Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Wiivv 3D Printed Insoles Review



Most runners have had some sort of foot or leg issue at one time or another.  For me, it started out with Shin Splints when I first started running 4.5 years ago.  Then it was IT Band Syndrome.  Recently I had Plantar Fasciitis, which I tried everything from rolling with ice bottles, to physical therapy, to insoles, and finally a Cortisone shot.  Many ailments that runners deal with can be helped, at least in part, by using a good pair of insoles. 

Many insoles that come with shoes aren’t very good (and I have heard this from the manufactures themselves).  This is mainly because they need to provide an insole that will work for everyone since it is not custom made to your foot.  I have used Super Feet insoles, which I got at the local running store.  It provides more support in your heel and arch than the standard shoe insole but it’s still mass produced and not custom made for your foot.  I ran across a company that makes insoles that are specifically made for your foot and had the opportunity to test a pair out.


What if you took a few pictures through a smart phone app and within a week would have custom made 3D printed insoles at your door?  Sounds futuristic right?  You start by paying for your insoles on the Wiivv website.  Then you download the Wiivv app on your phone and simply follow the prompts.  All it takes is a room with a hard floor (you could also stand on a piece of plywood if you only have carpet), a piece of white paper, and about 5 minutes.  The instructions are really easy to follow.  Here is a video that talks about the measuring process.


The insoles are made up of a hard custom fit arch support.  There is a deep heel cup that helps stabilize your heel and absorb shock.  The flexible insole allows for a healthy range of motion and there is a foam layer that has been performance tested to last more than 150,000 cycles (or strides).  The insoles are waterproof and sweatproof and are personalized with your name on the top fabric layer and the hard bottom layer.


You can pick from full length or ¾ length and get to choose the design of the shell (hard bottom layer of the insole) and the fabric top.  There are several different prints that you can choose for the top layer, from a topo map to bacon and eggs.  Once you’ve taken your pictures and picked your styles, you put in your order.    The shipping is free and you get status updates throughout the whole process.

Wiivv  provides a 30-Day Happiness Guarantee, basically saying that if you aren’t 100% satisfied with your new insoles, you can return them for a full refund.  They also have a Manufactures Warranty that guarantees that the insoles will last for at least 1 year or they will replace them with a brand new pair. 

I love that I can get a well-made custom insole that is made for my feet at a decent price. Fellow runners have told me that they spent more than $300 for a pair of custom insoles from their podiatrist and they felt that the Wiivv  insoles were a better fit for running.  I used my Wiivv  insoles before and after I got my Cortisone shot and it was an important step for me to get over my Plantar Fasciitis.  After more than 3 months of use, the insoles still look almost new and really help my feet with a heavy training schedule of 40-60 miles a week of running. 

You can get your Wiivv  insoles for $99 (for their full-length version) and $79 (for the ¾ length insoles). 

Pros:
Custom made based on your actual feet
Can be ordered in less than 5 minutes
Made with premium materials and 3D printing
Sweatproof and waterproof
Customizable look
Excellent price ($99 full-length, $79 ¾ length)

Wiivv’s Social Media Links:

Taking care of your feet is one of the most important things you can do to remain injury free.  My health care provider doesn’t do orthotic insoles and to see a podiatrist out of pocket would be pricy.  Then you add the $300+ for custom made insoles that could take weeks to get back.  I am thrilled that Wiivv has taken this process and made it painless.  The product is amazing and I love that I can customize the insoles.  I will be using my insoles to keep my feet healthy and recommend them if you are in need of some insoles.  Don’t settle for insoles that were made for the masses.  If you get a pair, let me know what you think in the comments below.

Note:  I received this product in exchange for a review.  The review is my personal opinion of the product and I was not required to give a particular opinion of it.  I am not a doctor, so please use all of the products that I review at your own risk.

Tuesday, October 10, 2017

OOFOS Recovery Sandal and Shoe Review



Did you know that recovery is as important (if not more important) as your training runs.  If you don’t allow yourself to recovery properly, you increase your risk of injury.  Run training builds off your previous runs and recovery.  When you don’t properly recover, your body is building off of stressed muscles, which is when the injury can happen.  You also can’t reach your peak potential without allowing for proper recovery.  There are a few things that I have implemented into my recovery plan that might help you too.

I started stretching almost every night.  My wife and I sit down to watch tv.  I lay on the ground and stretch for about 10-15 minutes.  I also have been foam rolling more frequently, focusing mostly on my hamstrings and calves, because those are the areas that I need it the most.  Two years ago, I saw some OOFOS recovery sandals in the Road Runner Sports (Portland area) while on vacation.  Shortly after that I reviewed and posted about how awesome they are.  I have tried a few different brands, but OOFOS is still my favorite by far.  Why are OOFOS so good though?


Most foams that are used in running shoes are made to propel you forward.  The foam used in OOFOS is designed to absorb the shock (37% greater impact absorption), aka OOfoam technology.  This in turn reduces the impact on your back, knees and feet which allows you to recover faster.  The one thing that took a little while to get used to was that the arch really comes up into your foot (high arch).  This is designed to cradle your arch and take the stress off of your joints.  After about 30 minutes, it felt natural.   It is also designed to flex with your foot, which allows you to walk with a more natural gait.


Walking in my OOFOS OOriginals Sandals is like walking on clouds.  I have been running 40-60 miles per week and spent almost 5 months with Plantar Fasciitis earlier this year.  The only way I was able to continue my training and racing was taking my shoes off and slipping on my OOFOS as soon as I got home.  They are the most comfortable sandals that I have ever put on, by far.  I can’t wear most sandals with a toe post (the thing that goes in between your big toe and second toe) because they irritate my foot.  Not with OOFOS though.  Their soft, conforming toe post doesn’t chafe my foot.

The foam is durable and will last the life of the sandal without breaking down as well.  In fact, after 2 years of use they still are just as good as the day I got them, well almost.  Here are some side-by-side pictures of my 2 year old OOriginals Sandals and the new Sport Sandals.

OOFOS are not only awesome because they feel great and let you recover more quickly, but they provide other benefits as well.  They have a closed cell foam, which keeps bacteria and moisture out of your sandals.  You can use these in the shower or even throw them in the washing machine when they need a good cleaning.   You can get the OOriginals Sandals for $44.95 and the Sport Sandals for $59.95.


In addition to the Sport Sandals, OOFOS has a new shoe that utilizes their same OOfoam technology that they use in their sandals.  It comes with a 4-way stretch mesh upper that takes the stress off your feet and joints for those times when sandals are not appropriate.  The OOFOS OOmg Low Shoe costs $119.95 and there are four colors to choose from.  I really like the way they feel and they are a great choice for any occasion.  They are located in the women’s section of the website, but if you are a male who would like a pair, just order 2 sizes larger than your normal size (I’m a men’s size 10, so I ordered a women’s size 12).  The fact that these are machine washable, enables your foot to perform a more natural motion while walking, and that they are extremely light weight really makes them a winner.  In a world where runners are tearing down their feet and joints, it is vital to have a recovery product that helps you heal faster, which is precisely what you get with the OOmg Low Shoe.  I just wish I could wear these with my dress clothes at work.


Pros:
Most comfortable sandal/shoe I have ever tried
Great arch support
Many colors and styles to suit your fashion needs
Easy to clean
Foam will not break down over time (even after 2 years)

Cons:
More expensive than many sandals (but more than worth it)

OOFOS’ Social Media Links:

I am in love with my OOFOS recovery products and I have no doubt that you will be too.  From the cushion to the arch support, these are the perfect items to add to your running gear stash.  They have made a huge difference in relieving my tired feet and legs after my long runs.  You should definitely give them a try.  You can buy them at the OOFOS website, at Amazon, or at your local retailer (Click here to find a retailer near you).

Note:  I received this product in exchange for a review.  The review is my personal opinion of the product and I was not required to give a particular opinion of it.  I am not a doctor, so please use all of the products that I review at your own risk.

Tuesday, October 3, 2017

Brooks Levitate Review



I have reviewed nine shoes from Brooks in the past few years.  The Glycerin 13 (which received Runner’s World’s Best Update Award for 2015), PureFlow 5, Neuro, Launch 3 (one of my all-time favorites), Launch 4, Ghost 9, Glycerin 13, Glycerin 15 and the Caldera (the first Brooks Trail shoe that I’ve tested).   They all are great shoes that I use on a rotating basis in my training. 

Brooks is headquartered in Seattle, Washington.  Maybe that is why they are so awesome (I grew up in Eastern Washington so maybe I am a little biased).  Brooks motto is to “Run Happy” but they also try to “Live Green.” Their headquarters building is right near the water and just across the street is a trailhead that leads to nearly 30 miles of trails to run on.  How awesome would it be to work there?  They invite the public to come in if they are ever in the Seattle area for a free treadmill gait analysis and to check out all of the latest Brooks running gear and apparel. 


The Levitate is Brooks new shoe and it has been in the works for quite a while.  Brooks spent 2.5 years developing this shoe, going through 9 rounds of development, 7 rounds of wear testing, and making improvements along the way.  They got feedback from thousands of runners in the pursuit of the Levitate, which promises to provide “The most energy return of leading performance running shoes…”


The magic all comes from Brooks new midsole made from their DNA AMP material.  The midsole was made in partnership with BASF, a giant in the chemistry field.  They were striving to make the perfect blend of cushion and energy return.  The materials are made to take the energy from each foot strike and send that energy directly back up at your foot without losing energy out the sides of the midsole. 


The outsole is made with a unique arrow pattern that is flexible and helps you move quickly from heel to toe.  I found that the shoe not only flexed enough front to back, but side to side as well.  I am a big fan of flexible shoes and this design definitely made me happy.  After about 50 miles, the outsole material shows almost no signs of wear, which is great.

The fit knit upper is comfortable and flexes with your foot.  It really fits well, and adapts to your individual foot type.  I have wider than normal feet and this was not a problem at all with the Levitate.  You can get a nice snug fit that in conjunction with the padding near the heel collar, feels great mile-after-mile.


The Levitate has an 8mm heel drop, is a neutral shoe, and weighs in at 11.2 ounces.  This shoe is ideal for people with medium to high arches and is a great shoe for all road running, from easy runs to races and everything in between.  Honestly my biggest issue with the shoe is the weight.  It is heavier than most shoes I run in and wish that they could get it under 10 ounces.  With that being said, it doesn’t feel heavy and I have enjoyed them on short fast runs as well as longer slow runs.  This is probably one of Brooks best shoes to date.

Pros:
Fit true to size (for me)
Looks awesome (two color options Blue/Black or White/Black)
Great energy return
Flexible outsole
Feels great and fits like a glove.
90 Day Trial at Brooks.com (Free Returns)

Cons:
Slightly heavier than many shoes at 11.2 ounces


Brooks’ Social Media Links

Brooks keeps putting out great shoes.  The Levitate is a great shoe that has jumped right into first place for Brooks shoes in my opinion.  While the price may be a little on the higher side at $150, they are an awesome pair of shoes that will really help you enjoy your run.  All of the development and tester feedback paid off.  You can find them at the Brooks website or your local retailer (click here for locations).  Go to your local running store and give it a test run.  I would love to know what you think. 

Note:  I received this product in exchange for a review.  The review is my personal opinion of the product and I was not required to give a particular opinion of it.  I am not a doctor, so please use all of the products that I review at your own risk.