Wednesday, November 26, 2014

The Running Buddy and Runnin' Buds Review

The Running Buddy was created by Julie Bradfield.  Julie wanted to create a belt-free storage option that she could put more than one energy gel in.  After spending over two years and over 1,000 miles of testing, the Running Buddy was created. 

The Running Buddy is worn on the waistband of your shorts or pants.  It is held together by powerful magnets and has a dri-fit material that is comfortable against your skin.  The pouch is water and sweat resistant and has a separator so you can keep your cash/cards separate from your phone.  There are several sizes to choose from.  I got the Galaxy Note version for my Samsung Galaxy S5 with a case and it fits great.

I had initial concerns about comfort and if the pouch would stay in place when I first received it. My concerns quickly disappeared though as the magnets are very strong and hold the Running Buddy in place very well.  The dri-fit backing is very comfortable as well.  I took it out for my first test run and freaked out for a second after about a mile.  I usually run with my phone in my pocket, which I hate.  I didn’t feel my phone bouncing around and thought it had fallen out of my pocket.  Then I realized that I had on the Running Buddy. I was surprised that it was so comfortable that I didn’t even realize I had it on.  Now that’s a great product.

The Running Buddy is well put together and is inexpensive starting at $22.99 for pouches that will hold your phones and $13.99 for a mini version that would be great for carrying smaller items.  These would be a great for women who want to take their license and cards shopping, but want to leave their purse at home.

The Running Buddy also has a single earphone called the Runnin’ Buds. The Runnin’ Buds are great, especially if you run at night.  It is more important to be aware of your surroundings at night and running with standard ear buds means that one is dangling around hitting you in the chest (or face).  I love the idea of having one ear free from music, so you can pay attention to other runners, cyclist, or cars that are nearby.  It did take a little while to get used to only running with music in one ear, but these buds work great.  They have a sports style ear clip that will hold the bud securely.  I found that these ear buds stay in place very well and have great sound.  They also have a built in microphone so you can talk on the phone if the person on the other end doesn’t mind hearing you breathe.   These are a great alternative and are priced at only $17.99.  Give them a try.

Running Buddy provided me with a discount code to give to my readers.  Enter the code "RB15" at checkout at for 15% off your order.  You can also purchase your Running Buddy products at Amazon, but will not be able to use the discount code.  I will be giving away a Running Buddy in my giveaway that starts on on December 15th, so keep your eyes peeled.

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.

Salming Distance Review

Salming is a Swedish company that just started selling in the United States over Labor Day of this year.  Founded by the professional Swedish hockey player Borje Salming in 2001, they started making floorball and handball products before branching out into the running world.  They strive to make no nonsense shoes; basically shoes without the gimmicks. 

The Salming Distance is a light weight training shoe that is has a 5mm heel drop.  It weighs in at a mere 8.4 ounces for a men’s size 9 shoe.  It is the heaviest shoe in Salming’s lineup, but you wouldn’t know it during your runs.  
When I tried these shoes on, I was concerned with how light they were and how it could have enough cushion to handle longer training runs.  I was completely surprised by how comfortable they were from the second that I put them on.  The first thing I notices was that my big toe was pressing against the top of the shoe.  Don’t worry though because the second you start to run in them, that issue resolves itself. 

The lacing system is not like most shoes where they have holes in the shoe itself.  The laces go through loops and I found that it was easy to get the right tightness. I found that the 5mm heel drop was very comfortable as I typically run in a low heel drop shoe.  If you are a runner that is not used to a low heel drop shoe, this might take some getting used to.  The 5mm heel drop helps to keep you in a natural running posture by promoting forward lean.

The Distance was designed in Salming’s 4D running lab, which is the only one in the world like it.  They use a 3 layer construction for comfort and durability and a RunLite midsole that allows you to have a good connection to the ground while still providing you with a cushioning.  The shoe is flexible light enough to take to your next race.

The Distance also uses what Salming calls their Torsion Efficiency Unit.  It allows your shoe to be responsive without being overly supportive.  The shoe has a nice outer sole that will grip the road but not wear too quickly.

To be completely honest, when I got these, my first thought was that they would not be very comfortable because they were so light.  I took them out for a 3 mile easy run and was blown away by how comfortable they were and that my run was so effortless.  I didn’t even think about the shoes, which is not always the case.  I could focus on my form and ended up turning the 3 mile easy run into a 5 mile tempo run. 

The Salming Distance is one of the best shoes I have tried this year.  The only down side is that they cost a little more than most running shoes, retailing at about $169.  If you can find room in your budget, these should be on your shoe list.  If you have run in Salming shoes or get a pair, I would love to hear your thoughts.

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.

Monday, November 24, 2014

Sayre Re-Flex Review

Do you run at night?  Do you worry about cars or people seeing you?  November is Running Safety Month so I wanted to tell you about another great product to keep you safe.  Sayre has a great, cost effective solution for you.  

I work in the transportation field and current safety standard require us to use highly reflective vests.  Sayre is one of the companies that make those vests.  They have taken that technology and created a line of reflective gear for runners and cyclists.  Sayre was founded in 1987 and they are located in Buena Vista, Virginia.  They run one of the largest embroidery facilities in the United States.  Sayre has products for construction, military and sports applications.

I received several products to test out.  One of their best sellers is the Re-Flex Elastic Belt.  It is a 2” wide belt that adjust from 28-48” in length (although it can be stretched to 9’ to fit over jackets and backpacks).  Each Re-Flex belt has a 500 candlepower 3M Scotchlite reflective band for great visibility and a quick release buckle. It comes in 10 different colors.  There is also a women’s version that is 1.5” wide and comes in 4 colors.  Both versions of the Re-Flex belts sell for $9.75 each, which is a steal.  I found this belt to be extremely comfortable and didn’t have any issues with it bouncing around or sliding up my body as I ran.
Sayre also has a vinyl belt that also uses the 3M Scotchlite reflective technology.  While I liked the elastic version better, I felt that this belt worked well too.  It comes in 8 colors and also has some additional options that have two colors (one per side, which is reversible).  You can buy the vinyl l belt for $10.15.

Sayre also has armbands using the same technology, both in vinyl and elastic.  I found that these armbands work well but might not be quite tight enough on people with very small arms.  The bands sell for about $4.50 and come in 11 colors.  They utilize a Velcro closure system that keeps the band secure.  Again, I liked the elastic better than the vinyl, but they both worked well and would help you to be more visible.  I am sure that it is just personal preference.  If you run in the rain frequently, the vinyl might be a better option.

I really like the reflective products that Sayre produces.  They are cheap and effective tools to help keep you safe when you are running at night.  This would be a great stocking stuffer for the runner in your life.  You can buy them at

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.

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Do you know when to replace your running shoes? The Mino does!

Do you know that running on worn out shoes is one of the primary reasons for injuries in runners?  Do you know when to replace your shoes?  Trying to get a straight answer out of any runner or running store as to when you should replace your shoes is difficult at best.  There are a few common theories.

One theory is that you should replace your shoes every 300-600 miles depending on the brand.  I have read about runners who replace their shoes every 200 miles and others who run over 1,000 miles in a pair of shoes.  The truth is that you can’t really go by mileage because it depends on too many factors including you weight, running style, and type of terrain you run on.

Another popular theory is that you should replace your shoes every 6 months.  This is not a good option either.  I might run 400 miles in that 6 month period where another runner might run 100 or 2,000 miles in that same 6 month period.  Many runners also have several pairs of shoes so they might not put that many miles on each pair of shoes.

The third theory that I hear a lot is that people retire a pair of shoes when they can tell that the cushion or sole of the shoe shows wear.  The problem with this theory is that by the time you can see that the soles are worn out or that the cushioning has started to collapse, you have probably already started to injure yourself.  So how do you know when to replace a pair of shoes?

There is a product called the Mino that can help.  The Mino is a 2.5mm thick pad that you put under the insole of your shoes.  It measures the compression each time you take a step.  The best part is that you don’t have to worry about when to replace your shoes.  The Mino has a set of 6 lights.  As you run more miles in your shoes, more lights will illuminate.  When you get to the 5th (yellow) light you know that you will need to replace your shoes soon.  The 6th (red) light means you need to replace your shoes now.  Every once in a while, just lift up your insole and push the button on the Mino to see how many lights are lit up.  It really is that simple.

My primary concern was if I would feel this under my insole or if it would change the way I ran.  I was surprised to find out that I didn’t even know it was there.  The Mino comes with a 2nd pad to put in your other shoe so your feet will still be the same height from the ground. 

Some runners track mileage for each shoe they run in.  What a pain!  I have several pairs of shoes and don’t want to hassle with a spreadsheet to track my mileage.  I absolutely love this product and I have a pair in every shoe that I own.  For the month of November, you can purchase the Mino at 33% off ($10 each) at  Use the coupon code "TEN" at checkout. You can find out more information about the Mino on their website as well. 

Your shoes are intended to protect your feet for a set amount of miles and after that; you dramatically increase the chance of injury.  I think the Mino could quite possibly be the product of the year in 2014.  This would be a great holiday gift for the runner in your life.  Grab your own Mino and let me 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.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

5 great lesser known shoe companies you haven't heard about.

These days everyone knows about Nike, Brooks, Asics, and New Balance running shoes. What you might not know is that there are several newer companies that have great philosophies and are putting out spectacular shoes. Here is a list of 5 running shoe companies that you might not know about.

Altra has grown in popularity since they were founded in 2009. Golden Harper who has over 30 years in the running specialty industry wanted to design shoes what had a wide toe box that allows more room for your feet to spread out. Altra also provides a zero heel drop in their shoes, claiming that it puts your body in a more natural posture. They have an extensive line of shoes from minimal cushioning in their Instinct 1.5 to their max cushion shoes, the Paradigm. Altra believes in educating their customers on running with proper form and includes a booklet with each pair of shoes on how to run with proper form.  Altra is one of my personal favorites.


 Topo Athletic is another shoe that uses the wide toe box. Founder Tony Post left his job as the CEO of Vibram (maker of the Fivefingers) to start his own company about 2 years ago. Topo Athletic makes shoes with a secure heel, relaxed instep area and loose toe box. Some of their shoes incorporate the Boa lacing system for quick micro-adjustments. Their most popular shoes include the Runduro road shoe, MT trail shoe, and the Sante cross training shoes. Topo Athletic wants to provide a natural experience where you feel connected to the ground. 

Hoka One One is known for their cushion. Founders Jean-Luc Diard and Nicolas Mermoud started Hoka One One in 2009. Their vision was to create a shoe that would help alleviate fatigue, impact, and muscle strains so runners could just enjoy running. They produce light weight oversized shoes with plenty of cushioning. Some of their top sellers include the Bondi 3, Clifton, Conquest, and Huaka.  If you want a shoe that feels like you are running on clouds, Hoka might have a shoe for you.

Newton is another company that you might not have heard about. Newton was founded by Jerry Lee and Danny Abshire. Newton is best known for shoes with lugs underneath the ball of your foot.  They provide what Newton calls a “pop sensation.” The lugs recede into the shoe and provide a trampoline type effect (no, it won’t make you jump ten feet in the air). Newton makes shoes that are light and responsive with a low heel drop. Some of Newton’s most popular models include the Gravity III, Distance III, and Motion III.

One of the newest members in the US market is Salming. They were founded in 1991 in Sweden with the idea of incorporating a holistic approach to making running shoes, but did not start selling in the US until September 2014. They want to provide a light weight shoe without any of the “gimmicks or factory add-ons.” Salming utilizes a 4D Running lab, which is unlike any other running lab in the world. That is where the designing of their shoes takes place. Their shoes are light weight and comfortable so you can just get out and run. Salming has four models; the Distance, Speed, Race, and Xplore.

There are many other great shoe companies that I could add to this article. Let me know what some of your favorite lesser known running shoe companies are and maybe I will mention them in “5 great lesser known shoe companies you haven't heard about, part 2.”