Tailwind Rebuild Review

Tailwind Rebuild
4.2 / 5 Overall
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On race day, my pack always has a few standard items in it – Gels (gross), a Snickers bar (because I’m not me when I’m hungry), Honey Stinger waffles, and a few other selections from the roadside service center on the way to the race. In my hydration pack? Water. How boring. Sometimes I may get a little wild and throw some Pedialyte in there for taste, but it wasn’t until last year that I learned about Tailwind. A product that can make staying hydrated on the mountain easier, and tasty, all at the same time? I was all in.

Earlier this year, Tailwind released Tailwind Rebuild – a “patent-pending perfectly complete protein” to help athletes recover after an intense race or workout. Anything has to be better than my tradition of gorging on Wendy’s cheeseburger and fries. So I decided to give Tailwind Rebuild a try after a particularly grueling stretch of races this Spring.

Tailwind Rebuild Features

A “Perfectly Complete” Protein  – Tailwind Rebuild uses organic rice protein, combined with healthy fats and carbs to help shorten your recovery time after a strenuous workout, or race.

All Natural – Tailwind Rebuild is non-GMO, gluten-free, vegan, soy & dairy free, making it an ideal recovery solution for athletes of any kind.

Great Tasting Flavors – Tailwind Rebuild is available in Vanilla and Chocolate flavors. If you’re a fan of chocolate milk – you’ll love the chocolate version. It goes down smooth in a bottle of water, and tastes amazing. Me? I prefer the Vanilla flavor – it’s an easy to drink, healthy alternative to thick shakes, or sugary sports drinks.

 

Tailwind Rebuild Usage

In the month of May I competed in five events, over the course of four weeks – Ragnar Relay Cape Cod, the Boston Spartan Sprint, the Austin Super, Montreal’s Sprint & Super Weekend, and finally the Ohio Beast. Rebuild was in my bag in each of those events, and was a great addition to my race day recovery plan. After my night time Ragnar leg, Rebuild was a quick (and delicious) drink that wouldn’t sit heavy in my stomach for the remainder of the event. At the scorching hot Austin Super, Rebuild over a shaker of ice water was a refreshing treat. And after the Ohio Beast, I was craving chocolate – and Rebuild was a healthy (and yummy) way to cap off a 13 mile sufferfest.

Tailwind Rebuild Durability

Normally I wouldn’t discuss the durability of a consumable – but I do have to give credit where it’s due. Tailwind’s Rebuild and Endurance Fuel packaging is easy to toss in your pack and open mid-race. It’s withstood submersion, and being stuffed in to my shorts pocket, without making a mess.

Tailwind Rebuild Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Great taste – If you’re like me, it doesn’t matter how good something is for you, if it’s yucky, I won’t eat it. Tailwind’s Rebuild is delicious in just water.
  • No gut bombs – Rebuild is easy to drink, light, and enjoyable.
  • Healthy – Rebuild is good for all kinds of athletes. Being vegan, soy & dairy free, non-GMO and gluten free ensures that whatever your lifestyle, Rebuild is a perfect addition to your training day nutrition routine.

Cons

  • Rebuild is $3 per serving – It may cause you to decide whether your workout or race is “Tailwind worthy”
  • This isn’t a joke – you may get pulled aside at the airport security line. Apparently they get flagged sometimes under the baggage scanner

 

Tailwind Rebuild Conclusion

Post race binging photos may dominate Instagram feeds now, but consider this – what will make you feel better? Spending $52 on Burger King because you can’t control your cravings? Or a tasty (and healthy) Tailwind Rebuild in an ice cold shaker bottle? For me, I’ve got room for improvement when I finish a race, and Rebuild offers me the perfect solution to one of our biggest struggles – nutrition balance.

 



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Josh Chace

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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Orange Mud Gear Vest 2.0 Review

Orange Mud Gear Vest
4.3 / 5 Overall
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As a female athlete with a short torso, the Orange Mud Gear Vest 2.0 crushed the competition with regard to fit and comfort. It was released less than a year ago and sold out ahead of schedule. Having tested out its durability and functionality, I see why. This vest is so lightweight, yet packs tons of features and creative storage so you can run without feeling your gear. This pack is a must have for OCR due to its light-weight and ability to remain stable, without any bouncing or sloshing.

Orange Mud Gear Vest 2.0 Features

Storage – Orange Mud’s ingenuity in designing this vest shines through its innovative, yet simple features. The Gear Vest’s front pockets fit 600ml soft flasks or a large phone. I fit my iPhone 8 Plus in the front pocket with no movement and still had room for additional gear in those pockets and the trash pockets.

Orange Mud Gear Vest 2L V2.0

Every single time that I wore my previous vest from another company, I could feel my phone bouncing around, but not with the Gear Vest. This vest also has shoulder pockets for nutrition or endurance gels and is secure enough to hold your id cards or cash in them as well.

Orange Mud Gear Vest 2L V2.0

 

Bounce – The rear compartment holds a 1L Bladder but you can fit a bit more gear in the back without it feeling overly packed. The mesh layers keep the bladder stable with ZERO sloshing. There is a shock cord on the back where I was able to hold my jacket for rainy runs on the trail.

Orange Mud Gear Vest 2L V2.0

Accessibility – The best part about all of these features is that I didn’t have to take my pack off during my run to access anything. Everything was easy to reach, including my gear in the back pocket due to the higher positioning of the vest. On previous vests where my flasks were in the front, I would still have to stop to take a drink because the positioning of the flasks were never accessible likely because of my torso height.

Fit – The Orange Mud Gear Vest pack works phenomenally well for short torso females but scales up for larger frames. The adjustable elastic chest harness makes this pack easy to adjust for runners of varying height and width. I was able to fit into this pack and had my husband who is 3 feet taller than me and 45 lbs. heavier than me wear this to test out the adjustable harness and it fit him like a glove as well. This is something that I am not able to do with other packs I own that are designed for a female without versatility for all sizes, but especially for females. The vest itself was snug but not tight, and I felt like the higher positioning of the vest and the adjustability of the chest straps provided more room to breath during my runs, as opposed to other packs that fit so snugly that it makes it hard to breathe. The pack weighs 8.9oz without the bladder, and even with a full bladder and my gear and phone, it still felt so light that I didn’t even feel like I had it on during my runs.

Orange Mud Gear Vest 2L V2.0

Orange Mud Gear Vest 2.0 Usage

I was able to use the Gear Vest on trail runs to test out how stable it was on hilly, rocky terrain. I was shocked when there was no bounce or sloshing of the bladder. Even when climbing over fallen trees or large rocks, I was able to move freely, without even noticing the pack. I was worried that the water in a 1L bladder wouldn’t be enough on some of my longer runs (12+ miles) but I was pleasantly surprised that it lasted. I also wore this vest on interval runs at the park while hopping on and off monkey bars, rock walls, and other equipment to test the bounce and how it would feel on obstacles. I never felt like I was wearing a pack while sprinting or climbing as it stays in place perfectly and didn’t snag on any equipment. My fuel packs all stayed in place and the hose to the bladder didn’t get caught up either.

In addition to typical trail runs, I took the vest on a work trip to test it out on the beach. It was hot and humid and I was worried about feeling the vest rub more due to the heat. Surprisingly, the vest didn’t rub at all, not even on the chest straps or shoulders. Another great surprise was the fact that after sweating like a beast while wearing this vest and having no way to wash it on a trip, it was completely breathable and didn’t smell after it dried.

Orange Mud Gear Vest 2.0 Durability

While I haven’t ran an OCR with this vest just yet, I have put tons of miles and climbing in with this and it hasn’t shown any signs of wear at all. Despite being dragged in the mud (literally) on trails and obstacle training, it doesn’t even appear dirty. I anticipate that this vest will hold up very nicely over several race seasons.

Orange Mud Gear Vest 2.0 Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Super light weight
  • Extremely comfortable fit with the ability to adjust size to fit smaller frame or larger frame individuals
  • Breathable material makes it feel like you aren’t even carrying a vest
  • Despite its size, it has a surprising amount of room for storage
  • Fits a large phone unlike other brands
  • Items stay secure in their spots and there is No bounce from the bladder

Cons

  • Not enough space for tons of gear if you are planning an endurance event but they have other options for that

Similar Products

Ultimate Direction Adventure Vesta

Osprey Dyna 15

Inov 8 Race Elite Vest

Orange Mud Gear Vest 2.0 Conclusion

As you can see, I can’t provide a list of cons for the Orange Mud Gear Vest, 2.0 as it is hands down my favorite one I have owned. I wasn’t expecting much from such a small vest but going from a vest that weighed me down and was hard to drink from the front flasks without stopping to this light weight, easy to wear vest had been a complete game changer for me.  I was pleasantly surprised with the amount of gear it can store. I tried so hard to find flaws to make you aware of and I can say with 100% honesty that there really aren’t any. If you are looking for a light-weight vest that doesn’t bounce around, you need to get this vest. I plan on buying some other vests from the Orange Mud product line because their designs are perfectly simplistic yet efficient.



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Josh Chace

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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Altra King MT 1.5 Shoe Review

Altra King MT 1.5
4.4 / 5 Overall
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Durability
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Water Draining
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The Altra King MT 1.5 is the second edition of the King MT line. When the original King MT first came out many people in the OCR community were excited that an Altra shoe finally had aggressive lugs to complement their signature Foot Shape toe box. Reports of the King MT having some wear issues in the form of upper blow outs kept me from trying the first edition, but when I heard that the 1.5 was boasting a reinforced upper and improved drainage I knew it was time to give the King MT line a shot.

Altra King MT 1.5 Features

Specs

Lugs: 6mm

Drop: Zero Drop. 19mm/19mm

Weight: 8.5 oz. / 241 g

Insole Footbed: 6mm

Vibram Megagrip Outsole- Like it’s predecessor the King MT 1.5 has 6mm aggressive lugs that are made with Vibram’s rubber compound. If you are looking for grip in mud and on obstacle surfaces it’s hard to go wrong with this aggressive lug pattern coupled with the Vibram rubber.

Footlock Strap- This velcro strap allows you to quickly loosen or tighten the midfoot of your shoe as you encounter downhills or unpredictable terrain.

Foot Shape Toe Box- If you don’t already know, Altra makes shoes with a more natural foot shape. This provides a wider fit than most shoes and is a popular choice at longer distance Obstacle Races.

StoneGuard- This rockplate sits in the center of the shoe and protects the foot from rocks while running.

Protective Rip Stop Nylon- The upper material has been updated to a stronger rip stop nylon. The original version of the shoe saw many reviews complain that the upper material had blow outs on very low mileage. This material increases the durability, does not hold water and is lighter than the old material.

Drainage Vents- This shoe was designed for better drainage after water submersions. At the front and the sides of the shoe where the protective layers are sewn on Altra added vents that allow water to leave the shoe very quickly. These were not present on the previous model.

Altra King MT 1.5 Usage

I tested these shoes thoroughly on hilly trail runs, a Mudman Training beach session and at Maryland Savage Race on a very muddy course. The Altra King MT 1.5 handled each of these testing sessions well and allowed me to really get a feel for the versatility of the shoe as well as the Pros and Cons.

OCR Specific Usage Sessions:

Mudman Training on the Beach

The King MT 1.5 was great on the trail runs that I used them on so when the opportunity to test them at an OCR specific beach workout arose I was excited to give them a shot. There really isn’t  a good shoe suited for running or working out in the sand so while the King MT 1.5 grip was certainly overkill for this workout I was curious how much sand would get in my shoe. The workout consisted of a sandy uphill bucket carry (up and down), a bear crawl (up and down), a run up and down the hill, and strength based workouts (snatches, atlas shoulder throws, squats, etc). These exercises were then done for 3 rounds. While I certainly had sand in my shoe I can honestly say I thought there would be more. Had I worn gaiters there would have been much less as most of the sand made it’s way in by my ankles. The only downside I find with wide toe box shoes is that the sand likes the extra space by the toes and can accumulate there. The clean up from this was simple: rinse, drain, air dry with a fan. They looked as good as new.

Savage Race

I was excited that I would get to test these shoes for Obstacle Racing Media at, well, an Obstacle Race! If you don’t test the shoe out in unpredictable situations you may miss some small quirks with the shoe. While Savage Race Maryland is not considered a “hilly” course there are a few climbs that will test the grip of your shoes when it is muddy, and it was muddy this year. The King MT 1.5 really shined on these muddy inclines. As people were crawling and grasping with their hands at anything they could grab I was methodically making my way up the muddy hills without any issue at all. The 6mm lugs dug right in and after the first hill I knew I wouldn’t have any grip issues the rest of the day in the mud.

Thanks to the Vibram rubber compound on the outgsole of the King MT 1.5 my traction was very secure on the man made obstacles such as the A-Frame (muddy wood), Colossus and Twin Peaks. While some folks struggled to get their feet set there weren’t any instances were I struggled with my footing.  I’m not suggesting these shoes couldn’t slip on a muddy and wet wall or a wet tree stump in the forest, but the Vibram compound is above average in these situations.

The drainage of the shoe was amazing. There are multiple full water submersions at Savage Race and at no point did I even think of my feet after leaving the water and beginning to run. The water drained out quickly and left me taking very few “squishy” sounding running strides.

The only real negative that I encountered with the shoes’ performance was that when the shoe was wet the insole slid to the forefoot on each downhill that I “bombed” down. After the first time that the insole slid I pulled the velcro strap tighter hoping that it would stop, but it did not.  This is a common issue that I have had in the past with the Altra Lone Peak and it continues with the King MT 1.5. It is a minor annoyance, but it certainly would be nice for that to get taken care of in the future.

At the end of the race I took off my shoes as I was curious how much of the mud had stuck to the bottom. There was a bit at the heel of the shoe but nothing that caked on so much that it covered the lugs. The forefoot had almost nothing on it which is a huge positive as I am a forefoot striker and rely heavily on the grip at the front of the shoe. Seeing the lugs relatively clean made sense as I never felt any issues with grip and never had to clean any mud off of my shoes during the race. 

 Altra King MT 1.5 Durability

I ran hard through trails, hills, rocks, roots, sand and man made obstacles with the intention of putting this shoes durability to the test. I heard about the previous model having durability issues with the upper material and I was curious to see if it had actually been corrected. To my delight it was. With the exception of a few stray stitches that were broken this shoe is showing very little signs of wear on the upper and the outsole. If you were burned by the previous model and had a blowout but liked the shoe otherwise I would recommend giving the 1.5 a try.

Altra King MT 1.5 Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Incredible grip in messy conditions
  • Great traction on solid surfaces (Thanks Vibram!)
  • Above average drainage
  • Upper material does not hold water
  • Improved durability
  • Wide toe box
  • Sharp looking design

Cons

  • When bombing downhills with wet shoes the insoles shift forward. This is a recurring issue for me in Altra shoes.
  • The Heel does not lock in well which exacerbates the sliding forward insole issue. This is another common complaint of mine with Altra shoes. Some folks suggest alternate lacing patterns to help limit this.
  • Relatively Heavy(ish) if you are an Elite Racer gunning for that top spot.

Altra King MT 1.5 Conclusion

I had high hopes for the Altra King MT 1.5 shoe when I opened the box and it did not disappoint. The aggressive lugs, ability to drain and wide toe box make this a perfect shoe for events like World’s Toughest Mudder, Toughest Mudder, Spartan Beast, Spartan Ultra and the F.I.T. Challenge Ultra where you need performance and long term comfort. Altra heard the feedback on durability and drainage on the original model and delivered a shoe that addressed those concerns. I look forward to strapping these on (literally) and taking on more muddy courses in the future.

 



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Josh Chace

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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Second Skin QUATROFLX Compression Tight Review

Second Skin QUATROFLX Compression Tight
4.3 / 5 Overall
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Finding the perfect compression pant is like a quest for the Holy Grail. There are so many brands out there claiming to be superior to all the others that it gets exhausting. I stumbled across several OCR athlete’s wearing Second Skin, Marena, 2XU, and Human Octane, to name a few, on social media and in race photos so I had an idea where to begin. I bought a pair of 2XU compression pants to start, however they weren’t super comfortable and I didn’t want to race in pants that I was constantly worried about so I kept looking and stumbled across a pair of Second Skin QUATROFLX Compression Tights at Dick’s Sporting Goods. These pants fit incredibly well. The compression was tight, yet comfortable, providing instant relief for tired legs. The contour waistband was a nice departure from either extreme low-rise waists or muffin top inducing bands on other brands. These pants were so comfortable and effortlessly stayed in place during workouts, runs, and muddy races, that they literally felt like second skin. Cheesy, I know, but so true. These pants also kept me incredibly warm, despite the ice buckets and frigid water I ran in and out of during races. The best part about these pants is I had ZERO chaffing, zero!

Second Skin Women's QUATROFLX Tights Review

Second Skin QUATROFLX Compression Tights Features

Compression

These pants boast double layered panels for support in key areas like quads and hamstrings, reduced chaffing, increased recovery, breathability and a hidden pocket which is great for storing a gel or a key. While there is nothing super innovative, these pants perform as described, unlike competitors who list more features. A prime example is Second Skin’s contoured waistband. Other companies list similar features, yet fall short in fit and comfort when it comes to the waistband. Female athletes deserve a great fitting compression pant that doesn’t leave them looking like a busted can of biscuits at the waistband.

Fit

I really appreciated the length on these. At 5’3, it is difficult to find OCR or running pants that aren’t too long. With a 27.25” inseam and lots of flexibility in the fabric for a compression, these pants are great for shorter females as well as average height. I purchased them in a small and they fit true to size and fit extremely well through the thighs and butt, accommodating those of us who lift weights as well. I really liked the fact that there was no awkward waist gap as well. The compression factor on these was perfect. You don’t have to pry them on and peel them off, but they are definitely tight and supportive and I felt the difference.

Quick Dry

While these pants do a good enough job wicking water and sweat, this is where they have some room for improvement. Wicking is decent, however if you get wet or sweat a lot, they fall short at being a quick dry pant. To Second Skin’s credit though, they don’t claim that the pant is a quick dry, just wicking. I would really love to see Second Skin improve on the dry time on these pants.

Odor Control

True to their word, Second Skin QUATROFLX compression pants never got even the slightest bit smelly even through sweat and mud. I have worn these on runs in temperatures between 80-85 degrees in Georgia and you could tell they had been worn. Odor control comes in handy even more when you wash laundry, as I didn’t have to wash them twice to get the smell out. Anyone who runs races knows that you inevitably get that stinky piece of gear and fortunately these pants aren’t them.

Second Skin QUATROFLX Compression Tights Usage

The design of these is nothing innovative, just another pair of black pants, but they felt like much more than that once on. I broke these in on leg day first with the assumption that if I couldn’t move around well in them doing squats and deadlifts, then I certainly couldn’t run or climb over walls comfortably in them. I was pleasantly surprised that I didn’t get overly hot while wearing them since I prefer to wear shorts. I was able to perform lifts comfortably and didn’t even notice I had long pants on due to the breathability. I took them on several runs next to test them out to see how my legs felt after some speed work and longer runs. I definitely felt a difference with the compression support, particularly in my quads and glutes. I really felt like I recovered better after wearing these.

I wore them on several runs from treadmill to trail with temperatures ranging from 40 degrees to 82. During the cold runs, the pants get me much warmer with the temperature regulation and provided ventilation during the hot runs to keep me from overheating. I wore these during my first two OCR events this year, the Bonefrog Talladega and The Georgia Spring Savage. During the Bonefrog, there wasn’t any water or mud, but I did get some water on me at a water station, and it took quite a while to dry. While Second Skin never claims that these pants are designed to be quick dry, they are supposed to be wicking. This seems to be the only drawback to these pants, but they wicked well enough for quick dry to not be a major issue on a drier course. I was super grateful for these pants during the rope climb as I didn’t feel one bit of the rope against my skin. I was concerned though, that I would end up with a rip on my pants at some point due to all the wooden walls and logs I had to climb over and under but they held up tremendously. They still looked brand new afterwards.

Second Skin Women's QUATROFLX Tights Review

Second Skin QUATROFLX Compression Tights Durability

Unlike Bonefrog, Savage was full of water, ice, and mud. These pants were definitely put to the test here. While they never seemed to dry quickly enough, I was pleasantly surprised at how warm they kept me despite being wet. I also had plenty of traction from them when going over walls or up ramps, unlike other brands that get slippery and hinder performance.

I have worn these, washed, and dried too many times to count at this point and they have still retained their original shape. Despite going through two OCRs, being submerged in cold, muddy water, slammed on logs and wood walls, under barbed wire, etc. these pants still look and feel brand new. There has been no stretching of material, no pulling, no nicks or scrapes from wood obstacles, nothing! These pants are more durable than some that are twice the price.

Second Skin QUATROFLX Compression Tights Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Super flattering and functional fit
  • Compress is tight and effective but not suffocating
  • Temperature control is great for OCR races that have extreme temperature shifts
  • Extremely durable against all types of environments

Cons

  • Lacks sufficient quick dry
  • Colors aren’t as innovative as the competition

 

Second Skin QUATROFLX Compression Tights Conclusion

The Second Skin QUATROFLX tights  are a great pair of compression pants that will get through obstacle course races without rips and scrapes. The lack of quick dry wasn’t a deal breaker for me as it provides enough wicking for average sweat during a run. If you are wearing these for OCR, the temperature control outweighs the fact that they take longer to dry since they provide warmth coming out of cold water obstacles and cooling ability for wear during warmer months, even in the south. I will definitely be adding more Second Skin compression gear to my gym bag.

 



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Josh Chace

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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Topo Athletic Hydroventure Review – Waterproof Shoes for Trail and OCR

Topo Athletic Hydroventure
4 / 5 Overall
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We recently got in touch with Topo Athletics to review the Top Athletic Hydroventure shoes. They were rated Gear of the Year by National Geographic Adventure, so we needed to find out if they lived up to the hype! 

They certainly live up to their waterproof claim, as discovered on some wet and muddy trails as winter turned into spring in Georgia! They are also, without a doubt, the lightest pair of trail shoes I’ve had the pleasure of beating to death on Kennesaw Mountain. While more geared toward trail running than OCR, these would certainly be great for certain courses that don’t require the deep lugs.

Topo Hydroventure Features

The Topo Hydroventures boast not only their lightweight waterproof membranes but also a full-length, flexible rock plate to prevent stone bruising. This is extremely important since you expect a shoe that protects your soles from stone-bruising to also be heavy laden. Thankfully, this is not the case with the Hydroventures. I found myself feeling that these were simultaneously delicate (so lightweight and comfortable) and unyielding. It’s much rarer to find applicable shoe reviews geared toward women, so when I found these shoes, I knew I needed to let all of our female readers know about these powerhouse shoes!

Other notable features are:

  • The Roomy Toe Box: These are noticeably boxier and wider in the toe box than other trail and OCR shoes like the All Out Crushes or Reebok All Terrains. This allows for your feet to freely form their proper strike position during a run.
  • Lug Rubber Outsole: The high-traction outsoles made the transition from sand to gravel to thick mud to puddles seamless with the design that allows the shoe to release the “crud” you would normally pick up from the trail which weighs down the shoes.

Topo Hydroventure Usage

I used the Hydroventures on some pretty technical trails around Georgia. The hills and mountains, covered in mud, sand, and rocks, provided a well-rounded picture of how these shoes hold up on various terrain. They also made their OCR debut during the Atlanta Warrior Dash!

I really enjoyed running in these due to their low drop. While they aren’t zero drop, they do have a low, 3 mm heel to toe drop which is important to me, and many other runners who prefer as minimal of a shoe as possible, while still being protective. The Hydroventures also have the lower stack height of Topo’s other trail shoes and is the only women’s trail shoe from Topo with a full-length rock plate.

These have taken a beating for weeks, being the only shoes I want to wear on the trails due to their extreme comfort. While they are the lowest cushioned of the Topo trail shoes, I can’t imagine needing any more cushion or support than the Hydroventures give. I would wear these around town if I wasn’t worried about wearing down the soles on concrete!

I didn’t have to “break them in” by doing those weird things we all do to break in trail shoes – wearing wet socks or bending them back and forth for hours. They felt extremely comfortable right out of the box, slipped on over thin, synthetic ankle running socks, and taken immediately out to the trails. I found them extremely flexible, and it was easy to forget I was wearing brand new shoes at all.

Topo Hydroventure Durability

Once I’m no longer carrying this extra weight in the front (I’m now far enough along in pregnancy to be front-heavy), I’ll be taking these on the bigger OCR courses to see how they do at races like Spartan, Savage, and Tough Mudder.

I have no doubts about the future durability of the Hydroventures, however, due to how well they’ve held up thus far through my long runs on technical terrain. They’ve already gone about 50 miles and still look brand new, in spite of all that I’ve put them through. Even the laces are holding up well compared to other trail shoes I’ve run in! The uppers feel very durable, and not thin like many of the other shoes on the market, with the waterproof coating helping to seal the durability of the upper material.

Topo Hydroventure Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Roomy toe box
  • Comfort and cushion
  • Mud-release outsole lugs
  • Low heel to toe drop (3 mm)
  • Waterproof
  • Fit true to size
  • Lightweight

Cons

  • I could do with more color options!
  • They could be a little more flexible from left to right, straight out of the box, but that will get better as they loosen up during continued use.
  • If only they had deeper lugs to make these the perfectly rounded OCR shoe – allowing for better grip on obstacles!
  • The drainage could be improved, for when you really need to submerge – they are very waterproof, but there are sometimes when the water is just going to get in the shoe, and the drainage took a little longer than I preferred.

 

Topo Hydroventure  Verdict

I will definitely be looking into more Topo shoes and if these ever happen to burn out on me, they will be replaced immediately. I would recommend these to the runners who spend most of their time training and running on trails over recommending using them for obstacle races. The Topo Hydroventures could certainly hold their own on some of the courses I’ve run in past seasons but are more suited for trail running.

The waterproof feature is also going to be appealing to other runners in wet climates such as the northwestern U.S. and our readers across the pond who put in hundreds of miles in the rainy climate of the U.K.

Should you add Topo Hydroventure to your collection of trail shoes? Without a doubt! You will find these to be lightweight, comfortable, and durable, nearly all that we can ask for from a trail/OCR shoe.



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Josh Chace

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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Salming OT Comp Shoe Review

Salming OT Comp
4.1 / 5 Overall
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It’s Salming not Salomon, although both companies are stellar in terms of quality and performance.  Literally the second I slipped the Salming OT Comp (Off Trail Competition) on my foot I knew the shoe was something special.  It was just so light and comfortable and looked so rad, like a performance track shoe made just for the mud.  The mesh fiber embodying the shoe and the aggressive lugs on the bottom looked like they would perform superbly in any condition.

Salming OT Comp Features

Aggressive Sole Lugs  – The lugs on these shoes are made for the sloppiest of mud and the steepest of mountains.  By the makers of Michelin tires, these soles will have you putting the pedal to the metal while maintaining traction through the mud. However, don’t run on pavement or these lugs will surely wear off.

Mesh Fiber – The upper is composed of a fiber mesh that wicks away moisture as it glides through the air.

Super light weight– 9 ounces

 

Salming OT Comp Usage

I showed up to this years Atlanta Savage Race with my New Balance Minimus shoes because I know they stay on my feet in mud, are lightweight, and are minimalist, meaning they are good for tip toeing through the forest.  I started the race however wearing the Salming OT Comps, and it was like going from a 2012 Toyota Celica to a 2018 Subaru Outback with mud tires, from quick and snug to quick, snug, lean, and mean.  Starting around noon the mud puddles had plenty of time to get super sloppy. I took the shoes for all they were worth and stormed straight through every mud slop puddle with a vengeance.   The lugs shot through the slop and grabbed onto solid ground as they propelled me to dry ground.  The six miles went by quickly.  The obstacles were all tackled smoothly with the shoes except for Balls to the Wall, where I wish I would of had my Minimus’ on because they are good on the climbing holds.  The OT Comps don’t have as much of a pointed toe as the Minimus’, however, for everything else, they were superior in ability.

Salming OT Comp Durability

As long as they are used off road, they will last a long time.  They are made just for mud and trails.

Salming OT Comp Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Lightweight
  • Streamlined
  • Comfortable
  • Durable
  • Rugged

Cons

  • Although they are comfortable, at least for up to six miles, there is not much support in terms of arch.  My feet hurt for a week.  They will take some time to break them in.

 

Salming OT Comp Conclusion

The Salming OT Comp is fresh to the OCR world and has come on strong.  They made this shoe just for mud runs and wicked terrain.  The Michelin soles and their extreme lugs hold their own to any shoe out there.  I would definitely recommend them to any OCR athlete or even ultra trail runner for that matter.  I just recommend breaking them in and doing some short runs before going on any long runs in them.  They are gorgeous, sharp looking, and in comparison with other OCR shoes, they are affordable.



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Josh Chace

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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