It’s official, I have a real Kit problem, I just can’t stop myself ordering more and more bits for my racing and training. New products come to my attention and I am clearly very impressionable, as it’s not normally very long before I’ve decided to give it a try.
It has been a while since I wrote a blog about kit, but I have a bit of time on my hands today so I thought I would treat you all to a review of the kit I’ve purchased since the last posts.
I’m starting with my absolute favourite addition to my kit bag – socks! I wrote about the Inov8 mudsocks before, but they have been laying unloved for a while now having been upstaged by the mighty prosok.
I was really privileged to get to test a pair of these out before they went on sale in the UK, and they are so good, that I’ve since bought myself another 3 pairs (Yes three – they really are that good!)
These socks have been developed by athletes for athletes and they are the most comfortable thing I’ve ever worn on my feet. As I wrote about in my past kit blog, I was having real problems with blisters, but since wearing these socks I have had no blister issues at all.
The socks are mositure wicking, meaning that your feet stay comfortable even when wet, always useful when you run races that frequently take you through water, they have something called Hygroweave(tm) which absorbs moisture and forms a virtual gel which gives the socks brilliant cushioning. This makes them really great for racing in, as you don’t notice all the little bits of mud and twigs that inevitably find their way into your shoes, they have up to 3 day anti-odor (not something I’ve really tested out, they tend to get chucked straight in the wash with the rest of my kit) and they also shrink in the wash then mould perfectly to your feet which again makes them very comfortable.
In the heat we have been having so far this summer these socks have been great at keeping my feet cool, in fact my feet have been the only part of me that was not too hot on several training runs lately.
I have been really impressed with these and tend to wear them both for training and racing. This is one product where you really can believe the hype! They are exclusively available in the UK from Obstacle Kit Ltd
Compression is Where it’s at!
In the post about legs and body I talked about my 2XU calf guards and shorts. I am still completely sold on these, they really do help to keep your legs feeling fresh when you run, avoiding cramps. I also mentioned I had bought a pair of compression tights and was thinking about a top – well I don’t usually think about things too long before they become a reality so a new top was soon on order.
I have run a few times with the compression tights, they fit really well and are really comfortable, but more often I use them after training for recovery. The top again fits really well, I was just on the measurement for a large, but as I wanted the top for recovery purposes I went with a medium (as advised on the size guide) and it is actually a really nice fit, comfortable despite being tight (which is what it needs to be to do its job). The top has only been worn for recovery so far, but I may use it as a base layer once the winter months roll back around.
I’m always getting myself new sports vests for training or racing, as you can never have too many sports tops – especially if you train as often as I do. Having liked the X-Racewear shorts with the bib protector pocket I decided to invest in a vest of the same make for any occasions when I didn’t want to wear the shorts.
This top is quite formfitting, and felt quite low cut to me, although I think this is just because my other training vests are not. It is really comfortable though, and performs really well in races. The bib protecting pocket works well and I find has less of an issue with crumpled numbers, but I fix that problem with a safety pin in the top of the number inside the pocket anyway. I really like the bright pink colour, I’ve found it has helped me to locate myself in race photos – it also comes in blue.
In all honestly my laces aren’t really something I had thought much about, they just come with the shoe – but when I did stop to think about it they can be a right pain in the foot! You have to try and get your trainers laced up tightly enough to not lose your shoe in the mud, but too tight and you cut off the circulation to your foot. They can come untied and cost you time as you stop to re-tie them, and they can be a real pain to untie at the end of a race when they are muddy, wet and you just want to get your shoes off, then along came Xtenex laces.
These laces are elasticated with a knotted design. Basicly what this does is allow you to slip your shoes on and off without the need to tie and untie your laces, once they are on, they keep the shoe snug to your feet, they feel secure and make the shoe fit comfortably. After reading about these I also thought that they would also help with my blister issues along with my prosoks.
I have tested these out at a race last weekend, and they felt great, My shoes slipped on and off really easily and actually saved me a load of time in the morning as I didn’t have to sort my laces out which was welcome since we had a really early start. A word of warning though, don’t leave it to get the laces in at the last minuet – it takes a while to get them laced onto your shoes (I found) but once on your sorted.
That’s it for now – time to go shopping!
(All these products can be found at Obstacle Kit Ltd)