Recently returned running kit

I don’t often buy new running kit, mostly because I already have so much of it that I have to have extra boxes in my cupboard to store the not-in-use pieces (I own ~6x as many running shoes as normal shoes, and probably similar for t-shirts shhhh 😇). Recently though I did make some new purchases, and was excited to give you some great reviews on it.

Unfortunately though, I’ve ended up returning both items, although for different reasons. The first were the Nike Epic Reacts, which just didn’t fit properly, and the other was a pair of Urbanista Boston headphones which broke after just two uses. Both are disappointing, and I think it’s still worth talking about.

Woah, just noticed that this is my 201st post on the blog! That feels significant…

Nike Epic React

I totally bought into the hype around the Epic React and had been wanting to buy a pair for months. I’d heard great things about how springy they are, and that the new construction which uses only one base piece is revolutionary. I was slightly tossing up between the slightly cheaper Odyssey React and the Epic React, but after trying them on in the shop I decided to go with the more neutral version. I already own quite a few pairs of structured shoes, and thought the Epic React would nicely fill in the ‘everyday easy run’ gap in my collection.

Many of the reviews did mention that the flyknit upper made the shoe feel quite tight, especially for people with wide feet like me. In store they felt quite good, but shoes do tend to change when you properly run in them, so I headed to the treadmill to test them out.

I chose to do a 30min run, increasing speed every kilometre from 5:40/km to 4:50/km, and then added some 20sec sprints down to 3:50/km at the end. The idea was that this would let me see how the shoe responded to different speeds across an average easy-run time. The treadmill can’t mimic different terrains, but I figured it would highlight any major issues.

Putting the shoes on, you immediately see how pretty they are. I chose an all-black version (channeling Desi’s shoes from the Boston Marathon), however there are different colour combinations. That’s one thing I love about Nikes, although other brands have upped their game in recent years. However, because the shoe is designed like a sock, it is incredibly difficult to put on. I struggled for a while with trying not to bend the tab at the back, and eventually got my foot inside.

Once on the treadmill, the first thing I noticed was that the structured heel piece felt very tight, but over a few kilometres it loosened/I got used to the sensation. They were springy as promised and as the speed increased I felt like they were giving a good return for effort. At around 3km though I started to get pins & needles (tingles) in my toes, which confirmed my concerns that they were probably too tight for my feet.

Ultimately, I decided that the 150€ price tag wasn’t worth it for a shoe that didn’t feel 100% perfect. And because I hadn’t worn them outside yet, I was still able to return them to the store – hot tip for the next time you buy running shoes!

Urbanista Boston headphones

Sye had been getting increasingly frustrated at me ‘borrowing’ his headphones all the time to listen to podcasts on my runs, so decided to get my a pair of bluetooth headphones of my own for my birthday. I chose the orange Urbanista Boston‘s because they were voted in Runner’s World as the best of a selection which the magazine tested.

I have small ears which only suit certain types of earpieces, and the three sizes of silicone earbuds meant that they actually fit! The other pleasing thing about the headphones was that the band sat low enough on my neck that it didn’t bounce around. As an additional measure, it comes with a clip on the cord which you can attach to your shirt.

It was easy enough to connect the headphones to my phone via Bluetooth, although the only way to see how much battery they had was to check through the phone’s native functionality. I would have preferred if they gave a battery percentage when you first turned them on. They charge through the central battery pack which sits on your neck, and a one-hour charge supposedly gives 6-hours of battery life.

The sound quality was great, and while I did find it a bit annoying that the cord stuck out sideways from my head, I was really happy with them. This was short-lived though, because after my second run with them the ‘on/off’ button stopped working completely. I just had to leave them to switch off by themselves – but then of course they never turned on again.

My best guess for what happened is that my sweat leaked into the battery pack from my neck. Possibly if I hadn’t tucked this into my shirt they would have lasted longer, but it’s still incredibly disappointing that a ‘water-resistant’ product specifically designed for sports couldn’t handle a bit of sweat. That’s one of the fundamentals, no?

Not to end on a negative note though, occasionally I do find a piece I love, such as my other recent purchase of these 7-inch Asics shorts which have revolutionised my summer. They’re long enough to prevent chafe, yet loose enough to still be breezy for the summer months. Unfortunately they don’t have a pocket which you can safely store your phone in (grr), but other than that I really love them! I’ll be wearing them all season, paired with my tried and tested kit which I’ve had for years. Can’t go wrong with that!

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