New this month is the latest edition of New Balance’s moderate stability option, the 860 version 4. While retaining its tried-and-true moderate stability level (offering correction for a moderate amount of over-pronation in the runner’s gait), this update offers several significant changes from previous editions—many of which this reviewer considers to be for the better.
Perhaps the most noticeable difference, especially to longtime users of the 860, will be the fit. While previous editions tend to run on the narrow side, the v4’s redesigned upper, provides a more spacious fit, making it an excellent option not only for those moderate over-pronators with an average-width foot. It’s also a roomy-yet-secure option for those with a narrow foot and a surprisingly comfortable fit for those with a wider forefoot (IE: this reviewer).
Given that the two major shoes the 860 v4 is designed to compete with are the Brooks Adrenaline 14 and the Asics GT-2000 v2—both of which tend to fit on the average-to-wider end of the spectrum—the 860 nicely fills in the vacant niche for a more dialed-in fit that still fits a wide range of foot types comfortably.
In terms of function, the most significant technical update is the outer sole, which has been redesigned for greater flexibility, especially on the outside of the foot. This provides a smoother ride without sacrificing the shoe’s ability to correct moderate over-pronation.
One of the historical pratfalls of stability shoes has been a clunky or heavy feel due to the denser/stiffer foam on the inside of the foot that corrects over-pronation. The 860 v4 feels, underfoot, to be remarkably bouncy and responsive—lively, if you will—for such a supportive shoe. This is in contrast to the GT-2000, which has one of the softer underfoot-feels in the support category. The Adrenaline’s feel falls pretty smack-dab in the middle between the firmer, racier 860 v4 and the squishier GT-2000 v2.
Thanks to a new type of mesh on the upper, the 860 v4 is half an ounce lighter than the v3. That’s not a tremendous jump, but it’s probably enough of a difference to be noticeable to those who have worn previous versions of the 860. At 8.9 ounces for women and 10.9 ounces for men, the trim v4 is well-positioned to take on the aforementioned Big Two in the moderate stability category.
Retailing for $114.99, the New Balance 860 v4 is truly a new and improved option for runners with moderate over-pronation seeking an average-fitting, average-cushion shoe with a faster, more responsive ride. Of course, the fact that it’s lighter than ever doesn’t hurt its appeal, either.
If you’re like me, you looked at the weather one morning on your iPhone this week and panicked mildly when the temperature read 30 degrees. Shorts and short sleeves don’t cut it when there’s frost on your car windows. Maybe you’re a “new runner,” and making it all the way through the winter running outside is your goal for the next several months. Or maybe you’re a seasoned vet but usually head inside when the temperature drops south. Either way, we’d like to decode winter accessories for you so it’s easy to layer on what works.
We’ll start at the toes and work our way up. Wool socks will be your toes’ best friends. Why? Wool absorbs moisture, and transfers it away from your skin, to eliminate that clammy, soggy feeling you may have experienced with classic cotton “athletic” socks. Even when wet, wool retains it’s ability to insulate you and control body temperature. It’s also cozy and warm, making it easy for you to leave your bed for an early morning run.
Fingers are up next. Facing off in the ring: Gloves vs. Mittens.
Fingers separate, more dexterity -- easy to tie shoelaces and operate your watch
Fingers together = warmer
Several options with touchscreen compatible fingertip (North Face E-Tip, Saucony Touch-Tek)
Getting at your smartphone is more challenging...
Great for windy, cool-not-cold days when fingers need just a little coverage
Great for cold, New England winter days (Saucony Run Mitt)
I usually go by a rule of 10s on this:
Above 40: hands are bare
30-40: Lightweight gloves
20-30: Thermal gloves
Under 10: Hope for the best.
Look for other cool features like LED lights, reflectivity, wind and water resistant panels, and hybrid “glov-ens,” a glove with a mitten cover that flips over.
The often-forgotten neck is next. This one’s simple. Call it a neck warmer, neck gaiter, or neck tube... it’s a cylindrical piece of fabric that slips over your head, covers your neck, and keeps the wind from going down your shirt. It should be soft and made of synthetic fabric. Some will get tricky and even have a cinch-cord to keep it held up on your face, nice but not necessary.
Lastly, and debatably most important is the head (this includes ears.) My favorite piece here is the headband. Having cold ears is definitely a reason to shorten your run, so throwing this on before heading out the door minimizes excuses. Look for the Infiniti Headband from Brooks if bright colors are your thing, or Trailheads Power Band if you’re more of a black/reflective kind of person. (Psst...Ladies... some even come with a ponytail opening!)
It turns out Mom was right when she told you all those years ago to wear a hat in the winter -- when snow starts to fall, and your breath takes shape in the air, a hat is the end-all to retain body heat. But, not just any hat will do. Choose your fabric wisely: something technical that will trap air next to your body, creating a layer of insulation, but will work to move moisture to the outside so it can be evaporated in the air.
Once you build your winter running accessories collection, you can head out on a chilly day with confidence. We’ll still let you complain about the cold though, after all, we are New Englanders.
Until recently, the Garmin Forerunner 610 was arguably the best running GPS watch on the planet. Garmin had revolutionized the market by integrating a functional touch screen based on their Edge technology, reducing the profile to make it more wearable, maintaining a significant battery life, and expanding the data and customization options.
So how do you improve on the innovation of the 610, which still boasts new technology that other competitors haven’t yet been able to integrate into their GPS units? Answer – the Garmin Forerunner 620.
Here’s the short list of improvements:
- Better fit
- Higher resolution
- New performance features
Lighter: The 620 is 38% lighter than the 610 – around 1 ounce. That may not seem like much at all, but in a watch it is a significant different. Bare in mind that 1-ounce is sometimes the difference between a moderate cushion shoe and a lightweight trainer, or a lightweight trainer and a racing flat.
Better Fit: The 620 features a new-hinged wristband – something they had not been able to do until the Forerunner 10. In previous GPS watches, the GPS receiver has been placed below the 6pm position on the face of the watch. That’s because as you run, the top of your wrist is aimed toward the satellites that are tracking your distance. Garmin introduced a new receiver that utilized the whole face of the watch in the 10, and they rolled over the technology into the 620. The hinged wristband is more comfortable, and offers a more customizable fit for wrists of all sizes.
Higher Resolution: The 620 features a screen display of 108 pixels by 108 pixels. As a reference, the average resolution in fitness watches is 60 pixels by 60 pixels. Higher resolution in conjunction with a four-color display makes it easier to read the data.
New Performance Features
- New HRM Strap: The innovation doesn’t stop with the wrist unit. Garmin has created a brand new HRM strap that works in conjunction with the new 620. This strap is pretty sharp. New technologies in the strap are able to monitor things like vertical oscillation, cadence, and ground contact time.
- Water resistant to 50 meters: The 610 was only water resistant to 3 meters – fine for a downpour, but not a watch you’d want to wear while swimming. The 620 features a different case construction that allows it to be worn while completely submerged for extended periods of time – great for the multi-sport athlete.
The 620 is the best running GPS watch on the market today. Period. You may not need all the bells and whistles it brings to the table, but for any tech obsessed gadget lover, this is a must have accessory.
Did you know that 8 out of 10 women wear the wrong size sports bra?
There are many factors to take into consideration when choosing the correct sports bra!
Ladies, join us for a Fit Night at one of our locations below. Enjoy cocktails, light snacks, and expert advice on all things sports bras. There will be special giveaways and some great deals on our extended color selections.
Our collection includes Moving Comfort and Swinn sports bra’s in a range of sizes from A-E.
We'll be having four separate Fit Nights throughout November at various locations, see below for each event. Make sure to sign up and reserve your spot:
Marathon Sports Mashpee
Thursday, November 7th from 6:00pm to 8:00pm
Register at https://www.eventbrite.com/event/8977125825
Marathon Sports Boston
Wednesday, November 13th from 6:00pm to 8:00pm
Register at https://www.eventbrite.com/event/9014413353
Marathon Sports Melrose
Thursday, November 14th from 6:00pm to 8:00pm
Register at https://www.eventbrite.com/event/9014212753
Marathon Sports Brookline
Thursday, November 21st from 6:00pm to 8:00pm
Register at https://www.eventbrite.com/event/9014311047
A walking RUNNING Contradiction
By Staff Contributor, Kyle Northrop
Every time I sit down and write a review, it seems I am covering the latest, greatest, barely-there, lightweight flash in the pan. That’s well and good – I’m a fan of innovation and technology, both of which are the foundation for the new Renaissance of the ever-growing Minimal category. But what about all the runners out there who need some cushion, stability, and the mechanics of a traditional shoe? Where’s the excitement around those types of shoes? Simply stated: there is not a lot of attention given to Motion Control shoes. It’s a category that has stalled over the past few years. Truth is, over 70% of us runners over-pronate and it would be nice to see some more innovation in this category. Luckily, over the past 2 seasons, we have seen a lot more attention paid to stability shoes – maybe most brilliantly exemplified by the all-new Saucony Stabil CS 3.
Our old friend the Saucony Stabil went on a killer diet this summer and its returning as the lightest shoe in its class, cutting more than 2 ounces from its predecessor. At
11.4 oz, it’s slightly heavier than Saucony's light stability option, the Guide 6, tipping the scales at 10 ounces even. Saucony did its work on this one giving us a shoe that is committed to providing stability, but feels fast and flexible. This shoe is a Ferrari with
the heart of a tank. The Stabil is the sleekest, most runnable model in the Motion Control category. Finally – a stability shoe with a bit of sex appeal.
How did Saucony pull off a putting the heart Heavyweight champion into a Welterweight?
Well, here’s the run down:
Lower offset: Since Fall 12' Saucony has been moving all of its shoes from the industry standard 12mm drop to an 8mm drop. The Stabil is the last shoe to move down. Most companies lower the heel to achieve this, Saucony raises the forefoot, giving the shoes a more cushioned feeling. The lower offset put the foot in a more natural position and is one of the many inherent stability features that augment its large medial post.
Beveled, decoupled crash pad: On top of a super plush full length Powergrid midsole, the heel unit is articulated into 3 separated zones of contact. These zones work like crumple zones of a car, and act to slow down the foot as it lands.
Straight lasted, stable platform: its shape hallmarks The Motion Control Category. This is what we call a straight lasted shoe as its pretty much shaped like a 2x4. This shape helps accommodate lower arches that drop inward. This shape is much more stable than curved lasted shoes as it gives an excellent platform of support for the foot to sit upon.
Flex where I need it, Support where I Don't: The amazing part of the Stabil is how flexible is in the forefoot, specifically on the lateral side. Straight lasted shoes, as mentioned, are shaped like a 2x4, and often they flex like one too. Saucony built the Stabil's platform off the successful Echelon and Hurricane models, the stark difference being the widening of the mid-foot to accommodate lower more flexible arches. The lateral, more flexible side fans out from the medial side like 4 fingers. These deep cuts allow the shoe to flex through the gait cycle.
Stepping into the shoe, I can start to feel my toes spread. This shoe is most definitely cut on the wider side. We have seen a lot of stability shoes move towards this wider shape as a wider platform is a more stable one.
These deep decoupling on the lateral side of the shoe allow the it to flex through the gait cycle, giving it a smoother heel to toe transition. Flexibility is not something we generally see in the Motion Control category. No worries though, as these flex points are anchored to a medial pod under the big toe. The Stabil uses this pod under the first metatarsal head as another inherent stability feature. You see, the pod acts kind of like an outrigger of a canoe, and gives a stable point for the foot to toe off upon. This is really where Saucony hit the mark. By positioning this pod under the joint, it reduces the rate of over pronation upon toe off (jokingly referred to by us as ‘over-toe-nation’ – hahaha).
Riding high on the Powergrid midsole, this shoe has plenty of cushion. The dense medial post has a barely there feeling. Although I do not run in motion control shoes, I took these guys for a couple of test 400's down my street – boy can they take some speed. I was a little worried the extra height of the forefoot would feel a tad unstable, but it really gives under the impact. I really find it remarkable how light these are for such a heavy-duty model.
For anyone who has been waiting for some sort of development within the MC category, this is your shoe. This shoe is over 3 ounces lighter than perennial favorite the Brooks beast. Those who love the Mizuno Alchemy, Asics Forte, or Brooks Addiction – consider your interest piqued. The Stabil is a mixture of sweet stability, surprising flexibility, and cushiony lightness. Simply put, it’s a running contradiction.
The Saucony Stabil CS 3 retails for $129.99 and is now available in all 8 of our locations. As of this review it is only available in regular width, but wide widths will be coming soon!
By Staff Contributor, Nick Cunkelman
Craft base layers? Yup, it’s that time of year already
This time of year I like to be in the habit of getting up early—i.e. at sunrise—to maximize my time spent outside before the New England winter hits full-on, and this past Tuesday (September 22), the good ol’ car thermometer notched 42 degrees at 6:30 a.m. Now, as a year-round runner, these days on the calendar are tricky. The cold in the morning often toasts up by mid-day and, sure enough, by 2:00 p.m. it was 64 degrees and sunny in Concord, making for a variable approach to choosing the proper running apparel for that day’s session.
Thankfully, however, the brand we are reviewing here—Craft—designs its clothing in Sweden, a country whose people are highly familiar with wide-ranging temperature swings. Indeed, as a nation with roughly a quarter of its landmass above the Arctic Circle, Sweden’s runners, cross-country skiers, and cyclists—all of whom Craft tests on—experience the Scandinavian “Polar Nights” as well as the “Midnight Sun”; entire days of perpetual darkness and light, respectively.
Perhaps this variable “macroclimate” is why Craft developed what they call “The Craft Principle”: apparel designed to maintain the best body microclimate (temperature and moisture conditions closest to the body) for optimal performance. In its base layers, which we’ll cover here, this means clothing that efficiently transports moisture away from the skin and distributes it on the outside of the garment, where it either evaporates or is passed on to the next layer. What follows is a write-up on three of Craft’s base layers from its BE ACTIVE collection.
Let's begin with the Active Crewneck LS, which is designed for endurance in fair to cold conditions (and, to be honest, was a tad warm on that 42-degree morning.) Made of air-channeled polyester to expel excess heat away from the body while filament yarns transport moisture, it is built to keep you cool and dry, which is good considering that Craft's ergonomic fit is far from loose anywhere on the body. What I liked most is that it fit long enough to be able to easily tuck into bottoms if it were a very cold day , and did I mention it feels like a baby blanket!
Meanwhile, Active Extreme LS, featuring the other material tested for this review
(the "Extreme"), has the same close fit as Active (formally "Active Classic") but is made ofthinner, lighter, and an elastic micro polyester that is channel-stitchedwith a combination of two fibers; six-channeled fibers against the skin accelerate the moisture transport - which cools the body down - while hollow fibers on the outside offer insulation as well as transport of moisture to the next layer. The Extreme is also odor resistant to keep the wearer fresh during intense workouts.
And finally, Craft also makes what it calls its Active Extreme Concept piece, featuring “Moving Wing” technology. Developed while engineering the Nordic Olympic race suit, the Extreme Concept includes a wing-shaped elastic construction (read: mesh) section in theupper back built to provide optimal freedom of movement for the arm swing common in Craft's target sports, such as cross-country skiing and running. From testing it out, this technology works to match one's arm motion. It provides a cooling/warming effect when worn alone, or liberty of movement if worn layered under a mid-layer, jacket or both.
As a final note, the Craft base layers feature an interlock knit, which is what gives the base layers their form-fitting mechanical stretch. Each also contains no Lycra and will maintain form and stretch after years of washing and drying. Overall, they would be great additions to your fall runningapparel arsenal.
If you are interested in learning more about Craft base layers and their other pieces we will be hosting a special Craft Trunk Show in our Wellesley location on October 24th from 6-8pm. This is an opportunity to ask Jordan Kinley and Meagan Nedlo of Craft questions and try on their latest gear. If you can’t make it out to Wellesley, don’t worry, Marathon Sports conveniently carries Craft base layers at all of our locations.
REGISTER TODAY: Click here --> Marathon Sports Craft Trunk Show
The Compression category in apparel has boomed the past few years among athletes - especially runners. But despite it's gaining popularity, many people are still unfamiliar with how compression works and what benefits can be yielded utilizing compression garments.
In this clinic, the Marathon Sports staff will take you step by step and explain exactly how compression works. We will look at the differences between brands, discuss the physical benefits of compression, and talk about how different garments target different issues.
Compression can help alleviate discomfort and pain from common running injuries and problems, but it can also help to prevent those aches and pains and speed recovery time.
We will also be debuting the C1ONE (clone) line of customized compression garments from CEP. This line of specialized compression offers custom compression pieces for individuals based on a series of 41 anatomical measurements. Clone garments are guaranteed to retain their custom compression for a minimum of 180 uses and also carry a 30 day satisfaction guarantee.
Wellesley – September 19th: https://www.eventbrite.com/event/8040381999
With only a few weeks left of summer, the 19th Annual EMARC 5K Race and Walk was a tremendous kick off to the Melrose Victorian Fair. We always love a good race, but when the race is raising funds for individuals with developmental disabilities and their families, like EMARC, it really knocks it up a notch in our book.
With the race kicking off at 10:00am, Alex Eld, 24 of Needham, had his eyes set on 1st place. He carried that through, finishing 43 seconds ahead of second place finisher Mathew Moore in 18:12.
On the women’s side, Kat Basille of Medford and Emily Mcdivitt of Malden put on a North Shore show, finishing 1-2 for times of 21:10 and 21:36 respectively. Both Kat and Emily won each of their age groups.
With over 350 runners and a ton of money raised, we hope that the 20th Annual EMARC 5K will be an even bigger success!
To see a full list of results, click here
By Staff Contributor Nick Cunkelman
On a recent Sunday in our Wellesley location, while discussing why it seems as if you run faster during the night—hint: the “rod cells” in the periphery of your eye work better in low-light and at detecting motion than the “cone cells” in the center do, giving you a greater sense of motion from objects moving past you in the dark—we neglected to consider how this principle works in reverse. Indeed, not only do you, as a runner, sense the motion of bright objects better once the sun goes down, but other people, namely those driving motorized vehicles, sense the motion of you, as a runner, better once the sun goes down. General truth, credit to Store Manager Jon Pierce, end of story? Not quite.
Runners, you can further your cause. For as much as traffic cones, lines on the street, and the eyes of large game animals proclaim their existence in the blackness of night, you can do the same. What follows is an overview of several products featuring reflectivity, all of which are now at (or soon to be at) all Marathon Sports locations.
Jacket-wise, Saucony, Brooks, and Sugoi all offer reflectivity in products designed for the summer-to-fall transition. Saucony’s 3-1 Sonic Jacket (100% polyester; $140.00) with DWR (Durable Water Repellent)-coated fabric features what Saucony calls “ViziPro” reflectivity and can be converted to a vest by removing the magnetic sleeves as well as a vest with extra ventilation at the back yoke. Turning the sleeves and back inside out reveals extra visibility in the jacket version.
From Brooks, the Essential Run Jacket II and Essential Run Vest II (100% polyester with DWR; 84% polyester/16% spandex; $85 jacket, $75 vest) feature DWR coating like Saucony but offer the jacket/vest distinction in two separate products. Both feature what Brooks calls 360 degrees of “retroreflectivity,” back vents, and an internal pocket for your iPhone or iPod. (“Retroreflectivity” is designed to reflect light back to the source with minimal scattering; Brooks places this on the shoulders on their jackets and tops.) Marathon Sports will also carry the LSD Lite Jacket III and LSD Lite Vest (100% polyester ripstop with DWR; $85), both of which pack into their own pockets and haveadjustable drawstring waists. (The LSD Lite Jacket III also features an easy-cinch hood.)
Sugoi’s Versa Jacket (100% polyester), meanwhile, converts to a vest much like Saucony’s 3-1 and features two front zip pockets and one back zip pocket for stowing the sleeves. The reflective detailing and woven ripstop fabric provide safety as well as protection and ventilation.
And finally, in the way of running shorts (which we covered in our last newsletter here), Adidas’ Supernova 5” and Supernova 7” shorts (100% polyester twill, $40, $45) offer 400 candlepower of reflectivity (yes, that is actually a unit, and to put it in perspective official data shows that white shirts offer 0.3 candlepower). Both also provide climacool ventilation and FORMOTION fitting designed to perform during linear running motions.
All in all, considering our eyes catch bright motion at night better than anything else and with the days getting shorter, there is no better time to stop into any of our locations and get outfitted for your fall training. Indeed, then you’ll be visible while feeling like you run fast as you work on that real speed.
By Staff Contributor, Kyle Northrop
Even though I’ve been working at Marathon Sports for a couple of years, I always get excited when new shoes come out. Nike's new Zoom Terra Kiger is no different.
When you walk into one of our stores, it hits you. BOOM. Look at that wall of shoes. We pride ourselves in the vast selection and quality of options on our shoe wall. Over the past few years, we have carried several Nike trail models that have essentially been road shoes with a more aggressive trail tread. Nike's newest trail shoe, The Kiger, along with its little brother the Wildhorse, is a new direction for Nike. They aren’t re-engineered road shoes. These trail-specific shoes have been designed down to the smallest detail to be ready to conquer the trail.
The name Kiger comes from the Kiger mountain region of Oregon, which is home to a special breed of wild Mustang horses.
Even though the Terra Kiger is marketed as a trail shoe, it doesn't mean you have to keep yourself to just trails.
The Kiger is fast and quick, but it’s got some meat on it’s bones. It can tackle the road as easily as it can storm the trails. It’s a hybrid – a wild Mustang that will run anywhere you want to take it.
Here's the Run Down:
- 4mm Heel-Toe Drop: 14mm of cushion in the heel and 10mm in the forefoot.
- Beveled Heel: Allows the foot to come into a flatter position before bearing the bulk of your weight, encouraging a foot strike that is more focused beneath your center of gravity.
- Trail oriented design that uses diamond shaped lugs to provide traction up and down; also used on their new cross country spikes.
- Zoom Air Units: Nike's signature cushioning system in both the heel and the forefoot.
Fresh out of the box, these kicks are looking fresh. The outsole looks like a Doppler radar – perfect, because I'm ready to chase a storm. Exposed seams throughout the midfoot saddle give it a rugged, yet finished look. The integrated tongue both looks great and keeps the dirt out of shoe.
- Race Fit: Built off of Nike's track spike last.
Upon lacing these puppies up, my feet felt right at home. The shoe is built of the same last (foot mold) as their Free models and racing spikes, so the shoe just FEELS fast. The Kiger though has a bit more forgiving fit, especially in the forefoot, which will be especially helpful when racking up the miles on the trails.
Properly fitted running shoes should feel like they are just an extension of your feet and Nike does a good job of customizing the fit with its dynamic flywire system. Seen also in Nike's pro basketball line, the flywire consists of nylon wires that wrap around the eyelets and extend down into the midsole of the shoe. When the laces are pulled, so do the flywires; resulting in a custom fit for each wearer.
As a premier shoe, the Kiger boasts a Nike Zoom Air unit in both the forefoot and the heel. The Wildhorse has a Zoom Air unit only in the heel. This gives the Kiger an extra bounce when burning it up on the trail. The forefoot unit is especially helpful over rocky terrain. While most conventional trail shoes use a plastic plate in the forefoot to protect the feet, the Kiger's use of the air unit makes it much more flexible.
I was able to get myself up early enough one day to take these for an 11 mile run in the Blue Hills. While the shoes lack a hard rock plate to help dissipate shock, there was enough foam and air underfoot to work on even the rockier portions of the trail. I have also taken the shoe on about 25 miles or so on the road, where I think it performs just as well; which leads me to this:
Most of us are not lucky enough to have miles of trails right out our front door. For me, it’s a good 2 mile run before I can get to any significant trails. This is the reality of living in or around Boston. The Kiger handles itself well as a door-to-trail shoe. I can rely on it to handle wherever I run, no matter whether I'm hitting Comm. Ave or Blue Hills Skyline Trail.
Nike is always one of many leading the charge in innovation. Consider trying out the Kiger if you’ve had success in the Saucony Peregrine, Xodus, or Kinvara; New Balance Minimus Trail; Innov-8 TrailRoc.
I'm the kind of guy whose run evolves while I’m running. I may go out for 3, but I end up doing 5 or more. I may hit the road, only to turn on to the trails later. I enjoy my runs because I keep them spontaneous. Its nice to know that I can lace up this shoe, no matter of where I'm going that day.