Friday, April 6, 2012

Review of Trialfox 4 by @PumaRunning

I went off on a tangent about nutrition over at EMT and all of the choices out there a few weeks ago. Choices choices…  Nutrition isn’t the only overwhelming aspect of triathlons and endurance racing facing today’s athlete.

Back in the day, you could lace up your choice of 2 or 3 Nike shoes and hit the pavement.  Once Air Jordans hit the scene, the shoe industry spun out of control.  Nike, Adidas, Asics and more have more running shoes to choose from than I have toes (I’m still at 10, but less on remaining toenails).

You’ve seen my review on Puma Faas 400’s, which I’m still running in and will update everyone on the durability soon.  Last weekend I hit the trails for the opening to my multisport season with the God’s Country Off Road Duathlon.  It was an “easy” 2 mile trail run, 18 mile mountain bike ride followed by another 2 mile trail run.

It was the best day for a race.  Sunny and 70 degrees at the finish line!

There were two things that I was testing out on this 2012 multisport season opener.  One was a knee issues that recently flared up and the other was finding out what my winter training has done for me.

I finished right in the middle of the long course racers and pushed my heart rate to my max to the finish line without dying.  My knee survived running on my race tested Puma Trailfox 4’s.

I was pleased with the overall performance for a “B” race and pleased with my trail shoes on their first official off road test.  With the family, it’s hard to get away to trails during the open hours to break in my trail shoes, but I’ve taken them to X camp and other shorter running workouts before this race. I was a little nervous running them live with some knee issues.   After spending some time funkifying them on the trails, here’s what I have to report about them.

Style : you can’t argue with lime green trail shoes.  They are eye catching and you just can’t look away.  They have many choices, so if you don’t want to glow in the dark, you can go a little more conservative.

Tread : the tread is great.  I would not throw them on for pavement, but for grip on the trails, I had no problems.  The directional lugs help you keep your footing while running uphill and downhill in dry sand, wet sand and dry packed dirt.

Durability : like I said, I have yet to get large chunks of miles on the shoes, but what I have done with cross fit, short running workouts and using them for every day wear shoes, they have held up well and do not show any significant wear on its abrasion-resistant rubber.

Comfort : the ldCELL cushioning improves shock absorption and protects your foot while you trudge over tree limbs, roots and rocks.  A forefoot frame provides added support so you feel confident in each step that you have solid footing.  The OrthoLite sockliner leads you to think you could wear  these puppies without socks.  I wouldn’t recommend racing with no socks on the trails, but from experience, you can slide them on with no socks if you are running a quick errand and not have a worry about hot spots.  The support and cushioning addressed the pounding me knee would take.  By the finish line, knee pain wasn’t an issue.

Tree hugging : Puma boasts that the overall design process was up to 50% more sustainable than in the past.  If saving the planet is high on your list, then Puma has you in mind.

Cost : at $90 to $100 for a pair, they aren’t a poor man’s trail shoe.  Pumas has confidence that their shoe is just as good as any shoe out there.  Puma is always running sales, so you could get them for less, but you also get what you pay for.  As I mentioned before, the durability is not an issue.  I’ve been using them for odds and ends for 4 months and 1 full on trail race with no issues.  There’s no wear spots and no frayed laces.

Overall I will be wearing these shoes for any trail work as long as they last.  The comfort is unmatched from my regular pavement running shoes I’ve used on the trails to my new Balances I used for Ruckus Kansas City last fall.  I always see it as a positive when you don’t remember your equipment sticking out in your mind after a race.  If you get to the end and everything worked like it should have, mission accomplished.  They are a nice addition to my shoe stable.

Writers note, Puma is a partner with Man Vs Triathlon and provided demo shoes free of cost.  Puma in now way has influenced this review.

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