Strengths: Soft, flexible and fast feel. Comfy and well made.
Weaknesses: Not much overpronation support - though not designed for this purpose I suppose.
Overall: I went to a shop to get a backup option for a pair of suppport shoes that were giving me issues. Tried some more supportive Asics including GT-2*** and Kayano's and these - the joker in the pack as not really a support shoe. However good for fast, short races for a mild-mod overpronator like myself. Great "feel", almnost as light and flexible as A Mizuno performance shoe but feel a little more substantial, yet still just very light.
Strengths: Light and fast feel, good fit on heel. yet still supportive enough for marathon training runs.
Weaknesses: Loose toebox for me. Upper rubbed on big toes, not a problem I've experianced before, maybe a build flaw, only occurs on longer fast runs.
[Update 14/08/09] Upper continues to rub, though only on longer faster runs. E.g half marathon and marathon. Resolved this with thick hilly mono skin supreme socks. Would like to think a one off and would try another
Overall: Lightweight stability as only Mizuno can deliver. That great flexible toe and fast feel. I've previously had the performance Elixir and this feels barely heavier yet supportive enough for marathon long runs. Only weakness of Elixir was that it had a limited mileage compared to Asics top models before cushioning failed - will see how these cope.
'A NOSTALGA-FEST FOR THE GLORY DAYS OF BRITISH ATHLETICS'
Strengths: Great early history of attempts including unsubstantiated sub-4's from the dim and distant past. The best bits were the match races of pro vs amateur in the late 19th century (which produced a record which stood for 30 years) and coverage of the pre and immeadaite-post second world war attempts.
Weaknesses: Coverage of Coe vs Ovett era less substantial than earlier times. Though author does state this and there are books out there that more thoroughly cover this era.
Overall: An interesting historical ride through over a century of mile races. I particularly enjoyed the early days and stories of match races between atheletes. These were attended by massive crowds when running was the spectator-sport and gambling choice of the everyman, before being blighted by corruption.
Strengths: Comfortable and seem to hug feet so they don't feel bulky. Seem to be robust, grippy on mud, rutted paths, trails, grass and stoney paths. Confidence inspiring. Flexible feel which offers control closer to barefoot running than most road and less-specialist trail shoes.
Weaknesses: Grip on wet rocks, but so were my previous trail shoes (Saucony Approach). Can feel the lack of cushioning towards the end of prolonged outings (over 15m) but this is also expected. Ok for some road use, but again not for prolonged usage on this surface.
Overall: My previous trails shoes were Saucony Approach and these seemed the ideal replacement choice being from a company who specialise in off-road shoes. In direct comparison they offer superior stability, grip, comfort, feel over the Approach's and perhaps they only come (a close) second on cushioning, which isn't a major factor for mixed terrain runs under about 15m for me. Having said that my second and third runs in these were 6.5 and 21 miles so there is little or no break in required. Regardless of shoe model I sometimes get minor blistering on my heel from hilly, muddy, trail conditions and did get slight irritation on heels from first run in these. I have suffered no reoccurance, although I do apply surgical tape to back of heels for longer runs (as I have with previous trail shoes).
Choose roclites as your off-road mileage workhorse, you won't be disappointed. Seemed good for undulating cross country and my next test for these is long off-road races and ultra-mara's. These are not quite as grippy as mudrocs I gather, and for tough fell conditions I have mudclaws, these are more comfortable for all round off-road use.
[Update 14/08/09] Gave way at about 500miles this was following a 33 miler and towards the end of a really tough 21m. Considering I didn't clean them often and even put in washing machine once or twice (goo, bad, you decide?) I thought this was damn good. Studs had worn halfway down but still plenty of grip. Bought another pair :)
Strengths: You can keep track of distance, pace and avHR. Useful for intervals if you don't have track access. You can link up with other software to get maps of runs against satellite pictures (e.g. Sporttracks), or share runs on the Internet (gmap, mapmyrun). A multitude of interesting functions and lots of preprogrammed workouts. Mines been far more reliable than some 305's.
Weaknesses: Loses signal in thicker wooded areas (often less in winter) and near tall buildings. Current pace function is almost useless but can be worked around using laps. Tracking of elevation is unreliable.
Overall: Invaluable piece of kit for even the most recreational of runners with some cash to splash. I haven't tried an SDM with footpod but would be surprised if they were better than this GPS device for tracking runs. Only a few weaknesses but you can work around these - e.g. signal loss; if you upload to SportTracks you can look at run against map or satellite imagery and edit route to follow closer to you actual path. Bad signal loss is rare, usually well within .2 of a mile of actual distance for my runs below 10 miles. Preprogrammed workouts are good and its easy to create your own. Supplied software is basic but better is available free on the internet. I wear mine even on runs in rural and wooded areas so I can enjoy run and get an idea of how far/fast later. Menu's easier to navigate than most mobile phones.
[Update 18/07/07] A few weeks back after 2 years near faultless service - RIP 301, wouldn't charge. Sent it to Garmin and they replaced it no quibbles - best customer service ever!
Strengths: Slipper-like fit and a fantastic heel to toe transition. Excellent for long runs and speedwork alike. Perhaps the only shoe you ever need on-road.
[Update 02/06/07] Still feel good beyond 400 miles. I'm a fairly light runner but still find some shoes problematic beyond 300.
Weaknesses: Expensive, even second-hand.
Overall: Cushioning doesn't feel as thick as in some stability shoes but don't be fooled - very comfy and make running seem easier. I love running in these and they have made some of my other shoes feel very ordinary. Not cheap but worth the extra pennies.
[Update 02/06/07] I'm now running in my second pair and have ordered another two now that they are discounting them a bit more.
'INFORMATIVE, ENTERTAINING AND SOMETIMES ASTONISHING'
Strengths: Entertaining anecdotes and some really engrossing history. Will probably motivate you to train harder if not run fells. Great for fans of sport history.
Weaknesses: Some chapters dragged.
Overall: Really good read. The authors personal story (or quest) was very interesting but the history of the sport and a few of its famous names was excellent at times. A good introduction to one of the more unpractised areas of running that shows it to be just as interesting as any of the track or road events.
Strengths: Comfy, supportive, solid feeling and really quite good value.
[Update 02/06/07] Still feel solid at about 350 miles.
Weaknesses: None yet but haven't had them long enough to truly tell. Not exciting but practical.
[Update 02/06/07] Heel to toe transition not as smooth as some and footfall not the softest compaired with my much comfier (and considerably pricier) Kayano's.
Overall: Bought these after suffering foot pain and my new Mizuno Elixir weren't quite cushioned enough to allow me to keep running. They felt comfy and stable from the off. I tried a good half dozen different pairs of shoes but these felt best all around. On first run hugged the feet well and cushioned feet on hard surface. Tried them in a 10k race within a fortnight of buying and felt as good as anything I've run in before.
[Update 02/06/07] Some weaknesses as shoes got older. However only compaired to more expensive shoes so this is not entirely unexpected. I use less now as Kayano's are better over long runs. A good second shoe for short runs. Gets some stick on trails in summer as don't want to mess up up Kayano's
Strengths: Comfy fit and the most stable shoe I've had at this weight. Great on dry trails.
[Update 14/08/09] I use these sparingly for most of my speed training and racing have had few resultant problems.
Weaknesses: Not cushioned enough for long road runs unless your super efficient and light. I had some recent footpain and had to stop wearing them for a while as not protective enough.
[Update 14/08/09] Couldn't wear them every day as impact cushioning not quite up there with 'bulkier' shoes. In the last 50 miles they tend to shred my left little toe, no idea why as other shoes don't do on short runs.
Overall: Does what it says on the tin. Fast and exciting for the runner that can't get away with wearing racers.
[Update 14/08/09] Strange I know but I look forward to speedwork sessions in these shoes. Great fit, stable but fast feel. I wear for races upto Half Marathon length. I don't think they'll last much beyond 350 miles, but not unexpected for the price and they get a lot of hammer! I have recently bought a second pair to run in.
After 350m I only use for dry, undulating trails, but these give an excellent feel for this kind of running and hope to get another 50-100m out of them.
Strengths: Good grip in mud and on a variety of surfaces. Comfy but solid feel.
[Update 16/12/07] Cope well with most off-road conditions. Even cope with fell conditions. Cushioned enough for long runs.
Weaknesses: Ehhh. You have to clean it when it gets dirty but apart from that ???. Maybe too heavy for some super efficient runners.
[Update 16/12/07] None that don't afflict most trail shoes, e.g. mud build-up on sole effecting grip. Wet rock grip, light blistering on some long runs.
Overall: My fave shoe I've ever bought. Great styling and tough build and really grips on most surfaces. I'm medium to narrow footed and this fits nicely but with a little give. I'd give it top marks all around but then what would I do if the new version was even better.
[Update 16/12/07] This shoe really works in any conditions. A jack of all trades. Although slightly inferior to Roclite 315 in most respects.