adidas Tempo 9 – 300 Mile Review

The adidas Tempo 9s made it to 300 miles.

A 300 mile review on a pair of shoes???

Holy crap…I couldn’t remember the last time that I had a pair of shoes make it to 300 miles. When I looked, it was a pair of Hoka Clifton 1 (Blue), back in 2015 and they were toast at that point.

Which makes the adidas Tempo 9s getting to 300 miles, still being shoes I enjoy running in and me wanting to write about them – even more impressive!

The short version is:

I can run in Tempo 9s comfortably, I don’t don’t get mysterious pains or blisters from the shoes and when I reach for the Tempo 9s I have no doubts about how they are going to perform…

Well. Continue reading

New Balance Beacon – 50 Mile Review

At some point after all the hype and hoopla dies down about a new pair of running shoes, I finally get around to getting a pair to see what all the hootin and hollering was about.

Last summer I heard a lot about how great the New Balance Beacons were from a variety of sources, but unfortunately New Balance running shoes have historically not been a match made in heaven for me and I was skeptical that the Beacons would be any different.

However, all the reviews of the Beacons indicated that these were not your usual New Balance running shoes and so when I figured out that I needed a shoe with a little more forefoot cushioning and Running Warehouse had a closeout sale on exactly the Beacon colorway that I wanted – I bought them. Which definitely means that all the comments made in this post are my own and not influenced by any commercial interests.

Short Version

I love the Beacons.

They have performed well and were comfortable on all the runs that I have done in them.

As can be seen I have primarily used them for the exact reason I got them – the treadmill. I have done quarter mile repeats at sub 7:00 paces, shorter tempo/race pace runs, fast strides – sub 6:30, an outside 10K and a 10.5 mile long run outside.

I cannot ask any more of a pair of shoes and know that I will be using them for more than just treadmill miles going forward, especially after feeling great for that 10+ miler.

Which does mean that I will be buying another pair of Beacons for my rotation when these do wear out – I cannot give a pair of shoe any higher recommendation than that.

Long Version.

Okay, you know that I like the Beacons – a lot.

So what did New Balance do this time that was so impressive to me.

Instead of attempting to add unnecessary bells, whistles, technologies and features – New Balance focused on keeping the Beacons simple and from where I sit focused on being shoes that are no fuss, no muss and are fun to run in.

It does help that the Beacons came in at 6.9 ounces for my men’s size 8.0, have 26/20 stack heights for plenty of cushioning, used a Fresh Foam derivative innovatively and designed a simple “looking”, but comfortable upper that doesn’t get in the way when you are running.

From my first run to my most recent one, the Beacons have been a put them on, tie them up, go run and focus on the run, not how the shoes are doing, except that after the run is over, you think about how great they felt during the run.

The Bad

When I am running at a sub 6:30 (yeah I can still do it for a short ways) pace, they don’t feel quite firm enough and I would prefer the Adios 3s, if I could maintain that pace for a race. Since I don’t run that fast for any kind of distance at this point, I prefer the protection that the Beacons provide for most everything else. Not really a bad thing for me, but for some faster runners it might be a consideration.

When the temps are below 20*F I noticed that the midsole is definitely firmer than when it is warmer. Not quite rock hard, but the cold does affect the midsole’s cushioning properties.

The Good

The Beacons are comfortable. I have had zero issues with blisters, hot spots, them bothering my balky Tailor’s Bunionette or finicky Plantar Fascia (which has historically been a problem with New Balance running shoes and my left foot).

Almost Ninja quiet (they compare to the GoRun Ride 2s in this respect). I can usually tell when a shoe is working with how I run by the amount of slap or heel drag that occurs. No issues with the Beacon here.

Outsole wear has been next to none after more than 50 miles, which surprised me, since there is very little material besides the midsole there. Most of my miles have been on the treadmill, which usually tears up shoes for me, but the Beacons have done well. Although I will be interested in seeing how the wear is on the dirt road down-back after mud season is over and things dry up.

The upper on the Beacons is understated (which I like), with just the New Balance “N”s as overlays. All the extras and other nonsense that New Balance and other brands tend put on too many of their shoes just isn’t there on the Beacons and is in my opinion addition by subtraction.

The cushioning on this edition of Fresh Foam is just right – firm enough to want to run fast in them, but soft enough that running long is not an issue either. I wanted a shoe for the treadmill that had low weight and higher forefoot stack height. In this regard they do as others have said remind me a little of the original Hoka Clifton, but with a more refined feel to them and definitely a more comfortable fit for me, especially in the forefoot.

The reality is that

I may have found my Cinderella shoes.

As usual I am behind the popularity curve and most everyone has moved on to the next great thing in running shoes. The Beacons had their moment in the sun and there was a good reason for it – they are a great running shoe.

What is the Beacon best at? It depends on what kind of runner you are and the kinds of paces you typically run. For a younger and/or faster runner they are a great long tempo, easy run shoe. For the slower and older (like me), they could be a 5K or longer race day shoe, that does well on faster training runs or even just using them for daily easy runs.

I am pretty sure that I wouldn’t want to do too many trail runs in them or head outside in crappy weather, there just isn’t enough outsole there to provide good grip, although they pleasantly surprised me in wet, slushy conditions at about 20*F with how well they did.

Honestly, I when I got the Beacons I was not expecting them to “Wow” me as much as they have. I was extremely happy with my adidas Tempo 9s and didn’t think any shoe was going to supplant them anytime soon as my favorite rotation shoes. However, I when I look at my running log since I got the Beacons I don’t see too many other shoes being worn and I look forward to running in them.

Like I said, when these wear out I will be buying another pair, I like them that much and I can’t give any pair of running shoes any higher rating.

New Balance, you done good and finally provided me a pair of running shoes that I love.

The Year in Running Shoes – 2018

This has been a really strange year for me with regard to running shoes. After saying at the start of it that I would reduce the number of shoes that I would run in to around ten, I have run in closer to thirty.

Yeah, quite a lot closer to thirty pair of running shoes, actually twenty-eight and this doesn’t include the VF 4% or a couple of pair of Torin 3.5s that I got to play around with one day for short distances thanks to Sam at Road, Trail, Run. Plus all the ones that I tried on and either didn’t get or didn’t keep.

  • Green – Still in Rotation
  • Yellow – Not sure of their place yet
  • Red – Not in current rotation. Either gone, going to be gone or are legacy shoes that I will put into storage and keep the memories.

As you can see from my running log screen shot that the mileages varied considerably. Some shoes I found out pretty quickly they were not going to work that well for me and others even though they made it to the 50 mile review – they were not really what I was looking for.

Current Rotation

However, as the year went on, I was able to narrow down what works for me and have mostly settled pretty much the following running shoe rotation by December 2018:

  1. Adidas Tempo 9

  1. Reebok RunFast

  1. Adidas Adios 3

  1. Adidas Response Boost 2

  1. Nike WildHorse v1

I spent most of the year searching for a daily trainer that I could run comfortably in and while I have been able to find three to four “go faster” shoes over the course of 2018, finding that daily trainer has been an elusive beast. Well it is has been an elusive beast for several years now, so what else is new.

What kind of running shoe am I looking for as a daily trainer? Continue reading

Adidas Tempo 9 – 50 Mile Review

Every once in a while there is a shoe style that you have been looking at for several model versions. You have picked them up and looked at the style and the changes more than a few times over the years, read multiple reviews and even thought about getting a pair when the previous models have been on closeout, but never got around to doing it.

For me that is the Adidas Adizero Tempo line of running shoes. Unfortunately, since the late 80’s adidas running shoes and my feet were not a match made in heaven. The pointy, narrow toe box and often heavier than I like running shoes were not what I wanted on my feet. Plus there is nowhere locally that sells the adidas performance line of shoes, so I usually looked at other brands.

That being said, I have run in a 3-4 of adidas’ Boost based running shoes over the past 5-6 years and while I have been impressed with the Boost part of the shoes, but typically disliked the way the uppers fit my weird feet, with the exception of the Adios 3, but the performance fit was a bit too snug in the past for me.

Although I have to admit that when I read Sam’s review of them over at Road, Trail, Run, Sole Review’s words of wisdom and Dr. Klein’s review last year, I was much more intrigued by them. A stability shoe that didn’t weigh a ton, comfortable (wider toe box, narrow heel), decent outsole and best of all featuring the Boost midsole which I really like how it feels under foot.

However, I had other shoes that I wanted to try when those reviews came out.

Earlier this month I had hit a weird spot in my running shoe rotation where nothing in the house seemed to be really what I was looking for and one night while wandering around the Internet, I read a review on the Tempo 9s again and clicked the link. When I got there I found a sweet deal for a pair of Tempo 9s on Amazon and thought why not get them. Continue reading

Adidas Response Boost 2 – 50 Mile Review

Okay, let’s get back to the running shoes I usually write about – those older ones that are on the closeout, clearance racks or found on eBay for really cheap prices. Like how I found the adidas Response Boost 2 TechFit back in September.

The price was more than right, they appeared to be nearly new from the lack of wear on the outsole and the real reason was that I really wanted to try running in adidas Boost running shoes again. Running shoes with the Boost midsole have always intrigued me, but the ones that I have run in the past just didn’t fit correctly, were WAY too heavy or I have been sticker shocked out of wanting or being able to buy them.

Also I was wondering if there are any differences between the Boost midsoles of the “serious” Boost shoes found in run specialty versus the those lower priced offerings found in the big box stores. Just one of those things I have always wondered about. If I figure out anything that might be its own post down the road, but for now let’s just say – it depends and leave it at that. Continue reading

Saucony Breakthru 4 – 50 Mile Review

An almost current running shoe in the Saucony Breakthru 4s, what’s going on Harold?

A helluva deal on eBay and having some pretty good success running in some other Saucony models lately, gave me hope that the Breakthru 4s would be more in line with what would work even better for me, especially since they do not have the ISO Fit lacing.

I guess that is question I need to answer – did the Saucony Breakthru 4s work better for me? Continue reading

How to Screw Up a Perfectly Good Shoe Line – adidas

I recently got in a pair of adidas Response Boost 3s and the changes from the v2s make them a completely different style of running shoe. So I was fairly disappointed when I got to looking closely at them.

Let’s back up a little.

I really, really like the way adidas Boost midsoles feel underfoot and have run in a few of the Boosted models. The biggest issue I tend to have with the adidas brand running shoes was always the narrow, tapered toe boxes that they seemed to have.

Due to a couple of things I have been able to run more in narrower shoes and lately have gone back to running in more in adidas running shoes recently. Plus it seems that some of adidas’ running shoe lines have relaxed the forefoot fit – in my opinion a very good thing.

One of the shoes that I have liked for the most part is the adidas Response 2 TechFit. Yeah another one of those older models that you can find fairly cheap, but still have some life left in them.

While I had some issues with them initially, they do fit well, are very comfortable and now that they have broken in a bit, have become my preferred shoes. No they are not the top of the adidas line of running shoes, but they were a reasonably priced model that seems to work well for me.

Since I like the Response 2s as well as I do, when I had a chance to get a pair of the Response 3s for a great price on eBay, I decided why not go for it.

I sort of wish that I hadn’t bought them now that I have them in my hands.

They are quite simply a different shoe.

The Response Boost 3s gained way too much weight and went from having a fairly simple upper to something where I had to scratch my head and ask why?

They went from a running shoe that could compete pretty nicely and be in a similar price range with the Nike Pegasus, Saucony Ride, Mizuno Wave Rider, Reebok Sweet Road or Grasse Road and others in this light-weight/lower cost daily trainer category to a WTF is going on.

Yeah they still have the Boost midsole and with the changes to that design I expected a bit of weight gain, but damn the upper sucks in the Response Boost 3s compared to the 2s.

When I got to looking close at them, I decided that a pair of scissors would cut down the weight a little without any structural changes.

The green Xs are what is now gone (fabric adidas tag on the tongues and pull tabs on the heels), half an ounce doesn’t sound like much, but I can feel the difference.

After I run in them a few times I will decide on those seemingly useless lace strips that I circled in yellow and just punch a lace hole in the normal place. There is a plastic overlay under that strip to give some support to the upper, so unless this strip actually does something it probably needs to go away too.

Also adidas choice of laces seems to be a bit overkill.

So with a few more changes I might be able to lighten up the shoe a bit more. I don’t think they will be sub 10 ounce shoes like the 2s, but it would be nice to get them down a little more.

Sometimes, I think that brands screw-up decent shoes by attempting to make them into something they are not. For me the Response Boost 2s were a basic light-weight trainer without too many frills.

I am not sure of the direction adidas meant to move with the Response Boost 3s, but they were redesigned and no longer are a pair of basic light-weight daily trainers in my opinion. The pull-tabs in back are not really necessary, the side lacing strip is of questionable use/value and the fabric adidas label on the tongue makes me scratch my head and wonder why all these extras were even necessary.

All they do is add unnecessary weight to a running shoe that was going to gain a bit of extra weight from the design change to the midsole.

The other part is just from a looks department, the Response Boost 2s look like a decently styled shoe, while the 3s seem busy and the components don’t work well together and the fabric label made them look cheap.

I know that both of these shoes are long in the tooth and not really current models, but it shows how a brand can screw up a perfectly runnable running shoe and make it something quite different and not as good as what it supposedly replaces.

In this case the Response Boost line took a big step backwards in my opinion. Not that my opinion matters to anyone but me. 🙂

We will see how the adidas Response Boost 3s do as running shoes with the changes I have made so far.

Nike Rival 6 – 50 Mile Review

This is the story of a pair of running shoes that deserve more run time from me than they have gotten. The Nike Rival 6s are shoe that I run very well in (a 22:33 treadmill 5K today) and don’t have anything really bad to say about them other than they are fugly when you look down at them in my opinion.

The truth of it is that their place in my running shoe rotation was taken over by the shoes that are more than likely going to be my running shoe of the year and probably one of the best pair of running shoes that I have ever run in over the 40 plus years I have been a runner.

It was just bad timing for the Rival 6s. Continue reading

Saucony Liberty ISO OG – 50 Mile Review

The Saucony Liberty ISO OG after 50 miles. Yeah, another shoe that version 2 has been released already. However, this is also a post that back in May I never thought that I would write, but here it is October and they finally made it to that magical 50 mile mark.

This review is too long for most readers, so if you don’t want to read a small book, here is the executive summary:

After about 25 miles of less than impressive runs in the Liberty ISO OGs back in May, I retired them to the closet and figured that I wouldn’t be running again in them anytime soon. After sitting in the closet for about 4 months, I decided that I would try the same operation on the inner bootie that I did on my Zealot 3s and it seemed to help a lot. I also changed the lacing pattern to get a more consistent fit each time I put them on and changed out the stock insole to an Ortholite one. These changes made a huge difference in how comfortable the Liberty ISOs were for me to run in and I have added them back into my regular running rotation.

Back to the long version. Continue reading