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Every month our staff tries out lots of triathlon and triathlon-adjacent things. Yes, we test new gear, but we also have old favorites and secret things we’re loving right now. That’s why each month we share our favorite tri-related things while our members get a chance to win one of our editors’ picks.
This month, members can win a new Orca Safety Bag. Enter by Sept. 15 and a winner will be picked at random. Check back next month for new picks.
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If you’re not open-water swimming with a buddy or with a buoy or with a buoy and a buddy, you’re crazy. As more and more people head out to enjoy the water and lifeguards get more and more fatigued as the summer goes on, it’s crucial that you have a way to be seen by boaters and rescue personnel. Not only could a swim buoy potentially save your life, but this version from Orca is also a handy way to store and keep your belongings dry while you swim. Better yet, Orca’s Safety Bag also has two backpack straps to help you carry your gear down to the water’s edge. I love a good open-water safety buoy, but this one takes all of the excuses out of your mouth as to why you can’t (won’t) use one!
-Chris Foster, editor-in-chief
MEMBERS: Enter to win an Orca Safety Bag!
Apparently, August is safety month at Triathlete, because my favorite piece of gear is also all about protection. I’ve been traveling a lot lately, which means I’ve been doing a lot of rides and runs in cool new places (and occasionally not-so-cool places). I try to do some recon before I head out for a workout, but sometimes I find myself in situations where a bike lane doesn’t exist, or where I’m running alongside some random road out in the boonies with no sidewalk. I take all the proper safety precautions, of course – bright bike lights on the front and back of my rig, running against (never with) the flow of traffic, using a safety app that lets my emergency contacts know if something goes south – but I really wanted to hedge my bets here, so I purchased this safety vest for added visibility. One side is a bright hue of can’t-miss-it neon green for daytime, while the other is a super-reflective silver that shines in a car’s spotlights in low light. Being more visible to traffic is, of course, the most important feature, but I’ve also been extremely pleased with the roomy pockets on the chest or back – perfect for carrying my keys, a phone, and a few snacks.
–Susan Lacke, senior editor
Up until now, I’ve not been a fan of the Zoom Fly, Nike’s lower-priced version of their game-changing VaporFly racer. Previous Zoom Flys used their last-generation React foam and a stiff carbon-fiber plate, which has always struck me as having the downside of a super shoe (the prescriptive roll of the plate), without the benefit (the hyper-bouncy energy-return of a top-end foam, which research has shown to provide the lion’s share of what makes super shoes super).
But I was impressed with the fifth version from my first step in, and they haven’t disappointed after multiple runs. Nike has finally followed the example of other semi-super shoes like the popular Saucony Endorphin Speed and made the majority of the midsole out of their Pebax-based ZoomX foam, plus, they seem to have reduced the rigidity of the plate. An EVA-based frame still surrounds the ZoomX, which provides a more stable stance—appropriate and appreciated in this trainer—but the cushioning and pop underfoot feels far closer to that of the VaporFly. I found the ride comfortable and accommodating, even during my slow, stiff first miles these days. After getting warmed up and farther over my toes, my cadence and stride in the Zoom Fly 5 felt similar to what they are in a super shoe, making me think the transition on race day would be easy. I found myself reaching for these on most days in August when I wasn’t testing some other model, and can see myself doing long runs in them during my next training cycle.
Bottom line: If you’re racing in the VaporFly or AlphaFly, here’s your daily training shoe.
-Jonathan Beverly, Outside senior running editor