Tuesday, March 13, 2012

First impression: Spira Stinger XLT's

Float like a bee?
Today's run (treadmill): 25 minutes

Yesterday I posted about two pairs of mystery shoes and last night I got to try on the first pair. They are lightweight running shoes from a company called Spira, based in El Paso, TX. Spira shoes contain something called "Wavespring Technology" where specially designed springs are embedded within the mid-sole to enable better energy return to runners and walkers.

The shoes I received are Spira's performance model, called Stinger XLT. I think they are called Stingers because (with their bright yellow and black highlights) the shoes resemble a bumble bee. I don't judge shoes on the way they look, but people who like their running shoes to be noticeable will not be disappointed.

I took the XLT's out of the box and had two reactions. First was, "That looks like a lot of shoe, I'll bet they're heavy." After picking them up I thought, "How can a shoe containing metal springs be this light?" I put one on my foot and was pleased with the comfortable foot bed. It's a well cushioned shoe and while I usually prefer the other end of the spectrum (Saucony Hattori's), I appreciated the comfortable fit.

I'd asked for size 11's, 1/2 size up from what I usually wear, because lately I've had issues with tight toe-boxes. The XLT's fit me well and the toe-box was fine. A quick run around the house reinforced that, lots of room, but no slippage. I checked the morning's weather and it said rain, so I decided to try my first run on the treadmill.

After two relatively long runs over the weekend, my feet were a little sore and the XLT's provided a nice cushioned base. The Wavesprings do not create a "moon-bounce" effect. In fact, it would not be obvious to someone that this shoe contained any special technology. The XLT's do provide a decent response though, not unlike my Brooks GTS 10's in their early days.

The shoes performed very well on the treadmill. They moved naturally with my foot, felt stable and returned good energy. I couldn't test the predicted 15 sec/mile improvement communicated to me by Andrew B. Krafsur, Spira's founder, but I found it surprisingly easy to maintain a sub 9:00/mile pace once I got going.

I'm planning to try the shoes on the road tomorrow morning. If they perform well I'll use them for at least one of my long runs this weekend. My most popular post is titled "Tubes, zig-zags, bounces, shocks and resistors" which is about gimmicky running shoes that fall short of expectations. So far (and surprisingly), the Stinger XLT's appear to be the real deal.

1 comment:

  1. Very interesting article, thank you for sharing.

    ReplyDelete

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