DeckersXLab M K-ST 21 “The HyperSneaker”

DeckersXLab M K-ST 21 Review “The HyperSneaker”

We did this unboxing yesterday, mostly so I could surprise my wife with this design.

Stay tuned to our channels as we bring you a review for this one of a kind shoe.

For now, here are the specs and more provided to us by the manufacturer:

Meet the Future of Sneakers:

The Deckers X Lab K-ST 21

 From the Innovation Department at Deckers, the K-ST 21 is a Major Evolution in Sneakers, Integrating New Carbon Bow Technology Suspension System for More Efficient and Enjoyable Motion

 GOLETA, Calif. – September 1, 2020 – Deckers X Lab, the innovation department of Deckers – owner of HOKA ONE ONE®, UGG®, Teva®, Koolaburra by UGG®, and Sanuk® – today announces the launch of the K-ST 21 “hypersneaker,” a whole new breed of sneaker designed to make motion more efficient and enjoyable.

At the core of the new K-ST 21 is the Carbon Bow Technology™ suspension system, new technology from Deckers X Lab designed to transform vertical landing energy into forward motion. The carbon suspension system is uniquely shaped with the goal of capturing body load and providing extra arch support for a smooth suspension effect, while the front arms and curved surface assist with forward rolling motion.

The suspension system complements the SwallowTail™ heel, a wide base designed to capture ground contact early and provide a super smooth, progressive, and stable platform for movement.

The lightweight, breathable yet extremely resistant upper combines CORDURA® Ballistic nylon and Matryx® fabric. The stretch panel in the nose of the K-ST 21 provides both adaptability to foot sizes while enabling the shoe to flex smoothly. The combination of technology in both the upper and bottom areas make the K-ST 21 suited for an extremely wide range of motion, from casual walking to fitness and extreme freestyle moves.

“At Deckers X Lab, we’re taking the most advanced technology available and building it into sneakers – the shoes that people wear every day. We believe suspension systems are a natural and logical evolution in technologies, enabling the creation of sneakers that are at the same time incredibly comfortable and dynamic,” said Jean-Luc Diard, Vice President of Innovation, Deckers. “When you put on the K-ST 21, you’ll want to move, to do more than usual. It pushes you forward comfortably and in full confidence.”

The K-ST 21 is more than a sneaker, it’s an “hypersneaker.” The design speaks to the early adopters and every adventurer, from the surf-inspired SwallowTail™ heel, Carbon Bow Technology™ suspension system inspired by ski technologies and marathon racing shoes, to the unique adaptive specifications of the upper. The spirit of K-ST 21 aligns with the Deckers X Lab mantra of inspiring and enabling people to experience their passion on a new level, whether it’s extending a walk from one mile to two, providing confidence in all biomechanical movements and pushing boundaries wherever they are.

K-ST 21 Key Specifications:

  • Carbon Bow Technology™ suspension system
  • SwallowTail® extended heel geometry
  • Lightweight, highly resilient and durable Foam – 17-21mm stack height.
  • Matryx™ midfoot wrapping
  • CORDURA® Ballistic side bands
  • Stretch lycra nose panel
  • Dual choice of insoles for personal and activities adaptation
  • Weight = 12.5 Oz / 350g in M9
  • MSRP: $199.00

The K-ST 21 and other Deckers X Lab designs are exclusively available at https://deckersxlab.com.

About Deckers X Lab:

Founded in 2019, Deckers X Lab is led by VP of Innovation Jean-Luc Diard, co-founder of HOKA ONE ONE and former CEO of Salomon. He and his team have an impressive list of first-to-market, industry-changing innovations. As a label, Deckers X Lab has full creative ability to go beyond boundaries, applications and environments – melding crossover designs that turn footwear into an experience. The Deckers X Lab brand is founded on three core principles: best-in-class dynamic comfort, elevated smart performance, and better products for a better planet. Learn more at: https://deckersxlab.com/blogs/news/about-us

Mccauley Kraker Tried Out Nike’s Ground-Breaking Shoes

Today I’d like to discuss Nike’s¹ interesting new (ish) line of racers, which include the Zoom Fly, Alphafly, and Vaporfly, among others. Running fan or not, you’re likely familiar with the basics of the controversial shoes: big heels and cushioning, air bags, and advanced carbon fiber plates, all wrapped in a gaudy, lightweight package. Similar to clap-skates in the 90’s and Speedo’s LZR swimsuit in 2012, the shoes have coincided with an influx of records both on the road and track, leading to the dubbing of the shoes as the ‘Cheaterflys,’ a monikor we imagine Nike’s marketing department are positively beaming over. Now, the readers of this website being the pure, capitalistically un-sullied adventure sports fans that they are, for us to discuss any Nike-related product –and to do so in a potentially glowing manner– is akin, perhaps, to something like Outside Magazine dedicating a section to reviewing the wonderfully rich taste of Nestle’s new line of rainforest-sourced chocolates. And yet, this being the future of running, and running (or at least walking) being the backbone of most adventure sports, the shoes and their technology cannot be ignored indefinitely.

History being cyclical, the running community has for 50 years flip-flopped between a love of minimalism and over-protection in shoe choice. These days –and like everything else in popular culture, it seems– the topic has become one of political fervency.

Nike, interestingly enough, has occupied both sides of the shoe spectrum: first with the wildly successful Nike Free line, which focused on mimicking, to various degrees, barefoot running, and in doing so strengthening the ligaments and tendons of the foot, and then, after witnessing Hoka’s skyrocketing sales figures, with their current line of towering, bulky racers.

We’ll leave the debate of which version of running is best –as well as the legality of said methods– to the message boards and professional governing bodies. It’s easy to get caught up in the mechanical doping conversation, after all. But honestly, as spicy a topic as elites potentially gaining unfair advantages is, it is unlikely to have any effect on spectators such as you or I.

Nike’s new line of shoes includes track, soccer, road racing, and basketball, all of which use some form of a carbon plate. Photo courtesy of Nike

Let’s instead have a discussion as to what the technology means, not for professional athletes, but for the rest of us average human beings: the aging, oft-injured population who trains not for world records or the potential of meaty contracts with sporting behemoths, but rather, simply for the love of the activity itself. Our main goal is to stay healthy in order to continue to enjoy this thing we love. So with that lens as our guide, how does Nike fit into this idea, and where does it differentiate itself (and excel) from those such as Hoka that came before it?

A quick background

Hoka’s max-cushion-yet-lightweight shoe design arose a decade ago as a result of a couple of former Soloman employees attempting to develop a shoe that would excel during downhill running, but the design soon spread to the roads. Older runners in particular were drawn to the shoes, which reduced fatigue and cushioned tired knees and ligaments. Yet the design –in particular the high heel or ‘stack’ height, drew the ire of competitive runners, who avoided it in favor of lower profile racers. It also didn’t help that the shoes were (and still are) anything but good-looking.

While living in Colorado Springs I sometimes crossed paths with some of the world’s top distance runners, as they used the track behind our apartment for their weekly interval sessions. One day I was talking with a former Olympian, and me being a massive fan of shoe technology, I asked him what he thought of the future of running shoes. Was Hoka onto something? He sneered at the idea and told me the shoes were to be avoided, as they were bound to injure anyone wearing them.

I’d love to hear his thoughts on Nike today, who of course decided to follow Hoka’s general idea, while improving upon the shoe in every way: lighter, stiffer, more aggressive, a carbon fiber plate to improve footstrike, and space-age ‘zoom x’ foam technology. The result was a shoe that stood nearly 40 mm off the ground, yet weighed in at just 7 ounces, while still delivering 10% more energy return than what was known as the world’s best running shoes at the time, the Adidas Boost series. The wide platform reportedly decreased muscular fatigue. Athletes could do more hard workouts, recover faster, and potentially even race faster, given they were ‘responders’ to the shoes. Marathon times plummeted, and eventually the 2 hr marathon – the last of what many had dubbed the ‘great 4’ of human achievement (sub 4 mile, Everest, Land on the moon) fell. I drove to Vienna in 2018 to watch Kipchoge break the 2 hour barrier, and the crowd around me (and subsequently, the newspapers reporting upon the accomplishment) seemed less focused on the achievement and more upon the hot pink, unreleased shoes Kipchoge and his racers were sporting–  these would later be released as the ‘Alphaflys’.

FILE PHOTO: Athletics – Dubai Marathon – Dubai, United Arab Emirates – January 24, 2020 General view of athletes wearing the Nike Vaporfly shoe during the race REUTERS/Christopher Pike

Testing

I had my eyes on Nike’s new line for quite some time, but it was proving impossible to get my hands on any of the top tier shoes, at least without shelling out 250+ dollars. I was, however, able to find a pair of Zoom Flys at a local discount sporting goods store this spring, and after purchasing the only pair they had I rushed home to try them out. Zoom Flys are not terribly dissimilar from their more expensive counterparts. However, their carbon plate is supposedly a bit dumbed down, and the remarkably efficient Zoom X foam (otherwise referred to as pebax) present in the 4% has been replaced with React foam. According to Nike, React offers a substantial performance improvement over the the old Lunar foam (13% better energy return, to be exact) but after three pairs of Nike Reacts I should note I still find the Lunar to be superior performance-wise, although admittedly less durable. Still, I reckoned the Fly’s carbon plate alone was enough of a step up from my beat-up trainers that I could hopefully gain a bit of a feel for how the technology in the new Nikes works.

 

The Flys I purchased had the flyknit upper– this is a stretchy, skin-like material that offers little support, and given the already massive 33mm heel and 10mm drop, I had both the confidence and shakiness of a baby deer as I took my first steps. Right away the plate made itself known to me, thrusting me forward onto my toes in a pronounced manner. When not on my toes, however, I felt as if I would fall right off the back or side of the narrow, tapered heel, and my perpetually weak ankles voiced their concerns to me. And then I stepped out the door and began to jog, and guess what? The shoe still felt terrible. It felt slow; the cushion slushy at best; the support nonexistent. I doubted I could take a turn at any speed above a trot without rolling an ankle. Perhaps I’d been had. Maybe all the performance talk was simply marketing fluff. I thought about calling it quits, but what good would this do for an article? So after a 10 minute warm-up, I picked up the pace (expectations now tempered) and the most extraordinary thing happened, and the best way to describe the shoe’s transformation is to tell a story.

I’ve always loved sports cars, and as a kid I devoured magazines- Car & Driver, Sport Compact Car, Dupont Registry, and any other magazine the local Barnes and Noble might have in hand. I had two posters on my wall: the Ferrari 360 Modena (which I’ll admit has not aged well) and the delightfully absurd Lamborghini Countach. However, my Countach dreams took a hit when I read a reflection upon on it in Car and Driver. The car, the reviewer ventured, was best left as a poster on the wall. In real life the entry, via scissor door, is awkward for a normal-sized human, the air conditioning barely works, and the windows don’t roll down, meaning the cabin gets boiling in no time at all. Moreso, the foot-well is so cramped it doesn’t allow room for a shoe larger than 10.5. The list went on and on. Years later I drove one, and while all of this was in fact true, the journalist had left something important out. Above 30 miles per hour the car took on a life of its own. The steering tightened, the car began to feel agile, and everything came together in a wonderful harmony: the sounds of the road, the feel of the suspension, the shriek of the engine. Simply put, what the reviewer had failed to note was the fact that this car was not meant to be driven slowly.

So I ran at what I believed to be roughly 7:30 pace, and the shoe began to feel really good on my feet. Then my watch beeped at 800 meters and I was surprised to see I was running nearly 45 seconds quicker per mile than I had aimed for. And it just felt so effortless! The shoes were doing the work, it seemed, and I was just along for the ride. Without consciously focusing on it, my stride seemed to change to adapt to the shoe. I now had more of a back-kick and less knee lift than before, while my arm-swing also shifted, with a less-pronounced back-swing or ‘drive’.  My arms stayed high and tucked into my chest in their motion- perhaps I needed less energy to propel myself forward than in the past, I surmised. There are already a few studies on efficiency changes with the shoes–and here I should iron out the first of the misconceptions of the shoes- Nike’s ‘4%’ dubbing does not refer to a time improvement, but rather to efficiency gain, and there is massive difference between the two– but none had covered the changes in arm carriage that would occur. I’d imagine this leads to far less oxygen expansion, especially for someone such as myself whose form normally consists of a nauseating amount of arm flailing and shoulder rolling.

Now we move on to the issue of energy return. I’ve dealt with problems on my left side for many years now: broken feet and toes, stress fractures, hamstring issues, even a hernia, and as a result I’ve begun to favor that side when running. I’ve gone so far as effecting a pronounced limp, dipping my left hip upon impact to lessen the forces on that side in a way not too dissimilar from the triathlete Lionel Sanders. I know I do this, but I couldn’t help it, at least until these shoes came into play. The massive cushioning and energy return meant that (and here I should make note of a second misconception: that energy return is not energy creation, but rather a bit less energy ‘lost’) for the first time in years, I was able to actually push my left foot into the ground with force and then drive off of it, rather than babying it for fear of bone pain. Immediately I was aware of a strength and efficiency I couldn’t remember feeling, at least not in the last 10 years. However, there was a downside to it: long neglected muscle groups immediately began to make themselves known to me, and the entire front or shin area of my left leg cramped.

I wasn’t going to let a seizing muscle stop this fantastic experience, so I kept running, and in doing so dropped the pace further. The shoes felt better and better the quicker I ran, and Strava had my next mile at 6:20. For nearly an additional hour, in a state of blissful, pain-free exuberance, I continued doing one mile loops, floating across the ground with an ease and practiced efficiency that was entirely foreign to me. Eventually I decided to call it a day before something went wrong. I was absolutely euphoric that night. Imagine running pain-free for the first time in 6 years, and being rewarded with a 10-mile PR to boot, but with the legs feeling as fresh as if I’d taken an off day!

Final Thoughts

I’ll admit I am at times prone to hyperbole, but I am also a cynic at heart. Prior to trying the shoes out, a part of me did suspect all the studies and hype were part of a fantastical, exaggerated effort by Nike (remember, this is the company that made people believe that Nike Shocks, possibly the hardest and least forgiving running shoes ever made, were squishy and even ‘bouncy.’)  But what I experienced –and remember, this was with a cheap, watered-down version of the shoes– was nothing short of extraordinary.

It has been noted there are responders and non-responders to these shoes, and there is zero doubt I am a responder. To what % I improve from the shoe I am unsure, but here is what I will say: my heart rate in the Zoom Flys is the same while running 7:30 miles as it is at 8:05/mile pace in my usual daily trainers, the Lunartrainers, and that is truly extraordinary- although it may speak more to the extent my atrocious running economy limits me than anything else.

I reckon the people who will benefit the most from this technology are those in a similar position to me: iffy form, a history of injuries, and heavy. Studies have echoed this, showing a more pronounced benefit for ‘average joe’ runners as opposed to elites.  However, to that point, I will caution that the Zoom fly is so stiff that at any pace slower than perhaps 7:30 per mile the plate will cease to perform its duty and the ride will become sloppy and unresponsive, so perhaps for slower runners the shoe would be best suited for tempo and speed days.

Nike claims its shoes are reducing injuries, and while there is evidence that stride changes from new stack heights may bring with them their own slew problems down the road –particularly Achilles issues, see Galen Rupp or Gwen Jorgenson and their Achilles surgeries– I’d reckon they aren’t too far off with this claim. My takeaway: ban them or don’t on the professional circuit, that’s none of my business. But please leave the technology for the rest of us; the aging, beaten-down hobby-joggers who just want to get out for a glorious, pain-free run from time to time.


¹Yes, we’re aware other brands are creating competitors with similar technology. As of now I have yet to see any come close to Nike in terms of performance, but more importantly, none are available in my market as of this writing. But if you’re avoiding Nike, by all means at least try out a competitor such as Hoka or Saucony

Hoka One One Speedgoat 4

 

As much as I loved the Hoka Evo Jawz and the Hoka Challenger ATR 2, it is a mystery to me why I took so long to finally get a pair of Speedgoats. I had heard so many good things about them from friends, but I suppose the focus has been OCR shoes with massive lugs for deep mud like the VJUSA Family or the Inov8 MudClaw.

However, I often run on regular trails and streets near home, and need something that can handle a lot of miles.

Hoka One One Speedgoat 4 Features

Mesh Upper  – Makes upper more breathable than previous version.

Wider Forefoot and Toebox– For those that need a wider shoe.

The Meta Rocker Style- A reason runners typically buy this brand of shoe. From the Hoka website “Meta-Rocker geometry, or wheels for your feet, drives the runner forward and complements the runner’s normal gait cycle”

Hoka One One Speedgoat 4 Usage

Took this shoes everywhere from the streets in front of my house to some of my favorite state parks. I also brought them down to Jacksonville, for the Spartan Containment Trifecta of the SpartanTrail, OCR, and DekaFit.

Hoka One One Speedgoat 4 Durability

After 300 miles, the only part that has worn down is the back corner of the heels. I am a heel striker, so that happens with all of my shoes if I am running on lots of concrete. However, the rest of the shoe is holding up fantastically. No major wear and tear damage to upper, lining, or midsoles.

Hoka SpeedGoat 4 Review

After 310 miles, these shoes are dirty, but still sturdy.

Hoka One One Speedgoat 4 Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Can go “both ways”. It’s a great trail shoe and lugs that can be run on street if need be.
  • Width is dare I say perfect. I almost always have to go 1/2 size up in running shoes, which can often cause problems with the rest of the shoe. Got this in my “true to size” of 11 and simply love the feel.
  • Balanced Cushion – Like Goldilocks said “These are jusssst right”. In the middle of the Evo Jawz and The Bondis, we get a great middle ground of cushion.

Con

  • Not ideal in super wet conditions. The Florida swaps were bad news for this shoes. However, there is a waterproof GoreTex version, I am looking to get my hands on.

Similar Products

Reebok All Terrain Super 2.0Reebok All Terrain SuperSalomon Speedcross 3Inov-8 X-Talon 212
Weight234 g229 g310g280 g
Heel Drop5mm5mm9mm6mm
Grip3/16"3/16"3/16"1/4"
Metal StudsNoNoNoNo
Price$100.00$75.00$80.00$120.00
ORM ReviewYesYesYesYes
BuyAmazonAmazonAmazonAmazon

Hoka One One Speedgoat 4 Conclusion

I love these shoes. They are my current favorite trail shoe and I will be ordering a new pair as soon as possible.



Matt B. Davis

is the host of the Obstacle Racing Media Podcast and the author of "Down and Dirty-The Essential Training Guide for Obstacle Races and Mud Runs". He is also the only (known) #wafflehouseelite obstacle racer.

Latest posts by Matt B. Davis (see all)


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Mud Titan 12 – Another Race Coming Out Of Covid-19 Hibernation

OCR is back! Yes, you read that correctly. The State of Florida has opened up and allowed a pair of races to take place on the weekend of June 13th. I traveled all the way down from Illinois to Plant City, Florida to take on the Mud Titan 12 course and it didn’t disappoint.

This was one of the first post Covid races to take place so I’ll explain some of the things that have changed before getting into the course breakdown. First thing I noticed was that in the festival area everything was spaced very far apart with hand sanitizer stations situated throughout.

Secondly, the race packet you received had your medal inside, saving someone from having to get close to you after the race to put it around your neck. Post-race refreshments were self-serve to further limit personal interaction. I even think they spaced the parking out some on purpose. In fact, the only two times people were packed together was while waiting in line to retry failed obstacles, and at the starting corral.

Since the race was chip timed I solved the social distancing problem in the corral by waiting in the back and letting everyone leave before I did.  But once you started the race there was nothing placed along the way to disinfect your hands until you finished, although I’m guessing that if you were concerned about getting sick you wouldn’t have been there in the first place.

Mud Titan released racers out onto the marshy trail for about half a mile, where the only obstacle encountered was a set of hurdles. This served to thin out the herd before crossing a creek and heading into the woods which was thick with mosquitos and Spanish moss. A rope traverse over that same creek provided the first of numerous agility tests. A set of over/under/through barriers was then placed along the soft trail leading up to the first wall climb of the day. This wall was a 10 footer with a few feet of rope dangling down over the edge for assistance. A 10 rep box jump onto a tractor tire was the next functional movement along the trail followed up by an inverted cargo net traverse.

I personally found this much more difficult than the normal inverted wall because the net moved, leaving you nothing solid to brace your feet against. Still in the woods now, Titan then suspended ropes down from a tree branch and placed boxes on each side. The goal being to grab the rope and “Tarzan” from one box to the other while sticking the landing. This was tougher than it looked and ended up being fun!

Balance tests made up the next two obstacles, the first being a teeter totter, the second made up of board’s zig zagging and laid on the ground vertically. After the balance test Titan decided to test your grip. First, by making you traverse from one side of a wire placed horizontally between two trees to the other. Two rings were placed on the wire, requiring you to torque your body in different directions to get the rings to slide while a rope climb made up the second grip test.

The trail now lead back into the festival area where racers were greeted by a giant warped wall. Your way down was made wet and slippery by a water slide, and having wet hands was not what you wanted at that point in the race as the Titan rig was next up. This rig set-up proved to be difficult even with dry hands as a mixture of rope, balls, straight pipes, and monkey bars tested even the most experienced racer. Hope you had some skin left on your hands because the next obstacle was another rig, this one using only rings.

The last three obstacles not only tested whatever grip strength you had left, but also your agility as the next traverse consisted of a series of low rings and suspended planks with tiny foot holds at the bottom. This reminded me of obstacle Savage Race has, only this one was made tougher because there was two support beams in the middle that you also had to negotiate your way around.

A side to side hop, like you would find on American Ninja Warrior’s floating steps, led you to the last obstacle of the day. This was a type of stairway rig with a rope and ring placed at the top to get you from one side of the stairs to the other, and it was suspended over a pool of water. Most of us just stumbled to the finish line after that, luckily it was placed just a few yards away.

Mud Titan offered a Competitive wave with awards, an Open wave, and a small kid’s race. I found the 5K course to be extremely challenging. With all the overhead rigs and no heavy carries I felt it was a course that benefited smaller, lighter weight athletes.

Not that larger athletes wouldn’t enjoy it, because I certainly did. I also feel this was one of the better permanent OCR facilities that I have been to and would come again. All obstacles felt sturdy and were manned by volunteers, and plenty of photographers were on hand to film your physical battles. So, if you are looking for a smaller race that offers you plenty of bang for your buck I’d highly recommend this one!

Results can be found here and here.

KitBrix CityBrix Review

CityBrix Review Before

I first became aware of Kitbrix back in 2016, where I gave the standard Kitbrix Bag a glowing review, and published this hilarious and informative video.  I’ve been using these bags ever since, and got another one for my wife to use as her gym bag.

Since I had such success with the sport version of the KitBrix, I wanted to give the “business end” of the brand a try with the KitBrix CityBrix.

KitBrix CityBrix Features

Large Laptop Carrier  – Separate side loading section for laptop/tablet up to 17 inches.

Gym Locker Section – Ability to keep your hardware (work) separate from your software (play). If you know what I mean. And I think you do.

Sturdy AF – Just like it’s predecessor, it’s a workhorse that stands up to race day abuse. The outside materials are made from ballistic nylon outer material. The aqua seal zippers never leave me with a doubt, and the base is actually waterproof.

CityBrix Review Packing

KitBrix CityBrix Usage

I often carry this bag with me to race locations. I need a bag that can hold all my gear, and allows me to stay the nimble fairy that I am. It has the ability to store my laptop, chargers, extensions, podcast recording equipment and more on any given day. You may have even seen me wearing this on race day, zipping by to grab a mid obstacle Instagram post or snag a finish line interview.

Since it’s black and sleek, I can also use this bag for everyday office use.

KitBrix CityBrix Durability

Kitbrix products are nothing if not solid. As stated in the features, these things are built to last. Even with everyday use, I predict this bag lasting a long time.

CityBrix Review With Laptop

KitBrix CityBrix Pros and Cons

Pros

  • Lots of roomy compartments. If in a hurry, I can shove everything in at once, or if I take my time, I can organize like crazy.
  • Work and play capability. Can leave your house for 12 hours and would have everything you need for a physical activity, plus all of your work stuff.
  • Even more compartments. Yes I am listing this twice, as there are so many ways to separate and keep track of things.
  • Standup waterproof base. It can stand up on its end, rather than laying flat. This is safer for my equipment, and also saves room when need be.

Cons

  • Can think of something I don’t like about this bag. I suppose if you want a color other than black, it’s not for you.

KitBrix CityBrix Conclusion

I love the CityBrix, and it has been my go to “work bag” since I first received one two years ago. At $135, its $130 less than a GR1, a bag that many in the OCR/Ruck community use for similar situations. It will be going on our next “Gear To Have List”.

Check out all of the KitBrix products at KitBrixUSA.com.

CityBrix Review Walking

 

Disclaimer: Some of the links that ORM uses are affiliate links. They help pay for our operations. However, all race and product reviews are independent, and our opinions are our own.

Spartan Race in Alviera, Philippines


Spartanrace-Philippines-Jeep-Finish-line
Spartan Race announcement that the spartan race will relocate due to the eruption of Taal volcano in the Philippines. The race venue was located near Batangas, and now is moved to Alviera, just 2 hours north of Manila. Although there is the corona virus outbreak, the Spartan Philippines event is still happening. Spartan Vietnam didn’t happen the week prior, so I’m super excited I got to race here in the Philippines. Spartan Philippines is part of the South East Asia Series (SEA) but this race was not part of that Regional Series.

Spartanrace-Philippines-Terrain

This was a sold out event. There were approximately 4500 participants on February 22. There was the Super, Sprint, and Trail with  2300, 1900, and 300 people respectively. The day started with the Super in the early morning, followed by the Trail race and then the Sprint. It was a really warm day so the shade was your friend, I couldn’t get enough of it. It began to get really hot and definitely affected the speed of the racers.
The Super and Trail were competitive with Elites and Age Racers. Sprint was only available in the Open category. Additionally, there was a 4 hour hurricane heat later in the afternoon.

To start, the festival area was really well laid out. Not too big, not too small. Everything was within a close distance. Think of it as a big circle you can walk around and within. There was a food area along with marketing and sponsored tents. Then the entrance beside the Merchandise. There were really unique things you can buy at the merchandise including the face mask with the spartan logo, the new spartan hats (very cool) and spartan coasters! They posted a merchandise list with costs around the tent so this was very convenient. As you move towards the other side of the circle there is bag check, along with tents for changing. Showers nearby the medical tent. Results and podium tracking. And lastly a training area held by Philam Vitality in the center.

Spartanrace-Philippines2020-MerchDuring the race there are plenty of water stations. Philippines is being proactive and not using plastic cups. It is the racers responsibility to provide a cup or Camelbak. I just tilt my head and let water fall into my mouth straight from the source. That’s the first time I saw no cups at the races, so this was really cool.

Spartanrace-Philippines2020-Spearthrow

Next, the terrain varies from sandy runs to fields to some stream running and dirt, and finally hills with sand and uphill roadways. It felt like a fast race. The Super fastest times were in the 50’s minutes. The Super was 10km with 200m of elevation gain.
The obstacles were really similar to the ones from USA or Canada. Their spear throw I believe was better because they used a black foam pad instead of hay. The obstacles included a sandbag carry, bucket carry, cargo nets, spear, atlas carry, Hercules hoist, short and tall walls, Irish tables, sled drag, a-frame, and multi-rig with mostly rings.

spartanrace-philippines2020-philamvitalityLastly, Spartan Philippines was sponsored by Jeep (i love my wrangler), Merrell, and Philam Vitality. Merrell had multiple tents and advertising. Even when running past the course while carrying the sandbags there were big letters spelling out Merrell.  Also they had great sales for shoes up to 50% off therefore I got myself some Bare Access Flex shoes. 🙂

Spartanrace-Philippines2020-MerrellIt was a pleasure and look forward to more SEA races!