Saturday, September 17, 2016

Wanna Be Fast and Super-FLY? Choose Ampla Fly!

Disclaimer:  I received a pair of Ampla Fly Women's running shoes from Amplasport as part of being a BibRave Pro.  Learn more about becoming a BibRave Pro (ambassador), and check out to review, find and write race reviews. 

Runners are known to be a bit obsessive-compulsive.  We are known to be a bit crazy.  We run long distances.  We get up at insane early-morning hours just to get those miles in before work.  We train to be faster.  We train to be smarter.  We train to be a better version of ourselves.  

As runners, we are also a bit particular about our running gear.   We have to have all of our ducks in a row before races.  We lay out our "flat-annies" the night before and put our mental checklist to work.  We have our must-haves! What do YOU have to have for a great race or run?

Now let's talk about a MUST-HAVE for all runners!  SHOES!  Let's face it.  Your shoes can make or break your run or race.  Are they too stiff?  Are they too tight?  Are they too loose?  Do they fit you like a glove?  Do they give you blisters?   

I have been in the same running shoe for 5 years!  I have always been curious to try other running shoe brands, but have never been brave enough to move away from my tried-and-trues.  Until now! 

I was given the opportunity through BibRave and Ampla to try out these innovative shoes!  I was very excited and immediately took them out for a spin.  They now have become part of my daily running routine! 

What makes the amply flys extremely unique is the carbon fiber plate.   This plate allows the force of your foot strike to propel you through and forward to your next step.  They were developed to be like the carbon fiber blades amputee sprinters wear.  Although these shoes will likely help you run faster;  their true purpose is to help you with your running form.  Look to the video below to see just what I'm talking about! 

I have worn these shoes for about one month, and in that time I have gotten a great feel of them.  When I first put them on, my first expression was "Wow, these feel different!"  They are bouncy and incredibly light! They are also padded in all the right places.  I would characterize these shoes as a neutral cushion shoe.  They also fit me like a glove.  I ordered true to size with a 1/2 size factored in for my foot swell during running.  Checklist Number One: Complete! 

When walking, these shoes roll forward;  initially you have to pay attention to your foot strike.  This is due to the unique property of the carbon fiber plate on the bottom.  At first, I thought maybe this "roll" would be a problem for me while I was running.  It absolutely was not!   I noticed my step was lighter and the force plate did not cause me to fall forward; which was my initial concern.

One obstacle I did face was heel slippage.  However,  I noticed the slip more with walking than running.  I also quickly discovered a lacing technique that locks the heel in place.   When I changed my laces to the "heel-lock," the slippage nearly disappeared!  On the photo below - you can see how I laced my shoes.  The right shoe (left in the picture) is most obviously laced more snug at my ankle.

My longest run in these shoes has been 10 miles and I completed that with ease.  Please note:  these shoes are really designed for shorter, more static runs like sprints.  However, even though they were designed for speedwork, they definately can accommodate the longer runs as well.  I really have been enjoying them as an alternative to my everyday training shoe.  For a regular runner, these shoes make a fantastic 2nd pair.  I'd leave all the short runs to Ampla and the longer distances to your other favorite.

Due to the design of these shoes and the action of propulsion, they should only be worn on the road or the track.  I found out the hard way on gravel.  These shoes do not allow for much movement side to side, so the uneven gravel roads in my town make it tricky.  I stay to the track or the road with these!

Here are the PROS:
  • Ultra light-weight
  • Promotes good funning form
  • Allows maximum propulsion forward
  • Great training shoe for speedwork
  • Reasonably priced; direct to consumer brand so no third-party mark-up
  • Great design
  • Love the retro-design, feel
  • Comfortable
  • Small company 
  • TOP-NOTCH customer service and personal one-on-one email communications
Here are the CONS
  • Not versatile on different terrain
  • Heel-slippage; this could be a nuisance for some
  • Some abnormal wear on sole - fairly quickly; customer service addressed this need immediately and it was found that it did not effect performance
If you're looking to expand your horizons and try a different and innovative training shoe - look no further!  These have been a fun addition to my routine and I will continue to wear them on my runs!  

If you want more information join me and my fellow BibRave Pros on Twitter for #bibchat, on Tuesday, Sept. 20th.  8PM CST.