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    RaceME sat down with John Rogers, owner of Fleet Feet Sports Maine Running and Erin Flatley, Marketing and Social Media Manager, to learn about trends we can expect to see in running gear this year.

    Starting with shoe trends, companies are leaning toward lighter weight and more cushioning in their designs. Here are a few of the latest shoes that showcase this new technology:

    The Hyperion Elite (pictured above) is the fastest racing shoe from Brooks that’s built around a unique carbon-fiber plate, and like the other carbon-fiber-plated shoes, this plate provides a more propulsive feel and quicker transition. Brooks engineered their plate with a specialized spine that runs down the middle to help resist bending and improve support.

    Packed around the plate, Brooks used an ultra-lightweight foam called DNA Zero. The feathery new DNA Zero foam is lighter and softer than Brooks’ standard BioMoGo DNA, which reduces the strain on your muscles and, in turn, holds off fatigue as long as possible. Retail $250

    HOKA Carbon XHOKA’s Carbon X shoe is an everyday trainer disguised as a racing flat. Built with a carbon-fiber plate smooshed between layers of foam, the Carbon X delivers an ultra-smooth and fast-feeling ride. Retail $180

    If you’re looking for a versatile running shoe to take you from training to race day, the HOKA Carbon X is a good choice. The Profly X foam is HOKA’s lightest and most resilient yet, and the wide base makes it stable for many miles.

    “Personalized shoes and orthotics are becoming more available,” Rogers said. “We will see personalized orthotics turned around for customers in about a week. As shoe innovations continue to be aided by the latest technology in 3D imaging and scanning tools, we will see more ‘real-time’ details for measuring gait characteristics from ‘heel strike’ to ‘toe off.’ ”

    Nike's Air Zoom Alphafly Next%Nike’s latest marathon running shoe, the Air Zoom Alphafly NEXT%, has a carbon-fiber plate, and gets a boost from Air as well. Nestled into the bulbous ZoomX foam midsole is a pair of Zoom Air Pods. Working with extremely responsive foam, Nike’s Air Pods add another level of cushioning and energy return to help runners conserve every precious ounce of effort. Retail TBA

    A single, full-length carbon-fiber plate provides stability on top of a big stack of foam, while also increasing the shoe’s stiffness, creating a smooth transition and adding a sensation of propulsion.

    Karhu Fusion OrtixFleet Feet and Karhu Collaboration
    The new Karhu Fusion Ortix is better than ever. Shaped by scans and built to run, the Karhu Fusion produces a comfortable, reliable ride. Built with the help of more than 100,000 3D foot scans taken through Fleet Feet’s Fit Id outfitting process, the scans help ensure the best possible fit and to be able to run in comfort.

    Redesigned with a sublimated engineered upper, the Fusion provides a seamless feel and secure fit without losing the stable landing and forward momentum of the previous model.

    Underneath, the Fusion uses Karhu’s proprietary Aero Foam cushioning. The foam offers a lighter, cushier feeling than typical EVA, and it’s more resistant to temperature changes.

    Embedded into the midsole is Karhu’s signature fulcrum technology. The Fusion has a three-fourths-length fulcrum that increases support in the middle and promotes a forward rolling effect.
    Retail $140

    RUNNING ACCESSORIES

    TriggerPoint Impavt Handheld Percussion Massage Gun According to Flatley, the TriggerPoint Impact Handheld Percussion Massage Gun is becoming more popular in the area of runner recovery. “Almost everyone says they need one after trying it,” she said.

    This four-speed muscle massage gun delivers targeted pressure to help increase blood flow, hydrate muscle tissue, and improve range of motion pre- and post-workout. It features an angled handle with a top-weighted design that provides comfort and ease of use, and allows for better control and dexterity. Other features include:

    • A universal massage head optimized for use on multiple muscle groups
    • A quiet, brushless four-speed motor that runs efficiently with a rechargeable battery that supplies more than two hours of continuous massage.
    • A lightweight and travel-friendly size measuring 10.3 x 7. 5 x 2 inches and a weight of 2.4 pounds for $199.00

    RUNNERS REHAB

    As for the most common ailment they see in the store? That would be Plantar Fasciitis, which is an inflammation of a thick band of tissue that connects the heel bone to the toes. There are several ways to help relieve this common foot pain.

    Compression sleeves for legs are becoming popular among runners to alleviate calf and lower leg pain by bringing more blood flow to the area.

    Orthotics, either custom-made or manufactured. Fleet Feet Maine Running stores carry SUPERfeet insoles that offer arch support for various arches. This support, plus the fresh cushion in shoes definitely helps ease the pain.

    Wheel rollers for the bottom of foot and various self massagers and foam rollers to massage out calves, shins and lower leg

    Specialty compression socks that have more compression in the arch that are found to help in many cases.

    Speaking of compression, compression sleeves for legs are becoming popular amongst runners to alleviate calf and lower leg pain by bringing more blood flow to the area. “Some people really like the compression sleeve and they are becoming more recommended for active exercise across many sports,” said Flatley. There are also full compression socks to prevent blood pooling while you are not exercising. A full compression sock can worn most anytime. Marathon runners are at an increased risk of a blood clot when traveling long distances.

    TRENDS IN RUNNER SAFETY

    Natan Saferrun Ripcord Siren Personal AlarmThere are several products out now designed just for the runner market. The Nathan SaferRun Ripcord Siren Personal Alarm was named Time Magazine’s Best Invention in 2019. This tiny device blasts sound at 120 dB and can be heard up to 600 feet away. The alarm system acts as a deterrent and can also alert others in case of an incident. Additionally, the Ripcord Siren can be used multiple times. Cost: $20

    Pair this mighty alarm with the latest in reflective gear, light up vest and bright clothing along with other deterrents (like pepper spray) you can run confidently and with peace of mind.

     

    PRO TIPS TO EXTEND THE LIFE OF YOUR SHOES

    ProTips: Extend the Life of Your Running Shoes

    Photo by Kevin Morris

    1. Only wear the running shoes when running.

    “Mileage is mileage, and even just standing, due to the compression, will take its toll,” said Joey Michaud, Fleet Feet Maine Running stores’ Retail Experience Manager, who then provided a great analogy “It’s similar to how carbonated beverages lose fizz over time and go flat. It’s the same with the composites that make up the encapsulated air inside the shoe material. With every step, you are compressing that material down further and further.”

    2. Alternate with another shoe.

    Around halfway through the life of your main running shoe, begin alternating, and and slowly incorporate it in. This allows your main shoes longer time to recover between runs, which allow them to maintain their structural integrity for longer.

    3. Do not wash your shoes in a washing machine.

    Instead, use a sponge and a toothbrush with soap and water. If you do get your shoes soaking wet on a run, take the laces and inserts out and let all parts dry completely.

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