Stories by Cory

Cory Smith is a Santa Barbara, CA-based athlete, online running coach, and freelance writer specializing in running, climbing, and fitness-related content and gear review. He draws from over 25 years as an elite runner and rock climber for ideas, inspiration, and expertise.

His work has been featured in Outside Magazine, Runner's World, Gear Patrol, Muscle & Fitness, Gear Junkie, Footwear News, TripSavvy, Podium Runner, Trail Runner and Gear Institute. He loves working with new outlets and can be reached at If you're interested in getting coached by Cory

His Work

The Nike Alphafly 3 Review Verdict: The Best Marathon Shoe to Date

Heading out the door? Read this article on the Outside app available now on iOS devices for members! Download the app . The world was introduced to the ground-breaking, futuristic-looking Alphafly on the feet of Eliud Kipchoge when he broke the two-hour marathon barrier in October 2019. Overnight, every marathon runner wanted a pair, and they finally had the chance to buy their own in June 2020. Two years later, Nike released its second iteration of the popular Alphafly. Seeking to fix some st

Can This $225 Graphene-Printed Racing Singlet Help You Run Faster?

Heading out the door? Read this article on the Outside app available now on iOS devices for members! Download the app . If there were a kryptonite for runners, it would undoubtedly be heat. Even the slightest sign of warm conditions impairs running performance. One study analyzed runners competing in seven marathons over multiple years and found performance declined by .9 percent for every 9 degrees Fahrenheit above 50 for the top three finishers. As marathon finishing times got slower, the eff

We Put REI’s Algae-Powered, Recycled-Material Trail-Running Shoe to the Test

Heading out the door? Read this article on the new Outside+ app available now on iOS devices for members! Download the app . It’s an absolutely thrilling time to be a runner, if I may say so without sounding too much like a complete shoe geek. We are in a golden era of running shoes. Besides exciting advancements in the foams and carbon-fiber plates of supershoes, there’s been an insurgence of brands entering the trail shoe market. Companies such as NNormal, Speedland, Norda, LOWA, Tecnica, Hel

The Best Rain Jackets Will Keep You Dry, Cool, and Ready to Perform

We earn a commission for products purchased through some links in this article. Why Trust Us? Renowned Oregon University track coach and Nike co-founder Bill Bowerman once said, "There's no such thing as bad weather, just soft people." We aren't sure we agree, but you don’t have to run on a treadmill just because the weather isn’t perfect. Whether it's an unexpected downpour or a misty drizzle, having a rain jacket that’s breathable, but water-resistant can make it a lot easier to feel comforta

The Best Track Spikes of 2023

Heading out the door? Read this article on the new Outside+ app available now on iOS devices for members! Download the app . Whether you’re getting ready for a race or a hard workout, the process of spiking up stirs a familiar excitement and anxiety for what’s to come: your body instinctively knows it’s time to perform. If you want to compete at your best in track and field, spikes are essential—and today’s are better than ever. Here’s what you need to know about choosing a track spike, our to

What to Know About Zero Drop Shoes and How to Determine If They’re Right for You

When it comes to buying running shoes, there’s no shortage of options. One category that has gained increased popularity over the past decade is zero drop shoes. Often misunderstood, zero drop shoes bring out strong opinions from runners when it comes to categories of running shoes. Speak with most proponents of the zero drop and odds are, you’ll hear how great they are and that they won’t run in anything else. It’s true: Zero drop shoes can offer an excellent option for some runners and, in a

Still the King: Nike Vaporfly 3

Heading out the door? Read this article on the new Outside+ app available now on iOS devices for members! Download the app . MSRP: $250 Weight: 5.8 ounces (women’s 8), 7.0 ounces (men’s 10) Stack Height: Not yet revealed, but less than 40 millimeters heel Heel-toe Drop: 8 millimeters) If running shoes had a king, the Nike Vaporfly would wear the crown. When it debuted in 2016, it created a new class of racer, the supershoe, which quickly made all other racing shoes obsolete. Supershoes’

Hoka Finally Makes a Competitive Supershoe

When I’m not actively testing shoes for Outside Buyer’s Guides, Hoka is the brand I reach for most often. My regular Hoka rotation includes the Clifton 9 for leisurely days, the Mach 5 or Rincon 3 for moderate days, and the Tecton X for trail running. When it comes to tempo runs, speed workouts, or races, however, Hoka hasn’t been on my radar. Since they jumped into the supershoe competition three years ago, Hoka’s premier go-fast carbon fiber racing shoe has been the Rocket X, which, for my st

Low-Profile Shoe That's Got Lots More Than Looks: Tracksmith Eliot Runner Review

We wanted to see if the Eliot Runner is just another running shoe in an already-saturated field, or if it’s something more. Over the past few years, we’ve seen a flood of new brands enter into running footwear — Speedland, Allbirds, Naked, Vimazi, Hilma, and No Bull, to name a few. Now, one of our favorite running apparel brands, Tracksmith, is throwing its hat in the ring with the debut of the Eliot Runner. In short: For its first shoe, Tracksmith did a fantastic job. It’s a low-profile, not

The Best Massage Guns For Post-Workout Recovery

If you’re a runner, I know you know it–that debilitating post-workout muscle soreness that leaves you gingerly hobbling up and down steps after a long run. When you get done with a long or difficult run, excess metabolic waste pools in your leg muscles, causing inflammation and soreness. This painful yet oddly rewarding feeling in your muscles is delayed onset muscle syndrome, or DOMS. DOMS is an unavoidable side effect of training and pushing your limits, but using a massage gun can help you r

Should You Race in Banned Running Shoes?

Imagine walking into your local running store to buy a new pair of running shoes. After trying a few pairs, you settle on the one that feels the most comfortable: a thick-soled, highly cushioned shoe the shop employee endorses as their go-to shoe. After months of training, you decide this is the shoe you’ll wear for your upcoming Boston Marathon qualifying race. Race day comes, and you nail a BQ! As you exit the finishing line corral, a course marshal pulls you aside and asks to see your shoes.

How to Run With Poles, According to a Pro Mountain Runner

Watch any European trail race or ultramarathon and odds are you’ll find runners huffing and puffing up insanely steep climbs or tip-toeing atop razor-thin mountain ridges with poles in their hands. Running and racing with poles is common practice in Europe. Yet, here in the United States, there seems to be a stigma that running with poles is a sign of weakness. “I’ve had people tell me that I’m ‘cheating’ using poles when I pass them because they allow me to push with both my legs and my arms a

The Best Men’s Running Pants for Cold-Weather Runs and Workouts

It’s finally pants season! This time of year, all those hot, humid, sweat-drenched runs are past memories, and thanks to the crisp cool air, running magically begins to feel easier. No matter what camp you’re in—tights or pants—running pants can be worn for more than just running, these days. Whether you’re pumping out a few reps at the gym or heading out to run errands, today’s running pants offer better mobility and breathability and are all-around more comfortable. Like all running apparel,

Did Nike Just Improve the World’s Fastest Marathon Shoe?

Get full access to Outside Learn, our online education hub featuring in-depth fitness, nutrition, and adventure courses and more than 2,000 instructional videos when you sign up for Outside+ . Look at the feet of runners on any marathon starting line worldwide and you’ll find the Nike Air Zoom Alphafly Next% on most of them. It shouldn’t be surprising; after all, this was the shoe Eliud Kipchoge wore when he clocked a 1:59 marathon in 2019. What runner wouldn’t want to wear the identical kicks

How to Lubricate a Treadmill Belt to Prevent Premature Motor Issues

Nothing beats the safety and convenience of a personal treadmill. Sure, it may not be the most engaging way to workout, but there’s peace of mind knowing that you have a warm, dry, safe place to run at any point during the day or night. Of course, that’s assuming it’s working correctly. There’s nothing worse than hopping on your treadmill only to find it’s not running smoothly, or worse, not working at all. A treadmill needs regular maintenance to ensure it’s running properly and maximize its

The 8 Best Nike Running Shoes For Men

Ask any runner to name three running brands, and undoubtedly Nike will be at the top of that list. The company’s impact on the sport of running as a whole is irrefutable, and Nike’s most significant contribution comes in the way of footwear. Nike running shoes have pushed the boundaries of innovation and elevated running to unimaginable levels. Not to take anything away from Eliud Kipchoge’s historical sub-two-hour marathon in 2019, but it begs the question: Without Nike’s help, would we still b

The Best Performance Running Sunglasses for Every Face Shape

People who run with sunglasses tend to fall into one of two camps: you either want to be able to wear your sunnies all the time (outside of just logging miles), or you want something that performs at the elite level and looks can fall into your road dust. (We get it; you’re serious about your sport.) There's no right or wrong, but now, thanks to the work of sports brands — big and small — there exists a happy middle ground. Good running sunglasses are lightweight, scratch-resistant, have nose g

A Track 5K Race Could Provide Your Ticket to a PR

Imagine a 5K where every second is filled with enthusiastic spectators cheering on your every step. A race so spectator-friendly that your friends and family can easily watch your entire run from a single spot. A race that’s completely flat, accurately measured to the inch, and without any abrupt or sharp turns. If this sounds appealing to you, then it’s time you take on a track 5K. And good news: Tracksmith has a new series of summer twilight events that checks all these boxes, complete with m

The 10-Week Couch to 5K Training Plan for New Runners

Has the onset of warm weather and sunny skies got you thinking it’s time to tackle your first running race? There’s never been a better time to run your first 5K than now. Running your first 5K is 100% achievable, regardless of your fitness level, as long as you have patience, persistence, and motivation. Of course, it also helps to have a good training plan to follow. Lucky for you, we’ve got just the program to get you off the couch and smiling as you cross the 5K finish line. Why the 5K is
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