Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Nike Air Zoom Elite 4+ & Ergonomic Socks Road Test

Received a pair of this trainer before Chinese New Year and did not have a chance to break her in until last Saturday during my ambitious OD SBR.

I was made to understand that the previous version of this Elite series has full air bed. But because of the inclusion to insert the Nike+ Ipod accelometer, the airbed are now confined only to the heel portion.

At first glance, this shoe weren't as bling as the others i have been using from Nike (bling-est, some says BENG-est) were the LunarTrainer, with it's floro green-yellow spring like sole (story already covered previously la, so no need to ah-beng-fied this entry ok?)

I was told that this Elite series was a fav amongst a few runners and a few triatheletes and i guess the verdict is really in trying on a pair to make a judgement with.

Elite is made for people with neutral to low arch and will lend good support for such legged runners. I only found out i am between no arch to low arch using one of those heat sensitive board that works better than somethingy that make you run over and be captured on camera. Back to basic, as they says it.

I did two runs with this shoe. The first one a fast 5.5km over undulating roads in Hartamas. First thing i noticed different was the transition from heel strike to take off.

Damn kaw smooth.

Some shoes are missing this portion of "ooomph". Upon heel strike and at take off, there are two separate event. That leaves the arch "stretched" and the muscles in the feet, tired. I'm not sure how to better represent what i am saying, but the Elite 4 allows one to have smooth transition between heel strike and take off.

So smooth you think the sole are curved and you are just rolling upon heel strike.

It did not happen as smoothly for Triax and Pegasus as both the shoes has distinct differences between heel strike and take off.

Infact, comparing to Adidas Supernova 7 (Lets call it S7), i realised that there is no transition in S7! If you have been following my exploit, you will know that the S7 has the most distinct heel strike because of the Formotion heel pad. Again, that story has already been told.

The weight of this shoe is also lighter than Pegasus and Triax (somehow, i love Triax more than anything, maybe because this shoe is so seasoned, it sort of mold to my feet). How much lighter? I reckon a 100gram ligther in total. But i'm no grams granny as it makes no differences to me due to my body weight (a good 80kg now - i was 73 during last year's IM) and my running strides (small steps - high cadence).

The material was also a much improvement compared to Triax 10+ (they have 11+ now) as the "light test" (where i shine light into the shoe to see it's permeability - corny, i know) will not lie.


After receiving enlightenment

You can just imagine the amount of pespiration that mgiht ooze out from your feet with those highly permiable materials.

One more time?

Starship Sweaterprise

The short 10KM i did with the shoe on Saturday made me smile and happy that i could possibly use this for IM09. The acid test, as they say, would be on longer run.

So, on Sunday, I ran 20Km with Jabir. Just like the day before, i pair the shoe up with the new Nike Ergonomic socks (side specific).

That would meant my transition will be slower by a couple more minutes as i fumble through to see which side of the socks goes to which leg... :P

So, what's so special about the socks?

The socks has thicker padding at specific places where the pressure are potentially higher. That would meant places like heel and forefoot would have extra cushioning. The arch is also supported by having a tighter fit to it.

Here is a pic of the bottom side of the right side of the socks.

Noticed the orange portion? Those are the thicker part of the socks. The darker shade of grey is also thicker and meant to pamper the forefoot portion in relation to the smaller toes.

The almost hourglass shape in the middle portion were made from different material to lend support to the arch.

And apaprently, this socks has some "technology" build in which may make you more aerodynamic.

OK, but that's tooooooo much marketing hype.

Socks that makes me run faster? Sorry, that sounded too wrong!

The out of the world claim aside, the socks are sold at the same price as the other common Nike Socks, so that should be a motivation to shift to this one for a change.

Diff material for diff parts of your feet

So, how did the shoe hold up for 20k?

Pretty well, except the toe box a bit narrow and i almost had a blister forming on my right top edge of my right toe - the socks might had just saved me from that actually!

The shoe transition from heel strike to take off as expected and very very consistent as per the 10km run. Infact, it would had been great if not because of the blister threatening to form...

At this point of time, i'm not entirely sure if taking this shoe to IM09 would be a good idea just incase i get the blister at km30...

But since my whole purpose in life on 28th February is to complete before cutoff time, i guess a lil blister might not be too bad - at least i already got myself one excuse why i can't run faster ;-)

Elite 4+ retail at the store for RM359 and the Ergo socks (only black, unfortunately), RM22.

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