Hoka One One Speedgoat 4

 

As much as I loved the Hoka Evo Jawz and the Hoka Challenger ATR 2, it is a mystery to me why I took so long to finally get a pair of Speedgoats. I had heard so many good things about them from friends, but I suppose the focus has been OCR shoes with massive lugs for deep mud like the VJUSA Family or the Inov8 MudClaw.

However, I often run on regular trails and streets near home, and need something that can handle a lot of miles.

Hoka One One Speedgoat 4 Features

Mesh Upper  – Makes upper more breathable than previous version.

Wider Forefoot and Toebox– For those that need a wider shoe.

The Meta Rocker Style- A reason runners typically buy this brand of shoe. From the Hoka website “Meta-Rocker geometry, or wheels for your feet, drives the runner forward and complements the runner’s normal gait cycle”

Hoka One One Speedgoat 4 Usage

Took this shoes everywhere from the streets in front of my house to some of my favorite state parks. I also brought them down to Jacksonville, for the Spartan Containment Trifecta of the SpartanTrail, OCR, and DekaFit.

Hoka One One Speedgoat 4 Durability

After 300 miles, the only part that has worn down is the back corner of the heels. I am a heel striker, so that happens with all of my shoes if I am running on lots of concrete. However, the rest of the shoe is holding up fantastically. No major wear and tear damage to upper, lining, or midsoles.

Hoka SpeedGoat 4 Review

After 310 miles, these shoes are dirty, but still sturdy.

Hoka One One Speedgoat 4 Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Can go “both ways”. It’s a great trail shoe and lugs that can be run on street if need be.
  • Width is dare I say perfect. I almost always have to go 1/2 size up in running shoes, which can often cause problems with the rest of the shoe. Got this in my “true to size” of 11 and simply love the feel.
  • Balanced Cushion – Like Goldilocks said “These are jusssst right”. In the middle of the Evo Jawz and The Bondis, we get a great middle ground of cushion.

Con

  • Not ideal in super wet conditions. The Florida swaps were bad news for this shoes. However, there is a waterproof GoreTex version, I am looking to get my hands on.

Similar Products

Reebok All Terrain Super 2.0Reebok All Terrain SuperSalomon Speedcross 3Inov-8 X-Talon 212
Weight234 g229 g310g280 g
Heel Drop5mm5mm9mm6mm
Grip3/16"3/16"3/16"1/4"
Metal StudsNoNoNoNo
Price$100.00$75.00$80.00$120.00
ORM ReviewYesYesYesYes
BuyAmazonAmazonAmazonAmazon

Hoka One One Speedgoat 4 Conclusion

I love these shoes. They are my current favorite trail shoe and I will be ordering a new pair as soon as possible.



Matt B. Davis

is the host of the Obstacle Racing Media Podcast and the author of "Down and Dirty-The Essential Training Guide for Obstacle Races and Mud Runs". He is also the only (known) #wafflehouseelite obstacle racer.

Latest posts by Matt B. Davis (see all)


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VJ Shoes Xero 5 Review

 

VJ Shoes exploded on to the OCR scene in early 2019 with their incredibly popular XTRM shoes. With a signature design and color scheme, super grippy butyl rubber (#thebestgripontheplanet isn’t just a hashtag) and athletes with names like Albon, Webster, and Woods wearing them, it’s easy to understand why they because so popular.

VJ Shoes haven’t slowed down yet, though. Next up they brought the MAXx to the masses, with a wider toe box, and cushioned heel. Then it was the iRock 3, with a precision fit on a lighter design.

As we closed in on the winter months, VJ shoes has just released their 4th US design – The Xero 5. The Xero is an all-weather studded shoe with aggressive treads, and 20 carbon-carbide studs for traction in all conditions. The Xero 5 also has enough cushion to make any terrain feel like you’re running on tiny little clouds.

Xero 5 Features

Poron Cushioning  – The first thing I noticed when strapping the Xero’s on was the cushion and padding around my foot. The XTRM and MAXx shoes are definitely more “rigid” and less forgiving than the new Xero 5’s. I felt like my feet were wrapped in thick comfy socks.

20 Carbide Studs – Being know for amazing grip and traction is sort of VJ Shoes’ modus operandi. The Xero 5’s are no different. I took them out in the dead of New England winter on frozen dirt, ice, and snowy trails. I quickly realized that I could trust in the grip, and confidently gazelle my way through the woods focused on speed instead of footing.

FitLock – In the previous two models of VJ Shoes that I’ve worn, a 12.5 fit either perfect, or a bit snug. The Xero’s had some extra space in the toe box and mid-foot. I could probably have sized down without much issue. The Xero’s had a wider width in all 3 parts of the shoe, which is great for winter running. You’ll be able to wear some extra layers without any issue or crowding of your toes.

Xero 5 Usage

As I walked through the parking lot, sounding like a golfer wearing spikes heading to the 19th hole, I was eager to get some miles on these shoes considering the terrain. I went out and put a handful of miles on my Xero’s which included some ice covered fire roads, harder than cement frozen muddy sections, and some fresh snow pack through the woods. The water-repellent membrane in the upper will help keep out any errant water, snow or slush you plow through.

If you’ve never run in a shoe with studs before, they can take some getting used to. I could feel the studs on the bottom of my feet as I landed on the frozen trail. The focus on that quickly shifted to how easily I could run over questionable terrain with confidence, thanks to those same 20 studs on the shoes.

Studded shoes may have a place out on the frozen trails of New England, or the snowy mountains of Colorado but the one place they may not have a place? Your favorite OCR course, as most races will rule out running in studded shoes for its competitors. For training though, no longer do you have to take a day off because the ground is a little too treacherous, unless you would rather just stay inside and enjoy some grilled cheese and tomato soup.

These shoes are a perfect addition to your closet to ensure that you can conquer any terrain and any weather that you come across while getting miles in. But when it comes to race day, keep them in the trunk and opt for VJ’s core models – the XTRM, MAXx, or iRock.

VJ Xero 5 Review
VJ Xero 5 Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Incredible cushion and fitting. The most comfortable VJ Shoe model I have worn, by far.
  • 20 carbon-carbide star studs make your grip almost invincible even on the sketchiest terrain.
  • Waterproof membranes protect your feet against moisture while out in the snow and mud

Cons

  • The first obvious con – is an inability to wear these on course. Studded shoes are banned from most races.
  • Landing on studs while running can be uncomfortable to some, or at least take some getting used it.
  • With a 19mm stack in the heel and 11mm in the toe, and 8mm drop is larger than other shoes offered from VJ.

Similar Products

Reebok All Terrain Super 2.0Reebok All Terrain SuperSalomon Speedcross 3Inov-8 X-Talon 212
Weight234 g229 g310g280 g
Heel Drop5mm5mm9mm6mm
Grip3/16"3/16"3/16"1/4"
Metal StudsNoNoNoNo
Price$100.00$75.00$80.00$120.00
ORM ReviewYesYesYesYes
BuyAmazonAmazonAmazonAmazon

VJ Xero 5 Conclusion

I’m slowly acquiring a small arsenal of shoes in my closet. Much like machines at the gym, each has a function. The Xero 5’s have a spot in my training regimen – these winter months when I am trying to avoid running outside due to weather or temperatures, the Xero’s give me a little bit more courage to get out on the trails. Just because they may not be allowed on every course, doesn’t mean they won’t have a spot in your lineup as well.

While I wouldn’t normally go out and hunt down a pair of studded shoes, now that I have them, I’ve noticed my runs in inclement weather have gotten better just due to the fact that I’m not worried about footing as much as I would with my more worn down trail shoes.

If you need a shoe that won’t relent on the most atrocious of conditions, offers a cushioned landing, and can survive the elements, the Xero 5 is for you and your feet.



Matt B. Davis

is the host of the Obstacle Racing Media Podcast and the author of "Down and Dirty-The Essential Training Guide for Obstacle Races and Mud Runs". He is also the only (known) #wafflehouseelite obstacle racer.

Latest posts by Matt B. Davis (see all)


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Other VJ Shoe Comparison Video

Fleo Shorts Review

 

Guys, unless you are shopping for shorts for your gal, you can stop reading now.  I’m pretty sure this review is only going to interest the lifting and OCR chicks.

Im taking a risk here to talk about the infamous and indispensable phenomena known as the “Booty Short.” Also known as the butt short, the short short, the lifting girl short, also known as “Becky your butt is so big in those shorts” shorts. Also known as the bests short to wear to squat and/or Crossfit workouts.

We’ve certainly come along way since Dolphin shorts. Hey there, if you’re too young to know what those are, google it and laugh at yet another terrible eighties trend.

I have worn a lot of different booty shorts because I squat a lot. I’ve found that they are the best functioning short to wear when performing heavy lifts and doing a lot of HIIT. That is because you can comfortably wear knee sleeves and stay relatively cool. Plus wearing shorts is simply easier when you’re doing these movements. Bonus – if you’re working on building muscle, it can encourage you to build your butt to really live up to the booty short’s reputation.

Fleo Shorts Features

High Rise Original (Blue and White Print)  High rise with a 2.5″ inseam and 4″ wide waistband.

Original (Green and Blue) These are mid rise and 2.5″ inseam. They are very short. No tummy support and show a lot of skin.

Power High Rise (Hawaiian Print) High rise and 4″ inseam 4″ wide waistband- total coverage and good tummy support.

 

Fleo Shorts Usage

I wear these shorts on leg days to perform heavy squats and dead lifts, and lots of accessory exercises.

They don’t ride up, the high waisted ones have been my favorite because the leg bands are tight and they don’t move when I’m in the hole. I like to mid rise style for cardio. I like both styles because they are not see through when I’m squatting, or jumping, or doing anything that has me bending down like deadlifts, etc .

I have bought a few brands that say they are squat proof and seriously they are not. I have suffered the embarrassment of going back and looking at video of my butt peaking though fabric. Not fun! I love Fleo because they are thick fabric, NOT see through at all, very soft and comfortable, and they are really cute. They have twenty patterns to choose from. Anything from simple and plain to adorable and bold.

Fleo Shorts Durability

Very durable short, Just hang dry for sure.

Fleo Shorts Pros and Cons

Pros

  • The patterns and colors to choose from
  • Squat proof
  • Perfect length
  • Stay tight and don’t ride up
  • Super comfy
  • Flattering and hold you in the right places
  • and this, you can add more likes by hitting enter

Cons

  • High price point
  • Not as many patterns available in the higher waisted/longer ones, which I personally prefer.

Similar Products

Born Primitive

IAB Workout Booty Shorts

Fleo Shorts Conclusion

I definitely recommend buying these shorts. I think in the case of the booty short the phrase “Buy cheap, buy twice” does apply. These shorts are still in great shape after washing them often and the designs are adorable. Most importantly they don’t ride up or show your butt in the way you totally absolutely don’t want them to. They are squat proof!

EndurElite Review

EndureElite Reviews

EndurElite has a stack of seven powder supplements and they were generous enough to send them all to us for review. I don’t take a lot of supplements so I was very curious to try this ambitious stack of 7. Creatine and fish oil are the two supplements I  believe work well, and I have seen results from taking them for a couple of  years. I shy away from anything with hundreds of ingredients. I’m a firm believer that nutrition and consistent training heed results. Supplements can help, but only if you have the other two elements down pat.  All of the ingredients in EndurElite products were not only minimal, but clean.  I was pleasantly surprised by the high quality of all of these products. I absolutely love a few, but I liked them all.

I am going to give you the low down of my three faves, WheyElite, SustainElite, and SleepElite.

EndurElite Features

WheyElite  – Sweetened with monk fruit and very clean ingredient list.

SustainElite – Great fuel for a long work out (esp. if you’re fasting).

SleepElite – AMAZING ingredients and guess what? Goodnight for realz.

EndurElite Usage

WheyElite: is really good tasting, was very easy on my stomach and the whey is “Cross- Flow”, micro filtrated whey. I always look for a low carb whey, which this one has 1 gram per 25 gram scoop of protein.

SustainElite: I used for work outs where I had to do fasting cardio and then lift afterwards. This stuff is very effective in keeping you in an anabolic state if you have not eaten and you are trying to build muscle and lose fat.

SleepElite: Magnesium, lemon balm and L-Theanine are just a few of the amazing ingredients in this stuff. All of the ingredients are for either recovery or sleep, so combined, they do the trick, and I didn’t feel groggy in the morning.

SleepEliteReview

EndurElite Pros and Cons

Pros

WheyElite

  • Easy on the stomach. Clean ingredients.
  • Mixes well with almond milk
  • Impressive amino acid profile

SustainElite

  • Very effective for endurance and a longer work out.
  • Sustains energy with moderate amount of clean carbs.
  • Amino Acids and electrolyte combo.

SleepElite

  • Supports falling asleep easily and well.
  • No grogginess in the morning.

Cons

WheyElite

  • There are some better tasting wheys out there
  • Doesn’t mix well in water but I prefer almond milk.

SustainElite

  • The lemon lime flavor wasn’t to my taste.

SleepElite

  • Some prefer NOT to drink something before bedtime

Similar Products

Naked Whey – Grass-fed whey protein powder

Skratch Labs Sport Hydration 

EndurElite Conclusion

I was impressed with Endurelite’s sophisticated and clean ingredients. I recommend all of the supplements, depending on what will meet your training needs. If anything, definitely give the Sleep Elite a try, and see if it improves your rest.

Born Primitive: X-Factor Sports Bra

Born Primitive is an athlete favorite brand for most gym workouts. They typically make gear for CrossFit gyms, but, their clothes are generally sturdy enough for tough OCR-based workouts. I’ve noticed that their clothes don’t stretch, and colors stay nice and vibrant, even through most washes. Not only that, but BP fans can get a kick out of a multitude of variety in their selection, which is arguably some of the sexiest apparel that is also completely functional.

One thing that I appreciate about the brand is that they keep us pretty in-the-know when it comes to releasing new products. One of their more recent products is listed in the title: the x-factor sports bra.

As soon as I saw it, I thought that it looked perfect for what I needed. It almost has a similar build to the new Human Octane “superhero” series bra. The Born Primitive sports bra itself focuses on a more supportive build, with a longer band and thicker straps. The backing also has many straps so you can ensure that everything is going to stay in place. When I noticed that the website advertised it as something that also can be doubled as swimwear, I thought it would be fantastic for staying in place in the dunk wall.

Product Features

 

The X-Factor sports bra is 87% nylon and 13% lycra for a lightweight and comfortable feel. The edges of the back (not where the “x” is formed) is made out of a mesh material; between that and the open back look, the sports bra is really breathable, even given it’s thicker material. The length is longer and the straps are thicker to provide more coverage.

This Sportsbra also features a slight v-neck, and there are removable pads for those who prefer to have even more support in the sports bra. Because this sports bra provides an emphasis on support, if you are not expecting it, it may feel a little tight around the waistband. I like to save this sports bra for wearing to a race or during intense workouts, but maybe less for lazing around in big t-shirts.

I was a little concerned with my original thought of it being doubled as a swimsuit, I was thinking it was going to be more of a dry-fit material (never-mind that the website clearly has the other material listed, I just wasn’t paying attention!). This sports bra held up very well in the dunk wall, mud, and whatever else I threw at it in the Spartan Race.

Product Usage

I first wore this sports bra to a few workouts. I like to use Yancy Camp to train, which can combine many vigorous exercises into one beautiful, terrible, monstrosity. A lot of times with cheaper, or less specialized sports bras, when you hit a certain level of sweatiness, you feel like your sweat is bleeding through. I did not feel this way about the Born Primitive X-Factor; I felt dry and supported throughout the entire workout.

This was purchased the for race day specifically. I don’t know about you, but once I establish some kind of “race day” outfit, it gets me in the zone. The black X-factor sports bra looks pretty intense, so I got my hands on that one. I put it on and instantly felt ready to take on the day. The first race to which I wore this was the Spartan race in Virginia. First of all, the way it makes me feel is awesome. It looks really cool being paired with even more black.. but that’s just me.

One of the first obstacles that we encountered was the dunk wall. This was the one that I was the most nervous about. I jumped in and, other than the fact that the water was seriously cold, I felt great. Actually, the thicker band made me feel a little bit warmer than I could have otherwise.

Another obstacle that I noticed a difference on throughout this obstacle was surprisingly the bucket brigade. I’m one of those women who usually wear sports bras as my top if the weather allows. On the bucket brigade, I like to hold the bucket close to my torso. This is usually helpful for my grip, but it pulls at my sports bra. Maybe that’s just me. Because the X-Factor has a slight v-neck to it, the bucket did not pull on it at all! I thought that was really awesome.

Lastly, the X-Factor just looks cool. I got several compliments on it, especially for the way that the back of the sports bra looks. If Born Primitive knows how to do anything, it’s making cool-looking sports bras.

Pros

  • Cool looking back design that features a big cross and meshing
  • Longer band for more coverage
  • Small v-cut in the front that prevents slipping on that dang bucket carry
  • Very supportive design
  • Durable; can maintain shape and structure throughout long races and difficult workouts
  • Comes in multiple colors.

Cons

  • Not necessarily dry-fit material
  • Thicker; although great for colder races, may not be the best if you are looking for something lightweight
  • Can’t buy in stores; if you’re interested, you have to buy online. So, you would not be able to try it on before you buy it.

Conclusion

Born Primitive’s X-Factor Sportsbra is fantastic for high-intensity workouts. It has really high support with a longer band for durability, and an open back that includes a mesh detail for breathability. I would not wear this if you were doing something more relaxed, or just around the house. I wouldn’t want to wear this with a lot of layers, because the long line would be uncomfortable. But, for wearing this as a top for an OCR, the X-Factor has shown what it takes to compete in an Obstacle Course Race.

Buy one here

 

Pissy Mother Runner: The Running Mother’s Solution to Leaking During Exercise

The Issue

Peeing while you jump, run, sneeze, or laugh is not the sexiest of topics but statistics from the National Association for Continence show that more than 25 million people in the U.S. experience some form of incontinence, 80% of which are women. Many women who are pregnant or have had children have leaking pelvic floor muscles until they are re-trained. The problem is that most women don’t have the knowledge or resources to help improve pelvic floor function after childbirth. In fact, the majority of new moms are cleared for exercise at 6 weeks post-partum, after 40 or more weeks of pelvic pressure and stress to their Transverse Abdominus muscle. To add to that, since it is a common occurrence, most women think that incontinence is a normal symptom that they will have to deal with for the rest of their life after having babies. This is simply not the case. General pelvic floor weakness and diastasis recti without extenuating circumstances such as prolapse, etc. can generally be healed if it is addressed with pelvic floor strengthening exercises. The most common practice known to women are kegels, however doing kegels alone may not be enough to strength the pelvic floor and it is not uncommon for women to perform kegels entirely wrong. So, what’s a mom to do?

First and foremost, you shouldn’t try to return to your pre-pregnancy routine even once you are cleared from your physician. I remember trying to get back into running postpartum and just crying every run because I couldn’t run 200m without major leakage. It was embarrassing and frustrating. I wish I knew then what I know now. One of those things is that there are physical therapists who specialize in pelvic floor rehabilitation and I highly recommend starting there. For most intermediate to advance runners or fitness enthusiasts, the problem is that pelvic rehab seems “too easy” in the sense that it isn’t training, and it won’t make you work up a sweat or lose the postpartum baby weight, however it is THE foundation to allowing you to walk, sneeze, run, and lift weights without incontinence. If you don’t have access to a physical therapist there are tons of free videos online that you can take advantage of. The only problem is the fact that most women don’t activate their pelvic floor the correct way especially when trying to initiate a kegel. To add to that, some women don’t suffer from a weak pelvic floor, but rather a tight pelvic floor and need to focus on the relaxing aspect. As someone who has taken advantage of all of these resources, I was happy to stumble across a new way to train your pelvic floor. After going through pelvic floor dysfunction myself, despite loads of pelvic floor work and rehab with a PT postpartum, I was terrified of what my second pregnancy would do to my pelvic floor and my ability to run while pregnant. It took me over a year and a half to make any significant progress with my incontinence after having my first child and my physician suggested a bladder tact to fix the problem. Fortunately, I was able to find an in network physical therapist that I worked with, but they had no experience working with runners, so I was told to stop running. It can be extremely frustrating to hear that as a runner and racer for that matter. I was fortunate that I was still able to benefit from physical therapy and the free resources I used.

A Solution

Fast forward to 3 and a half years later, I am currently pregnant with my second. When I found the Elvie trainer I was a little skeptical. For starters, how can one device help me train my pelvic floor, but ultimately I thought it would be so easy since I am certified in pre and post-natal corrective exercise and pride myself on my pelvic floor work. The problem was, I was starting to see some incontinence during my runs while training for a 10k this summer. Finally, I reached out to Elvie, coincidentally the same company I purchased my wireless pump from for when the baby arrives, and asked them if I could test their pelvic floor trainer. I began in May, two months prior to the 10k I would run at 8 months pregnant (Note: Elvie’s site states that while the Elvie can be used during pregnancy, it should only be done if you are not suffering from any complications and recommends consulting your qualified medical professional before use). To tell you how skeptical I was, I purchased a pair of fanny pants as a backup for my incontinence during the race. Being 8 months pregnant, I wasn’t trying to set any PRs during the race. I simply wanted to run the race pain free, without leaking or peeing myself.

I started the Elvie in the evening during my first session. The guide gives you the option to stand or to be in a lying position. The egg-shaped trainer comes in a little case with a charger that attaches to the outside of the case. It has a medical grade silicone cover that makes it super easy to clean after each use. And yes, you guessed it, you insert it just like a tampon, although it’s much easier.

You download the Elvie Trainer app to connect to your trainer via Bluetooth. The app itself it very simple, too simple for me as a data nerd but I can see where they would need to avoid it being overly complicated. Once the trainer is in place, simply start the workout on the app. There is a gem shape on the screen that guides you through movement as you contract and relax.

Each ‘workout’ is more like a game that grades you as you pulse, contact, relax, or work on speed and the best part is the chart that shows your progress and achievements. Despite how much I work on my pelvic floor, the first week that I used the Elvie, I received super low scores and it was obvious my pelvic floor was not as strong as I had thought, and I may not have been performing a kegel the correct way this whole time. Talk about a blow to my trainer ego! However, over the course of the next few weeks, I got stronger and stronger at each workout and my scores kept going up. The best part about this trainer is that it doesn’t take up much time, just 5 minutes a day and you can set reminders via the app to remind you to train each day. You start on Training and work up to different levels to learn new skills. On the goals screen, you can choose between three different challenges, from once a week to five. I used the device four times a week for safe measure and sure enough, within approximately 3-4 weeks, I noticed that I could complete my preggo short runs without having any incontinence or having to stop to pee. The biggest test would be my 10k. I knew I would have to stop and pee during this race simply because it was in the middle of July in Georgia, so I would have to drink even more water than usual to avoid any pregnancy complications from dehydration.

I ran the first three and a half miles without having to stop and pee and had ZERO leaking! Once I stopped off at the port-a-potty, I continued downing water and still was able to finish the race without leaking. For 8 months pregnant, I’ll take it!  Now that I am a few weeks further into my pregnancy, I would likely leak simply due to the fact that the baby is head down and much lower than he was just weeks ago during the race. While some incontinence is to be expected during pregnancy simply due to the increased pressure on the bladder from the baby as well as hormones, I was so surprised that I was able to see this kind of results during pregnancy which makes me even more excited to use this to re-train my pelvic floor postpartum and get real-time feedback so that I know that I am engaging the muscles the correct way.

I cannot rave about this device enough. It is a great way for women who are unsure if they are activating the pelvic floor correctly to visualize their strength and progress. Simply put, it takes the guesswork out of pelvic floor exercises. If you have the ability to work with a PT that specifically works with runners, I highly recommend working with one as well but having the Elvie in the comfort of my own homemade me really do the homework that PTs will give you anyway.  At $199 for the trainer, it is definitely the most affordable way to get actual feedback on your “form” during the pelvic floor workouts without pelvic floor therapy. Elvie has incredible customer service as well with knowledgeable staff so if you have questions at any time you can contact them and get fast and reliable answers. For all of you mother runners out there that have to wear all black, leak devices such as pessaries, special undergarments, or other contraptions to protect you from embarrassing leakage, you don’t have to suffer. There are ways to improve or eliminate stress incontinence by retraining your pelvic floor.