The 2021 Fresh Brew Awards

Welcome to the 2021 Fresh Brew Awards, where I give my favorite (and least favorite) things in the running universe in 2021. It’s been an eventful year, so why not hand out some illustrious awards to close out another year around the sun? Below is my video, but the full awards show is written out below. Enjoy!

Running YouTuber of the Year

The 2021 Fresh Brew YouTuber of the year is Stephen Gnoza and his “Serious Runner” series. Part of the reason I started making videos was because I was frustrated with the deadpan self-importance of much of the running video content I found. Stephen’s satirical videos take some of that overly serious content to task, with classics such as “A Serious Runner Does an Easy Run” and “A Serious Runner Posts on Instagram” among others.

Running Podcast of the Year

The 2021 Fresh Brew Podcast of the year award goes to the Six Minute Mile Podcast. Mostly known as an informative and entertaining email newsletter, the podcast version also strikes that balance. With interesting and fun conversations, this pod was my favorite in 2021.

Worst Intersection of the Year

If you’ve followed my content, you know I am in constant disdain over the lack of pedestrian-friendly infrastructure in the Metro Detroit area. This city was built for cars, and cyclists, walkers, and runners are clearly an afterthought. So this award goes to the worst of the worst intersection. Congratulations to 6th and Main Steet in Royal Oak for taking the award this year. Main Street is a busy thoroughfare and this intersection is quite challenging t cross. Instead of a traditional pedestrian crossing, stop sign or stop light, there’s a tiny “yield to pedestrians” sign in the middle of the road that approximately every car ignores. It’s dangerous, hard to cross, and the winner for the worst intersection of the year.

Most Runner-Friendly City

This year’s runner-friendly city (based on my own personal observations) is Ferndale, MI. As I mentioned earlier, Metro Detroit isn’t the friendliest area for runners, but at least Ferndale is trying. From dedicated bike lanes, to real pedestrian crossings, to drivers who actually pay attention to us peons running in the streets, Ferndale is putting in more effort than most cities. Of course there’s work to be done (like making it less of a dangerous journey to cross Woodward), but congrats to Ferndale.

Running Route of the Year

The Fresh Brew Running Route of the Year goes to the Riverwalk in Detroit. I made a video about this, which you should watch, but a few highlights are the fact that you don’t have to deal with cars, the scenery of the city and the river, and the accessible bathrooms. Congratulations, Riverwalk.

Running Tech of the Year

The winner for Running Tech of the Year goes to the Whoop Strap. This wearable fitness tracker measures strain, recovery and sleep, and a myriad of data points in between. For runners specifically, I most like the fact that it will help you gauge whether you are fatigued or just unmotivated about getting out of bed and running in 33-degree weather. It can also help you track different things that impact your workouts and recovery. For example, if I don’t wear blue-light-blocking glasses at night, my sleep is much worse. If you’re serious about your training, I highly recommend this product.

Second Place Finish of the Year

The winner for the Fresh Brew Second Place Finish of the year goes to me, for my second-place finish at the Volkslaufe 10K in July this past year. It’s my awards show after all, right? Congrats to me. Check out my vlog here.

Volkslaufe Trophy

Coffee Shop of the Year

This is the Fresh BREW Run Club after all, so the award for the 2021 Coffee Shop of the Year goes to Desert Oasis in Royal Oak, MI. The winner of this category not only has to have great coffee (they do), but also excellent vibes inside the shop (they also do). It’s a great place to grab a fresh brew, sit down by the window and do your thing on a laptop or read a book. Congrats, Desert Oasis.

Brew of the Year (Coffee)

The 2021 Fresh Brew Coffee Brew of the year goes to Nespresso’s Intenso coffee. I am a big fan of Nespresso, and in my opinion, this is their best work. It’s bold, pairs well with a little splash of creamer and will give you that caffeine boost needed to power through a long run. Congratulations, Intenso.

Nespresso Intenso coffee
Via Nespresso

Brew of the Year (Beer)

For after your run, the 2021 Beer Brew of the Year goes to the Mr. Blue Sky Raspberry from Griffin Claw. This Wheat Ale is a spin on their popular original Mr. Blue Sky, but this time with a raspberry twist. Perfect for a hot summer day in the backyard, or on a patio somewhere. Buy it here.

Runner of the Year

The Fresh Brew Run Club Runner of the Year award for 2021 goes to Craig Engles. The FBRC is all about having fun, good vibes, and cracking some jokes, and Craig embodies this mentality. Funny, honest and quite fast, it was great seeing Craig get some national exposure to people outside of the running world (such as his appearance on Pardon My Take). The kind of runner you want to crack a fresh brew with.

Craig Engels on Pardon My Take podcast
Via Pardon My Take on YouTube

Shoe of the Year

If I learned anything from making videos this year, it’s that people care the most about my shoe reviews. So that’s why I saved this category for last in The 2021 Fresh Brew Awards. The 2021 Fresh Brew Run Club Shoe of the Year goes to the Nike ZoomX Invincible. I’ve made a bunch of videos about this shoe, so check those out for my full thoughts, but overall, I loved running in this shoe. From the massive foam cushioning, to the rocking motion when you run to the durability, this shoe has been with me for a majority of my runs this season. I dare say it has surpassed the Nike Pegasus Turbo as my all-time favorite shoe. Here’s to you, Invincible!

Thanks for reading the 2021 Fresh Brew Awards! If you haven’t subscribed to my YouTube channel, be sure to do that for more running-related content. Happy trails!

Nike ZoomX Invincible Review – First Reaction

My review of the Nike ZoomX Invincible after one run

When I first saw the Nike ZoomX Invincible, I wasn’t sure what the point of it was. Nike already has the Infinity React, a shoe designed to prevent injuries as well as the Miler React. But as time went on, it was clear that this shoe was different. Sitting on a near mountain of ZoomX foam, this shoe was a departure from the more recent React-heavy releases in Nike’s running lineup. Now, the real test of a shoe is after at least 100 miles, so things could change (and I will make another video at that point), but initially I was very impressed.

Check out my full video review below:

Nike ZoomX Invincible First Impression

Pulling these shoes out of the box, the first thing that struck me was the size of these shoes. There’s just a ton of foam and materials on them. However, when I picked them up, they seemed lighter than they look, which is probably a result of the lightweight ZoomX foam. The outsole features a single piece of cleated rubber with two pieces of rubber at the toe and heel of the shoe. The midsole is made of Flyknit, but the material seems like a slight departure from Flyknit I’ve seen in the past. It feels like a tighter weave or something. The tongue is moderately padded, and the heel collar is heavily padded, including padding on the outside, which seems like an unnecessary addition.

First run reactions

For my first run, I ran four miles at a relatively easy pace. I planned to run at 8:30, but I ended up in the 8:15 range, because I kept catching myself running faster than my goal pace without realizing it. The first thing I noticed was the cushion. You really can feel a huge difference between this shoe and others, even other shoes with ZoomX like the Pegasus Turbo. I also immediately noticed that when I landed and pushed off, the shoe almost assisted in rolling from heel/midfoot to the toe. It reminded me of the Nike Vaporfly, which relies on a carbon fiber plate to “spring” you forward. I’m not sure how long the Invincible will be able to do this, with the pliable foam, but it was noticeable right from the start of my run.

Nike ZoomX Invincible
Nike ZoomX Invicible

I’ve also had some knee soreness lately, but I didn’t feel any on my run. Could be the result of a small sample size of one run, but these at least didn’t hurt my knee. After reviewing the slow motion footage, however, I did notice a decent amount of lateral (side to side) flexing in the shoe, especially when I go around corners. This leads me to believe this might not be the next great stability running shoe. Something to keep an eye on.

Is the Nike ZoomX Invincible true to size?

The short answer is yes. I am a size 10, and this shoe feels great in a size 10. With running shoes, it is often recommended that you buy a size up, but that’s not needed here; the toe box is roomy enough to handle long runs where your feet expand. The padded heel collar hugs your ankles and can be tightened with the laces.

What is the Nike ZoomX Invincible for?

This shoe is definitely something you want to take on your long runs. It is a little on the heavier side, so I wouldn’t recommend using this as a racing shoe or for speed workouts, but it didn’t feel like a brick on my feet. Any issues with the weight of the shoe will be quickly forgotten when you feel the amount of cushion this shoe offers.

ZoomX Invincible Pros

  • Incredible cushion is unlike most running shoes. Super comfy.
  • Toe construction helps the foot “roll” into your push off.
  • Comfortable heel collar provides heel lockdown.
  • True to size.

ZoomX Invincible Cons

  • Price – At $180 retail, this is a very expensive shoe.
  • Durability questions – while I only ran in this once, I have some concerns that this might not hold up as long as my Nike React Miler. The ZoomX foam is super soft, and unclear what will happen after 300 miles.
  • Design – For the price of this shoe, I find the initial colorways kind of boring. Not ugly, but nothing that’s going to turn heads, especially compared to the Alphafly, Vaporfly and Zoom Fly. Would love to see something a little bolder.

First run verdict

Overall, I loved my first run in these shoes. They offered a level of cushion I haven’t felt before, even with the old Asics Gel Nimbus. I simply had a lot of fun running in them, and I’m already excited for my next run. It will be interesting to see how the ZoomX foam holds up after a few hundred miles, but I will be sure to provide an updated review of the Nike ZoomX Invincible. Don’t forget to subscribe to the FBRC YouTube channel so you don’t miss out!

Nike Zoom Fly 4 Official Images

Official Images of the Nike Zoom Fly 4

The first real look at the upcoming Nike Zoom Fly 4 has arrived. Check out these official images below:

Nike Zoom Fly 4
Nike Zoom Fly 4
Nike Zoom Fly 4
Nike Zoom Fly 4

Check out this first look at the Nike Zoom Fly 4

Nike’s popular Zoom Fly 3 has been in the market for a while now, and now a first look at the Zoom Fly 4 has surfaced, via the Twitter account Rolows_13. Check the first images below:

Nike Zoom Fly 4
Nike Zoom Fly 4

What is this shoe for?

The Zoom Fly 3 was Nike’s more affordable version of the Next%. While both the Zoom Fly and Nike’s higher end VaporFly and AlphaFly feature a carbon fiber plate, the Zoom Fly features the more dense React foam, instead of the lighter and bouncier ZoomX foam. If you don’t feel like shelling out $200+, this shoe is a fantastic option in the carbon fiber plate category. The shoe is built for speed, but also is durable enough to handle workouts outside of road races.

Nike Zoom Fly 4
Nike Zoom Fly 4

Zoom Fly 3 vs. Zoom Fly 4

The new version of the Zoom Fly retains the carbon fiber plate and the React foam midsole, which are key elements of the previous version. The new version features a breathable mesh upper, which looks like an upgrade from the previous shoe, which had a more solid upper. There is also a new Flyknit cuff, which should be a lightweight way to provide a little heel (or ankle) lock. The Zoom Fly 4 also features a personal favorite of mine, a heel tab to help get the shoe on. The previous model did not feature a heel tab, which can make it harder to get the shoe on.

Nike Zoom Fly 4
Nike Zoom Fly 4

Zoom Fly 4 Release Date

The previous Zoom Fly 3 came out in fall of 2019 (otherwise known as “The Before Times”), so I’d expect to see the Zoom Fly 4 late summer or early fall, just in time (hopefully) for in person road race season. I’ll post updates as I see them

What are tour thoughts on the first look at the Nike Zoom Fly 4? Leave a comment below!

Nike Pegasus 38 Official Images

Official Images of the Nike Pegasus 38

NikeTalk user TC1900 posted new official images of the upcoming Nike Pegasus 38. What are your thoughts?

Nike Pegasus 38
Nike Pegasus 38
Nike Pegasus 38
Nike Pegasus 38
Nike Pegasus 38

Here’s a first look at the Nike Pegasus 38

The Nike Pegasus 38 is the next iteration of one of Nike’s most popular running shoes. After a significant refresh with the Pegasus 37, the 38 is poised to build on that solid base without many major changes. The midsole looks to be the same, with updates to the upper.

Thanks to the Twitter account Rolows_13, we have an initial image of the shoe:

Nike Pegasus 38
Image via @Rolows_13

Redesigned Upper

Based in the leaked image, the midsole appears to be the same as the Pegasus 37, but there does appear to be a new upper. The 37 had a full mesh material on the upper, but the 38 appears to have several different materials. The Swoosh is bigger and it looks like there might be some reflective elements on the updated version.

Release Date

According to Nike, “The Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 38 releases to Nike Members April 15 in Europe, April 22 in North America and April 29 globally.”

Reactions

Some of the initial reactions from LetsRun.com were mixed:

“I like my 37 so have a good feeling about these ones” -fwnvbjkbjsd

“I don’t see the point in it myself. It is good for long slow runs but nothing else. The boston and even reebok shoes are far better (and much lighter).” -ozzyosbournesdentures

“I don’t get what they’re doing with that heel. On my Peg 37s with about 350 miles, the last 2cm or so of the heel looks untouched. There’s a decent amount of foam in the rear of the shoe that seems completely unnecessary. It’s just extra weight.” -shuffleshuffle

Click here for more shoe reviews.

Check out the Fresh Brew Run Club on YouTube.

FIRST LOOK: Nike Alphafly Ekiden

First look at the Nike Alphafly Ekiden colorway, via Protosofthegram on Instagram.

Nike Alphafly Ekiden
Nike Alphafly Ekiden Colorway

Another flashy addition to the Alphafly lineup. No release date specified, stay tuned for updates!

What do you think of this colorway? Drop a comment!

Nike React Miler – 200 Mile Review

200 miles later, the Nike React Miler remains a rock-solid everyday trainer.

Nike React Miler review
Processed with VSCO with a5 preset

Earlier this year, I reviewed the Nike React Miler after one run. After 35 runs and 202 miles, here’s my thoughts on this shoe.

I used this shoe for my easy runs and recovery runs, to take advantage of the stability and cushion when speed was not the main goal.

Pros of the Nike React Miler

Comfort is the name of the game. This was a great fit for my runs when I needed something to protect my sore feet from the pavement. There’s a lot of material between the road and your feet, and the upper locks in nicely around your foot to provide lots of stability.

This is a also a very durable shoe. Like I mentioned in my initial review, this shoe is built like a tank, with tons of cushion and a very durable upper. After runs on concrete, dirt, asphalt and grass, the upper shows almost no signs of wear.

Nike React Miler review
Nike React Miler

The outsole held up very nicely as well. Since I used this shoe on my slower runs, my heelstrike was magnified, and I have begun to wear down the heel and forefoot rubber. However, I don’t feel like the shoe is comprimised at this point, and has a lot of life left. I only noticed a few areas where the react foam had creased, which is a big contrast to other Nikes that tend to crease and eventually crumble at those stress points.

Initial signs of wear from my heelstrike

Cons of the Nike React Miler

In order to remain durable, the shoe is pretty heavy. If you’re looking for a trainer to set a PR or run speed workouts, maybe look for something with a little less mass. The materials on the upper are also not super breathable, which can result in some sweaty feet on hot days.

It’s not the lightest shoe in the world.

Verdict

I’m a huge fan of this shoe. It didn’t recive the typical Nike marketing push, but I found the Miler to be a rock-solid shoe for tackling long, easy and recovery runs. It’s a little on the heavier side, which might actually be an advantage if you rotate in a faster shoe for faster runs. Almost like baseball players taking practice swings with a donut weight on their bat before swinging the lighter, weight-free bat in the game.

Nike React Miler review

The durability of the shoe makes it agreat investment. I have no doubt that I will be able to get 400+ miles out of the shoe before I need to retire it. It’s just a solid shoe. And since it’s has been out for a while now, you can find some fantastic deals.

Overall, if you’re looking for a comfortable, stable shoe and you’re not concerned as much about speed, I highly recommend the Nike React Miler.

First Look: Nike Vaporfly Next% 2

Here’s what we know so far about the upcoming Nike Vaporfly Next% 2

UPDATE No. 2: We have official images, via NikeTalk user TC1990. More images here.

Nike Vaporfly 2
Via NikeTalk (TC1990)
Nike Vaporfly 2
Via NikeTalk (TC1990)

UPDATE: via @protoshoes on Instagram, we now have a new look at the shoe, and a possible summer 2021 release date.

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by RUNNING SHOES (@protoshoes)

Over the past year and a half, the Nike Vaporfly Next% has played a massive role in both competitive and every day running. Watch any race and you’re sure to see the signature bright pink, volt and other colors of this carbon fiber-plated shoe on at least half of the runners. Elite runners and amateurs alike have loved the shoe’s lightweight build and carbon fiber plate that supposedly accounts for a 5% improvement in performance.

It now appears as if the next iteration of the shoe will be hitting shelves at some point in the near-ish future. The first appearance of the Nike Vaporfly Next% 2 came from the Twitter account @TrackSneakLeaks, showing an updated version:

Nike Vaporfly Next% 2
Via TrackSneakLeaks

Sneakleaks also mentioned the possibility of an “OG” colorway, which pays tribute to Eliud Kipchoge’s first Breaking2 attempt:

Nike Vaporfly Next% 2
Via TrackSneakLeaks

Another post from the Instagram account @Vaporflyers gives us yet another look at they “Hyper Jade” colorway (along with a Hyper Jade colorway of the Nike Tempo Next%).

 
 
 
 
 
View this post on Instagram
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

A post shared by V A P O R F L Y E R S (@vaporflyers)

New Features

The updates to the Nike Vaporfly Next% 2 appear to mostly be focused on the upper. The Vaporweave upper material has been replaced with a mesh-like material for better breathability. There appears to be a few tweaks the the tongue and the position of the laces, moving them a little bit off-center, angling outward from the middle of the foot. There also appears to be some reinforced material along the forefoot rand.

Similarities

The shoe’s ZoomX midsole with a carbon fiber plate appears to be the same as the original Vaporfly. The overall look is similar, with a giant Swoosh on the inside of the shoe, and a smaller Swoosh near the heel.

Nike Vaporfly Next% 2 Release Date

There has been no confirmed release date, but stay tuned for updates!

Nike Pegasus Turbo Review

Nike Pegasus Turbo on foot

Here’s why Nike Pegasus Turbo is my favorite shoe of all time; a review.

I love the Nike Pegasus Turbo. This isn’t so much a shoe review, but an ode to a model that is being phased out of existence. I’ve run over 1,200 miles in various colorways of this shoe, set my half marathon PR, run the streets of Madison Heights, London and Paris in a pair of these sneakers.

The Nike Pegasus 35 Turbo was released on July 19, 2018. It was marketed as the “advanced” version of the ubiquitous Nike Pegasus. I actually switched to the Pegasus 35 that year and ran my half marathon PR. I didn’t initially buy the Pegasus Turbo to run in, I just mostly liked the way they looked, especially the “hot punch” colorway. However, I couldn’t just let this comfortable of a shoe be relegated to trips to Kroger, so I started running in them, and haven’t looked back since. Even the shoe came out over two years ago, I still wanted to share my Nike Pegasus Turbo review.

The looks

Deion Sanders once famously stated, “If you look good, you feel good, and if you feel good, you play good.” If there has ever been a shoe that’s lived up to that quote, it is the Pegasus Turbo. The most distinct feature is the bold racing stripe down the middle, which is not something you normally see on a running shoe, and reminiscent of the original Nike Miler track spike. The over-sized Nike Swoosh on both sides stands out, and even the little flare on the heel can turn heads.

Nike went all out with the colorways on this shoe, from the original “hot punch” to all kinds of unique colorways not commonly associated with trainers.

Nike Pegasus Turbo

The feel

These are the most comfortable shoes I’ve ever run in. They are a very light shoe, but also maintain enough support to be an everyday trainer. The cushion on this shoe, thanks to the ZoomX foam feels incredible. It is one of the smoothest shoes I’ve ever run in. I am also a big fan of the amount of padding on the tongue and around the heel. While many shoes are opting for thinner material in these areas (like the Pegasus Turbo 2), the padding adds a level of comfort that makes up for the increased weight it adds.

This shoe is the perfect mix of something supportive enough to be an everyday shoe, but also light enough to be something worthy of race day. In a world of increasingly specialized shoes for different distances and events, this shoe is a rare Swiss Army Knife.

Nike Pegasus Turbo

The durability?

If there’s one downside to this shoe, it is the durability. While I can easily get 400+ miles on the regular Pegasus, the Turbo starts to break down around the 300 mile mark. The most noticeable area is the outsole, which tends to wear down quickly, depending on where you strike your foot. I’m a heel striker (currently working on changing that), so I wore down the heel area first. And once you burn through the outsole rubber, the ZoomX foam gets chewed up pretty fast. Otherwise, the seams, laces insole and upper held together very well.

300 miles worth of wear.

The Pegasus Turbo 2

A year after the original Pegasus arrived, the Pegasus 2 was released. I was immediately disappointed to see the racing stripe removed in favor of a simpler design. I was further disappointed to find that the Peg 2 was basically a lighter, stripped down version of the original. The outsole and midsole remained the same, but the upper was replaced with a thinner material, removing all of the heel padding. The tongue was also replaced with a near paper-thin iteration. I found the new version to have less support and I’m not a big fan of the thin tongue. While I appreciate the effort to lighten the shoe, but I feel like it lost the comfort of the original. I still use my Pegasus Turbo 2, but mostly for speed work on the track.

The future

It turns out the Turbo 2 would be the last of the Turbo models. Nike has no plans to release a third version of the shoe, but the chatter is the new Nike Tempo Next% is a Turbo-ish replacement. While the shoe has not released in the United States, the reviews elsewhere have been generally positive.

Until that replacement comes, I plan on continuing to re-up on the original Turbo, thanks to the secondary market. While I have also enjoyed the Nike Miler, I have yet to find a shoe with the flexibility of the Turbo. My Nike Pegasus Turbo review may be two years too late, but the shoe still holds a special place on my feet in 2020.

Nike Pegasus Turbo

Have you run in the Pegasus Turbo before? Leave your review in the comments!