Under the microscope this month are the latest sports watch from Garmin, a new shoe from Asics and a seamless sports bra from Odlo. Let’s see how they fared.
Asics Gel-Nimbus 20
The Asics Gel-Nimbus is a shoe that has stayed very true to its roots over the 20 years that we’ve seen them on our shelves. With a 10mm drop for men, and 15mm for women, and designed with a cushioned heel, the Nimbus 20 also has the flytefoam midsole introduced on last year’s Nimbus 19. In fact, there’s not a lot of updating from the last shoe to this new line, outside of an updated upper mesh, which allows for more comfort and some resizing of the toe box, which many people found too narrow before now. But, for many of us, this technical information is nice to know but not as important as comfort and feel when out on the road. The Nimbus 20 performs admirably compared to the Kayno, Glycerin or Wave but they still have the feel of an old-style running shoe being well padded, stiff, comfortable but very firm. Coming in at a reasonably light at 305g, they will suit a wide range of runners for longer day-to day-running and training. The Nimbus 20 is very much a steady-as-she goes, neutral, middle-of-the road shoe that will appeal to previous Nimbus owners. My first ever ‘proper’ runners were Nimbus 14s and I loved the 20s. They’re solid and they’ll keep you going for hundreds of miles, but maybe the Nimbus 20 is missing technological advancements other manufacturers have introduced.
Garmin has a tag line – Beat Yesterday – and when it comes to new activity trackers, it seems they like to practise what they preach. The Vivoactive 3 Music is a lovely watch and it needs to be, because it has pitched itself firmly in competition with the much-lauded Apple Watch in terms of functionality, design and practicality. With 5mb of storage (500 songs), it can accommodate plenty of music for your long run and simple file transfer for both android and iOS users mean that even the most technologically inept users will be able to manage this handy feature. Set up is simple. Five minutes out of the box, a quick sync to the Garmin Connect app and you are ready to go. With Connect, Garmin allows the user to not just control their watch but control their training, managing post run details as well as having the ability to pre plan sessions. Plan your run, send it to your Vivoactive 3 and then go out without having to concentrate on pace, laps, times or distance, the watch tells you what to do and when. The Vivoactive 3 isn’t just a running watch, it contains more than 15 preloaded sports apps covering yoga, running, swimming, strength training and many more. That is all well and good, but why no open-water swimming function? I suspect that it is probably because triathletes are well catered for with other Garmin units, but I think Garmin missed a trick there. Other Garmin multisport watches could learn from the Vivoactive design. Single-button management, touch-screen functionality and perfect for day-to-day use. This watch is a step up from what came before it. Do I have a gripe? Yes. As a watch, you’ll get up to seven days’ life out of it but go for a run with GPS and music on and you’ll get just five hours. But don’t let that put you off. If you want an activity tracker that you can wear in the office and on your lunchtime run then the Vivoactive 3 Music is the one for you – it is a super watch.
A good, solid, middle-of-the road shoe RRP: €180
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