How kit can rekindle your sport!
It's certainly a 'perk' of the job receiving kit to try and test and I can now say that my running 'goody bag' from Scott has now been well and truly tested! This summer I met up with Rhys Henderson of Scott Sports where we went over some of the Scott running clothes and footwear. The Scott running range is fairly new on the market and now is the time for them to perfect their products with a variety or views and opinions. Rhys left me with clothing and versions of both their road and trail shoes.
Road Shoe Test - MK4
I've now had both the MK3 and MK4 women's road shoe, the MK4 eRide being their newest model. Due to my work and home both being in the mountains I have to admit that I am far less a road runner these days however I have been taking the MK4's with me to run in the evenings when I am based in towns or villages with access to easy park trails, pavements and tarmac. (Things we don't have in my village!). And so far my results have not just been positive about the shoes but the change in routine has also rekindled my love for the flats!
As we know, looks aren't everything but they help(!) and the MK4 comes in some fun bright colours (currently a cool bluey/turqouise and pink) but is designed with a technical look which still allows the funky colour scheme to not detract from it being a shoe for serious runners. The sizing is the same as my Brooks or Asics shoes and fitted comfortably on my first outing. The upper is made with Scott’s 'Ergologic Fit construction' - this basically means it fits snugly because it's fully adjustable, maximizing comfort. I found that the MK4's certainly pulls into a close fit but puckers slightly across the width - although this doesn't effect the comfort of the shoe. Next thing, is it's noticeably lighter than other road shoes I've had in the past. I used to think that to have a light road shoe meant a out an out road/race shoe which would then mean you were compromising on support. But the MK4 is made with a low profile AeroFoam midsole and is around 25% lighter than traditional EVA foams. For those that require more medial support Scott now have their MK4+ which again would normally mean a heavier shoe but the Aerofoam means this model is one of the lightest lightweight stability trainers on the market.
But the reason my love for the flats has been 'rekindled' I think has been due to the Scott 'rocker' idea. So this is the science bit... Scott have developed a unique rocker shape in their shoes which creates a very stable 'midstance'....this 'rocking' action encourages you to literally rock from one step to the next, providing you with a naturally faster and more efficient running gait - a miracle cure to shave time off your next PB perhaps!? On the flats I must admit I do 'feel' faster and the natural 'midfoot' strike of the rocker seems to promote a more upright body position and certainly feel nice to run in! The rocker is what Scott call their eRide Technology which features in all of their shoes. As a trail runner my renewed enthusiasm for speed work on the flat has been a positive boost to my off road running again. Reminding me of the importance to cross train, not just between different sports but also within the same sport - road and trail.
So what with ticks for colour, comfort, added speed and enjoyment on the flats the MK4 certainly gets my seal of approval.
Trail Shoe Test - eRide Grip 2
Next up, the women's eRideGrip 2 which is Scott's trail shoe. Unsure of my exact sizing for this model Rhys sent two pairs of different sizes which arrived in the post the day I began working on our September Trail Tunning Camp. As soon as they were out of the box they were on my feet and heading to meet our group for their first test run! That week we ran on all terrains and a variety of distances. We ran easy to steep technical trails, through mud and wet grass, over boulder fields and pine woods and on a mix of limestone and granite rock trails and the Grip2 certainly passed all the tests for traction and grip. As the Grip2 also has the Scott 'eRide' technology too it also means that when you hit the flats you still feel that rocking action and enhanced gait. The 'low profile' fit of the shoe is also really noticeable on technical descents providing a really stable platform to strike from. This coupled with the good traction gives you plenty of confidence to really 'push it' on the down hills! I also really like the idea of the 'drainage' holes that feature on the Grip 2 - for extracting water from those soggy winter runs!
The sizing for these is the same as the road shoe - so the second pair of Grip 2's that I received went to one of our most valued customers and one of my role models, Susie Smith, aka My Mum! She's an avid trail runner, cyclist and walker and at 65yrs she's always very cautious of not getting injured. She too was in Chamonix to run on the Trail Running Camp.
"My off road shoes were definitely past there best but not having had a chance to shop prior to going to Chamonix I came over with my trusty old pair knowing that they would have to do the job. However it was my lucky day, Julia offered me a new pair of Scott trail shoes straight out the box. As we all know running in new shoes is often a bit hit and miss and I didn't want to ruin my week with blisters or worse... but I said I would give them a try. Days later with many ups and downs on alpine trails including our final long run of 26km and 1200m I can say the shoes were excellent! Comfy, supportive, no blisters or sore toes - they even gave me a boost on the tricky downhills". Susie Smith - 1st V3F Chamonix Trail 10km '08, 3rd V3F Chamonix Cross Half Marathon '09
The Grip 2's also get a third tick from Lindsay - she's been using hers for work leading treks all over the Alps this summer and in her words "I can't fault them!". So, it seems that my Scott parcel of goodies has had many positive results over the past few months and it wasn't just in a stylish new wardrobe!
If you are thinking of getting new running shoes and would like to consider Scott shoes as your 'new best friend' then here's how to find your nearest stockist - more and more shops are holding stock across Europe. Perhaps they can give your training a boost too. Next on my order will be the eRide Icerunner for enhanced grip on wet and snow - and that's not just because they are pink!