• New Balance Fresh Foam Zante V3 Review

    New Balance Fresh Foam Zante 3 Review

    The New Balance Fresh Foam Zante Version 3 is the latest speed shoe in the New Balance Fresh Foam series.

    New Balance Zante Key Facts:

    Features Fresh Foam Technology

    6 main models in the fresh foam series

    The Zante is the “Fast” model

    The third version in the zante series

    3 CW ( Black/ Electric Blue, Black/ Thunder, Alpha Orange/ Outer Space)

    6mm Drop

    Synthetic/Mesh Upper

    Weighs around 250grams

    Tight knit around the midfoot and tongue but has large holes in mesh in the toe box.

    Padded Ankle collar

    Hexagonal pattern on the outsole.

    £95 RRP on New Balance website

    New Balance Fresh Foam

    What is New Balance Fresh Foam?

    New Balance say that Fresh Foam technology is an “innovative midsole created from a single piece of foam that provides a plush, more natural ride”. Fresh Foam is a cut of foam with a variety of hexagonal concaves and convexes throughout the allow the runner to run with no discomfort. Fresh Foam is now used on a large selection of New Balance shoes, including winter boots and more casual, lifestyle models.

    Zante 3 Side Profile

    New Balance Fresh Foam Zante V3 Review

    The Fresh Foam Zante Version 3 comes in three colourways; Black/ Electric Blue, Black/ Thunder, and I chose the  Alpha Orange/ Outer Space version. I personally was drawn to the bright orange pair because they would be better for using at night, because they are impossible to miss and very, very visible. However, the black/ thunder colourway is also a great looking shoe. The New Balance logo also features 3M detailing meaning that it has reflective qualities, which gives even the black/ thunder colourway some visibility in darker conditions.

    The first thing I noticed when I put them on for the first time was the fit. The various different patterns of the knitted mesh upper give a tight but true to size fit in the toebox, but some runners with wider feet may find them too tight. The various patterns also allow your feet to breathe when using them in hot weather. Unfortunately, I have only been able to use them in wet and damp conditions which gave me slightly soggy socks.


    Fresh Foam is the standout feature on the shoe and it definitely delivers. The Fresh Foam Technology allows a comfortable ride but at the same time gives a barefoot feel to your run. Zante Version 3 also has a very supportive and comfortable heel counter which allowed me to use them for a longer distance than I planned. The Fresh Foam is designed to have a 6mm drop (differing between sizes and models) which adds the ability to run for longer distances without your feet getting sore. The honeycomb-like design on the Fresh Foam gives the runner extra comfort when running at higher speeds, which was great for practising my sprints.

    The honeycomb design is also used on the shoe's’ outsole, adding good grip on some mixed terrain. The tread works particularly well on road and pavements which allowed me to change directions at high speed without slipping too much.

    New Balance Zante 3

    New Balance Fresh Foam Vs  Adidas Ultra Boost

    As a big fan of an Adidas everything, my immediate reaction was to compare the New Balance Fresh Foam Zante 3’s to my beloved Adidas Ultra Boost. Many people see the Ultra Boost as the most comfortable shoe on the market and is now marketed as a lifestyle shoe, as well as Adidas trying to put their Boost Technology in every other shoe they make.

    The Fresh Foam is comparable to my Ultra Boosts even though I am biased towards my Ultra Boost. Even though the Zante Version 3’s that I have been testing focus on the comfort in the midsole, they excel over the Ultra Boost’s in the comfort in the heel, which has led to many users of the Ultra Boost having problems with their achilles (link to article).  New Balance Fresh Foam Zante Version 3 gives me extremely good comfort and support in the heel which is something I’m not used to.

    Something I was also not used to was the ease of purchase and price. My Adidas Ultra Boosts were £135 from Adidas, and I also had to be online and ready to shop for 9am before they instantly sold out in every size apart from 13.5 (Adidas have since made more pairs available on their store or other retailers). Zante Version 3 was £95 from New Balance and I didn't have to set an alarm to buy them. Although the New Balance Fresh Foam Zante Version 3 has so many positives, and were better to run in than my Adidas AlphaBounce or any Adidas Tubular,  It’s hard to steer me away from my lifelong Adidas Addiction.

    New Balance Foam Zante 3

    The Verdict

    New Balance Fresh Foam Zante 3 is a great running shoe that focuses on comfort when running at speeds. The bright colours and details offer great visibility whether you run in the day or night. The shoe has an RRP of £95 which is a lot cheaper than the similar models from other big competitors. You can purchase them from New Balance’s website.

    New Balance Fresh Foam Review

    By Matt Sladden - matt@sundried.com

    Posted by Guest Reviewer
  • Hoka Clifton 3 Review

    Hoka Clifton 3

    What are Hoka shoes?

    Hoka shoes are the reason I’ve been two inches taller for the last month.

    Hoka is the fasted growing shoe brand in the world, easily recognisable by their extra thick soles, which look like a platform.

    Back in 2009, when Hoka was first released, minimalist shoes were all the rage, but Hoka went completely against that, challenging everything we know about running shoes. You could even call them, ‘maximalist’. But why?

    The founders were two life-long runners, seeking stability from their running shoes that minimalist footwear just doesn’t offer after the miles rack up. They wanted a shoe that would enable a natural foot motion, with a super-cushioned sole to provide stability that helps create uniformity in running stride.

    Originally loved by ultra-runners for helping them push through their super long runs - we’re talking a marathon and more here, the cushioned running shoe has now grown in popularity to see runners of all distances rebounding off their Hoka Meta-Rockers.

    Fun Fact: Hoka One One, pronounced "Hoka O-nay O-nay", means "now it is time to fly" in Maori.

    What is a Hoka Meta Rocker?

    The Meta Rocker is the feature that has made this brand famous, it’s the reason for the thick soles and a more comfortable run.

    Hoka say: “Our Meta-Rocker midsole geometry is specifically designed with a low heel-toe differential and a sculpted outsole to create a unique fulcrum effect, like a rocking chair, to encourage a guided gait cycle. This design supports a runner's natural form while promoting an efficient, smooth roll from initial impact to toe-off.”

    So in plain English, it’s the tech that makes the sole of the Hoka Clifton 3 like a rocking chair, which helps support your run through the way it encourages you to land your feet.

    Hoka Shoes Sizing

    Somewhat ironically, I found the Hoka shoes quite small in their fit. Big on padding short on room. My regular shoe size is a 4, so when I buy my running shoes, I opt for 4.5. When I first slipped on the Hoka Clifton 3’s, they felt super snug and I was a little concerned they were going to pinch my toes. However, after my first run, the trainers gave a little give and fit perfectly. The Clifton 3 upper features a seamless design with a wide toe box which makes the fit really comfortable. Despite the high platform of the shoe, there is a minimal toe drop, which is good for runners who are concerned about shortening the achilles - although there is little to no concrete evidence to support this.

    What's a really great design feature of these trainers is the loop to the back of the heel to help slip the trainers on and off easily. It's the largest loop I've had on any brand of trainers and makes these trainers really easy to get into and out of.

    The shoes are so light, you’d forget you were wearing them if it wasn’t for the fact that you’re 2 inches taller!

    Hoka Clifton Review

    Time to fly. The very first run in these shoes I sung “we’re walking in the air” in my head for almost the entire duration, it was Christmas and there I was floating on the huge platform of cushioning in my new Hoka Clifton 3 trainers. I hope this conjures up a beautiful mental image for you. The run was easy, each step felt supported, the impact was cushioned and I finished up thinking it was a Christmas miracle I’d glided through my run so easily. After the first run I decided I was probably just a little festively tipsy still, surely these running shoes could not be that unlike anything I’d ever run in before?

    Then there was run two. My second run was just the same, except this time there was no risk of festive tinted glasses. It was true. These running shoes were completely different to anything I’d ever run in. The cushion absorbs the impact of your stride meaning you feel as though you can run for longer - great for distance runners and the rocker helped to ease my hobbling run and provide a more smooth gait, which actually showed up in my feedback from my Wahoo Ticker X which gives your running technique a score using motion trackers and let me tell you with the help of the Clifton 3's, I’m smooth.

    There is one setback of the Hoka trainers and that is speed. For shorter fast runs or sprints, I feel like my foot sinks into the cushioning and I can’t really get that push off the ground you need to pick up speed. But that being said, these are designed for ultra runners and I don’t know many runners who can sprint for that kind of distance!

    You’ve got to be off your rocker…

    Never judge a meta-rocker by its cover. At first, I thought I would look like a right wolly in these trainers and I wasn’t sure about this ‘meta-rocker’ business. But after actually running in these I am a changed woman. They really do change the feel of a run.

    Hoka Clifton 3 Review

    Where to Buy Hoka Shoes

    There are lots of retailers who stock this increasingly popular brand, but for the latest styles I’d go direct to the Hoka website.

    The Clifton 3 reviewed (RRP: £100) is the latest iteration in the multi-award winning Clifton lineage.

    Check out our other reviews here.

    Posted by Victoria Gardner
  • Winter Warmer: Fruity Protein Porridge Guest Post By Pulsin

    Pulsin Fruity Protein Porridge

    Try these yummy warming outs after a morning workout for the perfect winter warm up, if you've got a bit of a sweet tooth, these are for you!

    Fruity Pulsin’ Protein Porridge

    Takes 5-7 mins

    Serves 1

    Shopping list:

    For the topping:

    • 5 chopped hazelnuts
    • 5 chopped raspberries

    Method:

    1. Add the gluten free oats, water and rice milk to a pan.
    2. Cook over a medium heat, until warm, add the cacao butter drops and the pinch of salt.
    3. Once the porridge nears your desired consistency, take the pan off the heat and stir in the pea protein. If it is too thick add in an extra splash of rice milk.
    4. Blend up the berries, transfer the porridge to a bowl and top with the blended berries and flaked almonds!

    Thanks to Pulsin for this festive recipe!

    Posted by Victoria Gardner
  • Wahoo Tickr X Review

    Wahoo Tickr X Review

    Take almost any workout and any metric and this heart rate strap will find it. Wahoo!

    As a Personal trainer with a good few years of training under my belt, it’s safe to say I’ve used many a heart rate monitor, from chest straps to arm bands, wrist watches to pulse checks via your finger and your mobile phone. I’ve tried the lot.

    This is the best heart rate monitor, I have ever used.

    Is it perfect?

    Let me tell you, it comes pretty darn close.

    Wahoo Tickr X Features

    At a glance the Wahoo Tickr X features:

    Bluetooth Heart Rate Monitor

    Dual band Technology - Thanks to its Bluetooth hrm, the heart rate strap can signal to two devices at once, ie. your watch and your mobile phone.

    Heart Rate Monitor App

    Real time heart rate and calorie tracking - I prop my phone up and have the Wahoo app on display throughout my training, where you can clearly see all your top metrics including speed, calories and heart beat meter. Plus, an added bonus for fellow four eyes...it’s clear enough that you can see your scores whilst training without glasses!

    Device Free Heart Rate Tracking

    Internal Memory - As soon as you snap the strap to the monitor and it finds a heart rate, the tracker will start recording, meaning you can leave you phone at home, head out for a run and then download your data to your phone later.

    Heart Rate Strap with Running Analytics

    This is so unique for a heart rate strap, usually you would need a foot pod but this strap does it all. Monitor your cadence, smoothness, left-right, up-down, forward-backward, ground contact and oscillation, along with classic speed, distance and pace.

    Cycling Data 

    Indoor cycling Wahoo cadence - With separate workout screens for indoor cycle and even spinning; RPM, speed and heart rate on one screen.

    Third Party App Compatibility

    Wahoo itself has multiple fitness apps (more details later) plus the strap is compatible with all the main fitness apps, from Strava to MyFitnessPal.

    Visible Heart Rate Connection and Alerts

    The moment you strap the Tickr X strap together, it flashes to show it has made a heart rate connection. The computer can then be set to alert you with small vibrations for milestones such as distance traveled or laps completed. The main computer can also be used as a remote to control your other devices with its tap feature, allowing you to skip tracks or other features such as begin a lap or pause a workout (the action this command creates is set up in the app and can be different for each workout setting). Alerts play via headphones or speaker as you hit milestones and will tell you your average heart rate, pace and distance.

    Heart Rate Tracking in Treadmill Mode

    The Wahoo Tickr heart rate monitor has a designated workout setting for training indoors on the treadmill - so your hard work still counts. You can track your speed and distance just as accurately as if you were outdoors.

    Running Smoothness

    This heart rate monitor takes in far more than just your heartbeat, using a combined measure of body motion and impact shock in 3 directions.

    GPS

    Take the heart rate monitor out for a run or ride and review your route on the app with GPS for precise location and distance feedback.

    Wahoo Tickr Heartrate Strap

    Wahoo Tickr X Setup

    Setting up the device is simple either partner the strap with your regular fitness watch for heart rate readings direct to your watch or for the full user experience download the Wahoo Fitness App. The Tickr X is also compatible with Wahoo apps Runfit and 7 minute workout, but the Fitness app is the Wahoo hub. Here after entering details such as age, weight and height your user is set up and you’re ready to go.

    Selecting and creating a workout

    Once you’re ready to go the Wahoo Fitness app already has pre-programmed workout modes:

    • Running
    • Treadmill
    • Cycling
    • Indoor Bike
    • Spin Class
    • Gym

    You can then add your own workouts - for example, I’ve added Metafit and Workout DVD.

    Starting a Workout with The Tickr X Heart Rate Strap

    Once you’re ready to start a workout with the accompanying app, you simply strap together the monitor across your chest and press go, a woman with a bizarre accent - let's call her Miss Wahoo, will count you in 3,2,1 (always embarrassing when you’re at the gym and this comes out on speaker making it look like you count yourself in) and then you’re away.

    Whilst training with the app you can scroll through numerous pages of statistics, I like to have the heart rate screen up throughout training (if I’m not running) to ensure I stay in the right zones throughout my workout. You can’t lie to your heart rate. You can also scroll through the app to skip through music, meaning you don't have to multitask through multiple apps. Simple.

    Heart Rate Monitoring during Running

    9 times out of 10, this heart rate strap was spot on, however setting up the strap correctly is essential. I’ve had two blips with the watch thus far: 1) Taking too deep a breath and pinging the strap off (which I clearly hadn’t fitted correctly anyway) and then flashing half the local neighbourhood mid run as I tried to lift my top up to do it back up - not wanting to miss tracking any valuable data of course! 2) Leaving the tap setting as skip track, meaning when I’m running and there’s a bit of bounce with the old bust, I’m skipping tracks every other footstep and my playlist sounds more like a stuck old record than my motivational playlist that gets me bouncing off the walls.

    When the watch does work, it’s great, super effective and every mile or kilometre depending on your preference your overall time, pace and average heart rate are stated by Miss Wahoo, like your very own robotic PT. This is really useful as it means when running with a phone, you don’t need to keep unlocking the device to view your stats, just wait for Miss Wahoo to keep you updated.

    Wahoo Tickr X Heart Rate

    Stand Alone Heart Rate Monitoring

    Forgot your phone? Hate running with a device? No problem. This monitor works all by itself. Once the heart rate strap is clipped together, flashing lights signal it is recording and that’s all you need to do. When your workout is finished you can unclip the device and download the workout to the app the next time you have your phone and heart rate monitor strap together to view detailed feedback.

    Wahoo Tickr X Heart Rate Accuracy

    I’ve now worn this strap for multiple types of workout, from HIIT to kettlebells, battle ropes to running, spinning to boxing. Throughout all these workouts the strap has kept up well 95% of the time. When compared with the Mio Fuse, the heart rate picks up and drops far more in line with real-time, allowing more accurate data. It is also paired with my Wahoo Balance scales meaning that I can get the most precise data feedback, as my profile updates every time I weigh myself. The only difficulties I have with this strap and in fact, all heart rate straps, is when it comes to chest exercises, as the strap often inevitably loses connectivity, this is the nature of where you wear the device, so I don’t feel it’s a deal breaker.

    Wahoo Heart Rate App

    Wahoo Tickr X Speed

    The Wahoo X also has the ability to monitor your speed during indoor workouts such as spin, indoor cycle and on a treadmill. Whilst during spin, I found the strap and bike corresponded exactly on my speed, the treadmill would often think I wasn’t even moving - even i’m not that slow! It was an odd anomaly for the heart rate monitor, as with all other speed monitoring and outdoor running, it has been spot on.

    Additional Wahoo Tickr X Features:

    Double Tap Feature

    The double tap feature allows you to control multiple aspects of your workout, from starting a new lap, to adding a bolt into your workout, or my personal favourite - skipping a track. A simple double tap to the chest and the strap skips you to the next track on your playlist, meaning you can have all your best tunes, without having to stop training to skip through them.

    Resting Heart Rate

    For those who want the most accurate readings, the watch can do a test on your resting heart rate. From this it can then deliver your specific workout intensity targets for each heart rate zone - rather than using your age as a guideline. I found this feature useful - although the app does not explain that the best time of day to do this is when you wake up - prior to any caffeine, so you get the most fair and accurate reading.

    Wahoo Running Smoothness

    The Wahoo running smoothness feature is a revolution in heart rate straps, as normally you would need to wear a foot pod or additional device to monitor stride and technique. After a running session the smoothness graph details your minimum, maximum and average smoothness, your left-right, right-left and up-down smoothness, ground contact and oscillation. This wide array of feedback is great for those training towards running goals such as a marathon or even triathlon and ironman. Whilst this detail and level of feedback is fantastic, I do feel Wahoo has missed a trick in not detailing how you can fix area’s of issue to improve your score, rather than adjust your technique and see how you go, I’d like to be told what a poor left-right score means and how this can be developed.

    Wahoo History

    When you open the app you are presented with a four week summary of your training history, but the app also stores all your workouts in it’s history, so it is easy to review your progress as the weeks go by.

    Wahoo 7 minute Workout

    This little app sets you 7 minute challenges and tracks your reps as well. It’s a great tool for upping your daily burn without having to take a chunk out of your day, or even worry about counting reps!

    Wahoo Tickr Heart Rate Monitor Review

    Overall, this is so much more than a heart rate monitor, it’s a fitness monitor and delivers so much feedback which can be used to adjust and improve your workouts, whatever they may be. It’s simple, easy to get along with and provides accurate feedback.

    This brand is aptly named, because you’ll be shouting WAHOO I’m so happy I found this heart rate monitor …

    Brilliant.

    Posted by Victoria Gardner
  • Wahoo Balance Scale Review

    Wahoo Balance Scale

    As a woman, it's ingrained in my DNA to instinctively fear just one thing more than spiders, snakes and clowns.

    The scales.

    The body coach calls them ‘the sad step’, I think of them more as a torture device. An evil machine that calls me into the bathroom to make me miserable.

    Until now.

    Before we start, no I haven’t lost a ton of weight recently and now love to jump on the scale to show off. My weight fluctuates and I can’t help but get obsessed with the numbers, but the Wahoo scale has given me a tool to help...

    Set Up

    The Wahoo Balance scale has a very simple set up, which is great, especially for personal trainers, who may use the scale to track their clients - as there’s not that big intimidating amount of time setting up which can be daunting for a nervous client.

    A simple snap of the back to add your batteries and a pop to the app store (metaphorically of course) to download the Wahoo Balance’s very own app ‘Wahoo Wellness’ and you’re ready.

    Adding Users

    A great feature of this scale - particularly for those in the leisure industry, is that the scale can hold the data of up to 20 separate users. This means trainers can add clients to the scale to track the weight. To add a user is simple, using the app you answer generic questions such as gender and date of birth. It is important to note that in order for the scale to recognise each individual, you need to enter a rough weight - this can be in a range of 10 kg of your actual weight, so it’s not hard to guess!

    As a PT, this feature is great because you and your clients can download the app and have your progress graphed. A PT can easily open the app and swap between clients as and when they need to, all from one app and one scale.

    Wahoo Balance Scale Review

    Recording Data

    Recording data using the balance scale is simple. In fact, you don’t actually even need to have your device and the app with you. Simply step on the scale and it will automatically detect your user, the display then shows your user initials to confirm who is present. If it’s not you scroll until you find your user! The scale then records your weight and BMI. This is stored on the scale itself and can be downloaded to the app at a later date.

    Tracking your weight

    This is the part I found most useful for my phobia of weighing myself - the way your weight is displayed. The Wahoo app downloads your weight entries into a graph. Here you can visibly see your weight, rise, or drop.

    Why does that make the scale less frightening? Because it shows you the bigger picture. The graph is broken into the last 7 days, 30 days and 365 days. Now what this means is that you can focus on your weight across a larger amount of time, allowing a bad (or hormonal) week, to be compared easily with the rest of the month. Instead of being disheartened by readings that aren't perfect, you can contextualise that anomaly and look forward to putting it right next week - or at least trying!

    Another good thing - the 7 day reading encourages you to weigh yourself only once every seven days. So for those who become obsessed with scales it tries to create a healthier relationship with weight.

    BMI

    As a personal trainer, I tend to sideline BMI. Why? Because muscle weighs more than fat of course! A person with under 10% bodyfat and a full on 8 pack can come out with an overweight BMI, believe me, I’ve seen it. However, as a ‘guideline’ it's a useful tool to measure whether your weight is healthy. Your BMI is stored with each time you enter you weight.

    Wahoo Balance Unboxed

    The weigh in:

    • Easy to set up scales with up to 20 users.
    • Simple and valuable data stored on the app and scale.
    • Weight history stored in simple, easy to read graph.
    • Auto - recognition. No fiddling around in the nude pressing buttons to find your user!
    • BMI automatically calculated.

    To ‘weigh things up’ here, I would recommend this scale as a simple, easy to use scale for multiple users that makes progress clear and less daunting.

    If I could ask for anything more, it would be that the scales measured body fat. I’m very excited to see if Wahoo release a scale with this additional feature as this would be a game changer - especially for personal trainers!

    You can purchase the scales here: Wahoo Balance Scales.

    Read our other digital scale reviews.

    Posted by Victoria Gardner