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Alton Sports Ambassadors – Endure 24 Preview & Mizuno Kit Testing!

The Alton Sports Ambassadors are probably the busiest ambassadors about! Last week saw them go along to Wasing Park, the scene of the southern version of Endure 24. A meeting with Mizuno was on the cards to test out their latest kit and best trail shoes… all on the Endure 24 course (of course!). Here’s what the gang had to say about the day….

Al 

I ran at Endure24 in 2018 and it was an awesome experience, so I was itching to get back to Wasing Park near Reading to get psyched up for the 2019 event! At first It was a bit odd getting back onto the course again, not quite recognising it at first (without all the runners, event village etc…) but subconsciously my legs seemed to know where they were going, having run a total od 6 laps the previous year. Wasing Park was a tad damp, but stunningly beautiful with spring in full bloom, there were bluebells everywhere! Thankfully the sun did come out a bit and brought back memories of the hot, dry weather of last year’s event, fingers crossed we get more of the same in a little over a month’s time.

The course is a great mix of forest tracks, single track weaving through the woods and only a little tarmac. Overall this is a great test of the Mizuno trail shoes we were using for the run. I had be given a pair of the Mizuno Hayate 5 to try out. This is an updated version of the shoe I ran all of my laps in at Endure24 2018. It is designed as a light wieght racing trail shoe, I was really impressed with the v4 shoe and was very keen to see how the new edition measured up. In short although the new shoes retain the same sole with supreme grip, due to Mizuno’s partnership with Michelin, they felt better than ever thanks to a redesigned upper. The upper now has less seams and the fit around the front of my feet felt much nicer. I’m really looking forward to really testing them out properly in racing conditions. I also found the Mizuno trail running top (with 2xgel and zipped back pockets) and shorts super comfortable. The wind/rain jacket did a good job of keeping the elements out when the rain did come down!


As I alluded to earlier I’m going to be back to run at Endure24 2019 this June. The event is fantastic, 4000+ runners, a cool 5 mile off road course and atmospheric start/finish race village. It is billed as ‘Glastonbury for Runners’ which is not far off the mark! After runing in a mixed gender 8 person team last year, in 2019 I’m excited to be upping the challenge by joining a fast 5 man team organised by headtorch makers SILVA. This is going to mean more laps and less rest, but we will be going for it, Bring-it-on!

Sasha
“I am a Mizuno fan!  I have been wearing Mizuno’s road shoes for years.  I find them cushioned and comfortable and they are my go to shoe for longer distances on road.  Nowadays though I am doing less and less road running and more and more trail so imagine my delight when I was invited to the site of this year’s Endure 24 event to trial the Mizuno Wave Daichi 4, the latest incarnation of their hugely popular trail shoe.

This couldn’t be better, I am running Endure 24 this year, as part of a RunFitMum team so I couldn’t wait to have a recce of the course and try out a brand new trail shoe, my perfect day out!

The first thing that grabbed my attention on opening the box was not their gorgeous coral and black colour but the Michelin logo on their sole. These babies mean business! Mizuno it transpires has gone to the experts when it comes to their soles and worked with tyre specialist Michelin benefiting from their years of experience at making mountain bike tyres to create soles with excellent grip, traction and mud clearing abilities. Once I got them out on the Endure 24 course that grip became apparent, they were great on forest trails, rocks, grass and tarmac alike, a real all-rounder.  

Mizuno prides itself on its wave technology, which is an integral part of the shoe structure.  The wave offers wearers both cushioning and support and spreads the impact forces of each step over a broader area, to give a smooth and stable ride.  Certainly I have always found Mizuno’s wave to offer plenty of cushioning and make for very comfortable running. The Wave Daichi 4 is no exception, comfortable from the outset they immediately felt great on the foot and made running the course feel like light work.

I am certainly looking forward to getting them back on that course in June for the Event itself, one lap felt like a breeze in these shoes, although not sure how I will be feeling after 24 hours!!”

Adam 

“Wasing park was the venue for the Alton Sports Ambassador day ahead of the Mizuno Endure 24 taking place in June. As Alton Sports Ambassadors, we were testing out the latest Mizuno kit, which for me included some striking yellow Wave Daichi 4 trainers. There was rain in the air that offered a great opportunity to put the kit to the test on a multi-terrain, undulating recce lap of the 10km Endure 24 course. The Wave Daichi 4 trainers were comfortable, and with their large area of Michelin grade grip on the sole, offered great purchase on the full range of damp surfaces this route encapsulated. Mizuno have done well with their designs and partner Michelin to develop technologies that releases that mud that usually gets caught up in the tread on each stride and therefore maintaining a light shoe during trail running. Good job Mizuno and I look forward to my couple of laps at your Endure 24 event in June.”

Caroline

“Another brilliant Alton Sports Ambassadors Day, this time with Mizuno specifically to try their new Wave Daichi 4 trail shoe. The location for the day, where else but the where Endure24 kicks off in a little over 5 weeks time! To get us in the mood for the big event itself and really put the shoes through their paces, we took to the trail and ran the race route.

The route was varied, we covered tarmac, gravel trails, muddy paths & soft wooded almost bouncy trails but the shoe stood up to it all, transitioning well so there was no massive difference in feel. I felt well supported and cushioned, and confident with my foot placement. To be fair, the collaboration with Michelin might have something to do with that… if they can keep cars on the road then they can keep me on the trails!!! 

For me and where I normally run, this shoe is ideal. As more of us venture off road and to the paths & trails surrounding us, I would say a versatile, durable, all terrain trail shoe such as this is seriously worth considering – oh and I love the seasons coral & blue colour way too!!!”

Debs

“I attended the Alton sports ambassadors & Mizuno promo day ahead of endure24 in June, testing out the Wave Diachi 4 road to trail shoe & new kit.

The Mizuno rain jacket came into it’s own during the many downpours & I have worn this on many occasions since. It’s a great fit, very warm though. I think this will be a great addition in the colder months. I have never completed Endure 24 but the loop we tested out today was stunning & it promises to be so much fun.


The shoe itself, bearing in mind I’m struggling with plantar fasciitis, was really light & very comfortable, something that I usually prefer when mucking about on the trails. The transition from road to trail was barely noticeable compared to some trail shoes that feel heavy & clunky on the road. These surprised me maybe it’s that Michelin connection that’s responsible for the traction of the sole? They held well when the ground became more rugged, not enough mud to really test them yet though. Once my foot is fully recovered, I’m keen to see how well they hold over steeper more rugged terrain.”

Check out all the amazing Mizuno gear on our website and drop us a tweet if you’re running at Endure 24! We will be there and we’re very much looking forward to it – running and retailing all the way.

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Alton Sports Ambassadors – Testing the Salomon Speedcross 5!

We like to keep our ambassadors busy. Very busy in fact! It doesn’t seem two mins since our last Ambassadors’ Day but another one has rolled along, and this time the mighty Salomon have found ‘Time To Play’ with us, and for us to test out the awesome new Salomon Speedcross 5! The Speedcross series have been one of our most popular selling trail shoes for years and the team were very excited to trial / trail their latest incarnation! It’s one of our go to shoes when people come in store looking for something aggressive with great grip!

Where better to host a day of trail running than QE Park in Hampshire… which leads on to the South Downs Way and has some of the best (and muddiest!) trails that Hampshire has to offer!

Here’s what the team had to say about the shoes…

Dave:

“My first thoughts of the day were “I don’t do Mud” – however after being given the a shoe that looks like the shoe the Black Panther uses, things changed very quickly. I really have discovered a love for trail running that I was just flirting with, there was no crowd, no music, no tarmac, just me and the trail, the grip was very good, I stuck to the mud paths and even the sticky mud and puddles were not a problem, I actually felt quite nimble, more importantly the shoes were bouncy and gave me some good feedback and absorbed all the loose ground to give a smooth feel, thus no fatigue in the balls of my feet, I can see where the development has gone, they felt like a road shoe that has been in the gym all winter and is now Beech body fit. So in conclusion, I now do Mud!”

Debbie:

“The new Salomon Speedcross 5. I have owned the Speedcross 3 & 4 previously, so I was eager to test the 5 out.  I always go a size up.

I had a couple of short trail runs and a few walks prior to a 20 mile trail run along the North downs way to test them to their fullest.  It was multi terrain, very muddy, steep ascents and descents too.
Upon first look you can see there a quite a few changes and all for the better.  The material on the upper, around the toe box & the laces blend together more seamlessley for a sleeker look.  
The toe box is reinforced and my narrow feet fitted quite snuggly inside with still enough room for movement on the trails ahead.  I loved the 3 previously but the 4 felt overly generous in the toe box, almost like the upper had stretched over time.  
My midsole and arch felt like they had more support than the 4.  The Achilles support was much improved, higher than the 4 and soft to prevent any rubbing.
The best bit, the lugs!!  Much wider apart than the 4 so that the mud falls off easier rather than being held on the sole and it did.  They point in the direction of the gradient to either help as a brake on the descent or aid the forefoot drive uphill.  They held their own through the thick mud, puddles, sand and even on partly chalky areas.  The sole feels different, lighter and more responsive especially on the steep descents when negotiating tree roots, stones and fallen branches from Storm Freya.

My only reservation was whether they would be provide enough support over long distances. I think I would still prefer a little more cushioning but for fast, shorter trail runs or events through the harshest of conditions these are amazing!”

Caroline:

“Ever since getting the Salomon Speedcross 5, I’ve been determined to get another run in them before the spring/summer really arrives… yesterday’s club run was the time! Admittedly not the best day to go mud hunting when the recent has dried up most of it. So it was a case of enjoying them for their comfort & grip on such varied sandy/muddy terrain.

Really like the moulded ortholite liner inside, gives a very comfy secure fit. And let’s talk grip, well its as good as a toddlers on a biscuit!! I felt as confident on the loose soil/mud as I did on the sand, with barely any need to adjust pace. Great shoe for those that love the trails, and this offers versatility in being sound on both rough and soft terrain! Looking forward to more off-road adventures in these shoes especially if they are all as sunny as yesterday!”

Adam:

“The Salomon day to test their newly released Speedcross 5s was insane. The wind was howling and luckily for us the rain just about held off.  This did however provide ideal conditions to put the Speed Cross 5s to the test. The colour scheme is simple, either all red or all black.  The undersole sports 30% larger lugs to increase traction in the softest of surfaces while at the same time designed to allow mud and debris to fall away between strides. This minimises the weight you find yourself pulling through between each step. Salomon have wisely kept their Quicklace system allowing for a speedy put on and go. I personally like the fact that the large grippy lugs continue up the front toe of the shoe for maintaining strong traction during toe off. These front facing lugs also allow the shoe point and grip and aid climbing on steep rocky boulder fields. I find the Speedcross 5 a comfortable snug fitting shoe, and make me feel very secure and in control on all types of mountainous terrain. I am very impressed with what Salomon have created with their version 5 of the Speedcross model.”

Sasha:

“I have never run in Salomon shoes but their reputation precedes them and I was really looking forward to giving the Salomon Speedcross 5 a try. This shoe didn’t disappoint, when I first pulled it on I was a little unsure of the heel cradle, which I worried would feel uncomfortable once I was on the move, In fact once we hit the trails it gave a real sense of security, particularly as the terrain became more challenging. That combined with the deep lugs meant I have never felt more secure and confident in my footwear. Whatever mud I threw at this shoe, it responded with great grip and reliable traction. An absolute winner in the mud. Looking forward to lots more miles in these beauties.”

Thanks very much to Salomon for coming to see us and to our ambassadors for trying the shoes out! You can come and try them in-store or check them out online right here.