Bulu Box Review

  

For my review, I received the following sample products:

  

Because I only received a sample and the company did not have a personal profile for me, there were some hits, some mehs, and some misses.

MISSES

Funnbar Protein Candy Chews

Unfortunately, I was not a fan of either one of the flavored samples – citrus and caramel and chocolate. These definitely tasted like a protein shake in the form of a bar. Now, this does not mean by any means that the product does not work, it just means that based on the sample, I would not make a full purchase of this particular product. Because I am not big on protein shakes, I am not particularly interested in protein bars.

  

Nuvia Instant Healthy Coffee

This is only a miss because I do not drink coffee. A study published in by the Food Design Product website, 83% of the adult population consumes coffee, so it is not surprise that coffee samples are a must. Unfortunately, I am in the 17% of the population that doesn’t, so I I cannot give this sample an honest review. However, I am certain with the set-up of a subscription and my personal profile coffee would most likely not be one of my samples. Nonetheless, I am very familiar with coffee given my husband is a coffee drinker, and I will definitely pass the sample on to him.

  

MEHS

Ovega-3

The Ovega-3 is a healthy alternative to fish oil, with no fishy aftertaste and made from a sustainable plant source according to the package. This was only a meh because I feel like it would be hard to dispute otherwise whether it works for me or not with just two softgels. While I definitely appreciate the fact it is environmentally conscious and does not have a fishy after taste, I am not necessarily convinced this is the particular product I would purchase as an Omega 3 supplement. Perhaps I would need seven soft gels (one per day) to determine if I would like a full purchase – or not.

  

  

Upset Stomach Relief To-Go

I have not used this because I have not needed to use it, which in my opinion is a good thing. Since I have not had an opportunity to use it, I cannot say one way or the other if 1) it works, or 2) if I would purchase. I am definitely putting the packet in my emergency kit, because I like the convenience of it and I like that you can consume it with or without water. For now though, this is in the meh category.

  
HITS

Martha Stewart essential Vegetarian multivitamin gummies

These gummies are gluten free, with no preservatives, artificial colors, flavors or sweeteners. The ingredients are sugar, glucose syrup, pectin, citric acid, natural flavors, colors (black carrot juice, turmeric, annatto extract) and sodium citrate. These were very tasty, and I was able to offer them to my little ones because I was not concerned about the ingredients. In fact, they are so tasty, my toddler asked me every day to give her some of the “gummies.” These were definitely a hit, and I would be inclined to purchasing them for sure.

  
Movit Energy Gummies

When I first saw these, they had my name written all over it. I sampled two of the gummies prior to a long run and they tasted so good, I had to stop myself from eating the entire bag all at once. Plus, I felt like they gave me the energy I needed it, so I found them to do what it purports to do. I will most likely be purchasing these to use during my long training runs for Marine Corps Marathon. This sample product was a definite HIT!

  
Overall, I would say I was satisfied with the Bulu Box samples I received. If the mission of Bulu Box is to introduce you to healthy products that you are not familiar with or are hesitant paying full price for, then it accomplished its mission with me. I was definitely introduced to some products I enjoyed and would pay full price for, and  had items I would pass on. If you are at all interested in giving Bulu Box a try, visit the Bulu Box website and use the discount code SWEATPINK for 50% off a 3-month subscription. That means you pay $15 for three months worth of Bulu Box samples! That is an amazing deal.

Disclaimer: I was given a Bulu Box to review but all opinions expressed are my own.

Skora Tempo Shoe Review

Seventeen years ago, when my running journey began, a pair of shoes with laces and rubber soles sufficed for running. After rupturing my plantar fascia seven weeks ago, I would say that aside from a decent sports bra, running shoes are now one of the most essential running items on my list. While I do not fully blame the shoes I wore as the sole factor for my injury, I strongly believe it was a contributing factor. Naturally, when the opportunity presented itself a couple of weeks ago from a Skora representative to test and review their latest model of running shoes – Skora Tempo – I did not hesitate to venture in the world of drop-zero shoes.

  
Let’s start with some information about the company, Skora. Skora actually was founded by David Sypniewski, a CEO all-too familiar with running injuries that not only hurt the love of running, but the finances from all the money spent on doctors, shoes, rehab and countless of expenses to remain injury-free. Thus, SKORA, was “the result of a 12–year journey to craft a better running shoe.” The company believes “that the best shoe is one that complements the human body and allows it to perform naturally.” The company aims for the shoe to make running efficiently, effectively, and with ease. As an injured runner, his journey and the company’s mission completely spoke to me given I have every desire to continue running well into my 100’s!

  
Since I am slowly easing back into running, transitioning to a zero-drop shoe was the perfect time to do so. Unlike 99.99% of the running shoes in the market, Skora’s shoes are zero drop, meaning there is no difference in height between the heel and the ball of the foot. The leveled foot allows for the middle of the foot to make initial contact with the ground instead of the heel; reducing the impact transmitted to the body when the foot strikes the ground. The outcome is returning to the natural form of running that has been altered by raised heels. Furthermore, the Skora Tempo is a shoe with 22 mm of cushioning, providing a soft landing for feet.

  
My first official run testing out the Tempo took place two weeks ago on the track. While excited, I was still concerned. My goal was not only to test my foot, but also the shoes. I had no distance goal in mind, only to run for as long and as far as my foot would take me. 

  
The shoes, were flexible, and the cushioning, while not overt like other shoes that exaggerate the thickness of the foam was definitely present. This made the transition of the foot very smooth because it was not sinking into the foam. The toe box is generous. In fact, the size 10 provided ample space for my toes to spread out, so much so I may have even gone down a size and still had plenty of space. The aesthetic of the shoe is very clean, with a distinct appeal that has taken into consideration even the smallest details.

  
I was able to log 1.2 miles wearing the Skora Tempo for my first run as it was the most my foot could handle. The shoe definitely impressed me. First of all, because it was the ligament in the middle of my foot that was injured, I was extremely worried about trying the shoes considering the design of where the foot is supposed to land. However, I actually found that there was less shock on my foot than I anticipated. While I did feel pain while running, I attributed it to the injury and not to the shoe. 

  
Just as impressive were the placement of the laces – off to the side and with a significantly fewer amount of eyelets compared to the average shoe. Plus, there is no slipping or sliding of the tongue as the upper part of the shoe is all one piece. When I first looked at the shoe, the design looked a little foreign, but now that I understand that reasons why, I’m surprised other companies have not started following suit.

  
My longest run with the Skora Tempo shoes was a 5k on a gravel and hilly trail during the Memorial Day weekend. If there is anywhere to test the plushness of a shoe, it is definitely on a gravel road. 

  
Once again, the shoe lived up to the hype. The shoe, while plush, still allowed my feet to make contact with the ground in order to have a good grip. The sole while sturdy is completely lightweight, which makes running feel right efficient on challenging terrains. The mesh material is also breathable, and easy to clean, although perhaps a little too ventilated for winter running.

  
I still have at least another five weeks left of healing before my injury is 100% clear, which makes it ideal for me to run in the Skora Tempo. While injuries are extremely frustrating, I can most definitely say that I will not only come back stronger, but I will also be learning the art of natural running, which will hopefully lead to less injuries.

  

Hoka One One Conquest Shoe Review

This is my first official product review for running shoes.The shoes were purchased with my hard-earned money, so I am not getting paid for this review in any way shape or form. The review is based upon my own personal experience with the shoes and for reasons personal to me.

Product

Hoka One One Conquest.

Hoka One One Conquest Front and Side Profile

About Me

I am a female in my late 30’s. I weigh approximately 130 pounds and I am a heel striker. I wore neutral stability shoes prior to wearing Hoka, but I have also used stability shoes in the past. I am currently running more than 35 miles per week and training for a Marathon.

Background History

I first purchased the Hoka One One Conquest in October of 2014 after experiencing heel pain that I self-diagnosed as Plantar Fasciitis (PF). The heel pain had been present for a couple of months (more than 6), and it wasn’t until I registered to run the Eugene Marathon that I realized it was important of me to address the pain in order to train strongly and make it to the finish line injury-free. Rather than going to the doctor to pay hundreds of dollars to be told I needed to rest and undergo therapy, I went on the world-wide web and started researching plantar fasciitis, its triggers, and the possibility of how shoes played a role in the onset of PF. There wasn’t a precise answer, but the recurring theme that kept coming up in my search results was the use of the HOKA One One shoes by not only PF sufferers, but other runners with varying foot and or leg issues. Key words that came up: cushion, longer distances, no pain, more miles. The key words were enticing, but the look and price tag were off-putting! Despite my deep aesthetic and financial reservations, I was eager to put an end to my pain, run longer distances, and log more miles than what I was logging. With a leap of faith, I went ahead and purchased the Hoka One One Conquest.

I’ve used the Hoka One One Conquest for four months now and have run over 300 miles since purchasing them. I had every intention of reviewing these shoes 30 days after purchasing them, and had I done so, I would have given you extremely positive reviews of the shoes. However, most of us don’t buy shoes every 30 days, so I thought it would be prudent of me to purchase them and wear them until either a new pair was needed to determine if I would or not would purchase them again. So after four months of use, I am ready to do my review and based it on the reasons why the shoe did not work me and why I will not be purchasing them again.

Shoe “Side Effects”

Yes, the Hoka One One Conquest helped alleviate the heel pain I was experiencing, so they definitely worked for the reason I initially sought them for. Yes, the Hoka One One Conquest helped me log more miles, more miles in a month than I logged with the Mizuno Waver Rider and the Saucony Ride (the shoes I traded for the Hoka). However, the reason I logged more miles with the Hoka was because I was training for a marathon, so one could argue that the shoe alone was not the sole reason for the higher monthly mileage.

Yes, there is plenty of cushioning on the shoe. I would not describe it as “soft” cushion though, at least not in the model I purchased. The cushioning was more on the firm side, like a firm mattress where the padding does not necessarily contour to your body, or in this case, your foot. The cushioning was less tempure-pedic and more of firm feel like that of a rubber bouncing ball. Like mentioned before, had I reviewed the shoes after only the first 30 days, I would have told you the shoes were stellar because they allowed me to run without the discomfort of heel pain, they were cushioned, and I was running more miles per week than my previous pair of shoes. However, like a pharmaceutical drug that relieves heartburn but brings in a litany of side effects with it, so did the Hoka One One Conquest. The most obvious and painful side effect was the of strain the shoe was causing to my Achilles Tendon. I had never experienced sore Achilles Tendons in all of my running prior to wearing the Hoka Conquest. The shoe envelops my entire foot, and the collar of the shoe sits higher than any other shoe I’ve ever worn. Thus, when I ran, my Achilles Tendon was enclosed in the back of a rather rigid heel counter, which gave very little flexibility to my Achilles Tendon.

Side and rear profile of my feet in the Hoka Shoes

On a short run, the soreness of my tendon was rather dull, but once I started logging more than six miles, the soreness and tightness became more apparent. Running uphill also became daunting with the lack of flexibility on the back of the shoe. I found myself stretching my ankles more than I’ve ever stretched them. But because I was not experiencing heel pain, I remained loyal to the shoe. I was taking care of my heels at the expense of my tendons. This past Saturday, after my long 15 mile run, I realized it was time to acknowledge that I could not trade one injury over another, so the shoe was no longer going to work for me.

Can you see the red areas of my Achilles Tendon. It is where the tendon has not been allowed to move because of the rigidity of the back of the shoe.

Tongue Design and Laces

When I first received my first pair of Hoka, I returned them and replaced them within the 30 day window the Hoka company gives you because I thought I had received a defective pair of Hoka. You see, the tongue is is a thin layer of leather with no cushioning whatsoever. When I ran, I could feel the rounded shoe laces, the mesh lining of the tongue, and the eyelets rubbing along the top part of my left foot.

The thin tongue allowed for the top of my foot to feel the laces, the eyelets, and the mesh lining while running, which bruised the top of my foot after constant rubbing.

Because I was running short distances, I thought the pain caused by the tongue was due to the fact I had not quite broken them in yet. Plus, it was only rubbing on the left foot, so I assumed it had more to do with my left foot being bigger than my right foot. When I took it for a seven mile run, the pain was significant enough to determine I needed to replace them. It had to have been most definitely a defective pair. When I received the second pair, the tongue was “less painful” than the first, so I did not give mind to the matter. However, for $170, there should be more padding, and whether I had a defective pair or not, I don’t think I should have had to return a pair of shoes at that price for a “defective” tongue. (I would like to note that the customer service was exceptional and I received the second pair promptly and without any difficulties.)

There is no cushioning on the tongue, which can make the top part of the shoe to rub up against your foot.

The shoes come with speed laces, and if you prefer not to use them, they send an extra standard pair of shoe laces with the shoes. Because of the thin tongue, I found the lock on the speed laces as hurtful on the first pair. They were not necessarily painful on the second, but if a part of the hefty price is in part because the Hoka One One come with speed laces, I prefer to pay less and use standard shoe laces. That is just my preference though.

Speed laces are standard in all Hoka Shoes, but each box comes with an extra pair of laces if you prefer them without the speed laces.

Price

One of the biggest deterrents for initially purchasing the shoe was the price. I paid $170 for this shoe, which is a rather grand amount of money compared to other running shoes. The shoes are supposed to last longer than the standard running shoe, but with less than 500 miles on them, I’ve seen some significant wear and tear. As a heel striker, I am now striking the cushioning when I land and not the sole of the shoe, as the sole on the back heel has mostly eroded.

Eroded soles and cushion exposure on the corners of my shoes.

I am now striking the cushioning of the shoe as the thin layer of sole has been completely worn down.

Replacing the shoe for another $170 is not sustainable for me personally. Even if money was not an option, I would still think $170 for a pair of shoes is just not a feasible financial option for a casual runner. Yes, there are less expensive models, and I purchased the most expensive option, but even their less expensive shoe is still expensive at $130!

Aesthetics

The colors of the Hoka are nice, but the shoe, is… ugly. It is bulky looking, and if I can be blunt without being a jerk, I think they look like hip-surgery rehabilitation shoes. Plus, the dye on the tongue has stained multiple pairs of my socks.

A stained pair of socks caused by the shoe dye from the tongue.

I’m not necessarily an individual who is vain about my running apparel, but again, if you are going to pay an exorbitantly above average price for a pair of shoes, they should look nicer than a pair of Frankenstein’s running shoes.

Treadmill run with the Hoka One One Conquest.

Conclusion

The Hoka One One Conquest set out to do what I wanted them to do: alleviate heel pain and allow me to continue running. However, it brought about side effects I was not in search of: Achilles Tendon pain. Because of their behemoth price tag, their looks, their wear and tear with less than 500 miles on them, and their painful tongue, I will no longer be using or purchasing the shoe. I am hoping I can find a shoe that will allow me to continue running without the side effects I experienced with the Hoka One One Conquest. While the brand has different models, and has a newer version of the Conquest, I prefer to keep searching for the right shoe elsewhere.

What has been your experience with the HOKA One One brand? Have the shoes worked for you? What shoe are you currently using? Would you or would you not recommend them?