Second Wind

Second Wind
"Run With Purpose!"

Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Best of the Best 1: Road Running Shoe

Alright guys, here's entry number 1 of the Best of the Best series!

As I mentioned before, I'm doing this to try to highlight the very best in different categories after prolonged use - we all know that we (on occasion...) try a product, Love it, rave about how it's the greatest thing ever, and then 6 months, or even 2 weeks later, you shelve them for a problem you didn't see right away.

Well, this "Best of the Best" series aims to fix some of that - the products I put in these categories are products that I've tested extensively (most for about 2 years).

Today's category is "Road (specific) Running Shoe"

Winner:  Nada!  
(no really... 'Nada')

The Nada Sports (previously under the 'Somnio' brand) "Nada"
I first brought this shoe to you back in October of 2011 and then spoke about the companies move into ladies only here  

That said, this shoe is still so unbelievably impressive, it's still worth it to buy for everyone.  The shoes (available in lots of colors) are made in a completely unisex design and platform.  They are sized in men's sizes but then labeled in women's sizes and then they tell you they run a full size large... Is that confusing enough?
Let me translate:  If you are a man, you order your size (so if you wear a men's 9.5, order a women's 9.5 and it will be right for you), if you are a woman, you order 1 size smaller than usual (so if you wear a women's size 9.5, order a women's size 8.5)

The shoes are amazing.  Still, hands down, the very best minimalist shoe I've ever worn for road running.

The shoes are completely seamless, no rubbing, no irritation, no hot spots; you can easily wear them with socks or without.

They are made of a sort-of stretch mesh that is very thin and unbelievably breathable. 

The mesh is so thin and stretchy that the shoe is “held together” by these strips of overlays (what a lot of people refer to affectionately as the Somnio duct-tape) that are made of Thermo Polyurethane – these strips keep your foot from sliding but that’s about it – they don’t restrict and they are Not stiff at all.

The sole is listed at 6mm but due to the material (very very soft) it honestly feels even thinner than that and provides excellent ground feel. 
One thing that will be interesting to see on this shoe is how well the sole holds up in the long run just because it is so thin and soft.

The toe box is wide and, again, the mesh is so stretchy that I would wager almost any foot width could be accommodated. 
This leads me to my only complaint… sort of.  Though it doesn’t bother me while running (I only visually notice it while I’m stretching), the toebox is wide, and the mesh stretches very well, but the actual Sole of the shoe (the actual white sole) is very narrow.  What this does is when I’m doing a wide hamstring stretch or a standing groin stretch (for instance), my foot actually slides over the edge of the sole.  Just an interesting point… not a hindrance that I can tell, but feels odd when not running – I wish the actual sole of the shoe were wider (I feel like the sole of my foot is wider than the white sole of the shoe… but not wider than the internal compartment of the shoe itself)

There is, of course, NO heel to toe drop - in fact, though never mentioned by Somnio that I can tell, people rumor that NADA stands for No Anterior Drop Applied.   Though possible, to me “NADA” simply means what it means in its truest form… nothing.  Nothing extra, nothing superfluous. 

That pretty much sums it up… this shoe has everything you would want (zero drop, complete flexibility, zero break in, seamless, sockliner, flat bottom, ultra lite), and nothing you don’t (no support, no arch, no drop, no… nothing) all in THE single lightest shoe I have ever seen…. That’s one of the greatest features:  these shoes weigh 3.6 ounces.  Yeah, that’s right, 100 grams – almost HALF the weight of a pair of Fivefingers!

Also, as a nice bonus, the shoes are $85 – which, in comparison, is Quite reasonable.

They also come (now) in lots of colors:  white, red, black, carolina blue, green, orange, pink, and more - check them out here:

Friday, August 23, 2013

Lifefactory glass water bottles

Lifefactory is a new company to me and a relatively new family in general (launching in 2007).  Pretty cool story actually, with founders being a pediatric physical therapist and feeding specialist and an architect designer -
check it out here:

Anyway, probably the first thing you noticed was "Glass" and wondering why in the world I'm reviewing a glass water bottle.  Well, I like glass a lot as it is basically an endless natural resource, it's easy to clean, and it doesn't leach flavors (from other drinks or soap...) but, glass is... well breakable.  

Enter one of the big reasons for this review:

Now, the bottle is awesome, the caps are really cool (more on that in a minute), the company has a neat story, but what makes this all work is the sleeve!  These bottles have "carbon hex" silicone sleeves on them that "helps prevent breakage and provides a nonslip grip".  

Now, I'm quite sure it's possible to break these things, but I did Try to break it under normal use, ie I rolled it off my bar on the hardwood floor, dropped it straight down like a pencil on my linoleum covered concrete slab, even pushed it off the tailgate of my truck onto the asphalt sidewalk, and (best torture test ever) handed it to my 5 year old and told her "it's not breakable - go nuts" and it survived.  
The thick silicone sleeve is awesome.  Also helps that this is not a drinking glass - it's quite thick (my 22oz model with the straw cap weighs in at 1.2#).

This particular model is from the brand new Straw Cap Collection
There a couple of things that I Love about their particular straw cap design.  First off, it's got a nice handle that pivots out of the way when you're wanting to drink, you can open and close it with one hand (so if you're on a stationary bike you can maintain stride and grip with one hand the entire time - this same thing holds true for being on a treadmill but... why would you be on a treadmill, go outside!) the glass itself has a nice wide mouth (under the cap) that allows for ice cubes, protein powder, etc. and the Best thing about their straw cap design is the straw.  I know, sounds simple, how can you mess up a straw, right? But people do.  
Lifefactory uses a soft medical grade silicone flexible straw - not the pencil stiff plastic ones that I've always found in normal straw lids.  Why it took someone so long to figure out that was a good idea is beyond me, but awesome job Lifefactory.  Another big bonus?  I'm not a fan of using reusable straws forever, while these are great, flexible, easy to clean, and dishwasher safe, I still like to replace mine and you can buy a 3 pack of replacement flexible silicone straws straight from Lifefactory for $1.99.

The people over at Lifefactory have this awesome concept that they call Cradle to Table.  What this means is that they actually offer this exact design (nice, thick glass bottles with silicone sleeves) for babies to adults.  Seriously, they have nipple bottles in 4 and 9oz sizes, then they have toddler versions in 9oz with sippy-cup lids, and then they have "kid" ones in 9oz with screw on flat caps.  And (best idea yet) all the baby/toddler/kid lids are interchangeable on all 4 and 9oz bottles.  
Then for the adults they come in 16oz and 22oz and they have flip top lids (which are pretty cool - it's a small opening to drink out of with the ability to take it off and have the large glass top opening for putting in ice, powder, mix-ins, etc.), screw-on flattop lids, and these new straw lids (like the one I have):
"The NEW Straw Cap is designed for upright, spillproof sipping (no tipping required). The Straw Cap is perfect for the treadmill and yoga class. The pivoting handle provides a great way to carry the bottle and stows out of the way while drinking." 

So you have 
  • Stage 1 bottle nipple
  • State 2 bottle nipple
  • Sippy-cup lid
  • Screw-on flat lid
  • Flip top lid
  • Silicone straw cap
I honestly got to test this bottle for about 48 hours before my wife saw it and stole it (I knew I should have snagged 2...).  She has carried it around in her purse and diaper bag, which are about as organized as a filing cabinet that rode 3 counties in a tornado, and it never leaked a drop (her most important test criteria) and now she's decided she wants to get some for our daughters (one bottle age and one lunch box age).  

Verdict:  I really do like it.  It's well made, responsibly made, American made (sleeve and cap are made in America, glass is made in France, and assembly takes place in America), stylishly made, cool story (which you know I'm a sucker for), and neat concept (the Cradle to Table design).

Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Be on TV! (Spartan Race on NBC)

Alright guys, so about a couple of months ago I brought you word about Spartan Race and their insane obstacle courses (see blog Here)

Well, now they're really outdone themselves with a new deal and awesome new promotion:  Spartan Race is being aired on national television, on NBC, bringing adventure/obstacle racing to the forefront for the first time.  Many times in the past (paintball, Crossfit, BMX, X games, etc) an NBC/ESPN airing has brought a fringe sport into the mainstream

Check out this interview with Spartan Race CEO Joe DeSena on CNBC:

Now, here's the even Cooler part!
YOU can be on TV with them.  Spartan Race is running a campaign to get a couple of professionals and a few average Joes to have their story shared on NBC
Check out this page for details:  Your Spartan Story..... On TV!

NBC will be filming 8 professional athletes and 4 everday Spartans (that'd be most of you guys!) at the Spartan Race World Championships in Killington, Vermont next month on September 21st for a 90 minute TV special.

And Anyone can register for this event and go run the televised race in Killington (in Beast and Sprint distances).

Now for the final part of this little piece, you can use

This Code to get 15% off Any Spartan Race!

OR you can reply here, send me an email, or message me on Facebook why you want to run a Spartan Race and you could
win a FREE ENTRY code to ANY Spartan Race
(including the televised race or the race I'll be running in November!)

Thursday, August 8, 2013


Over the past few years I've reviewed dozens of products on this blog (more new ones coming in all the time - in fact I'm working on reviews for a new water bottle and a new line of truly minimalist dress shoes right now).

I'm currently working on a piece that I'm pretty excited about - I'll be laying out the "Best of the Best" in several categories from all the products that I've tried over the last 2-3 years.  Many of the ones I would have felt sure would have been winners when I first got them in didn't even make the list 2 years later.

That's what I like about this:  all of us have had products that we LOVED when we first got them, and then 3 months, 6 months, 2 years, heck, 2 Weeks later they were completely disposable again.  So this takes the quick reviews (I wait 2 months to post reviews so I have enough time to fully test to try to cut this down as much as possible) and shows where the products Really stack up 2 years later.

The categories:

Best road specific shoe
Best trail specific shoe
Best Crossfit/gym specific shoe
Best boot
and the "If I could only buy ONE pair of shoes to do EVERYTHING in" shoe
Best compression company
Best non-compression apparel company

(am I leaving anything out?)