New Balance Vazee 2090 Review

It’s been a while since I’ve done a shoe review on the blog, but thanks to Strava and the Back Half Challenge, I have a cool, new pair to tell you about.

img_1779I have never worn New Balance shoes before, but I wasn’t going to say no to a free pair! Not having much experience with the brand, I turned to their website and focused on picking out a speed shoe. I like the cushioning of the Saucony Kinvara for my distance runs so I wanted to pick something different. Enter the New Balance Vazee 2090.

New Balance Vazee 2090 ReviewAt $150, they are a pricey shoe, but given that New Balance was treating me to a free pair, I obviously didn’t mind. 😉

According to New Balance,  the shoe is “…Powered by Nitrogen-infused N2 foam and REVlite cushioning, this women’s running shoe delivers a light and responsive ride mile after mile.” It weighs in at 8 oz. It has a 6 mm drop (the Kinvara has a 4 mm drop for reference).

New Balance Vazee 2090 ReviewI’ll admit – one of the big draws of these shoes for me was their design. I liked the patriotic red and blue, and they also have subtle gold stars along the toe. Remind me to save these shoes for a 4th of July race!

One of the other unique features of the Vazee 2090 is its “midfoot saddle”. This is the red to blue gradient section in the middle.

New Balance Vazee 2090 ReviewIn most of the other sneakers I have worn, the upper has wrapped all the way from the toe around the heel. With the Vazee 2090, the saddle is a separate piece, allowing it to wrap more snugly around the midfoot. I liked the cozy fit, and felt like it held my foot very securely especially during speedwork.

Vazee 2090 Review | 2 Generations RunningThe toebox is pretty roomy – a big bonus for me with my history of black toenails. While I seem to be able to get by with a 10 in some running sneakers, I opted for the 10.5 with this pair, not wanting them to be too tight and this was definitely the right choice. They fit like a dream.

New Balance Vazee 2090The ride of the Vazee 2090 is very different than my Kinvaras. They are not the bouncy, cushioned shoe I prefer for higher mileage. But for speedwork, they deliver a perfect, responsive ride. Would I wear these for a marathon? No, but a 5k? Yes, definitely.

Design: A

Fit: A+

Price: C 

Ride: B+ (good for speedwork, but I wouldn’t want to run double-digit mileage in these shoes).

Do you have a shoe you reserve for speedwork? Ever run in New Balance before? 

Why I Switched from MapMyRun to Strava

You may remember I did a post a while back on all the perks of using MapMyRun to track my running routes. I was a dedicated MapMyRun user up until this winter when I started getting kind of annoyed by the app.

Why I Switched from MapMyRun to Strava | 2 Generations RunningIt’s always been clear that the paces/distances covered are slightly off between my Garmin and the app (with the app generally indicating longer distance and faster splits), but as my runs got longer with marathon training, it got crazy. MapMyRun would be off by as much as 2 miles on my 20-milers! In the already fragile mental state that comes with running 20+ miles, this got really annoying. Hearing the voice feedback from MapMyRun that I had hit 20 miles when I was actually only at mile 18 was semi-heartbreaking. After experiencing that a few times, I had had enough.

I had heard good things about Strava from a few different runners, so I decided to try it. After using it for the past 5 or so months, I have to say I am a complete convert. It’s not a perfect fix from the issues I experienced with MapMyRun, but it makes up for those shortcomings by being excellent in other areas.

The Pro’s of Strava:

  • The segment leadership boards. As a pretty competitive person, this is my favorite feature. It’s so fun being able to see the times in which other Strava users ran the same routes and see where you stack up. I was pretty stoked to top the leaderboard on the 5k course I ran on Sunday, even with a time that’s not my best!!!

Strava Leaderboard

  • You can search for segments in your area which can help you find new running routes to try out.

Strava Leadership Boards | 2 Generations Running(As you can see, you can also obtain “Premium Leaderboards” by paying for the app which further break down the segment leaderboards. A cool feature, but frankly I’m content with the level of data I get with the free version).

  • It shows how you are trending on certain routes – faster or slower.
  • The general data presentation is better than on MapMyRun. It shows your mile splits, average pace, route, elevation profile, and pace analysis (see below).

Strava Review | 2 Generations Running(The pace analysis screen from a speed workout I did last week. You can see where I slowed wayyy down in between sets.)

  • Strava can also be used for recording biking. I’m not really big into cycling so I don’t use this feature, but I know it appeals to a lot of other folks.

The Con’s of Strava:

  • As a pretty competitive person, knowing I am using the app can make it pretty tempting to run my easy runs a little too fast because I feel like I’m racing other Strava users. And there is something that bums me out about having the app tell me I just ran my route slower than usual (even if that was the whole point of the run!)
  • I don’t think it’s really any more accurate in recording distance than MapMyRun was. It still seems to be off a little bit from my Garmin. For example, on my last 22 mile training run, Strava recorded it as 23.3 miles. Obviously, these issues are magnified on longer runs. For anything under 10-15 miles, it seems to be fairly good.
  • It still has challenges, much the way MapMyRun does, but I have yet to receive any discounts to running/athletic apparel brands the way I did with Under Armour through using MapMyRun.
  • It’s a little easier to “add gear” (like running shoes) in the MapMyRun app for the purposes of tracking mileage. You can do it through Strava, but not through the app (you have to log on and do it through your PC).

Overall, I think Strava appeals to me because I have gotten more serious and competitive with running over the past year. I love racing, and Strava can help turn any run into a race if you decide you want to try to claim the top of a leaderboard. It also has more of a Facebook-esque/social media vibe to it, in that it has a feed that will show the most recent runs of other runners who you are connected with (so you can do a little creeping on the training of your super speedy arch nemesis!)

Do you use Strava or a different running app? Do you experience issues with it being off from what your GPS watch records?