While at Outdoor Retailer last week I met with two local companies that are leading the way for fitness innovation. Both companies were founded by athletes that found a need for a product, and nothing in the market was working. 

First up Altra. I briefly talked about them in this post here where I reviewed the One2. While talking with K. Golden Harper founder and product developer for Altra Running, he shared with me his philosophy and reason for developing the wider toe box zero drop shoes. Quite simply they designed them to help customers have better form and thus less injuries. The zero drop sole with a much wider toe box promotes low-impact technique and allows your feet to remain in a natural, relaxed position across every terrain.

Altra Superior 1.5 Trail Shoe

I do a lot of trail running and I also do a fair amount of crossfit. For trail running you want a really good grippy tread. For crossfit it's essential to have a very flat soled shoe. Before trying out the Altra Superior I was using Vivo Bareoot's Breatho Trail. I like the Breatho Trail because its a minimal barefoot shoe that is flat. What I didn't like about them is because it is so minimalist you tend to feel every rock on the trail. Enter the Superior 1.5, I first used these at Crossfit. For the first time doing a heavy weight deadlift my feet didn't hurt. Not only did they not hurt but they facilitated proper form where your weight is more in your heels, because of this I was able to increase the weight I was lifting by 20 pounds- for the first time I wasn't fighting my shoe, I truly was using my legs not my back to lift the weight. The result I was so excited about this shoe, I bought another pair.

On the trail I was equally as impressed, their is a removeable rockguard (stoneguard rock protection system) so you don't feel the rocks. The grippy sole clings to the trail, and because of the lightweight cushion and wider toe box its like running in my barefoot shoes but more comfortable. I can't say enough how much I really enjoy this shoe.

Pro tips: I usually wear a size 7.5, in this shoe the 8 was a much better fit.

Jaybird BlueBuds X Headphones

Last week I also had the pleasure of talking with Rene Oehlerking chief marketing officer of Jaybird. He invited me to try the Jaybird Bluebuds X. You may remember our quick review of them from last summer's market. Why they are a gamechanger: They are a wireless headphone that was super simple to pair with both iphone and droid. They are sweatproof, have an 8 hour battery life, have a very nice premium sound quality, but the best reason is because of their sucure fit (patented sports ear cushions that hug into the top, back & lower surface areas of the ear) they are comfortable and more importantly stayed in!

Because I have very small ears Rene told me to use these Comply Active S-500 Tips. They are a microfoam tip that you roll in your finger then they expand in your ear. The tips that came with the Jaybird's fit but these tips took the comfort to the next level. I was able to wear these for 4 hours and still didn't notice any discomfort. That's unheard of for me with an in ear headphone.

Pro tips: For the headphones you can wear them either over your ear which lifts the chord over your neck or under the ear. I wear sunglasses so i liked the underear fit. If you buy the Comply tips just know that you have to agressively slide them on, they are a tight fit but they do fit. Be sure to follow the directions for both the headphones and the comply tips for the best fit.

Perhaps what I am most excited about however is the Jaybird Reign. As a Nike Fuleband user for the last 2 years I'm very aware of the limitations of the current fitness trackers on the market.

Why this is a gamechanger:

It measures heartrate variability-this can help you determine how much you have recovered from a workout. It will give you a range between 0-100. If you are under 50 you need to skip the workout and rest, if you are over 50 go for it, and if you are near 80 push it to the limit you are ready.

It is fully waterproof. This is huge, it means it can work with your swim workouts. Nothing on the market right now can do this.

It will work on the bike. With the ankle strap that comes included it can accuratly measure your cycling workouts. Between this and the above waterproof capability means this will be ideal for triathletes.

It not only tracks your sleep (without being in sleepmode), but will also give you a personalized sleep recommendation based on how you slept the day before and the level of activity you did during the day.

The band, the Reign comes with multiple bands- the sport band is ideal for workouts, the softer band is ideal for everyday use and sleep. Multiple sizes come in th box.

In mid October look for my review, where I try this out and if it does everything that it claims to do I will be singing from the roof tops.

October 26th, 2014 is the release date that these will be avaialbe to buy at Best Buy or on Amazon. Its a small release so go early, this will be the item that everyone wants for Christmas so plan ahead and pick one up wherever you can find it.