Strengths: Ease of use. Clear readings. Accurate No clutter on shoes and no cables. Good battery.
Weaknesses: Ease of use. Time lag for GPS signal. Computer package with Mac.
Overall: Whilst the 305 may look like a tag worn by criminals on day release, the lack of foot pods and cables is a blessing. What's in the box? You get a wrist unit, a chest band for heart rate readings, a cradle for computer link up and charging and the ususal CD and booklet to guide you along the way.
I like the buttons on the wrist unit. Easy to find and activate when running, but not so sensitive that you'll lose your data through accidental knocks.
The main screen of the wrist unit can be set up how you want to have it. If you need lots of data whilst on the move then you can have up to four sections of information ticking away on one screen. Equally, you can set this up so the screens rotate through the different data sets - to be honest, this is a bit of a dream come true for Christmas time when you want to lose yourself and your thoughts once the fun and games have died down! Find the screen set up that suits you best and save it -very simple.
I run in deep valleys and through dense woodland on a regular basis. Once on, I have never known the GPS to lose signal. The only time signal is lost is when I run through a former rail tunnel. The lost signal is straightlined and no distance is lost off your reading.
I"ve cited ease of use as a negative too. Whilst some functions are just great and easy to set up, others like alarms and the actual computer package itself are a real hassle to set up and maintain - this is purely a personal thing.
I use a Mac. The software works on a Mac, but the options on a standard PC are far wider and better for this bit of kit.
The free to download OS underlay maps are superb!
Be sure to turn this unit on at least five minutes before you run. Once outside and turned on, it takes about 2 or 3 minutes for the GPS to kick in fully. This can be tedious.
The above is a small price to pay for a bit of kit that doesn't confuse itself and it's signal with others in close proximity - Bristol Half Marathon 2007 was proof of this.
Running with the 305 has added to my training. I know how far and how fast I'm running whilst keeping an eye on my heart rate and total time in the great out doors - I could check calories used as well, but that would kill the fun!
To have so much accurate information quite literally at hand is fantastic.
Weaknesses: Technically terrible. This just doesn't perform like it says on the tin.
Overall: If, like me, you have drawer of running kit and you find yourself rummaging at the end of the week for fresh gear, then this is the item you'll always find at the back and groan in the realisation it's all that you have to put on.
Once on, it is obvious that a runner was the inspiration behind the brilliant cut and design. It fits the average frame very well indeed. When the body moves, the top moves - without rubbing. It is light weight and...and...
..and that's it for the good points.
For some reason, this top always causes me to run 'hot' even on the colder days. Far from carrying sweat away, it appears to trap humidity and the temperature just keeps rising.
I never come home feeling comfortable after running in this top.
During distances of 3 to 15 miles, in different weathers I have worn this and the result has always been the same - serious sweating and fluid loss, and real discomfort.
The cut at the back is possible too short to allow anyone running with a hydration system to not get shirt rise under the pack - not that I've tried wearign this with a pack.
Strengths: This shoe is light, durable and very comfortable. It's the only stability option for those with truly narrow feet.
Weaknesses: Nothing but minor niggles. The tongue needs a bit more attention - it gets very flat, very quickly and stops protecting the top foot.
Overall: This shoe is really at home on the road, but it is a wonderfully versitile training shoe that doesn't need to be broken in - get the right size and put them on, you're good to go..... anywhere!
On the down side: most people needing this type of shoe will find that with pronation, the tongue of the shoe shifts during a run despite the keeper stiched to the tongue. The slight shift, coupled with the tongue just not being made quite up to standard can cause irritation to the top of the foot.
The good points in this shoe smash the bad points.
Covering between 25 and 30 miles per week on a genuine mix of road, trail and open country this shoe is a dream come true. The support eliminates all discomfort created by pronation allowing the wearer to concentrate on the running rather than the feet.
Unlike other shoes the back lacing loop holes are in the perfect position to obtain support and comfort.
Stepping up form the ASICS 2110 and the 2120, the forefoot support and cushion is spot on.
The sole is perfect, no splitting, no wearing out, no coming unstruck from the upper - all problems encounted with other brands within the 500 miles benchmark.
After intensive wear, these shoes have a staggeringly good sole plate construction. No unwanted flex in the mid section, no fatigue int he structure at all - really impressive.
These shoes look the business. Looks do matter to some people and the sleek style and functional design make these an attractive shoe.
Price? Not bad - actually, for a shoe of this quality, it's good value for money. This is one of the better shoes on the market so I'd expect it to cost between £85 - £120 depending on where you shop.
Strengths: Stability without weighing you down. Provides great support and firmness in the mid section.
Weaknesses: Toe splay in the upper is quite broad in this shoe. Those with narrow feet may fee like they are humping a lot of extra material around due to the roomy toe section.
Overall: Returning to ASICS after trying Mizuno and Saucony for a few pairs. What a difference! ASICS have produced a great shoe here. On the road and paths it's an absolute flyer. The sole plate could do with a bit (tiny bit) more tread for my liking as I do go off road and have questioned the grip once or twice - that's a personal thing. Ultimately, I'm now hooked back on ASICS and this shoe has done it.
Weaknesses: The limit on shoes of this style means that if your foot isn't right you may be a bit uncomfortable. If worn without socks these tend to rub the toes more than most shoes do - maybe that's just my foot shape though.
Overall: I've raced to national cross country level on a regular basis and these shoes have been my trusty friends throughout. I've had three pairs. I race without socks and have had rubbing on the toes which is annoying. However, the tough build and light weight mean these are excellent. I know that when I run I can trust these shoes for grip. They don't soak up water like a standard trainer or a spike, and unlike spikes you aren't fearful of the road sections of courses when you wear these shoes.
Strengths: The cost is reasonable and the heart rate monitor does exactly what it says on the tin.
Weaknesses: Poor battery life - this may just have been my bad luck. The Indigo light function isn't the best - again, maybe I've just got a duff watch. The heart rate monitor function can get a bit confused and appears to "crash" in the same way a computer would sometimes.
Overall: I have been happy with this product, but now I'm ramping up the traing I do want something a little more reliable. It maybe that I had a duff watch. I found setting up the personal training heart rate zones a bit of a fiddle. Flicking from timer to heart rate whilst running is very easy. Entry level watch and monitor, can't complain too much.