SotD 2-28-12: Asics GEL-Noosa Tri 7

by Stride Longley
on February 27, 2012

 THE GEL NOOSA TRI 7

If there were one critique Dan would venture with respect to his footwear of choice today,it would be the shocking (nay, appalling) lack of glitter laces. Insulting. Everything else, frankly, suits his unchecked effervescence perfectly (Dan, it's Monday; nobody smiles on Monday).

The GEL-Noosa Tri 7 from Asics is, as in keeping with its prior version 6, the quintessential throwback statement shoe: think early 90s NYC railyard graffiti, airbrushed t-shirts, and blacklight parties, and you pretty much understand exactly the design aesthetic behind the Noosa series in recent years. To wit, The Noosa 7 features a color palette whose names hardly belie their intent: POP Yellow, Tropic Green, and Noosa Glow (which, you guessed it, actually glows in the dark). Were you buying this shoe sight-unseen, you'd still know what you were getting yourself into.

But once you look past the wild colorway and dig into the guts of the shoe, the Noosa 7 is actually a damned good performer. Marketed as a triathlon-specific racer (though we would argue it's as at home on the treadmill or dancefloor as it is just-off-the-bike), the Noosa is effectively our old favorite DS-Trainer with some funky new clothes. 

A multicolor DuoMax post spliced into the SoLyte midsole provides ample stability for runners with mild to moderate overpronation, and the super breathable open mesh upper makes for a supportive, structured, yet un-cumbersome package weighing in at 10.6oz in the men's sample size. 

A 10mm heel-toe offset makes for a slightly lower-profile ride than a standard trainer (12mm), which means form junkies will have little to worry about by way of heel-height awkwardness.

Bottom line, the Noosa 7 is a sturdy racer built for long distance, and well-suited to the marathon leg of your next Ironman, whether your form is picture perfect minimal, natural, or just plain godawful.

Price: $120, available in stores now

SotD 2-23-12: Saucony Hurricane 14

by Stride Longley
on February 23, 2012

THE SAUCONY HURRICANE 14

Given the ridiculously warm weather the past two days, we're being given a rare February glimpse of Dan's calves; it's like the Groundhog not seeing his shadow for once.

In any case, today's shoe is the Saucony Hurricane 14. The 2012 version of the Hurricane is one of the first in the entire Saucony line to feature the 8mm heel-toe offset soon to grace the entire product line.

In terms of product design, the Hurricane is intended as a moderate stability, high-cushion, high-mileage trainer. Over the years, the Hurricane has gone from a bulky to svelte, and this most recent iteration is a prime example of the less-is-more mentality permeating the Saucony lineup: the Hurricane 14 weighs in at a very lean 11.2oz in the men's sample size.

How Saucony achieved that weight savings is the real game-changer, however. In a footwear industry rife with technologies purported to be the best thing since sliced bread AND the toaster, nearly all vendors have gotten caught up in what amounts to a Cold War of visible technology callouts: little plastic bubbles that show the fancy new cushioning system in an attempt to market from the wall; the more, the better.

Instead of following the pack, Saucony has decided to let the wearer decide if the new tech is worth the try-on, and has deleted those callout windows and other showy gadgetry for a substantial weight savings. Sure, the shoes may look more subdued than their counterparts, but you didn't buy your iPad because of its packaging, did you?