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ALTON SPORTS AMBASSADORS: Mizuno Shoe Testing on the Endure 24 Course

Wednesday May 9th, 2018. It’s one month until Endure 24 kicks off at the Reading site (there’s one in Leeds, too) and we’ve set a crack team of Alton Sports Ambassadors along to the Endure 24 course to a) try on some awesome Mizuno trail shoes and b) run the Endure 24 course whilst taking a bunch of pics for the very blog you’re reading. The weather is set to mild & sunny, with a light wind and it’s perfect conditions for a jog around the course, where in a month’s time, thousands of endurance athletes of all abilities will help create a vibrant running festival in this beautiful Berkshire setting.

Before we set off on our midweek trail adventure, Graham from Mizuno talks us through the shoes and kit that’s our adorning our feet and bodies and tells us all about the course and the Endure 24 event. Each lap is 5 miles long and you can either run the event on your own / in a pair or in a team. You can run as many laps as you want but each runner in a team must do one lap! You might think that running 5 miles then having a break and smashing out another 5 would be easy, but it’s a proper endurance event and taxing on both the mind and the body!

After the intro, we had the pleasure of running around the course and testing out the Mizuno Trail shoes! Our team was made up of runners of all ages, abilities and genders – just as it should be. Alton Sports’ Ambassadors – Chris, Adam, Alastair and Georgie and Scott from our team and myself. Today we were testing four different trail shoes – the Rider GTX / Hayate / Mujin GTX / Daichi. We did our best to put the shoes through their paces… we ran through muddy puddles, across the stony terrain and up the course’s legendary Heartbreak Hill! Once was hard enough but a few times would definitely be taxing. We took the shoes for more testing by jumping over hay bails, and we stopped to make some cool little vids to see how responsive they were to the terrain. We agreed that all the shoes were a) comfortable and b) very suited to the Endure 24 course. The Michelin outsoles provided some super grip and Mizuno has developed ‘MIZUNO WAVE ‘, an original technology that provides the right amount of cushioning and stability your body needs. Just so you know, you can also come and try the Mizuno Running Solution (a detailed gait analysis) at our Alton and Farnham Stores to find your perfect shoes.

After a fun loop in the early May sun we headed back to our vehicles for a quick debrief and a couple of Clif bars for refuelling. The latter is not an advert, we were hungry! At Alton Sports, we’re very lucky to have a team of Ambassadors who love running as much as we do. Massive thanks to them for coming out and testing the shoes! Good luck if you’re running Endure 24 – it’s an amazing event with a real festival / party atmosphere (maybe due to the camping!) – we are sure you’ll have a great time and no wonder it’s called ‘Glastonbury for Runners.’ There’s still a few days to enter the Leeds event here.

Check out the course map here! 

The good news is that if you’re at Endure 24, then you’ll be able to come and see us as we’ll be there, too, with any running bits you might need. And of course, we’ll be running in it, too! Can’t miss out on running up Heartbreak Hill a few times 😉

Check out the full range of Mizuno shoes on our site!

Last but not least, it wouldn’t be Alton Sports with a mega deal for you all! Silva are one of Endure 24’s sponsors and we’ve got this super Outdoor Bundle deal up on our site. Ideal if you’re running Endure 24 or any other event this summer!


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Product Review – Hoka Speedgoat 2

I realised I have been using the same trail shoes for the past 2 years and thought I would have a change. So after two minutes a of consideration  I decided to buy myself some Hoka Speedgoat 2s. I am a big fan of Hoka and the road version Hoka Cliftons, having run in them as my road shoe for the past year or so I decided to give the trail version a go too. Knowing how light and cushioned the Cliftons are I thought the Speedgoats can’t feel too different, so decided to give them a go. After trying them in the shop and realising how light and cushioned they are I decided to take them out for a spin the next day! I knew the trails where I planned to run were at least a mile or two away from where I live so had to run on the road to get there, but the Speedgoats didn’t care. With the known cushioning of Hokas and what they feel like on your feet you wouldn’t have had any idea that
you were wearing trails shoes on the road, as you felt like you were just bouncing along the road like the Cliftons.

Once I eventually reached the trails the Speedgoat 2s certainly didn’t disappoint! The path I was running on was hard and compact at some points but wet and muddy at others, but the shoes held their own in all the different conditions I was putting them through. I know I keep repeating myself but they are so cushioned that you don’t feel anything under your feet when running on stones, rocks or anything hard, and because they are so light you feel fast in them too. I keep on going on about how light and cushioned they are, but did I forget to mention how grippy they are too?? How can one shoe make you feel like you are getting everything all together?
I kept on running and didn’t really know where I was a lot of the time as this was a route I have never done before, and didn’t really know where I was going and how long I would be running for. I think I got to about 6 miles and realised I really didn’t know where I was, but I didn’t feel tired and my feet were not hurting, and I didn’t really feel like I had been running for that long! Now I honestly feel like this was down to the Speedgoats, on all the different surfaces I ran on they were so comfy and light on my feet that I felt like I could just continue to run for a lot longer, so this is exactly what I decided to do! I kept on running round the outside of this fence that
had red flags flying all the way round, and with gun shots going off every now again I knew I was running round the edge of the Army Ranges in Bordon, but I didn’t realise how far it was all the way round!

I eventually got back round to where I started but didn’t realise at first and nearly started running back around again, which I thought was probably not the best idea. At this point I think I had reached 10 miles and my feet, body and legs all felt fine which was good as this was the furthest I had run for quite a long time. I turned around and headed back in the direction of my house but decided to take a detour and give the shoes a really good testing on some very wet, muddy tracks and again they certainly didn’t disappoint. The trails were un-even, windy and all over the place, but the shoes kept me feeling stable, grippy, cushioned and at no point did I feel like I was going to slip over and fall.  After 13.3 miles in a pair of trainers I only bought the day before I had finally got home, and to my surprise I had no aches, pains, blisters or problems to talk about- apart from being a bit tired as it was my longest run for a while, and I honestly think this is down to the trainers I was wearing. I quite often suffer from blisters or rubbing with firmer feeling trainers when I run in them, especially for long distance. As a fan of cushioned, light trainers I really believe these are one of the best trail shoes out there and would recommend them to anyone. From fast short trail parkruns to long steady trail marathons these will work in any conditions, to any distance due to the fact they are so light for speed, but so cushioned for keeping you going on longer runs. To sum up the Hoka Speedgoat 2s they are so light, cushioned, grippy they will make you feel like you can run a sub 20 parkrun or run a long steady marathon with ease.

Review by Simon from Our Farnham team.

Check them out on our site here.