot at the joint of your big toe. They develop when there is regular pressure on the big toe that causes it to lean toward the second toe. As such, I can see how this could be an issue for runners! I think that recent shoe design can help prevent bunions
as we are seeing wide toe boxes in many shoe styles, but can these socks help as well?

Fit: There are two elements to this sock that I think would be beneficial for treating / preventing bunions. First, the Bunion Relief Socks are designed with a split toe. I’ve never worn a split toe sock before and so it was pretty weird at first. But, I can see how this design relieves the sideways pressure on your big toe that you could get in a regular sock, especially a compressive one. I liked that my big toe could move more freely and I could feel the difference. The second element to this sock that is specific for a person with a bunion is the padded area at the joint of the big toe. It is a softer,
thicker area that fits just right and would provide nice padding to a painful bunion. Moving up the foot, the sock has good compression over the rest of the foot that results in a high performance and very comfortable fit. I like the height of the sock as well – though I am partial to a quarter-height sock.

Performance: I have been running in these socks through January and February in Montana – it is snowy and it is cold. I usually like a taller sock in the winter so my ankles don’t get cold or wet, but as a quarter-height design, these socks have been just high enough. I am not sure if it is the material, or the split toe design, or both but I find these socks to be on the warm side. Which is perfect in the winter, though I likely won’t wear them much in the summer for this reason, we’ll see. I have been washing and wearing them regularly and they are holding up really well. The compression zones are just enough to feel good, but not so much that they cut off my circulation.

Bottom Line: While I can’t speak to the pain relieve side of the equation. I do think that the split toe design and extra padding on these socks will help prevent / ease the symptoms of a bunion. Bottom line is that once I got used to the split toe, I like them and will keep them handy!

Craft Fuseknit Comfort Long Sleeve Base Layer

Lee Macholz is one of our 2018/2019 RErun ambassadors. She is a stud! After work and family time, she still manages to volunteer and/or run many events through Runners Edge and Run Wild Missoula. We asked her to review the Craft long sleeve and talk about the importance of baselayers in the winter. Here are her thoughts below…

Fit: The Craft Fuseknit Comfort Base Layer fits me very well. I have a long torso and long arms and many women’s shirts that fit me in the torso are too short in the sleeves. The trend in adding extra length to sleeves to include thumb holes and cover the hands has been hit-and-miss for me as most mean that the sleeves are comfortable but the holes are useless. This Craft base layer, however, is great in that I can comfortably wear it with my thumbs through the holes and cover part of my hands! I love this because my hands are perpetually cold. The body of the shirt is seamless and fits close to my body but is not skin-tight. It is very comfortable because there are no seams through the arms to have to twist to just the right place to avoid rubbing and chafing. This also means it is super comfortable layered under another shirt or close-fitting jacket. When layering, it almost feels like it disappears – no bunching or twisting or chafing. It is just long enough to tuck into my cold weather pants. My only complaint is that when worn
with tights and a running waist belt, the fabric is a little slick and the bottom hem rides up a little; but not any more than most other shirts. Also, I like that it does not have a hood attached.
Function: A good base layer is super important as we move through the unpredictability of fall weather and on to colder winter temperatures. A quality fabric is important because let’s face it, we’re a sweaty bunch of people! A base layer acts as insulation in the cold, helping to regulate your body temperature by wicking away moisture. Many people like wool base layers for their ability to keep you warm and dry but I am allergic to wool and so I rely on the magic of today’s performance fabrics. I like this Craft Fuseknit because it not only fits me well for a base layer but the fabric really works to move sweat away from my skin so that I don’t get wet and cold.
Performance: You can wear the Craft Fuseknit in a range of temperatures depending on your layering. As the weather started to cool down this fall, just the shirt on it’s own was good as long as the wind didn’t pick up. With a little wind and cooler temperatures, I added a wind-stopper jacket and it kept me warm but not too hot. As the winter temperatures start to drop, I plan to wear the Craft Fuseknit under a warmer running coat or a quarter-zip and I’m confident that it’ll be just right.
Bottom Line: Overall, I have been pretty impressed with the Craft brand. It is nice to have another brand choice for quality running gear. Craft seems to be a slightly lower price point than some of the other name running brands, which I appreciate. I have several Craft items and so far the quality has really held up to my active lifestyle between running, hiking, cross-training, and kids. If you are active through the fall, winter and spring in Montana, you definitely need a good base layer. I would recommend the Craft Fuseknit Comfort Long Sleeve!

Lee Macholz is one of our 2018/2019 RErun ambassadors. She is a stud! After work and family time, she still manages to volunteer and/or run many events through Runners Edge and Run Wild Missoula. She just crushed it at the Rut! We asked her to review the new Oiselle O-mazing shorts. Here are her thoughts below…

Fit: There are several things I love about these shorts, but number one is how they fit. Oiselle offers 7 sizes from 2 to 14, not just your standard S-M-L, so you can find the best fit. They are longer than most and I don’t know about you, but my 42-year-old momma-of-two body can’t comfortably wear booty shorts with 1- or 2-inch inseams. The O-Mazing shorts have a 9” inseam, which sounds long – but who cares when there is NO CHAFING! Did I mention no chafing? How about no riding? These shorts fit so well that they stay where they are supposed to without requiring you to pull them up or push them down mid-stride. They are tight without being compression and the fabric is stretchy and strong but not stiff. The waistband has a crazy-big pocket (which I’ll get to in a minute) but it doesn’t add bulk or weight around your middle. The waistband has enough structure to it that it sits just right with a mid-rise height. 2 thumbs up for neither hitting belly-button nor showing crack!

Function: Ok, back to the crazy-big pocket. The O-Mazing shorts essentially have a built-in carry-all belt. The pocket goes all the way around your waist and has several stitch points along the top to keep it closed and keep your stuff from falling out. On my first trial run I had 3 gels, my phone, and my headphones in the waist pocket (with plenty of room for more!). As I moved into the trees and it got cloudy, I took off my sunglasses and stashed them in the pocket too and they fit right in. The same for gloves on another run. I would have had to stop and work a bit to put either of these things into my zippered Nathan or Spi belt and the sunglasses would not have fit. As for carrying my phone, I was pleasantly surprised. My phone is large and the pocket is not secured closed anywhere except at the stitching points, so I didn’t trust that my phone would stay put. I tried running with my phone in the front and in the small of my back. I felt it was more secure in the back, directly under a stitch point, but it really did ride just fine in both positions. It never fell out or even shifted much during a hard and fast descent off of Pengelly Ridge. The only con here is that the pocket is not sweat-proof, which keeps the waistband breathable, but got my phone a bit sweaty.

Bottom Line: I admit, I always assumed that Oiselle was just for skinny-minnies, but no, they make
shorts for ALL of us! If you like longer shorts and pockets, try these out!!

Bonus: Ladies, these are also super awesome on the daily under a tunic-length dress!! (Pictured under a
Nuu Muu dress.)

Lee Macholz is one of our 2018/2019 RErun ambassadors. She is a stud! After work and family time, she still manages to volunteer and/or run many events through Runners Edge and Run Wild Missoula. We asked her to review the new Saucony Xodus to show how burly this shoe really is! Here are her thoughts below…

I had the opportunity to put the Saucony Xodus ISO 3 to the test last weekend as I ran 22 miles across the Bob Marshall Wilderness. Trail conditions varied from smooth well-worn single track to completely overgrown let’s-play-avoid-the-rocks-when-you-can’t-see-your-feet to jungle-gym-style blowdown to stream crossings and squishy squelchy mud. Let’s just say it was a true Montana wilderness experience! But the Xodus carried me through it all in comfort and definitely helped me trust my feet in some pretty tricky footing. Here’s a breakdown of the features of this workhorse of a trail shoe…

FIT: The Xodus touts Saucony’s ISOFIT, which I was a little skeptical of at first, but after my second run it won me over. There is not a traditional tongue, but rather more of a sock-like upper with flexible side pieces for the laces. I have a very high instep that often prevents me from even getting my foot into a boot or shoe (I can’t even get my foot halfway into a Keen sandal) and many shoes that are not adjustable over the instep will cause my feet to go numb. But the ISOFIT is soft and stretchy and flexible enough that it molds over my foot without cutting off circulation and then you can adjust the laces to keep the shoe tight in all the right places. I really think the ISOFIT will work for all kinds of feet. The other common issue is the size of the toe box. I like a wide toe box and the Xodus was perfect – no blisters, hot spots, or even tenderness on my toes at all (I did end up with a half-size larger than normal).
The back of the shoe and the front tab are both very tall. Neither are stiff so I didn’t have any rubbing or blisters, but I did feel like my tab-style socks were disappearing. My socks were not necessarily slipping under my foot, but I felt like I wanted to keep pulling them up. I think that I’ll wear a higher sock with these shoes next time I’m out for a big day.

Cushion: I’ve also been hesitant to move away from a trail shoe with a rock-plate because I got so used to the protection it offered in my beloved Pearls. I was very pleased with the performance of the extra cushion in the Xodus, it felt more like the level of cushion I like in a road shoe and with the strong sole I didn’t feel the sharpness of any rocks on the trail.

Sole: The rubber sole of the Xodus is really grippy. It was so noticeable that I think my husband started getting annoyed by my comments on how grippy my shoes were! I love to scramble on rocks and the Xodus feels like I can really trust my footing on DRY rocks and wood. I emphasize dry, because I was so confident in my feet that I didn’t pay enough attention when I hit a wet rock and suddenly my feet were sliding sideways out from under me. This is the only real con I have found with this shoe – the rubber is not so great on wet wood or rock. I think it will be ok on wet rock that has some relief to it because the tread is deep, but I slipped around a lot on smoother rocks and wood that were wet.

Overall Performance: Overall, the Xodus is a solid trail shoe. They stood up well to a variety of trail conditions. They were comfortable even after being thoroughly submerged in a creek crossing – they did feel like they held the water in a bit longer than other shoes, but not long enough to be uncomfortable or feel heavy. I really like the flexibility, feeling of the upper, and adjustability of the laces. I think they are definitely Rut-worthy!