Monday, October 29, 2018

Packing Light: Maloja MAXM Jacket Review

Hey!  Look who is back!  I know...  looking at my blog and realizing it's been since February since I've posted anything at all, including reviews.

Hope everyone had a great spring and summer!  I kind of ended up taking a long break.. not just from blogging, but from running as well. Did get a lot of projects done at home though!

Anyway, I am ready to get back at it... started training again this week, and am looking forward to sharing more posts with you, and reviewing some great products that I have found.

And to kick it off, I have a review today of the MAXM Jacket from Maloja. Maloja is an activewear company out of Germany that started up back in 2004.  I had not heard of them before but was excited to try out the MAXM as it is a super light/compact jacket that I thought would work great for trail running.

Before running in it, I give it a quick try out on a weekend camping trip with the boys.  While the weather was good, it was nice to have something to throw on in the cool mornings.  Normally I wear a large, but this jacket was noted as slim fit, so I went up to an XL and glad I did. 

Before I get too far into the performance, let me just walk through some of the features real quick.

So, as you can see, the jacket is slightly longer in the back, which is great.  It includes some reflective piping which is helpful when road running, and elastic cuffs.  The labeling notes it is designed for wind protection, and repelling water, but note this jacket is not water proof.

Other features include a great design for ventilation, and a high quality zipper/cover.

But what I was most interested in was the compactness of this jacket. As you can see, inside the jacket is a specially designed pocket to pack the jacket into.  Even the XL packs down tightly to the size of a nice Russett potato, weighs much less than one, and easily fits in my accessory back on my Orange Mud VP2 running pack.

So.. how did it perform?  Well, I put it to the test at the Last Call 50 Miler, a Human Potential Running Series race that was in early July.  The cool part about this race was that it started at Midnight with a shot of whiskey!  And yes.. it was cool that night and early morning, so I started with the MAXM from the beginning.  It was fantastic at cutting the wind, and I was surprised at how well it kept me comfortable, considering how light weight it was.  The jacket moved well, ventilated well, and did exactly what it was supposed to.  And the best part? Once the sun was out and the day warmed up, I packed it away easily into my VP2 with no hassles.

Where the MAXM got the ultimate test was on a 3 day 3 night backpacking trip call the 4 Pass Loop in the Maroon Bells/Snowmass Wilderness area in Colorado.  A fantastic trip, and the pic above was taken on our last day and last of 4 12,500 ft+ passes.  All smiles as the weather at that point was great.

However, two days before that, on a day we hit two passes, we ran into some serious weather on the second pass of the day.  The pic above was taken by a friend who was ahead of our group...  by the time I hit the pass, it was hailing, raining, windy, cold, and the trail was turning to snot. 

I hadn't backpacked in about 20 years, so didn't do the best job packing.  My pack was heavy, and I didn't really plan on extreme weather.  I know... August in the Colorado mountains, you should be prepared for it all.  I had a fleece, but nothing really else for heavy weather.  Thankfully, I did bring the Maloja MAXM since it was so light.  I threw it on over my fleece, cinched my hat down and had to power over the pass in that nasty weather.  It was raining so hard that I exceeded the water repellency of the jacket... not that it would have mattered as I was just soaked.  A bit too much weather for this jacket, but I certainly was so glad I did have it. Seriously, it probably kept me alive... not comfortable but alive! 

Fortunately, after that rough day, the rest of the trip wasn't nearly as crazy.  And of course, by the time I got down that pass, the sun came out, and the jacket dried out quickly...  not the rest of me though!

Anyway.. there you have it... a jacket review and a brief peek at my summer as well.  I plan to put together a full post on the 4 Pass Loop as it was one of those bucket list type trips, so stay tuned!

For more info on Maloja, visit their website by clicking HERE, or also check them out and follow them on Facebook HERE.  I really appreciated the opportunity to try out one of their jackets, and I highly recommend them.  If the MAXM is any indication of the quality of their products, you can't go wrong.

As always, thanks for tuning in...  hopefully, see more regular posts going forward! Feel free to comment or ask questions below, or on the Barefoot Inclined Facebook page.

Happy Trails!


Wednesday, February 7, 2018

Xeroshoes TerraFlex Review!

Xeroshoes TerraFlex
Wow!  So, if you've been following from way back, you'll know that my very first minimalist runners were the Contacts from Invisible Shoes (now Xeroshoes) almost 7 years ago!

I've watched Steven and Lena take this company such a long way since that time, and I just love to see what they come up with.  So what's new?  How about a trail running shoe?

Xeroshoes Ipari Prio and TerraFlex

I was really excited to get the opportunity to give these a try and tell you all about them.  A little more than a year ago, Xeroshoes introduced their very first shoe with the casual Ipari Hana, followed shortly after with the Prio pictured above.  The Prio is a great running shoe, but was a little too minimal for trail running, and didn't provide enough traction in my opinion.  Obviously Steven and the gang at Xeroshoes can read my mind, and got to work on a trail version in the TerraFlex.  As you can see above, the TerraFlex is patterned after the Prio, and is styled similarly, but with some great modifications.

Mr. Chips approved tread pattern

Most of the differences lie in the sole.  The TerraFlex still uses the proprietary Feel True sole (with a 5,000 mile warranty), but adds some beefy 4mm chevron treads for traction, as well as 3mm of Bare Foam embedded in the sole for a little more cushion.  Topped with a 2mm insole, the TerraFlex provides close to 11mm (not including lugs) of flexible protection from the trail.

Still super flexible!
And as you can see, the TerraFlex is amazingly flexible, just as we would expect from Xeroshoes. Also the upper is a bit more durable than on the Prio, but remains breathable, and somewhat water resistant.  At least during my runs in the snow, and a quick splash through a creek, I didn't notice any moisture inside.   Also, the toe has been reinforced with a Tough Tek toe bumper.

So where did I put these to the test?  Everywhere! After my first snow run, I took the TerraFlexes out to the Manitou Incline/Barr Trail as well, and they performed very well.  I did run into some packed snow/ice in a few shady spots.. not enough to have brought traction devices, and the TerraFlexes gripped well, and I never felt concerned coming down Barr Trail with any kind of traction issues.  The lugged sole is terrific, and the extra stack height allowed running on more rugged terrain without issue.

Manitou Incline

But protection aside, the TerraFlex still provides great ground feel and feedback, so don't worry that they've moved too far away from the minimalist feel... you still need to watch your step and tread lightly!

My size 11.5's come in just over 10 oz, but they feel much lighter than that, so the weight is distributed well.  I went up a 1/2 size over the Prio's, and glad I did... the difference was only slight, but it gave me a little more space in front of my toes that I like, and also allows for a heavier weight trail sock.

Xeroshoes TerraFlex

Ok... if you know me, you know my favorite trail running shoe hands down is Carson Footwear.  So.. have they been replaced?  No... at this point you couldn't get me out of my Carson's.. especially for ultra distance trail runs... BUT...  I can see the TerraFlex going into my toolbox as a back up to change things up and to keep things changing for my training runs.  I do see this shoe becoming the goto shoe for many folks as we all strive to find the "one" for each of us.  So if you are looking for a fantastic minimalist trail shoe to try, you don't want to miss these.

The TerraFlex will be available for sale starting next week, and will be on sale through 2/26, so click HERE  to get more info, and better yet, enter to win one of the first pairs!  After that, the TerraFlex will retail for $99.99, or just $10 more than the Ipari Prio...   great price for a great trail shoe.

As always, if you have any questions, comments, awesome puns, let me know! Leave a comment her or message me on the Barefoot Inclined Facebook page!

Happy trails!


Wednesday, January 10, 2018

Happy and Healthy 2018!!!

Happy New Year!!!

Hard to believe that another year has passed by... and even harder to believe.. this is my 6th Annual Happy and Healthy kickoff post and giveaway!  Yep.. way back in January of 2012 I launched my first Happy and Healthy... and I can't believe how much it's grown since then!


 I have really appreciated all of you that have been following my blog for the past year, following on Twitter, instagram, and liking the Barefoot Inclined Facebook page. Which is why I am so excited to host the ultimate giveaway to get 2018 off to a great start, showcasing my favorite gear and vendors from 2017 and the amazing things from those companies I represent as a proud ambassador!

But, before I jump to the giveaways, I just wanted to give a little recap of the year.  I had a number of goals for the year, but first and foremost was to continue my journey to better health through clean eating, and also to continue participating in trail ultramarathons. I set a goal of running a 100 miler in 2017, and gave it all I had. You can read all the details HERE, but I only managed 64 miles before having to DNF.  On a positive note, I did manage 67miles at the 24 Hours of Palmer Lake in April as well. 

While it was so awesome to be able to reach 100K+ twice last year, I was still a bit bummed about not getting my 100 miles.  After my attempt, I had to shift gears into selling our home, then looking for a new home, moving and getting settled.  For those of you that have done that, especially after being in one place for 10+ years, you know what I'm talking about.  That kind of wiped out the summer, and I've also had to focus more time on work/family, which is all good, but I got out of the habit of running regularly, and posting here as well...   so if you've stuck around, I appreciate it. 

So... while I had hoped to bore you with recaps of all these amazing races in 2017, I instead can only relay that the balance of the year was a struggle. I've put 20 lbs back on due to not running, and I lost a lot of motivation over that time to work out at all, or to work on any reviews or blog posts..  

But.. have no fear! I am back!.  I am slowly working my miles back up, and feeling that joy of just getting out on the trail and moving, regardless of the speed.  And, what else does one do to get motivated?  Sign up for races of course!  Not just any races though... I've signed up for several Human Potential Running Series events, including the South Park Trail Marathon, and the Last Call 50 Miler!  And of course, I can't skip the 24 Hours of Palmer Lake... as a matter of fact, I may start that one early, and just go until I get my 100 miles....  so local folks, I may need your help at that one! 2018 will be EPIC!

Speaking of epic..  In 2017 I had the great fortune to continue the year representing Carson FootwearFuel 100Switch SunglassesOrange Mud, and  Thin Optics  as an Ambassador!! I can't tell you how great it is to be involved with these folks, the amazing products they have, and the incredible fellow ambassadors I've got to know...   I am very lucky indeed :-)

OK!... let's get on with the HUGE giveaway to kick 2018 off right! 

Below are brief recaps of some of the reviews I've done over the last year or so, and an opportunity for me to give back, thanks to the generosity of all the great folks I've worked with and represented over the years.   I have a separate giveaway for each, so you have tons of opportunities to win! 

Each giveaway is open to residents of the U.S. (and in some cases, Canada or elsewhere, and will be noted).  I will run these until 10PM MST, Sunday January 14th, 2018... so enter early and often!

Let's kick this thing off with a shout out to Carson Footwear, the makers of my favorite trail/ultra running shoe...   These things are amazing!  My first review of these was almost exactly 3 years ago, and you can check it out HERE.  The ONLY running shoe manufacturer that builds their shoes 100% in the US with US materials...  That rocks..  

I love being an ambassador representing Carson Footwear...  I ran a 50K in these right out of the box, and my original Iguana's reached 800 miles before I reluctantly retired them. I also got to run in the latest 12/12 sole (pictured above), after Carson Footwear overnighted a pair to me in So Cal just in time to run the Born To Run Ultras 100! 

Anyway, if you've followed me for any length of time, you know I will go on and on about Carsons.. so I'll stop now, and instead give away a pair of Carson's of your choice to one winner, plus a Carson t-shirt to two additional winners, courtesy of the amazing folks at Carson Footwear.  If by chance you don't win, you can always score 10% off by using the code "barefootjg" at checkout :-)

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Another company I am proud to represent is Switch/Liberty Sport Eyewear.  From my first run in the Switch H-Walls to skiing with the all weather protection of the Storm Riders, and most recently, hitting the trails in the Avalanche Upslope, I've been hooked.

I love the ability to quickly swap out lenses lightning fast for different lighting conditions (perfect for Colorado trails), and the fact that the Avalanches are the bomb for trail running... light, durable, and well ventilated...  And such great folks to work with!  Anyway, enter below to snag a pair of Avalanche Upslopes (or any style of your choice) for your running adventures!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Woo hoo! Now I get a chance to rave about my favorite trail ultra series by far.   Although there is no longer an official ambassador program, you can bet that I continue to promote Sherpa John's races and events, and participate in as many as I can.  Why? Because he and HPRS get it....  And what is IT?  Simply put.. its that sense of community.  I've met so many amazing folks and had so much fun at these races that it is difficult to describe.  I did try in a post HERE.  The bottom line is if you want an extremely well-run race, killer aid stations, and to feel supported and valued, whether 1st place or DFL..  HPRS is where you belong..  check them out and become a member!

And speaking of races.... thanks to Sherpa John's generosity, I am able to give away race entries to one male and one female winner! Check out all the races HERE.. and good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Xeroshoes (Invisible Shoes then) was my first pair of minimalist runners back in 2011 and I will never forget the impression they made. Steven Sashen has come a long way with his company and products and I've loved working with them over the years.  Last year they released the Day Light Hiker shown along with the Coalton casual boot, and they both are amazing! 

And in 2016, I finally met the man, myth, and legend himself.. Steven Sashen!  We had a great time at the US Trail Running Conference in Estes Park.   And Steven, being the great guy he is, has provided 1 pair of the Day Light Hikers for me to give away!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

2017 was another great year for ThinOPTICS.  For those of you like me that struggle with joys of presbyopia, ThinOPTICS are a life saver! I carry two phones ( work and personal) and I have a pair attached to each..   and they are awesome.. easy to wear, easy to keep track of as the case is attached to my phones and an incredible lifetime warranty!    Check out my full review HERE.

New for 2018 is a very cool swap system that I can't wait to try out! I'll tell you all about once I do, but in the interim,  I'm giving away an awesome Gift Pack you build yourself!  Enter to win two universal pods (in styles of your choice) plus a keychain set! Also, if you follow this LINK to the ThinOPTICS website, you will qualify for a 15% discount on any order!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Another one of my favorite running huarache companies is Shamma Sandals.  I've been working with Josh at Shamma for several years now, and he and his company have been following a path of continuous improvement in the design and composition of their sandals, and it has been great to participate in that journey.  Last year I reviewed the latest edition of the Warriors HERE, and even since then, the products continue to evolve, so stay tuned for some new stuff in 2018! From what I understand, Josh has been working on a new grip top which should be awesome..combined with the power straps, they will be amazing I am sure! I'll review them sometime this Spring!

Being the awesome dude he is, Josh is providing 2 pairs of any model sandal to 2 of you! Go to the Shamma website HERE and check them out, then enter below!!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Next up... Lace Locker from Stash Sports! Never leave home without them and never loose again! I just reviewed these last October, and I love them.  Seriously... super simple and super effective.  Check out my review by clicking HERE and see why they rock.  And speaking of rocking, Carol "Stash" Stanely and Stash  Sports has provided 10 pairs, so I'll give away two pair to 5 of you!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Ok!  You've made it this far! Wading through my blah blah blah, entering giveaways left and right... good job! Keep it up!  This annual post is almost like running an ultra :-)

Last, but certainly not least in this 2018 extravaganza is Arctic Cool..  This company and the folks associated with it are.... cool!  I am working on a review of their amazing cooling gear.  I know it sounds funny in winter (although we haven't had much of that in Colorado yet), but I ran in 100 degree temps in an Arctic Cool shirt, and Cooling Towel at Born To Run in May... While I didn't make my goal, I am certain that this cooling gear kept me going much longer than I could have in that heat..   

Not only do they have shirts and shorts, but they offer a variety of "cool" gear... check it all out HERE.   Stay tuned for my review, and I know I'll be checking out more of their gear to keep me moving later this year when it heats up...   And speaking of cool.. the "cool" folks at Arctic Cool are giving away any item of your choice to one winner!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Wow... there you have it...   a wrap on 2017 and a huge kickoff to 2018!   Thanks again for tuning in.. I wish you all the very best in this new year and  I am really looking forward to another great year of running and blogging!

Happy trails!