Are your laces securely fastened? Because you never know what you might encounter in the Test Zone. Each month, our Runner’s World test team—a crew of full-time product testers, editors, photographers, and sneakerheads—grabs the coolest shoes and running gear and puts them through the paces. We do whatever it takes to get you a thorough review—and things will get sweaty.
Sometimes that means ripping apart shoes to better understand how they work, like when we autopsied Nike’s new Air Zoom Vomero for a peek at the midsole foam. Or, we’ll run “Dan’s Box of Hammers,” a short route with a stiff, 8 percent average grade, when we need to test a shoe’s traction on hard climbs. And occasionally, we’ll even evaluate a backpack’s French fry capacity on a fast-food lunch run.
Right now, our Test Zone is loaded with new water bottles, shorts, shirts, some high-tech rain jackets, and one of the sleekest treadmills we’ve seen. Below are some of the most exciting products in the lineup.
Craft Repel Jacket
This wind- and waterproof jacket is impressing me on cold and wet runs. Here are some reasons why, lifted directly from my testing notes:
- The vents around the torso really work.
- I felt cooler (didn’t overheat) on a 40-degree run.
- I really like the reflective hood.
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- It doesn’t stick when I sweat.—Dan Roe
Matador FlatPak Soap Bar Bag
We love discovering cool, new products, like this roll-top soap bag. The breathable fabric lets your gym-bag soap bar dry without any leaks. Finally, you can ditch that slimy, plastic clamshell case.—Jeff Dengate
Nike Air Zoom Vomero 14
When we started testing the new Nike Air Zoom Vomero, the plush trainer surprised us—it felt faster than previous versions. Nike said it was partly from the new full-length air unit. So Test Editor Dan Roe grabbed a saw and cut a cross section, revealing the new heel-to-toe pad. It’s super thin and sits directly below your foot. That makes the shoe feel firmer and more responsive than earlier versions, which had separate air bags sandwiched in foam.
Oiselle Roga Shorts
I’ll say it: All running shorts should have pockets. Not cavernous holes that swallow your hands, but snug, secure spaces to hold essentials. Without them, I’ve resorted to safety-pinning gel packets to my shorts and clenching my phone as I ran over bridges, and have endured chafing from ill-fitting race belts. For runners like me, Oiselle’s Roga Shorts solve all those problems. They have a zippered back pocket and four mesh ones that work like a utility belt. Now, I can bring my most important gear on every run without feeling weighed down.—Amanda Furrer
Sometimes a product’s story is as important as its performance. Enda’s Iten is named after the small town in the Rift Valley. Like the runners from there, it’s built to go fast. The shoe even includes several cool Kenyan cultural references:
- Jamhuri lines: 12 grooves in the foam represent December 12, 1963, when Kenya gained its independence.
- Harambee: Swahili writing on the sole means “all pull together,” highlighting the power of the community.
- Spear: It’s on the Kenyan flag and part of the name of one of Kenya’s highest honors, akin to knighthood.—J.D.
Janji Travel Tech Long Sleeve
To help me test and compare running tops, I’ve developed a set of criteria. It should be just as helpful when you’re shopping for your own. This long-sleeve shirt from Janji nails all six bullet points. Your shirt should:
- Wick moisture and dry quickly
- Keep you cool or warm when it’s supposed to
- Not cause any skin irritation
- Come in bring, visible colors
- Fit comfortably
- Look good enough to wear in a non-workout setting.—Gabriel Lodge
Hydroflask 32-nike air high tops 1990 black shoes sale
True story: One of our editors left this growler in his car for three hours on a 94-degree day and, returning from a run, found the ice cubes were still solid. That sold us on its value. But there are other details we like, too. It holds 32 ounces, has a BPA-free stainless-steel body, and has a big handle to grab onto.—A.F.
Reigning Champ Running Short
These shorts from the Vancouver-based upstart have all the tech and performance details you want for hard runs, yet look tough enough for the boxing ring.—Louis Mazzante