Fit Four Spartan OCR Neo Grip Gloves

OCR Neo Grip Gloves
3.5 / 5 Overall
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Inevitably the question of whether you should wear gloves to an OCR event will come up in your circle of friends. Official Spartan Race glove provider, Fit Four offered me the option to try some of their newly introduced OCR Neo Grip Gloves. Unlike tradition full coverage mitts, the Neo Grips are minimalist in design, geared towards protecting you from painful callouses while allowing you a wider range of motion throughout your race.

Spartan OCR Neo Grip Gloves Features

Added cushion and anti-slip grip protection for OCR races  – The added grip these gloves provided really proved useful on obstacles like the rope climb, Hercules hoist, and plate drags. They provided a cushioned barrier for my hands, while not sacrificing the grip strength I’ve built up.

Original patented 4-finger minimalist gloves design – Can gloves without straps stay in place? How effective can such a small gloves be? The gloves hold tight around your hands without the need of straps or velcro. Their compression fit keeps them in place while navigating obstacles, running, trudging through mud or swimming. Having your fingers and palms free allows me to keep these on through the race if necessary but they’re also easy enough to slide off, should I want to tuck them in my pack when not in use.

Spartan OCR Neo Grip Gloves Usage

Admittedly, I have only worn gloves to more easily navigate mud crawls. I’d slip them on to keep my hands protected as I rolled under barbed wire, etc. I had never considered gloves for the obstacles themselves. I’ve spent a few weeks using Fit Four’s OCR Neo Grip Gloves and there’s definitely a place in my gear box for these going forward.

I found the gloves to be both comfortable and durable. Their four-finger compression fitting wrapped the most vulnerable parts of my hands, like a tiny neoprene wetsuit. The gloves were well built and tough, but their minimalist design ensured I lost no effectiveness in my grip, even bolstering it during certain obstacles. They’re easily removed while running, should you rather attack the next obstacle with bare palms – but I’ll warn you – after wearing these, you’ll wonder why you have gone this long without them.

I’ve taken them to multiple OCR events as well as my local obstacle training gym, and I’ve found them to be helpful in both race and training situations.

Spartan OCR Neo Grip Gloves Durability

Fit Four has developed these gloves using double-stitching to ensure durability and effectiveness during a Spartan Race. The compression fitting holds well while in use, and the neoprene design ensures that your hands can still “breathe” while wearing them. Small pieces of the foam lining have started to fall apart after repeated use, but this is mostly in spots where there is excess material and I have seen no change in the usability of the gloves because of this.

Spartan OCR Neo Grip Gloves Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Simple, minimalist design
  • Superior callous protection
  • Form fitting without the need for velcro or straps
  • Open design allows for a good balance of protection as well as freedom of movement

Cons

  • Underside of gloves can bunch up and fold over during obstacles like Rigs and Monkey Bars
  • Open design can allow mud and rocks to gather easier than traditional gloves
  • Small pieces of material have pulled away, though no impact to usage

Spartan OCR Neo Grip Gloves Conclusion

While any pair of gloves will not replace the need to continue to work on grip strength training for obstacle races, Fit Four has found the sweet spot with the Spartan OCR Neo Grip Gloves for users who trust their grip but want to protect their hands and callouses during a race. These gloves are small enough to tuck into your pocket during a race and easy to put on and pull off without having to stop, which makes them a great addition to any race day supply list.

 

 


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Josh Chace has been an obstacle and endurance race enthusiast for the last five years. He is a 2017 Team MudGear Athlete and is a co-host of the New England Spahtens Show podcast.
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Reebok All-Terrain Freedom Review

Reebok All-Terrain Freedom
2 / 5 Overall
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Water Draining
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The Reebok All-Terrain Freedom is Reeboks 2017 more general purpose trail running shoe offering to pair with the aggressive All-Terrain Super 3.0. Last year they had released the Thrill which was a great middle ground shoe that maintained many of the similar features to the Super, but this shoe is not as similar in its pairing. One of the notable design changes you will notice in the All-Terrain Freedom is the lack of drainage ports which has been a long time staple of the All-Terrain shoe series along with the fully one piece upper.

Reebok All-Terrain Freedom Features

Seamless Upper  – The big update to the All-Terrain Super 3.0 was the seamless upper and they mostly mirrored that design in the All-Terrain Freedom. One thing that makes this stand out is that while the Super had a flap that allowed for more variation in upper sizing this one does not. It is truly one piece as you can see from the photos.

Grooved Sole With Deep Lugs – Another slight deviation from the normal copy and paste style design was a revision of the lug design. They kept similar core center lug style but changed the perimeter completely.

Minimal Drop – The drop has been measured at 5mm which will be a welcome middle ground for many people. While 2-3mm is generally considered a low drop shoe this comes in just above that. It is a great shoe drop to transition from what is a more commonly used 8-9mm drop on your way to a no drop or truly minimal drop shoe.

Reebok All-Terrain Freedom Usage

What you will notice as soon as you slide your foot into the stretchy one piece upper is a critical flaw in the one piece upper design for the All-Terrain Freedom. Unless your foot is the exact diameter of the opening, or slightly larger, there will be bunching when you tighten the laces. This is incredibly uncomfortable, impractical, and shocking that this passed the many stages that it must take to design a shoe at a company. Did no one ever try these on and say, “Let me tighten the laces so the shoes don’t move around while I run on a trail.” ?

This flaw basically precludes the rest of the usage section. I swear I tried to run in these shoes and I run in many shoes for review that are generally uncomfortable, but I couldn’t run in them more than twice. The All-Terrain Super 3.0 had this problem solved by doing a pseudo one piece upper, why didn’t these? Was it the same reason they removed the drainage ports – to prevent debris?

I’m left with more questions than answers after using the All-Terrain Freedom. The grip felt about standard and cushioning felt in line with a cushioned trail shoe. The cushion stack may have ridden a little tall for my preference when it comes to trail shoes but this is more of a personal preference.

 

Reebok All-Terrain Freedom Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Minimal Drop at 5mm

Cons

  • Poorly designed upper
  • No drainage ports

Similar Products

Reebok All Terrain FreedomReebok All Terrain Super 3.0Reebok All Terrain Thrill
Weight335g220g320g
Heel Drop5mm5mm13mm
Grip3/16"3/16"3/16"
Metal StudsNoNoNo
Price$69.99$99.99$125.00
ORM ReviewYesYesYes
BuyAmazonReebokAmazon

Reebok All-Terrain Freedom Conclusion

If you are wondering still if you should buy this shoe or not, I would suggest not to. There are many great cushioned trail running shoes out there, even the Reebok All-Terrain Super 3.0 that these were modeled after – but often a copy isn’t as good as the original. The one way that I can suggest these shoes is if you try them on in person to see if your foot fits the upper exactly when tightened, or from a website with free returns. The Reebok All-Terrain Freedom is clever with the one piece upper, but maybe a little too clever for their own good.


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Roll Recovery R8 Review

Roll Recovery R8
3.7 / 5 Overall
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The Roll Recovery R8 is a product I have had my eye on for a long time before getting to review it. It really stood out to me for a few reasons, for starters it is a deep tissue massage that applies the pressure for you. This is similar to the idea of Normatec Pulse Recovery boots but on a much simpler level. The R8 doesn’t need to be plugged in and have you setup in a chair, it is a spring loaded device that you just clamp on to a body part and move around. Another reason I really like the automatic applying pressure of a hand operated tool is for basically the reason I have just stated; self massage is tiring and sometimes makes my hands and forearms feel like they need a massage afterwards. With the Roll Recovery R8 you don’t exhaust your hand muscles to get a good deep tissue massage.

Roll Recovery R8 Features

Self Adjusting Pressure  – What make the R8 special is the basic concept of the spring loaded pressure. When you place this on a part of your body the tension in the spring is based on the amount that you are opening it. The more you open it, the more pressure it will apply. This is how springs work.

Soft Rollers – The rollers that apply pressure to your body are made of a nice soft gel feeling wheel. They are basically just soft inline skate wheels but they are nice ones. If I had to guess I would say around 68a hardness based on a durometer rating.

Roll Recovery R8 Usage

As soon as I unboxed the Roll Recovery R8 deep tissue massage I stopped what I was doing and started to massage my legs. I was a bit surprised by the power of the R8’s spring and a little concerned too. I say this because when you have a base level of spring power there is no lessening it. The flip side of that is that if it’s too weak you are back to using a bunch of arm strength instead. From what I noticed the R8 was usually right for me, for most areas I wanted to massage out. When I was hitting areas that were really sore, and not as meaty like around shins, I actually had to pull outwards on the springs so that I wasn’t screaming in pain. I’ve spent a good amount of time in the ol’ pain cave and the level of pressure was too much for me at certain points.

Other than these few instances of it being too much pressure the Roll Recovery R8 was a pleasure to use. I would just slap it on my quads and hammy’s and go to town on them. The ability to spend less effort and get a deeper massage was definitely a game changer.

See the image below for the semi-scientific analysis I did of the amount of variable pressure as the spring widens.  As you can see with the amount of opening for an ‘average’ leg you end up with about 20 pounds of squeezing power.  The distance between the springs for the picture on the left is on MongoDB rubik’s cube,  scale, and console top – measuring at about 4.25″.

 

Roll Recovery R8 Durability

Durability will not be a concern with this item. I see no way in which this item could wear out within my life time of usage. I bet I could use this on a rhino every day for 10 years and it wouldn’t show much signs of wear. It is built with thick materials and a relatively simple design with few moving parts.

Roll Recovery R8 Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Deep tissue massage with little effort
  • Simple design, no batteries required

Cons

  • The price tag is a little steep for some people $100-120
  • Base pressure of the springs can be a little high for some people

Similar Products

I am a self massage fanatic (see  also –  frequently injured) and here are a few of my current tools that I have used in the past:

Liked:

MobilityWOD Gemini
Lacrosse Ball
Massage Roller Stick (I own 3 versions)
Foam Roller

Didn’t Like:

Hand Massager Glove
Orbit massager
Mobility WOD Supernova
Spikey Massage Ball
Gridded Foam Roller

Your style may vary from mine so it’s worth even checking out the ones I didn’t like. Most of them were referred to me by one person or another that also enjoys crushing out some muscles.

Roll Recovery R8 Conclusion

This product is a must have for my self massage arsenal. Besides every day usage I normally travel with a roller stick and lacrosse ball in my bag, the Roll Recovery R8 is being added to the travel bag. The ability to get a deep massage without much hassle is a big win. One thing you should take into consideration as stated above – if you don’t like deep massages this might not be the tool for you – this R8 goes really deep. If you can manage the $100 price tag ( think of skipping on a massage or two) you will have an invaluable tool added to your recovery kit.

Have you tried the R8? Got another massage tool not mentioned here? Leave a comment below.

 


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Josh Chace has been an obstacle and endurance race enthusiast for the last five years. He is a 2017 Team MudGear Athlete and is a co-host of the New England Spahtens Show podcast.
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Reebok All-Terrain Super 3.0 Shoe Review

Reebok All-Terrain Super 3.0
4.3 / 5 Overall
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Durability
Grip
Water Draining
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Reebok has released their latest model in the most popular line of shoes made specific for OCR, the Reebok All-Terrain Super 3.0. The newest version of the shoe has several major changes that look to improve upon past versions. They have added reinforcement around the areas the shoes commonly rip while also completely changing the uppers material. Another thing worth noting, that I will cover in more detail, is the new lacing system that is unlike any I have seen before.

There is a love/hate relationship within the community based on the people who preach unparalleled drainage, excellent grip and OCR specific features, that stand opposite those who saw it’s a 1-3 race shoe before you’re contacting Reebok customer care for an exchange/refund/discount. The ripping could be explained by the narrow fit of the shoe, past materials used and grueling conditions they’re put through with each race. To view all the comparisons between the 3.0’s and past models read up here. If you have owned past versions, or looked at the comparisons to previous versions, you can tell Reebok is trying to get it right without going to far from the initial vision. To make a lightweight, durable, water draining shoe for obstacle course racing.

 

Reebok All-Terrain Super 3.0 Features

Dura-Grip Seal  – On any other shoe I wouldn’t be listing a rubber seal grip as a feature but this is the first and last concern 9/10 people will inquire about. The “Dura-Grip” rubber is reinforcing the toe box where the previous models were widely known for tearing. It looks like Reebok heard the call for correction(or got tired of replacing shoes for this issue).

Rope Pro – The Reebok All-Terrain line has always been praised for their OCR specific features. The “Rope Pro” is an exterior tread that originates on the bottom midsole of the shoe and continues its journey up the side of the shoe all the way to the laces. This sticky tread is found on the interior outsole of both shoes placed to optimize grip for rope climbs whether you lock both feet onto the rope with the base of your midsole or utilize the efficient hook method with your shoe. This tread is also efficient in wall traverse midsole grip and for several other obstacles.

Drainage Holes – Reebok produced the first shoe in the sport to use factory drainage ports. Many remember how these were met with rave reviews, followed by repetitive complaints on debris collection from the ports. This feature has been unchanged from inception through multiple releases of the Reebok All-Terrain line. If you loved the drainage on previous models and felt some debris was a small price to pay, you’ll be happy.

Reebok All-Terrain Super 3.0 Usage

I was on the side of those that experienced durability issues in the past with this line of shoe and was a skeptic on the Super 3.0 fixing this issue. For that reason I wanted to make sure to run these through the ringer, literally. Getting my hands on these at the back end of race season posed a challenge to find races and truly mimic the wear and (hopefully no) tear that race shoes go through. I found a perfect test at the FIT Challenge located in Rhode Island.

Those familiar with this race, know the technical terrain, natural elements and pressure applied to your shoes from the steep downhill paths used. Two laps (6.8 miles) of hills, rocks, trail, steep uphill and downhill treks. A concern I had was the painful ability to feel every rock, root and uneven terrain under your feet. The grip was as good as expected in comparison to previous models. One aspect I felt the all terrain line were effective in producing was a solid grip on the tread.

A new feature in the Reebok All-Terrain Super 3.0 is the lacing system. The laces do not go through the shoe, rather through a stand alone piece of rubber that is separate from the tongue of the shoe. Personally this was a major drawback for me as the Reebok All-Terrain is already a low cut shoe lacking in ankle stability, this new lacing system does not allow for a lace lock tie method which would normally secure the shoe more firmly to your ankle. On steep downhills you have excess mobility in your ankle providing a less secure, less confident level of support.

Outside that event all usage of the shoe for a thorough test was on flat trail runs totaling around 150 miles. While I didn’t experience any tears similar to previous models I did have cause for concern detailed in the durability section of this review.

Reebok All-Terrain Super 3.0 Durability

As previously stated they performed without any tears or visible separation in the outsole tread or toe cap. My concern was with the “Dura-Grip” seal that covers the toe box to reinforce the toe box. The seal only extended to the toe cap of the shoe and not the outside of the shoe where the tears have occurred in the past. As you can see from the picture they used a very thin material to cover a mesh webbing in the problem section of previous models. The material over the mesh began to pull away from the mesh. I fear that with regular use of the shoe in OCR settings the mesh and lining material will soften when wet and be a cause for concern.

The rubber lacing strip that secures the laces stayed secure to the shoe but was an area I kept an eye on, being a new design I haven’t seen in Reeboks or any other brand for that matter. There has been no issues with the new lacing systems durability.

Reebok All-Terrain Super 3.0 Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Drainage Ports
  • “Rope Pro” obstacle targeted tread
  • Reinforced toe cap
  • “Rock Guard” located in the midsole

Cons

  • Diameter of drainage ports
  • Stand alone lacing system
  • Minimal ankle support
  • Lack of reinforced materials in previous troubled spots

Similar Products

Reebok All Terrain Super 3.0Reebok All Terrain Super ORVJ Sport Irock 2Merrell All Out Peak
Weight220g219g240g295g
Heel Drop5mm5mm6mm6mm
Grip3/16"3/16"3/16"1/4"
Metal StudsNoNoNoNo
Price$99.99$90.00$99.00$69.00
ORM ReviewYesYesYes Yes
BuyReebokAmazonPendingAmazon

 

Reebok All-Terrain Super 3.0 Conclusion

I went into this review with an open mind giving this model a clean slate from past issues in the Reebok All-Terrain line. I came out of this review optimistic that Reebok is listening to feedback and concerns from previous styles while maintaining the features that everyone loved, be it drainage or tread. I’m very curious to see how receptive others are on the new lacing system as this was a negative change for me. I’ll still be concerned with the material used on the outer toe box where previous models had durability issues. My final thought is that I’m cautiously optimistic that there will be less complaints of tears in the newest Reebok All-Terrain Super 3.0.

 

 

For more photos see our preview of the Reebok All-Terrain Super 3.0

 


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Josh Chace has been an obstacle and endurance race enthusiast for the last five years. He is a 2017 Team MudGear Athlete and is a co-host of the New England Spahtens Show podcast.
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Obstacle Course Racing Holiday Buying Guide

Coming up to another years holiday season when you think, what do I buy my OCR loving friend/spouse/relative/booty call for Christmas/Chanukah/Kwanzaa/Other Winter Holiday?

We at Obstacle Racing Media are here to help.

Check out our holiday buying guide and let us know in the comments if we missed a must buy.

Stocking Stuffers: Under $25

obstacle-course-racing-gift-guide-1

 

Under the  Tree / Menorah: $25 – $100

obstacle-course-racing-gift-guide-3

 

Video Humblebrag Moment: $100 and up

Rock concert

 

 

Reebok All-Terrain Super 3.0 Preview

reebok-all-terrain-super-3-preview-4

Reebok has allowed us to preview their latest iteration of the Reebok All-Terrain Super line up that is due for release in the next 2-4 months. They have gone back to the numbering convention after the recent Reebok All-Terrain Super OR – which you can think of as 2.5. With that said we have the Reebok All-Terrain Super 3.0 here for preview. We will come back with a more in-depth review after we have put a few hundred miles on them.

Reebok All-Terrain Super 3.0 Updates

First up the first thing you notice is that they weigh almost an ounce more than the previous version thanks to the reinforced upper. You can see some of the changes in this photo –

reebok-all-terrain-super-3-preview-9

There is a rubber coating around the entire toe box area. The “Dura-Grip” continues to the inner arch area where it is called “Rope-Pro”. The “Rope-Pro” is supposed to help with rope climbs and provide durability on the ropes.

reebok-all-terrain-super-3-preview-8

That same rubberized coating continues up to the lace area and is actually the structure that holds the laces to the shoes. This is a little worrisome since normally laces go through the entire fabric of the shoe. By laces going through the shoes, it makes ripping out a lace hole nearly impossible. The laces here are just looped under the rubber and are shielded from the inside. The upside to this is that the this feature helps keep debris from the inside of the shoe.

More along the lines of isolating the inside of the shoe, they have made something close to a one piece upper with a completely new tongue design. The new tongue is connected on one side as you see but the other side connects near the base of the foot with a thin mesh that goes inside the shoe. This should keep more debris out as well as letting the shoe fit a larger range of feet widths. With one piece uppers if you aren’t within a certain range it can be too tight and if your feet are too small when tightening the material will bunch – this looks to solve that while still having the same effect as a completely one piece upper.

reebok-all-terrain-super-3-preview-2

reebok-all-terrain-super-3-preview-7

Another change to the Reebok All-Terrain Super 3.0 is the heel has an added amount of padding. This should help keep the heel more locked in to help prevent losing your shoes in the mud pits. This is speculation on it’s effectiveness but that appears to be the purpose of the added padding.

reebok-all-terrain-super-3-preview-12

Reebok All-Terrain Super 3.0 Similarities

There are a two main things that are completely the same and with good reason, they work. The sole is completely unchanged and will continue to provide amazing grip while running in the mud. Water drainage ports remain on the side of the front of both foot to keep this as the fastest/best draining shoe you can use for OCR.

One thing that hasn’t changed, that some people won’t be happy about, is that the width is the same. The last for this shoe is the same as all the previous versions. It remains to be seen if they will release a wide version but we won’t hold out breath on it since they haven’t in the past 3 years of releasing this shoe.

Reebok All-Terrain Super 3.0 Wrap-Up

Reebok continues to try and hit the sweet spot between performance and durability with this beefed up version of the shoe. They have completely changed the thin synthetic upper to a more durable feeling material that shouldn’t rip from normal running. The only thing that appears to have gone in potentially the wrong direction is the way the laces are attached. We will post a full usage review in the coming months with the full rundown of wether or not these will hold up under the rigors of OCR.

 

SEE THE FULL REVIEW HERE