How good are the ASICS DynaFlyte 3?

Disclosure, before I even start my review

I have recently been named an ASICS Running Influencer, and, on the advice of my running coach, I chose the new DynaFlyte 3, in which to run and train.

ASICS has, however, placed me under no obligation whatsoever to write a review, favourable or otherwise, of these shoes.

So, what do I think about these shoes so far?

I’ve only had these lovely shoes for 2 weeks, but have already run 101km in them, including a half marathon.

So I feel that a “first impressions” review is in order.

I live in New Delhi, India and in the 2 weeks since I’ve used these shoes, I’ve run on a variety of surfaces:

    • on a dirt track in my local biodiversity park
    • on grass in the park where we train
    • on roads
    • and then, also on roads, a half marathon

The shoes felt comfy from the first second I put them on, in the shop, and had the lacing explained to me, including the need to use the spare holes, as you can see in the photo, below:
I’m just a humble runner, not a running-shoe expert, so this might not be as technical a review as it should be.

Here are the official technical specs:

As I said, from the outset, the shoes felt super comfy, and I have had no discomfort, no blisters, nothing.  I wondered whether running a half in them, after only 80km testing, was a good idea, but since they had felt so good since Day One, I decided to go for it.

Wise decision.

We had a good run (gold medal in my senior age category) so my DynaFlyte 3s and I have got off to a great start.

As the tag line says, I did indeed “feel fast”.

The shoes also feel incredibly light.

They really do.

I didn’t weigh my shoes, so offer you the detail below as I found it online:

Weight: 8.9 Ounces (men’s size 9)

The cushioning at the back of the shoe – the Rearfoot Gel technology – is there to mitigate the shock of the impact on your heels and it makes for a great, comfortable feel:

Then there’s the Flytefoam gel being Lyte technology midsole, the combined effect of this and the gel making the shoes feel incredibly bouncy.

I know that “bouncy” is not a technical term, but it is most definitely the way these shoes feel – lovely and bouncy.

They are easy to put on, and fit snugly.

The ASICS logo is super discreet, and (in a cool touch) it is almost more visible when a light is shone on it – making them, I imagine, strikingly visible at night.  I’ve yet to run in them in the dark, so cannot speak from experience to that, but look at how the logo can be seen when the flash is on, in the photo above.  The name on the heel is also highly visible when light is shone on it.

I’ll keep on running in these shoes over the coming weeks and months and will post a couple more reviews, as we evolve together.

But, since first impressions do count…

    1. I love the colour.  Absolutely love it.
    2. The shoes feel super light.  You almost don’t feel they’re there.
    3. Despite the lightness, they cushion your feet perfectly.
    4. The laces are easy to hold and tie.

So far, so good.

Pretty much love at first sight for me, and since we won a gold medal together, I think we’re going to get along just fine together.

How good are La Sportiva G2 SM climbing boots?

Although I have climbed a few mountains, I still feel a tad wary of describing myself as a “mountaineer”.  So this review of my new La Sportiva G2 SM climbing boots might not be full of pukka technical terms, but it most definitely comes from the heart.

By way of background, I started climbing very late in life, and most of my recent climbs have been in the 6000m+ range, and all of them in the Himalayas in India (where I live), and they have all brought me huge joy.

With one caveat.

The only blot on my climbing horizon had been using hired climbing boots, which are usually heavy to carry and to wear, and exhausting to lace up, especially on summit night, when fingers inextricably turn to thumbs, and nerves are at their most tightly-wound.

As a not too experienced climber, I came to dread putting on and lacing up the double boots I would rent.

So in April this year I invested in a pair of La Sportive G2 SM boots and my life has changed for ever.

They are THE most wonderful boots ever.

I am beyond in love with them.

If the truth be told, I fell in love with them the moment I unboxed them.

But there was that $64,000 question – did these beauties need breaking in?

I imagined they did, BUT I had less than a month between purchase and leaving to climb Banderpoonch, a mountain in Uttarakhand in India.

I live in Delhi, where May temperatures are in the upper 30sC/low 40sC, so there was no way I was going to go for a walk in my boots, to break them in.  I’d probably have passed out from the heat.  So I wore them a couple of times inside the house, clumping round inelegantly in shorts against the heat, and wearing my boots.

And then off I went to climb, secretly wondering if I was being foolish & was going to suffer from blisters or other aches and pains, having not worn my boots enough.

No need to worry at all.

These beauties were like slippers from Day One.

I wore them on an acclimatisation hike up from our Base Camp to Camp One, and the boots were fabulous from the word go.  This was the only time I wore them before we hit the snow and the proper climbing started.

     

Comfortable, super easy to put on, and oh-so-blissfully easy to lace up.

I was in heaven.

I never had one moment’s discomfort or stress in these boots.  Not one.

They were easy to put on, requiring none of the contortions I remember from the hired double boots.

The inner is super easy to put on, and fastens with Velcro, and so is easily and painlessly adjustable.  They weigh next to nothing, and each night I’d pop them inside my sleeping bag and we were all as warm as toast.

The outer boot…what total and utter bliss the La Sportiva G2 SM Boa lacing system is.

It is so easy and simple, and is perfect for folks like me, who get slightly stressed on summit night.  On earlier climbs, I remember beginning to hyperventilate as I tried to bend over and lace up first the inner and then the outer boots, with all my layers of clothes on, in the cold, and inevitably in the middle of the night.

No such stress this time round:

1.Velcro the inner boot.

2.Snap the outer boot tight – the Boa lacing system is super easy to use, with 2 dials allowing you to adjust the tightness of your upper and lower feet.

3.Zip up the incorporated gaiters and you’re A for Away.

Here is the one and only Simone Moro (the SM of the name) talking about these boots.

They were light to wear, and so (obviously) light to carry.

They were blissfully comfortable and stress-free to put on.And – call me shallow – I think they are pretty cool looking.

I bought the boots myself, and neither the supplier nor La Sportiva knows that I blog and review.

So, to answer the question I posed in the title of this review – how good are these boots?

They are wonderful. Totally, 100% recommended.

Testing the SEATOSUMMIT dry sack

Last year, prior to a diving trip to Borneo, we bought a Seatosummit lightweight dry sack from a dive shop in KL.

8 litre capacity and weighing in at only a spectacular 58 grams.

I have just taken my lovely bright yellow dry bag with me on its first “summit” outing – a 2 week trek in the Himalayas in late Jan-early Feb.  The trek, on a frozen river, provided extreme weather day in, day out.  Cold, snow, sleet, and the possibility of having to ford glacial rivers (the latter didn’t happen, thank goodness).  I used the bag inside my daypack, to keep my camera, batteries, spare socks and spare gloves dry.

Perfect.

Everything dry, despite the fact we walked for hours in the snow.

Here’s the link to the Seatosummit website for these dry sacks.

It’s now been used on dive boats in Borneo and up in the harsh Himalayas, and has passed with flying colours.

Personally recommended.

I bought the bag, didn’t tell the shop nor the company that I blog.

Mangrove Running Belt

Santa Claus was generous this year, bringing me not one, but two, Mangrove running belts – one black & one a delicious Barbie doll pink.

I’ve used both of them, one per day, for the last week and I’m already a fan.

The belt has an expandable pocket for mobile phones, which makes such sense.  I have an older belt which I can now no longer use with my new phone, because the pouch isn’t expandable, so good call, Mangrove.

In fact, for the last half marathon I ran a couple of weeks ago, I used my older phone just because of this issue.

A clip for car/house keys – also makes total sense.

Head-phones have their own access point, and connect easily and internally to the mobile.

What I like is the fact that the belt doesn’t fully open – you either step into it, or put it over your head.  Presumably the logic is to avoid the risk of a clip or velcro fastener opening/not working, causing you to drop the belt.  Once again – good call, Mangrove.

I heartily recommend them.  

Now you want to buy this running belt, don’t you?
Here you go!  You’re just one click away from a new belt… 🙂

By the way – these belts were purchased, and Mangrove has no idea that I blog.

Testing Reebok’s reversible running shorts

Late September & Delhi is at its worst.

Hot, humid, the fag-end of the monsoons – which explains all that heat and humidity.

So, of course, that is exactly when I decide to buy some new running trousers, and test drive them (as it were) in such an unforgiving climate.

Because I’d just bought some Reebok running shoes, I decided to try out their clothing range as well, and bought a pair of reversible running shorts –  well, more capri-length to be exact.

They are indeed reversible –  grey one side, black the other:

I have subsequently used these running shorts at least twice, if not thrice, a week since then, and 2 1/2 months on from humid September, I am every bit as pleased with them, and they show no sign of wear and tear.

They really do wick away the sweat, as advertised:

The only adjustment I made to the trousers when I bought them, was to cut off the care label, in order to make them truly reversible.  Like so:

 

It was stitched on in such a way that removing it was easy.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My only cavil – I do wish there was a pocket.

I bought & paid for the trousers myself, and no-one in Reebok knows that I blog.

They cost Rs 2699 (in late September 2016).

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you want to buy these running shorts, you can get to Amazon very quickly, straight from this page.  Just click on either of the links below, and they’ll take you straight to their website…but, hey, you know all this stuff, right? 🙂

How healthy are Whole Food energy bars?

This review is written for us by a guest blogger (&, in the interests of full disclosure, a dear friend).

Gautam Chima is a serious cyclist (none of this Sunday morning-India Gate-post a selfie on Facebook stuff for him 😛 ), a musician, a keen angler – in fact we met up in Himachal, on a fishing trip.

Here Gautam reviews an energy bar that he has tried and enjoyed, and even though he writes from the perspective of a cyclist here, it seems to me that this would work equally well for all the trekkers and hikers and long distance runners out there.

Over to our guest blogger:

“Tirath Singh is a road cycling friend of mine, and its an old habit of mine to never ask about anyone’s profession. That conversation is too boring to have, and quite frankly if someone wants to tell me what they do; id rather have them start that discussion!! However, the loophole of this policy is that sometimes I miss out on some really cool things. case in point, apart from being a pretty good cyclist, Tirath is also the “Chef Partner” at Whole Foods India and previously unknown to me , he is concocting some really clever “healthy” food, tailor made to our Indian conditions.

So as it turns out I was looking for someone to sponsor us some granloa bars for a race, and lo and behold, our knight in shining armour, that’s Tirath, sent us a huge cache of granola and endurance bars. Surprise, Surprise! Now being the true-to-my-roots-punjabi, i was really skeptical about the goods. I mean how could these compare to my tried and tested training/racing staple “Nature Valley” bars?! Anyway, “kee farak paenda”, i don’t have to eat them, i just have to distribute them.

Onwards to raceday and while distributing the Whole Food goodies, i realized id left my personal stash at home. Hunger strikes and you eat what you get. Opened up the “Endurance Bar” and down it went, and another , and another! Fast forward a year later, and my Nature Valley stash is still safe and secure, hiding in a cupboard!

So what makes it tick? among all the “healthy” seedy stuff the label displays, its the jaggery and coconut that spins the magic . Dont get me wrong, im no fan of coconut taste in my food; but thats the thing; my butter chicken fried taste buds can hardly tell there’s coconut in there. The Gud and dates hold it all together beautifully , without being over sweet. “YUMMY” is an understatement.

And that dreaded feeling of reaching out into your back pocket, only to find a dried flaky bar disintegrate all over you, as you try to eat it…..no longer a part of my training life! The bar is sticky and comfortably soft in your mouth; and all of us who deal with dehydration on a daily basis , know the awful feeling of putting something flaky and dry in our mouths, mid ride.

Its an instant shot of energy, so delicious that you need to make sure youre not snacking on it regularly! I’ve had these in 3 hours races, and all day climbs, 1 every hour and they keep me going! Ive seen cyclist friends finish their morning hour-long hammerfest with one of these, before heading off to work! Its a formula that is balanced, and well, just works! Also, it feels good to support a local product, knowing its sooo good! I take them everywhere, on a long drive, trekking and even fishing trips.

buy it in their stores, or buy it online. what’s the worse that can happen? you’ll think it was horrid and that i’m getting paid to peddle Tirath’s bars. on the flipside, you may, just may discover a treat that makes training a bit more fun and enjoyable!!

Word of caution : this review is ONLY for the “Gluten Free Endurance Energy Bar”, they have other bars as well but this ones the keeper for me.”

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Gluten Free Endurance Energy Bar

Thanks, Gautam.

On the shopping list this goes!

Testing the Reebok Z Strike Elite AND the Reebok One Distance 2.0

This is a slightly unusual review since it deals with 2 different Reebok shoes, one of which I had to return due to a flaw.

On 28 June 2016 I bought a pair of Reebok Z Strike Elite shoes from the Reebok store in DLF Mall, New Delhi, India.

This was my first Reebok purchase & I was impressed by the knowledgable sales staff (despite it being sale time, so busier than usual) and I bought a lovely blue pair of shoes:

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I now possessed 3 pairs of running shoes (#takingmyrunningseriously) and since I was part of a #100daysofrunning challenge, and therefore running every day, I rotated between my reeboks and 2 pairs of Adidas shoes.

I was running an average of 10k per day, but not wearing any pair of shoes on 2 consecutive days.  From the very first run, these shoes felt comfortable, great and cushion-y (is that a technical term?) and very light.  No teething problems, no blisters, nothing.

From Day One I loved the Z Strike Elite, and instagrammed to that effect.

Here you go, just a few images.

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Took my shoes to Borneo:

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And to Kuala Lumpur:

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But…at 162 km (I log my usage on mapmyrun.com) holes suddenly appeared in the heel area of both shoes.  Like so:

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I contacted Reebok –  and this part of my review now covers their customer service.

5 August: I email Reebok, sending the photos I have just shown you (above).

6 August: Reebok Customer Care replies, apologizing and asking for details, including a scan of the original invoice, which I didn’t have to hand, so on the

7 August: I sent a copy of my credit card statement.

9 August: Reebok replies asking me to get a duplicate invoice from the store.

OK.

10 August: I went back to the store in DLF mall, where they kindly printed out a duplicate invoice in no time at all, which I emailed to Customer Care.

11 August: Reebok email me to say I could go ahead and claim my replacement shoes.

 

Score card for Customer Service?

10/10.

They were quick, polite and efficient, as indeed were the staff in the shop.

BUT sadly the much-loved Z Strike Elite were no longer in stock, & so I had to get a different shoe, and pay around Rs3000 on top, since the sales are over.

So, with some regret – it’s out with the Z Strike & in with One Distance 2.0

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I did my first run in these shoes this morning, and first impressions?

I like them.  A lot.

I like the tag at the back when you put them on:

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Love the lime green.

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They felt as cushion-y and bouncy and comfortable from the word go as the Z Strike Elite.

Now, though, I shall watch the heels like a hawk, hoping there isn’t a repeat performance.

Has anyone else experienced this?  The inner lining wearing out so quickly?

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The store manager suggested it might be because I kept my shoes laced and pushed my feet in and out.

I absolutely don’t, and told him so.  So I actually have no explanation as to why the Z Strike Elite wore out so soon.

Anyway, onwards & upwards as they say – and let’s see how the One Distance 2.0 perform.

I’ll post a follow up review in a few weeks.

Neither Reebok nor the store knew that I blogged and I paid for the shoes myself.

Running in Adidas Ultra Boost

I sadly retired my Adidas Supernova Glide 6 running shoes a month ago –  boy, how I loved those funky colours –  and replaced them with (yet) another pair of Adidas.

Their Ultra Boost.

The ritual “out with the old and in with the new photo” follows, a comparison which always makes me feel sorry for my old, well-loved, slightly battered looking, soon-to-be-discarded shoes.

Actually, rather than feeling sorry for my old shoes, I feel disloyal.

That’s it.

Disloyal, after hundreds of kilometres together.IMG_3388

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The Ultra Boost are every bit as comfy and easy to wear as the Supernova Glide 6, but there is one thing I prefer in the latter – the fact that there is a tongue.

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As opposed to a rounded, moulded shape –  can you see from the photo below, that there isn’t a separate tongue per se?

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It’s purely personal –  I have a high instep, so the tongue fitting is easier to put on.

But that’s it, as far as “criticism” goes, and the lack of a tongue is hardly a criticism, to be honest.

Lovely cushion-y soles:
IMG_3399There is nothing like the first few runs with brand new shoes- you definitely feel as though you have a spring in your step.

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The photo below shoes the difference in the soles of the 2 shoes

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Prime-knit is used and makes for a snug, comfy fit.

Easy lacing

IMG_3394Given the amount I’m running at the moment, these shoes are already well run in, after exactly a month.  I’m taking part in a #100daysofrunning challenge which, for those of you who don’t know Delhi in the summer, is a major challenge.  It is blazingly hot, the rains haven’t yet come, and so this challenge really pushes us all to get out there and run, 43C temperatures notwithstanding.

My first run in these new shoes was exactly a month ago on 4 May and today, 4 June, I have notched up some 235km already.

So, yes, I might only have had these shoes for a month, but I can safely claim that I like them and enjoy running in them.

I bought the shoes myself.

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How good is the Anker Solar Charger?

It’s very good, to answer my own question.

I have nothing but praise for the Anker portable solar charger.

I bought it before I went climbing in the Himalayas 2 summers ago, and it worked brilliantly, charging mobile phones mainly, both mine and my fellow team member’s.  Even though there was no connectivity for most of the climb in Ladakh, it meant I could use my phone to record video clips.

Some days, I attached the charger to my daypack (as in the photo below, which is not mine.  It’s from the internet) & I even charged my phone on the go.  Initially I did worry about the charger getting scratched on boulders (it didn’t, of course).

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Once we arrived in camp in the afternoons, out would come my charger and it would sit quietly there, as we all unpacked and set up camp.

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Super impressed and it is now a regular on all outdoors-y type trips, where power could be a problem.

Here are the charger’s vital stats:

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It has 2 USB charging points.

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It weighs in at 14.7oz / 417g so isn’t a liability in your day pack.

Totally recommended.

No one at Anker knows that I blog.

I paid for the charger myself, and bought it online.  As you can do now:

All the photos are from the internet.

AND…as I was looking for photos online to illustrate this review, I found this one, and learned a useful tip, which will be put to good use later this summer, when I’m back in Himalayas – hurray!

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Reviewing the Kalenji hydration backpack

Running in Delhi’s killer summer heat means that hydration is beyond a must.  It is, without exaggeration, a lifesaver.

I usually run with a handheld water bottle, but it doesn’t hold enough for the searing temperatures these days, so I have switched to using my Kalenji 2L backpack, and what an all round improvement.

Firstly, I have way more water available, but almost as importantly, because I’m not gripping a bottle, I am running more relaxed.

I set out every morning at about 5.30/5.45 at which time I don’t need my cap, so into the pack it goes.

A small snack – inside the pack.

My mobile phone goes into a zipped compartment, accessible from both sides, and the head-phones have their own exit.  Way safer than having the phone in my hand.

Can’t think why I haven’t been using this backpack every day.  Certainly makes for more streamlined running.

Totally recommended.

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I bought the backpack myself, and told no one that I blog.

Actually I lie. Technically, one of my running group, Samiksha Mehra, bought it for me from Decathlon in NOIDA. (All of which is to say that no one had/has any idea that I blog!)