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Suunto Ambit3 vs. Garmin Fenix 5 || Core differences + ideal uses

By Andrew Skurka / January 24, 2018 /

For a week I have been wearing a borrowed Garmin Fenix 5X, which is Garmin’s flagship multi-sport GPS sport watch. I’m a longtime user of the Suunto Ambit3 Peak (and, before that, the Ambit2), and this first-hand experience with a competing brand and product has been informative. I’ve always been curious how the Ambit3 compares to the…

Long-term review: DeFeet Wooleator Sock || Go-to sock for a decade-plus

By Andrew Skurka / January 23, 2018 /

In December I visited my parents in Massachusetts, and my mom had waiting for me a box of possessions that I needed to bring back to Colorado or throw out. Along with newspaper clippings from the Sea-to-Sea Route, a Valentine’s Day card from a high school sweetheart, and running logs from the pre-Strava era, I…

Back in stock: Bonnie’s Balm || For wet feet, chafing, and cracked lips & skin

By Andrew Skurka / January 19, 2018 /

Last year the owner and founder of Bonnie’s Balm, Bonnie Searcy, had a host of health issues (among other things, two black widow spider bites) and the business seemed to evaporate. Orders went unfulfilled, calls and emails garnered no response, and the website even went down. As a long-time supporter and distributor of the products,…

First impressions: Nike Zoom VaporFly 4% || Yes, they’re pretty different

By Andrew Skurka / January 9, 2018 /

Twice per year I attend the Outdoor Retailer tradeshow, where I’m told about dozens of products that are the best thing since sliced bread and where I’m bombarded with increasingly stretched marketing hype to match these supposed earth-shattering advances. When I first heard about the Nike Zoom VaporFly 4% road racing shoes, I applied this same…

Review: Showa 281 Gloves || Inexpensive water- & windproof shell

By Andrew Skurka / December 13, 2017 /

The Showa 281 Glove is an inexpensive (less than $15), lightweight (sub-2 oz), and somewhat breathable shell made of waterproof/windproof polyurethane. Its exterior is textured and very abrasion-resistant. It is the unlined version of the Showa 282 Gloves, about which I have written a more in-depth review. Online availability of the 281 is limited. I purchased…

Review: Hoka One One Cavu || Light, responsive & fast road trainer

By Andrew Skurka / December 3, 2017 /

The Houston Marathon is less than six weeks, and for all of my tempo workouts and hard long runs — including multiple 10K’s at race pace and distances up to 24 miles — I have been wearing the new Hoka One One Cavu. The Cavu is a neutral lightweight road trainer that is moderately cushioned, responsive, and…

Review: Showa 282 Gloves || Preferred cold & wet solution, but imperfect

By Andrew Skurka / October 30, 2017 /

When hiking or running in cold and wet conditions, keeping my hands comfortable has been a chronic challenge. On multiple occasions I’ve pulled into a campsite, trailhead, aid station, or my house with inoperable and painful fingers. To minimize (or perhaps even, to end) this suffering, this summer I looked beyond conventional rain mitts like the REI…

Gear List: Ultra-Trail du Mont-Blanc (UTMB) || Personal & obligatory gear

By Andrew Skurka / August 29, 2017 /

Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc (UTMB) and its growing race series (CCC, TDS, OCC, and PTL) are held in the last week of August in the Savoy Alps, an extreme mountain environment. Since the first race in 2001, racers have experienced a wild range of weather: snow, cold rain and snow, fierce winds, relentless sun,…

Review: Hoka One One Clifton 4 || Reliable road trainer, but not characteristically Clifton

By Andrew Skurka / August 27, 2017 /

The Clifton 2 was my first shoe from Hoka One One. I loved it: its plush midsole was wonderful; its last fit my narrow-ish feet; its reinforced upper provided good control, to the degree that I occasionally used it on moderate trails; and its weight was feathery, all things considered. (Read my full review.) But…

Help me decide: Hoka Speedgoat 2 or Salomon Sense Ultra for UTMB?

By Andrew Skurka / August 22, 2017 /

On Friday I leave for France and UTMB, so much of this week is dedicated to race preparation. One decision with which I’m struggling is my footwear. I have narrowed it to: Hoka One One Speedgoat 2 (read my review; buy now), and Salomon Sense Ultra (read my review; buy now). Ultimately, I may be obsessing…