at home in... w| Gerald Zhang-Schmidt

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Mammut Comfort High GTX

High Comfort, So Last Season: Mammut Comfort High GTX Surround Boot Review

When Mammut was looking to provide some people in the German-speaking area with a high Klout score (yep, they had still been using that) with a pair of their shoes to test, back in the spring of 2015, I’m pretty sure they were looking for some immediate support for their PR.

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Icebug Acceleritas5 Side View, Slightly Used ;)

Accelerating in Icebug’s Acceleritas5 RB9X. Running Shoe Review

Shoes are at least as exciting for the runner as they are for the stereotypical shoe-obsessed woman – if they are exciting.

Icebug’s Acceleritas5 are.

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Salomon Sense Ultra 3/Set Review: A Sense (Vest) for All Runs

The way things go sometimes, they haven’t (yet) worked out as planned, but led to serendipitous findings.

It was running vest/packs with 20l of volume I wanted to test this year, for some overnight running outings, but I ended up testing Salomon’s 3 liter Sense Ultra (Set) vest instead.

And I found a running vest I really enjoy using.

The Sense Ultra 3 may, on first look from afar, look like a running pack, but it quickly shows itself to be just a running vest.

The material is so thin, one could bunch the whole thing – without the Hydrapak soft flask bottles, of course – up into not much more than tennis ball size.

Consequently, it gets rather wet with sweat, but it is also not too noticeable on the body and highly breathable; one can’t quite speak of how it carries, rather, it wears just like another thin piece of very well-fitting clothing.
It may also sound as if it should be flimsy, but it has shown itself not to be; the material has been working out excellently.

Give it a look and listen:

For overnighters, staying out to sleep, this wouldn’t be it – but that’s clear from its volume alone, I’d hope.

For overnight runs with the barest of essential/mandatory equipment, however, it works out very well.
For the essentials for a quick training run or longer outing – even a little forest forage run – it’s been working out perfectly for me.

OR Helium Jacket, Salomon Sense 3L Vest - Leeks Delivery System

OR Helium II Jacket, Salomon Sense 3L Vest, Salomon XA Pro 3D – Leeks Delivery System

And it rides very well on my backpack when I head for the mountains, to go running there, too…

Salomon Sense Ultra 3 on Arrakis backpack

Salomon XA Pro 3D

Salomon XA Pro 3D Review

There are a lot of new – or rather, same but changed/improved – shoes coming from Salomon this fall/winter (2015), as seen at the ISPO already. (I’ll report from the upcoming OutDoor Friedrichshafen with more details). At least some of them, I hope to get a chance to check out, but they won’t be out for most testing until September.

For the meantime, I asked one of their marketers for his recommendation for a shoe for mixed running, and the XA Pro 3D was the interesting choice.

Salomon XA Pro 3D

I’m a big fan of trail running through forests and in the mountains, and of the specialized shoes for that as well. Also, rather niche brands sit well with me. Salomon, consequently, is a brand I approach with some hesitation; they have done a lot of good through their support for running, but they are also so ubiquitous in trail running, it can get a tad disconcerting.

Then again, most of my running starts and ends on roads, very much of it goes over gravel roads that aren’t much different from paved roads, so a specialized trail running shoe is not necessarily the best choice.
A road running shoe, on the other hand, wouldn’t work for too many of the gravel roads, let alone the trails I end up on whenever I can.

Salomon shoes and gear, when in doubt, are a running staple to turn to and know to expect lots of choices and a decent quality.

There is also their store in the nearby Outlet Center… and even when I didn’t like how the Inov-8 TrailRoc had fared in Hong Kong’s humidity and needed to find another pair of running shoes, it was a pair of SpeedCross (SpeedCross CS, strangely enough) that I was able to find in my size even in Hong Kong and that enabled me to run comfortably out in the Hunan countryside.

Running in Hunan Countryside

Later, I would go on to use those same SpeedCross in running at the Grossglockner, and in the Linz Marathon, and in Beijing, doing the Beijing Marathon. Oh, and on the Great Wall as well.
Yep, I abused them in mountains and on roads, for two years, until they had no more lugs on part of their soles.

Running on the Great Wall

Not exactly a bad experience.

And back to the XA Pro 3D…

The XA Pro 3D are usually described as a (mountain) trail running shoe; mixed conditions are what I got them recommended for, and everything from road to gravel to mountain trails is what I have used them on for a while now.

Like many a ‘standard’ kind of running shoe, they have a rather thick sole (compared to shoes like Inov-8’s TrailRoc or Icebug’s Zeal, which I generally prefer). This, alongside their rather burly build, makes them less of a racing or nimble trail running shoe, but well suited for the road-to-trail running I have been using them for…

Not a bad pair of shoes at all. Now, let’s see what the true top-of-line models are bringing next.

at home in… Trail Running, Cradled by Icebug’s Zeal

Time for another shoe review, this time of the Zeal RB9X (“Rubber 9 Extreme”) from Icebug.

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