The new VJ XTRM 2 sees some slight tweaks to an already great shoe which doesn’t mess with the winning formula. They still use the same butyl rubber lugs for incredible grip on anything. Harvey has been able to get out in a pair and shares his opinions on them.
VJ has been leading the charge in the way of fell shoes for some time now. On any start line across the country, you are guaranteed to see someone wearing them. It’s a combination of their ability to grip to anything, and I mean anything, thanks to 6mm butyl rubber lugs. Along with their very hard-wearing and durable uppers. So to hear they were changing one of their shoes is a pretty big deal.
- 4mm drop 14mm/10mm
- 250g in size 8UK
- 6mm butyl rubber lugs
- FitLock technology
- Schoeller Keprotec upper fabric
While the XTRM 2 may look radically different to version 1, under the surface it isn’t too different. The biggest changes are additional cushioning and a slightly wider fit through the forefoot combined with new upper material.
Let’s start with the upgraded cushioning. VJ have implemented a new CMEVA midsole, which is more cushioned while still feeling responsive and stable. They have the added bonus of a rock plate for a little extra protection.
The other major change is to the upper and the way it fits. Now using a Schoeller Keprotec fabric, it has the same durability as before but moulds to your feet much quicker. The tongue is still a super lightweight material. However, it is now material gusseted to keep it secure on your foot and stop it from slipping on your foot.
Finally, through the midfoot, they feel a little wider and VJ claims they have rounded the toe box to give your toe more room to spread.
On foot feel
Slipping your foot into them they have an unmissable VJ feel. If you have had any VJ shoes before and like them, I’m pretty confident in saying you will like these as well.
The shoes are secure without being restrictive and VJ’s signature fitlock system works a treat. Wrapping around your foot and keeping you feeling connected. While they may have added extra cushioning they still have a low profile feel and are very stable. Even on technical ground, they fill you with confidence to push knowing you are safe in them.
As soon as you step off-road and onto any kind of mud or rock you are reminded why VJ are worn by so many. They grip to anything and fill you with confidence knowing you can put your foot down and it will stay.
- As with any good fell shoe first and foremost has to be the grip. The XTRM 2’s excel in this department.
- The Schoeller fabric is a great addition to the upper and helps to mould to your feet quickly for a very comfy fit.
- The new tongue is a small but important positive. I was never aware of it slipping or even on my foot. This is certainly a big plus.
- Outsole longevity, If you use them for where they are designed, mud and bog they will last plenty. However, if you wear them on roads or harder trails the outsoles won’t last forever and you do risk wearing them down faster. The downside of a soft grippy compound.
If you have had a pair of VJ’s before and are looking for a new pair then look no further. Alternatively, if you are in need of a fell shoe for the summer season but are after something with a little more under your foot this could be just the trick. They are a unisex shoe and if you are after mens we would recommend going up half a size on your normal running shoe size.
They are available here >>
Mizuno Running, the quietly understated brand, goes about its business, well, quietly. Few may realise how big Mizuno is, even how many sports they are involved in and the respect they garner from those that know.
A Brief History…
Formed in Osaka, Japan in 1906 by the brothers Rihachi and Rizo. Life began as a retail store “Mizuno Brothers Ltd” before manufacturing began. Of all things, Baseball clothing that was easy to move in.
The history of Mizuno is exactly the history of the pursuit to make something great.
It was not until 1928 that the development of Track & Field spikes began. This was not before the operation including developing equipment for baseball, ski-ing and also the golf market.
In 1983 Mizuno Launched their new Run Bird shoe and was the first product to incorporate the logo we know today.
That is a mark of the shoes which expresses “an orbit of a planet.” It is named “RunBird” for its shape. Now it is the corporate logo of Mizuno and carries a vital role as the symbol of the company’s brand.
Yet it was not until 1997 that the first Wave Rider (pictured) was launched, with its distinctive ‘Wave Plate’ Technology.
Today, Mizuno, continue to strive for excellence in all that the do and spend a higher % of their earnings on research compared to many of the so-called big-players. Their science is usually based around how materials and products affect the human. Most importantly they really do their research on the benefits for the user. They are about more than just some ‘some super’ item that does this and that, they look at the impact.
Does this help the athlete wearing and using the item? The range of sports they are involved with is mind blowing.
They are today a multi national company with regional head quarters dotted around the globe, including here in the UK.
Mizuno Running: Wave Rider
Today the best known shoe in the Mizuno range remains the Wave Rider. It is very much a go to running shoe for many. Also, it has been a flag ship shoe for Mizuno for many years. The Wave Rider continually encapsulates a blend of everything good about Mizuno Running Shoes. Great cushioning combined with a responsive feel. Lightweight upper materials blend breath-ability and support. Plus technologies that enhance the running experience.
The Wave Plate remains. The Wave Plate is a unique material that increases stability, propulsion and also cushioning. Many have found this also helps maintain the cushioning properties of the shoe for longer. Which can be no bad thing. The rest of the cushioning comprises ‘Mizuno Enerzy’. This material provides plush impact protection coupled with excellent rebound properties. This also helps to extend the life of this key component.
Find Out More:
Mizuno Wave Rider Women’s >> Men’s >>
Mizuno Running: Wave Revolt
Unusually, Mizuno Technology often trickles down into their more competitive price offerings. At £90 the Wave Revolt is an excellent fitness running shoe. It boasts such technologies as the Mizuno Enerzy cushioning and durable X10 outsole. We still believe that this to be an 800km shoe and one of the best value shoes we have seen in a while.
Find Out More:
Mizuno Wave Revolt Women’s >> Men’s >>
Mizuno Running: Wave Sky
At the other end of the spectrum the Wave Sky is another offering that feels light and floaty to run in.
Featuring MIZUNO ENERZY Core and MIZUNO ENERZY Foam, it provides an even softer landing and amazing energy return. Combined with Mizuno Wave technology to ensure stability.
Find Out More:
Mizuno Wave Sky Women’s >> Men’s >>
Mizuno Running: Wave Diachi
The latest newcomer to the stable this is a brand new Trail shoe – OK, more of a complete overhaul of the Mizuno Wave Diachi. This door to trail (hybrid shoe review Here >>) has proved to be extremely popular, selling through very quickly – thankfully more stock due imminently!
It’s easy to see why. Great Grip. Flexible and comfortably soft upper that just molds itself to your foot. Add in the cushioning of the road shoe range and we have a go anywhere shoe. Quite possibly one of the best updates we have seen in 2022.
Find Out More:
Mizuno Wave Diachi Women’s >> Men’s >>
Mizuno Going Forward
We are extremely excited by the updates coming through towards the end of this year and going into 2023. Mizuno are often seen to be behind the curve. Not really. They do their research to ensure great products and this takes time. We feel this is a value that should be respected.
Having seen the 2023 range we will be expanding the range stocked, especially the new Rebellion Range. Therefore you can expect some well researched, tested and developed running shoes for fast running. Yes, a serious carbon plated offering that we think could be one of those hidden gems.
We really like the fact that Mizuno continue with a great ethic towards product development, sustainability and social responsibility. They may appear to take their time, yet they really do like to get things as good as they believe they can.
If you have never tried Mizuno Running Shoes before then we suggest that they are well worth adding to your list of shoes to try. They come, from us at least, highly recommended…
Team Accelerate athlete and shoe hoarder Harvey has been lucky enough to get his hands on the new Saucony Endorphin Pro 3. He’s been busy testing them, keep reading to hear his thoughts.
I have to preface this review by admitting how much of a fan I am of the Endorphin Pro 1 and 2. For the last few years, they have been my go to road racing shoe from 5k to half marathon. I have run almost all my best races in them, and from the first run to now I get excited and enjoy running in them, a lot.
So when I found out that Saucony we’re updating them, I was a little worried. Well, there was no need.
Version 3 of the Endorphin Pro sees some pretty major changes. First off to the upper. Stripped back to the bare minimum, Saucony have used a perforated mesh to maximise the breathability and stop the shoe from picking up any extra weight if you are running in the rain. Something which happened in the older models. Even the tongue features circular cutouts to reduce the weight.
The next big change is the midsole. Now with an extra 4mm of PWRRUN PB cushioning to look after your legs. They do, however, still use the same S-shaped carbon fibre plate as before. Along with their SPEEDROLL technology to push you up onto your toes for a snappy feel.
Finally, the outsole now uses a new rubber layout. With more coverage across the shoe and deeper tread (1mm lugs) that offer better traction in the wet and hopefully increased durability, I need to run in them more to confirm this.
On foot feel
Slipping them on and straight away they feel light and airy, slightly roomier in the toe box compared to previous models. The new tongue feels comfy even with its cutouts. They feel very secure on my feet even when cornering, which is impressive for such a tall shoe.
While there is now slightly more foam under you they still feel pingy and responsive. Amazingly they have managed to strip weight off too which is always good.
The carbon plate and aggressive Speedroll pushs you onto your forefoot, this is nice and gets you up and moving quickly but takes a little getting used to. If you have had the older models the 3’s have a very similar feel. One of the most noticeable differences is to the outsole, I never thought the older ones slipped much but having tried the 3’s, wow. The new pattern ias much grippier and fills you with confidence, even in the wet.
- The new upper still fits well and feels lighter
- Fast, while this might sound obvious for a racing shoe, they do. Put them on and you want to run quick
- Shaving off 9 grams. While this might not sound like much over the average 55,000 steps of a marathon it can add up
- They are Pink!!! Need I say more
Con’s (There are very few)
- The laces, I’m not a huge fan of. After I switched them over I didn’t have any issue
That’s really it on the cons
I think if you have had an older model and are ready for a new pair you will love what’s been added. If this is your first foray into a carbon plated racing shoe what are you waiting for? The hype around them is real.
Click here >> to get yours today