A Review of SKINS™ A400 Compression Tights

Disclaimer: I received a sample of the SKINS™ A400 3/4 Skyscraper Compression Tights  to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review, find, and write race reviews!

I love running in all things compression. I have a plethora of compression running sleeves and socks and have come to love running in compression tights just this last year.   SKINS™ manufactures all kinds of compression gear from bras to shirts to shorts to tights. What started in 1996 as an idea by an Aussie skier for better, longer performance has not grown into a multi-national company with over 160 products.

I had the opportunity to test out the A400 Skyscraper 3/4 Compression Tights. I personally like the 3/4 length because it’s perfect for our warm climate in Louisiana. I rarely have the need to wear full tights unless I’m traveling or racing further up north. We just don’t get that cold. I was a little leery about testing these out in September and October since we are always still in the upper 80s and 90s then. But one of the first things I noticed was how thin and lightweight the tights are. They didn’t feel overly hot when I got them on but they still offered a good amount of compression. This is due to their “ADAPTIVE Technology” which is supposed to keep you warm when it’s cold and cool when it’s hot. I did not ever feel like I was overheating wearing these.

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I logged a couple of long runs and several short tempo runs in these and they really felt great. I really liked the wide waistband and higher rise to help tame my muffin top and support my abdominal muscles. The bonded hems and flat seams did not rub or chafe anywhere. The compression technology is supposed to minimize muscle vibration and drive more oxygen to your muscle which results in improved performance. I definitely felt the support from the calves all the way to my lower back and abs.

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I’ll break down the Pros and Cons for these tights.

Pros:

  • Thin material and lightweight so they’re great for warmer climates.
  • High rise really helped support my abs and lower back and tamed some of my middle area squishy bits.
  • I felt they offered a really good amount of compression. I definitely felt more supported and had less muscle vibration (or jiggling).
  • The flat seams and bonded hems were great. No chafing and no rubbing at all.
  • Reflective print on the side. This was an added bonus. I like running clothing that ads on reflective print. This is especially important with black tights.
  • The gusset design in the waistband is genius. It really improved the comfort and stretch and support all around the waist. No binding or pinching or rolling.

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Cons:

  • No key pocket. This bugs me. Most of their other models have a key pocket built in. For some reason the Skyscraper does not. I almost always run outside a few miles from home. I need a place to put my car key. I had to have my friend carry it for me a couple of times.
  • They can be a little see-through. These are not for the modest or for wearing wild undies underneath. Because they are thinner material they are a little transparent, especially in the booty as they stretch out. Just know this. I wore a long shirt and didn’t really care.

Overall I really liked these tights. I think they are a great addition to my training gear and will be usable year-round for me. I think the design was well thought out and executed.

If you would like to try out a pair of SKINS™ Compression tights you can save 20% off your order with code BIBRAVE20 through October.

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5k Crate Runner Subscription Box Review

Disclaimer: I received a sample of the 5k Crate Runner Subscription Box  to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review, find, and write race reviews!

These days I think there’s a subscription box for everything: beauty, clothes, kids,  science for kids, dogs, cats, wine…you name it, there’s a subscription for it! I’ve seen several subscription boxes being advertised for runners as well. The reviews on some of them have not been too good. The boxes are often filled with random energy bars and gels and not much else. Well, this is NOT the case for 5k Crate. This box was crammed packed with some really, really cool runner gear.

First,  a little about 5k Crate. It’s a quarterly subscription service with each box designed specifically for runners. The subscription costs you $59.99 a quarter and they send you gear specified to your gender and size. You get 4 to 6 handpicked items each quarter and the shipping is free.

The gear in this quarter’s box did NOT disappoint. Inside the box there were:

  • A women’s Mission Vaporactive Alpha Short Sleeve V-neck T-Shirt – in my specified size. And in my favorite color…PINK! I really liked this shirt. It was moisture wicking, thin, and not too tight and clingy. I can see it becoming a repeat in my weekly running apparel.  (Value $25)
  • A Mission HydroActive Cooling Towel – I have a couple of these and they’re really nice on the hot, hot summer days we have in the South. (Value $10 – $15)
  • A pair of Zensah Peek Running Socks – Loved these! Such a cute color and great fit. Love Zensah’s products. (Value $14)
  • A pair of Spigen Wireless Bluetooth Headphones – Our team had mixed reviews on these but I honestly loved them. They fit well in my ears and didn’t pop out. They connected really easily to my iPhone and the battery life was pretty impressive. The sound quality was really great as well. I was very impressed by these headphones and they’re quickly turning into my new faves. (Value $27)
  • Two Epic Wipes – There’s a reason they market these as “The Massive Wet Wipe” because these things are HUGE! You can seriously wipe down your entire body with one huge wipe. It felt AMAZING after a hot, sweaty run. I used one right before I had to run to the grocery store after a run and I felt amazingly refreshed and not quite so stanky. I can see these being very versatile. (Value $5)
  • Two La Fresh Travel Lite Sunnyside Lotion Wipes – I threw one in my backpack and one in my purse for emergency sunblock if needed. They are each SPF 30. (Value $1)

As you can see there is well over $80 is merchandise and gear in the box and all of it is very relevant to any runner.  I liked everything that came in the box. You can get a little better view of everything in the box on my “unboxing” video below.

Under Armour Horizon RTT Review

Disclaimer: I received a sample of the Under Armour Horizon RTT Trail Running Shoe  to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review, find, and write race reviews!

Under Armour is breaking into the trail running shoe game and I was given the opportunity to try out the UA Horizon RTT Trail Running Shoe.

What I immediately noticed about the shoe was the cool polyurethane upper. This was designed to make them tougher and better able to take a beating from the rocks and sticks and bushes on the trail.

They ran true to size with other running shoe brands. These shoes were really comfy on. They have a very roomy toe box and decent cushioning in the midsole.

The outsole has rubber lugs made to give you more traction on the trail. The lugs really gripped the ground in muddy situations, but I also found that the mud stuck in the lugs easily. This made them slippery unless you stopped to clean them out.

They weigh in right at 9.2 oz with a 7mm heel to toe offset. While not terribly heavy, I found them clunkier and stiffer than my usual mid-weight running shoes. They are definitely not made for the road. I tried to do an easy 2 miler in these shoes and my feet and legs about died. They are very stiff and the lugs make them a bad fit for the road. These are strictly a trail shoe.

Overall the UA Horizon RTT is a decent trail running shoe. UA put some thought into what they wanted for the shoe. It performs well on the trails, is roomy, has a good amount of cushion and will hold up well to the beating of the trails.

BUFF® UV Arm Sleeves Review 

 Disclaimer: I received a sample of the BUFF® UV Arm Sleeves to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!”

Being a Southern runner, I don’t have too much winter running gear. I can count the number of times per year we actually touch freezing on one hand. So, my winter running gear consists of a few long sleeve shirts and a couple pair of tights. I’m running in shorts and tank tops almost 12 months a year. A quirky thing about me is I really dislike running in any shirt with sleeves. I just hate all the excess material flopping around my arms. It’s distracting an annoying for me. I love my sleeveless shirts…tanks and singlets. I will wear a long sleeve shirt grudgingly if it’s super cold, but I honestly prefer a tank and arm sleeves for colder running.

BUFF® just recently released their UV Arm Sleeves made out the same highly breathable, moisture-wicking material, that everyone loves in their headwear. I was super excited to try these out, but was hesitant because it was already May and getting very warm here in Louisiana.

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One of the first things I noticed when they arrived as how lightweight they were. They are thin so they don’t feel like you’re adding a super thick layer on your arms. This was encouraging for our warmer temps. I really liked the reflective print on both arms. It was strategically placed at the top and bottom of the sleeves and lit up well when you shined a light on it.

Putting these things on was a bit like putting on a wetsuit. Lots of grunting and pulling and puffing, but once you get them one they feel great. They fit tightly with a slight bit of compression that really felt good while I ran. I was surprised how much I liked the compression factor on the arm sleeves. I especially loved the elastic upper and the silicon grip at the top. The sleeves didn’t budge once you got them one. They’re also made with flat-lock seams that are almost flush with the rest of the material. This was huge for me. I have some other arm sleeves where the seams and silicon grip are raised and I’ve gotten some nasty chafe marks from the sleeve seams.

The moisture-wicking material actually seemed to helped cool me down as I was running in the humidity.  They were a bit warm at first, but once I started sweating and they pulled the moisture off my arms, they were refreshing.

I also ran in them in the rain to help protect from the high winds and rain and they performed great. One of my favorites was soaking them in cool water right before a hot, hot run. While they were a shock to the system to get on (so, so cold) they felt great in the noon heat here.

The UPF 40+ protection is also a huge bonus for outside running as yet another protection from the elements. I can see this being especially beneficial during long runs. Slathering up with sunscreen can be a sticky, mess. And even waterproof sunscreen can take a beating in our high humidity and ultra-sweaty runs. These arm sleeves would be great for keeping those nasty sun rays away.

Will I wear these a lot during my summer runs? Nah. Not really. I might put them on for long runs to help with UV protection but I’ll likely honestly wear these in the cooler months. But I really, really liked the BUFF® UV Arm Sleeves … a lot. I plan to continue to wear them and use the heck out of them as the temperatures drop.

The new OOFOS OOmg Low Shoe – A Review

Disclaimer: I received a sample of the OOFOS OOmg Low Shoes to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!”

I’ve been a huge fan of the OOFOS sandals for a while now. I wear them constantly and they are so comforting to my feet after a long day of being in dress shoes or running the streets. When OOFOS released their first fully closed shoe – the OOmg Low I knew I had to try them out! All the benefits of the OOFOS sandal, with a closed toe?? YES PLEASE!

The first thing you notice about them is how lightweight they are. Nothing was lost when they added the closed top. It’s made of a breathable OOtex mesh upper with a 4-way stretch so your little toes are ensured lots of room to wiggle.

They’re made with the same OOFoam footbed that have made OOFOS so popular. The OOFoam technology absorbs 37% more impact than traditional shoe foam. This means less stress on your feet, back, and joints. This helps your body relax and recovery. They are soooo squishy and sooo comfy. Your feet seriously go “Ahhh” as soon as you put them on. It’s like walking on a bed of pillows.

The shoes are an investment, but they’re an investment in your body’s recovery. They’re made to last 6 month to a year, depending on amount of wear and usage. As with my OOFOS sandals, I get almost immediate relief from the minor heel pain I experience after hard runs, and I can really feel the pressure taken off of my sore joints and feet.

 

I wore these both with and without socks to test them out. Without socks my feet sweat just a tiny bit, but much, much less than I had suspected they would. They were totally comfortable and I experienced zero rubbing or blisters after wearing them most of the day running errands all over town. I also wore them with some little low ankle socks and I gotta say, I preferred no socks personally.

Definitely order a half size up. I usually wear an 8.5 in a running shoe. I was sent a size 9 and they fit perfectly. An 8  would have been too small. They paired really well with my flowy linen pants and some of my cute, casual knit skirts and t-shirts to run around town.

The shoes come in three fun colors and are totally machine washable. I highly recommend the OOFOS OOmg Low Shoes. Your feet deserve a little OOh-la-la and pampering. You won’t regret it.

BeachBody Performance Stack Review

***Disclaimer: I received a free sample of the Beachbody Performance Stack as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!

I do a lot of shakes and smoothies for meals. I have a Nutri-bullet that I love and I throw the kitchen sink in there. I’m always looking to try out new supplements and proteins in my smoothies so I was super excited to try out Beachbody’s Performance Stack of exercise enhancers. The Performance Stack includes four different training formulas to be used at different times of excerice:

  • Recharge – to be used before
  • Hydrate – to be used during
  • Recover – to be used immediately after
  • Recharge – to be used at nighttime

All Beachbody products have been NSF-certified – meaning they have been tested to comply with the NSF’s banned substance standards.  You can learn more here.

ENERGIZE

Energize is designed to be used pre-workout. It’s supposed to help you focus and workout harder and longer. You are to mix one scoop with 8 oz of water 30 minutes before exercising.

It contains Beta-alanine to help reduce lactic acid build-up, Quercetin (a phytonutrient) to help delay fatigue, and a low dose of caffeine to help give you an energy boost. It is sweetened with Stevia. I found it pretty sweet with just 8 oz of water. I diluted it a bit more and found the lemony citrus taste very palatable.  Did I notice a big performance enhancement? Not really much more than my normal daily cup of coffee before a run. I would recommend this if you’re not a coffee drinker for a little pick-me-up before a workout.

HYDRATE

I really like Hydrate a lot. I’m always on the hunt for a good electrolyte replacement to use during my runs since I sweat so much.  I drank this during my longer runs and after to replenish my fluids and electrolytes. I get wicked headaches if I don’t replace my fluids after my runs and the smooth, citrus flavor of Hydrate helped me gulp down several glasses of water…and no headache! It also contains Quercetin to help endurance, various electrolytes, and low-dose carbs to help keep you going longer.

The taste was nice and mild. I don’t like an overpowering flavor or sweetness in my hydration. This stuff was perfect. Just a mild flavor that didn’t coat my tongue or give me any stomach distress. Good stuff.

RECOVER

The Recover formula is to be used within 30 minutes after your workout to help with muscle recovery and reduce muscle breakdown.  It’s comprised of pomegranate extract, 20 grams of protein, and branched-chain amino acids.

I drank this both straight with water and in a fruit smoothie. It was super easy to pour and mix in the nifty shaker bottle you get with the Beachbody Performance Stack. I found it to be a little sweet and chalky with a noticeable after taste. But hoestly, it was nothing different than most protein recovery drinks I’ve tried. I liked it much better blended into a smoothie. I really liked that it had 20 grams of protein per scoop. I usually drink my smoothies with almond or cashew milk, so I like to add a good protein in there for muscle recovery.

RECHARGE

Lastly in the Performance Stack is Recharge. This one was probably my second favorite. I loved the vanilla flavor. It was also pretty sweet and a little chalky by itself, but it blended superbly into my fruit blends and gave it a nice, creamy vanilla flavor.

Recharge is to be consumed about 1 hour before going to sleep. It’s supposed to help reduce DOMS and promote muscle recovery. I really liked that it has tart cherry extract. I drink tart cherry juice as an anti-inflammatory and for muscle recovery often, but it’s SUPER tart. This stuff tasted much better. And each scoop has an additional 20 grams of protein and more branched-chain amino acids to aid in muscle re-building.

You can get the whole Beachbody Performance Stack here and it starts out at $199.95. Beachbody backs their products with a 30 day money-back guarantee, so no harm, no foul if you want to try it out and don’t like it. Out of all of the products I would probably buy the Hydrate and the Recharge again

The Versatility of the UV Reflective Half BUFF®

Disclaimer: I received a UV Reflective Half BUFF® to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!”

I have so many running friends who are BUFF® fanatics. They love their BUFF®. But being a Southerner, it’s always so warm for us. I wasn’t sure I would use a full BUFF® very much. The opportunity popped up for us to try the UV Reflective Half BUFF® recently and I wanted to check out what all the fuss is about.

One of the first things I really liked about this Half BUFF® was that it has reflective print. This is all the rage right now in a lot of active wear and I LOVE it. I love, love that added safety feature. It lights up like a Christmas tree with the BUFF® logo and reflective stripes when you shine a light on it.

The half length was perfect for me. I could easily wrap it around my wrist for an nice little cloth to wipe away sweat on my brow and  hankie to wipe my nose. The thin, sweat-wicking material  was great when I used it as a headband on several runs. It kept the sweat from running in my eyes and was so lightweight I totally forgot I had it on.

Here is the description from the BUFF® website:

Half the length of original UV BUFF® headwear, the UV Reflective Half BUFF® option offers efficient thermal properties, built-in sun protection, moisture management and reflective strips that are ideal for runners. Able to dry quickly and control odor, this sweat-wicking layer fits easily under a helmet. It’s a versatile, go anywhere piece wearable at least nine different ways. 

  • Blocks 95% of UV rays*
  • Reflective strips
  • Multifunctional
  • Exceptional Moisture-wicking with its 4-channel fibers
  • Soft, breathable Coolmax® Extreme fabric
  • Cool in the summer, extra layer of warmth in the winter
  • Polygiene® Active Odor Control
  • Quick drying

All of the above is totally accurate! I even used it at a recent race to keep my hands warm before the race start. It worked like a charm!

The BUFF® is so versatile. I have really enjoyed bringing it on my runs. I swear it’s the MacGyver of running gear. Every runner should have have one.

 

LEGEND® Compression Leg Sleeves Review

Disclaimer: I received a pair of the LEGEND® Compression Leg Sleeves to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!”

I swear by my compression gear. I collect compression socks and sleeves like some people collect rare coins. I LOVE my compression gear.

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The first thing I noticed about the LEGEND® Compression Sleeves when I put them on is that they feel thinner than several other brands. They’re thinner, but they still offer an excellent amount of soothing compression. I wore these during several runs and after for recovery to test them out in both situations. I really, personally liked that they were thinner, especially for all of the warm, humid days we’ve been having. This also means these are going to be much more comfortable to use during our sweltering summer heat.

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LEGEND® sets itself apart with their background in medical compression therapy. The sleeves use medical grade graduated compression to help stabilize muscles and reduce soreness.

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Some great things about LEGEND® Compression Sleeves:

  • Relieves shin splints, calf cramps and pulled muscles
  • 15-20 mmHg Graduated compression for increased athletic performance
  • Greater power output
  • Enhanced endurance
  • Increase oxygen levels and blood circulation
  • Reduced muscle fatigue, exertion and soreness
  • Faster recovery time
  • Promotes healing
  • Reduce vibration
  • Maximum blood flow for muscle performance
  • Reduction of lactic acid
  • Moisture wicking
  • Breathable, seamless construction for comfort
  • UV protection

I also really liked that they are MADE IN THE USA and LEGEND® values their quality assurance. They come in a wide variety of colors with a sleek, simple design that can be integrated into any training outfit.

 

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Check out their website http://legendcompressionwear.com/ and browse the many different types of compression wear they offer. Use code rave20 to save you 20% off your order while you’re there!

Rudy Project Fotonyk sunglasses review

Disclaimer: I received a pair of the Rudy Project Fotonyk sunglasses  to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!”

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I’m a big sunglasses nut. I have sensitive eyes and almost always wear sunglasses when I’m outside be it playing, walking, or running. I’m always looking out for a good pair that fit comfortably and don’t slip down my face. I’ve heard great things about Rudy Project, especially their cycling helmets and sunglasses. So, I was anxious to try them out.

First of all the Fotonyk glasses look so fierce. They really look tactical to me. I was almost a little intimidated by them. Am I badass enough to wear them??? 🙂 The first thing I noticed about them is how lightweight they are. They fit my face snugly but not to the point where I felt they were squeezing my head or nose. The lenses are also crystal clear.

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Some of the really great things about the glasses:

  • They come with an adjustable nose piece. This was good for me because I have a fairly narrow nose bridge. Some glasses slip on me.
  • They also come with rubber bumpers on the bottom of the lenses for added comfort and safety. They are removable if you want more of a streamlined, clean look on the bottom of the lenses. I personally liked them. And they come in several different colors to customize your glasses.
  • The frames are made from Grilamid® which is a “shock-resistant, hypoallergenic, high-quality, light thermoplastic”. They were definitely very, very lightweight.
  • There are Vent Controller™ controls at the lenses to allow airflow to help prevent misting and reduce thermal shock.
  • The lenses are interchangeable. I like all the different colors you can get in the glasses.

I recently wore these during a hot half marathon with high humidity. The glasses were so comfortable during the race. They completely stayed put and they did not fog or mist on me at all. I was really surprised. I think the vented lenses really help.

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We’ve been having a lot of really warm, steamy, humid days here in New Orleans. The Fotonyk sunglasses have held up like champs. I usually have some lens fogging with a lot of sunglasses while running in our 90%+ humidity. With the Fotonyk I’ve had no fogging issues so far. No slippage. No pinching at my nose bridge or at my temples.

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Overall I gotta say I really, really like these sunglasses. They are a good product made for the active person. The design was thought out and executed well. They are comfortable and functional and look good at the same time.

 

Learning to fly with the AMPLA FLY

Disclaimer: I received a pair of the AMPLA FLY running shoes to review as part of being a BibRave Pro. Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out BibRave.com to review find and write race reviews!”

For the last month I’ve been able to test out these really cool looking AMPLA FLY running shoes. When I saw the design, they were so different I had to try them out! They look so space age and technical!

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AMPLA was founded by Harvard trained sports scientists who developed and designed the shoes. They engineered them to “amplify athletic ability.” They are designed to efficiently use force and promote better running mechanics.

The most noticeable thing about the AMPLA FLY shoes is the carbon fiber plate on the forefoot sole. It works almost like a little springboard to maximize force at toe off. It also helps align the foot for better ground contact position.

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These shoes are designed for shorter, faster distances. I did not run in these exclusively for the past four weeks. I used them for speed work and shorter tempo runs to break them in and see how they felt. My notes on the shoe:

  • I immediately noticed a difference in my running stride. I’m a chronic heel striker and these shoes really made me shorten up my stride and increase turnover. I loved this about the shoe because it did it in a way that I didn’t have to overthink my stride. It just started to feel more natural. This translated into actually learning, if you will, how to run more toward my forefoot in my other running shoes as well.
  • I felt a little speedier with these shoes. I’m not sure if it was a placebo affect or the promotion of a more efficient stride, but my tempo runs with these shoes were some of the  quickest I’ve seen in the last two months. And my legs felt good at the end…I was just out of breath.
  • They are definitely more “shoe” than I’m used to. At 9.8 oz they’re heavier than a lot of my other shoes. It took a few runs to break them in and get used to how they felt.
  • The sole is more rigid than my other shoes. Again, just took a few short runs to break them in and get used to the feel. Now I really don’t notice it so much.
  • The sizing is on point with other shoe brands. I wear an 8.5 in Saucony and HOKA and the 8.5 in the AMPLA FLY fit great.
  • I like the seamless upper toe box. It is lightweight and stretchy and I felt like I had a lot of room to let my toes splay out naturally.
  • The 4mm heel to toe drop is a really good drop for me. I really like around 3mm to 4mm.

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This was a really, really cool shoe to test out. With so much thought and research and design put into it I almost felt like the bionic woman running in them. I’m going to keep using them for my shorter run days because I really feel like they promote a more efficient stride. The more I wear them, the more I’m re-learning how to run. I just recommend you break these shoes in slowly since they feel different than a lot of other running shoes.