Had a few experiences with new (to me) products recently, and thought I'd share.
First up: Socks. I've been using Smartwool socks for years now, and have had no complaints. The only blister I've had with them came at the end of a 24 mile trail day in brand new shoes. Still, a couple friends had been talking up these Balegas, so when I say them at Sports Basement (at the finish of the Presidio 10) I thought I'd give a pair a try.
I've worn them a couple times now, on the treadmill and on a long street run. And what can I say? They're pretty good socks. Just a hair thinner than I like, but that mostly depends on the shoes. I did get a blister on my long run, but that was more a function of the shoes than the socks. Probably most serious technical running socks are pretty dang good these days, and These are a great example. I'm not gonna run out and replace all my socks with Balegas, but if I need a slightly thinner sock, I'll keep them in mind.
The other thing I picked up at Sports Basement was a pair of Yankz. These are the elastic laces that replace your normal shoelaces and make shoe tying a slip-on, yank-'em-tight thing. I put them in my new shoes, which are now my outdoor shoes (as opposed to me treadmill shoes) and have worn them on three or four runs now.
What struck me about these was that the elastic is much more tight that I had imagined. In fact, once you slide them on (pop them on, really) they don't need much tightening. Actually, they don't seem to get much tighter, even if you cinch them more. Once on the road, they seem to hold pretty well on flattish roads, but I didn't have as much luck with hills. My feet seemed to creep forward on downhills and not feel as stable on uphills. What I think I'm going to do is put the Yankz in my gym shoes, so I don't have to worry about lacing them early in the morning, and keep regular laces in my road shoes. Maybe if I were a triathloner, I'd want them in my race shoes for a faster transition, but otherwise, no.
On another note, I had a really positive retail interaction the other day. I wanted to try a different recovery drink (been using Muscle Milk after hard workouts for awhile) and had heard good things about Recoverite from Hammer. I ordered some online direct from the Hammer website, got an immediate confirmation email, and a shipping confirmation later that night. I was a little surprised at the length of the shipping list - they had included about 15 different samples, booklets and other items of swag. The delivery came FAST, in 3 days - which was good, because I had just run out of recovery stuff. So Saturday morning, I got to try a Hammer bar before my run, some Heed and a Hammer gel during the run, and Recoverite after. Actually, the bar, heed and gel weren't my favorite, and I was a little creeped out by the cult-y feel of the literature that came with it all, but I'm going to give Recoverite a good try here.