December 16, 2019

Running Gear review by Irish Runner’s Killian Byrne

With the New Year almost upon us we said we’d share Killian Byrne of Irish Runner’s review of some of our latest running product which featured in this months Irish Runner Magazine. These are some great products from top running brands so his review may inspire you to pick up some new gear and get your New Year resolutions off to the write start. Read about his experiences below.

Asics GT2000 – 8

I am incredibly lucky to do what I do. Before I started writing for Irish Runner magazine, I was a confirmed Asics running fan, I wore Gel Nimbus and wouldn’t change them for all the tea in China. Now I get the opportunity to try many different brands, ranges and designs I’ve broadened my horizons quite considerably. But this was the first time I’ve worn a pair of the GT2000 so this really was a step into the unknown.

I needn’t have worried, the first outing was a 40second recent parkrun PB, the second wear bettered that by another 10seconds and I was just on a training run. Maybe that’s down to conditions, maybe its ‘new shoe syndrome’. I’m not going to say the GT2000-8 is guarenteed PB footwear but if it walks like a duck and quacks like a duck…

These are nice shoes; the design is typically understated but unmistakably Asics. As one of the flagship ranges in their stable they sits comfortably between the Kayano and GT1000. I wouldn’t say they are cloudlike comfortable but they fit very well with a light breathable upper and a stiff sole that will keep your momentum going if you decide to go all out on your next run. There is plenty of grip in this upgraded version and that adds somewhat to the ride in our current autumnal conditions. You will feel safe in taking off at speed down that wet leafy trail or path.

It is easy to see why this shoe sells so many pairs to so many runners of different abilities. It will suit anyone looking to reach their couch to 5k goal right through to a seasoned marathoner looking to keep the high mileage ticking over through the winter months. The GT2000-8 provides great value for money at just €140 and should definitely be one to try on when you’re next in store.

RRP: €140

Asics Lite-Show 2 Clothing

One of the concerns manufacturers have is blending the ability to stay seen and safe along with the important ‘wearability’ and comfort effect. Asics don’t just make shoes; they make lots of clothing too and they’re very good at it. Their Lite-Show Mens ½ zip winter top and their Women’s Lite-Show running tights are on the testing block this month.

The Mens top first. I’ve had a busy couple of weeks and to be honest the only chance I could spare some time to go for a run was early morning, 6am. That’s early for me before you all write to the Editor complaining you’ve half a day’s commute done before I’m out of the scratcher. The men’s soft-shell jacket features 360degree reflective items for dark winter runs. Bright reflective strips on the arms, cuffs, shoulders and back all work well in making the runner stand out when necessary.

With plenty of room where it needs it most, the arms and elbows don’t bunch up and in a windy and chilly easy run with just a baselayer underneath, I was as snug as the proverbial bug. But there’s more to this jacket, its warm and its really comfortable. So comfortable that I’ve taken to wearing it on an almost daily basis since I’ve gotten it. This is a super addition to any cold weather wardrobe.

The Womens tights next.  Straight into the reflective details – and as before they do exactly as they’re supposed to do. 360degree visability again and still in perfect order after a number of washes. The light sensitive strips up and down each leg are placed in areas like the calf, designed to move and therefore attract attention.

But what you want in a set of running tights is to not feel as if you’re wearing running tights. Its here they performed best – like a second skin. In the wind and rain your legs will stay comfortable throughout your run. The tights are not thick enough to feel like a pair of pants but provide enough compression to be very comfortable without being restrictive. There’s more! Let’s talk zips. Zips on each ankle makes getting these running tights on and off a breeze, and a zipped pocket behind keeps keys, music player or a small phone safe and secure.

Asics Lite-Show 2 Winter jacket RRP: €80

Asics Lite-Show 2 tights RRP: €80

Brooks Adrenaline GTS20

This is going to be difficult review. How can I go back to the only product I’ve ever given a perfect 10/10 score to? As it turns out, no it’s not really difficult. Everything is good and nothing has significantly changed but maybe that’s the bad thing.

First of all, what was great before remains great now – the guiderails are still there, steering your feet in whatever direction you want to go with little slipping or movement within. If you need support and your foot rolls in or out then the guiderails are there; as Brooks explain – ‘They’re like bumpers on a bowling alley, there when you need them’.

The design in the latest shoe is less ‘bling’ and more business-like than last year’s GTS19, this is a shoe that announced itself last year but doesn’t feel the need to show off on shelf in 2020. A plain (but very nice) design doesn’t take away from performance at all. The comfortable mesh upper retains the roomy feel without feeling too lose and stretches enough to allow someone with a wide foot some space to move. A padded tongue and new reinforced heel allow for those that like to lace up tight, and lock in the foot well without any movement or rubbing.

And speaking of laces, here’s the kicker. Can you drop points because you don’t like the laces? I have – the GTS20 has tubular laces that stretch more than I like. Some will like them; others wont and I found them frustrating. I had to tie my shoes very tight knowing that after a mile or two they’ll have eased off. It’s not the end of the world and I’m not going to ignore my best friend because of his laces. These are still a brilliant shoe and still my ‘go to’ distance runner, just not quite full marks today.

RRP: €140

FootBalance Insoles

You’ll find many physiologists nowadays that believe we are a little too hung up on the build of the shoe and that a decent strength program will help keep us injury free but with FootBalance, we are seeing a product that supports our physiology enabling us to get the best out our favourite footwear.

Moulded in store to your feet, FootBalance custom sports insoles support your feet and increase shock absorption, giving you better comfort, endurance and injury prevention. The impact of each foot striking the ground when running creates huge pressure in terms of bodyweight, unnecessarily stressing the shins, knees, hips and back all of which may cause injury and the FootBalance insoles can help prevent this.

The process in store is simple, takes about 15 minutes to mould the inserts to the exact shape of your feet and you can transfer the insoles between trainers and ‘day’ shoes without any trouble. I tend to prefer neutral shoes and sometimes when changing shoes for testing I can get a little discomfort in the hips – with the Footbalance inserts I felt comfortable all the time. If you have a favourite shoe yet feel you need that extra little support then I would heartily recommend talking to one of the fitting experts in your Elverys store and use their experience to see what’s right for you. Handily, there’s a 30 day money back guarantee if things don’t work out – check in store for details.

RRP: €50

Locations

OS1st Socks

Plantar Fasciitis. Two words that strike fear into runners of any age, skill or experience levels. Can a pair of socks really help in ridding the running community of this scourge that keeps so many of us on the side-lines? With performance features surrounding the plantar fascia, supporting the arch and overall foot structure stabilising both the achilles tendon and the ankle these socks target and claim to help prevent plantar fasciitis, foot fatigue, arch pain and heel pain. Claims are important but for me all the claims in the world are secondary to comfort. There’s no point wearing a product you’re not comfortable in and OS1st socks certainly tick this box.

They’re tight as you’d expect from a compression item but that’s where the comfort comes in. Made with the highest quality nylon/spandex combination and treated with a anti-microbial and moisture wicking agent makes these socks both breathable and odour ‘controlled’.

With a number of different socks in the range covering performance calf sleeves, ankle braces, compression socks these are proper running socks not just socks for fixing ailments like Bunion relief (I tried these too, can 100% recommend). OS1st may not be in your running drawer yet, but they should be.

RRP: From €25

 

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