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5 TIPS FOR CHOOSING TRAIL RUNNING SHOES

 

TRAIL RUNNING SHOES

by BRIAN METZLER |

 

 

5 TIPS FOR CHOOSING TRAIL RUNNING SHOES

A guide from JackRabbit trail runner Casey Cook

Running on trails can be like a portal to someplace else—an escape to freedom, even if only for a while. Trail running offers a different sensory appeal than running on the roads, sidewalks and bikepaths of the city or suburbia. But because trail terrain varies so greatly—with hills and rocks and roots and gravel over a constantly twisting-turning route—it also offers a different physical experience as well.

Trail running forces your feet, legs and even your core and upper body to make constant adjustments. Softer surfaces decrease the impact on your joints, and the variable terrain works a much larger group of stabilizer muscles. And for those reasons, adding trail running to your training repertoire on a regular basis will make you a more balanced, athletic runner and reduce the risk of overuse injuries.

But because trails can vary so much within the same geographic regions, we checked in with Casey Cook, manager of Running Fit in Northville, Mich., to understand some of the key points to consider when buying trail running shoes. In addition to being a longtime runner and shoe-fitting expert, he’s also a longtime runner who has run trails all over the Midwest and trail running races from 5K to 50K.
 

 

TRAIL RUNNING SHOES VS. ROAD SHOES

The first question runners often ask is: why can’t I just wear my road running shoes when I go trail running?

“You can use you road shoes on some trails, but it really depends on the trails you’re running,” Cook says. “Trail running shoes have been specifically designed to improve your experience on trails with traction, cushioning, durability and protection elements.

“It’s a great feeling when you feel the lugs engage with the trail and you’re able to climb up a little bit of a hill a little easier because of it. You can start to really understand the benefits of what a trail shoe can do for you. It just adds to the experience and puts you into a primal frame of mind and you get to have a little more fun with it.”

5 TIPS FOR CHOOSING TRAIL RUNNING SHOES

1) TYPES OF TRAILS
When customers come into the store looking for trail running shoes, Cook and his staffers typically start by asking them what kinds of trails they’ll be running the most. There are generally three types of trails: 1) smooth and mostly flat dirt or grassy routes without many obstacles; 2) rough and rugged trails with a lot of jagged rocks and roots; 3) and just about everything in between, including those that might include some smooth sections and some more technical parts.

They also ask how many miles a runner plans to run and how fast they typically run. “When you find out what kinds of trails they run and understand how they run them, you can help guide them into a shoe that’s appropriate for their needs,” Cook says.

“If they’re mostly running on smooth dirt paths or grassy knolls, then I’d set them up with something with a low-profile outsole. But if they’re running trails with more rocks and gravel, they’ll likely need something with better traction and protection. How much they need depends on how rugged the trails are.”

2) HOW THE SHOE FITS
“A trail running shoe should fit snug around the midfoot/arch area and have a locked-down fit in the heel to avoid any slipping or shifting when you run over uneven terrain. Unlike the more snug fit of a road running shoe, however, you should consider a trail shoe with slightly more room in the forefoot of a trail running shoe to offset the angst of the inevitable toe-stubbing that happens, even on less-technical terrain,” Cook says.

“Most trail runners and expert shoe fitters suggest at least a thumb’s width of space between the tip of your toes and the front end of the shoe. Be sure to try on several pairs of the same genre,” he says, “because brands and models can vary greatly within the same shoe size.”

“It’s about balancing all the different variables to figure out what works for that particular runner. It could the that there’s a shoe that’s good on paper, but if it doesn’t feel good for you it doesn’t mean anything.”

3) AMOUNT OF CUSHIONING
Like road running shoes, trail runners vary in midsole thickness and the amount of cushioning they supply.

There are trail running shoes with thick midsoles (Hoka One One Speedgoat, Brooks Caldera and Altra Olympus), there are minimally constructed trail shoes with only a little cushioning (Brooks Pure Grit, On Cloudventure and Saucony Peregrine) and there are plenty of models in the sweet spot in between (New Balance Summit Unknown, Brooks Casacadia and Nike Terra Kiger).

The amount of cushioning is really a balance between how much you want to feel the trail and how much protection and softness you want under your foot. More cushioning in a trail running shoe will help reduce the impact on the body, but less cushioning can allow a runner to be more footloose and fancy free and run a trail faster with more aggressiveness.

“It really comes down to whether a runner would rather feel the trail and have more proprioceptive awareness or if they’d prefer you prefer to have more cushioning and protection,” Cook says. “That relates to what kind of trails they’re running and how they’re running them.”
 

TRACTION AND PROTECTION IN TRAIL RUNNING

4) TRACTION
Trail running shoes vary greatly in the amount of traction they provide, Cook says. Some have outsoles with smooth, almost flat surfaces like a road shoe that are designed for milder, flatter and less technical trails. Good examples are the Altra Timp, Hoka One One ATR Challenger 4 and the Inov-8 Trail Talon 290.

At the other end of the spectrum are shoes with deep, knobby lugs that can dig into soft, wet surfaces or provide adhesion on rugged routes that might include big rocks, slippery gravel steep sections of mud or dirt. The Altra King MT, Salomon SpeedCross 4 and Saucony Xodus ISO 3 have some of the most aggressively lugged outsoles on the market.

5) PROTECTION
“There are several key aspects of protection to consider when buying trail running shoes,” Cook says. The first variable to consider is whether the shoe has a flexible rock plate built into the midsole of the shoe. A rock plate helps provide underfoot protection from sharp rocks or awkward foot placements on technical terrain. If you’re running rugged trails, it will help keep your feet out of harm’s way.

“When you wear that same shoe on soft, flat terrain, it will be overkill and might result in the shoe feeling a bit clunky and overbuilt. But keep in mind that some thickly cushioned trail runner shoes (like the Hoka One One Speedgoat and the Altra Olympus 3.0) don’t have rock plates because the combination of the thick midsole and outsole does the trick of keeping sharp rocks from poking at the bottom of your feet.”

Most trail running shoes also offer protection by way of a reinforced toe bumper and abrasion-resistant sidewalls. “The more rocky and technical the trail, the more protective of a shoe you will want,” Cook says.

SHOP TRAIL RUNNING SHOES & GEAR

When it comes to kitting out your trail running adventures, we have you covered from head to toe. JackRabbit stocks a wide range of trail running shoes in a rainbow of colors from all the key brands like Inov8, Atlra, Salomon, On running, Hoka, Saucony and Brooks.  

Don't forget the clothing and gear though. If you're out on the trail, the chances are the weather and elements are out there too! Check out our trail running shop for everything from trail shoes, tights and pants, training gear, hydration packs and carriers, gels and nutrition, socks for trail protection (hello Stance!), and other key accessories to make your adventures on the trail all the more memorable.

You'll find free shipping on many of our items and key prices throughout the year so you can enjoy the outdoors on your terms. 

 

SHOP TRAIL RUNNING SHOES

 

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JACKRABBIT GUIDE TO SHOPPING THE NY RACE EXPO

SHOPPING THE NY RACE EXPO

by JACKRABBIT |

JACKRABBIT GUIDE TO SHOPPING THE RACE EXPO

NAVIGATING THE RACE EXPO

Nothing is more exciting for a runner geek (yeah, we’re there with you) than to take a stroll through the magic of a marathon expo. 

The New York expo takes this euphoria to a whole new level. Pack an extra pair of comfortable
run shoes, because you’re going to need them as you navigate the halls of the Javitts Center to collect your race gear.

Shopping the expo is a marathon event in itself. While you’re taking in race fever, make sure you
check out the limited edition New York race shoes and apparel. JackRabbit has collaborated with some of our favorite brands to create some unique New York
styles and apparel for you to remember your time running New York.

Quantities are limited and unique to the race, so stock up before they’re gone for ever! 

JACKRABBIT GOODIES AT THE EXPO

JackRabbit Booth: #753 :Come visit us at the JackRabbit booth for more than just a high five (we’ll have those too, and they’re free!) 

Look for the big red hanging sign proclaiming “Start Your Run
Here!” The Expo runs November 1st through the 3rd at: Jacob K. Javits Convention Center, Hall 3B, 11th Avenue at West 35th Street.

We’ll be featuring our best tech gadgets, a wall of socks that
will impress, and Currex insoles to keep your arches happy.

Alongside, we’re bringing along all you could ever need for race nutrition and
portable hydration gear and drinks. We’re also bringing along NY branded gear, so you can celebrate the race with a classy tee you and your support crew can wear with pride. 

RECOVERY AT THE EXPO

Think past the marathon and onto how you’re going to recover!  There is nothing that makes you feel more alive than a post race leg burn as you descend stairs (and there are plenty of those in New York!)

We’ll have more
recovery items at the Expo Store than you can shake a stick at. Make sure you pick up a pair of Oofos recovery slides which your plantars will surely thank you for!  We
know, ours thank us every day for wearing them.

Check out our other suggestions and tips for post-race. 

NEW YORK EXCLUSIVES

What makes the NY marathon experience even more special are the limited edition New York shoes that become available for a limited time. 

We’ve done the hard work for you (after all, you’ve done the training) and in JackRabbit
stores we’ll have the official limited New York shoes and grear from brands such as New Balance, Adidas,
Saucony, Oofos and Altra alongside unique NYC apparel to reflect your race day enthusiasm. 

SHOP ONLINE

NY gear is being added daily to our JackRabbit online store. Check out the gear, the shoes and the swag.  

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pairs of running shoes you have in your collection?  There is no shaming here at JackRabbit!  

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Training

THE RACE IS OVER, NOW WHAT?

 

NEW YORK – POST RACE

by JACKRABBIT |

 

 

THE RACE IS OVER, NOW WHAT?

Congrats! You did it! 26.2 miles through the urban jungle. After the delirium of excitement-and-exhaustion has settled in, the primary question becomes: What do I do now?

Don't Pass Up the Poncho: If you read our New York Race Day Checklist, you already knew to bring a gear bag which you checked before the race started. You also knew to have some throw-away clothing that you felt comfortable shedding during the run. However, now that the race is over, you’re getting cold. From our experience, the bag check post-race is quite chaotic, so when asked, elect to get a free poncho at the finish line. The cold walk out of the park can take a while, so you’ll be very happy you have your poncho.

Pick Your Mode of Transport: Once you and the crowd are finally able to exit the park, it’s still a few blocks to the subway so be prepared to walk on sore legs. If you choose to use a ride-share service such as Uber of Lyft, we suggest scheduling a ride prior to the race, as prices are likely to surge and you might be waiting for quite a while due to increased demand post-race.

Refuel, To Your Delight!: Even if you don’t feel hungry or thirsty, take advantage of any free refreshments they may have at the finish line. You literally just ran a marathon. If you wait until you’re starving, you risk binging and feeling horrible. Stay feeling good by having a snack immediately, and then planning on eating a big meal after you pick up your gear bag. If you're like me, not only will you have planned the exact location where you’ll be consuming your celebratory meal, you already know exactly what you’ll order, and have been using the thought as motivation to cross the finish line.

Keep On Rollin': After you’ve had your fill of food (and drinks?), and made it back to the hotel, be sure to get in some good foam rolling and stretching before you hop in the shower. You may still be riding on an endorphin – and possibly Pabst Blue Ribbon – high, but you’ll for sure feel it tomorrow. Spend at least 5 minutes making sure you roll out your back, hamstrings, and quads so you will be able to walk tomorrow. After you roll, hit some downward dog, pigeon pose, and calf stretches. At least 90 seconds for each stretch. Then either hop in a hot & steamy shower, or draw yourself a nice bath, complete with epsom salts to speed along your recovery.

Medal Engraving: Hopefully, you’ve built in at least an extra day to see the sights of NYC and explore the city. Be sure to head over to the JackRabbit store, located in Time Warner Center, for a medal engraving on Monday after the race! Get your name and time permanently stamped on that bad boy so no one else can claim it. Check out our New York experience page for updates on times and the details. 

 
 
 

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Reviews

FALL RUNNING SHOES LAUNCHES

FALL RUNNING SHOE LAUNCHES – JACKRABBIT

NEW RUNNING SHOE RELEASES: FALL 2018

Fall. What does that season mean to you?  Back to school, back to work, back to lower temperatures, back to marathon season?  

Fall is all about new shoes at JackRabbit, celebrating the hard training during the summer months,
and getting ready for enjoying the races still left and making the most out of what still remains of the year.  There are still PRs to be had, running pals!

New releases are abound every fall in the land of running shoes
and this season is no exception. Some of the biggest running shoes by reputation and some exciting new editions and releases are coming!

This season we see some anticipated weather-senstive editions of waterproof shoes
from On Running and a Fly by Night collection from Hoka One One. Over-pronators are going to welcome a trio
of new shoes: the Brooks Bedlam, the Nike Structure 22 and Saucony Echelon 7.   Add to the
mix an exciting release from Adidas – the Solarhu (in limited supply, so act early on this one!), and the mighty New Balance 880 and 860 – that are only available in retails stores not online, so march on down to your nearest
JackRabbit partner store to get yours. 

Rounding up the season, some of the tried and tested bestsellers are coming from Saucony, Brooks and Asics. Those never disappoint.

New Running Shoes for Fall

Brooks Bedlam - September

Brooks Bedlam

September 2018: A brand new release from Brooks – a stabilty version of the hit success the Brooks Levitate.  Featuring the 'DNA AMP' midsole, the Bedlam is everything a pronator could ask for in a new stylish
stability shoe: responsive energy return in a package that guides your foot. Read our review of the new Brooks Bedlam over on the JackRabbit blog

MEN'S BEDLAMWOMEN'S BEDLAM

On Cloud and Cloudflyer - Waterproof

On Cloud and Cloudflyer Waterproof

September 2018: The Swiss know about watch making, and rain! It makes complete sense that a spot-on waterproof shoe would be in the wheelhouse of the shoe designers at On Running.  Check out the two rain-worthy versions
of the On Cloud and the On Cloudflyer at JackRabbit.  There is no such thing as bad weather when you have the right equipment! 

SHOP ON CLOUD WATERPROOFSHOP ON CLOUDFLYER WATERPROOF

Nike Structure 22

Nike Structure 22

September 2018: Over pronators rejoice.  The 22nd edition of the Nike Structure is here in September. Flywire cables secure the top of your foot and engineered mesh has both support and ventilation. With 22 editions under
their belt, Nike knows how to 'support' those who need it. 

SHOP MEN'S STRUCTURE
SHOP WOMEN'S STRUCTURE

Adidas Solarhu Exclusive

Adidas Solarhu

September 2018:  SOLD OUT!
The adidas Solarhu will be in limited number, so when they're gone, they're gone!  This an exciting new launch from adidas, inspired by the colors of the Africa and features bold
colors against a black or white canvas. 

SOLD OUT
SOLD OUT

Brooks Ricochet

Brooks Ricochet

October 2018:  A brand new shoe from Brooks, taking its revolutionary and highly successful DNA AMP midsole and applying it to a lightweight frame. This shoe is for hitting top speed so you can chase down your new goals!
Definitely a new shoe to try out this fall.

SHOP MEN'S RICOCHET
SHOP WOMEN'S RICOCHET

Saucony Echelon 7

Saucony Echelon 7

October 2018: The perennial favorite the Echelon is a orthotic-friendly shoe that is a neutral runner and also suitable for those who under pronate. There is a wide, stable base with a robust external heel support. Lock
yourself in and head out with the support you need. 

SHOP MEN'S ECHELON
SHOP WOMEN'S ECHELON

Hoka One One Fly by Night Collection

Hoka One One Fly at Night Collection

October 2018: The HOKA Fly collection launched earlier this year gets a winter makeover with the Fly At Night collection. Shop the new colorways of the Mach and Cavu for fall and winter running. Want to know more about
this trio? Read about the inspiration for the new HOKA Fly Collection over on the JackRabbit blog.

MEN'S COMING SOONWOMEN'S COMING SOON

Mizuno WaveKnit R2

Mizuno Waveknit R2

October 2018: A true sister-shoe to the Wave Rider 22 underfoot featuring a performance knit upper for a smooth, sock-like feel and comfort. It has the same comfortable midsole as its sister shoe and a crashpad on the
sole to protect your feet. A great running shoe for those who like a cushioned ride.

MEN'S COMING SOON
WOMEN'S COMING SOON

Nike Vapormax Flyknit 2

Nike Vapormax Flyknit 2

October 2018: Fresh design elements are abound in the second version of the Nike Air Flyknit.  Add to that added support around the heel and the foot-hugging sock-like feel to the upper.  This new package still sits  upon
the futuristic-lookng sole for a cutting edge running shoe with style. 

MEN'S COMING SOON
SHOP WOMEN'S FLYKNIT

Nike Zoom Fly Flyknit

Nike Zoom Fly Flyknit

October 2018: Nike quotes the Zoom Fly Flyknit as one of the worlds 'fastest, most durable racing and tempo shoe.' A blend of the super fast Nike React foam midsole and the lightweight Flyknit.  And folks, that's
not all…the swoosh has slipped in a full-length, carbon-fiber plate that is also found in the ground-breaking Zoom Vaporfly 4%.  Fast? Try it out and see.

SHOP MEN'S FLY FLYKNITSHOP WOMEN'S FLY FLYKNIT

New Balance 860

New Balance 860

November 2018: One of the New Balance classic shoes of all the 860 is the stability version for pronators of the all emcompassing 880.  Only available nationwide in specialty running stores, JackRabbit and our partner stores will be stocked, willing and able to fit you in your next pair of these milestone shoes. 

INSTORE ONLY!
INSTORE ONLY!

Saucony Triumph ISO 5

Saucony Triumph ISO 5

October 2018: There are some major changes to the Triumph ISO from Saucony this season! With a 'grippier' heel and a new sole borrowed from the Freedom ISO.  There's a couple of extra millimeters of Everun
added to the midsole for those who value cushion. The upper is also knit themed – in Jacquard with a strong, eye-catching pattern. 

SHOP MEN'S TRIUMPH ISOSHOP WOMEN'S TRIUMPH ISO

Saucony Guide ISO 2

Saucony Guide ISO 2

October 2018: Get on the sole train with the new Saucony Guide ISO 2.  The changes are mostly underfoot with wider, higher, deeper lugs on the outsole compared to the original. A wider forefoot is a new change and the
same Jacquard upper featured on the other Saucony bestsellers. A stability shoe par excellence! Step in and run (supported all the way.) 

SHOP MEN'S GUIDE ISOSHOP WOMEN'S GUIDE ISO

Brooks Adrenaline GTS 19

Brooks Adrenaline GTS 19

November 2018: Big changes are afoot (no pun intended) in the Adrenaline GTS 19.  This key support shoe sees the medial post support gone and has been replaced by Brooks Guide Rails.  The midsole also has the DNA Loft
which features in their signature Ghost shoe. This is defintely a version any previous fan of the Adrenaline should try!

SHOP MEN'S ADRENALINE GTSSHOP WOMEN'S ADRENALINE GTS

Asics GT 2000

Asics GT 2000 7

October 2018: A combination of stability, cushioning and comfort in one package.  The GT 2000 is one of the bestselling everyday mid-stability shoes.  The midsole now features the FlyteFoam which lightens the load and
is high on the durability scale too. And the price is right! What's not to love here, runners? Are you ready to love your long run again?

SHOP MEN'S GT 2000SHOP WOMEN'S GT 2000

On Cloudsurfer

On Cloudsurfer

October 2018: Ready for in-shoe comfort?  The new Cloudsurfer features a second-layer sock construction for a unique fit. The famous On 'lugs' have a new arrow pattern for grip and traction.  On shoes are known
for being lightweight – and the signature open construction keeping you light on your feet with your head, dare we say it, in the clouds!

SHOP MEN'S CLOUDSURFERSHOP WOMEN'S CLOUDSURFER

On Cloudventure

On Cloudventure

November 2018: The ultimate lightweight trail running shoe.  The sole of the Cloudventure is micro-engineered with four distinct levels of grip for all trail condition and an ingenious upper built from two layers – a supportive,
breathable inner-layer topped with a lightweight outer-layer treated with DWR waterproof coating. A perfect combo for being out on the trail with no excuses. 

SHOP MEN'S CLOUDVENTURESHOP WOMEN'S CLOUDVENTURE

Hoka Gaviota 2

Hoka One One Gaviota 2

December 2018: The launch of Gaviota from Hoka was a step away from the traditional approach to a stability shoe.  This second edition embraces the Hoka 'J-Frame' as in the debut, but adds on a superior upper that
is more breathable.  The Gaviota has a 'arch-lock' wings to help with mid-foot stability and support – so important to runners who need that little extra.

SHOP MEN'S GAVIOTASHOP WOMEN'S GAVIOTA

Brooks Launch 6

Brooks Launch 6

December 2018:  A runner's favorite, the Brooks launch is back in a sixth edition with a more foam under the forefoot. The Launch has been a versatile shoe for so many runners for years, and the 6 will be no exception.

SHOP MEN'S LAUNCHSHOP WOMEN'S LAUNCH

Saucony Peregrine ISO

Saucony Peregrine ISO

January 2019: The trail shoe Saucony Peregrine has received an update with the addition of the ISO Fit upper and the Form-Fit system.  This agressive trail running shoe with a sleek profile is now easier to dial in to the
fit you need.  Take to the hills. 

SHOP MEN'S PEREGRINE ISO
SHOP WOMEN'S PEREGINE ISO

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Training

WHY YOU SHOULD EXPAND YOUR QUIVER OF RUNNING SHOES

 

RUNNING SHOES: WHAT'S IN YOUR CLOSET?

 

 

WHY YOU SHOULD EXPAND YOUR QUIVER OF RUNNING SHOES

1,2,3,4? How many pairs of running shoes do you have?

How many pairs of running shoes do you have? More importantly, how many pairs of running shoes do you run in on a weekly basis?

Your answer should be… “at least two but it could be more, depending on what kind of running you do on a regular basis,” says Chris Healy, Manager of Running Fit in Ann Arbor, Michigan.No, that’s not an up-sell gimmick to boost sales in the store; he’s trying to help you become a more balanced runner, improve your gait, avoid injuries and actually get more life out of each pair of shoes.

“Most recreational runners typically buy a new pair of running shoes every 6 months or so, run the heck out of them and retire that pair to less strenuous activities—mowing the lawn, going to the mall, shuttling kids to various activities, walking the dog or simply wearing them with jeans with casual clothes. There’s nothing inherently wrong with that, but there are reasons that can be doing you a disservice,” Healy says.

 

ROTATE YOUR RUNNING SHOES, BUILD YOUR RUNNING STRENGTH

“Having multiple types of shoes in your quiver can allow you to match a pair of shoes for the specific type of running you’re doing or the terrain you’ll be running on, and also allow your feet and lower legs to ever-so-slightly alter your running gait and foot-strike pattern,” he says.

Instead of having your feet hit the ground the same way on every stride on every run of the week, alternating between two or three pairs of shoes during any given week can help you mix things up enough to build neglected micro muscles in your feet, ankles, lower legs and that can lead to becoming a stronger and more agile runner in the long run.
 

BALANCED STRENGTH FOR LONGEVITY

By alternating your shoes you’re going to be able to maintain more balanced strength in your legs. In your rotation, you might have one or more pairs of high-mileage trainers, a pair of lightweight trainers for faster workouts and medium to long races, a pair of trail running shoes, a pair of racing flats (for very short and fast workouts and races) and a pair of gym training shoes for CrossFit, OrangeTheory, TRX or traditional weight lifting sessions.

“Every different shoe works on different muscle groups,” Healy says. “So when you run in the same shoe over and over again, you’re only strengthening one set of muscles in a specific pattern. And that means you’re not strengthening other muscles, so you’re creating a strength imbalance that can affect your gait.”

TRAIN LIKE A PRO

Elite level runners do this all the time—typically running in different shoes for long runs, recovery runs, tempo runs, speed workouts and races—but the benefits are the same for recreational runners too.

“It’s partly about having the optimal proprioceptive interaction with the ground—the ability for your brain to sense the ground and allow the rest of your body to react accordingly—and partly about what you prefer (the cushioning, shape, height off the ground and weight of shoes, for example) for various kinds of running,” Healy comments.

MIX IT UP, HEAD TO THE TRAILS

Trail running a few times per week is another way to accomplish that result. When running on trails, you’ll benefit by be wearing shoes specifically made for the types of routes you’re running instead of your road running kicks. It’s not that road running shoes won’t work sufficiently on many trails, it’s more that trail running shoes offer better traction and smartly placed protection against sharp or awkward obstacles on the trail. Trail shoes will help you run better, reduce the chance of injuries and provide a better overall experience when you’re running off the beaten path.

“When it comes to running trails and trail running shoes, the biggest factor is the right balance of proprioception and protection—or the idea of how important it is it to feel the ground versus keeping your foot from feeling some of the things on the trail,” Healy says. “Trail shoes have reinforced uppers, rock plates and a fit that will keep you inside the shoe when you’re on more rugged terrain.”

You’ll be able to extend the life of each pair of running shoes and become a healthier, stronger runner if you increase the number of shoes in your weekly rotation, avoid wearing a single pair too often and hold off on wearing your running shoes for non-running activities until you retire them from active duty.

“If a shoe is completely worn out, it could increase your odds of developing overuse injuries,” Healey says.
 

 
 

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Comment below how many pairs of running shoes you have in your collection?  There is no shaming here at JackRabbit!

 

 
 

 
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Training

BUNNY TALKS: CHRIS HENSHAW

 

 

 

 

JACKRABBIT INTERVIEWS: CHRIS HENSHAW – ENDURANCE ATHLETE TO CROSSFIT PIONEER

Chris Henshaw is the ultimate endurance athlete.  Starting as a collegiate swimmer, he embraced Ironman triathlon when the sport was still in its infancy, competing as an equal with the triathlon greats and coming in second to Scott Tinley in the Ironman World Championships in Kona, Hawaii in 1985.

We sat down with Chris to talk about training world-champion CrossFit athletes, drawing upon his huge knowledge of endurance training to lead and prepare his athletes for elite level performances.  You can learn more about Chris and his approach to training at his site Aerobic Capacity

There’s much we can all learn from Chris, so read on!

JACKRABBIT: Hi Chris – Your career path has been impressive.  Second on the podium in the Ironman World Championships to now training world class athletes in the CrossFit arena. Share with us how you went from endurance sports to CrossFit?

CHRIS HENSHAW: I had an incredible 8 years while competing as a professional triathlete. I thoroughly enjoyed every aspect of the sport.  I’m truly grateful for the experiences. However, the weekly volume eventually stacked up and my unrelenting injuries forced me into retirement at 28 years old.  I was introduced to CrossFit as a potential option to restore my neglected muscle groups in order to become functional. I was 44 years old.

JR: What do you bring to CrossFit training from your vast endurance background?  How does your approach to training differ to what athletes are used to?

CH: As a professional triathlete, I was given many unique opportunities to improve my performance that included access to elite coaching, physiology testing, nutrition, mindset, and product design.  These experiences created a very unique advantage as my career evolved into coaching.  Triathlons and CrossFit are both multi-sports. Triathlons taught me to find the most effective and efficient methods for maximizing an individual adaptation.   My approach values the athlete’s time commitment to fitness.

JR: Mental training is a huge part of sport, what advice do you give your athletes to bring a higher mental game to their training?

CH: Triathlons have taught me how negative thoughts develop and ultimately limit performance.  Long competitions create the perfect environment for negative thoughts because the body is pushed multiple times too far away from homeostasis.  I want my athletes to recognize negative thoughts or perceptions as valuable internal feedback while performing a workout or competition.

JR: You’re a high-performing athlete, and you train world champion athletes, do you see any common factor(s) amongst athletes at the top of their game?

CH: World champion athletes are relentless in their quest for improvement.   However, the underlining focus was building their knowledge. Knowledge is created from a variety of sources.  It is this knowledge that becomes the source of confidence.

JR: The CrossFit Games are a grueling few days of competition, how do you prepare your athletes when they have to be ready for anything?

CH: My athletes recognize that every movement is unique and every intensity within that movement is unique.  The combinations of movements and intensities within CrossFit are endless. However, no athlete would have the time or capacity to prepare for every potential combination.  Games athletes, just like any athlete, must focus on the movements and intensities that are the highest value of their available time. My job is to assess the strengths and weaknesses of any athlete in order to provide programming that maximizes their specific adaptations.

JR: What three pieces of advice would you give to any athlete (CrossFit athletes, runners, triathletes) who wants to increase their level of performance?

CH: As a coach, one of my top priorities is to provide outstanding programming as well as explain the “how & why” (focus & intent) of every individual workout. I believe every athlete needs to take ownership in his or her fitness.  I would advise every athlete to know their strengths and weaknesses, to know the intent (or targeted adaptation) of their workouts, and to know how and/or why their workouts will maximize their fitness. As a coach, I’ve learned these athletes with ownership will return tomorrow and this is what determines a successful coach.

JR: In the span of your career you’ve been involved with running shoe companies from their initial R&D at the Ironman World Championships to your current work with Reebok. Tell us a bit about your collaboration and how running/training shoes have changed since then.

CH: As a professional triathlete, my involvement with running shoe companies was 100% focused on individual performance.  As a coach, my interests in shoe design focus on stability, durability, and comfort to provide a better running experience for recreational athletes. Reebok has proven their ability to deliver running shoes that cover both ends of the design spectrum; soft cushioning for longer runs, and an explosive feel at toe-off for high intensity track intervals.

What advice would you give JackRabbits wanting to try CrossFit for the first time?

CH: CrossFit can be very intimidating because of the quantity of unfamiliar movements.  As example, I had never picked up a barbell before starting CrossFit. In addition, I have never done a pull-up prior to CrossFit.  I understand that uncertainty when walking into a CrossFit gym for the first time. That said, CrossFit biggest value is it’s coaching and member community.   This is where you will find your strength and greatness.

JR: Here at JackRabbit we live and breathe shoes.  What are the go-to shoes for CrossFit training?  What should someone look for in a performance shoe for this sport?

CH: I believe that shoes should be selected based on the intended application.  Reebok makes several models of shoes that are perfect for functional fitness type workouts (i.e., Reebok Nano’s).  These shoes are excellent all around shoes that have been tested by the Fittest Athletes on Earth at the CrossFit Games.  However, I want all athletes to understand the importance of sports specific shoes. As example, if you pick running for your fitness options then pick a good running specific shoe such as the Reebok Float or Harmony Road.   Finding the correct shoe is a critical component in maximizing your individual fitness.

JR: When it comes to music, we love to ask all our JackRabbit guests, what are the top three songs you turn to for motivation? What gets you moving before a hard training session?

CH: 1. Mr. Brightside by The Killers; 2. Learn to Fly by Foo Fighters; 3. Kickstart My Heart by Motley Crue

SHOP REEBOK CROSSFIT

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NIKE ODYSSEY REACT REVIEW

 

NIKE ODYSSEY REACT – SHOE REVIEW

by BRIAN METZLER | SEPTEMBER, 2018

Introducing the Nike Odyssey React – a new release in the 'React' series from Nike, featuring their new midsole foam.  The Odyssey is the mild stability version of the Nike Epic React that launched earlier this year.

Guest JackRabbit reviewer, Brian Metzler take the Nike Odyssey React out for some runs and deduces some tidbits that any runner considering this new shoe should know.

Want to know more about the new React midsole? Read more on our JackRabbit blog on that very topic.

THE BUZZ

The NIke Odyssey React is reliably secure and endlessly energetic!

The second shoe to feature Nike’s innovative React midsole foam, the Odyssey React is a lightweight, mild stability shoe that offers a slightly firmer ride than the original Epic React Flyknit that Nike debuted last winter.

It’s a trifle heavier than the Epic React Flyknit (but not enough to negatively impact the ride or experience whatsoever) and a bit more durable, too. It still offers superior cushioning and energy return

THE SCOOP ON THE NIKE ODYSSEY REACT

The single-piece foam package in the Odyssey React is similar to that of the Epic React Flyknit, with the big difference being an added plastic support tab coming off the TPU heel reinforcement on the medial side.Although there is still a lot of exposed foam on the outsole of the Odyssey React, there is a bit more durable rubber in high-wear areas of the heel and forefoot that adds both a more traditional feel underfoot and ensures a longer lifespan.

Probably the biggest difference compared to the Epic React Flyknit is the comfortable Jacquard mesh circular-knit upper, which adds offers some flexibility to conform to the shape of a foot and helps secure the saddle/arch area of the shoe.

Nike Oyssey React - Kick it!

FIT-FEEL-RIDE

Like many Nike shoes, the Odyssey React is a low-volume shoe that has a snug, athletic fit, with only a tiny bit of wiggle room in the toe box. Similar to the Epic React Flyknit, the foam midsole of the Odyssey feels is soft and absorbingly forgiving upon impact with the ground, but it’s also extremely responsive during the roll-through and toe-off phases of the stride.

It feels bouncy and energetic, especially at slower speeds, but it feels inexhaustibly smooth and sublime while running at faster paces. And perhaps most importantly, we found the ride to be as lively and resilient at the late stages of runs as we did in the first mile. Although this shoe falls into the mild stability category, it’s definitely not a very controlling shoe.

The heel clip, reinforced heel section of the upper and unique geometry of the foam help set the foot on a more stable path upon heel strike, but other than that it’s a neutral-oriented shoe that allows the foot to move freely through the gait cycle.

WHO'S IT BEST FOR?

Almost any kind of runner who has a low-volume foot and can tolerate the snug fit from the upper. It can certainly be a do-everything shoe, no matter if you’re a casual runner or someone who is training for a half-marathon or marathon.

You can run slow and fast in this shoe, and both short and long, but the sweet spot is definitely about slightly faster to very fast running. For those with narrow feet, it should be light and comfortable and peppy enough to wear as a race-day shoe.

NOTE:  This is defintely a mild-stability shoe… If you’re a true stability runner, the Nike Structure is still your go-to Nike shoe.

PROS AND CONS OF THE NIKE ODYSSEY REACT

Nike Odyssey React - Pros

We love the combination of the traditional flat lacing system and the well-padded tongue (that’s actually part of the neoprene interior bootie) because of the way it comfortably locks down the foot to the socklinker.  However, runner beware that it’s not very breathable or ventilated and can feel quite hot on sunny or warm days.

Importantly, the price is right! It’s a very similar shoe to the Nike Epic React Flywire and feels and performs similarly, but for $30 less.

Nike Odyssey React - Cons

The tightly fitting upper might be a challenge for runners with wider feet, both because it feels very snug and because it can crinkle awkwardly at the top of the first metatarsal joints and lead to slight irritation.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR: BRIAN METZLER

Brian Metzler has run races at every distance from 50 meters to 100 miles, wear-tested more than 1,500 pairs of shoes, is a three-time Ironman finisher and occasionally participates in the quirky sport of pack burro racing in Colorado.

He's the founding editor of Trail Runner magazine, is a former senior editor at Running Times and editor in chief at Competitor Magazine. He's the author of “Running Colorado's Front Range” and the co-author of “Natural Running: The Simple Path to Stronger Healthier Running” and “Run Like a Champion: An Olympian's Approach for Every Runner.”

 

 
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HISTORY OF HOKA, THE BOULDER RUNNING COMPANY AND THE BONDI

 

HISTORY OF HOKA, THE BOULDER RUNNING COMPANY & HALBERSTADT

 

 

THE BOULDER RUNNING COMPANY AND THE HOKA BONDI

Behind every running shoe there is usually a tale to tell. And the HOKA ONE ONE Bondi, the first road running shoe HOKA released back in 2011, is no exception.

What many might not know is HOKA and the Boulder Running Company, one of the amazing local Colorado stores in the JackRabbit family, go back a long way.  They’re the kind of pals you’d see sitting sharing a beer after a long run and talking about old times.

MEETING HOKA ONE ONE FOR THE FIRST TIME

Back in 2009, Nico Mermoud, a Frenchman with a vision, walks into The Running Event, a running industry gathering wearing the first HOKA prototype. It was the most maximalist shoe anyone had ever seen. It stood out like a neon sign in a time when minimalist running shoes were all the rage.

The impact was impressive – it was bold in color and bold in cushion – and caught the eye of the Mark Plaatjes and Johnny Halberstadt, co-owners of the Boulder Running Company, who literally took the shoes off Nico’s feet and took them for a test run.

Unlike anything they’d run in before, the cushion level in such a lightweight package was unheard of; a completely new concept for trail runners. The possibilities this cushion/weight combination opened up was a game-changing moment.

HOKA ONE ONE: A NEW VISION IN RUNNING SHOES

Inspired by a variety of sports and the lure of the trail running community, Nicoand his co-founder Jean-Luc Diard,both with a background in the outdoor sports industry – took cues from technological and design advancements in running and a variety of other sports like skiing, snowboarding, mountain biking, golf and tennis.

Just as mountain bike wheels, fat powder skis, oversized tennis racquets, and jumbo-sized golf club heads have increased power, performance, efficiency, agility and self-expression, the unique design of HOKA shoes shattered any preconceived limits of running.

The first shoe the BRC family saw at that running show was the Mafate, a ridiculously light trail running shoe built for long runs and speed downhill.

HOKA ONE ONE Bondi

PUTTING YOUR MONEY WHERE YOUR MOUTH IS

When the Halberstadts (father and son team Johnny and Jason) saw the value in this unique, new running proposition, they put their heads together, sat down with Nico and came up with a plan to help launch the first HOKA shoe into the US market.
Literally, this meant putting their own skin in the game and taking a risk on bringing this very, very different shoe into The Boulder Running Company store in quantities that showed their commitment to making it work and their belief in the concept.

And the rest, you might say, is history.

The close-knit crew at the Boulder Running Company that tried the shoes were soon themselves running up the Boulder foothills in their new found ‘bff’s.  They started to excitedly spread the word to the local Boulder running community, encouraging them to give these ground-breaking shoes a try.

The proof of any running is shoe is how it works for the runner, and the runners jumped on the bandwagon and so the HOKA story began.

HOKA ONE ONE Bondi

HOKA: FROM TRAIL TO ROAD

From this humble beginning with an oversized trail shoe, the team knew that road running was the next logical step for the HOKA ONE ONE story.  And so with all hands in the game, the first reiteration of the Bondi was born – with the same roots as the original Mafate but adapted for the demands of those who choose and/or have to pound the pavement.

The Bondi was a massive success and they started flying off the shelves and online quickly. At one point the Boulder Running Company was making up approximately 75% of global sales of the HOKA brand.  ‘Those were good times!” comments Jason Halberstadt, who now works for the HOKA ONE ONE brand.

HALBERSTADT TALKS HOKA ONE ONE

But don’t just take our word for it!  Watch this video chat from Johnny Halberstadt – original co-founder of the Boulder Running Company and former pro-runner from South Africa – as he talks about HOKA and why he believes every runner should try a pair at some point during their running journey.

We couldn’t agree more.

 



 

HOKA ONE ONE BONDI 6

Check out the JackRabbit review of the latest release of the HOKA Bondi to learn what’s new and what you need to know about adding the Bondi into your running shoe rotation.

From its humble roots in the mountains of France and Boulder foothills, the Bondi has become a perennial for runners worldwide.  And we can all drink a beer to that.

Cheers!

 

 
 

 

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