Strengths: Light, flexible and comfortable, these are great shoes on milder trail runs and jaunts along the beach.
Weaknesses: I agree with the RW reviewer that the arch can be intrusive though, especially when the insole starts developing signs of wear.The sole gives you lots of information about what's underfoot, as it's fairly light and flexible. It falls short on sole protection on rougher terrain though.
Overall: I'm still glad I bought these, but will keep wearing sturdier shoes like my Asics Mojaves and New Balance 782s for the more serious adventure races,
Strengths: Superb, blister-free comfort, mile after mile.
Weaknesses: None to speak of.
Overall: I bought my first pair of these about 5 years ago, when running long distances without blisters seemed like a pipe dream. Since then, I've covered thousands of miles and never had a single blister. These are really cushioned too, making them a natural choice for longer runs. £12 may sound a lot for a pair of socks, but when they're this comfortable and long-lasting, they're still superb value for money.
Weaknesses: Less cushioning than I might want for a full marathon.
Overall: At first sight, x-socks look like they're protesting too much when it comes to being 'technical'. Labelled left and right, cushioning only under the touching surfaces, and lots of sexy go-faster stripes, they really look a tiny bit over the top. The thing is though, I've worn them for a couple of half marathons and really felt that my feet were being very well supported and looked after - particularly in the achilles tendon area. They lack the heavy cushioning of a Thorlo sock, which might deter me from using them over 26 miles, if only from a psychological point of view, but I absolutely swear by these over half marathon distance.
Weaknesses: Not quite as springy as my favourite Gel Cumulus shoes.
Overall: It's a funny one this, as I'd never buy stability shoes, as I'm a die-hard gel cumulus wearer due to dodgy knees and the fact that I'm 14 stone. However, having won these in a competition, curiosity got the better of me, and decided to give them a go. At first I was less than impressed, as they definitely give a harder and less 'bouncy' ride than my usual shoes. However, by the third time out, I was starting to appreciate the control, and now split my longer runs between these and the gel cumulus shoes. I'm aiming for London again, and these things have put me in a real quandary. Do I go for comfort or control over the 26 miles? These are certainly worth a try if, like me, you've spent years going for comfort alone.
Strengths: I'm a die-hard Gel Cumulus wearer, so it was an easy choice to go for the entry-level off-road shoe from Asics. On the road, they're noticeably firmer underfoot than my Cumulii(?), but once I hit the sand dunes they really come into their own. Stability is excellent, and the grip hasn't let me down yet, even though my regular off-road circuit involves steep sand dunes, deep mud, slick grassed areas and semi-bog beaches. No blisters either, even though I've run hard in them when soaked in salt water numerous times.
Weaknesses: Er, the colour's not great until you muddy them up a bit...
Overall: Can't see why I'd switch to another off-road shoe. Fully planning to tackle the Hellrunner in these.
Strengths: This book covers just about everything you could ever need to know about distance running. From 5ks to marathons, it offers advice on training, race days, the psychology of running and even though it's as bulky as the collected works of JRR Tolkien it still manages to be pretty readable.
Weaknesses: Indexing to find specific answers could be better.
Strengths: Great cushioning, lots of toe box room for marathoners.
Weaknesses: None to speak of.
Overall: These are the shoes that made me a 'one shoe runner.' Having spent years wearing Mizunos for their lightness and control, than having flirted briefly with Nikes, I was turned on to Gel Cumulii (if that's the plural of cumuluses) by my local running centre. They felt a bit sloppy at first - a bit like switching from a sports car to a family saloon - but I soon grew to love them. What I love first and foremost is the fabulous cushioning. With knees as bad as mine, there's no such thing as running on air, but these take me as close as I'm ever going to get. I've now owned several pairs, from Vs up to VIIIs and I wouldn't wear anything else. I'm not sure that each evolution is much more than cosmetic, because frankly, they all feel the same after a few miles. What's for sure though is that if you're a big person who does marathons, these are the business. I've currently got 3 pairs on the go, and keep logging the miles for them. But in fairness, when you've done 4-500 miles or so, you know they're fine for the gym, but not for heavy roadwork, without having to look in a running diary. Not as pricey as some, and if you want to calculate comfort against value against having some shoes with enough cushioning to get you to the start line, and the finish line, I think these are the best you can get.
Strengths: As someone who can struggle with the complexities of an egg timer, I love the chunky simplicity of the Timex. I run mainly at night, so the huge backlit display is a boon, and the chunky buttons are easy to reset, even with chilled (or occasionally gloved) fingers. It was easy to set up target zones too.
Weaknesses: Not absolutely 100% reliable. (But what is? If my knees performed as consistently as the Timex, I'd still be a latterday David Bedford.) Some weird readings occasionally. But too few to make me regret spending just £69 on it.
Overall: Let's be honest, this is very much a budget option. But the benefits of that are seen in the simplicity of the Timex. It monitors your heart rate. It beeps if you're overstepping the mark or, let's be brutally honest here, when you're just kidding yourself that you're training hard and your heart rate drops below 60. It also tells you what time you did, in a clear and simple fashion. And when you're in the 'target market' for this watch, that's pretty much all you need. I'll be sticking with mine until either my torn cartilages make their final break for freedom, or Santa drops some state of the art sat nav in my surgical stocking. Great value for £69.