Tailwind Nutrition Review

Tailwind Nutrition
4.5 / 5 Overall
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There has been a lot of talk about Tailwind nutrition recently in the Obstacle Course Racing and the ultra running community. With OCR events lasting multiple hours, like many running ultra races, people are trying to figure out how to get all the calories they need for such sustained efforts. Along with having easy calories from dextrose and sucrose, they also throw in enough sodium and potassium to be comparable to Gatorade. But the one big difference between Tailwind and something like Gatorade is that as stated on Tailwinds products, “No Gut Bombs”. Which means you can take these down all day long without that sudden need to run off into the woods and to make an entry in the captains log.

Tailwind Nutrition Features

Stomach Friendly  – The No Gut Bomb statement is true. I’m not a scientist or a gastroenterologist but I have an extremely sensitive stomach that gets upset at the idea of being upset. I have drank all 7 flavors of Tailwind nutrition on runs from 1 hour to 4+ hours without any stomach issues. That passes the No Gut Bomb test for me.

Light Flavors – All of the 7 flavors, especially the “Naked Unflavored”, are incredibly smooth because of their subtle flavors. They give you the idea you are drinking something such as a nice lightly sweetened green tea without beating you over the head with the flavoring that most companies add.

Instant Dissolve – Going into testing their products I have a good deal of experience with many other sports drink powders and expected a similar experience. Usually you want to fill the bottle with a little warm water and let them dissolve before pouring in ice and/or cold water. With Tailwind Nutrition you can get an ice cold bottle of water and pour it right in. After about one minute in cold water there is no trace of it.

trailwind-nutrition-review-3

Tailwind Nutrition Usage

Using Tailwind for most of my recent running has left me spoiled. Normally when I train I seldom bring gels, water, sports drinks or any nutrition for anything under 10 miles. I know most people like to set their bar for water and gel a little lower but I try and keep it simple. While testing Tailwind for review I started consuming half a packet before 7 mile runs and loading it into my hydration pack for runs over 7 miles. It’s amazing just how much better I feel and without the worry I’ll be hunting porcelain along the streets.

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You could attribute the better feeling to my bringing proper hydration and calories. But while infrequent, I have in the past brought water and gel on enough runs to know the difference. There is a different feeling and simplicity to just drinking liquid and not having to choke down a thick gel. With gels I always feel like I’m a little uneasy about 10-15 minutes after and 20-30 minutes after consuming. They leave me hoping that I won’t have a bad reaction even with my usually safe Root Beer flavored GU’s.

One more thing worth noting is how they all mix clear. I like the idea that they aren’t adding things that aren’t needed and it shows by leaving out the coloring. The neon like color of other sports drinks have grown old and seem unneeded.

Tailwind Nutrition Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Gentle Flavor
  • No stomach issues
  • Easy to mix

Cons

  • Some people don’t like the packaging or mixing powders
  • You need to carry two bottles if you also want water

Tailwind Nutrition Conclusion

Wether you are just getting into consuming calories on the go, or have been, you should try Tailwind Nutrition. It is simple and has all you need for energy during your entire activity. In the future I’ll be buying more Tailwind and less gels to keep me going. Try the Green Tea Buzz if you enjoy a subtle caffeine kick during your runs!


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Dario is a long time distance runner and OCR athlete. When not on the roads and trails logging miles he can be found drinking coffee while reading bad science fiction books.
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Brooks PureGrit 5 Review

Brooks PureGrit 5
3.4 / 5 Overall
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Durability
Grip
Water Draining
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The Brooks PureGrit 5 is Brooks latest update to their PureGrit trail shoe series. This version has seen the midfoot wrap call the Nav-Band disappear but the shoes grip has remained the same. Another thing that they have left untouched is the 4mm drop which is a nice level between no drop and average ( 0mm – 7mm ). That’s enough about how the shoe is made, let’s get into the review.

Brooks PureGrit 5 Features

Hex Lugs  – The PureGrit 5 has a very interesting shape to their lugs, they are 6 sided unlike the more traditional 4 or 3 sided lugs. I’m not sure how much this affects the grip but the depth of 3/16″ for the lugs is on par with most trail shoes and doesn’t leave you wanting more.

brooks-puregrit-5-review-3

Rounded Heel Cup – The heel cup provides a very cushioned and controlling feel while not being overly restrictive. The overall feel of the heel was something I immediately noticed because of how unique it felt. Most running shoes are basically just structure with cloth wrapped around them. But the PureGrit 5 has a pillow like feel that still manages to keep you feeling locked in.

Brooks PureGrit 5 Usage

As soon as I got these in the mail, as usual, I instantly changed my plans to run later in the day and threw them on for a run down my local trail. I had mentioned just before the cushion feeling and how that was something I wasn’t sure about when I initially took them out – I like my shoes to feel wide and roomy. These are very padded and a little claustrophobic feeling at first but this does wane as they break in. Still with all things considered I’m not sure I would ever wear these for anything over 12 miles since my feet have some issues with swelling and pressure on the nerves.

After about 50 miles in the shoes I found that they still looked like new and the durability overall was outstanding. I ran on mostly technical trails and even some more bushwhacking type trails where I was just jamming my feet between jagged rocks that would have destroyed a shoe like the Reebok All-Terrain Super OR. There is a toe box coating of a rubber like material that I’m pretty sure could withstand a knife attack or be your first line of defense in a bear attack if you could coat your body in it.

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When the Brooks PureGrit 5 did get wet I found this to be an area that left something to be desired. I run in a rotation of Inov-8 Ultra 290’s, Salomon S-Lab Sense Ultra 5′s, and Reebok All-terrain Thrill’s that would all outperform the PureGrit 5 as far as draining and water retention. The PureGrit 5 isn’t worse than regular road running shoes but it is at the lower end compared to trail shoes.

Brooks PureGrit 5 Durability

Durability is one area the PureGrit 5 excels in beyond most trail shoes used for Obstacle Racing. As I previously mentioned they have a toe box that can withstand small arms attacks, and the rest of the upper shows signs of where I stepped on a board with nails sticking out but no rips. The sole of the shoe also has an interesting section on the rear corner where most peoples heel striking hits. Instead of uniformly covering the bottom in hex lugs they added a reinforced section that will withstand more use than a lug as you can see in the photo below.

brooks-puregrit-5-review-2

Brooks PureGrit 5 Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Very Durable
  • Innovative grip solution

Cons

  • Poor water drainage
  • Narrow

Similar Products

Brooks PureGrit 5Merrell All Out CrushReebok All Terrain Thrill
Weight277g227g320g
Heel Drop4mm6mm13mm
Grip3/16"3/16"3/16"
Metal StudsNoNoNo
Price$119.00$100$125.00
ORM ReviewYesYesYes
BuyAmazonAmazonAmazon

Brooks PureGrit 5 Conclusion

If these shoes were more spacious I would wear them more often. As it is the Brooks PureGrit 5 is a hard shoe for me to wear since my usual training runs gets near the limit of where foot swelling would become an issue. If you have average to narrow feet these shoes should be an option you look into. I enjoyed the grip and the protective nature of the shoes for when I just want to run through rough terrain and not worry about my shoes holding up. This should could be your ideal shoe, or too narrow, so it’s worth buying them if you are looking to experiment a different type of trail shoe.

 



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Dario is a long time distance runner and OCR athlete. When not on the roads and trails logging miles he can be found drinking coffee while reading bad science fiction books.
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Endurance Society Infinitus Marathon Race Review

infinitus-marathon-review-4

About two weeks ago, in a moment of inspiration, I decided that I should run a race soon. I looked around to see what I could do and saw the Endurance Society had a wide selection of distances to run at Infinitus – 8k, 88k, 888k, marathon, 48 hour, and 72 hour. Since I’ve only been really getting my training going the past 4-6 weeks I decided an 88k might be I’ll advised, as it was more than my weekly miles, but a marathon would be great since anyone can do a marathon with enough sticktoitiveness. As I would find out that as true as that statement can be this was not your ordinary marathon.

Infinitus Festival Area

One of the things that makes all Endurance Society events special is the atmosphere of camaraderie that is always present. The races generally have a good base following from the days of the Death Race but it is not a closed off group that doesn’t welcome people. This event, like many of the Endurance Society events so far, allowed camping a few yards from the start and finish line at the Blueberry Hill Inn in Goshen, VT. There was somewhere in the range of 100-200 people camping there (very rough estimation, not fully shown in photo) and they only charged $12 no matter how many nights you stayed.

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They also offered up 3 outdoor shower heads with actual hot water. You read that correctly – hot showers for no additional charge. I had actually brought along my Coleman Hot water heater with shower head setup because I knew it could be a long 2-3 days with all the deet I would be spraying each day. I ended up not needing to use it for showering but it made making instant coffee in the morning a little easier.

Through out the days there was a main aid station at the start finish area that you could go munch on the snacks whenever you wanted and at lunch time on Saturday (main race day) there were free burgers and veggie burgers if you wanted them. The final thing to point out at the main festival area was that there were 6 bathrooms – 2 indoors and 4 porta potties – this seemed to be a perfect number for the event size. The lines were never more than a minute or two during peak times such as first thing in the morning or right before the races would start.

Infinitus Aid Stations

One of the few areas that could use a little improvement would be the frequency of aid stations. They were all well equipped with most basic things you would want but there were only 3 aid stations. Because of the heat, it would have been great to have 2 more stations but it’s hard to make last minute changes just because the weather doesn’t play nice. I decided to skip the 7 mile aid station (at the start/finish area) because I was feeling good and on a roll which was a huge mistake. I underestimated the  weather and course difficulty which had me running out of water around mile 11. It was a long way to the 15 mile aid station which was very well run with ice and ice water along with snacks, gatorade, etc. The one thing I would have wanted that they didn’t have was flat coke. I don’t normally drink much caffeine and should probably carry some of my own in GU form – I like to use it as a pick me up in these longer races at the later aid stations or if I’m dragging really bad. The final, and third, aid station was a welcome sight at mile 20 as I had managed to drink most of my water since temperatures were reaching into the mid to high 80’s. I probably should have eaten some more food or drank pickle juice but in my head I figured the race was over soon – that was wrong.

Infinitus Course

The course was very well marked for such an in the middle of nowhere type trails. It must have meant days or weeks of hanging signs and ribbons on the 50+ miles of trails that the different races used. I only heard of a handful people getting confused which is pretty good for long races in the woods. I personally never saw any places where I had to think much about which way to go.

You can either read the next two paragraphs if you like words or see the GPS data here. The marathon course consisted of two loops forming a figure 8 (hint: infinity) as I think all the other distances did too. The first loop was 7.2 miles that started with 1k elevation in the first 3 miles and then gradually worked it’s way downhill with a few bumps back to the main start area where you would find the first aid station and start your second loop.

infinitus-marathon-review-1Midway through the second loop is where I think everyone that struggled during the race, started to fall apart. Around mile 17 any confidence I had was just about gone with the second large climb of the day. Another 2 miles with 1k elevation at that point had me questioning if I would be finishing the race. The downhills generally make up for the uphills if you pace yourself properly but this did not seem to be the case. The downhill was only slightly technical but hard to open up your stride too much and took more energy than I thought it would. By the third aid station at mile 20 I wanted it to be over but rationalized it was just 6 more miles and went on. It was the longest 6 miles I have ever “raced” in. I also said to myself it was only 6 more miles but had a feeling there would be an additional Weinberg mile added onto the total, ended up only being .6 more than a normal marathon.

And finally for the course is Andy and Jack’s joy for making things a little more fun while your are on the trails suffering from all sorts of exhaustion. They added several odd things randomly on the course like creepy dolls and masks. The good thing I realized about most of these is that they were usually within a mile of the main area so they were little signs you were getting closer. When I realized that I was on the end of the second loop and the end of the race was near I became so happy to see a creepy rabbit doll in front of a mirror in the middle of trees full of eerie masks.

infinitus-marathon-review-5

Infinitus Swag

I don’t like thinking about anything related to finishing a race such as medals or other finisher comforts until I know it is over. I had barely looked at the shirt I had gotten the day before until when I went back to shower and get changed. It is an oddly nice shirt with it’s stand out selection of bright yellow printing on dark green shirt, it’s also comfortable enough that I might wear it one day instead of donating to goodwill.  The medals you get at the finish are simple with the Endurance Society name and logo on a large medal with black ribbon. The medal measures 4″ across and will stand out on your wall because of the size.

infinitus-marathon-review-8

Infinitus Conclusion

After the race was all wrapped up for me I hung around and soaked in the warm weather and friendly environment as spectators and finishers cheered in runners as they finished their distances or pit stopped for another loop on the course. The next morning after rising with the sun, as you tend to do while camping, I did get the unexpected treat of seeing the only 888k finisher, Eric Skocaj, come in around 6am as the stay puff marshmallow man and others cheered him on.

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Overall it was a great way to spend a few days in Vermont and a fun race that I will likely do again, maybe even the 88k next year. I’ll make sure to bring a larger hydration bladder and train on more mountains before next years race. If you want a serious challenge you should check out the Endurance Society’s Infinitus race.

 

 

Salomon S-Lab Sense 5 Ultra Review

Salomon S-Lab Sense 5 Ultra
3.6 / 5 Overall
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Features
Durability
Grip
Water Draining
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Salomon recently reached out to us at ORM to see what shoes we would like to put to the test. When we did our Best Shoes for Obstacle Course Racing article a little while back this shoe was mentioned to us in comments, privately messaged, and emailed. After some careful consideration we decided on this shoe because it struck us possibly discovering a diamond in the rough. The Salomon S-Lab Sense 5 is a top of the line shoe that is built for performance and speed on the trail. Unfortunately some of the things that make this a great trail shoe make it not as great for obstacle racing.

Salomon S-Lab Sense 5 Features

Quick Drying Mesh  – These shoes are light and breathable which can largely be attributed to the mesh that covers a large portion of the shoes upper. As you can see in the photos it is mostly see through and holds no water. I’m not sure how well this will work for it’s long term durability against rocks but it has held up on fairly technical trails so far.

Internal Sleeve – Salomon refers to this as “EndoFitTM”. It is basically a somewhat firm sleeve that goes from the foot bed of the shoe to the tongue, covering the entire length of the tongue. I’m on the fence with this feature because I like the snug feeling but at the same time I can experience pain in my feet when my shoes are on too tight. This amount of snugness is cutting it very close for me but it hasn’t caused any pain, it has taken some getting used to.

salomon-sense-s-lab-ultra-5-review-4

Lacing System – The lacing system is a pretty standard but very well made quick pull lacing system. I personally prefer normal laces but this isn’t the end of the world. They did add a feature which more shoe companies can take a hint from – a lace pocket. After you pull the laces to your desired tightness loop them through lower down on the tongue and then you can tuck it back up into the top area of the tongue in this special pocket.

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Salomon S-Lab Sense 5 Usage

When you look at the grip on these shoes you will immediately notice that this has what you would think of as more standard tread and not deep lugs like more agressive trail and obstacle racing shoes. I took them for my first run right out my front door and onto street which is about 1/2 mile from a relatively packed dirt trail. What is interesting about that is the fact that they felt fine on the road and still had some decent grip when I got to the trail. I did this many more times as my local trails are my preferred place to run without driving somewhere and they generally felt great. But I do have to say that when it rained these shoes started to loose traction on the same trails that they held their own with when dry. The grip on these shoes is very likely their one and only functional downside but it is likely be enough of a reason not to run obstacle course races in them. However Salomon does have another version of this shoe which is basically the same shoe with a little more aggressive lugs called the SG version that you can see here, they are the black and red version, this review is of the white and red version.

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Moving away from the grip, these shoes are amazing trail running and training shoes in most other aspects. They feel extraordinary light compare to all other trail shoes you will run in coming in at just under 8 oz. If you don’t need a ton of support in your shoes these could be a dream ultra running trail shoe for you. I ran about 100 miles in these in a few weeks that I had them and they held up great and I felt like a ballerina, with the lightness of these shoes, while I hopped around roots and from rock to rock.

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The final thing that stood out was the drain-ability/breathability with all the venting on the shoe. The entire upper is mostly vents (mesh) or synthetic material between the mesh which hold no to little water. I ran in the rain a few times while testing the grip that I talked about above and they felt the same weight as when I started upon completion of my runs.

Salomon S-Lab Sense 5 Durability

I had no issues at all with durability for the Salomon S-Lab Sense 5 Ultra. People have had some issues with the larger lugs on the SG version of them but my shoes so almost no sign of wear, just dirt on them from the trails. I was actually kind of surprised by how well the upper has held up as I’ve jammed them into rocks and scrambled around trails since they are so light and thin in appearance.

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Salomon S-Lab Sense 5 Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Light weight
  • Extremely breathable
  • Flexible midsole
  • Durable

Cons

  • Expensive, coming in at $180
  • Not a lot of support
  • Shallow grip

Similar Products

Salomon S-Lab Sense 5 UltraReebok All Terrain Super ORReebok All Terrain Super 2.0Salomon Speedcross 3
Weight220g219g234 g310g
Heel Drop4mm5mm5mm9mm
Grip2/16"3/16"3/16"3/16"
Metal StudsNoNoNoNo
Price$175.00$90.00$100.00$80.00
ORM Review YesYesYesYes
BuyAmazonAmazonAmazonAmazon

Salomon S-Lab Sense 5 Conclusion

The question about buying these should come down to what you plan on using them for. These are a great fast trail running shoe that would be amazing to train and race trails in, they are not a deep grip obstacle racing shoe. Some obstacle course races aren’t all about mud and running through barely blazed trails – these would work great there. I would not wear these for most Spartan Races, Tough Mudders or even Warrior Dash races. I would wear the Salomon S-Lab Sense 5 Ultra for my next trail race or run without a doubt, another great shoe in the Salomon trail running lineup.



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Dario is a long time distance runner and OCR athlete. When not on the roads and trails logging miles he can be found drinking coffee while reading bad science fiction books.
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Best Shoes For Obstacle Course Racing

 

Check out our updated version of this article!


Reebok All-Terrain Super 3.0
– This is a fresh new entry that will likely regain many of the people that have lost faith in the All-Terrain series due to durability issues. Reebok has released their fourth version of the All-Terrain Supers with a great improved upper that will likely stop many of the ripping issues people have had. Still this shoe will not be as durable as something by Icebug or Inov-8 but it is the best water draining shoe on the market. Review here.


Salomon Speedcross 4 –
The Speedcross is a battle tested and loved by many shoe that has existed in its current form for a long time with only minor variations being put out by Salomon. This shoe is a slight departure from the traditional trail shoe style that you will see in that it has a ton of cushioning and an 11mm drop. The down side to this shoe with great grip, durability, and cushioning is that it drains water probably the worst of any shoe on this list. Updates to the version 4 are a slightly larger toe box and deeper lugs.

Inov-8-X-Talon-212Inov-8 X-Talon 212 – Previously reviewed here, this was ORM writer Dario’s first shoe when he decided to get a shoe for his first Spartan Super many years ago. It turns out this was an amazing start for his, and your, adventure into trail/OCR shoes. It is durable, has some cushion (not much), drains water fairly well, and has pretty aggressive lugs. It falls into the average or slightly above average for most of its features.

Inov-8-X-Talon-190Inov-8 X-Talon 190 – These shoes are surprisingly not a common suggestion when the question about the best shoe is asked. They are used by many of the Spartan Pro Team with notable user Cody Moat coming to mind as someone who knows running on OCR very well. They are essentially a lighter but slightly less durable version of the X-Talon 212 that drain water better too.

icebug-zealIcebug Zeal – These shoes are very polarizing but another great option. The polarizing opinion is that they are either the best shoes ever made or too narrow and terrible at draining water. From the staff at ORM we have found them a little too narrow for our taste but that they still performed very well. (The Zeal being the widest toe box of their entire line). This is a shoe you need to try on and walk around in your home to see if they will fit well. The other reason the Zeal is the most suggested Icebug shoe is most other Icebugs are studded and technically not allowed for most Obstacle Course Races.

 


 

After almost a year of continuous voting we are moving the top voted shoes to a list, please feel free to add in and vote up new shoes that are not listed on this page.

  1. Inov-8 X-talon 200
  2. Asics Gel Fuji Runnegade 2
  3. Inov-8 Mudclaw 300
  4. Altra King MT
  5. Vj Sport Irock
  6. Merrell All Out Crush
  7. Salomon Fellraiser
  8. Saucony Peregrine
  9. On Running Cloudventure
  10. Altra Superior 2
  11. LaSportiva Mutant
  12. SauconyExodus
  13. Brooks Pure Grit 5
  14. Inov-8 Terraclaw 250
  15. Reebok All-Terrain Thrill

 

 

 

What are you favorite shoes not mentioned previously on this page?

 

 

 

 

Normatec Pulse Recovery System Review

Normatec Pulse Review
4.2 / 5 Overall
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Features
Durability
Cost
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It was a magical time of year with all of the holidays either happening or around the corner (December 2015). What better time to gift myself the updated compression recovery system from Normatec. Having previously owned the Normatec MVP and reviewed it here along with the other systems on the market, I was very excited to get my hands on a new version called the Normatec Pulse. It’s kind of like every year or so when Apple comes out with a better iPhone and you can’t wait for it. It’s not like the other one had problems that were huge, or you likely wouldn’t get the new one, but you know they will have made it even better. One big difference here is that Normatec doesn’t release new systems every year. Let’s jump into the new system.

normatec-pulse-review-1

Normatec Pulse Features

First I will list the main features their recovery boots had and still have followed by the updated and new features.

Sequential squeeze – The system works by compressing sections of your legs up and then down to flush them out similar to a massage.

Five Overlapping Zones – Most systems have 4 separate zones, Normatec has 5 zones. And as an added bonus all of their zones overlap so that you don’t have small pockets of your legs that don’t get an even and sequential squeeze.

Pressure adjustment – There are 7 different levels of compression to meet your comfort level and compression needs.

Sizing – They have 3 different sizes of their leg attachments to get the below 5’4″ people, middle range, and the super tall folks above 6’3″. If you fall in a middle zone they will be happy to answer your call or email about getting the correct size.

Easy Connectors – The new connectors are more modern looking but a little tougher to go and undo. They are also generally a little more bulky when you connect it into the hub.

normatec-pulse-review-3

Zone Boost – When you press the Zone Boost button on the main unit it will increase pressure in the current zone. This feature has always confused me to some degree but it works. There is no specific listed amount of time or pressure increase that it applies but it does apply an increase. I’m also a little unsure of how to time it best so that you press it on the right zone.

Updates

Improved foot design – This is one of the main reasons I sold my old unit and switched to this. If you have read about these or have any experience using the previous model by Normatec then you know about the foot squeeze problem. The Normatec MVP previously squeezed your foot laterally and this was very painful for many. The work around was to either put a PVC tube in there or a sandal. Now with the Normatec Pulse the squeeze is top to bottom and feels great.

Battery Powered – I have to say I hadn’t even considered this a possibility when I saw the new release. This was also something that existed as a separate add on called the Normatec battery kit and sold for nearly $200. While the add on gave 4 hours the built in battery in the Normatec Pulse life gives 2 hours. Still, it is built in and essentially free. But if you want extra battery power there is always something like this.

Lighter control unit – Even with the additional battery and the improved screen the main unit of the Normatec Pulse is about half the overall size. This clearly shows how all technology has gotten smaller and more efficient since the original suitcase like design of the Normatec MVP.

normatec-pulse-review-4

Zone Control – I’m not sure what the official name for this feature is but you now get the ability to turn sections of the unit on and off. This was previously a feature of the Normatec MVP Pro version that retailed for around $5,000. Now you get it in the base model of the Normatec Pulse that retails for only $1,595.

Timer – Another feature from the previous Pro model only. Now you can set your session time on the control unit. This is great because often times I wouldn’t really be paying attention to the time or would fall asleep if after a hard work out. Now it stops after however long of a session you need, awesome.

Normatec Pulse Usage

When I first got the unit I was immediately pleased with the look and feel of it. I knew going in that Normatec was modernizing their design but this was a huge step up. It was almost comparable to going from the Apple Newton to the iPhone in terms of features and usability. The previous MVP system was bulky and almost like a mysterious box that you would turn on and just assume it was doing everything right based on a handful of led indicators. Now you turn it on and you have options and features that are clearly presented and labeled.

On to the actual usage – it’s a mixed bag of very impressed and a few disappointments. As I listed above in the updated features; the new Normatec Pulse packs a punch with everything it does new and better. The new and improved foot design was the first thing I noticed when I slid them on and started using them. You can tell they heard the feedback and had really put some time into this crucial element of the compression recovery boot design. It now has a pleasant squeeze that goes from top to bottom and doesn’t hurt but instead feels great.

normatec-pulse-review-2

Unfortunately the next thing I noticed was that the new design of the standard size also changed the length just a little bit. For someone like me that falls into the 5’6″/5’7″ range I am probably the worst possible height. The standard height range goes from 5’4″ to 6’3, an 11 inch range of fit. What happens if you have an inseam of  about 29.5″ is that you can’t really use the 5th zone of the boots. If you try to adjust and move it around you will either have strange bunching in the lower zones or a crushing of your private parts. For me this makes them a 4 zone boot and has them end up reaching about 3″-4″ below where I would like them to squeeze. I know this isn’t the end of the world because they have the hip attachment but that is a $600 purchase and another 60-90 minute squeeze session just to get the upper quadricep area. With the Normatec MVP I was just barely skirting the edge of using all the zones. The silver lining on this is the next huge feature I noticed with the new Normatec Pulse system.

The zone control ability is a welcome feature at this price point. With my previous issue it was a simple matter of just selecting the top zone and turning it off. I have also really enjoyed this feature because sometimes I don’t want a full leg squeeze. My calves recently have been acting up so sometimes I just turn on the bottom two zones while I’m sitting at my desk for a simple squeeze while I’m working. This isn’t the ideal positioning for clearing the gunk out of your legs but it is something I previously couldn’t have done.

The final thing I really want to dig into is the session timer. If you read my previous review comparing all of the models that existed you will know that I use the boots a lot and sometimes I fall asleep. One of the ways these boots work is similar to a massage and it is very relaxing. When you add the relaxation factor in with the fact that you probably just did a hard workout it adds up to some unplanned napping with boots. I’m not sure if having the boots squeeze for over 2 hours is good or bad for you but I know it isn’t suggested anywhere. I’ve only had this experience a handful of times previously but now I never have to worry about it. The Normatec Pulse has the session time that you can adjust in 5 minute increments with the easy plus and minus buttons on the two sides of the main screen. I also just really enjoy not having to set a separate timer on my iPhone or try to look at a clock and remember when I started.

Normatec Pulse Durability

I can’t speak for how well this unit will last over the course of many years. I can speak on the knowledge that this again feels like a very sturdy main control unit and durable material on the compression recovery boots. The connectors despite feeling a little more hard to manipulate also feel more durable. The only concern for durability that you could probably have is with the new control screen. This is to be expected because it is a digital display, like all digital displays, however I gladly except this one possible break point over the 7 led system of the MVP. I did look up the warranty on the Normatec site and saw it had 2 years on the control unit and one year on the recovery boots. But the bottom line is that this is a $1,595 piece of recovery equipment and you should treat it like you would any other electronic device of this price range.

Normatec Pulse Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Most of the features of a pro unit for the price of the previous entry unit
  • Built in Timer
  • Built in Battery
  • 7 power levels
  • 5 overlapping compression zones

Cons

  • 29″-30″ inseams will only get to use 4 zones
  • Battery life seems to die off fairly quickly when not in use
  • connectors are not compatible with old attachments

Normatec Pulse Conclusion

I have loved my previous Normatec MVP and held it in high regard above the other units on the market. The Normatec Pulse continues the excellence built on the previous version and added so many improved and new features. When I think about the one issue I had with the length I realized it must have existed for people an inch or more shorter than me in the previous model. With the ability to turn off zones this unit cancels out that problem and incompatibility that people would have had before. I suppose the only way they could make the next version better is longer battery life and more sizing variations. For now, the Normatec Pulse again stands alone as the best compression recovery boot on the market.

 



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Dario

Dario is a long time distance runner and OCR athlete. When not on the roads and trails logging miles he can be found drinking coffee while reading bad science fiction books.
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