Thursday, February 26, 2015

Lems Nine2Five Shoe Review

I have a job that requires me to wear dress shoes at least 4 days a week.  Since I started running I found it very difficult to find comfortable dress shoes that did not compress my toes or have a heel drop that was too high.  I was told about a company that makes zero drop shoes with minimal cushioning and a wide toe box.  That company is called Lems.

Lems is a 100% family owned company that started designing their shoes in 2008.  After three long years of making prototypes, they sold their first shoe in 2011.  Lems believes in only including materials that are needed and eliminating the rest, “…no gimmicks, no fluff.”  From their first design, their goal was to develop a shoe that considers the foot and what it needs; a flat, flexible shoe that fits the natural shape of the foot.

While Lems has a full line of casual shoes, boots, and dress shoes, I am only reviewing their dress shoe today.  The Nine2five comes in Black, Mocha, or Coffee&cream.  I tried the black shoe because it is typically what I wear to work.  These shoes are incredibly light, weighing in at around 8.6 ounces.  They are so flexible that you can literally fold them in half!  The Nine2five is made with 100% genuine leather and looks great.  The shape is a little different than most dress shoes because they have that wider toe box, but I like the look.

I have been wearing them for almost 2 months now because I wanted to see how they would feel and wear before I posted a review.  What I found was that after the first day or two, which they felt kind of weird, I fell in love with the shoes.  My initial uncertainty came from not being used to a zero drop dress shoe with a wide toe box, since most dress shoes fall on the other end of the spectrum with a high heel drop and very narrow toe boxes. 

Lems uses top of the line materials and it shows.  My old shoes used to come apart between the upper and the outsole from bending down and playing with my kids after work.  These shoes look just as good today as they did the day I got them, and they keep feeling more comfortable with every use. 

If you are looking for a comfortable dress shoe that is great for your feet, give the Nine2five a try.  You can buy them at the Lems website for around $125.  They have great customer service and even sent me an email asking how I liked the shoes a few weeks after they arrived in the mail. It was a personalized email too, not a canned one.  Now that’s customer service!   I love Lems and I am sure you will too.    

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, February 24, 2015

Are You Safe In The Dark?

Now that the long days of summer are over, I thought it would be a good time to look at how to stay safe while running in the dark.

1)   Pepper spray is a great personal defense mechanism, unless you spray yourself in the face. Then you just made your attacker’s job easier. You can use a can of silly string and practice on your kids.
2)   Take your “stranger danger” or “weenie” whistle with you. It could even be a cheap whistle from the dollar store. Like a scream, a whistle could help get someone’s attention.

3)   Keep your ID on you. No, your fake ID won’t help you here.  

4)   Have emergency contact information on your phone’s lock screen. By the way, don’t put your own phone number on your lock screen with a message saying, “In case of emergency, call…” or “If lost, please call….” The person who finds your phone would be calling himself.

    5) Make sure you are visible. There are lights that clip to your   clothes or lights that wrap around your arm or leg. There are also headlamps that make you look like a train coming down the railroad tracks. Just make sure you make a loud train noise as you are approaching oncoming runners. My favorite light is the Tracer 360 by Noxgear. It looks like you are a character in the movie Tron, but it will help keep you safe.

6)  Self-defense training can’t hurt. You can learn to throat punch, knee kick, or eye poke.  If you want to really go all out, complete your ninja training and take out your attacker with your throwing star or nun chucks.
7)   Don’t have your music blaring. You are much less likely to hear your attacker if you’re rockin’ out to “Eye 
      of the Tiger”. Some tips include running with only one ear bud in, keeping the music at a low volume, or avoiding music altogether.

8)   Tell someone that you are going 
       for a run and how long it should take. Just don’t run off to the strip club instead. When your partner calls to check up on you, it might be hard to explain why they hear the announcer in the background announcing Tiffany 
      to the stage.

Picture Credit: Google Images, labeled for reuse

Copyright 2014
*Used by permission of MOKO.Mobi, Inc.

Friday, February 20, 2015

Skechers GOmeb Speed 3 Review

I have been wearing Skechers for almost a decade.  When I started hearing about their push into the performance running shoe game, I was very skeptical.  I contacted Skechers to try the GOmeb Speed 3 after seeing reviews about how it is a great shoe.  My thoughts were that a newcomer in the running game is probably going to put out a mediocre shoe at best. 

I got the GOmeb Speed 3 in the mail and had to take them out of the box immediately because my curiosity was killing me.  I slipped them on and was floored.  They fit like a glove.  I have never put on a pair of shoes that felt so comfortable.  My next though was how light the shoe was.  It weighs in at around 8 ounces.  The shoe is very flexible and well put together.  I had to wait a few days to test them out because I wanted to save them for a speed run.

Fast forward to my first test run...  I put on the GOmeb Speed 3’s and headed out for a 5k sprint.  The first thing that I noticed was that it was more of a minimal shoe than I was used to.  It has enough cushioning to get the job done, but I am not sure if it would be enough for me to run a half marathon in.  After the first mile, I started to really think about how the shoe felt.  Even though there wasn’t as much cushioning as I was used to, I found it to be very comfortable and allowed me to focus on my form.  I was able to improve my push-off and ended up setting a new 5k PR.  

The upper material is very airy and looks great.  I got the black and neon yellow shoe, which looks awesome.  The only negative thing I can say is that some of the black paint on the outsole was a little sloppy, but you would only notice that if you were taking a close look.  It is nothing that you would notice out on a run.  The lugs on the bottom of the shoe provide plenty of traction and the outsole flexibility is perfect.

While many of my shoes have a wide toe box and zero heel drop, I found the narrower toe box and 4mm heel drop in the GOmeb Speed 3 was still comfortable and I didn’t notice the difference.

All in all, this is a great shoe and I was utterly surprised with Skechers performance shoe program.  They have really produced a winner in the GOmeb Speed 3.  This is a great shoe at a great price, costing around $120.  If you are looking for a great speed shoe that will help you bring out your best, give the GOmeb Speed 3 a try.

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, February 19, 2015

Update on Noxgear Tracer 360 Review

I wanted to revisit one of the best pieces of running gear out there in my opinion.  I reviewed the Tracer 360 from Noxgear in November (click here for the review) and have been using it on a regular basis, whenever I do a night run. 

It is extremely comfortable and is vital to make sure that traffic sees you when you are out on your night or early morning runs.  I have only had to replace the batteries one time so far and there has been no wear on the unit that I have been able to see. 

This is still a product that I would recommend to anyone who runs when it is dark out.  I have worked out a deal with Noxgear where you can get 20% off plus free shipping if you use the code "RWI20" at checkout.  It is good until June 30, 2015.  Get yours today. 

Also, Noxgear is coming out with a lighted dog harness in May.  I will hopefully be reviewing that as well and think it will be a great product to keep your four legged friend safe as well.

Tuesday, February 17, 2015

Why should I take energy gels?

I have been using energy gels for cycling even before my running days.  I never truly understood the purpose of taking them other then it would provide me with energy during my exercise.  I ran across a great article from, "What Is the Purpose of Race Nutrition." that talks about the purpose of race nutrition that really puts things in perspective.

Let’s first look what is in the energy gels that many runners use.  Most energy gels are made up of simple sugars like sucrose and glucose.  I use Gu Rocutane which uses maltodextrin.  These are basically just sugars and are some of the worst things you could put in your body.  The thing to keep in mind is that you are trying to use these energy sources to complete races or workouts, not use as a dietary supplement. 

This is my take on nutrition.  I try to non-processed foods as much as possible.  When it comes to training though, I need to provide my body with what it needs to make it through the grueling last few miles of my races.  Everyone has their own opinion and there are many runners who would rather eat healthy snacks during races, but what the article from said was that you are trying to supply your body with energy, not eating healthy.  Eating Brussels sprouts and apples won’t provide you with the energy you need even though they are a great, healthy source of carbs.  Your body needs the simple sugars.

You should look for an energy gel that will provide you with about 60 grams of carbs per hour according to the article.  I tend to take one gel (21 grams of carbs each) every 3.5 miles, or about every 30 minutes.  Test out several different types and see what works best.  I find the consistency and the ingredients in the Gu Rocutane work great for me.  It is a little more pricy than some of the other brands though.  You can also find gels with or without caffeine.  I find the caffeine can give you an added boost later in a race. 

One major point I want to make is that you should be practicing your gel consumption during your long runs so your body will be used to digesting while running.  It will make your race more pleasant and could help minimize trips to the dreaded port-o-potty, or behind a bush.  Let me know what your favorite energy gel or supplement is and why.

Note:  I am not a doctor; these are my personal opinions based on research.  Consult a running coach to assess what should be added to your running plans.