Skimo Co

4/8/2024 2024 Running Season Preview

2023 was a spectacular year for trail and mountain running. Who'd have predicted that Courtney Dauwalter would triple or that we would see an American male stand atop the UTMB podium? Locally, the trees in the Salt Lake Valley are starting to bloom, the days are slowly lengthening, and spring gear is overwhelming our receiving guy. So, let's jump in and see what gear is making waves in the trail running market. We present to you SkyRun's 2024 season preview!

Mmmmmmm, carbon. Biobased TPE is pretty neat, too.

Super Fast Super Shoes - Road racing has seen "super" shoes evolve for over seven years while the trail world was left in the dust. What makes things difficult for designers is finding the sweet spot for making these "cheaters" comply with the uneven terrain they will inevitably encounter. But figure things out, they have. The Agravic Speed Ultra, with TPE Trail Energy Rods, was the first to see a win at a significant 100-miler as they whisked Tom Evans to stand atop the podium Western States. A pre-production model of the Hoka Tecton X 3, which uses parallel carbon plates, helped propel Jim Walmsley to be the first American male to win at UTMB. Altra has a new offering in the super shoe category: Mont Blanc Carbon. Altra opted for a full-length Carbitex™ Monoflex carbon plate that adds propulsive qualities while providing excellent underfoot protection. Seeing how the super shoe segment evolves in the next few seasons will be exciting, for those that can keep up.

Tagged Products: Hoka Tecton X 3, Altra Mont Blanc Carbon, Terrex Agravic Speed Ultra

Where to stick your poles?

How to Stow Running Poles - In the past, one had to consider whether a running vest could accommodate poles, how well they were carried, and if the vest needed to be removed to stow the poles. In the present, we now have myriad options for bringing along your trail sticks. Salomon is leading the way in the pack accessory department with the pole quiver carry; you'd have been hard-pressed to miss them at any racing event in 2023. Joining the party, Dynafit developed an offering attached to its premier race vest and La Sportiva has re-emerged with a similar holster. While pole quivers are gaining popularity, we are also seeing people ditch their vests entirely for a more minimalist approach. It's not brand new to the scene, but the pole belt is exploding in popularity. Naked Running Bands are the cult favorite and we now have great options from Leki and NNormal. Speaking of NNormal, Kilian went a step further by sewing pole straps on his new race shorts. It's no longer to pole or not to pole; it's how you stow.

Tagged Products: Salomon Custom Quiver Pole Carry, Dynafit DNA 8 Vest, La Sportiva Pole Quiver, Naked Running Band, Leki Trail Running Pole Belt, NNormal Run Belt, NNormal Race Shorts

A+ Whole Fresh Foods by Trader Jeremy

Real Food Nutrition - We are seeing a continuing trend of fueling with more natural ingredients, ditching sugary gels in favor of "real" food. Spring Energy has been leading the way with its packets consisting mainly of fruit and rice which is much easier on the gut. Naak joined the game with their Purées, a blend of apples or sweet potatoes with oats and natural sweeteners. We've also partnered with Odd Balls, a local Utah company that uses organic ingredients and a blend of cordyceps and lion's mane mushroom powders to help with focus while providing calories. It's only a matter of time before running packs come with a charcuterie carry.

Tagged Products: Näak Energy Purees, Spring Energy Gels, Odd Balls Organic Mushroom Energy Balls, Spring Energy Meal

Fast, stable, and daring.

Speed in Uncertain Terrain - Some shoes are made for running fast and some are made for running in technical terrain, but there is a sub-category of shoes that has crept in that specializes in running fast in technical terrain. A few manufacturers have released shoes that excel on runs from 20k to 50k, whose trails look more like a battlefield than a buttery smooth single track. SCARPA has added an exciting new technical speedster with a premium offering in their Ribelle line. Dynafit has had the Alpine line of shoes, but the new Pro 2 model makes them a significant player in this burgeoning category. La Sportiva is a long-time producer of mountain running shoes, and it has a couple of trademark offerings that continue the progression. If you haven't been wowed by a video of knife-edge ridge running, you haven't enough free time.

Tagged Products: SCARPA Ribelle Run Kalibra HT, Dynafit Alpine Pro 2, La Sportiva Prodigio, La Sportiva Cyklon

No excuses for hydro-bonking.

Soft Flasks for Hard Runners - Staying hydrated is a straightforward concept, but it can also be the trickiest and most challenging task to keep on top of while running through amazing terrain. Products like Nuun Hydration or Tailwind's Rapid Hydration replace necessary vitamins and minerals lost during efforts. What do you mix these magical elixirs in, you ask? HydraPak flasks, of course. These softies have become so prominent that they are now included in running vests from not one or two, but almost every vest manufacturer. Why? HydraPak makes great products with a lifetime warranty, multiple size and shape options for neat storage, and readily available replacement parts and accessories. The trend towards soft flasks is complete.

Tagged Products: HydraPak Accessories, HydraPak, Salomon ADV Skin 12, Dynafit Ultra 12, Mammut Aenergy TR 5, Dynafit Sky 4, NNormal Race Pack

Rearranging the deckchairs.

The Shop - Thank you to everyone who helped give the SkyRun space a facelift, especially everyone's favorite warranty person, Lenny, for the colorful paintings. We broke down some shipping pallets and meticulously rid the boards and bases of nails, screws, and staples, before planing off the weathered layers and making them smooth. A few screws and nails later, along with a coating of stain, we have two beautiful shoe displays stocked with all the "super", speed, and ultra shoes you'd care to stick your feet in. Please let us know if anything is missing!

Thank you for reading; that sums up this year's season preview. Please get out there, train hard, be safe, and, most importantly, have fun!


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