Monday, March 20, 2017

Could sneakers be the key to a faster marathon?

The Nike Zoom Vaporfly

As I have talked about my running sneaker choices, I realize that shoes could make a run more comfortable, more stable, but could they make you faster?

Sneaker company Nike has teamed up with elite runners and scientists since 2014 to achieve a sub 2 hour marathon, something some believe is impossible. The effort is known as Breaking2. The current fastest time is 2:03:03, quite impressive given how many recreational runners struggle to sub 2 a half marathon.

As part of that effort, Nike is releasing new sneakers. 

The Zoom Vaporfly Elite is only for the runners trying to break the 2 hour mark. The new revolution is a ultra light weigh cushioning material, known as ZoomX. The cushioning is lighter and softer than traditional foams, allowing more of it to be added, while still keep the shoe light. As a result, according to Nike, the sneakers are taller and more responsive while providing more cushioning from the road than a traditional racing shoe. The height of the shoe is also designed to reduce Achilles tendon strain. The sneakers only weigh 6.5 ounces, very light for a running shoe.

The Zoom Vaporfly has a unique heel designed to reduce drag, according to Runner's World.

The upper is Nike Flyknit, a knit material designed to be supportive. 

In between 2 layers of foam is the most controversial part, a carbon-fiber plate. According to Nike the plate adds stiffness and helps reduce energy loss. According to the New York Times, the plate is shaped like a spoon and acts "as a kind of slingshot, or catapult, to propel runners forward." 

The plate is designed to reduce 4 percent of the energy required to run. The NY Times says that's the equivalent of running downhill 1 to 1.5 percent.

That's where the controversy comes in. as any shoes that give an unfair advantage, like a spring are banned. According to the NY Times, Spira Footwear had shoes banned because of spring technology.

So far the Nike Zoom Vaporfly is allowed. Runners have worn an earlier version to great success. "The shoes cushioned the feet of all three medalists in the men’s marathon at the Rio Olympics last summer. Later, in the fall, they were worn by the winners of major marathons in Berlin, Chicago and New York," according to the NY Times.

Tuesday, March 14, 2017

Through the Sole named a top shoe blog

I have some exciting news to share: Through the Sole was named to Feedspot's list of Top 75 Shoe Blogs. Thank you for the honor!

If you're unfamiliar, Feedspot, is a content aggregator.

In other exciting news, Through the Sole has been getting a record number of hits. In January, it was nearly 6,200 page views, a record, and then February topped that with nearly 6,600 pageviews.

Thank you so much for all your time and support!

And this is Through the Sole's 150th post. Here's to many more!

Sunday, March 5, 2017

President Trump and shoes

No matter where you stand on politics, we can all agree that President Trump is making changes. One thing you probably did not expect him to influence is your shoe choices, but that is exactly what has happened.

Here are three shoe brands that have been impacted:

New Balance

Even before the inauguration, sneaker company, New Balance, was feeling the heat.

Wall Street Journal reporter, Sara Germano tweeted this about New Balance.

New Balance makes over 4 million shoes in the U.S. As an American manufacturer, trade deals with other nations could put New Balance at a disadvantage. 

Still, many Americans were not happy with the comment and decided not to buy the brand's shoes any more. Some even took to social media to share videos of them burning the sneakers.

In a statement to Sole Collector, New Balance clarified its position: "As the only major company that still makes athletic shoes in the United States, New Balance has a unique perspective on trade and trade policy in that we want to make more shoes in the United States, not less...New Balance publicly supported the trade positions of Hillary Clinton, Bernie Sanders, and Donald Trump prior to election day that focused on American manufacturing job creation and we continue to support them today."

L.L. Bean

Iconic outdoor brand, L.L Bean, was the next to feel the heat. 

After reports that Linda Bean, a granddaughter of the company's founder, had donated thousands of dollars to a political action committee (PAC) that supported Trump's presidential campaign, liberals began to boycott the company. 

Then, in mid-January, President Trump decided to show support for the retailer on Twitter.

The Twitter endorsement upset many, and some took to social media to say they were throwing out the brand's products or no longer buying from them, according to the NY Times.

Grab Your Wallet, a group that advocates boycotting companies with ties to the Trump Family, added L.L. Bean to their boycott list,

In a statement posted on Facebook, L.L. Bean said, "We were disappointed to learn that Grab Your Wallet is advocating a boycott against L.L.Bean solely because Linda Bean, who is only one of 50+ family members involved with the business, personally supported Donald Trump for President."

"We fully acknowledge and respect that some may disagree with the political views of a single member of our 10-person board of directors. Like most large families, the more than 50 family member-owners of the business hold views and embrace causes across the political spectrum, just as our employees and customers do. And as every member of the family would agree, no individual alone speaks on behalf of the business or represents the values of the company that L.L. built."

Thursday, February 9, 2017

Happy 7th Birthday Through the Sole!

Yesterday, Through the Sole turned lucky 7. Thank you for your readership and support!

This year, Through the Sole traveled to Cleveland, Ohio and to Charlotte, N.C. I also shared my continued running journey.

And just last month Through the Sole had its most visitors ever, over 6,100 visitors!

Here were the 6 most popular posts from the 6th year:

6) A new pair of running sneakers

5) The Shoe Ornaments on My Christmas Tree

4) Pumped: The Art & Craft of Shoemaking at Charlotte, NC's Mint Museum

3) Self-lacing shoes are actually here

2) Two more pairs of sneakers

1) Yet another new pair of sneakers

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Let's get snapping: Through the Sole joins Snapchat

Snapchat has quickly become the new social network, the place to share fun photos with the world.

Thus, Through the Sole recently joined to be where ever readers are. 

So far, I have been sharing my daily shoe choices. Here are my first snaps: