Stories by Cory

Cory Smith is a Santa Barbara, CA based athlete, online running coach and freelance journalist specializing in running and climbing 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, Trail Runner, Gear Patrol, Philadelphia Magazine, Gear Junkie and Gear Institute. He can be reached at


Garmin 45: Dollar-For-Dollar This Is the Best Garmin GPS Watch For Runners

I’m not a tech geek, I’m a runner. I like technology and recognize it can make certain tasks easier, but when it comes to running, distraction-free simplicity rules all for me. I want a GPS watch that gets a reliable signal, is easy to read while running and is intuitive to navigate through the settings. Over the past 10 years, my trusty Garmin 235 has filled that job perfectly, so when Garmin recently announced a new line of Forerunner GPS watches, I was intrigued- could the new, $50 cheaper Ga

The Best Men’s Race Day Running Kits of 2019

Come race day, the right mindset will make or break your race. Like the famous proverb says, “Running is 90% mental and 10% physical.” One of the easiest ways to get into a positive mindset on race morning is having a dedicated race day kit. One that looks good and will elevate your confidence once you put it on – like your finest suit you only reserve for special occasions. I still very clearly remember the day I first received my college race day kit – a simple white jersey tank top that read

5 Pairs of Summer Running Shorts We Absolutely Love

Do the dog days of summer have you feeling worn down and yearning for cooler temps? I hear you. Unfortunately, there are still weeks of sweating it out before it’s time to break out your warmer running clothes. On the upside, late summer and early fall are the best times to stock up on fresh running gear. Besides the possibility of cashing in on late-season sales, buying new digs can inject some newfound motivation to get out the door and suffer through another steamy run. Over the past three mo

Perfect Day Hikers: The 6 Best Approach Shoes

Most people fall into one of two camps when it comes to hiking footwear. You either prefer the support and protection of a full-on hiking boot or the comfort and nimbleness of a trail runner. However, somewhere in the middle sits a class of technical mountain shoes only a few people outside the climbing world know about – the approach shoe. Perhaps the most versatile class of mountain footwear, the approach shoe is a tough-as-nails, below the ankle blend between a hiking boot, trail runner and c

3 Mistakes You’re Making with Your Running Shoes

Over the course of one mile, running shoes bear the brunt of over 1,400 steps and endure forces three times your bodyweight. No other piece of running gear is subject to that level of abuse — and more critical to your performance. They are literally where the rubber meets the road, yet as a running coach who helps over 150 runners per year, I keep seeing the same mistakes over and over when it comes to buying running shoes. Here are three of the most common mistakes I see and how you can to avoi

The Hoka One One Carbon X: A Race Day Shoe for the Everyman

When Nike launched the Zoom Vaporfly 4%, it was groundbreaking. Thanks to a combo of the shoe’s researched-confirmed efficiency benefits and the broad-reaching publicity it received, everyone wanted a pair. And competitors wanted to respond. Since Nike’s launch, Hoka and Skechers have both produced carbon-fiber running shoes. Earlier this month, in a staged event to launch Hoka’s second carbon-fiber shoe, Jim Walmsley broke the 50-mile world record (pending verification), running 4:50:08 in the

Best Running Shirts for Summer 2019

Running is an inherently uncomfortable activity — labored breathing, tired muscles and, when the weather heats up like it’s starting to now, you’re stuck dealing with sweat-ridden clothes and probably a ton of smelly workout laundry. However, if you’re like most runners, you probably spend more time reading up on running shoes than running shirts. Makes sense; besides color, shirts all look pretty similar online. Even my own research on features began to blend together. Everything is lightweight

The Best Trail Running Shoes of 2019

Creating a shoe that works for everything—from casual runs to blasting up and down the local hill after work to ultra-distance training and racing—is hard to do. But Scarpa accomplished it with the new Spin Ultra. Protection and supportive rigidity come from the combination of a durable Vibram Litebase outsole (40 percent thinner than standard rubber) and an H-shaped TPU insert that allows for some forefoot flexibility. Vibram Megagrip lugs serve up unparalleled traction. All-day comfort comes f

The Best Road Running Shoes of 2019

Here’s a true zero-to-hero story. Last year the Skechers GoRun barely got our attention. One model later, our testers won’t take them off their feet. What changed? It’s a more versatile shoe, balancing soft cushioning for recovery days with plenty of pop and energy for tempo runs. Skechers hit a gold mine with its new midsole compound, called Hyper Burst. Using a proprietary, mechanically blown process, the brand lightened up the foam by 15 percent while increasing durability over its previous m

The Best Running Shoes for Road and Trail

Finding the right shoe can make a world of difference in your running experience and overall motivation. Good shoes will help prevent injury, open up new terrain, and just make running more fun. With the aid of 30 testers, we evaluated close to 50 shoes, both road and trail, from racing flats to off-road monsters, in every condition we could throw at them (more on how we test shoes at the bottom of this article). We found some new favorites (the Hoka One One Evo Mafate), great updates on old sta

The 6 Best Softshell Jackets of 2019

When softshells first gained popularity over ten years ago, they struck a chord with those who work up a sweat in cold weather. The flexible, breathable material shelters you from mild water and wind all while breathing better than their closest competition: the hardshell. The fabric — which falls somewhere between a hard shell and a fleece — fills a large hole; it offers breathable weather protection for high-exertion activities in cold weather like alpine skiing, ice climbing and even, snowsho

Patagonia Houdini Air Gives Trail Runners a New Breathable Shell

Patagonia’s ultra-lightweight jacket, the Houdini, receives a more breathable, softer, and better-fitting sibling. I reviewed this trail running model that hits the market in 2019. If you ever find me in the mountains, odds are you’ll find the Patagonia Houdini stuffed in my pack or clipped to my harness. However, as much as I love the Houdini, there are few downsides. For starters, it shelters from windy gusts well but doesn’t quite breathe enough during higher-effort bouts of exercise, causi

Running Socks That Will Last for Hundreds of Miles

For the past several months, we’ve been searching for the perfect pair of running socks: socks that wick sweat, don’t stink or cause blisters, and feel good on the road and trail. To find these unicorn socks, a group of six experienced runners tested 59 pairs of socks from 16 top running brands in locations around the world. Ten pairs of socks stood out, and one pair emerged as a unanimous favorite: Smartwool’s PhD Run Light Elite, a merino-polyester blend that was tough, comfortable, quick-dryi

Trail Tested: Quartable 18L Pack

Easy access to items with dedicated shoe compartments for this runner-focused commuter backpack. Storage Capacity: 26L (1600 cu. in.) Pack Weight: 1.8 lbs (.82 kg) External materials: 420d Ripstop nylon and 420d polyester back and bottom panels. Price: $105 Best Features: Large side shoe compartments keep sweaty, muddy shoes separated from other items; multiple zipper entry points make access to items super easy. Room for Improvement: Lacks a hip belt for added support and comfort on

Devon Yanko’s Training Setbacks Lead Her to a Leadville 100 Win

Ten weeks ago, if you had asked Devon Yanko’s coach, Ian Torrence, about her upcoming race schedule, the Leadville 100 mile trail run would not have been on it. Yanko was just coming off an impressive tenth place women’s finish at the Comrades Marathon, the world’s largest and oldest ultramarathon in South Africa and had planned a training vacation in Mammoth Lakes, CA before deciding her next move. Yanko, who stands 6 feet tall and was heavily recruited by many NCAA Division 1 colleges for bas

Trail Tested: Fitbit Ionic: adidas edition

Last month, Fitbit released their latest and most feature-packed smartwatch, the Fitbit Ionic: adidas edition. Retailing for $329.99, this sleek, low-profile smartwatch comes as direct competition to Apple’s Nike+ smartwatch. Built from their flagship Ionic model, Fitbit partnered with adidas in an effort to enhance the Ionic’s functionality, specifically for runners. This special adidas edition comes with all the same features and functionality as the original Ionic, but adds features like addi
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