Last year I was fortunate enough to be invited to join the ‘AR Trail Team’ created by AR Endurance Sports founders James Poole and Claudia Schroegel. The team range in ability level, from beginner to experienced ultra runner, and is dedicated to ensuring that women are represented as actively as men in the sport of endurance running. This year we will be training and racing as a collective in trail races over distances of 10k-Ultra Marathon.

The team will be present at the following events throughout the year as well as competing individually in races organised by Centurion Running, UTMB, UTSN and more! We will also travel to Chamonix for training camps in April and May. Wherever we are, we like to think we are a friendly bunch, if you spot neon come and say hi!

The team are fortunate enough to be supported by adidas UK and Stance Socks amongst others and thank these sponsors for their continued support.

 

I’ve been running recently. And a lot of my time has been spent running in Stance Socks. Not heard of Stance? You have now. They are soon to launch in stores in the UK. Having been lucky enough to get my hands on a couple pairs, I’ve done the hard miles in them for you and this a review as to why, when they do hit the shelves, you should go check em out.

OK so let’s start with the tech. Here is some jargon broken down for you and then a nice pic of where this technology features and what it looks like:

  • ‘Superior wicking’ – they stay dry when your sweaty feet sweat (yummy).
  • ‘Thermo regulated anatomical venting’ – they are knitted to provide ventilation where your feet need it.
  • ‘Maximum durability reinforced’ – more fabric at the locations which wear down (toe and heel); important note here these areas aren’t bulked up massively, they are just constructed differently to take wear and tear.
  • ‘Air channel cushioning’ – cushioned but ventilated underneaths.
  • ‘Anatomically correct footbeds’ – basically the sock is constructed differently for men and women, somehow, to fit the shape of your foot properly.

Screen Shot 2015-11-10 at 11.53.09A quick word on a technical feature not mentioned above – ‘gradual compression’. Basically the theory with compression wear is that bloodflow is increased via the tightness pushing deoxygenated blood away from the injured or recovering areas. The compression being gradual as it is tighter at the ankle than at the calf. ‘Medical grade’ compression is basically when an item is really tight and in my experience several brands produce this compression wear as a form of post-run recovery and I personally wouldn’t run in it. The compression in Stance socks is notably less than medical grade yet graduated compression nonetheless. What you end up with is something that fits, supports and feels amazing. They come in three lengths; ‘TAB’ (no-show), ‘CREW’ (ankle) and ‘OTC’ (full calf), the compression works a treat in the latter two models, with just the right amount of support, I personally love the feel of the ‘crew’ shape…

Screen Shot 2015-11-10 at 12.17.38

Quick word on colour ways, 5 for men, 5 for gals. Stance’s line is that the men’s and women’s versions are made differently to fit the difference in anatomical foot shape. But I reckon you could probably slip on a women’s or men’s colour way depending on what takes your fancy and get away with it! The design suit the brands creative ethic, I won’t go into this as ultimately I’m not so fussed about the history  or who’s wearing em, I wanted to tell you about how they feel, but visit the website anyway to know who’s taking the same Stance (get it) as you when it comes to sockwear.

And there you have it, I’ve run multiple miles in Stance now and shall continue to do so. I think they get the balance just right between designing a product which is lightweight and race ready, with additional features such as compression, a little padding at the toe and heel and engineered arch support. They really do fit the contours of the feet wonderfully and they are super comfortable whilst retaining running sock specific technology. They feel and look premium basically whilst not coming with the lofty price tag of ‘compression’ wear. If you’re in the market, Stance will be dropping at a local retailer soon, you gotta check em out!

A couple of weeks ago I was invited to a run organised by Like The Wind Magazine around East London. ‘It’ll be different,’ they said, ‘it’s not just about the running,’ they said. Well having attended events by the guys before I was gonna go anyway, cos they are always fantastic, but they sold it as follows!

Co-sponsored by new apparel brand Stance Socks we were offered to don free samples before we headed out. I gladly obliged and have since run a number of miles in Stance – more on that in a full review (in edit). Our run leader for the day was going to be Alternative LDN and we would get a guided tour of Shoreditch, Brick Lane and Bethnal Green to learn about the areas and mostly to get an insight into the street art adorning wall and pavement. In!

Please see pics below; go explore more of the artists work!

As you can see all of these examples are ‘street art’ and not ‘graffiti’. Graffiti sometimes comes with negative connotations which isn’t really fair. Basically the difference: graffiti is initials or a name (or a ’tag’) rather than an image. These works irrespective, as I’m sure you’ll agree, very much resemble art more so than any sort of vandalism. We got to learn about the artists, what they were seeking to explore culturally with their works and also a little bit about our own backyard. 

It was a great morning and a really engaging way to see the city. Thanks to Gary for your hard work – I appreciate you hadn’t run in years, you did a great job! If you have a spare morning I would definitely recommend going to see the Alt LDN guys and get a tour, whether you wanna run or walk it! Here’s a promotional vid… 

Watch this space for my stance on Stance.
Coming soon.