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Amelia is one of our RE ambassadors for 2018/19. She is very active in the community and is one of the makers of the maps we all know and love, Cairn Cartography! We have some awesome New Balance apparel so we asked Amelia to review the Anticipate Half-zip. See her thoughts below! You can also follow her adventures on instagram @cairncarto, as well as on facebook.

A good half-zip top is an essential piece in a winter running wardrobe, but not all half-zips are created equal. I’ve owned my fair share of versions where the sleeves weren’t long enough, or the zipper made an annoying clink through my entire run, or a scratchy seam on the back of my neck made it hard to focus on a run. This month I tried out the “Novelty Anticipate” half-zip from New Balance, which is one of the best running shirts I’ve ever worn.

The first thing I noticed about this top was how soft it is! The material feels amazing on your skin. And I think the stripes are pretty sharp. As someone who doesn’t always keep my running clothes separate from my everyday clothes I appreciate that this top looks and feels just as good with jeans as it does with running tights.

The fit is relaxed. It fits a little longer on me which I really like, to avoid cold drafts on my lower back this time of year. The sleeves have plenty of length and thumbholes to keep my wrists warm. It’s roomy but not bulky and fits under other layers comfortably. It’s a bonus that the material feels super soft when you use the sleeve to wipe your nose, and it dries fast so you don’t end up with a big soggy spot on your wrist (you know what I’m talking about).

Not only is the material really soft, it stays comfortable and manages temperature fluctuations really well. I’m a person who runs cold when I’m not running, and then heats up into a sweaty mess about fifteen minutes into every run, no matter what I wear. I’ve used this top layered over a tank top or layered under a wind shell and this last week I’ve even worn it layered under an insulated running jacket and it stays comfortable through it all.

Finally, this top has well thought out details that were obviously designed with runners in mind. There is some reflective accents for visibility during those inevitable runs in the dark. The zipper locks down and stays put. There are mesh panels that look stylish and help with temperature management and there is a small pocket that sits right on my hip that is big enough for a key or a gel.

This top would make a great gift for a runner on your list this holiday season, or for yourself to help motivate to get out on these frigid days. Happy Running!

Amelia is one of our RE ambassadors for 2018/19. She is very active in the community and is one of the makers of the maps we all know and love, Cairn Cartography! As a frequent runner of the trails, we asked Amelia to review the new Summit Q.O.M from New Balance. Her thoughts are below. You can also follow her adventures on instagram @cairncarto, as well as on facebook.

Specs: 8mm drop, 28/20mm stack, 9.2 OZ, vibram mega-grip outsole

I received a pair of New Balance Summit QOM shoes to test. My favorite trail shoe of all time was probably the original New Balance Leadville, and I’ve run in several other New Balance shoes over the last few years so I was excited to try this new model. The Summit QOM replaced the 910 model and is designed to be an everyday do-it-all shoe for all types of runners.

I should start by saying that I’m super fussy about shoes. My feet are really wide, my arches are high, and I like the midfoot and heel of my running shoes to feel secure. I like a decent amount of cushioning but not too much, I want protection from rocks but I want to feel the trail underneath me, zero drop doesn’t work for me but I do like lower-drop shoes. I am always, always on the hunt for a shoe that fits my goldilocks standards. Shoes I’ve liked recently are the now-discontinued Pearl Izumi N2s, the original Brooks Calderas (but they fell apart too fast and this year’s version was too narrow), and the current Salomon Sense Ride, which I love, but I wish had a little more substance underfoot for long days.

So, with that qualifier (I’m picky!) here’s what I thought of the QOMs: Initially I wasn’t crazy about the understated grey color scheme but it’s grown on me, especially with the pop of yellow from the sole. The trail shoe market has gone a little crazy with super dark or really flashy designs lately, so these stand out for how understated they are.

How do they feel? These feel firm and burly! For the QOM New Balance took the same midsole as the 910, added a vibram mega-grip outsole and beefed up the toe bumper, and these babies feel ready for anything. I’ve worn them on a variety of  Missoula trails and they feel grippy and secure going up and down on the steeps, even with late summer loose gravelly trails. The underfoot protection is so good I find myself looking around at the view more instead of carefully watching my feet because they eat up sharp rocks underfoot. On flatter smoother trails that extra protection does feel a little bit overkill and these are not my first choice for road-to-trail or mellower runs, but they do turn over surprisingly well for how stiff they feel. A few weeks ago I took these on a trip to the Tetons and they were great for scrambling and boulder hopping in big alpine terrain.

Some fit specifics: Like a lot of New Balance shoes, the toe box in these feels roomy and I didn’t even have to order a wide width (but I appreciate that they come in wide, other shoe companies take note, feet come in different widths!). They did take a while to break in, but once they formed to my feet and the thick padding on the tongue and collar packed down a tiny bit they felt super comfortable and secure. They feel like a higher drop shoe, so I was surprised to see them listed as only 8mm, and the higher stack height combined with the firm sole made me feel a little further from the ground than I prefer, but some days that kind of protection is good.

These would be great shoes for races like the Rut or Bridger Ridge Run, or for training in the kind of rugged terrain featured in those races. I think they will also be great for shoulder season runs in mud and snow when a stiffer shoe and a burly sole can really save the day. I also really appreciate how durable these feel, I’m hard on shoes and it’s not unusual for me to wear holes in the upper in less than 200 miles. These seem built to last, about 100 miles in the uppers look great and the soles barely show any wear. I would recommend these as a daily trainer for people who like a firm, protective shoe, or for people looking for a good option for snowy/muddy/rocky trails.

Angie Partain is very involved in the Missoula Running Community as both a runner and frequent volunteer despite being a busy mom. As an RErun Ambassador we asked her to test out the New Balance 880 and give us her thoughts. You can follow her adventures at @jnapartain.

Until a few weeks ago, I’ve never tried on a pair of New Balance shoes. I’ve had a hard time settling into a running shoe for the last year or so. It seems whenever I find my favorite shoe a new model comes out, and changes just enough that I’m back to square one searching for my new fave. I’m sure some of you can relate to this. I think I kind of have persnickety feet, so I may never find the perfect shoe—but gosh darn it I keep trying and thanks to my friends at the Runner’s Edge I’ve found some pretty sweet options along the way!

Look

This is a great looking shoe! Over the last month I received a ton of compliments on their color and overall look. The understated color paired with touches of metallic silver and hot pink accents bring a fun change up from the bolder options out there. I wasn’t sure I was going to love the lighter color, but I am digging it…and call me weird, but my favorite part of the look of the 880s are the navy polka-dotty laces. The only downside to the color is they can start looking a bit dirty this time of year, though they wash up nicely with a quick wipe down. They also come in Black, “Blue Iris” (Lavender) and “Guava” (Coral). After having worn them for a few weeks, they are beginning to show signs of wear with creased mesh uppers as well as in the outer cushioning.

Fit

The 880s fit true to size with a 10mm drop and slightly wider + taller toe box. Their neutral sole is a bit more shoe than I’m used to in a road shoe. I felt a little taller in them, which means they must have a bit more cushioning than I’ve had with previous shoes. The cushioning is firm, but quite comfy—just not in a pillow-y soft way. My toes were happy for some extra room, but I found my forefoot slipping around quite a bit leaving them feeling a bit raw after longer runs. However, I found that when I locked my heal in place with a “runner’s tie” this was completely eliminated.

Ride

Worn on varied terrain—from the track to trail to road to sand to…bunch grassI felt stable and well supported (as much as possible when it comes to running on bunch grass—that stuff takes a toll!). But seriously, the 880s are a nicely versatile shoe. I was able to bust out some fast miles on the track feeling a spring in my step as well as tackle some uphill, rocky climbs (and descents) without wishing for more traction. On sand and bunch grass my ankles were stable enough to keep a decent pace. On longer runs as I began to fatigue I was aware that they felt a bit clunky, but I suppose that is the trade off for having a bit more cushion.

The 880s are moderately priced at $125. Overall, I really love this shoe and think it’s definitely worth taking out for a test drive to see how it does for you the next time you find yourself at the Runner’s Edge. Their knowledgeable staff will help you know if this is a good option for you and your running goals!

Happy Running!

-Angie

Rachel Brumfield can be seen racing anything from the Resolution Run to Eleven Miles to Paradise, but also likes to explore and spends time in the mountains during the summer. You can follow her adventures on instagram @rachbrums.

New Balance 910v4

Happy trail season, fellow runners! It’s that long-awaited time of year when we get to dust off our shoes and continue to wish the snow away from our favorite trails. Just in time for training this spring, I tested one of New Balance’s trail shoe: the 910v4. Excited to share with you what I thought of these bright beauties!

Specs

New Balance 910v4
Weight 8.6 oz (Women’s size 7)
Heel Drop 8mm
Cushion Firm
Tech REVite midsole foam, HydroHesion rubber outsole

 

Fit

For me – with my fairly average feet and wide toes – the 910’s fit perfectly. The midfoot feels secure, with a double-layer elastic portion that keeps the tongue from sliding around. My little toes love the spacious toe box, which is tall enough to keep toenails happy even while pounding downhill. In comparison to other running shoes, the 910’s feel very stable and snug, in the most comfortable way.

Durability and Traction

The outside of the 910’s feature a fine, double-layer synthetic mesh. Notably, the toe area is reinforced with a rubber compound to protect your toes from the rocks, sticks, and myriad of other things that might trip you up along the way. The midsole – which some say is fairly stiff – has a fantastic “rock plate” for smoother-feeling trail running. I tested these features by running down the M, Mo-Z and backside of Waterworks Hill. I’m happy to report great grip and stability, even on loose rock. The narrower tread also allows for better maneuvering between the rocks and uneven terrain.

Style

I would be lying if I said the bright “Sea Spray with Alpha Pink & Black” color scheme didn’t sway my affinity. These kicks make you feel like you’re flying up and down the trail! I love the vibrant colors, especially this time of year when the sky is super gray and scenery drab. The design of the shoe looks sleeker than my other trail shoes, making them easy to wear around.

Other Favorite Features

I mentioned it previously, but the addition of the elastic layer that attaches to the tongue makes this shoe a favorite for me. Rather than slipping around on long downhill portions of trail, these shoes stay in place (preventing obnoxious hot spots and blisters). I also am a huge fan of the reinforced toe – it’s not overdone but is helpful for a runner like me who sometimes forget to pick up my feet. 😊

Price

The New Balance 910 is reasonably priced at $110 – definitely not the most expensive option out there.

Summary

For a neutral trail running shoe, the New Balance 910 is a great option. They ride the middle in nearly every aspect – comfortable but not plush, firm but not unresponsive, stable but not unforgiving – except in design. (In design, they’re fun, colorful and perfectly embody my feelings about spring trail running.) For an every day runner who likes to get off the roads and onto Missoula’s beautiful trails – they’re an easy YES.

Grady Anderson is relatively new to the Missoula running scene, but is quickly making his mark. As a former standout runner at North Dakota State (don’t hold that against him), he can be easily spotted at the front of most races in town and just finished 5th overall in the Treasure State Trail Series. Grady recently tested the wind and water resistant New Balance Reflective Lite Jacket

Elk Ramble 15k

By Grady Anderson

The first signs of winter have finally hit Missoula. It’s time to curl up around the fire, drink some hot chocolate, read a good book, and of course…RUN! Last week was a wild day up on Mt. Jumbo for everyone who got to experience the Elk Ramble 15K. Snowy, slippery, hilly terrain with a beautiful view of wintery Missoula to top it all off. With the cold weather approaching and the relentless rain and snow I was relieved to demo New Balance’s Running Jacket which blends simplicity, reliability, weight, and style all in one. I have hardly taken it off in the last month. It’s great in almost any temperature and strong enough to take on the rain, wind, snow, or just the wintery chill that comes through town this time of year. In the running world, New Balance is stepping up their game across the board. As a young buck, I remember my coach wearing New Balance shoes that looked like this…

Nowadays, New Balance is the coolest of the cool. They’re the only large shoe company that has an American-made shoe, they sponsor some of the greatest athletes in the sport, and their gear just keeps getting better and better. This renovation shines through in their new Reflective Lite Running Jacket, and this month I was lucky enough to zip it up and give it a go!

As I said earlier, I’ve worn this jacket almost every day since the beginning of October, so let’s just say it’s been really good to me. First of all, I look great in blue, so I was beyond excited to have a new blue piece to add to my wardrobe. The jacket is nice fitting. I wear a medium for pretty much everything, and this jacket was true to fit. It’s not too small or too large. I can throw a long-sleeve on underneath for the colder days or just bring it along as an extra layer for those classic Montana weather days that can’t seem to make up their mind. I think the ease and versatility of this jacket is what makes it such a vital for any runner. I’ve honestly never had such a light jacket that provides so much warmth. Honestly, that may be my biggest complaint about it…I get too hot. Most rain jackets are known for their lack of breathability, and this one is no exception, it gets hot in there! But, when you need that added wind block it’s as solid as they come. And, if you do get hot I have another piece of advice for you…take it off! It rolls up into a tiny ball that weighs approximately as much as a leaf. An awesome piece of gear for those weight-conscious runners, or just someone who looks good in blue.

  

As I mentioned before, the force of versatility is strong with this jacket. I’ve worn it hiking, running, mountain biking, and grocery shopping (it gets cold in the frozen isle). I will remind you that it’s thin, so it may not be the best in bushwhacking scenarios as I feel it could tear easily on branches or god-forsaken prickers. All in all, it’s a sound jacket that just does the job, and looks good doing it!

Talking about looks, I need to reiterate the statement that this jacket is just plain cool. I’m not one to wear running stuff around in public, but I’ve succumbed recently thanks to this awesome layer. The hood is a great bonus for those nasty rain days, or just a little added warmth. As someone who’s never owned a running jacket with hood, I have to say, it’s wonderful! With this section of praise, I need to mention what a great piece of reflective gear this is. I remember a girl in college making the whole team wear fluorescent construction vests on morning runs in Fargo (This is a true story). I hope she’s realized that New Balance has her covered now, as I was blown away at how fluorescent this jacket is. It literally glows! Because of this amazing technology (I’m guessing it’s made of fireflies), it’s become my jacket of choice with the days getting shorter and the runs getting darker. It’s relieving to know that cars, and Missoula deer, can see you coming from a ways away!

Overall, I really have enjoyed the New Balance Lite Running Jacket. It’s great for the all-weather runner, the city cruiser, the ultra-running fiend, or an athletic grocery shopper. The balance of good looks, lightweight, and reflectivity makes it one of the most versatile jackets I’ve ever worn with the ability to keep you warm when you really need it. But don’t take my word for it. Stop in the store to check it out yourself, and be happy you’re not wearing those terrible shoes!

Until next time. Happy Trails!

 

-Grady

Angie Partain is very involved in the Missoula Running Community as both a runner and frequent volunteer despite being a busy mom. You can follow her adventures at @jnapartain. As a RErun Ambassador we asked her to review the New Balance In Transit 1/2 Zip and share her findings with us…

This month, The Runner’s Edge asked me to tryout the New Balance In Transit ½ Zip Pullover and share what I thought about it.

October is here and with it, the chill. Sometimes deciding just how much clothing you’re going to need for a run can be complicated. Shorts with a pullover? Capris with a tee? Tights with a tank…or the super cool shorts + tee + gloves look. (um, I’ve never done that…oh wait…) Sigh, I miss summer! An easy way to simplify these decisions is by updating your running wardrobe!  I always know what to wear when I have a cute new top…and the Runner’s Edge just got in a fresh batch of pretty running items!

About the New Balance In Transit ½ Zip:

Warmth and Comfort

This is a super soft light to mid weight pullover,  perfect for these chilly fall days. I thought it was a very functional weight…slightly thicker than a t-shirt, without feeling bulky. It wicks well, keeping you comfortable and dry. When fully zipped it hits mid neck, providing a small gaiter and should work well as a base layer and possibly even on its own as our temps begin to drop.  

Fit and Features

I felt it fit true to size. It hits a few inches below the waist and has a slight drop in the hem line.  The zipper hits just below the bust and is one of the 3 reflective points. Sleeves fit comfortably, and have a bit of extra length without being awkwardly long. The thumb holes make the glove/no glove dilemma a bit simpler this time of year and the large zippered pocket at the back hip holds an Iphone or a variety of snacks. The weave of the fabric is nice and tight and doesn’t seem apt to snag. The color is a heather teal, it has a slight sheen and impressive color technology. I’ve run in similar colors where sweat was very visible, but not with this one!  I even ran it under the sink…initially you could see the wet spot, but within a few seconds it was no longer visible. It also washed up great and held it’s shape without shrinkage

Sporty meets Feminine

This is such a fun blend of styles. The shirring at the bust and neck is very flattering and will add a little va to your voom! I love that this touch of girly dresses it up a bit while still looking sporty! It’s a really great cross-over and has already made it’s way into my everyday wardrobe.

If you’re looking for the right pullover, this is a great option. It comes in at $70, which for a running pullover is pretty affordable. If you’re looking for more of a hoodie, check out the orange hoodie in the same line as this one (also available at the Runner’s Edge)!

-Angie