Wednesday, August 27, 2014

All Terrain Eyewear: Switch Stormrider MultiSport Sun Glasses Review

Hey!  Yes, I realize it's been awhile since a post or a review, and I apologize.  Life just seems to happen in different ways, and never on a schedule of course!

Today I'm really excited to bring you a review of one of the latest offerings from Switch, the new Stormrider MultiSport sunglasses!

If you have been following the pics I post on Facebook, you'll know that I love my Switch H-Wall glasses (with their trademarked Magnetic Interchange Lens System).  I wear them exclusively because they work so great, and I love being able to swap out lenses in a flash.  Check out my review by clicking HERE, but come right back and check out the latest!  Stick around, as the cool folks at Switch are providing me a pair to giveaway to one of you as well :-)

Ok... so what's cool and new about the Stormrider? Switch has taken their Magnetic Interchange system in a new direction, allowing you to convert these from "regular" sunglasses, to a full on Multisport eyewear system that really performs!

The Stormriders come with two sets of interchangeable eye cups that snap in and out super fast.  The Activity Guard pictured above is a soft padded eye cup over a stiffer plastic frame.  When inserted in the glasses, it forms a seal around your eyes, but with venting above and below for air flow.  Basically it converts a great pair of sunglasses into weather proof goggles!

What I really like about this guard is that it fits comfortably, and it really reduces any impacts of wind on your eyes.  I tested these not only trail running, but mountain biking in a heavy wind as well.  The Activity Guard inserts blocked out almost all of the wind, allowing me great vision in a head wind, as well as great sun protection.

In addition to blocking wind (while not fogging over), an added benefit I didn't anticipate was the light blocking from the side.  With many glasses, you can't help but get some glare from the sun behind the lenses, depending on your angle to the sun while running.  The guards on the Stormriders eliminate that, allowing clear comfortable vision regardless of the angle.  I am legally blind in one eye, and that eye is particularly sensitive to bright sun, so I LOVE this feature... no more squinting or tearing up...

In addition to the Activity Guard, the Stormriders also ship with a pair of Climate Guards that can be switched in and out easily.  The difference here is that it is a true form fitting rubber cup, designed to provide a more weather resistant seal (think rain, snow etc).  I did not have an opportunity to test these in such conditions, but I did wear them on a few runs.  They don't breathe quite as well as the vented guard, but they still allow some slight airflow in near the nose bridge.  So far, the Activity Guard has served me well for running, biking, and hiking. I'm also really looking forward to wearing these skiing instead of bulky goggles!

Each pair of Stormriders come in a sturdy zippered case, including the two sets of eye guards, carrying case for the extra guards, a cleaning wipe, and a strap.  Ah yes.. the strap! I almost forgot.  The temples include a clip in spot for an adjustable strap the help secure the Stormriders and to provide a better seal with the eye cups. I have a larger head/face, so I really haven't needed to use it, but I think it would be very handy if you needed to ensure a more snug fit to your face to ensure the guards work as intended. And I guess they may keep them on your head in case of a face plant.  I've lost some sunglasses into the woods before when I've taken a header trail running!  The Stormriders are noted as being a medium fit size, but fit my bigger head no problem.  My guess is that if you have a medium to small face, the strap may be more important.

Oh.. and late breaking news.  The Stormriders work GREAT for motorcycle riding!  I bought a trail bike over the summer, and the Stormriders work perfect for keeping the wind/mud/small animals out of my eyes so I can see where I'm going!

Ok, at this point, the Stormriders are new enough that they are not up on the Switch website for ordering, but I believe that is being worked on!  In the interim, if you are interested in more info about these, contact Switch at this link

As always, if you have any questions/comments/feedback, please leave a comment below or on the Facebook page!

And, you know the drill.  I'd love to give you a pair of Stormriders!  Enter below via the Rafflecopter thing-a-majig.  I'll run this contest until 10PM MST, Wednesday September 3rd, 2014. Contest is open to the residents of the U.S.A and Canada.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Good luck, and happy trails!


Wednesday, August 13, 2014

BarePadz! First look at the world's most minimalist running footwear

I just love the creativity and innovation around barefoot/minimalist running gear, and BarePadz have to be one of the coolest things I've come across in a while!

As you may know, I love to run barefoot, but I certainly don't do it enough.  I love it as a form check, and I love the feeling, but I know I don't have the dedication or drive to run barefoot full time.  So from that point, anything that can simulate barefoot running, but allow me to run more is a cool thing in my book.

I came across the BarePadz Kickstarter campaign a few weeks ago, and I knew I just has to try these!  I've only had them a short time, so I can just give you a quick preview or first look at what these are all about.   To take a look at the project, click HERE and check it out... the campaign ends on Thursday August 21st, 2014, but the cool news is that Greg (The creator of BarePadz) has reached and exceeded his $5K campaign goal earlier this week!

Here's Greg to give you a look at the BarePadz, and I'll give you my first impressions below that...

Ok... I've run twice in these... two 5K runs, over terrain that included dirt, rocks, asphalt, sidewalk, and gnarly nasty chip seal..  

Positives:   These by far have the closest to barefoot feeling out of any foot covering I've tried. Having contact with ground with 70% of my foot, including my toes was awesome.  The longest I've run straight barefoot was 4 miles, and I did that last year after working up to it over a few months.  I was able to run over 6 miles in these (without working up to it), and my feet felt great.  AND, I ran over some nasty chip seal that I can't even really walk on barefoot.   My toes got a little tender, but that was about it.  Granted, I run a lot in sandals and very minimalist shoes, so my feet are strong, but the soles are sensitive since I don't run pure barefoot enough.  I wouldn't recommend someone running a 5k in these if they haven't run barefoot/minimalist at all before.   Also, these were very comfortable, and easy to put on and take off.

Negatives:   The only negatives I have are kind of conditional.  I ordered the right size, and I found that these fit very snug, and I don't need the velcro strap.  So, if you have really wide feet, it might be an issue, but hard to say.  The other issue I had is with some wear on the outside of the Padz, in the area outside of the reinforced foot pad.  Now this issue came about because I have a very strong tendency to pronate, and more so when I am barefoot. I really really have to concentrate on landing more towards the inside of my foot, and even then its difficult.

As you can see by the dirt line, I am shifted way over, and the chip seal (aka cheese grater) has started to wear down the neoprene.  Again, I think this would be an issue if you pronate a lot like me, and you run on some nasty terrain.

That being said, I am really enamored with the BarePadz! I love the whole concept and idea behind them. I've often wished that there was something out there that could just take some of the sting/sensitivity out of barefoot running, but couldn't figure out what that would be.  Greg at BarePadz took that wish and brought it to reality.

As Greg notes in his Kickstarter campaign, the goal is to get this first generation product out there and then gather as much feedback and data from users so that those ideas can go into future iterations to refine this product to be everything I, well and you all, want it to be ;-)

Congrats Greg on a successful Kickstarter campaign, and I look forward to seeing BarePadz continue to be successful!

As always, if you have questions/comments, leave them below or on the Facebook page.

Happy Trails!