Episode 206 – Zach Bitter

Episode 206 of Talk Ultra has a chat Zach Bitter and Speegoat Karl co-hosts.


Talk Ultra needs your help! 
We have set up a Patreon page and we are offering some great benefits for Patrons… you can even join us on the show! This is the easiest way to support Talk Ultra and help us continue to create! 
Many thanks to our Patrons who have helped via PATREON
Donate HERE

NEWS

Check FKT website for latest updates HERE

Latest Reviews

inov-8 Trailfly Ultra G300 Max Review HERE

ARTICLES

  1. What goes in a Winter Pack? HERE
  2. VJ Sport Xero Shoe Review HERE
  3. adidas Terrex Speed Ultra Shoe Review HERE
  4. adidias Terrex Speed PRO SG Shoe Review HERE
  5. La Sportiva VK Boa shoe review HERE
  6. Moonlight head lamp review HERE
  7. inov-8 Roclite Pro boot review HERE
  8. Review of 2020 HERE
  9. Icbebug Pytho 5 Review HERE
  10. inov-8 Mudclaw G260 Review HERE
  11. inov-8 G270 Long-Term Review HERE
  12. Fuelling for a Multi-Day like MDS HERE
  13. Winter Running – Hints n Tips HERE
  14. Icebug Route Winter Studded Shoe Review HERE
  15. The Ultimate Guide to Desert Multi-Day Racing (updated) HERE
  16. Haglöfs L.I.M Essens Jacket HERE
  17. First look at VJ Sport new shoe HERE
  18. adidas Terrex Two Ultra Parley shoe review HERE
  19. Exped Down Socks and Bivy Booty review HERE
  20. Coros VERTIX review HERE

NEED A TRAINING PLAN?

12 – 24 Week Multi-Day Training Plans now available HERE

100-Mile Training Plan now available HERE

We also have several places that have become available for bespoke coaching and training plans. Like more information? HERE

INTERVIEW : ZACH BITTER

Spotify HERE  

ITunes HERE 

iOS HERE

Android HERE 

Web player HERE 

Please support this website. I believe everyone deserves to read quality, independent and factual articles – that’s why this website is open to all. Free press has never been so vital. I hope I can keep providing independent articles with your help. Any contribution, however big or small, is so valuable to help finance regular content. Please support me on Patreon HERE.

Follow on:

Instagram – @iancorlessphotography

Twitter – @talkultra

facebook.com/iancorlessphotography

Web – www.iancorless.com

Web – www.iancorlessphotography.com

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inov-8 TRAILFLY ULTRA G300 MAX – First Look

inov-8 introduce the TRAILFLY ULTRA G300 MAX, the first ever shoe to feature Graphene enhanced foam. Coupled with other new technologies, inov-8 say, “the TRAILFLY ULTRA G300 MAX will be truly unique in the marketplace.”

Let’s deep dive into a first look and appreciation of what on first looks, may look like a Terraultra G270 on steroids.

Quite simply, the TRAILFLY ULTRA G 300 MAX is the most cushioned shoe ever produced by inov-8 and that alone is a huge departure for the brand who have a reputation for grip and a ‘feel for the ground’ approach to run shoes. I will say immediately, this is going to be a ‘Marmite’ shoe for the brand, with many loving it, and equally, many hating it!

Having pioneered the use of Graphene for many years in outsoles, inov-8 now extend this technology to the foam, and based on research, this can provide up to 25% greater energy return, “Featuring the world’s first Graphene-enhanced foam, called G-FLY”. 

As inov-8 say, “Forged in the fells and mountains of the Lake District in 2003, we are a footwear, clothing and equipment brand for committed trail and off-road runners, adventure-seeking hikers and fitness athletes who push boundaries and stretch limits.”

In recent years, that forged in the fells has been developed and rightly so. inov-8 now offer a variety of shoes that encompass a multitude of sports, distances and surfaces. In summary, fell, mountain, trail, park, OCR, orienteering, road, swim run and yes, even CrossFit, training, weightlifting and hiking. The recent success of the Terraultra G260 and now G270 has no doubt allowed inov-8 to look farther afield and this, I am sure, fueled by customers asking for, “…a more cushioned shoe with sweet-spot drop to facilitate comfort over longer running,” has resulted in the TRAILFLY ULTRA G 300 MAX. 

Cushioning will immediately divide an audience and I could debate and debate the pros and cons all day if cushioning is a benefit or not. To clarify, Hoka One One was created in 2009 and up until 2012 I was pretty much using Hoka for all my runs, I had the original Mafate, and Bondi B and I was the first person to bring them in to the UK and sell them… So, I have history with cushioning and I still use cushioned shoes, occasionally. However, in 2012, with chronic knee pain and issues, I defected, stripped myself back to minimal and learnt to run again. Cushioning, or too much cushioning, was not good for me and particularly all the time. I wrote an article HERE that still resonates. 

 ” People actually land softer when they have less cushioning,” says Irene S. Davis, Ph.D., PT, a professor in the Department of Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation at Harvard Medical School and director of the Spaulding National Running Center. “Cushioning actually lulls you into thinking you can slam your foot into the ground.”

With the growth of ‘cushioned’ brands, more and more research has been done and I can find documentation that provides 50/50 information on the benefits and lack of benefits of cushioning. In summary, I feel the following (for me) rings true: A more minimal shoe allows me to feel the ground, react with it and adjust my forces and trajectory based on real time feedback. When in a cushioned shoe, I struggled for that feedback and therefore hit the ground harder to get the information I need. On technical terrain, cushioning and stack height causes problems for me, I am less stable and have reduced and impaired information.

“Since recent research has shown that running in maximalist shoes alleviates pressure from the feet, these shoes can be incredibly helpful to runners who struggle with foot injuries such as metatarsal stress fracturesplantar fasciitis, or heel pad atrophy. But runners with knee issues might want to avoid maximalist shoes, as knee loads might be higher… On the opposite end of the spectrum, minimalist shoes increase loads on the 4th and 5th metatarsals, plantar fascia, and Achilles tendon, but they reduce loads on the knee.” – Richard Willy, Ph.D

What works for one, does not work for another and let’s face it, max cushioned shoes are selling in high numbers all over the world. If cushioning works for you, great! inov-8 have addressed this issue and maybe, just maybe, they will bring new eyes and a new approach to the ‘max’ debate.

“Maximizing innovation, underfoot agility & flex this new shoe from inov-8 is packed with energy return zip and also boasts Graphene-Grip rubber and the ADAPTER-FIT upper. Designed specifically for ultra and long-distance running over trails, including technical terrain.”

inov-8

THE SHOE

I said Terraultra G270 on steroids and that is pretty much what the TRAILFLY ULTRA G 300 MAX looks like. If you don’t see them from the side, you could easily be fooled in to thinking it was the G270 – there are differences in the look and overlays, but in principle they look similar. However, that side profile makes the jaw drop a little… There is A LOT of cushioning and that is exasperated with the hexagonal shapes and at the rear, a green ‘G’ boldly emphasizes the use of Graphene. 

For perspective, the zero drop G270 has 12mm/ 12mm front and rear cushioning, the Trailroc G280 12/20 and the Trail Talon 290 v2 11/19. The latter two shoes with an 8mm drop. The TRAILFLY ULTRA G 300 MAX has a 6mm drop and 24mm/ 30mm front/rear cushioning – that is huge! Especially if you add the 6mm ‘Boomerang’ insole making the overall cushioned package 30/36mm. Wow! 

New for this shoe, the cushioning has been enhanced with Graphene, inov-8 say, “Graphene-enhanced G-FLY cushioned foam is more resistant to wear. It retains its thickness and optimum levels of snappy energy return for longer, helping runners feel faster and fresher over greater distances. Incredible energy return AND increased durability, no compromise.” The Powerflow Max used in the G270 has been developed once again and now, in this shoe with G-FLY, apparently gives 10-25% more energy return…

Turning the shoe over the outsole is considerably and notably different. The 4mm Graphene Grip lugs, of which there are 35, look pretty standard, particularly in comparison to the G270 but are well spaced to reduce debris hold. The Graphene grip is excellent and has received worried praise. However, two notable things stand out. No ‘Meta-Flex’ at the front and in the latter third of the shoe there is a cutaway, splitting the outsole, this is called ‘Adapter-Flex.’

I have to say, I was initially perplexed with the lack of Meta-Flex but then on inspection of the outsole I noticed that there are 4 cutaways that run vertically. Equally, the cutaway had me holding my chin and a ‘?’ hanging over my head. However, when I held the shoe and twisted it, all became clear. These two features are designed to re-think how a cushioned shoe works, and, in my opinion, they are designed to compensate for the stack height and add more flex (left to right) when running on uneven terrain. Quite simply, if you can visualize, as the foot hits the ground, say landing on a rock, the rear of the foot could hold still and secure, the flex allowing the front to go right or left. This in principle, should help make a more cushioned/ higher stack shoe adaptable for technical terrain?

A Boomerang insole adds to the cushioning with 6mm depth and gives, “40% greater energy rebound,” according to inov-8. In principle, the foam structure retains more energy than ever before with TPU beads compressing and then springing back to release energy to help propel you forward.

The upper, as mentioned, carries much of the G270 but it is not the same. The toe box is different, and the overlays start farther back on the shoe leaving the toe area on the TRAILFLY ULTRA G 300 MAX open. It’s a lightweight upper and breathable.

The lacing system is rock-solid and holds the foot perfectly particularly (Adapter-Fit) on the instep and navicular bone. It’s not a sock-like fit but the tongue is attached to the upper by elastic. The toe box is wide, listed as 5 on the inov-8 scale which is the widest that they do. On a personal note, the G270 is also a 5 fit but for me, they feel just a little wider than the TRAILFLY ULTRA G 300 MAX. There is the gaiter attachment on the rear of the shoe, always a nice touch from inov-8.

Fit is true to size, my EU44/ UK9.5 is certainly in line and comparable with all other inov-8 shoes and other brands.

Weight unfortunately for me is disappointing. The shoe is called a G300, ‘300’ referring the weight, but this is an ‘average’ weight and for perspective, a UK7 weighs 318g and my UK9.5 382g.

IN USE

The Boomerang insole immediately gives a nice feel when you slide your foot in the shoe, you can feel compression just by adding body weight. I had anticipated a ‘bounce’ feel from the midsole but that was less obvious. The stack height was immediately noticeable, and I have to say, it felt weird.

Lacing the shoes up feels great and the combination of elasticated tongue, lace placement and fit really does hold the instep in a very secure and confident way. There are additional eyelets for lock-lacing or similar if required.

The heel box is well padded and shaped and does exactly what you would want and expect – holds firm and comfortable, especially when going uphill.

The toe box is wide and for me allows toe splay. A 5 fit on the inov-8 scale they do feel just a little narrower than a G270, but it is marginal.

For me, there feels a little arch support, it is really minor, but there does feel just a little more support over other inov-8 models. On closer inspection, the support does coincide with the cutaway from the ‘Adapter-Flex’, and this is maybe what I feel?

They feel big!

They feel heavy!

Initial walking around made me feel very stable with a big wide (and high) base beneath me. I most certainly could feel the cushioning beneath me, but I wouldn’t say I felt ‘cushioned?’ Difficult to explain, but the shoe was much firmer than I anticipated and that, I have to say, was a disappointment.

ROAD

My first run was intentionally on road, 21km. I wanted to get a true feeling of the cushioning, the ride and how the TRAILFLY ULTRA G 300 MAX handled a consistent and hard terrain. The first 3-5km was all about just getting a ‘feel’ for the shoe and the changes such a high stack brings in comparison to my day-to-day shoes. The 6mm drop and an ideal middle ground, particularly for a shoe designed for longer distances.

With the initial adapting/ adjusting phase done I settled and just tried to run as normal. I have to say, I always felt conscious of the shoe, its size did bother me. 

I am a mid-foot runner and the TRAILFLY ULTRA G 300 MAX kept pulling me towards heel striking, it felt as though the heel was too large/ heavy and therefore getting in the way. Somehow it was adjusting my run technique. Over the 21km I tried hard to keep good form but if I drifted off concentration, I found the heel.

Cushioning was far firmer than I expected, and I found the propulsive phase missing with flex behind the toes a little compromised. I felt flat. As I made contact with the ground, no matter how I tried to roll forward and get the propulsion, I found that I was fighting the shoe. It felt at all times I was really having to work hard to get a return – the shoe was giving me nothing for free! The Graphene may enhance durability and reduce compression with repeated foot strikes, but does it also make for a less responsive and bouncy feel?

Downhill was super, a big wide cushioned heel made for Tigger like happiness.

In the latter stages of the first run, I was feeling over tired and without doubt, the 382g of each shoe was contributing to the fatigue. This wasn’t a fake feeling or the mind playing tricks, the route and my feel on the route is a constant for shoe testing so that I can really notice differences in shoes and their feel. For perspective, a recent shoe test of another cushioned shoe, albeit not as cushioned as the TRAILFLY ULTRA G 300 MAX had each shoe at over 100g lighter. To clarify, my cadence in the inov-8 was 164 avg, in the other shoe, 179 avg. That is huge and I felt it.

Comfort and stability were very good though. The shoes felt solid, reassured, bulletproof and I had no doubt that they would get the job done and last and last. Ideal for an ultra? The Graphene grip worked great on road and the 4mm lugs caused no hinderance.

TRAIL

Currently my home trails are a mix of snow, ice, rock, single-track and tree routes, so, a perfect place for the TRAILFLY ULTRA G 300 MAX. Gladly, mud is at a relative minimum and what is around, is perfectly manageable for the 4mm G lugs.

In contrast to the road, feel was very similar, particularly on hard single-track. Where a difference could be felt was the interaction with the front of the shoe moving almost independently of the rear when required. This was actually very cool and a great plus of the TRAILFLY ULTRA G 300 MAX. 

The rotational flexibility, vertical grooves and the independent heel via Adapter-Flex was noticeable and without doubt, in contrast to other max cushioned shoes, allowed for more control and adaption to the terrain. A huge problem with max cushioned shoes has been the ease and ability to roll an ankle due to the stack height, this is not removed in the TRAILFLY ULTRA G 300 MAX, but it is to a percentage compensated for. Ultimately though, the stack height, for me, has me too far away from the ground.

The shoes size and cushioning in one way could help you bulldoze through terrain, but it didn’t provide any confidence or comfort for me. ‘Dancing’ on technical terrain is difficult in the TRAILFLY ULTRA G 300 MAX due to their size. They are not nimble or light. As an example, when going through a rocky boulder section, the stack height just had me flexing and rotating, my ankles and more importantly knees, where making the compensation for the height off the ground. Of course, flexibility in the ankle and knee is required for all trail running, irrespective of the shoe, but additional stack height and cushioning only exaggerates this.

On snow, the stack height and wider last was great.

Going uphill, foot hold was very good both at the front and the rear, but toe flex was less than desirable almost making me climb with a flatter foot.

Downhill is great, this is when the cushioning and the large heel comes into its own allowing for plenty of protection and a wide base on which to land.

When cruising along on easy trails, the TRAILFLY ULTRA G 300 MAX does allow you to switch off and get on with the job but you are often reminded of the shoes size and weight beneath you and again, I rarely felt that the shoe was giving me anything back… I was working for every mile. 

The Graphene grip as we have learnt with the G270 is superb, wet or dry terrain, the only compromise coming in mud – they are not aggressive enough.

SUMMARY

This is a first look at the TRAILFLY ULTRA G 300 MAX and a huge thanks to inov-8 for the opportunity and a personalized shoe with my name on. I have mixed road and trail miles to get an initial feel. I can’t comment on resilience or longevity, that will come in two or three months.

As I said at the beginning, I think this inov-8 shoe will be a Marmite offering. As someone who doesn’t like Marmite, you may well think I was destined not to like the TRAILFLY ULTRA G 300 MAX. That is not the case, I had a really open perspective and I do feel that inov-8 have made some interesting advances and used some unique thought processes in developing the max concept to a new and interesting level. Particularly with the Adapter-Flex. The upper, lacing and foot hold is excellent and arguably a highlight of the shoe.

The argument of what cushioning and drop will rage and quite simply, a little of everything is a good thing. It’s one of the reasons I will happily move from say a G270 with zero drop and 12/12 cushioning and then run in a Trail Talon with 8mm drop and 11/19 cushioning. If going to mud, then a Mudclaw with minimal cushioning, 4.5/8.5 and lower drop is ideal. 

Ultimately, I choose the correct shoe for the terrain and for how long I am running. Without doubt, if I am running longer, I will choose a shoe with more cushioning and a higher drop. 

So, when is too much cushioning, too much? That comes down to the individual. If you have been running in and are used to max cushioned shoes with no injuries, this new shoe from inov-8 may well be just what you have been waiting for. It will have all those trusted features from other max shoes, plus some great new additions and the respected and trusted Graphene grip. And for clarity, I do have two shoes in my regular run rotation of 23/29mm cushioning and 18/26mm cushioning and both of these feel lively, flexible and exciting to use, particularly the 18/26 which seems a wonderful middle ground.

For me though, the TRAILFLY ULTRA G 300 MAX is too much cushioning (too much stack height) and unfortunately, they are too heavy. The expected bounce and flexibility I had hoped for is missing, and I wanted that! Normally I would say that the more one runs, the softer and more flexible a shoe will become… But, the Graphene in the midsole is added to stop this and therefore in 2/3/400 miles, the cushioning should be like day one? By contrast, the Terraultra G270 is full of life, flexible, has a great upper and while not ‘the’ most cushioned shoe out there, it has more than enough cushioning for me. I had hope that the TRAILFLY ULTRA G 300 MAX would be more like the G270… Like a Trail Talon with all the Terraultra G270 features and a 6 or 8mm drop and yes, maybe, just a little more cushioning, say 18/24mm.

Ironically, the TRAILFLY ULTRA G 300 MAX did not ‘feel’ as cushioned as I expected? There are plus points – Graphene outsole, good foot hold but they are horrendously heavy, inflexible and lack any bouncy life. They are lifeless. While it is too early to say, there does seem to be plenty of life in this shoe and the addition of Graphene will only enhance that. This shoe is designed for long days on the trail but I have to say, that for me, the TRAILFLY ULTRA G 300 MAX felt tiring to use and that comes from the weight, the size of the shoe and lack of any life.

inov-8 are excited by this new offering and rightly so, they have gone a long way to develop the max cushioned format, tweak it and adapt it to bring something new. The early Hoka days of 2009 seem a long time ago and for inov-8 to join the party in 2021 signifies how demand has influenced the need to produce a new shoe. While much of the talk in the cushioned world has been about carbon plates, inov-8 have developed Adapter-Flex, Vertical Grooves and the use of Graphene. For that they should be applauded. The TRAILFLY ULTRA G 300 MAX for sure will turn heads but for me, it’s not a good shoe I am afraid. One can only hope V2 is considerably lighter, has more life and is flexible. At £170 they are also very expensive.

As per all my shoe reviews, the shoes were provided for free for impartial testing. This is not a paid review.

“It will be the first-ever shoe to feature a Graphene-enhanced foam. This, coupled with other new technologies, make it truly unique in the marketplace. It is also our most cushioned shoe ever, but we have maximized our innovation to retain the underfoot agility & flex that inov-8 shoes are renowned for and which other deeply cushioned ultrarunning shoes lack. It’s packed with energy return zip and also boasts Graphene-Grip rubber and the ADAPTER-FIT upper. Designed specifically for ultra and long-distance running over trails, including technical terrain.”

inov-8

Specs:

  • Weight: 300g (average weight across size curve) UK9.5 382g / UK7 318g
  • Drop: 6mm (heel to forefoot differential)
  • Midsole stack height (midsole only): 19mm heel / 25mm 
  • Full stack height (from bottom of lugs to top of insole): 30.5mm / 36.5mm (24/30 without 6mm foot bed)
  • Lug depth: 4mm
  • Fit: Grade 5 (inov-8 fit scale in the toe box is 1-5, with 5 being the widest). More details.
  • Key technologies: GRAPHENE-GRIP, ADAPTER-FLEX, G-FLY, BOOMERANG, ADAPTER-FIT

RRP £170.00 on Sale from Apr 8 2021.

SUSTAINABILITY – A new inov-8 sustainability strategy, developed in 2020 in partnership with Dr Anne Prahl (an expert at the forefront of sustainable workings and design), will guide every aspect of what we do. Details of the strategy are HERE.

References:

  • Nature.com – HERE
  • Runner’s World – HERE
  • The Run Experience – HERE
  • Healthline – HERE

*****

Please support this website. I believe everyone deserves to read quality, independent and factual articles – that’s why this website is open to all. Free press has never been so vital. I hope I can keep providing independent articles with your help. Any contribution, however big or small, is so valuable to help finance regular content. Please support me on Patreon HERE.

Follow on:

Instagram – @iancorlessphotography

Twitter – @talkultra

facebook.com/iancorlessphotography

Web – www.iancorless.com

Web – www.iancorlessphotography.com

Image sales –www.iancorless.photoshelter.com

Episode 205 – Stephanie Case

Episode 205 of Talk Ultra has a chat Stephanie Case about her inspiring story of war zones, Humanitarian endeavours, running and her NGO ‘Free to Run.’


Talk Ultra needs your help! 
We have set up a Patreon page and we are offering some great benefits for Patrons… you can even join us on the show! This is the easiest way to support Talk Ultra and help us continue to create! 
Many thanks to our Patrons who have helped via PATREON
Donate HERE

NEWS

Check FKT website for latest updates HERE

ARTICLES

  1. What goes in a Winter Pack? HERE
  2. VJ Sport Xero Shoe Review HERE
  3. adidas Terrex Speed Ultra Shoe Review HERE
  4. adidias Terrex Speed PRO SG Shoe Review HERE
  5. La Sportiva VK Boa shoe review HERE
  6. Moonlight head lamp review HERE
  7. inov-8 Roclite Pro boot review HERE
  8. Review of 2020 HERE
  9. Icbebug Pytho 5 Review HERE
  10. inov-8 Mudclaw G260 Review HERE
  11. inov-8 G270 Long-Term Review HERE
  12. Fuelling for a Multi-Day like MDS HERE
  13. Winter Running – Hints n Tips HERE
  14. Icebug Route Winter Studded Shoe Review HERE
  15. The Ultimate Guide to Desert Multi-Day Racing (updated) HERE
  16. Haglöfs L.I.M Essens Jacket HERE
  17. First look at VJ Sport new shoe HERE
  18. adidas Terrex Two Ultra Parley shoe review HERE
  19. Exped Down Socks and Bivy Booty review HERE
  20. Coros VERTIX review HERE

NEED A TRAINING PLAN?

12 – 24 Week Multi-Day Training Plans now available HERE

100-Mile Training Plan now available HERE

We also have several places that have become available for bespoke coaching and training plans. Like more information? HERE

INTERVIEW : STEPHANIE CASE

Spotify HERE  

ITunes HERE 

iOS HERE

Android HERE 

Web player HERE 

Please support this website. I believe everyone deserves to read quality, independent and factual articles – that’s why this website is open to all. Free press has never been so vital. I hope I can keep providing independent articles with your help. Any contribution, however big or small, is so valuable to help finance regular content. Please support me on Patreon HERE.

Follow on:

Instagram – @iancorlessphotography

Twitter – @talkultra

facebook.com/iancorlessphotography

Web – www.iancorless.com

Web – www.iancorlessphotography.com

Image sales –www.iancorless.photoshelter.com

adidas Terrex Two Ultra Parley Shoe Review

The adidas Terrex Two Ultra Parley is not a new shoe, I first received mine in March 2020 and currently I am about to start wearing a third pair of the shoe. So, I have plenty of miles on these ‘adi’ shoes to give a real overview of the pros and cons fromm this three stripe Terrex shoe.

Firstly, a little perspective, adidas, and particularly the Terrex arm of the brand are making huge changes and development to make its mark on the trail and ultra-world. In 2019, I worked closely with adidas at UTMB following the Terrex Team take on multiple races at the Super Bowl of the trail and ultrarunning scene. You can read my in-depth analysis HERE.

Want to WIN a pair of adidas Terrex Two Ultra Parley ? One Patreon supporter will be drawn at random on April 12th to win a pair. Support me on Patreon HERE for as little as £3.00.

Quite simply, adidas Terrex are taking the trail scene by storm, we have witnessed this recently with Ruth Croft winning Tarawera outright and runners such as Tom Evans making the podium at Western States and Luis Alberto Hernando winning CCC. The list of results is endless but one significant importance is how adidas are listening to the athletes and developing apparel and shoes to fulfil the needs of the runners. Notably, the recent launch of the Terrex Speed Ultra HERE had a two-year development with specific feedback from Tom Evans to ensure the shoe ticked all the right boxes. And what a shoe it is!

So, the Terrex Two Ultra Parley fits nicely into this new development of the brand and at the same times sets out some really surprising and new credentials. In 2020, T3 Magazine (a tech magazine) actually awarded the Terrex Two Ultra Parley King of the Mountains (and valleys) in the T3 Awards 2020.

The Parley refers to the ecological aspect of the shoe and notably why the shoe has been applauded. When large brands like adidas consider the sustainability and environmental impact, that can only be a good thing in the long run, pardon the pun!

Parley Ocean Plastic™ is a material created from upcycled plastic waste that is intercepted from beaches and coastal communities before reaching the ocean

Roughly 11 plastic bottles are used to make the Terrex Two Ultra Parley; Parley Ocean Plastic™ is a material created from upcycled plastic waste that is intercepted from beaches and coastal communities before reaching the ocean… It is used as a replacement for virgin plastic in the making of adidas x Parley products.

Ultimately a really great thing!

The shoe is distinctive and grabs the eye. All my shoes have been the blue coloured as pictured but for 2021 there is a cool Gold/Black/White version that is a real eye catcher. If you need a more sedate show, there is also a Black/ Grey/ Blue version.

adidas Terrex athlete, Yngvild Kaspersen on location in Norway.

The standout feature of the upper is the seamless sock-like Primeknit upper with an exceptionally close-fitting top (just like a pair of socks) that helps reduce debris entering the top of the shoe. There is no tongue, the upper is all one piece and the laces pass through the upper via reinforced eyelets. Where the tongue would be there are reinforced raised areas of padding that remove pressure on the Navicular bone when tightening the laces. The top of this area is raised with the number 320 prominent – the weight in grams of a UK8.5.

The upper is relatively free of overlays with some reinforcement coming at the front for a toe bumper, the toe box is wide and spacious, and an orange area around the heel. The is a tab at the back which clearly shouts the ‘Parley’ element of the shoe. Below the stretchy shoe/ sock top, where the foot enters, the heel area is very well padded – arguably one of the most padded heels I have felt on a shoe.

Boost midsole is a wow! One thing adidas do know is road shoes and the responsive Boost has been hailed worldwide for its responsive feel, energy return and comfort. Here on the Terrex Two Ultra Parley that Boost is 23mm at the front and 29mm at the rear providing a 6mm drop shoe of floaty, cushioned bounce. You can see the 23/29 on the shoe embedded into a very prominent orange reinforced area that wraps around the shoe from two third back on the outside and beyond halfway on the inside of the shoe – this adds support and structure.

The outsole is made by Continental who make excellent rubber that really does provide great grip. The outsole covers the whole of the shoe with no visible inserts or inlays and the grip is made of well-spaced lugs that are not prominent. I don’t have an exact lug size, but they are almost certainly around 4mm. This helps to understand the shoes intended use: dry trails, single-track and yes, even some road.

I feel the shoes size large and gladly I had the option to fine-tune my sizing with the Terrex Two Ultra Parley. My first pair was a standard EU44/ UK9.5 which worked fine but given the option to try a EU43.5/ UK9, this is my preferred size. I believe my design for this is based on my comment below in ‘Notable Comments.’

UK9 is 335g.

IN USE

As stated, I am on my third pair of the Terrex Two Ultra Parley and over 1000 km’s of use. First and foremost, the upper is extremely durable. They have had a fair share of wet, ice, snow and mud and apart from them being engrained with dirt, there is no visible wear. I am impressed. That all important bend area behind the metatarsals when in the propulsive phase, looks like new… That is a rarity! Most shoes, no matter how good eventually show some failure here, not the Terrex Two Ultra Parley. The upper is one of the stars being recycled from Ocean Plastic and this may well be one of the attributes of why it is so durable? However, there is a downside… I think they arguably the hottest/ warmest uppers I have ever used. In winter, great, they have helped kept my feet toasty. But in Spring and Summer, the Terrex Two Ultra Parley is a really hot shoe.

The sock-like upper really is quite remarkable. You slide the shoe on like socks, adjust the upper section so that they sit firmly around/ below the ankle and wow, I have socks on! Standing up, you immediately feel the stack height and 23/29mm Boost cushioning compress under your weight – you immediately know the ride is going to be bouncy.

The lacing only has 4 eyelets on each side and gladly, they sit well away from the key flex point when in the propulsive phase and toeing off. Unlike conventional eyelets, they are not holes that you pass the lace through, they are like mini tunnels with an entry and exit point. There is no tongue making this sock-like fit the ‘most’ sock-like of any shoe I have tested. There are two reinforced areas that sit below the number 320 which are designed to take pressure off the Navicular bone when lacing up the shoes.

The toe box is wide and spacious and allows for plenty of toe splay with light reinforcement.

Boost cushioning is superb. As soon as you toe off, you feel the cushioning compress and propel you forward. As you land it repeats the process and before you know it, you are bounding down the trail feeling the benefit of the 23/29 energy return. Without doubt, the Terrex Two Ultra Parley is a shoe for hard trail that is not too technical. This is also confirmed by the excellent Continental outsole which has dry trail lugs.

NOTABLE COMMENTS

The Terrex Two Ultra Parley run like road shoes and as such, they just want to fly along without complication. Rocks are fine, tree routes are fine but once you get into constant technicality and direction changes, the Terrex Two Ultra Parley doesn’t handle this well. There are several reasons for this: 1. The stack height has you high off the ground and therefore you lose that close connection with the terrain. 2. While the sock-like upper is incredibly comfortable and awesome, the lack of structure and reinforcement does allow one’s foot to move, especially when the trail gets technical. 3. The lacing is great, but again, technical terrain shows a flaw in the shoes ability to hold the foot tight and secure, particularly around the instep. This is one area I need secure on technical terrain. 4. The wider toe box adds to the ability for the foot to move.

Running downhill, the cushioning is superb but again, the upper and lack of a firm hold, can allow the foot to move.

Going uphill, the hold from the heel is excellent.

With the above comments in mind, you may well think I am being negative of the Terrex Two Ultra Parley. No, not at all. It’s a great shoe BUT it has limitations and with 1000km in two pairs, I know what those limitations are, for me anyway.

I grab the Terrex Two Ultra Parley when I am off for a cruise like trail run on groomed single-track. I don’t own road shoes, and the Terrex Two Ultra Parley have been perfect for 10, 20, 30km or longer road runs. They are a great shoe for those easier recovery days but equally, they can really shift and create pace if you want them too. They are an excellent road-to-trail shoe but be warned, too much road will wear the Continental outsole down.

SUMMARY

Ultimately, with 23/29 Boost cushioning, a wide toe box, sock-like upper and the lacing system, the Terrex Two Ultra Parley is designed for long trail runs on non-technical terrain when comfort and good energy return is a primary concern.

RRP £160

Website here.

To clarify, the shoes were provided to test, as are all the shoes that I review. But this is not a paid review.

Please support this website. I believe everyone deserves to read quality, independent and factual articles – that’s why this website is open to all. Free press has never been so vital. I hope I can keep providing independent articles with your help. Any contribution, however big or small, is so valuable to help finance regular content. 

Please support me on Patreon HERE.

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See the NEW shoe by VJ Sport before anyone else…

A new shoe by VJ Sport is an exciting thing. I will be clear from the very start, VJ Sport produce, in my opinion, currently the three best shoes for fell, skyrunning, mountain and longer-distance trail/ mountain races. I have said time and time again and I will repeat it here, the iRock 3XTRM and MAXx are a trio of shoes that provide a perfect weapon choice for specific terrain and distance. Although the three shoes are very obviously from the same family, (they look very similar) – They all have ‘Fitlock,’ they all have amazingly durable Kevlar uppers and they all have the amazing Butyl rubber (albeit in different size lugs) outsole that VJ are renowned for, but they do not all fit the same or have the same drop. The iRock 3 is narrower, has more precision and aggressive lugs, the XTRM sits between the iRock 3 and the MAXx and the MAXx has been the more recent shoe offering a wider fit and more cushioning for longer distance trail and mountain races. 

Want to see the NEW offering and get an early review?

Available for Patreon subscribers only until the official announcement.

Please support this website. I believe everyone deserves to read quality, independent and factual articles – that’s why this website is open to all. Free press has never been so vital. I hope I can keep providing independent articles with your help. Any contribution, however big or small, is so valuable to help finance regular content.

Please support me on Patreon HERE.

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EXPED Down Socks and Bivy Booty Review

Exped is a relatively new company, founded in the 80’s, the company initially started as an outdoor distributor. Over time, Exped created its own identity and form 1997 have created their own innovative products designed for travel and expeditions.

In 1997, the ‘Orion’ ridge tent, along with sleeping bags and storage bags set a benchmark for how the brand would develop. Now, Exped have a range of products that include Tents, Sleeping Bags, Mats, Backpacks, Packsacks, Hammocks, Ponchos and a range of Accessories.

On a personal note, Exped sleeping mats, storage bags and travel accessories have accompanied many a journey in countless worldwide locations for me.

In Nepal and more recently in Norway, I have used the Exped Down Sock and Exped Bivy Booty for fastpacking, multi-day adventures and countless work assignments.

DOWN SOCK

Warm feet are an essential for me, I suffer with cold toes and when a day on the trail comes to an end, a pair of dry socks and then down socks have become a constant when relaxing in a hut or tent. Compact and light, the Exped down socks are available in S, M or L and compress into a small size and of course, they are lightweight, (75g per sock in M) simple in design. They have an elasticated baffle/ heel cuff inside to ensure warmth is retained around the foot and to provide a comfortable fit. Made from five individual down filled pieces, warmth is retained in each section of the foot with cold spots reduced to a minimum. In particular, the toe area has a special area of down to ensure additional warmth in this sensitive area. At the top of the sock, there is an additional elastic baffle, visible with the Exped logo, this provides a seal and reduces heat escaping and cold entering.

Quite simply, these socks are a revelation for post-day recuperation after activity. They are a simple product that add an all-important additional layer of warmth for minimal weight and pack size. Using a Merino Wool sock inside is an essential extra to ensure warmth. Need more warmth? Also consider using a heat pad like those provided by Nevercold. They can also be used inside a sleeping bag for cold nights. Designed for internal use only, the use of a Bivy Booty (below) is required to increase the flexibility of the Down Sock.

Specs:

Fill : 

Duck down RDS certified

Fillpower: 

700+ cuin

Fill Weight: 

2.8 oz

S – Shoe size DE/EU 37 – 39, USA 5 -7

M – Shoe size DE/EU 40 – 42, USA 7 – 9

L – Shoe size DE/EU 43 – 45, USA 10 – 11

BIVY BOOTY

Typically, when adventuring, fastpacking or out on any multi-day adventure, weight is a key concern and therefore the option to carry additional footwear is not an option. Therefore, a product like the Exped Bivy Booty manages to fill this great middle ground facilitating a lower pack size and lower weight. Weighing 128g for a M, the booty is at least 100% lighter than the lightest run shoe and considerably lighter than a walking boot. Designed to be used as a protective layer over any sock, the Bivy Booty excels over the Exped Down Sock.

It is a waterproof overshoe with a durable sole and TPU material that goes to mid-calf with two adjustable/ quick-release elastic cords. Designed to protect from snow, ice, rocks, twigs and any other sharp objects. The seams are factory taped and there is a three-layer shell of VentAir® combined with 15 D Ripstop Nylon to ensure foot protection and longevity of the product.

Overnight camp, Norway, February (iPhone photo)

In use, the Bivy Booty is the perfect product for camp life and the perfect lightweight accessory to facilitate moving around whilst relaxing after a day on the trail. Previously, I would use a down sock to keep my feet warm, only to find that I would then need to remove this sock and then use my day shoe to walk around outside the tent/ hut to facilitate any camp task. Now, I can keep my warm down socks on and use the Bivy Booty to move around.

Surprisingly comfortable, the two elastic cords, when pulled tight, really give a secure feel. The cords can be adjusted, even with gloves on. Of course, the Booty is not designed for any long walking, it’s a simple product to facilitate an easier camp/ hut life. They do this exceptionally well and on a recent camp trip in snow and ice with sub-zero temperatures, they were a life saver. The lower part of the Booty is designed to protect with a very strong reinforced area.

Insole is removable so you can upgrade if required.

Inside the Booty, there is a removable insole that is attached via Velcro. Top tip: You can replace the insulated rubber with a thicker product, say using an old sleeping mat. It’s a simple way to add more insulation between you and the ground, if required.

SPECS

15 D ripstop nylon, ventair, 10’000 mm water column, 40’000 MVTR

S – Shoe size DE/EU 37 – 39, USA 5 -7

M – Shoe size DE/EU 40 – 42, USA 7 – 9

L – Shoe size DE/EU 43 – 45, USA 10 – 11

XL – Shoe size DE/EU 46 – 47, USA 12 – 13

Exped website 

This is not a paid review. Products were purchased to test.

Please support this website. I believe everyone deserves to read quality, independent and factual articles – that’s why this website is open to all. Free press has never been so vital. I hope I can keep providing independent articles with your help. Any contribution, however big or small, is so valuable to help finance regular content. Please support me on Patreon HERE.

Follow on:

Instagram – @iancorlessphotography

Twitter – @talkultra

facebook.com/iancorlessphotography

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Coros VERTIX Adventure GPS Watch Review

The Coros VERTIX multisport GPS is designed for adventure that goes beyond the usual realms of running, cycling, triathlon and so on. One could arguably say that the VERTIX is geared to mountaineers, explorers and adventurers who need a premium product, built to withstand the demands of extreme sport and with a battery that will last for the most arduous and time-consuming adventures.

Using sapphire glass, titanium DLC bezel, waterproof to 150m and a stunning autonomy of 60-hours in regular GPS mode and a whopping 150-hours in UltraMax mode, the VERTIX is quite simply a stunning unit that competes with surpasses the competition.

But is it the best watch out there?

Coros have been taking the GPS world by storm, just look on social media in forums and you will see that Suunto, Garmin and Polar users are defecting to Coros. The main reason, battery and of course, price point is significant too. The APEX and APEX PRO have paved the way for the VERTIX.

From the off, I am going to be clear and straightforward, IF you need mapping and music on your GPS, the VERTIX is not for you. Now of course, updates happen all the time and most certainly, there may well be updates to come that add these features to a VERTIX, but for now, they don’t exist.

Also, the VERTIX price point brings it much more in line with premium models from Garmin and Suunto, so, the money saving of purchasing a VERTIX is less of an attraction in comparison to purchasing an APEX, for example.

The VERTIX has the most extravagant packaging I have ever witnessed for a watch. It comes in its own case (similar the sealed cases I use for cameras) which basically for the off says, ‘adventure!’ While initially impressed I then questioned the logic and the eco values of such a case. It is an overkill! But I then went on to find that once the contents are removed, there are padding inserts to convert the case to a product that can be used for other purposes. That is a nice touch.

Top Tip – Download the COROS app to your phone before turning the watch on. The simple reason for this is that a QR code appears on the watch face at start up. Using this QR code and the camera on your phone seamlessly connects the two and you are ready to get set up. I wish someone had told me this in advance.

In the case, the watch face sits independently, and you need to attach the watch straps. The fastening system is very slick and while a small feature, it adds to the premium feel. You can change straps and purchase additional colour options if you wish.

Cables, instructions and so on sit below the watch face and straps.

Unlike many GPS units, the VERTIX just has three buttons on the right-hand side, the middle button the key one. Top right is for the light, the bottom is for the menu (hard and prolonged press) and acts as a ‘back’ button, the middle button (digital crown) works on press and rotate. The rotate superb for navigating quickly.

Coros Vertix ©coros

The rear of the watch face has an optical sensor and importantly, this includes a SpO2 sensor which measures pulse oxygen levels. This feature most definitely helps place the VERTIX at the adventure/ explore and mountaineering end of the GPS world. But Coros are not the only company to do this…Fitbit and Garmin, to name just two, have this feature on several products.

The charging port is a simple oblong and comes with some small plastic covers (inside the case) that allow you to cover and protect this area when not charging.

Nice Feature: In set-up, you can choose right- or left-hand use. I very often put my watch on my right hand when doing sport/ adventure as it means that the buttons are away from my hand and wrist. It means that accidentally pressing buttons when scrambling, climbing and so on can’t happen. On the VERTIX you can specify left hand but rotate the face which places the three buttons away from wrist/ hand. A nice touch. The one downside is that the words on the watch face ‘Light’ and ‘Back/lap’ will be reversed. No big deal.

THE COROS APP

All initial set-up is done via the Coros app on your phone. It’s intuitive and straightforward, initially you are guided through the process. Watch and phone connection is via Bluetooth, there is no Wi-Fi capability.

Once set up, in the app you will see four key images at the bottom of the screen: GraphRunnerShield and Watch.

WATCH ICON

Click on the WATCH and you are given a menu of 9 key images that includes: 

Workout data – Customisation – Firmware Update

My Training – My Training Plan – My Route

Watch Face – GPS Satellite – Data Notifications

Watch Face is a good start place so that you can decide on the look of the watch and what info is provided when on your wrist for day-to-day use. There are a couple of obvious ones which everyone seems to use. You can also change colour options.

Data Notifications allows you to decide what alarms, info, alerts you get from key things such as calls, text messages, email, Facebook, WhatsApp and so on and so on. I have them all off, I just don’t need that info when exercising but in day-to-day use as a watch, some alerts are useful. It all depends on the user.

Select Workout shows what sports are covered by the VERTIX. Surprisingly this list is rather small with just 23 sports. A prime example is there is no ‘walk’ just a ‘hike’ option. Okay, you may well say there may be little difference between the two but for me, there is. So that irritated me. When you click on a sport, let’s say RUN. You are then provided options of how your watch screen will look. Choose the option that is best for you. You can do this for every sport.

Customisation allows you to access the ‘Workout Menu’ and ‘Toolbox’ so that you can make them personal to you and your needs. Basically, smartphone configuration of data fields. Notably there is Running Power and running efficiency metrics such as leg stiffness, contact time, cadence and so on.

Firmware Update basically connects to your watch and informs you if you are up to date or if an update is available. It’s a no brainer, keep the VERTIX updated.

My Training allows you to download verified programs from coros.com or building a workout for yourself. Click on ‘add workout’ then ‘create program’ then choose a sport: Run, Bike, Swim or Strength. Now you can add a session, in Run for example, you can add a warmup, then intervals/ sets and a cool down. It’s a nice feature and ideal to keep you honest and on track if you need some real structure to your training. As an example, I created a session: 15 min warm up, 8 x 1-mile on 5min rest followed with 15 min warm down. I created a name, saved it and then synced with my watch via the app. This session is now on the VERTIX ready for when I need it. Storage is not indefinite; it will hold 20 workouts on the watch.

My Training Plan works in just the same way as ‘My Training’ allowing you to add days and weeks of training.

My Route allows 10 routes to be added to the VERTIX for navigation. Click on ‘Import from Library’ and then ‘How to add a route’ takes you through a step-by-step process. I found it easy and seamless. Helps if you have apps on your phone such as maps.me or footpath as you export GPX files.

GPS Satellite Data tells you if you are up to date and if you need to update.

GRAPH ICON

Here you say an update of the day broken down in:

  • Active Energy
  • Exercise Time.
  • Steps.
  • Heart Rate
  • Sleep
  • Training Load
  • Fitness Index
  • Fitness Level

RUNNER ICON

Here you can see a list of all your workouts as an overview. You can then click on a workout to get more in-depth data. It will show a map of say a run, distance covered, workout time, average pace and so on and so on.

It is detailed, visually appealing and tells everything you need to know about an exercise session.

So, if you don’t want to be on Strava or other platforms, perfect. Here you can see important metrics:

  • Pace
  • Cadence
  • Stride Length
  • Running Power
  • Elevation
  • Heart Rate
  • Heart Rate Zones
  • Training Effect
  • Lap Splits

In all honesty, there is no need for Strava or any other 3rd party product. The information provided in the Coros App will keep even the nerdiest nerd happy.

Information on stride length, cadence and power are three areas I have looked at and analyzed realizing that these areas are useful in making me a more efficient version of me.

SHIELD ICON

Here you can access your profile, and this is where you add weight, gender, height etc.

In addition, you can access:

  • Workout Programs
  • Training Plans
  • Navigation Routes Library
  • Muscle Heatmap
  • Record

Under ‘3rd Party Apps’ you can link your watch and information to Strava, TrainingPeaks, Final Surge and so on.

USING THE WATCH

Once you have been through the app, set everything up, you can now start training! Screen resolution is 240px and 64 colours and when not backlit, not always easy to read. Click the top right button and the screen illuminates for approximately 9-seconds and it is easy to read.

The VERTIX auto-locks and I like this. It stops any accidental button pressing. To unlock, you need to rotate the digital grown. Once rotated, press the digital crown and you will be given the menu. By turning the digital crown up or down, the menu rotates. I really like this, it’s easy to do and I found it no problem even when wearing gloves, albeit gloves that are not too thick. When at the sport you want, press the crown in. You will see ‘Start’ another press and then you will be updated on connection to satellites and heart rate. Once connected, press again and of you go.

Top Tip: If you want to add ANT+ accessories or any other item, this can be done in the ‘settings’ menu.

In RUN there are options to choose structure or focused training options such as Aerobic TrainingInterval or Anaerobic. In most scenarios, I choose the sport I want, wait for connection and press start. Off I go. You can custom all sports.

When training, you can scroll through screens with the digital crown, and you can record laps by pressing the bottom button. Remember, you may need to change if the watch auto-locks otherwise you will need to rotate the digital crown to ‘open’ the watch.

Touch screen is also possible, you can switch between screens via swiping.

If you wish to pause, you can press the digital crown.

If you have finished a workout, press and hold the digital crown and it will count down, 3,2,1 and saved. The workout is then added to the Coros App on your phone and if you have set up third party connection, Strava for example will be updated with the session. You need to open the app with the watch close to upload the workout.

NAVIGATION

No mapping. Yes, no mapping which is a huge surprise, especially if Coros want to differentiate from the APEX Pro and compete with say, Garmin Fenix 6 Pro. However, there is enhanced navigation that includes the use of checkpoints. Basically, upload a GPX file to the Coros App that has pre-defined locations, they could be aid stations in a race? Sync to the VERTIX and when navigating, information is provided to the next checkpoint that includes distance and elevation. Very useful if racing. However, internal memory in the VERTIX is limited, so make sure you delete any stored files not required. The best may to upload GPX is use mapping apps on your phone, say, maps.me, Footpath or similar. Export a GPX and then ‘save’ to the Coros app. It was very easy to do. For me personally as a wearer of glasses, mapping does not work on a watch, it’s too small and there is too much information. A bread crumb to navigate is fine. Also, there is touch screen functionality, helpful with moving a breadcrumb nav screen. BUT, and I will say this again, for the VERTIX not to have mapping, it makes the competition more appealing for what is the same price point. Coros are very good updating and progress but the lack of memory on the VERTIX will probably mean that the next Coros watch addresses this, has memory and most likely mapping.

WORKOUT PROGRAMS

All workout programs can be fully customized and loaded on to devices. For the purpose of testing, I prioritised the run modes but there are many options for bike, swim, run and so on. Notable, the strength category uses heat map and has different workouts for muscle groups. Heat map indicates recovery.

Menu is accessed by a long press of the bottom button. Here you find the following:

  • Navi Settings
  • Map
  • Satellite Signal
  • Stopwatch
  • Timer
  • Alarm
  • Watch Face
  • Night Mode
  • System
  • Save Location
  • Do Not Disturb
  • Compass
  • Broadcast HR
  • Oximeter
  • Battery Usage
  • Metronome
  • UltraMax

ACCURACY AND DATA

In all my testing I have used the VERTX alongside an Apple iWatch for every session and on many occasions, I have used a Garmin Fenix 6 Pro Solar too.

Below is the same run viewed in: Coros, Strava and Apple Watch apps.

GPS, I guess I could deep dive into the accuracy of the GPS and analyze every intricate detail. However, whenever I use a GPS unit or read a review, I often just want to know does it work and is it accurate? Using GPS and GLONASS, the VERTIX tracks position and is consistently reliable.

Quite simply, the VERTIX was in line with the iWatch and more so with the Fenix 6 Pro Solar. In countless runs, between the VERTIX and the FENIX 6 the difference was less than 100m and the mapped routes excellent. The iWatch had less accuracy +/- 1 to 400m. Having said that, on a 20km run (for me) I am not going to worry about 400m +/-. If I was an elite or Olympic athlete, it may well be super important.

In UltraMax mode GPS data is only recorded for 30-seconds in every 120-second window. This is how the battery life is extended, of course, accuracy is impacted. Motion sensors, algorithms and individual running model complete the 90-seconds when GPS is not recording.

Quite simply, the VERTIX is doing its job.

Heart rate viewed as above in the app.

Heart rate data was compared to a chest strap comparison and I was impressed. One thing is important, make sure the watch is pressed firmly against the wrist and tight. If it is loose and bouncing around, you are going to get mixed and inaccurate results. Hair on the arm, sweat and even a tattoo can impact on accuracy. Viewing the data in the Coros App is clear and while not exactly the same as the chest strap, they are will within the parameters one would accept. 

You can see pace, cadence, stride, power, elevation and HR all in one view.

SpO2 Feature Hold down the lower right button. Rotate the toolbox menu to Sp02. Press the digital crown and you will be shown the relevant screen. Note: altitude performance is shown at 2500m+ On the display you will see your altitude and SpO2.

Battery is one of the standout features of the VERTIX. It’s so good, you can almost forget about it. On receiving, I gave the watch a full charge.

As an example, I wore the watch for 17-days, did 17 runs totaling 34 hours and still had 10% battery remaining. This was in the ‘normal’ GPS mode. That is outstanding and quite simply one of THE selling features of the VERTIX and ultimately why one would choose this over say a Suunto, Fenix or Polar. For perspective, run 1-hour a day and use the VERTIX only for running and it will last 8-weeks!

Recently I did #feb406 running the dates of February which totalled 406km. I did this all on one battery charge and that included standby time too.

I think Garmin have obviously been losing many sales due to the autonomy of the Coros APEX and more importantly the VERTIX, that just recently they released the ENDURO which is boasting incredible battery life that competes with and exceeds the VERTIX. Weirdly, the cost of this unit is eye watering and amazingly it does NOT have mapping! I honestly believe that for those sports people who are going to spend big bucks on a GPS unit, mapping is the one thing that may well tip the edge and why the VERTIX will compete against the FENIX 6 PRO for sales – for many, maps and music will swing it. But if battery is the be all and end all, and for many it is, the VERTIX is a wow.

SUMMARY

In many respects, my summary of the VERTIX could be the paragraph above in regard to battery. Quite simply, battery is the hero of the VERTIX and why it would and should be at the top of your GPS list if looking for a premium unit that lasts and lasts.

However, there is far more to the VERTIX than ‘just’ battery. There is no hiding away from the fact that the VERTIX is here to steal the glory from Garmin and Suunto. Place the VERTIX next to a FENIX 6 and they pretty darn look similar, they are almost the same size, the VERTIX a little more depth in the case. The VERTIX being lighter but it has all the build qualities as one would expect in a premium unit.

Coros are without doubt being aggressive and they want market share, this is great for the consumer as they are pushing boundaries at a far greater pace than much of the competition. It amazes me that they do not have mapping and music on the VERTIX… But I am sure it is coming!

Price – The VERTIX retails at £539.99. The Fenix 6 Pro Solar £729.99 and the Fenix 6 Pro £599.99. The new Garmin Enduro £699.99. Suunto 9 £449.00. Polar Vantage 2 £449.00. As you can see, the VERTIX is not a budget option. The APEX and APEX Pro gained traction (I believe) based on pricing and battery autonomy. The VERTIX now has stand out battery but a price that is alongside and comparable with the other brands and in some cases, more expensive. 

So, why would you buy the VERTIX?

If you have been using Garmin, Suunto, Polar or whatever for some time, you will be invested in the brand and therefore will not switch on a whim, after all, a GPS is an investment. However, if you have constantly needed more autonomy, Coros are going to keep distracting you, this happened with the APEX models and now the VERTIX takes it to another level. Garmin have obviously realised this and are trying to compete with the ENDURO but at £699.99 that is a big ask – for me, it makes no sense, even if the battery life is longer than the VERTIX – Garmin say 80hrs in GPS and 300hrs in max mode compared to 60/150 for the VERTIX. Trust me, after using the VERTIX, I and pretty much anyone else does not need more autonomy.

Ultra-running, adventuring, exploring, multi-day adventures, fast packing and so on, the VERTIX is for you. Climbers will be enticed by blood oxygen monitoring and its capabilities at altitude. The features, such as power are also another key sell point for any athlete.

Ultimately, if you need mapping the breadcrumb navigation may well just not be enough for you and this is where the dilemma comes – until Coros update with mapping! On a personal note, I wear glasses and require glasses to read. I can follow a breadcrumb trail on a watch as it is clear and simple, I can’t navigate a GPX route on a watch with mapping – basically there is just too much info. So, IF I do need to refer to map/ GPX route I do that on a stand-alone device or I use additional software on my phone, such as FOOTPATH.

Notably, all watch controls are via the app, there is no desktop equivalent like with other brands. You can log in on the Coros website, but there is little to no additional extras. So, if you have a Garmin, move to Coros, the difference is huge. But, the Coros app is great, works and does the job.

The VERTIX is quality, has a great weight, sits nicely on the wrist and the app is excellent.

Key features:

  • Titanium bezel
  • Sapphire glass
  • 150mm water resistance
  • Battery
  • Blood oxygen monitoring
  • Left/ right hand use and settings
  • Digital Crown
  • Stride, cadence, power and so on
  • HR monitor
  • Barometer, altimeter and compass
  • Training structures
  • Interchangeable wrist straps 

The VERTIX is highly recommended. Coros website here.

No frills, hard core, designed for adventure, excellent build and amazing battery, it is a winner! BUT the omission of mapping, storage, NFC, Music and a couple of other features may well mean that the VERTIX is not for you, especially when the competition is at a similar price. But this is where the VERTIX battery steps in! The Fenix 6 for example, can’t match on autonomy even with solar. I don’t think the VERTIX price helps, if Coros really want the VERTIX to sell, it needs to be (based on UK prices) probably £100 cheaper.

For me, I have everything I need in the VERTIX and I won’t be exchanging it for anything else. The battery is a standout and I love this aspect of the watch. For perspective, my day-to-day watch is an Apple iWatch and that is still my day watch when home and I can charge it every day. I like the features of the iWatch, the screen, the integration with my Mac life. But out on the trails, in the mountains, adventuring or doing whatever, the VERTIX excels.

Watch was provided by Coros to test, this is not a paid review.

Please support this website. I believe everyone deserves to read quality, independent and factual articles – that’s why this website is open to all. Free press has never been so vital. I hope I can keep providing independent articles with your help. Any contribution, however big or small, is so valuable to help finance regular content. Please support me on Patreon HERE.

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Episode 204 – Ruth Croft

Episode 204 of Talk Ultra has a chat Ruth Croft about winning Tarawera and racing in Covid times. Speedgoat co-hosts.


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NEWS

Check FKT website for latest updates HERE

ARTICLES

  1. What goes in a Winter Pack? HERE
  2. VJ Sport Xero Shoe Review HERE
  3. adidas Terrex Speed Ultra Shoe Review HERE
  4. adidias Terrex Speed PRO SG Shoe Review HERE
  5. La Sportiva VK Boa shoe review HERE
  6. Moonlight head lamp review HERE
  7. inov-8 Roclite Pro boot review HERE
  8. Review of 2020 HERE
  9. Icbebug Pytho 5 Review HERE
  10. inov-8 Mudclaw G260 Review HERE
  11. inov-8 G270 Long-Term Review HERE
  12. Fuelling for a Multi-Day like MDS HERE
  13. Winter Running – Hints n Tips HERE
  14. Icebug Route Winter Studded Shoe Review HERE
  15. The Ultimate Guide to Desert Multi-Day Racing (updated) HERE
  16. Haglöfs L.I.M Essens Jacket HERE

NEED A TRAINING PLAN?

12 – 24 Week Multi-Day Training Plans now available HERE

100-Mile Training Plan now available HERE

We also have several places that have become available for bespoke coaching and training plans. Like more information? HERE

INTERVIEW : RUTH CROFT

Spotify HERE  

ITunes HERE 

iOS HERE

Android HERE 

Web player HERE 

Please support this website. I believe everyone deserves to read quality, independent and factual articles – that’s why this website is open to all. Free press has never been so vital. I hope I can keep providing independent articles with your help. Any contribution, however big or small, is so valuable to help finance regular content. Please support me on Patreon HERE.

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adidas Speed Pro SG Shoe Review – First Look.

Following on from the launch of the adidas Terrex Speed Ultra (HERE) available from March 1st, 2021. Terrex now unveil the adidas Terrex Speed Pro SG.

7mm lugs, 19/23mm cushioning and Continental outsole.

Quite simply, adidas are shaking up the ‘off-road’ running scene with new products that are going to make even the most skeptical trail, mountain, ultra or fell runner, stop and look again.

This is a first look at the new Terrex Speed Pro SG and not an in-depth review, quite simply, I need more time on the trails in them…

If you like mud, if you like fell running, if you like mountain adventures mixing rock, bog and mud or if you like skyrunning, this is a shoe that you need to look at.

225g (UK8.5) and 4mm drop

As the side of the shoe says, these weigh 225g in a standard UK.8.5 (240g for my UK9.5/EU44 test size) and the drop is 4mm bringing that all important close feel and connection to the ground.

Cushioning is 19mm at the front and 23mm at the rear which brings a significant addition to cushioning in comparison to like-for-like from other brands. This is a real plus, especially when transitioning from soft ground to hard rock or gravel trail. Using ‘Lightstrike’ and not Boost technology, the Terrex Speed Pro SG has great movement, feels dynamic and of course is super-light. Flex behind the metatarsals is very good and the propulsion phase is superb. The ride is firm and assured and the cushioning kicks in when required.

The lugs are 7mm providing that important claw like grip that is required to penetrate and hold in mud or any soft ground. The grip is provided by the excellent rubber compound of Continental which from experience and testing provides excellent traction on wet or dry rock.

Core Black / Cloud White / Solar Yellow and a flash of pink.

The upper is quite unbelievable, I don’t think I have ever witnessed something so airy and breathable. It’s like a sieve which allows water to escape immediately. There are several extremely thin reinforced layers on the outer – toe, side, heal and instep. Inside there is an additional thin layer (in yellow) that contrasts with the black mesh upper to create the two-tone black/ yellow look of the shoe and additional support structure.

True to size, the toe box is much wider than I had anticipated without losing a precision feel. For those who have been looking for an aggressive shoe that can handle mud/ rock and fell but still need space up at the front, this may well be the shoe for you?

Lacing is superb and holds the foot extremely well and continues to hold firm when on the trails and constantly switching direction. Hold at the rear comes from a minimally padded heal box that for me provided no slip going up or downhill.

There is no insole and internally there are no seams or stitching on the upper, so, the risk for any abrasion, blisters or hot spots is greatly reduced.

INITIAL SUMMARY

The Terrex Speed Pro SG will turn heads through its striking looks, the Core Black / Cloud White / Solar Yellow and a flash of pink looks great! The features listed above are stand out, while there are some similarities to other soft ground shoes from other brands there are some notable differences that will make this shoe appeal.

  • Cushioning.
  • Low drop.
  • Wider toe box.
  • The lightweight upper.
  • The overall weight of the shoe.

Initial runs have been excellent and for me personally, the combination of wider toe box (but not too wide), cushioning and the 7mm lugs will make this shoe a ‘go-to’ for when grip is required.

It’s too early to tell on longevity, wear and so on as I have less than 100-miles in them. However, check back for a full and in-depth long-term test/ review in a month or so.

To clarify, the shoes were provided to test, as are all the shoes that I review. But this is not a paid review.

*****

Please support this website. I believe everyone deserves to read quality, independent and factual articles – that’s why this website is open to all. Free press has never been so vital. I hope I can keep providing independent articles with your help. Any contribution, however big or small, is so valuable to help finance regular content. Please support me on Patreon HERE.

Follow on:

Instagram – @iancorlessphotography

Twitter – @talkultra

facebook.com/iancorlessphotography

Web – www.iancorless.com

Web – www.iancorlessphotography.com

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