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RUNNING SAFETY: SKILLS AND TIPS FROM RUNSAFER

 

RUNNING SAFETY

by MELANIE MITCHELL  | JULY 2019

 

 

RUNNING SAFETY: SKILLS AND TIPS

Stepping your foot into a running shoe should be a door to a new adventure, a step towards a goal, a start to the day ahead or the ending paragraph to wind down at nightfall.  What it shouldn’t be is an anxiety-inducing experience wondering if you’ll be safe out on the streets or trails. 

Extremes tend to make headlines. Running safety usually comes into the national conversation when tragically a random murder occurs. But a 2017 survey conducted by Runner’s World involving over 4000 runners also disturbingly reported forty-three percent of women in the survey had experienced harassment while running (compared to four percent of men) and 30 percent had been followed by someone in a car, on a bicycle or on foot. 

While we shouldn't let the statistics hinder us from venturing out the front door, we cannot deny they exist. Taking the time and steps to learn some self-protection techniques is prudent for all runners, female or male.  

 

RUNNING SAFETY: A PERSONAL TALE

Kelly Herron, a runner from Seattle gained an infamousy she was not looking for when she heroically fought back when mid-run when she was attacked in a bathroom shouting a battle cry ‘not today mother f***er’ repeatedly to her assailant.  She accredited techniques learned in a self-defense class three weeks earlier to what she brought to the fighting table that day. 

Herron’s message in the aftermath of her experience was a rally cry for runners to empower themselves and take back our cities, our beaches, our trails.

Todd Williams, an Olympian in middle-distance running and martial arts athlete has dedicated his post-pro career to exactly that mission – empowering runners through his RunSafer Program.  Read on to learn more. 

TODD WILLIAMS: RUNSAFER

Enter two-time United States Olympic distance runner and Brazilian Jiu Jitsu Black Belt Todd Williams. Todd created the RunSafer Program to empower runners.  He uses techniques learned from martial arts and teaches how to apply these to a personal safety situation.

According to Todd’s RunSafer site, an assault occurs at least once every two minutes. Whether you're a runner, avid athlete or just enjoy a walk in the park it’s prudent for us all to learn valuable safety tips and ways to escape dangerous situations.  

And moreover, let’s commit to all look out for our fellow runners. We’re part of a powerful tribe. When the shorter days come and you see someone dialing back their runs out of safety concerns, we can all make the time to run with buddies or as a crew – because when we’re out there running, the world is a better place.

TODD WILLIAMS: RUNSAFER

 


 

 

RUNSAFER AT JACKRABBIT

Joining a group run is a common way for runners to not only connect, but also follows the 'safer in numbers' mantra that Todd teaches in his RunSafer programs.  JackRabbit and our partner stores are committed to our group run schedules where no pace is too slow, and no pace is too fast.  You’ll always find a crew to run with at our stores because our mission it to support all runners. 

Check out one of our stores near you to find your run tribe.  

HOW CAN I STAY SAFE WHILE RUNNING?

If you can’t make it to a RunSafer event, Todd offers some useful guidelines on running safety to keep in mind.  ‘Use your common sense’ is probably the parental mantra we all heard as children.  Guess what? The parents were right all along. 

BE AWARE OF YOUR SURROUNDINGS: ​No matter where you go to run, make sure you're always aware of your surroundings. It's so easy to get complacent and forget to be diligent about your safety….make sure it's a priority every time out!

IDENTIFICATION: When you head out the door to run, jog or walk please make sure you have personal ID attached to you. Hopefully nothing ever happens but having your information just in case of an emergency could possibly save your life.

WALKING THE DOG (YOURS OR SOMEONE ELSE’S): Our canine friends are great deterrants as well as our best friends and running partners. It's a win-win to run with a dog, or someone else's dog, for both the human runner and the furry kind.  

PARKING: ​Many people drive to the location where they will walk or run. Be aware of your surroundings when pulling into a parking lot. If you're the only one there or if someone is in the area that gives you a gut feeling that something doesn’t feel right then leave, go to another place to run that day. Never be complacent about your personal safety.

SAFETY NAME: If anyone approaches, confronts or in worse case scenario they put their hands on you and you feel you may be in danger, try to have a name in your head you can start yelling out. If you could possibly plant the seed of doubt in their head someone is nearby they may leave you alone without having to physically fight them.

BE SMART LISTENING TO MUSIC:  We’ve all done it. Jamming to music with our earbuds stuffed well into the ear sockets. We won’t deny running with your favorite tunes is one of life’s pleasures, keep the volume down to a level where you can hear everything around you or only use one earbud. 

This way you are better aware of other individuals, bicycles or vehicles and can react much faster if they enter your personal space….TURN IT DOWN!

GO WITH YOUR GUT: When preparing for your run, try to remember to listen to your gut feeling.  We've all been in situations where we need to pay attention to our surroundings and make smart choices about our personal safety. If it's choosing another training route because of lack of people in the area or picking a different parking spot because no one is around those are the smart choices to make to keep you out of potential trouble.

POWER IN NUMBERS: Running alone is a way for many to reset, to get a specific training session done or just because we are all on completely different schedules. Running alone can be a very enjoyable experience, but it can also be a dangerous one.

When preparing for your run, always try your best to select a route that's going to be populated with many other runners, joggers and walkers. It's critical for you to do your research and exercise around others. If you enter a park or trail that you usually run, but no one is around, make the choice to find another location. A dangerous encounter is less likely to happen when you make this choice instead of being alone.

 
 

 

 

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MIZUNO SKY WAVEKNIT 3 STAFF REVIEWS

 

MIZUNO – SKY WAVEKNIT 3

by MELANIE MITCHELL  | JUNE 2019

 

 

MIZUNO WAVE SKY WAVEKNIT 3

JACKRABBIT STAFF WEIGH IN

The Mizuno Sky Waveknit 3 is one of the most exciting and innovative shoes from Mizuno in several years.  With a brand new shoe, it's all in the testing and hearing back from those who are trying out the new style.  Change is good for our feet as well as for our minds.  And with that mantra, we asked runners at our JackRabbit HQ to slip on the Mizuno Sky Waveknit 3 for the first time and test them on their chosen running routes, training and trails. 

What to know more about this brand new style? Read our full review of the Mizuno Sky Waveknit 3 here

 

MIZUNO WAVE SKY WAVEKNIT 3: OUR RUNNERS SPEAK OUT

ALEX: JACKRABBIT MERCH TEAM
So far the Mizuno Wave Sky Waveknit 3 has performed well as a running, walking, and general exercise shoe. The heel feels very cushioned which is great for heel-striking runners like myself. Also, the knit throughout the shoe gives it a very lightweight feel and allows breathability during movement. Not to mention, they're pretty stylish as an all-around everyday shoe.

One thing that I've noticed with the shoe, however, is that when the tongue is pulled up all the way, it seems to be somewhat narrow and you can see a small portion of your socks. This isn't a big enough issue to dock points, though.

MICHELLE: JACKRABBIT HR TEAM
The Mizuno Wave Sky Waveknit 3 is true to size and accommodates my wider foot comfortably. I like that there are some neutral color choices following a season of bright colors everywhere. The upper construction is a comfortable knit that feels secure on my foot but has not caused any pinch-points or rubbing.

The midsole is not overly cushiony, but provides adequate cushion and feels stable and neutral under my foot. I felt solid in my gait and didn’t have any issues with my feet pronating or supinating in these as I have with some of my other more cushioned shoes.

The sole was noticeably noisy the first couple of days announcing my arrival everywhere I went, but quieted down after a couple of days. Overall, they feel good on the feet and I would buy them again.

HANNAH: JACKRABBIT FINANCE TEAM
The Mizuno Wave Sky Waveknit 3 is a great everyday shoe that also performs well on runs. These shoes are extremely comfortable, true to size, and the color goes with everything, so I’ve enjoyed wearing them as walking shoes throughout the day.

So far, I’ve worn them on short to medium-length runs, and I’ve been impressed with the springiness and support. The cushioning provides stability without feeling heavy. I don’t think these will be my go-to shoes for speed work or racing, but I love them as a versatile pair that can transition easily from my morning runs to everyday wear.

GABI: JACKRABBIT DIGITAL TEAM
Lightweight & fits comfortably. Great for someone with a high arch like myself as it 'hugs' my foot and the extra cushion on the heel is nice as it rolls your foot forward when walking. This shoe is perfect if you are going to be walking a lot during the day. I wouldn't however choose it to run in it as it is a little too tight across the top of my foot and cushioned lots on bottom so it is hard to feel the ground.

AMY: JACKRABBIT OPERATIONS TEAM
Lightweight & fits comfortably. Great for someone with a high arch like myself as it 'hugs' my foot and the extra cushion on the heel is nice as it rolls your foot forward when walking.

This shoe is perfect if you are going to be walking a lot during the day. I wouldn't however choose it to run in it as it is a little too tight across the top of my foot and cushioned lots on bottom so it is hard to feel the ground. 

DESTINI: JACKRABBIT DESIGN TEAM
Wave Sky is one of the softest shoes I have run in so far. They have doughy step-in feel that is great for tired feet and long walks.

When running I did appreciate the softness of the insole but lost a little bit of energy return because of it. Great walking shoe and pretty good running shoe if your looking for that cushion feel.

KEVIN: JACKRABBIT FINANCE TEAM
This shoe runs true to size and fits nice and snug. It has a comfortable cushion in the sole to keep you running longer. Highly recommend this versatile shoe, for both training and running purposes. Not to mention the sleek style too! Despite the elevated heel it's still lightweight.

KRISTYN: JACKRABBIT DESIGN TEAM
This shoe fit like a glove! The Waveknit upper was super soft, and when paired with the cushioning underfoot, my feet felt springy, comfortable and secure. These shoes were ready to go right out of the box and there wasn’t any break-in period.

I took them for a test run on my usual 3-mile route and my feet felt good enough to tack on an extra mile!

AMY: JACKRABBIT MERCHANDISING TEAM
I wore my Wave Sky Waveknit running around the park, and then met up with my volleyball team afterwards to play a few games. Definitely a comfortable and versatile shoe. I would say they're a little snug across the top, especially near my toes, but it wasn't anything that deterred me from wearing them/running in them. Great for an everyday shoe as well.

I was surprised that such a comfortable knit top shoe could also feel very supportive! Sometimes you don't get both qualities in a running shoe. Very happy with my Waveknits.

TAMI: JACKRABBIT FINANCE TEAM
This is a comfortable shoe with moderate cushion which is great for walking. It worked for me when running shorter distances -10k or less.

Across the top of my foot they were a little snug when running but didn't bother me when wearing them for “everyday” walking. I would buy these again for regular daily use.

 
 

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HOKA ONE ONE RINCON REVIEW

 

HOKA ONE ONE RINCON- SHOE REVIEW

by BRIAN METZLER | JULY, 2019

The HOKA Rincon has been a highly anticipated new style this year. It's a best-in-category style inspired by the waves of the world-famous Ricon surf beach, this super-light style is a an effortlessly soft option that gives a speedy boost for both training and racing.  

HOKA fans will love this new addition to the line and those ready to try a cushioned race shoe will be impressed that its just simply… fast!

Guest reviewer Brian Metzler took the Rincon through its paces and declares it's 'one of the best shoes of the year'. 

THE BUZZ

The Rincon is a brand new shoe in Hoka’s line; it's a lightweight, soft and smooth-riding shoe that’s cushioned enough for long training runs yet fast enough for up-tempo training and all-out racing.

Although the HOKA Rincon has a relatively no-nonsense design, it’s how the combination of its cushioning, upper and design ethos that make the Rincon a special shoe—and definitely one of the best shoes of the year.

Read on to learn all you need to know about the brand new HOKA Rincon.

 

WHAT'S NEW: HOKA RINCON

Everything is new about this flyweight shoe is new. With the Rincon, HOKA combined the airy magic of its Clifton training shoe with some of the design ethos of its racing flats to make the Rincon feel impossibly light for how much cushioning it has. 

Like all HOKA shoes, the Rincon’s midsole/outsole chassis has a rockered (concave) profile that creates a smooth, rolling sensation no matter where your foot hits the ground. The rocker design of the Rincon is accentuated even more, which means it is smooth at high speed as it is at warm-up or recovery pace.

Although it’s not a stability shoe, the HOKA Rincon’s wide footprint and flared midsole/outsole undercarriage offers a twinge of inherent stability—more so than recent models of HOKA's Clifton shoe, for example—by providing more ground contact with every stride. 

It’s also one of the most flexible shoes HOKA has ever made.

HOKA ONE ONE Rincon- Fit, Feel, Ride

FIT-FEEL-RIDE

The HOKA Rincon fits narrow in the rear but slightly roomy in the forefoot, almost to the point of feeling a tad long. The lacing system, lightweight but supportive upper and asymmetrical design helps keep the foot snug to the midsole as it transitions from touch-down to toe-off.

The HOKA Rincon doesn’t have a plush interior like some trainers, but the modestly padded tongue, sockliner and heel collar are provide enough coziness for long-haul comfort.

What really sets the HOKA Rincon apart from the competition is the buttery smooth and very balanced ride it exudes. What the foam package lacks in bouncy, resiliency is more than made up for by the smooth weightlessness from the less-is-more design, rockered profile and copious amount of featherweight cushioning.

Our wear-testers appreciated the outstanding weight-to-cushion ratio in the latter miles of long runs and the versatile range of speeds the Rincon offers. The extra space in the forefoot is greatly appreciated while running at higher speeds because it gives the toes room to splay out and maximize forward propulsion at as the foot lifts off the ground.

WHO'S IT BEST FOR?

The HOKA Rincon will appeal to runners who appreciate a light, airy sensation under their feet, no matter how fast or slow they intend to run in it.

The HOKA Rincon is a softer shoe geared toward neutral runners, but it has just a hint of firmness and energy return that allows it to be versatile for a wide range of workouts. 

PROS AND CONS OF THE HOKA RINCON

HOKA ONE ONE Rincon Pros

Pros: HOKA Rincon

While the Rincon isn’t an all-out racing flat, it does inspire speed. Our wear-testers appreciated the ease of switching gears from slower to faster paces and really enjoyed tempo runs and fartlek workouts in this shoe. 

The accentuated heel pull-tab, semi-firm internal heel counter and the single-layer, one-piece upper design are simple but impressive features that add to the Rincon’s overall appeal.

At $115, this shoe is a huge bargain, both because of its versatility and its overall quality. There really aren’t many premium features on this shoe, but the ride and performance are extraordinary. 

HOKA ONE ONE Rincon Cons

Cons: HOKA Rincon

Designers kept the weight of the HOKA Rincon very low by using only small, smartly placed segments of carbon rubber on the outsole.

That leaves a good amount of exposed foam hitting the pavement on every footstrike, which, given this shoe’s versatility as an do-everything, everyday trainer could reduce its long-term durability.

HOKA RINCON – SPECS

Hoka One One Rincon - Specs

SHOP HOKA RINCON

 
 

 

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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Reviews

BROOKS GHOST 12 REVIEW

 

BROOKS GHOST 12 – SHOE REVIEW

by BRIAN METZLER | JUNE, 2019

The Brooks Ghost is a running shoe style that has stood the test of time with a loyal fan base. And with good reason!  The Brooks Ghost is a cushioned shoe that suits all types of neutral runners looking to log the miles to experience the joy that running brings. 

The new Brooks Ghost 12 is launching July 2019 and the scoop from our test runners, the shoe offers loyalists all the benefits the shoe has been known for, with some subtle upgrades and a new Gortex version coming this fall. 

THE BUZZ

The Brooks Ghost is one of the best-selling shoes in Brooks’ line and for many good reasons.

Not only is the Brooks Ghost a versatile, neutral-oriented trainer, soft and sublimely comfortable, but it also looks as good as it feels!

Whether you’re a Ghost loyalist or are lacing it up for the first time, you’ll find plenty to like in the 12th edition of this classic cushioned cruiser.

WHAT'S NEW: BROOKS GHOST 12

The biggest change to this year’s model of the Brooks Ghost is the new 3D Print mesh upper using an engineered fabric that provides various levels of segmented support where you need it most.

Not only does this upper improve the already luscious fit of the Ghost, it also gives the running shoe a whole new look, too. It looks good on the road, looks good with casual shorts and, if that’s your thing, it looks good with jeans, too.

The new 3D Print mesh upper is a one-piece upper with soft, smooth overlays that have been printed directly onto the newly engineered mesh upper. That means there is no stitching, no glue, no seams to create any undo friction, just smooth and segmented support where you need it most.  

While the moderately rigid internal heel counter remains on the Brooks Ghost, the external heel-wrapping band of the previous model has been replaced by sublimated printed elements that contributed to the ample rear-foot support and heel hold of the Ghost 12.

In addition to the regular Brooks Ghost, a waterproof version with a Gore-Tex liner — known as the Brooks Ghost 12 GTX—is also coming  be available for $160 in the fall.

Brooks Ghost 12

FIT-FEEL-RIDE

Like previous versions of the Brooks Ghost, this twelfth edition fits plush, soft and secure with just a smidge of wiggle room in the forefoot for the toes.

The Brooks Ghost is known for it's luxury feel as soon as you slip your foot into the shoe. The 'step-in feel' is still as cushy and welcoming as ever, thanks to a premium sockliner and soft, enveloping tongue that wraps the upper part of your foot without binding. The classic Ghost ride feels extremely cushioned and a little bit energetic and bouncy.

There’s a copious DNA Loft foam in the segmented crash pad in the heel of the Brooks Ghost to help cushion every footstrike, no matter where or how hard your foot lands. Then there’s a smooth transition to the Bio MOGO DNA cushioning in the forefoot that produces a light, springy feel at toe-off.

WHO'S IT BEST FOR?

The Brooks Ghost is made for neutral runners who are looking for a lightweight shoe and a smooth ride without sacrificing cushioning.

The Ghost tech styling is ideal for short to long runs and while it’s sweet spot is at a moderate, cruising speed, it can be revved up for faster tempo runs while training for a half marathon.

PROS AND CONS OF BROOKS GHOST 12

Brooks Ghost 12 - Pros

Pros:Brooks Ghost 12

There are few shoes that provide as much all-around comfort as the Ghost 12. The interior feel and soft, resilient foam package feel as good in the later miles of a long run as they do in the very first mile. 

The updated outsole not offer more segmentation for greater flexibility and a more natural running experience. Plus, there are more sipes and definition in the outsole rubber segments, which we found to provide better traction on both dry sidewalks and wet pavement.

We loved the heel collar in the Ghost 12, both because it’s copiously padded and because it didn’t bind at our wear-testers Achilles tendons.

Brooks Ghost 12 - Cons

Cons: Brooks Ghost 12

The price of the Ghost went up $10, but it’s still in the same realm as other shoes in its class. Of note, unfortunately, tariffs, shipping costs and the price of fuel have resulted in most shoes going up $5 to $10 this year. But what's $10 when you're in a shoe that works for you? 

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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Reviews

NIKE PEGASUS 36 REVIEW

 

NIKE PEGASUS 36 – SHOE REVIEW

by BRIAN METZLER | JUNE, 2019

Guest JackRabbit reviewer, Brian Metzler took the new ediiton of the Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 36 out for some test runs.

Known to most of runners as 'The Nike Peg', this running style has never failed to disappoint and therein lies the reason it has become one of the most iconic running shoe styles of all time.

Read on to learn what he thought of the 36th edition of the Nike Pegasus style. 

THE BUZZ

The Nike Pegasus is the top-selling running shoe of all-time and still remains one of the best everyday running shoes on the market. 

The Nike Pegasus has morphed and changed considerably through the years, but this year’s model returns very similar to the Pegasus 35. And that is not a bad thing. 

Lightweight, sleek and athletic, this neutral-oriented shoe serves up a snappy, semi-firm and fast ride that’s ideal for a variety of training runs and can also be your go-to shoe for shorter races, too.

WHAT'S NEW: NIKE PEGASUS 36

While there are only a few small changes to this year’s model of the Nike Pegasus, they’re are improvements that runners will benefit from.  

The latest edition features a thinner, sleeker tongue that wraps the top of the foot, a slimmer heel collar that cradles the foot and an enhanced upper that offers more breathability and contributes to a better, more performance-oriented fit. 

The dual-compound outsole of the Nike Pegasus features carbon rubber in the heel for durability and flexible and grippy blown rubber in the forefoot. A waffle design pattern offers just enough traction on all surfaces while also adding to the shoe’s ability to absorb impact.

FIT-FEEL-RIDE

Like most Nike shoes, the Pegasus 36 has a narrow, low-volume profile that fits snug from heel to toe. It has a plush, well-padded interior and firm internal heel counter that, along with the integrated Flywire lacing system, really locks the foot down to the bottom of the shoe.

With the same midsole/outsole chassis as the Pegasus 35— including a full-length Zoom Air cushioning unit embedded in a Cushlon ST foam package —the ride is identically smooth and modestly energetic. Although it’s not nearly as energetic as Nike’s Epic React or ZoomX foams, the midsole of the Pegasus provides a consistent, balanced and mildly responsive sensation.

The Nike Pegasus 36 is comfortable enough for running long distances at slow to moderate paces and it amps up to higher speeds with relative ease.

Nike Pegasus 36

WHO'S IT BEST FOR?

The Nike Pegasus 36 is a perfect shoe for runners looking for a versatile, do-everything training shoe. 

No matter if you’re a newcomer to running or a long-time runner, the Pegasus can reliably handle high-mileage training, faster workout sessions and easy recovery runs with aplomb.

The new, light and airy FlyMesh upper of the Nike Pegasus 36 is light and flexible, moving with the foot as it flexes and recoils through the gait cycle. It’s perforated for more effective breathability, while Flywire support cables are integrated into the lacing system and helps lock down the foot down to the midsole. Those runners who are looking for a dialed in fit, will love the feel  of the new Pegasus. 

PROS AND CONS OF NIKE PEGASUS 36

Nike Pegasus 36 - Pros

Pros:Nike Pegasus 36

The beveled heel of the Pegasus 36 accommodates a heel-striking gait and optimizes the initial transition for a smooth and quick ride.

Nike hasalso released a trail-specific version of the Pegasus 36 ($130) with similar specs and an outsole with an array of opposing lugs for traction on mild to moderate trails. It’s not meant technical mountain routes, but it is sufficient for rolling dirt paths, sloppy wet trails and gravel roads.

Brooks Ghost 12 - Cons

Cons: Nike Pegasus 36

Runners with wider feet or higher volume feet might find the fit of the standard-width Pegasus 36 a bit too cramped.

However, the good news is the Nike Pegasus is also available in an extra wide 4E to accommodate those for whom the standard fit is too snug.

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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BALEGA: GIVING BACK ONE RUNNING SOCK AT A TIME

 

BALEGA SOCKS: GIVING BACK, ONE SOCK AT A TIME

 

 

BALEGA RUNNING SOCKS

CRAFTED IN AFRICA, WITH AMERICAN YARN

When is a running sock more than a running sock?  When it's a Balega sock of course. You might have seen the Balega logo as you've browsed JackRabbit and partner running stores, slipped them onto your feet with no other thought other than, 'no blisters coming my way in these socks!' 

However, Balega running socks stand out in more ways than one.  Since the beginning, Balega has sought meaningful ways to pay tribute to organizations via their company culture and commitment to quality in everything that they do.

Quality is a critical part of the business and philanthropic mission of Balega from the first yarn selection to the final running sock inspection and giving back to communities they believe in. 

Let's meet Balega, their sock manufacturing mission and how they give back. 

BALEGA RUNNING SOCKS

If you're used to throwing on any old pair of running socks, then prepare to have your mind blown.

Balega have created a family of socks that are fast becoming the leading go-to running socks for every type of runner. The quality of a Balega sock lies in the craftmanship and design – from the selection of the yarn itself (American yarn, runners!), to the pre-wash and hand inspection every pair receives.  We're not kidding here folks, every pair of running socks features a sticker showing the person who inspected the pair with a guarantee there are no rogue yarns.

Balega running socks are available in several styles at JackRabbit and are some of our top-selling socks. Bestsellers are the Blister Resist No Show Socks for those runners churning out the miles. Then there are the Ultra LIght No Show Sock, popular with our triathlete friends and for hot summer runs. For trail runners, there are the Enduro V-Tech Quarter Socks to protect ankles on the rugged terrain. 

Balega nicely rounds up a sock for every type of runner in a rainbow of colors. If only Balega could come up with the solution for the 'case of the missing lone sock' from any given laundry day, and they'll have answered every runner's first-world problem.

 

BALEGA: GIVING BACK WITH THE 'LESEDI' PROJECT

Today's corporate manifestos have changed, for the better.  Corporations are living and breathing their mission, encouraging their leadership and team members to do the same.  Balega has been a mission-oriented since 2004 when they launched their commitment to supporting communities in their global headquarters in South Africa, as well as those communities in the countries the serve. 

Balega has sought meaningful ways to pay tribute to the culture and the country that is still so much part of its identity. Rooted in South Africa, Balega launched the Lesedi project, a non-profit fund, 501(c)3, in order to give back and strengthen the community as part of its corporate mission to give back.  

Since the inception of the Lesedi project, Balega now supports several organizations in Africa and the US. Every time you purchase a pair of Balega socks, you are automatically contributing to the Lesedi fund supporting these causes. 

LESESI FUND SUPPORTED ORGANIZATIONS

ETHEMBENI SCHOOL
Loacted in South Africa along the Comrades Marathon route, Ethembeni is a home for severely disabled and disadvantaged children.  To date, Balega has provides 12 annual scholarships every year since 2013 as well as providing a schoolbus, therapy playparks and numerous cash grants and scholarships. 

BREAST CANCER FUND
Balega created the limited edition Grit & Grace style of running socks where $1 of every pair sold is donated to the Breast Cancer Fund. This unique style of running socks serves to encourage athletes to get moving, in parallel with supporting the Breast Cancer Fund's work to expose and eliminate environmental causes of breast cancer.  

Both doing their part to support healthier life paths for women.

VETERANS IN NEED
Balega supports veterans with a physical training sock that is 'outfit compliant'.  With every pair of socks sold from this collection, Balega donates $0.50 from the proceeds to the Veterans in Need fund. This organization offers support, assistance and hope for veterans through practical initiatives aimed to help those struggling. 

BACK ON MY FEET
Balega supports the Back On My Feet initiative as the fourth charity in their Lesedi mission.  This organization motivates homeless people to work their way back into society by overcoming difficulties through a running lens.  Each member sets and achives running goals as a way to help them set goals for other aspects of their lives.  Balega outfits all 12 chapters of the organization nationally. 

 

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ASICS GEL KAYANO 26 REVIEW

 

ASICS GEL KAYANO 26 – SHOE REVIEW

by BRIAN METZLER | JUNE 2019

The Asics Gel Kayano is a tried and trusted style, a cornerstone in running shoes for those runners who over-pronate.  The most recent edition has three key updates keeping this classic shoe at the front of the running game!

Our guest reviewer Brian Metzler, takes a run in the latest release and shares his thoughts on the Asics Gel Kayano 26.

THE BUZZ

The top-of-the-line GEL Kayano continues to take runners to their running goals with comfort, style and support.

Now in its 26th edition of the ASICS GEL Kayano, this tried and true high-mileage training shoe remains one of the best-selling shoes on the market and one of the most comfortable and secure.

WHAT'S NEW: ASICS GEL KAYANO 26

The new Asics GEL Kayano 26 has been overhauled with three major changes to create a softer, more comfortable experience.

First: The rearfoot GEL cushioning capsule has a more aggressively sculpted shape to improve shock attenuation. Second: ASICS has added lighter midsole foams in the heel for a springier sensation when the foot hits the ground. Third: The cushy EVA sockliner has been countered for an improved underfoot fit and feel.

Asics GEL Kayano 26 - Run on

FIT-FEEL-RIDE

The ASICS GEL Kayano has long been one of the best-fitting and most comfortable everyday running shoes for overpronating runners with low to flat arches.

With a padded interior, soft, wide tongue and new sculpted footbed, the fit of the ASICS GEL Kayano 26 is better than ever for narrow to medium-width feet. (Additional widths are available for runners with wider feet.)

The GEL Kayano 26 feels luxuriously comfortable at first step-in and after several miles out on a run. The dual-density midsole offers ample cushioning, responsiveness and stability for long runs, as well as moderately fast tempo runs and interval sessions.

The ride is extremely stable and secure, but not at the expense of being overly controlling or inflexible as can be a tendency in supportive running styles. 

The 26th edition of the Kayano is also great for durability. The outsole features high-abrasion carbon rubber in the heel for durability and a lighter, blown rubber compound in the forefoot for responsive cushioning, agility and flexibility.

WHO'S IT BEST FOR?

The ASICS GEL Kayano 26 is a perfect choice for mid- to high-mileage runners who appreciate a plush feel, soft cushioning and are looking for reliable support. The inherent stability of the Kayano 26 comes from ASICS’s Guidance Trusstic System under and a contoured, a sturdy heel counter and dual-density midsole that helps mitigate excessive torsional rotation. For this reason the ASICS GEL Kayano has always been a key style for over-pronators. 

Although it lacks top-end speed, the ASICS GEL Kayano 26 can serve as an ideal every day shoe for training or racing from 10K to the marathon.

PROS AND CONS OF THE ASICS GEL KAYANO 26

Asics GEL Kayano 26 - Pros

Pros: Asics GEL Kayano 26

Weight! The Kayano 26 is about a half-ounce lighter than the previous version, thanks to an updated jacquard mesh upper and Flytefoam Propel cushioning technology that have been added to this edition.

The upper is especially nice because it maintains its structure by adapting to the shape and volume of a runner’s foot throughout a stride.

The multifaceted cushioning in the Kayano 26 is where it shines. The midsole includes the combination of the largest GEL units of any ASICS stability shoe, a dual-density foam midsole and the newly enhanced sockliner.

Asics GEL Kayano 26 - Cons

Cons: Asics GEL Kayano 26

There’s not much not to like about the Kayano 26; it's continued popularity is proof of that.  The biggest tradeoffs are that it’s a little bit heavier than some contemporary training shoes and it carries a higher price tag than many shoes.  

However, those are small prices to pay if you need a stability shoe that's going to serve you and your training well. 

ASICS GEL KAYANO 26 SPECS

Asics GEL Kayano 26 - Specs

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.”