Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Rehband Knee Sleeve Review

There is much more involved with being an injury free and successful runner than just hitting the pavement or trails.  I have found that stretching, foam rolling, and strength training also have to be included in my training to not just become stronger, but reduce the risk of injury.  By strengthening the muscles in my legs, I become more stable and can really crush my runs.  I have really noticed my endurance increasing and I can handle climbing and descending hills much better.

I have been working out in the gym for over 25 years now.  I can’t believe that I can even say that.  It makes me feel so old!!!  I am not a gym guru by any means.  I’ve had some friends who are personal trainers work with me on my form and training plans to get the most out my gym workouts.  I have always had some knee issues, especially on heavy leg days. 

My friend and coworker told me about his favorite knee sleeves that he uses when he’s lifting.  He’s a pure animal and puts his gear through the ringer, but says his Rehband Original Knee Sleeves are amazing and will last forever.  I fully trust him and wanted to see if it would help with my knee pain. 

The Rehband Original Knee Sleeve is a 7mm thick knee sleeve that will provide support and stabilization while lifting.  It’s made of thick Neoprene with a seamless back panel and anatomical construction to really work with you when lifting heavy weights.  It does a great job of warming up your joints and muscles to prevent injuries.  When I say warming, I mean that it will make you sweat like crazy under the sleeve.

These knee sleeves are the go-to knee sleeve for people in cross fit from the research that I’ve done.  They are approved for use in Powerlifting, Olympic lifting, Crossfit, Strongman, and Elite team sports.

So my experience with the sleeves has been really good.  They fit great and stay put.  I have tried other cheaper sleeves that always slide down or cause irritation.  The Rehband Original Knee Sleeves do a great job of heating up my knees.  I throw them on before my 1/2 mile jog to the gym and am ready to lift heavy when I get there. I’ve not had any knee pain since I’ve started using my Rehband Original Knee Sleeves and have been able to lift heavier and longer because of the extra stability.

Here is my only issue and it has nothing to do with the product at all.  By the time I am done with my workout, the knee sleeves are drenched with sweat.  I just let them dry, but do have to wash them in the sink after every 2-4 workouts because they start to smell a little.  I could easily see these sleeves lasting for years, they are that durable. 

You can find them on Amazon for $39.59 each (sold per sleeve, not per pair) and they are eligible for Prime shipping.  I encourage you to go to their website and look at their injury guide for other products that may help with an injury you are dealing with (click here). 

Extremely durable
Help with knee pain
May help you lift heavier and longer
Reduces the risk of injury
Stabilizes knee and surrounding soft tissue

Rehband’s Social Media Links

I am a huge advocate for products that can help you reduce the risk of injury.  The Rehband Original Knee Sleeves are one of those products that can help you when working on increasing your strength and becoming less injury prone in whatever sport you are participating in.  I do not plan on having to buy another pair of these sleeves because they should last for quite a long time, but I would not hesitate to buy them again.  While I would be hesitant to spend $80 on a pair of sleeves, the fact that they will last forever and work so well, makes this a “no-brainer” for me. 

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.

Friday, August 10, 2018

Altra Olympus 3.0 Review

I started running in Altra shoes about a four years ago.  I wrote several reviews during my ”Week of Altra,” last year.  To say I am a fan of the Foot Shaped Toe Box and Zero Heel Drop is an understatement.  Altra ventured into the world of running apparel within the past few years and strives to make running gear that will improve your running experience.  Altra seems to just keep getting better from their clothing, to jackets, to shoes.

I’ve written reviews for several Altra shoes in the past.  Click the links to read my past reviews:

The Olympus 2.0 is a max cushioned trail shoe that I reviewed last year.  It’s perfect for running longer distances on the trail where your feet need a little more cushion and support.  They have a stack height of 36mm, which is a lot, but doesn’t feel unstable in any way.  I was impressed with the  Olympus 2.0 for the most part.  They had a decent amount of cushion and had grip for days.  There were a few areas where I saw room for improvement.  The upper let way too much debris in and created some issues for my feet on a few runs.  Also, I like a shoe that is more flexible and because of the stack height and design of the midsole/outsole, the Olympus 2.0 was not very flexible.  I heard that the newest Olympus had been completely revamped and I couldn’t wait to check it out.

11.0 ounces
10.7 ounces
Stack Height
36 mm
33 mm
Outsole Material
Vibram® MegaGrip
Vibram® MegaGrip
Midsole Material
A-Bound/dual-layer EVA
Upper Material
Abrasion Resistant Mesh
Heel Drop
Gaiter Trap
Heel Velcro only
4-point gaiter attachment

The Olympus 3.0 was redesigned to provide more support, stability, and traction than its predecessors.  Like the Olympus 2.0 the newest Olympus has a midsole made with both EVA and A-Bound™ materials.  They changed the EVA top layer to a dual-layer EVA to help take some of the impact from the trail while the A-Bound™ bottom layer to adds a spring to each step.  The Olympus 3.0 did feel like it was more cushioned compared to the previous model.  There were able to increase the plushness while not making the shoe feel sloppy.  All of this was done at 10.7 ounces, which is 0.3 ounces lighter than the Olympus 2.0. 

Like the Olympus 2.0, the outsole is made of durable rubber with strategic sections of Vibram® MegaGrip.  This is a super-grippy material that really helps on technical and rocky trails as well as in the mud.  The Vibram® MegaGrip is center gray area on the picture below.  The teal area of the outsole is the durable rubber.  The tread is awesome!  It has both forward and reverse facing lugs.  The lugs will help give you grip when running up a hill and traction while running down hills. 

I have used this shoe in wet conditions as well as on dry technical trails.  I have used it in shorter fast trail runs as well as at the Skyline 50k last weekend.   I had an absolute blast in this shoe for over 30 miles.  There was plenty of cushion to protect my fragile feet.  I have been running with Plantar Fasciitis for over a year now and it’s often painful to run for longer than 10 miles.  While the pain didn’t disappear with the Olympus 3.0, it was much more bearable than with most of my other trail shoes. 

The redesigned upper material is made up of abrasion resistant mesh, which flexes with your feet, but does a great job of holding your feet down so you don’t slide around and blacken your toe nails.   It’s also due in part to the overlays and the lacing system, which works really well together.  The upper is breathable and drains well if you have any creek crossings.  The tongue is thick enough to prevent the laces from biting into the top of your feet, but not too thick to make your feet overheat.

Like other Altra shoes the Olympus 3.0 puts your foot in its natural position with its zero heel drop (that’s how you would walk if you didn’t have shoes on).  The FootShape™ toebox allows your toes to spread out and will eliminate issues of compressing your feet/toes like many shoes out there. 

One of my favorite features of this shoe is the Gaiter Trap.  It is a piece of Velcro on the back of the heel that you can attach your gaiters too.  It’s also on Altra’s other trail shoes (including the Superior, Lone Peak, and Timp) and it makes securing your gaiters much easier.  What Altra has done recently is included side gaiter traps so you can use Altra’s 4-point gaiters.  I absolutely love this feature as most shoes don’t have attachments on the sides for the gaiters.  The 4-point gaiter system really does a great job of keeping debris out. 

Very comfortable
Zero heel drop
Wide toe box.
Great grip with the Vibram® Megagrip outsole
4-Point Gaiter Trap
Plenty of cushion Dual Layer EVA and A-Bound
Lightweight at 10.7 ounces

Altra’s Social Media Links:

I have been looking for a shoe that had enough cushion and support to handle those long, tough days on the trail.  I am training for my first 100 miler (the Rio Del Lago 100 Miler in November) and the Olympus 3.0 will be one of the shoes I use, not only in training, but during the race.   The Olympus 3.0 has great grip thanks to the multi-directional lugs and Vibram® MegaGrip outsole.  It really gives you confidence on the trails, no matter the conditions.  You can get the Olympus 3.0 for $150 on the Altra website.

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.