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The Running List: Let's Talk About (Running) Socks...

Welcome back friends! Now that you have all found the most perfect running shoe, it is time to pause for a moment, reflect, and think about what exactly we are putting in those shoes. For a runner, the feet are perhaps the most important parts of our bodies, which means it is essential to take care of them in any way we can.

While shoes are of the upmost importance, there is something that is equally important and often overlooked: running socks. That’s right, something that is so tiny and elusive (I must have nine currently floating around somewhere in the 4th dimension of my laundry room) can make a world of a difference in terms of comfort and relief.

When I first started running, I had no idea about all the various running socks. In fact, I’m pretty sure for a long while I ran in socks that were purchased in bulk next to the checkout register by the discounted gum. Needless to say, halfway through training for my first half-marathon my blisters were out of control!

For me, the first round of blisters appeared under the arch of my foot, towards my heel. This was when I first discovered Thorlos lightweight, no-show socks. There are also blister-preventing socks available that are great at providing the correct amount of padding in just the right places.

Soon after switching out of my tightie whities, my arch blisters subsided. For those that are just starting out or for moderate runners, you may want to try a pack of Wigmwam mid crew socks or a couple of pairs of Nike Lightweight Anti-Blister socks as they are a great value and do an amazing job at protecting the feet!

It wasn’t until training for my first full marathon that I started to get blisters in between my toes. In. Between. My. Toes. Frankly, I am not sure how this even happened, but let me just say, it was as awful as it sounds. At one point, one got so big and bad that I named him Hank and would give him a nice pep-talk before venturing out on a long run, hoping that he would comply and behave himself. Hank never listened and proceeded to just get larger and more unruly. This was when I found the joy of toe socks. Sure, they may look funny but boy did they make a difference! Toe socks are specifically designed to reduce the friction between the toes while running and tremendously helped reduce the size of my nasty blister (RIP Hank).

Finally – there is the compression sock. Compression socks are a great way to keep the blood circulating in the lower part of the legs and feet. They not only enhance blood circulation, but they help regulate skin temperature and fight bacteria. Similarly, compression socks can be worn after a run to help circulate blood flow and subsequently reduce inflammation.

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Anti-Blister Socks

1. Thorlos Lite Running Micro-Mini 3-Pair Pack

2. Drymax Sport Running Lite Mesh No-Show 3-Pack

3. Nike Running Anti-Blister Lightweight Socks

4. Wigwam Marathon II 6-Pair Pack

Toe Socks

1. Injinji Run Lightweight No-Show Coolmax 3-Pack

2. Injinji PED 3-Pack

Compression Socks

1. Powerstep Recovery Compression Socks

2. Zensah Tech + Compression Socks

3. 2XU Compression Recovery Sock

4. CW-X Compression Support Socks

While all of these socks can help reduce blisters, please note that some blisters are still inevitable – much like spilling red wine on a white shirt or the fact that every time I go to the bathroom at work,a Maroon 5 song will be on the radio. Some things we just have to prepare for and not get upset at when they happen. Personally, I like to think of them as little badges of honor…and I must remind myself that every time a new one inconveniently rears its ugly head.

Until next time, happy trails, roads and any other unchartered terrain.

SHOP ALL RUNNING SOCKS >>

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The Running List: Top-Ranking Running Shoes

Welcome back friends! Now that you are all experts and know what type of running shoe is best for you, I have made some selections for the best specific running shoe for each category: Netural, Trail, Stability, and Track and Field. For those that may need a little refresher of last month’s blog, please check it out here!

As I mentioned before, I wish there was one shoe that I could recommend that would be the best running shoe for you. Unfortunately, there is no magic shoe that is right for everyone. I suppose it isn’t such a bad thing, as then I would have nothing to write about and be out of a job just kidding, they don’t pay me for this gig, but I digress…

In reality, there are actually thousands of possible running shoes for every type of runner. It may seem like a daunting challenge, but think of it as a fun way to start with a few umpteen shoes in your virtual shopping cart, knowing  you get to whittle down the general selection to just  a few choice pairs - sort of like The Bachelor, but for running shoes!  

Now that we have made our Rose Selection, or whatever it is that they do on The Bachelor, (sorry, I actually do not watch the show but have heard good things) it is important to keep in mind exactly why these shoes will be important. For anyone serious about running,  (generally characterized by running three or more times a week) a good running shoe will be able to provide support in the correct places and spaces, cushioning where needed, motion control, and flexibility. In short, the perfect running shoe will act as an extension of your individual foot, hopefully allowing you to run longer, farther, and to places you have never been before!

Without further ado, I provide you my top three selections of running shoes based upon customer ratings, overall technical features, best sellers and functionality in these specific categories:

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Neutral:

1. Under Armour UA Speedform Apollo GR

2. Inov-8 F-Lite™ 240

3. Nike Flex Experience Run 3

 

Trail:

4. Salomon XR Mission W

5. Montrail Bajada™

6. La Sportiva Vertical K Men’s

Stability:

7.  ASICS Gel-Kayano® 21

8. Newton Running Kismet

9. Brooks Addiction™ 11

Track and Field:

10. Puma TFX Spring v5

11. New Balance Spike

12. Saucony Carrera XC

Until next time, happy trails, roads and other unchartered terrains! :)

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The Running List: Cold-Weather Gear

post by: Chelsea B.

It’s cold. It’s dark. It’s 5:30 in the morning and I have a scheduled five-mile midweek run before I head into the office. Two months ago, jumping out of bed and hitting the pavement was no problem at all. That was when it was warm, bright, and birds were singing. 

I have to admit that as much as I love running, I hate running in cold weather. I was born and raised in Las Vegas where anything below 65 degrees is grounds for a “hard freeze warning.”

Now, despite my strong distaste and overall inability to function in cold weather, I absolutely hate running anything over two miles on a treadmill. Unless a volcano is erupting, there is a sharknado warning, or a pack of wild dingoes is on the loose, I will always choose to run outside.

With that, I know that I must suck it up and start layering up. Like any normal, slightly OCD runner, I like to have my gear laid out and ready to go the night before so all I have to do is literally roll out of bed and put them on. While getting ready for a run this time of year is a little more labor intensive than the good ol’ days of throwing on shorts and a tank, the good news is that there are tons of amazing cold-weather running products available to help stave off the frigid air that winter brings Woohoo!

From your oh-so important feet to the top of your head, Zappos Running has you covered (literally) so you can get those miles in through the coldest of days.

Below are some of my favorites in cold-weather running clothing & gear:

 Cold-Weather Gear for Running

1. Under Armour UA Qualifier Knit Pants

2. Under Armour Coldgear® Infrared Leggings

3. adidas Techfit Cold Weather Long Tights

4. Mountain Hardwear Momentum Running Gloves

5. Moving Comfort Fiona Sports Bra

6. Nike Running Elite Hyper-Lite No-Show Socks

7. ASICS Favorite Long-sleeve Top

8. New Balance Accelerate Long-sleeve Top

9. Brooks Essential Long-sleeve Half Zip Top

10. Salomon Active Beanie

11. Brooks Utopia Thermal Hoodie III

Until next time, happy trails, roads and other unchartered terrain!

SHOP ZAPPOS RUNNING >>

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New Brand Spotlight: On Footwear

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In January 2010, David Allemann, Olivier Bernhard, and Caspar Coppetti collaborated to found On™ running footwear. Their mission was simple: to bring awareness to the highly enjoyable side of running instead of focusing solely on the healthy-for-you aspect of the sport. Together the three cofounders worked to craft a running shoe that would boast superior cushioning without sacrificing efficiency. The Swiss footwear company has since come a long way from the brand’s very first prototype, which involved slicing and adhering garden hose to the bottom of a shoe’s outsole.

July 2010 saw the brand’s premier launch, when the Cloudsurfer became the very first On running shoe to hit the shelves of European specialty running stores. Today, whether you are a seasoned runner or a newbie to barefoot-inspired running, you are sure to find your sole mate among the brand’s five core styles: Cloudster, Cloudrunner, Cloudsurfer, Cloudracer, and Cloud. On footwear provides its wearer with all of the benefits of natural-inspired running, without compromising comfort or protection against injury.

Each and every On shoe features CloudTec™ technology; it is a revolutionary cushioning system that activates during the foot’s landing phase, then becomes firm to encourage an effective toe-off. With each foot strike, the highly adaptive rubber “cloud” outsole pods provide both vertical and horizontal cushioning for a soft landing. Once on the ground, the clouds interlock, forming a solid foundation that promotes a natural, powerful takeoff.

Embrace a new running experience that is fast, light, and agile. Embrace the innovation of On running shoes.

SHOP ON RUNNING SHOES >>

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Under Armour SpeedForm Apollo: This is What Fast Feels Like™

lightweight running shoes, runners, running footwear, running shoes, under armour, Under Armour Footwear, Under Armour running shoesWeighing in at a feathery 6.5 ounces, the new Under Armour SpeedForm™ Apollo was engineered for speed. Its amazingly aerodynamic design is built from the ground up, starting with the first-ever molded seamless heel cup. Then, its ultra-light and responsive Micro G® Midsole allows for an amazingly comfortable ride so you can really go the distance. The sleek, form-fitting and breathable upper features smooth ultrasonic seams for a glove-like fit that conforms to the foot without restricting movement.

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Under Armour SpeedForm Apollo & Under Armour SpeedForm Apollo W

Slip into a pair of the Under Armour SpeedForm™ Apollo and take your runs into a whole new dimension of speed!

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The lucy Light Forest Celebrates the Beauty of Movement

From October 3rd to the 13th, the historic Charles River Esplanade in Boston is being illuminated by the lucy® Light Forest to uplift and celebrate those who are dedicated to living an active lifestyle.

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This interactive light experience was designed to track individual movement, responding to each runner that passes through it, radiating beautiful amber hues and complementary sounds. This unique urban installation was meant to emanate the well-deserved joy and euphoria that comes after a strenuous workout.

“We know that our customer participates in many activities and we wanted to find a way to acknowledge what she is doing and celebrate her commitment to a fit and active life,” said Dawn Dzedzy, Director of Brand Marketing.  “With the lucy Light Forest we hope to take that everyday movement and provide a beautiful moment of affirmation and celebration to share.”

Along with the light installation, lucy is also curating a series of expert-hosted group runs, boot camps and yoga classes in the Light Forest.

The lucy Light Forest will continue to celebrate movement and the women who love it in new destinations across the US throughout 2014 and beyond!

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Bright & Bold Running Shoes

You’re fast asleep in your warm, cozy bed, then, like a rude jolt, the alarm clock buzzes in your ear. It’s time to hit that morning run you’ve been putting off for weeks…

If this scenario is part of your new fitness routine, consider rewarding yourself a dose of lively color with bright running shoes! There’s just something about a cool pair of shoes that makes even those pre-sunrise runs a little more fun and vibrant.

Check out a few bright and colorful picks from our great selection of running shoes for every type of runner.

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Women's: 1. Reebok DMXSky Run in Party Purple, 2. ASICS GT-1000 in Lite Bright/Grape/Pink, 3. Under Armour Women's FTHR Radiate in Poison/White/Black

Men's: 4. ASICS GT-1000 in Highlighter Yellow, 5. New Balance M890V3 in Green/Yellow, 6. Zoot Sports Ultra TT 06 in Blaze/Safety Yellow/Black

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Holiday Gift Guide for the Runners on Your List

Feel-good endorphins. There are a couple of good ways to get them pumping; you can catch a brisk morning run before work OR you can give great gifts that make the runners on your list very happy.

These gifts should put everyone in a great mood! Now that’s a win-win situation!

Check out some of our top gift picks that’ll put a spring in any runner’s stride:

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Women's: 1. Muzuno Wave® Rider 16, 2. Brooks Utopia Thermal Hoodie II, 3. Newton Running Women's Terra Momentum, 4. inov-8 F-Lite 215 (also ideal for CrossFit!), 5. Nike Skapri  6. adidas Running Thrasher TR W

Men's: 7. Under Armour ColdGear® Fitted Longsleeve Mock, 8. Merrell Bare Access 2, 9. Brooks NightLife Essential Run Jacket II, 10. Tifosi Optics Radius Interchangeable Sunglasses, 11. Mizuno Wave ® Rider 16, 12. Nike + Sportband

For more running shoes, clothes and accessories, visit the Zappos Running Central page!