Epic REACT Mods and Carbon Fiber experiments

What type of carbon fiber inserts would you prefer?

  • I feel the need for speed... I'm only gonna use them for races, so who cares if they hurt a little

  • I'm all for compromise - give me as much additional speed as you can with all day wearability

  • Give me Cloud 9 - I want the float on clouds feeling all the time, who cares about my time

  • Size 9

  • Size 9.5

  • Size 10

  • Size 10.5

  • Size 11


Results are only viewable after voting.
407
237
Joined Feb 28, 2018
Eddbud has been discussing lately the pros and cons of high stack, soft foam shoes. The pros are legs feel fresh after long runs, and cons they create unnatural muscle movements like wearing platform shoes.

Here is a screengrab from Kofuzi's latest video, where i captured a dangerous shin/calf motion during landing to toe-off with Nike's latest Invincible ZoomX shoe. This might have been caused by the strong winds he was counteracting. You can actually see the muscles shifting and trying to keep him stable, though admittedly the fisheye distortion of the lens and water drops do exaggerate the effect.

 
407
237
Joined Feb 28, 2018
I've been excitedly awaiting the availability of the Saucony Freedom 4, as it switches from beaded TPU to beaded Pebax midsole. I am hoping this will be a great compromise shoe - the energy return and pop of a Pebax midsole with the stability that a lower stack height and offset gives.

A brand promo video came out recently that concerns me the midsole might be too hard. Here is a screen grab of a runner jumping off stairs and landing flat. That is not much compression for a hard landing.



Here is the same runner in a fast run. This looks a little bit better, with good landing and toe-off, but still I would want a bit more foam compression.



The Saucony foam designer recently said in an interview that they have started to pack the beads tighter together to help maintain the pop for more miles and help stability. However, this makes the midsole stiffer on day one.

The Saucony marketing guy in charge of the Freedom4 was pitching it for weight lifting, HIIT, and CrossFit, so it looks like they are trying to transition it from being a minimalist runner to a general purpose workout shoe.

A shoe reviewer that evaluated an early sample noted that the heel bevel is gone. The heel bevel prevents the back corner of the shoe from scraping the ground later in a run when the legs are tired and/or when going down steep hills. However, the heel bevel causes instability during workouts, especially when doing weights. This would also suggest Saucony is trying to transition the Freedom4 from a running to an all purpose workout shoe.
 
407
237
Joined Feb 28, 2018
I am also awaiting the New Balance Rebel v2. It is an entirely new shoe, so I'm not sure why NB is calling it Rebel v2. It is a plateless shoe with Pebax and a lower stack height of midsole foam. It could be a great compromise shoe as well. However, due to covid related delays, it missed its launch date.

Here is a screen grab from Believe in the Run's review of a preproduction prototype. Looks pretty good. A bit sloppy in the upper, and a bit wild in the heel, but not bad.

 
407
237
Joined Feb 28, 2018
I hate to sound like a broken record, but nothing comes close to the Nike VF. Plated shoes have proliferated like crazy, and there are plenty of options out there, but still today nothing comes close to the VF. While I deeply respect the intellect and hard work of the other shoe companies, they simply do not understand the elements that make the VF work so well.

Here is screen capture from SJD's latest VF2 update. OMG, that shoe is perfect. Note the heel making early contact, even with a forefoot strike; the gentle roll towards forefoot. The nearly maximum compression of the ZoomX; the release of the compressed foam at the right time of toe off; the ice cream scoop shape directing the pop off in the horizontal vector; the huge hang-time after toe off. If you ever use a shoe pod when running with the VF, you will be amazed at the long ground contact time, and the even longer hang time per stride. Both the shoe and Seth's stride is amazing!

 
407
237
Joined Feb 28, 2018
New Balance Rebel v2. It is a plateless shoe with Pebax and a lower stack height of midsole foam.
I misspoke when I said the Rebel v2 is Pebax. One review says nitrogen infused TPU, so basically Boost with less weight. Another review says autoclaved TPU/EVA blend. NB doesn't directly say. They just say their FuelCell foam can be anything and varies from shoe to shoe.

Interestingly, I found one article where a NB shoe designer said they are able to use different densities of the same foam to increase stability without a plate, but didn't clarify which shoes have the feature. He said in one shoe (not specified) he used denser FuelCell around the edges and bottom as a container to hold a lighter bouncier FuelCell pad in the middle where the foot strikes.

Though the Rebel v2 missed its launch date, it is now due out mid April.
 
407
237
Joined Feb 28, 2018
While my Turbos are my slowest shoe by about 4%, they are still my favorite daily trainers. I don't know exactly how many miles I have on them, as my Nike Run app burped during an iPhone update. But it is at least 500km.

The outsole is holding up great. There is only a little bit of wear in the middle of the forefoot and where I toe-off.



There is a lot of wear in the outside rear of the heel, but this is not from heel strike or foot landing. On my longer runs, the muscles that lift my legs get tired and I start to drag the heel a bit when I am returning my leg to the front position.

 
407
237
Joined Feb 28, 2018
I'm starting to wonder if the upcoming NB FC Rebel v2 will live up to the hype. The extra wing or flair they put on the lateral side of the forefoot, and lack of support on the medial side of shoe seems to create a wicked ankle motion, as seen in this screengrab:

 
407
237
Joined Feb 28, 2018
My NB Rebel v2's came in... I got the two tone red/black CW. My plan was to try and remove the contrasting baby blue NB logo, if possible.

Here is before any modifications:



I tried my usual solvents, hoping I could peel the sticker away, but it appears the logo is melted into the weave of the upper mesh.

The blue is a very weak paint, like nail polish. It came off very easy. The black "shadow" of the font is much tougher. Here is with only the blue removed:



The black took much more solvents and rubbing, but eventually came off in little balls of black. Here is with the black removed.



Of the three options, I prefer the black shadow lines the best. The weird blue clashes with rest of upper (though the bottom outsole has some rubber the same color). The clear glue only looks a bit odd, and I bet it picks up dirt, so eventually I will have a dirt NB logo. The black matches, and is a bit more subtle.

Just walking around the house, the shoe leans toward the medial side, and it also collapses toward the medial side when any weight is put on it. The shoe feels like an "anti-stability" shoe. I think maybe NB should have made the shoe perpendicular to ground with no cant, and maybe built up the medial side a bit more or used slightly firmer foam there.

Next I'm going for a 10K run to try them out.
 
407
237
Joined Feb 28, 2018
Back from my 10K run. Set a new PR for both 5K and 10K, and not by a little either, by 3%. However, this does not necessarily mean the RebelV2 is fast. My heart rate was substantially higher than normal, so it just means I worked harder. I typically limit my HR to threshold or lower, but I felt like seeing what the new shoes could do, and the weather was great for a change. I will need lots more run data to draw any conclusions on run efficiency.

The shoes are definitely bouncy. They do not give the long hang time in the air like CF plated supershoes. So I tried to increase my cadence. They also do not give the pop like CF shoes, it is more of a bounce. At least you can feel the energy you put in coming back out. With my Turbos, they soak up all the foot impact and then you never feel it coming back - it just dissipates.

I'll give some comments on the shoe design in next posting below...
 
407
237
Joined Feb 28, 2018
The RebelV2's are a lightweight, bouncy, fun shoe for daily training. They do have two design shortcomings though.

First, the medial side simply collapses under weight. If you look at the midsole design, it appears there is additional foam and a medial "posting" included. However, I think it is just for show and there isn't a real support feature. Or maybe it is a real feature and it would be much worse without it.



Second, the "wing" or "flare" they add to the lateral forefoot is a terrible feature. They greatly reduced its size from V1 to V2, due to lots of criticism.

RebelV1 wing:


RebelV2 wing:


My first km in the shoes was terrible due to the wing. I eventually figured out I needed to move my footstrike rearward, from mid foot strike to mid/rear strike. I needed to land on the start of the wing to pre-load it. Then I got a nice foot transition and a lot of pop out of the midsole. However, this was difficult to do and very tiring. My ankles did hurt after the fast run.

I am already considering modifying the shoes by simply cutting off this wing and seeing what impact that will have on foot transition.

 
407
237
Joined Feb 28, 2018
I went ahead and cut the wing off my Rebels. After playing with various power tools in my workshop, I decided the best approach would be to just use a scalpel. These new superfoams are tough to work with. The midsole actually has a curved line molded in that shows where the curve would be without the added wing, so I just followed that line.



Here is the new curve from the bottom outsole view of shoe:



Here is the end result on both shoes from top view:



I've very happy with the end results. I hope this mod works!
 
407
237
Joined Feb 28, 2018
After trimming the wings off, I thought it would be a good time to dye the midsole black. I've always been a fan of black midsoles, especially with the Epic Reacts, and I think this colorway screams black midsole needed. Here are some pics after the first of several coats of black:



 
407
237
Joined Feb 28, 2018
I went ahead and cut the wing off my Rebels... I've very happy with the end results. I hope this mod works!
I ran 10K this morning with my Rebelv2s, and I'm very happy with the shoe mod. The heel to toe transition is now very nice. I had no trouble maintaining good foot form during the run from beginning to end.
 
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