Review: New Balance 730 Shoes

I have been using New Balance MR10’s over the last year and love them.  However, there is one thing I don’t like about them – how fast the sole wears out.  A New Balance employee at my local store told me that they should be replaced after 250 miles.  I was already at 450, the heels and soles were worn down, and my toes and feet were starting to really feel the ground.  250 sounds like the right replacement mileage, but running 1000+ miles a year would require me to buy 4 or more pairs of these per year at $100 a pop.  So, I was excited to hear about the thicker sole and similar style of the New Balance 730’s  and ordered a pair from Running Warehouse to try out.

The New Balance 730’s are the perfect mix of minimal shoe:  They’re light, breathable, roomy, durable, inexpensive, have more cushioning than a traditional minimal, and have a small heel-toe drop.  Here’s how they ran:

Initial Run (4.75 miles)

– Firm, stiff soles.  They became comfortably flexible after 2 miles into my run.

– Lightweight.  7.3 oz.

– Breathable.  I could feel wind blowing through the shoe.

– Ample toebox.  I could easily splay my toes and still not touch either side.

– My calves were sore after the initial run.  With just a slight change in heel-toe drop – from 4mm in the New Balance MR10’s to the 3mm drop of the 730’s – I could feel the difference afterwards.  That’s why we recommend a slow transition from traditional to minimal shoes.  No one wants to suffer an unnecessary injury that will keep you from running…

Adjustment Phase (2 Days)

Due to the calf stiffness I was experiencing, I decided to wear the shoes around for a couple of days so my legs could get used to them while walking.  This worked surprisingly well and I was soon ready to crank out some more running miles.

Additional Mileage (16.25 miles)

– Soles are solid (though flexible) – not a lot of shock absorption.

– Tongue drifts to the sides under the laces.  There is no lace guide on the tongue, which would help to hold it in place.

– A lot of ground feel.  I tried them out on some small-medium gravel and you can definitely feel it on your feet.  I was also surprised I could feel the smooth, rounded edges of paver stones on the sidewalk.

No lace guide on tongue…

…leads to some drifting after a few miles

So, should you buy them?

Yes – but only if you are already comfortable with a minimal heel-toe drop, or you have some time to get used to them in training.  They’re ridiculously inexpensive compared to similar shoes of it’s kind (as low as $50 a pair!) and you’ll get a fair amount more mileage out of them, too.

Note: These shoes were purchased for use by the author.


By | 2018-02-27T15:01:11+00:00 November 30th, 2012|Categories: Gear, General|Tags: , , , , , |0 Comments

Cleaning Your Running Clothes and Gear

Start run commuting on a regular basis and you’ll quickly learn two things about your clothing: 1) You don’t have enough; or 2) You’re doing laundry every other night. If you don’t have the money to sink into multiple sets of running clothes, then hopefully you are doing your laundry in a way that extends the life of the fabric to the maximum extent. In this brief post, I’ll show you how to take care of your technical fabrics and equipment.

Fabric Types

If you’ve been running races over the past 10 years, you will have likely noticed an overwhelming trend in race shirts moving away from cotton to technical fabrics. Pre-2005, cotton was king. Now, I would say about 90% of the races I’ve run over the past few years have all given out tech shirts at the finish line. Why the switch?

Technical fabrics have several advantages over cotton – They are more breathable, more durable, dry faster, and, in most cases, fight bacteria and odor much better. I say most cases because I have found that this type of gear becomes particularly stinky after running during rainstorms in the city.  They take on a new level of funk of which George Clinton would be proud.

Wool is another cotton-alternative that runners, like TRC’s own Kyle T., swear by (and at sometimes). Wool has similar advantages as technical fabrics and, when surveyed recently, 9 out of 10 sheep preferred it over cotton.  So there you have it…

Cotton has been around for a long time. A lot of runners simply prefer the feel of cotton over anything else. The main thing I dislike about cotton is that it gets heavy when wet. Also, it has a higher chafe factor.

Note: The methods described below are what I have been using for years and generally accepted for use on technical clothing. Be sure to check your tags first to make sure you are doing the right thing. I don’t want to be responsible for ruining your new ultra-breathable, eco-friendly shirt made from the fur of 1,000 Peruvian hamsters (sustainably harvested, no doubt). (more…)

By | 2018-02-27T15:01:09+00:00 February 17th, 2012|Categories: Gear, How To|Tags: , , , , |7 Comments

Night Safety (that includes dusk and dawn, people)

Hi all,  I’m Stephanie and I’m new to The Run Commuter community, but I’m already hooked! I wanted to share my thoughts about night safety, since nothing has been blogged on the topic yet.

The shorter daylight hours of the winter months forces many runners onto the streets, sidewalks, and maybe even a bit of trails during non-daylight hours. This adds extra elements to runner safety. Vehicles have a harder time seeing you and the runner may have a harder time seeing potential dangers. This blog post is to give everyone a few ideas as to how to mentally and physically gear-up for these extra concerns. My expertise is admittedly limited. I am a scientist by profession, a running hobbyist, and luckily have no real-life experience with “unknown dangers.” However, I am my father’s daughter, so I’m a worry-wart who is constantly thinking of my safety. My love of running outdoors, loathing of treadmills, boredom of lunchtime runs, and horror at losing my running skills over the winter makes me conquer my fears and run in the dark. Sometimes I run both to and from work in the dark or dusk-ish light depending on celestial positioning and my work schedule. Below I describe the gear I carry and the things I do to stay safe out there. (more…)

Review: Osprey Stratos 24

I finally picked up a new pack and retired my Osprey Revo after 2 1/2 years.  The Revo worked just fine as a simple run commuting backpack, but I was in the market for something a bit larger that had a chest strap for additional motion-control.This past summer when I was sweating more on my runs, I started to get some chafing action on my lower back from the Revo’s slight side-to-side motion.  Just a little bit of irritation can turn into a larger, more painful issue when you run twice a day, everyday, so it kept me from running a few times.

In addition, I couldn’t quite fit my work clothes, lunch and a pair of shoes in the pack, which I occasionally need to bring in when I need a different pair.  Also, every once in a while I will stop and pick up a few groceries on my way home and 1300 cu in. was just a bit too small.  And so began a long obsession with finding the perfect run commuting backpack…


By | 2018-02-27T15:01:08+00:00 October 21st, 2011|Categories: Gear|Tags: , , , , , , |21 Comments

Top 5 Run Commuting Essentials

Here are five things we think every run commuter should have if you run to and from work on a regular basis.  These items will keep your gear dry, allow you to transport things back and forth, help you clean up, dry off and prepare you for your day at the office.

You can always add things to your everyday gear (like lunch containers, for example), but for those new to run commuting, try these out first and add-on once you get the hang of things.

1) Backpack:  This is the most essential piece of equipment a run commuter can have.  Not only will you need it to carry your clothing, lunch and other personal effects to work everyday, but you can also use it to pick up any additional items on your way to or from work (groceries, library books, etc.)  The pack should fit your body type and have a waist strap and, ideally, a chest strap to keep bounce to a minimum.  Our favorites include packs from Osprey, Deuter, and OMM.

2) Toiletry/Cleanup Kit:  Items can include:  Small towel, antiperspirant, body spray/perfume, bar of soap, baby wipes, makeup, shaving gear, etc.  Keep them in a bag or store them in your drawer.  You’ll want to remember to change out your towel regularly, but everything else should last quite a while before being replaced.

3) Fan:  This will depend on what your workplace setup looks like.  Do you have your own office or cubicle?  A small powerful fan, such as this one from Honeywell, will be your best friend.  It works best by placing it near your feet and aiming it up towards your torso.  Once you’ve cooled off, you can use it to dry off your wet running clothes, too.  You can find a decent one at drugstores, big box stores or online for less than $30.

4) Multiple Sets of Running Clothes:  When you start run commuting on a regular basis, you’re not going to want to do laundry every night.  Find a good pair of running shorts and buy a few pair at a time if you can.  If you can’t, buy a pair every paycheck or two until you have four or five.  Do the same with shirts and soon you can stretch out your laundry days to once a week.  Running Warehouse usually has great sales on running shorts and shirts, as well as cold weather gear.  Also, you can get running shirts from Jiffy Shirts for less than $8.00 each.

5) Waterproof Bag or Raincover:  You will get wet.  Just plan on it now.  However, your cell phone, blackberry, iPod and work clothes should not get wet.   As we’ve talked about before, the Ikea bag is probably the cheapest piece of waterproofing equipment you can find.  But, if you want to keep everything dry – including your pack – a raincover is the way to go.  Check to see if the company that made your pack has one first or just get a universal cover based on how many cc’s your bag holds.  Some covers that can be found online include Osprey, Mountainsmith and BTR Premium.

By | 2016-10-22T20:26:57+00:00 September 4th, 2011|Categories: Gear, General|Tags: , , , , , |5 Comments

Review: REI Stoke 9 Pack

Even though I have been run commuting for a while now, I had yet to invest in a pack specifically made for running. This is what I’d been using thus far:


The Old “Pack”

It was free, and I made it work. I used two hairbands to secure the drawstrings mid-chest, tight enough that the bag wouldn’t bounce around.

Apparently, I am too cheap to invest in something to make my life a bit easier.

Finally though, I decided it was time for a new pack. Those drawstring straps aren’t really the most comfortable, if you can believe it. After looking at a few packs online, I headed to REI to scope out more options in person. I spent some time trying on different packs and investigating the various features offered. Ultimately, I decided to go for the REI Stoke 9 Pack.

Read on for my review!


By | 2016-10-22T20:26:58+00:00 August 3rd, 2011|Categories: Gear|Tags: , , |4 Comments

Technique: Transitioning to Minimal Running Shoes

Everyone is crazy about minimal shoes these days and running companies have responded by coming out with many new shoes this year to meet the desires of the running public. Here at The Run Commuter, we have been running in several models for a while now and so, I thought we could talk about the Transition Period.

For those that don’t already know, minimal shoes differ from normal running shoes in a few important ways:

1)   Less material = Lighter and more flexible

2)  Heel-toe drop is small or zero

3)  Little or no arch support

There are several popular transitioning techniques and regimens, such as running barefoot, slow mileage buildup, mixing running in your regular shoes with running in minimal shoes, etc.  However, most runners do not want to sacrifice their current mileage or speed to get to the point where they are running in minimal shoes 100% of the time.  As a result, they end up with stress fractures or other injuries.


By | 2018-02-27T15:01:08+00:00 July 24th, 2011|Categories: Gear, How To|Tags: , , , , |3 Comments

Review: Nuun Electrolyte Enhanced Drink Tabs

As you can see from some of our previous posts, it’s hot down here.  And while beer occasionally does the trick, I need something to use on a more regular basis after finishing my sweltering summer runs.

I picked up a tube of Citrus Fruit flavored Nuun from Big Peach Running Co. in Decatur about a month ago and decided to give it a try.


By | 2018-02-27T15:01:07+00:00 July 19th, 2011|Categories: Gear|Tags: , , , , , , |0 Comments

Review: Sport-Tek Competitor Tee

I have a LOT of running shirts –  either store-bought tech shirts or race shirts, the composition of which ranges from 100% cotton to poly blends. I tend to wear short-sleeve, mesh-like wicking fabric tees in the summer months, but lately this has been causing me some problems.

I start running in the morning around 7:00 am, heading out just as the sun is climbing up over the treetops. The temperature is usually around 75°F and the humidity is high (80%+). It’s a fairly typical Atlanta summer and by the time I reach work, I have sweat a lot; as in my shirt is drenched. That’s normally fine, but when that is combined with a backpack that moves just a little, chafing can become a problem if you are running a longer distance. And it has affected me for the first time this year.


I figure that it’s not just the tiny amount of pack movement, but also the type of fabric and weave style of my shirt. After running a while and building up a good sweat, I found that a more open, rough weave acts like sandpaper on your skin. So to attempt to remedy this issue (since sweating can’t be corrected), I tried out a shirt from a recent 5K race. (more…)

By | 2018-02-27T15:01:07+00:00 July 6th, 2011|Categories: Gear|Tags: , , , |0 Comments
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