A Look Back: A Brief History of Zoom Air

A Look Back: A Brief History of Zoom Air

If you’ve ever run, jumped, zigged, zagged, cut, or just plain walked on Zoom Air, you know the feeling. If you’ve tried on a sneaker designed for KD, or Kyrie, or PG, or Giannis, or the Brodie, you’ve felt it. You’ve experienced the ultra-responsive, super-lightweight cushioning cradling your foot and then springing it forward with every step. It’s been over 25 years since Zoom Air first made its way onto the sneaker scene, and it’s pretty impressive that a once radical technology we now take for granted has been so prevalent in sneaker design for this long. Zoom Air was certainly a risk when Nike started utilizing it in 1995. After all, everyone wanted Air Max sneakers – and the more Air, the better. Why would I want a skinnier Air bag that you couldn’t even see? Why would I want my foot lower to the ground?

Like everything else Nike does, Zoom Air came as a response to the athlete’s needs. Sure, Nike Air Max cushioning was great, but it was also bulky and heavy. Smaller, quicker athletes needed something lighter and more responsive – something that would give them an edge over their competitors. Zoom Air solved that problem by introducing an ultra-thin Air bag with hundreds of tiny synthetic springy fibers inside that cushioned the foot and provided better responsiveness than Air Max. The thin yet bouncy Zoom Air allowed the athlete’s foot to be closer to the ground for quicker movement.

At first, Zoom Air was called ‘Tensile Air.’ I was first introduced to the new technology in 1995 with sneakers like the Air Go Flight LWP (for basketball players like Penny Hardaway and Mitch Richmond), the Air Challenge LWP (for Andre Agassi), and the Air Zoom LWP running sneaker. LWP stood for Lightweight Performance and featured Tensile Air cushioning inside rather than the bigger Nike Air bags. Another early basketball sneaker that featured Tensile Air was the incredibly popular Air Zoom Flight 95, which was worn by players like Jason Kidd and Tim Hardaway. Clearly, implementing the word “Zoom” in the shoe’s name was a hit, and Nike quickly changed the name of the cushioning from ‘Tensile’ to ‘Zoom.’

In 1996, Nike released models like the Air Zoom Alpha for running and the Air Zoom Flight 96 for basketball. With the ‘96 Summer Olympics in the USA, it was the perfect opportunity for Nike to showcase their newest technology with models like the Air Zoom Flight ‘96 (worn by Penny Hardaway).

In 1997, Zoom Air was incorporated into pretty much every sneaker category – from Ken Griffey, Jr.’s cleats, to Andre Agassi’s Air Zoom Ablaze, to Barry Sanders’ turf trainers, to Penny Hardaway’s Foamposite. Zoom Air was even featured in soccer shoes and hockey skates. Because you couldn’t actually see the Zoom Air through a window like you could with Nike Air Max, designers got creative and added hypnotizing circular patterns on the bottom of the sneaker soles to give you a visual idea of what Zoom Air looked and felt like.

The Air Jordan line actually took a few years to incorporate the low-to-the-ground cushioning into the soles of their shoes, but once MJ started rocking Zoom Air, he never went back. Starting with the Air Jordan 12, designer Tinker Hatfield swapped out full-length Air soles for Zoom Air. Jordan loved the cushioning so much, he convinced teammate Scottie Pippen to try them out. Scottie also loved the cushioning so much, he asked Nike to swap out the Air Max cushioning in his Air Pippen 1 for Zoom Air, which they did for him during their ‘97 playoff run.

In ‘99, Nike began incorporating visible Zoom Air into their sneakers. This way, we could see the ultra-thin fibers that were packed inside and provided the springy feel. By this time, Nike’s Alpha Project was well underway. Alpha Project was an opportunity for Nike to further test and experiment with new designs and technologies like visible Zoom Air in sneakers and DRI-F.I.T. in clothing. Some of the more popular sneakers featuring visible Zoom Air were the Air Vis Zoom Uptempo (worn by Allan Houston and Patrick Ewing), the Air Zoom Citizen running sneaker, and the Air Zoom Beyond (worn by Agassi).

For the next 20 years, Zoom Air would be incorporated into the Air Jordan line, as well as Kobe and LeBron sneakers. Basically, all the signature basketball sneakers today – from the PG’s to the KD’s to the Kyrie’s – feature Zoom Air. For running, Nike continues to tinker and improve upon Zoom Air from modest running sneakers like the Air Zoom Pegasus line to flashy and aggressive runners like the Air Zoom Alphafly Next%. Zoom Air is simply the best cushioning money can buy and has more than lived up to the hype it created over 25 years ago.

Finish Your Run Right with Cool Down Workouts from HOKA Runner Jared Hazen

Finish Your Run Right with Cool Down Workouts from HOKA Runner Jared Hazen

Jared Hazen is not your typical runner. Born and raised in a small town in Pennsylvania, he ran track and cross-country in high school specializing in the 3200m. Following his graduation Jared decided to forego college and instead moved to Teton National Park to begin training. Rather than competing in 5k, 10k, or even marathons, Jared runs in ultrarunning competitions regularly going 50+ miles in events.

Now partnered with HOKA, Jared trains every day in the mountains and is looking to become one of the top runners in the world. His training regimen is intense, and after each session Jared does several cool down exercises to ease his body back to reality and help recover before his next workout. You can check out his favorites below and make sure to add them to your training.

Cooldown 1:

  • Find a step. Stand on one leg on that step with your knee slightly bent.
  • Slowly lower your other leg until your toes hit the ground.
  • Should take about 10 seconds.
  • Switch legs.

Cooldown 2:

  • Stand next to a wall with your hip almost touching.
  • Raise your inside leg in a running-type motion. Place a towel between your leg and the wall.
  • Swing your leg back and forth in a running motion keeping the towel in place.
  • Turn around and do the same thing for the other leg.

Cooldown 3:

  • Lay on your back.
  • Bring your knee to your chest.
  • Grab the back of your thigh and continue to bring it closer to your chest.
  • Do the same thing for the other leg.

You can follow Jared’s journey by checking out his Instagram @jared_hazen. If you’re looking for some high-performance running gear be sure to head to Eastbay and shop all the best HOKA gear.

Best Kids’ Running Shoes

Best Kids’ Running Shoes

There’s never a bad time to upgrade your kicks game. Whether you’ve run your current shoes into the ground or just looking for some more comfort when you run around, Eastbay has your back with a wide selection of the top running shoes for kids. Take a peek at our guide to some of the best shoes we have from the top brands.

Nike Air Zoom Tempo Flyknit

Whether you’re already hitting the track or just racing your friends down the street, the Nike Air Zoom Tempo is the perfect shoe. Their patented Zoom Air technology uses pressurized Air and tensile fiber to give you that springy sensation with each step. The translucent Flyknit upper makes sure you’re locked in without squeezing your style.

Saucony Ride 13

Run in comfort when you’re rocking the Saucony Ride 13. With a compression molded EVA midsole and a contoured FORMFIT footbed protecting your legs from getting sore you’ll be on your feet longer. A rubber outsole and lugs will help your shoes last longer and ensure no slip ups. It even comes in a bold color scheme to help you really make a statement.

Asics GT-1000 9

These were built for the future track star in you. They feature all the same tech as the adult version, such as Flytfoam, GEL, and DuoMoax. These will keep you light on feet, offer supreme cushioning, and provide max shock absorption so that you can hit the track earlier and stay later. The synthetic fiber upper allows your feet to breathe so you can run harder and play longer.

adidas Ultraboost 20

The Ultraboost has become one of the most popular shoes over the past several years thanks to its sleek design and impressive cushioning system. The sock-like fit and flexible support are all thanks to the four-way stretch mesh that makes it one of the most comfortable shoes available. It’s also one of the smartest shoes. It features FORMOTION that adapts to the ground, ensuring a smooth run, and miCoach provides technical feedback after each run.

Under Armour HOVR Sonic 3

Fly around the track and yard in the HOVR Sonic 3. Lightweight and perfectly cushioned, these shoes are perfect for everyday wear. HOVR foam and ENERGY WEB compression mesh work together to provide a responsive feel with each step. The Microthread upper gives you a snug fit and is also designed to dry quickly in case they get wet.

Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 37

Nike always comes through with the best combination of tech, comfort, and design of their shoes, and the Pegasus 37 is no exception. Zoom Air tech uses pressurized Air to give you bounce in each step, and their soft foam adds lightweight cushioning for a more comfortable fit. The sleek, clean design looks good no matter how you wear it and is sure to snag some compliments.

Inside the Mind of an Ultrarunner – With Jared Hazen and Mayra Garcia

Inside the Mind of an Ultrarunner – With Jared Hazen and Mayra Garcia

The term “long-distance running” is pretty arbitrary when you think about it. For some of us, long-distance running means going on a five-mile jog. For others, it’s competing in a 26.2-mile marathon. And for ultrarunners like Jared Hazen and Mayra Garcia, it’s waking up before the crack of dawn to run 50 or 100 kilometers over the span of a full day. 

That last group of people are outliers, of course, but over the past decade, there has been an increase in distance runners gravitating towards ultrarunning. We got to talk to Jared and Mayra about why they choose this extreme sport, what their workout regimen is like, and what HOKA products they use to train in.

Why did you get into ultrarunning?

Jared: I started running through competing in cross country and track. Once I was in high school, I was introduced to the trails through one of my high school coaches. I grew up in a pretty small town but we happen to have an ultramarathon that was pretty popular in the area, so I started running those trails more. Once I started learning more about ultrarunning, I was pretty fascinated by how somebody could run like 100 miles when I was only going out on the weekends and running 20 miles and getting destroyed on the trails. So it really was that fascination that led me to ultrarunning.

Mayra: I had a great coach and motivator. When I was running cross country, I didn’t know that there were races more than 3.1 miles. And my coach said that I could do more, do a marathon, and I just fell in love with it after that. My coach also told me that I would get stronger in road races if I started running trails too. So that’s really how I found ultrarunning and trail running.

How do you train for such a rigorous event like an ultramarathon?

Jared: I train year-round and there’s a certain focus on fitness that I really apply across a lot of different distance races. But when it comes to my specific training for ultras, once it gets closer to those races I ramp up the intensity of my training and focus on the long runs. I live in Flagstaff, so the Grand Canyon is only an hour and a half away, so that’s one of my favorite training spots. I’ll just go there and do 20 or 30 mile runs. When I’m getting ready for a long race, I usually get in three or more 20+ mile runs a week.

Mayra: I like to just put in miles. I also think recovery is a big part of getting my body ready for these longer races too. Every two weeks I get massages to make sure that I don’t get injured. But really it’s all about running A LOT. During the week, I like to stay on roads so I don’t lose my speed. I see my coach on Mondays and Wednesdays, so on a typical Monday we do the track. I do 400s and build myself up to 1600s. And on Wednesdays, we do tempo runs and hill repeats. When I’m on my own on Tuesdays, I do long, easy runs, and then on the weekends I run through the mountains. If I can, I’ll run the actual race trail itself to see where I can pick up and gain some time so I’m ready for race day. But usually I’m running like 10 to 20 miles on those days.

What has been the highlight of your running career so far?

Jared: I would say the runner-up finish at Western States (a 100-mile endurance run in Northern California). I have a fairly long history with Western States. I ran it in 2014 and 2015 and then didn’t run it for a few years. I got back into it last year and had a great race. I’ve really seen a nice progression there too. The first year I ran it, it took me about 17 ½ hours, and five years later it only took me 14 ½. It’s nice to see that type of progression and know that the work I’m putting in year after year is paying off.

Mayra: I think just running the 50ks around my area. Running is a small world – everyone knows everyone in the running community and that’s been a highlight for me. A lot of people got to see where I started, running 3:40 or 3:50 marathons and then got to see me drop down to 3:20 and win some of our local races. It’s awesome to see them smile or come congratulate me on the work I’ve done over the years. That’s what makes me truly happy.

What HOKA products do you use for your training?

Jared: My go-to training and racing shoe has been the Speedgoat, which is convenient. It’s a shoe that I can train in all the time, and it’s also a high-performance shoe that I can take and race in. It’s nice because on race day, it’s nothing new. It’s a shoe I’ve run hundreds of miles in. It’s lightweight, it’s got protection, it’s got grip. I pretty much take it anywhere, even the Grand Canyon.

Mayra: I use all their stuff. Seriously, all of it. For marathons or road, I like to use the Clifton or the Carbon. But on the trails I use the Speedgoat or the Mafate, and sometimes the Torrent too. I love trying out all their shoes. The HOKA shorts have deep pockets for storage, too, and their sport bras are amazing and supportive. I truly am a fan of all their stuff.

Shop all the gear Jared and Mayra use to elevate their runs and maximize their distance at eastbay.com

Check out Jared on Instagram @jared_hazen

Check out Mayra on Instagram @born2run87

Breaking in Your Cross-Country Shoes for Competition

Breaking in Your Cross-Country Shoes for Competition

 

Whether you’re new to the sport of cross country or just have new shoes to break in, this blog post can help you prepare for your best season yet.

When it comes to cross-country shoes, the first thing to understand is that not everyone in the sport wears spikes. Many assume that spikes are always the better choice since they provide greater traction on tough courses and allow you to dig into the terrain. But choosing between spikes and flats (sometimes called spikeless or waffle) isn’t as simple as you think. If you’re not sure which is best for you, check out our flow chart.

When you start counting how many miles you run while training for cross country, you can be looking at 30 to 40 miles a week! Most of these miles will be done in your long-distance running shoes, but when it gets closer to race time, you’ll want to make sure you’re not a stranger to your competition shoes. If you don’t allow your body time to adjust from cushioned training shoes to thin, lightweight spikes or flats, you could be at risk of injury.

Buying your spikes or flats 5 weeks before your first competition allows you to properly break them in so that come race day, you and your shoes are a well-oiled machine.


5 Week Plan to Break in Your XC Shoes

Week 1-2: For the first two weeks, insert blank pins into your spikes (if you’re wearing flats, you don’t have to worry about this). Week one, perform your regular training routine in your running shoes, but put on your spikes or flats for the last 10% of the workout (the final mile or two). During week two, you’ll repeat week one but add another mile to the final run in your new cross-country shoes. Anytime you put on your spikes or flats, make sure you run on a soft, grass surface. This provides an extra element of cushioning to protect your feet during the transition.

Week 3-4: Now that you’ve built up muscle, you can start incorporating your new shoes into your speed training. (If you have spikes, switch out the blank pins for 3/8” pyramid spike pins.) Twice a week after your regular training, put on your new spikes or flats and do some strides on a soft grass surface. Strides are a good way to start adjusting to higher speed in your new shoes. If you’ve never done strides before, they’re basically repeated 100m accelerations. Each stride should only take about 30 seconds.

Stride Right:
Step 1:
start jogging
Step 2:
increase to 95% max speed for 2-3 seconds
Step 3:
decrease to jog
Step 4:
stand or walk for a minute
REPEAT 5x

Week 5: After adjusting to your new cross-country shoes over the last month, it’s now time for a full workout. Now, don’t go crazy wearing them every day, but try one or two interval or fartlek workouts during the week. One option is the 43 workout below.

Continuous 4³ Workout
RUN HARD:
4 minutes

JOG: 4 minutes
REPEAT 4x without stopping

     

Now that you’ve got the process, you’re ready to break in your new cross-country shoes. If you don’t have a pair yet, check out our list of top picks or shop our full selection of spikes and flats online, so you can get ahead of the pack and start training for your best season yet!

 


 

DID YOU KNOW?
You can confidently order new track spikes with our Test Run Program. It allows you to buy the shoes, break them in, and see how they perform ahead of race day. Then, if they don’t run like you thought they would, you can return them within 30 days and get fully refunded.

Best Long-Distance Running Shoes

Best Long-Distance Running Shoes

   

Whether you’re gearing up to run your first 5K or you’re an experienced marathoner, it’s important to keep on top of the shoe trends of the year. That way when you start noticing signs of wear, or you reach the recommended 300-mile replacement mark, you’ll know exactly what the best long-distance running shoes are and where you can find them. (Hint: it’s eastbay.com)

If you’re not sure what type of shoes to buy, you may want to find out what type of arch you have in order to help you find the perfect fit.

   

Nike React Infinity Run Flyknit

Men's Nike React Infinity Run Flyknit shoe in the True White/Photo Blue/White colorway.
  • Shoe Type: Neutral
  • Arch Type: Medium
  • Weight: 10.2 oz. M / 8.09 oz. W

No doubt you’ve heard the hype around these shoes, and trust us, it’s real. The Nike React Infinity Run Flyknit shoes are designed (and proven) to reduce the chance of injury. As soon as you lace up these shoes and hit the road, you’ll feel the potential.

The upper is created with the newest version of Flyknit technology. It’s made with three distinct layers of Flyknit material, so it maintains the lightweight flexibility but is even more durable than previous versions. The midsole features React foam stacked both high and wide to provide extra cushion with each step without compromising stability. And finally, the increased rubber on the outsole provides ultimate traction.

With a pair of these on, you can confidently hit the road and run forever.

   

ASICS GEL-Nimbus 22

Men's ASICS GEL-Nimbus 22 in the Tuna Blue/Pure Silver colorway.
  • Shoe Type: Neutral
  • Arch Type: Medium or High
  • Weight: 10.9 oz. M / 9 oz. W

Storm past the competition in the ASICS GEL-Nimbus 22 designed to enhance your natural stride and provide responsive cushioning.

The upper is made from engineered jacquard mesh to increase breathability while still providing a supportive fit. Then there’s the midsole decked out with three unique features. First is lightweight FLYTEFOAM® cushioning that delivers an energetic bounce to your stride. Second, there’s GEL® cushioning in both the rear and forefoot to provide shock absorption during impact and toe-off. Third, concealed under the arch of the shoe is the Trusstic System® which provides stability without adding a lot of bulk. And to finish off these shoes, the outsole features sections of high-abrasion rubber to provide extra durable traction.

If you’re a high-mileage runner looking for lasting comfort, the sky’s the limit with these shoes.

   

Brooks Ghost 12

Men's Brooks Ghost 12 in the White/Grey/Black colorway.
  • Shoe Type: Neutral
  • Arch Type: Medium or High
  • Weight: 10.4 oz. M / 9.3 oz. W

Run spooky fast and set supernatural times with the Brooks Ghost 12.

From top to bottom, this is the shoe you need. The engineered mesh upper features 3D Fit Print technology to ensure a soft and secure fit with extra stretch and structure where you need it most. The midsole features two types of cushioning to provide a balanced softness underfoot without losing energy or durability. And finally, the outsole features a segmented crash pad. No matter how your foot lands, these integrated shock absorbers will cushion each step and provide a smooth heel-to-toe transition.

It’s just you, the road, and the ghost of your PR – today’s the day to beat your previous best.

   

Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 37

Men's Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 37 in the Black/Ghost Green/Valerian Blue colorway.
  • Shoe Type: Neutral
  • Arch Type: High
  • Weight: 9 oz. M / 8.28 oz. W

Meet your everyday workhorse. As you pound out the miles, you’ll want a pair of shoes you can count on, and the Nike Air Zoom Pegasus 37 is exactly that. The Pegasus is one of the most popular and dependable running shoe models, and even after 37 versions, it’s still being upgraded with the latest technologies.

This version features a translucent upper that screams speed and is complemented by mesh details that enhance ventilation. But the most important tech is underfoot. The React foam in the midsole adds a spring in your step, and the doubled size of the Air Zoom unit in the forefoot provides maximum comfort and responsiveness.

With these shoes on, you’ll be flying to the finish line!

   

ASICS GEL-Kayano 26

Women's ASICS GEL Kayano 26 in the Birch/Champagne colorway.
  • Shoe Type: Stability
  • Arch Type: Flat or Medium
  • Weight: 10.8 oz. M / 9.3 oz. W

Twenty-six miles? No problem! The ASICS GEL-KAYANO® 26 is designed to go the distance providing you with support and comfort the whole way.

The upper is made of a jacquard mesh for a light and airy fit to keep your feet cool, but that’s not what makes these shoes really stand out. It starts with a dual density midsole which features a firmer foam on the inside and a softer foam on the outside to minimize overpronation while still returning energy. Next, there’s GEL® cushioning in the front and back to reduce shock during impact, and under the arch, the Trusstic System® helps controls torsion. To finish off the shoe, high-abrasion rubber is strategically placed along the outsole to provide durability and traction for the road.

Whether you naturally overpronate or you just prefer the extra stability for long distance runs, these shoes provide support for your joints and comfort for your feet!

   

HOKA ONE ONE Clifton Edge

  • Shoe Type: Neutral
  • Arch Type: Medium or High
  • Weight: 8.9 oz. M / 7.25 oz. W

If you’re looking for shoes to help you take charge of the road and own your race, these are the cushioned shoes you need. The new Clifton Edge pushes the boundaries and drives innovation forward with new technology in the midsole and outsole.

First up is the midsole made of a brand-new foam that provides resilient cushioning. Next up, the unique extended heel creates a soft landing and smoother transition to make you feel like you’re gliding down the road. The final new feature is the rubberized EVA outsole which overlaps the midsole to cradle your foot and provide lightweight, wrap-around support.

So go ahead, take a stride towards the future and learn to love running on the edge.