What We’re Loving This Week: Shoes, Shoes, Buffs, and Getting Back to Running

Our favorite triathlon-related things—old, new, and random—right now.

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Every week, we share some of the things we’re using in our real lives here at Triathlete. As part of Pocket Outdoor Media, we have an office (that’s empty right now) full of gear and a staff that spends a lot of time swimming, biking, and running.

This week, we’re all about the running—which makes sense, given that’s the thing most of us can still do unrestricted and outside. When we all thought about what we’re using and loving in our lives right now, we ended up with two different pairs of trail shoes! That probably says something about what we’re doing in our free time: hitting the trails for some solo running out in the open while we can.

Here’s what we’re loving this week.

New Balance Fresh Foam Hierro v5 Trail Shoes

If I’m honest, when it comes to running I’ve never really been one for trails, having always preferred road running or sessions on the treadmill. (Yes, I realize some people might find that odd, but what can I say, I’ve spent many years as a triathlete robotically following what my TrainingPeaks told me to do.) As so many of us have found now, the global pandemic is forcing us to change up our usual workout routines and habits. Previously I would have rarely ventured off-road, so had never been too interested in trail shoes. But over the past couple of weeks I’ve been running on some of Boulder’s quieter trails—and loving it. It’s also given me a chance to experiment with a few different trail shoes and I’ve found I’m loving this pair of New Balance Fresh Foam Hierro v5. At first I laughed and scoffed at the “tail” they have and thought they seemed heavy and clunky, but this just shows you can’t always trust your first impressions. Yes, they are definitely more heavily cushioned than most of my shoes, but when you’re jumping over rocks, turning your ankle, sliding in mud and all that other fun stuff, you’re grateful for that—ditto the Vibram MegaGrip outsole, which provides great traction, especially in mud, slush, and snow. Here’s to many more off-road miles in them!

– Emma-Kate Lidbury, managing editor

My Neck Gaiters/Buffs

Buff USA sponsored my adventure race team about 15 years ago and so I have quite a stash of these seamless tubes that, until now, had little use other than for really cold running and Nordic skiing. But with the Center of Disease Control and Prevention’s recent recommendation to wear cloth face coverings in public, I have been rotating several to serve on daily solo trail runs. Although I try to run early enough and on secluded trails so that my only encounters are with deer, that’s not always possible and the face covering serves to console concerned older or immune-compromised hikers I come across that I won’t expose them to droplets from the aerosol of my breathing as I pass. I’m aware that these polyester tubes aren’t medical grade or even as effective as cotton, but they are easy to pull up and double up, which provides decent coverage for tighter passing circumstances. And, as added bonuses, the Buff wards off judge-y glances and my neck will have fewer wrinkles.

– Adam Chase, contributing writer

Merrell MTL Cirrus Trail Shoe

As it’s been unusually rainy and mucky here in L.A. this week, I’ve been going through pairs of shoes like a crazy person. When I stepped out a few days ago into an absolute deluge, stubbornly set on finding the messiest trails I could, I reached for these shoes because they keep water out for a while, but then they clear water well once the inevitable soaking occurs. Not only that, the outsole on these is super stiff and well-lugged—perfect for some form of predictability in unpredictably sloppy mud. Though I was soaked to the bone, I didn’t hit the deck once, despite tons of severe ups and downs, and I survived to run another day.

– Chris Foster, senior editor

VooDoo Band

I am back to running after a meniscal tear and am now dealing with ITBS! My best friend while starting to run again has been the VooDoo band from Rogue Fitness. This sucker has helped me immensely with warming up the tissues before a run, and with clearing out swelling after. My calves and quads are working extra hard after several months off and they have been loving the extra TLC in the last week from the VooDoo band.

– Kirk Warner, director of video

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