Article by Joost de Raeymaeker
Editor’s Note: RTR Contributor Joost is one of the top over 50 marathoners in the world with a 2:26:10 all time PR at the 2019 Berlin Marathon at age 51 followed by a 2:28:16 at New York a few weeks later. He lives and trains in Angola, Africa.
Being part of a shoe and apparel review team has great perks, the two main ones being getting to know some great people and getting shoe samples for testing. I’ll admit that not all apparel and shoes I test keep on being used beyond testing, mostly due to the quantity of stuff that comes in, but I coach a group of local athletes through my coaching service Kufukula who can’t afford to buy their own stuff, so there’s always a keen clientele to offer anything to that would otherwise be gathering dust.
But then, there’s the stuff that enters my rotation even after review. This is a small list of shoes and apparel that I’ve been using in my Chicago marathon training block, with a durability assessment. Some of it wasn’t offered for review, but my own personal purchase. I’ll indicate where this is the case.
First of all, I ran Boston this spring and it didn’t go very well (2:37).
Struggling with two injuries at once, my training wasn’t exactly what’s needed for a great race. After Covid, it had been two and a half years since my last marathon (NYC 2019). While the result wasn’t great, the experience itself was fantastic: meeting RoadTrailRun editor Sam and his wife Dominique in person, staying at their place for a couple of relaxing days and getting the Boston pro field treatment is something I won’t ever forget. You can read my thoughts on Boston 2022 here.
My hamstring is slowly getting better and my left foot hasn’t been acting up, so my training for Chicago has been going quite well. I’m still not completely up to speed, but at 54, I don’t know if I will be able to get to my 51 year old self, after the Covid years.
In order not to force my luck and give my body time to slowly recover, I decided to do a base period with mainly bicycle rides and some running. Anywhere between 2 and 4 hours daily, 5 days per week.
My best friend during this period was the 2017 Specialized Venge and an old noisy Wahoo Kickr, lent to me by a friend, while using the Wahoo SYSTM software in order not to die of boredom. For fun, I raced a local duathlon at the end of this period (beginning of June) and finished 2nd overall (let’s just say I took a LOT of time in transition, something I had never done before).
My good friend, the bicycle, here at the local stadium where I coach my athletes.
After all this cycling, I was a little afraid of ramping up running mileage, but some fantastic shoes helped me along the way. I’ll post some photos of the shoes, with the mileage I have on them, so you can assess durability. I’m a 5’10” runner, currently weighing 140 lbs. (1.77m – 63.5kg), lateral mid-to forefoot striker with a rather aggressive toe-off.
Before the shoes, some of the apparel I’ve been using. I’m a big fan of Steigen socks and whenever they have a sale on, I order a bunch of pairs directly from Australia for delivery here in Angola. They are light, don’t cause me blisters, and stand up very well to intense use. I usually go for the no-show socks, but once in a while I get carried away and buy something long instead. Here’s a photo of me at the local duathlon with a pair of full length pink Steigen socks. I decided to go for a complete shock-rose just for the fun of it.
Although I’m wearing Nike kit, except for the socks, my main training gear has been Tracksmith for the last couple of years. My absolute favorite is the lined Reggie half tight. Once you go lined in a half-tight, there really is no way back. As a top, I wear almost exclusively singlets from their Twilight line. At Boston, I got offered a special edition singlet, which I’ve also been wearing a lot. Here’s a photo at the end of one of my Saturday morning coaching sessions, with some paying athletes and some of the local ones who can’t afford a coach I’ve taken under my wing, wearing the Boston singlet and a pair of normal length Session shorts. I usually go for the Twilight split ones.
Recently, I received some kit by Saysky for review. I choose the jungle themed top and shorts, simply because I wanted something that would bring a smile to my face and maybe a laugh of bystanders. I’m really enjoying the shorts. Here’s a photo at the start of a recent local training marathon in Luanda, next to some of my social athletes.
On to the shoes. First, the Saucony Tempus (review here), with its light support and great PWRRUN pb midsole stayed on as part of my rotation. As a clarification, I will usually do 2 big sessions with “work” in them per week. For those, I usually use one of my supershoes, in order to be able to recover more quickly.
Saucony Tempus: 197km (122m), after a washing cycle. Good as new.
Sometimes, I also give my feet a bit more of a workout on purpose. My main shoe for this has been the Saucony Kinvara. I put a lot of mileage on the 12 and am now using the 13. It’s a fantastic, lower stack height shoe with lots of flexibility, while still offering some cushioning. Another favorite of mine. (review here)
Saucony Kinvara 13: 219km (136m). After a washing cycle. Good as new.
The last one of the daily trainers of this list is the incredible New Balance SuperComp Trainer (review here), by far my favorite shoe of 2022 so far.
New Balance Supercomp Trainer: 539km (335m), after a washing cycle. Holding up very well.
It’s a bit on the heavy side, has an enormous heel stack height of 45mm, but the combination of that FuelCell, the plate and the rocker just works for me without thrashing my lower legs. I was able to run a peak week of 125 miles thanks to this shoe for my daily easy and recovery runs and the occasional track coaching session.
On to the supershoes: I’ve been using 3 different pairs for my “tough” runs, without any premeditation. On the day, I will just pick one of them and run them.
Saucony Endorphin Pro 3 (review here): 223km (139m). Not washed. You can see the signs of my aggressive toe-off on the front patch of outsole rubber. Otherwise, ok.
Nike Alphafly Next% 2 (review here): 242km (150m). After a washing cycle. You can see a little bit of wear on the lateral front, but nothing to worry about.
ASICS Metaspeed Sky+ (personal purchase, review here): 122km (76m). No real wear so far.
I still haven’t decided which ones I will use for my next marathon. At this point, it might be any of these 3 or a pair of Vaporfly Next% 2. There really isn’t that much difference between any of them, performance wise. It comes down to more subjective measurements and preferences at this point. They are all just very good running shoes. Let’s see how I feel when race nerves start settling in.
Joost is a Belgian in his 50s living in Luanda, Angola, Africa, where he faces the heat, humidity and general chaos to run anything between 60-100 miles per week. He’s on a mission to win in his age group in the 6 marathon majors and has completed half of his project, with a 2:26:10 PB in Berlin in 2019 at 51. He ran in primary school, but then thought it would be a lot cooler to be a guitar player in a hard rock band, only picking up running again in 2012, gradually improving his results. Please check out Joost’s coaching service here
Some samples were provided at no charge for review purposes, others were personal purchases. RoadTrail Run has affiliate partnerships and may earn commission on products purchased through affiliate links in this article. These partnerships do not influence our editorial content. The opinions herein are entirely the authors’
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