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October 31, 2010

Catching Up With Soft Star; Cold-Weather Minimalist Running, Year-Old Slipper Updates, and Video Contest Winner

OK, that's an awfully long title ... and as the name implies, it features a few odds and ends about the Soft Star company, who I haven’t written much about recently, but who still factors quite prominently in promoting happy feet for my entire family. It’s also a precursor to another product review later in the week – but for the time being, we start with the benefits of being a slacker.

* During the summer I helped promote Soft Star’s 25th Anniversary video contest, and hinted that I might take a stab at entering the contest myself, since the grand prize - one free pair of moccasins per year for 20 years – was totally sweet. Predictably, I procrastinated about getting around to actually putting something together, and ended up not entering.

Well, in hindsight I’m glad I didn’t – because there’s no WAY I could have topped the winning entry. Some dude and his expectant wife made this artsy/cool video that nicely captures Soft Star’s laid back vibe, and even features an original song. I may have a handful of gifts, but trust me - singing’s definitely not one of them. And there’s no way I could top the voter appeal of a soon-to-be-born baby, so it was clearly a great call by me to sit this one out.

Anyway, here’s the winning video:

"I'll Go Anywhere in My Soft Star Shoes" (click to play):




* Normally when I write about Soft Star nowadays, it’s to promote the RunAmoc, which remains my favorite everyday running shoe. However, attentive readers may recall that this whole relationship started with a pair of slippers – specifically, my grippy suede Roos, which I’ve worn for almost a year and a half now –in the summer as well as the winter - and which I love every bit as much today as the day we met. They’re super comfortable, but also durable and versatile enough to use as an everyday inside/outside slipper.


Grippy suede Roo after about 16 months of wear


After about 16 months, it’s apparent that the life-limiting aspect of the slippers will be the T-Rex outsole, which provides great traction in a variety of conditions, but becomes a bit slick once it gets worn down smooth in the heel and forefoot. I’ll probably stick with them through one more winter, then get myself another pair.

The only complaint I have about them is that the all-chocolate color which used to be standard has been replaced by a brown and green model; you can still get them in all brown, but it costs a little bit extra as a custom order. Knowing how much use I’ll get out of them, I won’t mind spending a few extra bucks when the time comes.

* I mentioned at the top that Soft Star has become a family favorite; we’ve bought a few children’s moccasins, and my wife has a couple pairs of her own that she’s crazy about: one is the Tesla slipper, and the other will be the topic of its own review later this week.

* Back to the RunAmoc: now that the weather is turning colder, several people have asked my recommendation for a cold-weather minimalist running shoe. Almost invariably, my answer is to combine a good winter sock (such as my personal favorite, Drymax) with the suede RunAmoc. Temperature-wise, you’re probably good to go well below the freezing level with this setup; your main problem will be rain or slush. The RunAmoc’s suede isn’t waterproof, but it’s resistant enough to get you through the last few miles before your toes get too frosty. So if you're looking for something to keep you minimal as we head towards December, that’s what I’d recommend – at least until Soft Star’s winter RunAmoc is released, that is. (**UPDATED: They're not doing the winter RunAmoc. Maybe next year.)

* Finally, on the subject of new developments, there’s this: last month I received the following e-mail from my contact person at Soft Star:

We are working with a designer on a VERY different minimal running shoe. We’ll be looking for testers to put some miles on them mid-Novemberish… are you interested?

Needless to say, I jumped at the chance. I don’t have anything in hand yet – but as soon as I’m allowed to test or talk about anything, I’ll be sure to let you know.



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October 30, 2010

CLIF Seasonal Bar Winners; Random Shots of Beauty

Before I announce the winners of the CLIF Seasonal Bar contest, I wanted to share one more tidbit about this product that wasn't mentioned in my giveaway post - it highlights another one of CLIF's ongoing efforts to give back to the greater community around it.

With this year's batch of seasonal CLIF bars, the company is donating 1% of its net sales to the Winter Wildlands Alliance, an organization that works on behalf of skiers, snowboarders, snowshoers, and other cold-weather adventurers to address national issues which impact winter outdoor activity. So you're getting a great product for yourself, and contributing a little bit to a good cause.

Just remember that you'd better hurry up and buy them, because CLIF makes these bars in limited quantities, and they're usually gone by early December. And if your profile name is Justin Nunez, Oklahoma, or Pretend This is Real, e-mail me your address - you've won the giveaway! Thanks again to everyone who entered, and continued kudos to the CLIF company for making all this happen.

**

And now for this weekend's Random Shot of Beauty:

A pumpkin patch in a lettuce field - how very Salinas Valley.


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October 28, 2010

Ghosts of Fort Ord

A few administrative notes before today’s post ...

1) There’s still time to enter the CLIF seasonal bar giveaway contest – until 5PM on Friday the 29th – so if you haven’t done so already, get moving!

2) A handful of people have asked whether my book is available in digital format, and the answer is … Yes! It’s currently priced at $9.99 on Kindle, and $7.99 on Nook. Since these electronic versions are already available for download, they don’t have a pre-publication discount (Sorry). But those prices seem pretty fair, don’t they?

3) Today’s post is another Monterey County ghost story, similar to the one I wrote for Halloween last year. One week ago I reformatted that report for a newspaper column, and was delighted to receive an e-mail from a descendant of the family involved: a Salinas resident who invited me to her house to learn more about the people in the cemetery. I’ll probably take her up on it someday – but in the meantime, another story awaits …

**

“These are the bad lands, the worst place to fear –
Making place for the ones we left here -
They're calling, calling to say goodbye -

We’re dead in this ghost town -
You’d better let go so let go, let go of me … “
- Shiny Toy Guns, “Ghost Town” (video after post)


During all the years I’ve lived on the Monterey Peninsula, I’ve known the Fort Ord open space as the perfect location for multi-hour trail runs, as well as my son’s favorite area for riding mountain bikes. To generations of people who came before us, however, Fort Ord was something much more significant: one of the most popular and strategically critical military installations in the United States.


Established in 1917, its ideal climate and proximity to the ocean made it one of the most highly desired assignments in the Army, but Fort Ord was better known for its large expanses of land with a wide variety of terrain. It made an ideal training ground for field artillery exercises, and the base quickly became a final tune-up area for soldiers preparing for combat. At one time during the 1950s and 60s, Fort Ord had more than 50,000 troops living in its barracks.


The base was closed in 1994, but voices from its heyday still linger – especially if you follow a quiet trail beyond the eucalyptus trees towards a recreation area that used to be a gathering spot for the military families who enjoyed this location for decades.


Signs of it are hard to see at first – but as you get nearer, you encounter things that seem out of place on normal trails, such as random metal poles …


… or cages that seem designed to trap wild critters, or perhaps protect domestic ones.


Continuing on the trail, you begin to see signs that time has taken its toll here, past structures that have started to collapse …


… or are merely weathered and abandoned. On the perimeter of the recreation area, buildings like this seem to materialize right before your eyes in the middle of the brush as you round one turn or another.


In the main recreation area, several playground structures are packed more closely together – and it’s fairly clear that when this area was maintained and the weeds weren’t growing wild around everything, this would have been a pretty cool spot for kids to play …


… and if you slow your pace and quiet your breathing enough, you can almost hear the echoes of children's laughter in the breeze.


Even the military training structures would have been fair game, as this bunker seems like an awesome little fort for a bunch of young explorers who needed a spot to trade baseball cards, read comic books, or just hide from their parents for a while.


Chances are that Mom would be sitting on the benches under this gentle oak tree, whose branches reached like long protective arms to provide welcome shade on hot afternoons.


A short distance from the playground is some sort of public address tower, which might have been used to coordinate games for the men who hadn’t been shipped off to duty yet. It stands within bullhorn distance of a family picnic area …


… which is next to a basketball court that probably saw a ton of pickup action in the days before a dislodged roundabout was parked there …


… and across a field from a backstop that was likely the site of hard-fought weeknight softball games, or chaotic Saturday T-ball games.


From the top of a nearby bluff you see a sole remnant of the community that once thrived here: a military chapel that was the centerpiece of the barracks village. In the early 2000s, this area was sold to developers, and most of the barracks were bulldozed in anticipation of creating a subdivision of contemporary housing. Thankfully, the chapel was designated for preservation in the new development, which never materialized after the economy crashed.


Now all that’s left in the area thousands of families once called home are a handful of buildings that escaped the wrecking ball, and the trampled memories of all those who lived and played here many years ago.


When I run through these areas today, I find complete solitude, as it’s rare to encounter another living soul on these trails. Consequently, the spirits and voices of the past are more easily perceived, and my thoughts inevitably dwell on the people who used this area the same way I do: as a place to play, to revel in the beauty of the surroundings, and temporarily escape the stresses and rigors of daily life. I can virtually see them in my mind, and hear them saying goodbye as I make my way back through the eucalyptus trees.

From their standpoint, they don’t know if I’ll ever be back to visit again, but from my standpoint I’m certain. If only there were some way I could assure them.



**

As for the song: it’s probably one of my ten favorites from the past year … but I have to admit that the video is something of a stretch. It’s got a “Japanese manga meets the old-school Heavy Metal movie” vibe to it, and the result is probably a bit more corny than it was intended to be. But that’s just my opinion; maybe it works better for you.

Shiny Toy Guns, "Ghost Town" (click to play):



*See other photo tours under tab at top of page.



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October 26, 2010

CLIF Bar and Company Headquarters Tour; New CLIF Bar Giveaway

I know, I know … the title pretty much gives away the ending of this post, which is another cool CLIF giveaway - but like most things related to the CLIF company, there’s always a bigger and better story to tell. So along with the contest, you’re getting the story of my experience at the new CLIF Bar and Company headquarters open house in Emeryville, CA last week.

(And sure - you could just scroll down to the bottom and try your luck at winning the prize, but remember, karma doesn’t look kindly on that kind of thing.)

Earlier this spring, I compared my company HQ tour to Charlie Bucket visiting Willy Wonka’s fantastic and secretive chocolate factory: fantastic because of all the amazing things I saw there, and secretive due to the amount of information that I had to keep to myself. This time around, the fantastic was the same, but the secretive was different: basically, the whole point of us being here was to help publicize the new digs, which feature state of the art green construction and provide for even more company perks than its employees enjoyed in the previous office – which if you’ll recall, was quite a lot.

Needless to say, I was glad to be included – and with that, we’ll start the tour:


CLIF’s new 115,000-square-foot headquarters occupies a revitalized WWII-era manufacturing warehouse distinctive by its Bauhaus architectural details - or to the lesser trained eye, by all the CLIF vehicles parked in front of it. Best of all, our minivan spent two hours parked outside and didn’t get a parking ticket – which is more than I can say for our previous stop in Berkeley that afternoon, but that’s another story. We pulled up right across the street, and strolled in to join the party.


If for some reason you didn’t feel at home right off the bat, there was an open bar to help make you more comfortable. I felt just fine, but figured I was obligated to taste the wine … you know, mainly so I could report back here to tell you how it tasted. When I put on my journalist hat, I’m 100% committed.

(By the way, it was fantastic. And seemed to get better the more I had.)


We made our way to the reception area, which is notable for two reasons:

1) the wood you see here, like that used throughout the building, is reclaimed from local barns, railroad lines, and other discarded resources. Also …

2) This is where I met CLIF’s communications manager, as well as several members of their outstanding PR team. If you’re a PR company, you can't ask for a better client than CLIF – and everyone in the room seemed to know it. Also, remember what I said about how there weren’t any secrets this time?


Just in case I had trouble remembering anything, they gave me this nifty little zip drive with specs and photos that might come in handy later. In fact, a few of the photos are used in this report - I’ll indicate which ones they are.


Photo courtesy CLIF Bar and Company (See? Like that!)

Beyond the reception desk, the main office is an enormous 2-story open space, with bicycles (as well as sailboards, kayaks, and surfboards) in the air to remind you of both the company’s origin, and its “white road” philosophy that founder Gary Erickson described in his book and encourages for every member of the company.


Photo courtesy CLIF Bar and Company

The interior of the building showcases “biophilic” design which brings the outside world into the work space. Four integrated atrium gardens spread sunlight throughout the building, and allow rain to water the natural plants.


Having greenery and natural sunlight all over the place gives the impression of being outside even when you’re sitting in a meeting room – which I have to say is a pretty cool architectural effect. I guess if you have to work inside a building, this is probably the best possible situation. Especially if …


… there are free CLIF bar racks around nearly every corner, just in case you get the midday munchies. Or in my case, the mid-open house tour munchies.


This one’s kind of hard to appreciate - clicking to enlarge might help - but see those long flat panels suspended from the ceiling? They’re sound-dampening panels, made from recycled denim jeans. They absorb noise so that the workspace sounds more like a small office than an abandoned warehouse. Tell me that’s not a clever innovation.


Photo courtesy CLIF Bar and Company

The blue jeans thing is cool, but here’s where green construction impacts the bottom line: on top of the warehouse and parking structure, CLIF uses “smart solar” technology. This location is the largest array in North America, and is expected to provide 100% of the electricity and heat 70% of the water that is used in the company's daily operations. Sadly, we didn’t actually go to the roof to see this, but we were having plenty of fun down below ...


… as the tour took us to the exercise facilities of the new building. This is the aerobics, dance and floor workout area …


… which is just down the hall from a cardio and weight room that looks like it’s straight out of The Biggest Loser, except without all the fat people. By the way, anyone who goes ahead and keeps his workout with his personal trainer even though a bunch of wine-drinking looky-loos are wandering around all over the place deserves kudos.


The bouldering wall isn’t as tall as the one in the previous building, but it’s a lot wider, with tricky corners and pitches that would make me slip off in an instant, even if I hadn’t been drinking wine beforehand.


This is the yoga room, which is completely separate from the aerobics room. Also, that’s me having some fun with a mirror and a camera. And a glass of wine in my hand.


Feeling sore after your workout? Just schedule an appointment for one of the company massage therapists to come work on you. This is one of the perks that carried over from the old building, along with the free laundry facilities, hair salon, and company bikes for doing errands. As for the new perks, they include a 6,700-square-foot childcare center, an enclosed outdoor playground, and a dedicated breastfeeding room for new mothers. Lots of companies claim to be family friendly, but it’s hard to imagine anyone topping this.


Photo courtesy CLIF Bar and Company

CLIF is also still a very dog-friendly company, as several pooches were enjoying the open house (and presumably, the free food) as much as the rest of us.


Another thing that caught my eye was some of the personal detail built into the place – for instance, many of the door handles are made from reused bicycle frames. However, about that bicycle theme …


… they do look awfully cool hanging from the ceiling, but the thought crossed my mind that it might be a little unnerving if my desk was directly below a suspended frame. Maybe it’s a good thing that natural wind doesn’t blow through the building along with the natural light.


Photo courtesy CLIF Bar and Company

This isn’t my photo – it’s a promo shot from CLIF featuring someone in the R&D kitchen, which is apparently on site here somewhere. It wasn’t part of the tour, and I was gawking at so much other stuff that I didn’t really notice its omission. Maybe that was the point – and maybe there were a few secrets from this night after all.


Fortunately, we got to see this kitchen: Kali is the name of CLIF founder Gary Erickson’s grandmother, who taught him all about baking as he grew up. Knowing that, the company cafeteria really couldn’t have any other name.


The chefs had a full spread available for us, and this is where the tour ended. So we hung around to graze on some great healthy appetizers …


… and would have sat in the outdoor eating area, if it hadn’t started raining. Most people ended up congregating here:


The amphitheater setting that was carried over from the old HQ. There were musicians playing, toddlers running around, and lots of people just standing around mingling. It was the kind of atmosphere where …


… even though all the boxes aren’t unpacked and some of the pictures are still waiting to be hung, it seems to feel like home to the employees I spoke with during the open house. I honestly hope it does for them – because it’s clear that a lot of love and consideration went into this place. And those are the type of things that every home needs.


However, since it wasn’t MY home, we eventually had to say our goodbyes and return to Monterey. Before I left, however, the CLIF folks gave me a nice little gift box stuffed with various CLIF products; combined with all the items we already had crammed in our pants and jacket pockets, we made off pretty well, I’d say.

All of which (finally!) brings us to the contest. Another goody box I received from CLIF contained what might be the most sought-after products they’ve ever made: seasonal CLIF bar flavors. These are released in late October each year, and the limited quantities usually fly off shelves by the end of November. If you’ve ever tasted them, you understand why.


There are three flavors in the seasonal lineup – cranberry orange nut bread, pumpkin pie, and iced gingerbread - and it’s something of a three-way coin flip as to which tastes the best. Our family recently held a tasting event where we rated the bars, and the results from our small sampling were: pumpkin pie 3, cranberry orange nut bread 2, and iced gingerbread 1. (If you’re counting at home and wondering why our family of five registers 6 total votes, that’s easy: I counted my vote twice. Executive privilege.)

Honestly, though, there are no losers when it comes to this group of bars – only winners. And later this week, three readers will become even bigger winners, as CLIF will send a sampler pack of the seasonal bars to you directly. Standard contest rules apply: leave a comment below by Friday, October 29 at 5PM PDT, and I’ll announce randomly selected winners over the weekend. Good luck!

(And obviously, a HUGE thanks to CLIF for setting this whole thing up.)

*See other photo tours under tab at top of page.


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October 24, 2010

Amby and Me (and The Running Life!)

*Admin note: an important announcement about our upcoming Running Life book follows at the end of this post - but you know I won't let you get there without submitting you to a story.

**

“Writers like Donald and Mike work at the grassroots level to promote and support our sport. Their love of running shines through every page of what they write. They have a unique perspective on “The Running Life” and make us smile and gain insight at the same time. Whether you are an experienced runner, a novice, or even a non-runner, this compilation of articles will inspire.”
- Amby Burfoot, Editor at Large, Runner’s World Magazine and 1968 Boston Marathon winner


Like most other writers who ventured into the wild frontier of the Internet in the early part of the last decade (The Oughts? The Oh’s? Did we ever settle this?), I had fanciful dreams of what this newfangled blogging business might lead to.

I’ve previously described how I did a lot of writing even before I had a website, and how one of my longtime ambitions was to be published in Runner’s World magazine someday. So when I found a vehicle to have my writing viewed by a larger audience – at least, larger than the 20 or so people I used to pester via e-mail with attached word documents whenever I wrote something previously – and to have it potentially circulated to anyone in the world with the click of a mouse … well, that sounded pretty darn cool. I figured it was only a matter of time before somebody discovered my work and threw an obscene amount of money at me to quit my day job and become a full-time writer.

You can guess how that one turned out. It didn’t take very long at all before I realized that I was just another small fish in the overwhelmingly large ocean of amateur writers rushing to the blogosphere with similar ambitions. But since the process was something I truly enjoyed, I kept plugging away at the website more as a hobby than a pathway to success.

Then in the summer of 2006, something happened which quite simply blew me away. Glancing through my website’s inbox one day, I noticed an e-mail titled “A quick appreciation,” with a name in the sender column that literally made my heart skip a beat.

It was from Amby Burfoot.

Amby Burfoot, Boston, 1968; photo from AmbyBurfoot.com

Now, to a running geek like me, seeing this name in my inbox is like a Little Leaguer getting an e-mail from Derek Jeter, or a playground basketball player being contacted out of the blue by Michael Jordan. In my mind, Amby was an idol – not only because he won the Boston Marathon, but also because he is a fantastic writer who served for many years as the Editor in Chief of Runner’s World. Honestly, I’m not sure which of those accomplishments I admired more, but suffice it to say that the guy was living the dream, from what I could see.

And this was the e-mail he sent me:

Donald: I was just tipped off about your blog and web site. Terrific stuff. I'll probably become a regular visitor.

Amby Burfoot
Executive Editor, Runner’s World Magazine



There’s a classic Bill Cosby bit where he imagines how Noah probably reacted to hearing the voice of the Lord for the first time - just for fun, I embedded it below – and this is exactly how I felt when seeing Amby’s e-mail. But before I wrote back and said “Riiight. Who is this really??”, I forwarded the e-mail to my friend Mike, who is a casual acquaintance of Amby’s going back several years.

My question to him was simply, Does this look legit to you?, and Mike’s reply was equally simple: Yup, that’s the address I have for him. Somehow, someway, the Internet helped Amby Burfoot find me.

(By the way, if you’re wondering how I remember exactly when this all happened, and how I can recall his e-mail word for word, it’s because I’ve kept the e-mail in my inbox for more than four years. I’m telling you, I'm a complete fanboy.)

Now I had to reply to Amby. I’ll spare you the details, but it went something along the lines of OH MY GOD AMBY BURFOOT I CAN’T BELIEVE IT’S REALLY YOU THIS IS SO COOL I THINK YOU’RE AWESOME THANK YOU SO MUCH THIS IS LIKE THE GREATEST THING THAT’S EVER HAPPENED TO ME.

So, um … I didn’t exactly play it cool. Even worse, at the end I decided to throw this one out there:

CAN I WRITE FOR RUNNER’S WORLD SOMEDAY?

His response was about as polite as I could have hoped for, considering that I came across as a complete lunatic: he told me that he basically held an emeritus designation now and didn’t really make day-to-day editorial decisions anymore, but he’d pass along my contact info to other editors on staff. And after a couple more exchanged replies where I tried to convince him that I wasn’t really a stalker despite my insistence that he fly to Monterey and train with me and run the Big Sur Marathon sometime, we gradually fell out of contact with each other.

As the years went by, my inner fire to write for RW gradually faded, and I never made another effort to contact Amby. I figured I was all but forgotten to him as well, until Mike and I were considering people to request endorsements of our book. One of the first things he said was, “Hey … why don’t we ask Amby Burfoot?”

So we did – and to our indescribable delight, Amby graciously agreed. His blurb that you see above now graces both the front and back covers of our book – just to make darn sure that you can see it, no matter what side is facing up. Because that’s how much his support means to us.

**

So this seems like an appropriate time to announce that advance orders of our Running Life book are now officially available online. We’ll have physical copies in our hands by mid-November, and between now and November 14th, we’re offering a special pre-publication price of $15.95, which is a 20% discount off the cover price. Check out our Running Life website, and use the PayPal link on that page to place your order.

I’ll post a general overview of the book and include a few more promotional reminders in the weeks to come, but in the meantime, have we mentioned that the book is recommended by Amby Burfoot? That should give you all the incentive you need.

**

Bill Cosby, "Noah" (click to play):




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October 23, 2010

Random Shots of Beauty

They call it Toro Park for a reason:


Since most of my ultra-long training runs are done solo, there are many mornings when cattle are the only living souls I see on the trails. Sometimes when I'm lacking motivation to get out of bed early, I'll imagine that the cows are expecting me - like they're holding me accountable to get my mileage in.

And if that sounds a little weird ... OK, yeah. It's weird. So be it.


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October 21, 2010

Yurbuds Review

As I’ve done one time before – and perhaps should do more often, really - today I’m turning the blog over to my IT department.

My friend Brian is the Bunsen Honeydew to my Beaker, the tech geek of our running group as well as a long-time Apple devotee. He also happens to run with headphones fairly often, so when I received a request to review a pair of headphones that are compatible with Apple music players, I knew just who to delegate this one to.

In the review that follows, Brian describes his experience using a product called Yurbuds. He also talks about the size of his equipment … but that’s really rather incidental. Read on for details.

**

I have never been a big fan of earbuds. Maybe it is the size and shape of my equipment, but I don't like the sloppy fit and all the ambient noise. So from my first iPod (any of you remember the original scroll wheel?) and through two later generations, two shuffles, and two iPhones (that’s seven if you are counting: 3 dead, 4 in service) I have owned a lot of headphones. Each model came with more buds, but I would just pass them on to one of my daughters and buy some in-ear replacements from Sure, Sennheiser, Etymotic, Bose, Audio-Technica, and so on.

I prefer the stability of the in-ear models for running and really appreciate the sound isolating qualities for gym workouts. While some have been more comfortable than others, and I have witnessed a huge spectrum of audio fidelity (not necessarily correlated to price), I have found all of them more fatiguing than open-air headphones. I'm also concerned about just how isolated you are running in sound isolating earphones, so I just use them at the gym and on the track.


So I was excited when Donald directed an opportunity to review new earbuds my way. Would this be an opportunity to get some use out of those Apple earbuds? Yurbuds are soft flexible caps that fit over the standard Apple earbuds (and lots of other buds too) and fit snugly, just above the ear canal, with a small tip that extends into your ear canal. They achieve a personalized fit by offering them in a rage of sizes. Your size is determined by uploading a picture of your ear with a reference object.

Not Brian's actual ear - it's a model.

I took a few self-conscious photos of my ear (I resisted the temptation to open them in Photoshop) and picked one to upload. In less than a week, I received a nylon carrying case containing my personalized performance Yurbuds and a some more white earbud-style headphones (These are $29.99 at the Yurbuds website, you can get them without the headphones for $19.99).

The Yurbuds fit snugly in your outer ear and have a small tip that extends just into the ear canal. They don't seal the canal like sound isolating in-ear models but they do deliver more sound pressure into the ear than ear buds alone, while allowing some ambient noise into the mix.

I found that the Yurbuds let in just the right amount of ambient noise, so I don't feel too cut-off from what is going on around me, but not distracted by it. I also found them more comfortable to wear for extended periods compared to in-ear earphones. I wore them in the gym, on our local recreation trial (bike path) and at the track for fast workouts and never had a problem with them falling out of my ear like I do with ear buds alone.


They come off easily for cleaning, and when your earbuds inevitably die, you can just pop them on another pair and you are good to go. Yurbuds are a nice little product.

Yurbuds personalized performance earbuds are available for $29.99 from the company website.

*Product provided by Yurbuds
**See other product reviews on sidebar at right. If you have a product you’d like reviewed, contact me at info@runningandrambling.com.





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