Thursday, June 13, 2013

Trail Running at Kemensah with Tevasphere Speed

The World of Sports recently organized a light trail run at the Taman Isi Rimba at Kemensah (near Zoo Negara at Ulu Kelang) to launch a footwear under the TEVA brand.

The shoe is known as Tevasphere Speed,  which is principally designed for outdoor trail activities and  especially in wet and slippery conditions.

We were informed that the light trail run is intended to allow us to test the shoes performance in tough off-road conditions. (Because the shoe is known to work well in muddy and slippery terrains). So we were really looking forward to try out those shoes especially in the said location as we have heard of this trail before but had never the opportunity to run there.
When we first arrived at the Kem Isi Rimba at Kemensah, it was indeed a pleasant surprise that the trail running route is actually located inside a orang asli eco-tourism village/resort, with the idea of nature conservation as it's main theme. It is located just next to Zoo Negara.

While waiting for the  reveal of the Tevasphere Speed trail running shoes, we took a peep at the shoes. Promise...just the shoes. And we noticed the most significant feature of the shoe. They have something that looked like a pair of wings!

Glenny from World of Sports explains the design concept of the Tevasphere. That the shoe is really designed for muddy and slippery environment.

And he also mentioned that the shoes has been pre-tested by the some of guides in the village, eg. our guide has been running around the jungle with the Tevasphere since a week ago.  We asked the guide later how he felt about those shoes - and we were told that he found them to be functioning really well especially in muddy terrain.

So to find out how good the shoes, we decided to really test them ourselves. So off we went into the trail. The trail runs through the forest, then into some of the fruit orchards on a distance of approximately 5km which will take approximately 45 minutes to complete. 

It started with a forest trail with a steep narrow path surrounded by bushes and bamboo trees for about 500 meters before arrived at a junction that opens up to a much more airy trail. 

But even though it is more open, the path prove to be not any easier.  Due to the rainy season a while back, the dirt track has really uneven surface due to the corrosion. So it was challenging but very suitable to test those shoes.

To make it more challenging the path runs up and down, but the clean air and beautiful green surrounding makes the challenges really worth while.  No wonder guys like Raymond Ng aka Tomatoman like trail running so much.

The further we went, the better it proves that the practicality of the Tevasphere. We observed that the shoes has a very good grip very well even on loose dirt. And very stable indeed. The 'wings' provide extra surface and provide good balance to the shoes so that it really give that extra assurance as we chase each other downhill.

And the route has plenty of scenic stop and also fantastic terrain to facilitate trail running skills development in a controlled environment.

We made multiple stops as our guide wants to make sure that nobody got lost, especially when the trail has multiple junctions.

 And while waiting we wasted no time practicing our kungfu skill on each other. Photo courtesy of Dannie Choong. 
We finally got back to the main camp after 50 minutes of full of fun trail running, with our GPS giving a reading of a 4.1km loop.

Most of the participants agreed that the shoe performed really well, but because the weather has been relatively dry, there wash't much opportunity to test them on muddy surface, but the shoe passed the test of steep slopes with loose sand. It also 'sits' very low and with the 'wings' the shoes hold on to the ground with good balance.

That day we made 2 happy discoveries.  A nice trail with moderate-hard terrain to run in and a shoe to match that rugged terrain. The location is just absolutely lovely  to run in; scenic and also challenging so it is good whether it is for leisure pace or trail run training. And I get to run with my buddies Raymond, Dannie, Chris, Carrie and many others.
As to our view of the Tevasphere Speed trail shoes: it is truely versatile and responsive 'trail' speedster that is suitable for either trail running or hiking. Fantastic grip power(can I use the term road holding?). I also read that the sole is made from Spider365 rubber - to grip well in wet environments. In terms of specification, the weight is about 9.4 oz, with the height off the ground: 23mm (heel); 19mm (forefoot) - giving a 4 mm heel to toe.

The Tevasphere Speed has a narrow fit throughout, but definitely offers more volume of space in the toe box.   Most of the testers commented that their heels fits into the shoe for a secure feel, and the unique midfoot 'wings' or support pods does provide some kind of arch support and more importantly provide a very stable underfoot platform. 

The heel area of the out-sole is sphere shaped almost like the human heel - hence called spherical heel and I will presume this design will help the heel to naturally grip onto softer ground for a better grip. 

In terms of ride, the shoe has firm cushioning, which means that the shoes does offer a very responsive ride and the support wings gave excellent stability. 

The Teva Sphere retail at RM459 and is now available in World Of Sports outlet.

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