Thursday, February 20, 2014


Yaktrax - Confidence on packed snow and ice.
I had purchased a pair of Yaktrax Pro a while back for running in snow. I used them occasionally, but discovered that they work best on packed powder conditions and aren't that great on ice. After a few months, they broke. One of the rubber sections inside the metal coil snapped and they were useless then.

I checked the Yaktrax website and submitted an online query and they replied that they would replace them!
When a successful company stands behind their product, I commend them for it. There are so many examples of bad customer support that it's refreshing to see a company willing to keep their customers happy.

These bad boys will be seeing many more miles on the trails.

Thank you Yaktrax!


I've had a love/hate thing for Smartwool for a few years now.

Colorado company
Comfortable apparel
Merino Wool

Quality control problems with socks
Sometimes hard to find

I recently heard about a "satisfaction guarantee" from Smartwool and I decided to check it out. On their website, I submitted a complaint about some of my socks that had become threadbare in the normal abrasion areas for runners.

A Smartwool rep had recently told me that they knew of some production issues where the wool fibers were not woven in the right pattern or something like that and that is what led to the unusually fast wear patterns.

My online query was quickly answered and I was provided the method to ship in my old socks and they sent me a replacement pair for each one I sent them!

Now THAT is what I call good customer service! This is so refreshing in the age of poor or even non-existent customer service that I felt it was noteworthy.

Thank you Smartwool! You have retained a loyal and vocal fan!

Saucony Peregrine 4

Most people who run trails with me know that I run in a few different pairs of trail shoes. I was in the Montrail Mountain Masochist for a few years before discovering the Saucony Peregrine. Currently, my rotation consists of the Peregrine 4, Innov8 TrailRoc 255, Montrail FluidFlex, and the Hoka One One Stinson Trail.

The Peregrine has been a great shoe for me for a while now. This year, the 4th generation of Peregrine has introduced some fairly significant changes since it's original debut.

First, some specs:
Weight: 9.4oz. / 266 g (size 9) 
4mm offset
Co-molded EBO (External Bedrock Outsole) plate at midfoot
Nylon fiber rock plate at forefoot
Fits true to size

I've run in this shoe since it's first iteration a few years ago and have seen a few improvements, but one thing that has been fairly consistent with the first 3 models is the lack of durability.
The same part of the shoe where the upper meets the mid-sole has been ripping open after a few dozen miles. Thankfully, my current pair, this didn't happen till well after 500 miles.

The flexfilm overlays are fine and serve their purpose in providing some structure to the light-weight mesh upper. They're not overly constricting and they are pretty durable. I've never seen any peeling off or ripping as the mesh has.

Version 4 of the Peregrine introduces several changes which are pretty understated in this introduction by the Saucony Rep at Outdoor retailer.

So far I only have 2 short runs in them, but here's what I've noticed.
The shoe is lighter, but FEELS more substantial. This could be due to the increased lug depth or it could be the replacement of the Progrid midsole with the PowerGrid. The mid-sole material has always been sufficiently responsive and I've noticed less compression/compaction in this foam than in other shoes with comparable mileage. The outsole and upper have worn out before the mid-sole has in my experience which is very different from other running shoes.
The well-protected toebox on these has always treated me well. They seem to have slightly more than average room up front to let the piggies spread out a little. They are no Altras, but they're not nearly as narrow up front as most Salomons, Adidas, or some other shoes are.
The regular nylon laces are also replaced with a thin, stretchy type that have held tied (double knotted) so far on both of my runs.

I have yet to run any long runs in these, nor have I done anything really technical which is where I feel these shoes really excel. I've put so many miles in the previous gen Peregrines, I know how they fit my foot and how the lug placement will react when I place my foot in certain places in technical rock gardens. This newer version fits similarly, but the whole outsole is quite different and I'm curious to see if they continue to treat me well.

Will try to re-visit this later to post more thoughts on it as I get to know the shoe better.

(UPDATE 3/21/2014)
After putting a little over 130 miles on these shoes, I can still say that I love them. The deeper lugs don't shed mud that well, but they do hold the ground under just about any terrain/circumstances. The PowerGrid midsole seems to be a little firmer to me than before. The upper is still just as comfortable as before with one added improvement. I haven't had to find the "sweet spot" with lacing on these as the inclusion of the new stretch laces negated the need for re-tying.
I HIGHLY recommend these shoes for technical trails, snow running, or just going fast on the dirt!