Monday, June 29, 2015

BioSkin Calf Skin Compression Sleeve Review

The folks over at BioSkin recently sent me a pair of their Calf Skin compression sleeves to try out. I was skeptical because in the past I've never found a compression sleeve that fit my huge calves, but I was willing to give them a try.

The fabric is much different than other compression wear I've tried. It's "slippery" feel definitely makes it slide on and off more easily and tights slide over top easily as well.

It's fairly thin and very comfortable. I ordered the XL since my calves are on the high end of the size L (16"). I was happy to find that there was space near the ankle. Other compression sleeves I've worn have cut off circulation there resulting in "sausage foot".

I am not prone to shin splints or muscle strains, but I do like to utilize compression for recovery purposes. I've been keeping these in my "post-hike bin" with a change of clothes, coconut water, and recovery food.

In a recent trip where I was out for 4 days, but traveled between trailheads, I wore these for the 2 hour car ride. I actually forgot that I had them on under my sleep tights and fell asleep wearing them. In the morning I did notice that the top of my calf felt a little irritated from the compression being on there for 8 hours, but my legs did not feel like I'd done over 15k of elevation gain in the prior 2 days.

I haven't washed them yet or worn them for activity, so it remains to be seen how they hold up to that. However, I can say that as recovery wear they have been exactly what I've wanted. I'm also very happy to finally find some compression wear that fits my muscular legs comfortably.

BioSkin makes a variety of other compression and support products which you can take a look at here.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Altra Zero Drop Trail Shoe: Superior Review

Note: I receive shoes from Altra Running for my own personal use as a brand ambassador. All commentary found in this review is my own personal opinion of the shoe. This post contains affiliate links, which means I receive a commission if you make a purchase using links in this review.

I just took my Altra Superiors for their inaugural run/scramble up Mt. Si.

I've been using the Altra Lone Peak for just about forever and once I find a shoe I love it's hard for me to try something else, but, the Superiors have some great reviews so I decided to give them a try.

The Superior is a snappy fun yellow which I loved the minute I opened the box. As a woman who hears a size 12, I have been wearing men's athletic shoes most of my life. So, the fact that I can suddenly buy a women's shoe is still a novelty and I am enjoying the prettiness!

Pretty colors!

But, looks aren't everything.

The first thing I noticed about them is that they are lighter and more flexible than the Lone Peak. This made me feel pretty nimble both on the trail and on the scramble up the haystack at the end. The flip side to this is that you can feel the ground much more through the sole. This isn't a problem on soft trails, but might not be much fun on a lot of rock, or a harder surface (like a bike path).

On top of the Haystack

The grip seemed to be much stickier than what I'm used to. I actually noticed I was "sticking" to the floor in the kitchen before I left.

Sticky soles!

The upper felt pretty thin to me, so I'm not sure they'd be durable for off-trail or very sharp rocks/overgrown trails, but I might be wrong. I'm sure I'll have fun finding out!

Descending the roots and rocks

All the usual features you expect from Altra were there: a zero drop platform, foot shaped toe box, and plenty of room.

Overall, I really loved running in these shoes. As I said, the thinness of the upper and the less padded sole make them great for light and fast running. They'll be my new go-to shoe for my trail runs and approaches. They performed so well on the Haystack that I may pack them in to peaks that I know have some tricky scrambles and swap out of my boots.

New Faves!

I'll keep my Lone Peaks for the heavy pack days and the more burly off-trail terrain.