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Weekend Trail-Running Gear Round Up

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The SEO 7R headlamp by Led Lenser

First Look: Ledlenser SEO 7R

Weight: 3.2 oz

MSRP: $90

Lumens: 20-220

The first thing I noticed when I took the Ledlenser SEO 7R out of the box was how light it was. And while running, the beam did not bob up and down, nor the fit was secure, required no mid-run adjustment.

With it maxed at 220 lumens, the lamp casts a wide, bright beam. The multiple settings allows you to change the beam intensity depending on the situation and location (you don’t want to blast the neighbors with such a bright light, but you certainly appreciate it on darker trails or while cruising down the shoulder of a highway).

This headlamp has two impressive features and settings that stand out. The first is the Advanced Focus System technology, which gives you the ability to adjust the beam radius (by turning a circular silver knob on the front), allowing you to switch between a long-distance focused beam to a broader, softer beam for looking at closer items (like maps, phones, etc.). The second is Ledlenser’s OPTISENSE-technology setting, which senses existing light around you and adjusts the beam automatically, tailoring to the surroundings. 

Other features include the ability to switch between full power to “power-saving” mode, signal strobe and red-light mode.

The rechargeable battery is environmentally friendly and cost efficient.

—Jacky Thompson is an avid mountain and desert trail runner. When she isn’t rock climbing, running, foraging or frolicking outside, she can be found practicing yoga and playing music.

Running headlamp
The Neo headlamp line by Ledlenser

First Look: Ledlenser NEO Headlamp

Weight: 2.0 oz

Lumens: 20-90

MSRP: $25

The NEO headlamp is my kind of headlamp—minimalist, straightforward, light, bright and… did I say light? At just under 2 oz, it’s barely noticeable. With the battery housing (three AAA batteries) in the back, the headlamp avoids unwanted bob and offers a balanced feel .

The bulb is fixed in a slight downward angle and is not adjustable. There are three settings: 90 lumens, 20 lumens and flashing-90 lumens, making this the ideal minimalist headlamp.

With a thin, soft-foam pad backing the bulb casing, the headlamp is  comfortable, and will soak up the sweat. Moonlight run, anyone?

Megan Janssen is the Assistant Editor of Trail Runner.

The Lycan by La Sportiva

First Look: La Sportiva Lycan

Weight: 9.3 oz, size 8.5 / 41

Drop: 6mm

Stack height: 18mm heel, 12mm toe

Price: $115

The new Lycan by La Sportiva raised immediate interest around the Trail Runner office, with its bright-blue midsole, bold SPORTIVA logo, black mesh upper, techy overlays and matching blue laces. Out of the box, the fit was comfortable with a roomy toebox and cushy mesh upper. It runs about a half size small, which is typical for many people in La Sportiva shoes.

The shoe has a bit of an exoskeleton design, leaving a uniform, almost seamless inner. This feature seemingly decreases blister potential on long runs that involve quick transitions over various terrain like rocks, sand, slickrock and trail. The lacing system locks in the fit and accommodated this tester’s high-instep well. 

The midsole is pronounced, cushioned and protective. The relatively low-profile outsole lugs provide security, and the practically seamless inner is excellent.

Mike Benge is the Editor of Trail Runner Magazine.

First Look: Smartwool: PhD Run Ultra Light Micro Socks

Material: 49% Merino Wool, 47% Nylon, 4% Elastane

MSRP: $16

My first impression of the PhD was that the toe and heel padding was thick compared to other running socks. However, once I put them on I didn’t notice any bulkiness, and I enjoyed having the extra padding on my toes and heels without experiencing any seam blisters or loss of circulation. If your running shoes have a tight toe box, however, the extra padding may become an issue.

Smartwool’s blend of wool and nylon is exceptionally soft and comfortable. These socks are stretchy, stay in place and even prevented my feet from feeling soggy or sweaty after an hour of running. Bonus points for not getting stinky, either.

—Jacky Thompson is an avid mountain and desert trail runner. When she isn’t rock climbing, running, foraging or frolicking outside in some way, she can be found practicing yoga and playing music.

First Look: Fits: Compression Wool Socks

Material: 49% Super-Fine Merino Wool,  37% Nylon, 10% Polyester, 4% Lyrica

MSRP: $30

Fits Compression Socks are super cozy and gentle. It was strange to wear a wool compression sock, but these were cozy and non aggressive. The compression is comfortable, yet gentle. Along with my foam roller, these are a go-to recovery tool after long days and hill repeats. These socks hug every curve of the foot and calf with no slippage even after extended use. I wore these for hours after a difficult, calf-intensive run and forgot I even had them on. They kept circulation going as well, so my feet didn’t get cold. 

—Tim Nooney runs 60 miles per week, typically with a new piece of gear that Trail Runner makes him take along and review.

First Look: Lorpen: T3 Trail-Running Ultralight Socks

Material: 40% Coolmax, 35% Tencel, 15% Nylon, 10% Lycra

MSRP: $14

The first things I noticed with the Lorpen Trail-Running Ultralight T3— a minimalist, thin sock—were the additional support through the arch and the molded feel of the sock. The arch support comes from the sock’s stabilizer wrap and (what I thought, at first, was just a sock pattern) functionally designed areas of support and protection.

The Lorpen “Dynamic Line” wraps around the heel forward, creating the molded feel. The colored circles over the ankle also provide extra protection of that tender area while dodging obstacles on the trail. These socks kept my feet extra dry on a sloppy day, in part due to the “shorty” height.

Megan Janssen is the Assistant Editor at Trail Runner.

First Look: Injinji Midweight Trail Crew

Material: 39% Coolmax, 58% Nylon, 3% Lycra

MSRP: $15

The first thing that comes to mind for many folks looking at toe socks is, “That it is going to take forever to put on my feet!” However, put your concerns to rest. These socks are awesome, and it doesn’t take that long to fit all your toes in them.

Once on your feet, these Injinji socks feel a little foreign if you are not accustomed to having material in between your toes. This may take some getting used to, but it’s worth it. They are totally seamless and soft, and  limited blister potential. The mid-weight style is great for the springtime, where the mornings are still brisk and a little extra warmth is needed.

—Jacky Thompson is an avid mountain and desert trail runner. When she isn’t rock climbing, running, foraging or frolicking outside in some way, she can be found practicing yoga and playing music.

First Look: Darn Tough Vertex No Show Tab Ultra-Light Cool Max

Material: 54% Nylon, 40% Coolmax Polyester, 6% Lycra

MSRP: $15

The Darn Tough Vertex sock is perfect for those who want soft support and mid-weight cushion. I keep my closet well stocked with Darn Tough socks, because they last forever. If I’m headed out for the weekend and don’t know the conditions, the new Vertex are my new go-to sock. The name of this sock has more weight than the actual sock and I’m a fan of the no-show height, which allows my ankles to stay cool. Despite the short height, the tab in the back keeps them from slipping below your heel pocket. 

Megan Janssen is the Assistant Editor at Trail Runner.

Salewa Ultra Train 2 Shoe

First Look: Salewa Ultra Train 2

Weight: 11.04 oz

Heel-to-toe drop: 8mm

MSRP: $139

The Salewa Ultra Train 2 is a very supportive, comfortable, all-terrain shoe, and a significant improvement over its predecessor, the Ultra Train. At first glance, the shoe seemed a bit stiff, with its supportive Michelin OCX outsole, 3F System that cinches the upper, arch and heel with one pull of the laces and stretch gaiters. However, on the trail, the shoe felt immediately comfortable.

On a Colorado springtime run—i.e. snowy, muddy, slippery—the Ultra Train 2 kept my feet warm and dry and held fast on all surfaces. Despite the aggressive tread, the mud sloughed off easily and the gaiters kept the dirt out.

Back at the trailhead, I encountered a fellow recreationalist who needed help getting his car unstuck from a bank of snow, ice and mud. As my face and shoulders got splattered with mud from his squealing tires, I couldn’t help but notice the shoes’ grip and support.

If you have a wide foot, these may not be the best fit. Otherwise, these rugged Salewas are great springtime, all-weather companions.

Megan Janssen is the Assistant Editor at Trail Runner