A few weeks ago I received a Saucony prize pack courtesy of Potomac River Running. Along with a brand new pair of Kinvara 3’s, I also won a whole tech gear wardrobe complete with shorts, shirt, headphones and stickers to plaster everywhere. I’ve had the opportunity to wear each several times over the last few weeks and gauge their usefulness, durability and comfort.
First off the shoes are phenomenal. I am not a big fan of cushioned running shoes and have spent the better part of the last six months enjoying my return to minimalist running. That being said the Kinvara 3’s have become my new running favorite and the rest of my shoe stable has been relegated to gym workouts and trail runs. They’re freakishly lightweight for a shoe with so much cushioning, and ridiculously flexible. They provide good shock absorption for paved trails and concrete; yet retain excellent ground feel and feedback. I continue to run with a forefoot strike as these shoes make doing so comfortable and easy. Though they weren’t the color I would have preferred they were free and fit perfectly so I am satisfied. If you’re looking for a training and mileage shoe I think you could do far worse than these shoes.
The shirt Saucony sent was a run of the mill “dri-fit” style technical shirt that retails for about $30 online an din most stores. It has excellent fit and is lightweight and non-clingy even when sweating. The gray color is a little dark for runs under the summer sun but Saucony has cleverly incorporated reflective materials in their logo on the front and back similar to those found on the shoes I received for night runners. The shorts are the real value though. They have inner sleeves made of spandex and a dri-fit weave to wick away moisture. They provide excellent friction protection and keep all the essential parts neatly in place. I saw similar pairs of running shorts retailing for around $50 at my local running store so I definitely scored. My shorts came in black with reflective accents and trimming along with a reflective Saucony logo on the thigh. I wear these shorts for every run now and will need to buy more after these wear out from the frequent washings. Here is an example of how running specific gear make the whole experience more enjoyable and fun.
While I haven’t tried out the ear-buds included in my prize pack I was surprised to learn they are manufactured by Sony and feature gold plated hardware and are water and sweat proof. I rarely listen to music on runs preferring to listen to the sound of my cadence and footfalls or talk with Gwen my girlfriend so it may be a while before I can properly test these out.
Speaking of Gwen she has been wearing a pair of the latest New Balance MT20’s for several weeks now for strength training, cardio workouts, and trail runs. These shoes are a simple update to last year’s hit shoes and feature several improvements over the old model in flexibility, build materials, comfort, and traction. The upper features a finer mesh weave to keep out small sand grains and debris that frequently made their way inside the old shoes. The sole remains a Vibram piece though the knob patterns and spacing have been changed and rearranged in both shape and location. There is also a wider choice of colors this year and most importantly prices start at around $20 less then NB’s premiere minimal shoe, the MT00. I hope to publish a firsthand account of the Women’s version Gwen has been testing very soon.
Finally the staff here at Legion Fitness has succumbed to the kettlebell bug and has been swinging around our 30lb friend as frequently as possible. So far it’s turned into a fun and novel addition to our training schedule used to improve balance, stability, and to correct muscle imbalances from side to side. We picked ours up at the Wal-Mart for $44 and it came with a grey rubber coating. Unfortunately Wal-Mart’s across the country will no longer be stocking free weights soon but they will remain available through their online store. We have already ordered a heavier kettlebell from Fitness Factory through Amazon and look forward to its arrival. Those of you looking to stay on budget should check out my article on homemade kettlebells I posted two weeks ago. For a round $15 and some ingenuity you can build an adjustable kettlebell capable of handling up to 90lbs of weight.
Soon we will be moving to our new home in Bradenton, Florida. Among other goals we intend to open a physical location there in the coming year and help spread the message of affordable and practical fitness to the masses. We hope you’ll continue following us as we grow and explore new methods for keeping health simple and easy.