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Dominick Layfield

Dominick Layfield

Park City, Utah.

Dominick Layfield's Passions

Biking
Running
Skiing
Climbing

Dominick Layfield's Bio

A Brit by birth, I've lived in Boston, San Francisco, and now Park City, Utah.

I ski (telemark), climb, trail run, and mountain bike. Pretty much anything outdoors floats my boat.

I love to race, and enter all kinds of crazy competitions (trail and road running, moutain biking, even randonee rallies)

There's nothing better than running on mountain trails with my dogs.

Dominick Layfield

Dominick Layfieldwrote a review of on February 17, 2015

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
Fit: True to size

As it turns out, I got given a free pair of the original FluidFeel shoes. I didn't think I would like them much, as this sort of heavily cushioned shoe is not what I usually choose to run in. But I really liked them, particularly on days when my feet felt sore and tired.

Fast forward a year or so, and I'm training for my first hundred miler. I had intended to wear my favorite daily running shoe, the Montrail FluidFlex II, but after a couple of big mileage weeks, it was clear to me that I needed a beefier shoe with more protection to run 100 miles. I immediately thought of the FluidFeel, but my pair had big holes in the upper from a lot of running through snow. Figured I would take a chance and order a pair of the updated FluidFeel, hoping nothing much had changed. The shoes arrived on the Tuesday before race start on Friday morning, so I never got a chance to run in them. I tried them on, and the fit and feel felt pretty much exactly the same as the original version. Hooray!

The race went perfectly (at least in terms of footwear). The Bighorn course had pretty much every kind of terrain -- dry & dusty, rocky sections, lots of river crossings, mud, snow, huge puddles. To my great relief the shoes performed great in all conditions, and despite having never run in the shoes before, I didn't have any blisters or foot issues at all.

I've since tried a couple of other shoes with 100-mile distances in mind, and haven't found anything that works as well as these.

About the only criticisms that I have are (1) that the laces could be an inch or two longer, and (2) the fabric on the uppers is a little fragile, and gets easily frayed by abrasion on rocks.

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Dominick Layfield

Dominick Layfieldwrote a review of on January 5, 2015

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
Fit: True to size

There's a good reason why these shorts get so many five-star reviews. Yes, they're that good.

Like a lot of products where the design is great, there's not much to say, because mostly you only notice the defects, and these have none. They're light, durable, very breathable, and look good.

I bought the size S, and it fits me perfectly. I wear pants with a size 31 waist. Would probably be slightly snug on a 32"-waister, and slightly roomy on a 30".

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Dominick Layfield

Dominick Layfieldwrote a review of on December 30, 2014

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times
Fit: Runs small

I do a lot of winter running in the snow, in 0 to 30 degF temperatures, and typically wear a breathable windproof jacket on top of a short- or long-sleeve tech shirt. For years, I've worn a Mountain Hardwear Transition jacket (ground-breaking, now discontinued) and its successor, the MH Effusion (lighter, more stretch, but not as breathable).

When the BD Flow State Jacket arrived (in bright red "Torch"), my first reaction was that the color was spectacular -- really rich and bright -- the jacket is truly beautiful. My second reaction was that it was a little more heavyweight than I had hoped for. This is still a lightweight shell, but not a featherweight garment.

Took a while for temperatures to drop low enough for me to start using this regularly. (Abnormally warm December in Utah.) When I finally did, however, I was blown away. The breathability is awesome. Probably the most breathable windproof jacket I've ever worn.

Otherwise, there's really not much to complain about. The jacket has two front hand pockets that I didn't think I wanted, but yesterday I went for a run with damp gloves and was very happy to be able to stick my hands inside to warm them up. The fabric is nicely stretchy (always a plus with a form-fitting garment), and feels like it should be durable.

The fit is definitely slim and "athletic": I'm 5'11, 155 lbs, 40" chest, and the medium is perfect for me. But perfect for something close-fitting: there's just about room for a lightweight fleece underneath, not much more. If you want a more casual fit, or space for more layers, then you should probably size up. Or maybe just look for a different jacket: this is definitely optimized for high-intensity activities.

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Dominick Layfield

Dominick Layfieldwrote a review of on April 10, 2014

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times
Fit: True to size

If you liked the original Fluid Flex, you will love these shoes. The sole is not noticeably changed. Its still light and squishy, with good trail feel and modest rock protection.

If you didn't get along with the previous version, then whether you'll like the update depends on what you didn't like. The upper is still very insubstantial, but has slightly more structure and reinforcement. Shape seems slightly improved. Heel counter noticeably stiffer. New tongue is phenomenal: it has twin lace loops that do a great job of holding it in place.

Personally, I didn't feel that there was much wrong with the original. But this update makes a good trail shoe better. The modest increase in stiffness of the upper translates to a significant improvement in stability on off-camber terrain, and makes the shoe more suitable for longer races.

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Dominick Layfield

Dominick Layfieldwrote a review of on January 24, 2014

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
Fit: True to size

I'll be upfront: I got a pair of these shoes in March 2013 as a gift. I didn't pay them much attention at first, as this sort of shoe is not really my taste. I like lighter, more stripped-down shoes like the Montrail Rogue Fly and FluidFlex. The heaviest shoes I normally run in are Brooks Pure Grit. Instead, I started wearing these as casual shoes for walking around town.

However, one day I got to the trailhead and found that I'd left my running shoes behind, and went for a run using these. I guess I've been using minimal shoes for too long, because it was a revelation! I was able to charge down rocky trails without any real concern for how I placed my feet. These have a ton of cushioning, and I really enjoyed the contrast, the comfort, and the freedom to relax.

The shoe is similar in feel and protection to the Brooks Cascadia. Plenty of midfoot support, and a reasonably roomy toe box.

These are not shoes that I would wear in races, but they are still reasonably light -- very light for the cushioning they provide. However, they make an awesome training shoe, and I have taken to wearing mine a couple of runs per week. They are very pleasant to wear on extra rocky trails, or when my feet feel tired, and need a rest.

No issues at all with durability so far...

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Dominick Layfield

Dominick Layfieldwrote a review of on January 24, 2014

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer
Fit: True to size

The best thing about the TomTom Runner is the hardware: the watch is light, slim, moderately sized, and comfortable to wear. It's not a huge brick on your wrist like most GPS watches. The display is really clear (nicest LCD display I've ever seen on a watch), and the user interface is very nice. I really like the separate navigation controls on the strap. Touching the screen itself triggers the light, and works very well.

I've had the TomTom Runner for about six months, and early versions of the software were pretty clunky. There are still a number of quirks, but TomTom appear to be putting out software updates and fixing major issues. One problem that annoyed me early on was that it was too easy to pause/stop the timer accidentally, just by brushing the navigation control. A recent updated changed this so that you have to hold down the left button for several seconds. There are still a number of quirks: for example, when charging there's no indication of how charged the battery is: it just shows a 'charging' icon, and then a 'fully-charged' icon. Would be nice to know what percentage battery is at.

In my experience, battery life is not fantastic. I tried to use this watch in a 50-mile race, and found that it died around 5 hours in (using the HRM chest strap). I've been told that recent firmware updates improve this, but I can't see this being a good option for ultra-runners. That said, 5 hours is enough for almost everyone else, including slower marathoners, and I think most customers would rather prioritize having a smaller, sleeker, better-looking watch.

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Dominick Layfield

Dominick Layfieldwrote a review of on April 8, 2013

5 5

I have run almost exclusively in Montrail shoes over the last few years. I thought the Rogue Racer was a breakthrough in providing great feel and cushioning at an astonishingly light weight. The Rogue Fly, which I also loved, felt like an incremental improvement, shaving a little weight with no discernible loss of performance. I wore both shoes in 20+ trail races. My only criticism was that the forefoot protection felt just a little too minimal (not comfortable over sharp rocks!) and the heel stack felt just a little too high.

Maybe Montrail were listening to me. Or maybe they got the same feedback from a lot of athletes. Because the FluidFlex is an *awesome* shoe that remedies these issues. The forefoot sole is thicker and provides more protection, but still retains remarkably good trail feel. The heel is dropped slightly, giving a flatter, lower-profile, more stable platform. And the weight remains feather-light, not discernibly different to the Rogue Fly.

After using the shoes in only a couple of training runs, I felt comfortable enough to race a 50k in them, and a 50-miler two weeks later.

I still have absolutely no complaints. These are close to perfection.

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Dominick Layfield

Dominick Layfieldwrote a review of on November 28, 2012

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I bought this pack last year and skied with it all season. It's a really well-designed pack, and I've had no problems with it at all. Of course, the real test is whether it keeps you alive in an avalanche, and I'm happy to say that I have not yet had cause to discover how well that works!

Great things about the bag: light weight; overall design is very refined; ability to carry skis/snowboard in different configurations. Lots of straps that neatly stow out of sight when you don't use them. It has a separate compartment for your avvy shovel and probe.

I found I could use a hydration bladder, sliding the drinking tube down the same tube as the trigger cable. Not perfect, but serviceable. Note that the 'intended' route for the tube is straight out the top of the pack. But that's almost useless, as hose will freeze on all but the warmest spring days.

What I would have liked most was a longer torso length. I'm about 6 foot (183 cm) tall, but my torso is long for my height. I couldn't get much weight onto the hip belt. So not recommended if you are tall. Would probably be perfect for mid-5-footers.

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Dominick Layfield

Dominick Layfieldwrote a review of on September 25, 2012

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

I *love* Rock n' Roll lube.

It lubricates really well (although perhaps not absolutely as little friction as the best conventional lubes) but it lasts and lasts, and keeps your chain nice and clean. I ride mostly in dusty conditions, and find that the regular wet, oily lubes are like a magnet for dirt.

I've tried other waxy lubes (Pedro's Ice Wax and White Lightening) and think this is way better. Pedros seems just to turn into sticky gunk, and the White Lightening interacts horribly with other lubes.

The blue, "extreme" version of Rock n' Roll is intended for mountain biking in nasty, muddy conditions. But I've found it works well in all conditions. So unless you a a major bike geek, and keep a library of lubes for different days, this should be your go-to choice.

It comes in a giant 16oz bottle, along with a much smaller (empty) bottle with a drip nozzle, so you can decant some into the more convenient size.

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Dominick Layfield

Dominick Layfieldwrote a review of on September 25, 2012

5 5

Familiarity: I've put it through the wringer

What makes a good shoe is highly subjective. I like to run in lightweight shoes with minimal structure. I also race regularly, and as much as possible, like to to train in the shoes I'm going to use in a race.

My favorite race shoes for the last couple of seasons have been Montrail Rogue Racers. However, these are definitely not for everyone: they are ultralight with minimal structure and with very little protection from from rocks in the forefoot. And as races get longer and/or rockier, I find they're not even for me, either! At the end of a particularly rubbly 50k, I my feet were tired and aching. And my brain was tired from the effort of placing my feet carefully.

So for longer races, casual training, and just all-round use, I love the Mountain Masochists. They are only a little heavier (680g vs 505g), but provide much more support, more rock protection, better traction, and more durability.

The Mountain Masochist is a well-rounded thoroughbred of a trail shoe that I would recommend to almost anyone for any use. The only exception I can think of is if you have narrow feet. The MM runs a little wide.

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Dominick Layfield

Dominick Layfieldwrote a review of on September 25, 2012

5 5

Familiarity: I've used it several times

I loved the Montrail Rogue Racer shoe. It provided a decent amount of cushioning in a very lightweight shoe. The Rogue Fly is the next step. As far as I can tell, the Fly keeps the exact same sole as the Racer, but provides an even lighter upper.

Does it work? Absolutely. My size 10 Flys weigh 460g (pair); my Rogue Racers 505g. That might not seem like much of a weight saving, but it's still 10%. And so far, I've not missed the lack of structure in the uppers. I could be imagining things, but it also seems like the Flys run a little narrower than the Racers.

What I still don't like is the amount of heel-to-toe drop. (10mm, I think.) I do like that the heel is well-cushioned, as it means I can run fast downhill. (Overtaking runners wearing really minimal shoes!) But I'm not sure I need this much heel height, nor if it is really appropriate for such a lightweight shoe. I think Montrail could decrease HTTD to, say, 6mm, and further lighten the shoe without damaging its performance. I have no problem running fast downhill in Brooks Pure Grit, with a 4mm HTTD.

Durability may be an issue. As Montrail shave more and more weight off the shoe, something has to give. I think the product description should emphasize more that this is really a stripped-down racing shoe. However, my Rogue Racers have lasted through many long races and lots of abuse on the trails, so hopefully the Flys will last similarly.

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Dominick Layfield

Dominick Layfieldwrote a review of on December 14, 2011

5 5

I was taking an avalanche safety course and rapidly realized that it is almost impossible to conduct decent column stability tests without a snow saw. But I really didn't like the idea of carrying another item in my pack, particularly a sharp, pointy one! This is about the only shovel on the market with a saw that stows in the handle. Blade is made of the bomber T6061 aluminum alloy of choice.

And having now dug 20 odd pits with it, I can testify that both shovel and saw are excellent. Maybe underkill for full avalanche professionals, but for most of us backcountry travelers, this is the perfect balance of size, weight, cost, function. Good stuff!

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Dominick Layfield

Dominick Layfieldwrote a review of on September 30, 2011

4 5

The overwhelmingly striking aspect of these shorts is their weight. They are amazingly lightweight, due to the very light fabric, and the welded construction. The fabric seems to be the same sort of light, stretchy, wicking fabric used in running shorts.

That's the greatest strength of these shorts: because they are so light and stretchy, they are fantastic for bouldering. (And presumably for hiking, too.) You can sweat like a pig, and the fabric breathes wonderfully, doesn't get heavy, doesn't feel hot, doesn't bind or restrict your motion in any way at all. The product description recommends them for trail running, but they seem a little long for that (knee length), and personally I need some uh... support when I'm running. So for that use, you'd probably want to use some euro-style underwear!

But the great strength of these shorts is also their greatest weakness. The shorts are so amazingly lightweight that you feel almost naked. I could certainly deal with them being just slightly heavier and less clingy for casual wear.

They do seem to run a little on the small side. I typically wear pants with a 31" waist, and ordered both a S and a M. The M was a little big, and the S just a little small. I went with the S, but the fit is certainly figure-hugging!

What I wish was different (apart from slightly heavier fabric, which would probably help with durability, too) is for the shape to be slightly more waisted: the shorts feel very straight-cut, like they were formed around a cylinder rather than a real person. I also wish there were belt loops, so that they could be worn with a belt if necessary. There are two small straps at the sides that cinch the waist, but I found them to be somewhat unsatisfactory, as they loosened spontaneously, and I have to keep tightening them every hour or so.

Overall highly recommended for climbing and hiking.

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Dominick Layfield

Dominick Layfieldwrote a review of on September 28, 2011

5 5

I bought this after wandering the Outdoor Retailer trade show in Salt Lake City. I went by the booths of every hydration vendor, and looked at what they had in the way of minimal packs. I was looking for hydration packs for marathons and ultrarunning events. The CamelBak Classic was by far my favorite.

There are two key advantages to this pack. Firstly, the bladder is super easy to refill without removing from the pack. The mouth is just tucked under a flap. This makes it ideal for race aid stations: you can easily unscrew lid as you approach, and quickly refill from jug etc. Secondly, there's really nothing to the pack that you don't want. There's a small zippered pocket on the outside that is big enough to hold a few gels. And a minimal bungee that can be used to secure a rain shell or a long-sleeve. Larger items can also be slipped into the bladder pocket. All the straps are mesh and highly breathable.

I liked the design so much I bought two, so that I can leave one at bag-drops/checkpoints and just swoop in and grab a full pack.

Ultaracing heaven!

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Dominick Layfield

Dominick Layfieldwrote a review of on May 9, 2011

5 5

I used to be a big fan of Montrail Shoes, and went through four or five pairs of the Masai before they were discontinued. I've not really liked any of their shoes since: they all seemed to be be heavy and clunky. However, that's all changed with the Rogue Racer.

This is literally a game-changer. It is astonishingly light but provides nearly all the support and cushioning of a traditional trail shoe. I tried them on, ran in them once, and had no hesitation in wearing them for 50 km trail race. I had no foot issues at all.

The amazing thing is that they weigh almost as little as super-minimal trail shoes like the New Balance Minimus or the Merrell Trail Glove. But they provide a lot more cushioning and protection. You may or may not think that is a good thing, but my experience is that the hillier the race, the more cushioning I want on my heel so that I can run fast downhill. Also, the longer the race, the more I want just to be able to put a foot down without worrying too much about placing the foot precisely, avoiding sharp rocks etc.

The Rogue Racers feel very much like a traditional trail runner (like the Brooks Cascadia) but ditch 40% of the weight. I don't know what sort of voodoo Montrail have been cooking up in their research department, but the results are stunning. Expect to see this shoe winning a LOT of races.

If Montrail were to tweak the shoe at all, here's what I would suggest. The forefoot is really nice: soft enough to provide great trail feel, but firm enough that sharp rocks don't leave you limping. However, it's got a noticeable concavity to it that I think is undesirable. The only discomfort I felt with this shoe (after a 4.5 hour race) was right in the middle of the forefoot. I don't know if this is related to the concavity, or just because that's the thinnest point of the sole. But either way, I would flatten out the concavity (which doesn't seem to have much benefit), and thicken the middle of the forefoot by a millimeter or so. Secondly, I would be tempted to drop the heel slightly. After running in near-flat shoes, the heel stack seems high. As I said above, this means that the cushioning is great for thundering downhill, and I didn't experience any instability, but I think Montrail could improve the shoe by dropping the heel 2 or 3 mm.

Despite my niggles (Hey, nothing's ever perfect, right?), this is really a breakthrough shoe that is brilliantly designed. I have more than ten different pairs of trail shoes, and these are the shoe I reach for without hesitation for any long, hilly runs. I'm planning to wear them next in the Pocatello 50.

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Dominick Layfield

Dominick Layfieldwrote a review of on April 21, 2011

5 5

Love these. Like @ols3441909, I wear mine all the time, and keep them on until they're so dirty that I start to feel embarrassed about it.

Fit is perfect. Not tight, not too baggy. Length is perfect. Sizing is right on the money. Fabric looks great, feels great. Not too light, not too heavy.

And I really like the zippered thigh pockets. I can put a wallet and phone in them without encumbrance. If you put a phone in a front pocket it gets in the way. If you put it in the back pocket, it can crack when you sit down. But I don't really like the look of cargo pant thigh pockets. These pants have zippered thigh pockets, but they're pretty much invisible.

All in all, AWESOME. I've just bought a second pair. Kuhl pants rock!

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Dominick Layfield

Dominick Layfieldwrote a review of on April 21, 2011

4 5

I really wanted to love these shoes, as the concept seemed a great one: shave unnecessary weight of a conventional trail shoe by removing the footbed insert, and reshaping the bottom of the shoe to compensate. I've never found there to be any merit in insole footbeds anyway, and the market for overpriced aftermarket insoles (cough -- Superfeet) has always struck me as selling snake-oil.

My size 10's weigh 22.5 oz per pair. A comparable shoe (Brooks Cascadia) with an insole is about 25 oz, so the weight savings are probably around 10%.

Vasque have done a great job. The shoe runs well, and feels very much like a regular trail shoe, except that they ride noticeably lower to the ground -- which is good thing! Great stability on uneven terrain and less chance of rolling an ankle.

However, the outsole is surprisingly stiff, both in the heel and forefoot, which is great for running over sharp rocks, but I found them uncomfortably lacking in cushioning on paved sections getting to and from the trails.

The forefoot is also a little on the narrow side, and my foot is relatively wide. I got significant chafing -- enough that I had to alternate with other shoes to let my skin recover. I hoped that they might stretch enough to be tolerable (I had a pair of Vasque Blurs that felt narrow at first and then stretched out nicely) but even after ~50 miles, the transistors still feel too narrow -- enough that I wouldn't want to do long (multi-hour) runs in them.

If you like the shape of Vasque shoes, you'll probably love these. But I can't recommend them for wide feet.

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Dominick Layfield

Dominick Layfieldwrote a review of on February 16, 2011

5 5

First up, check out the weight of these shoes. My pair of 10.5's weigh exactly 1 lb (8 oz each). For comparison, my Brooks Cascadia 4's weigh 1 lb 10 oz per pair. That's a massive weight difference. The NB 101's are amazingly light. But that also means that they provide minimal support and minimal cushioning. So this shoe is going to feel *very* different to a traditional trail shoe.

If you're a trail-runner and have been watching the barefoot running revolution, been wanting to dip a toe in the water, but can't quite bring yourself to run in the (ridiculous-looking) FiveFingers, then this is the shoe for you. The 101 provides an impressive amount of foot protection for the weight, while still retaining great ground feel. Hallelujah!

What's not to like? Well, firstly, I found that they run a little small. I ordered a 10, which felt too tight, and had to return them for a 10.5. After a few runs, the shoes have stretched a little and now feel a little roomy, so maybe I could have got away with the 10. Hard to say. But it seems like they run about 1/4 size small, so if in doubt, I would suggest sizing up. (Maybe they are sized for use without socks?) Also, when I first put them on, the arch felt a little high (no real reason for arch support in a minimal running shoe!), but within a run or two, the arch seemed to flatten out, and was unnoticeable.

Finally, I've only put about 25 miles on these shoes, so I can't comment yet on their durability, or their capability in a wide range of conditions. I'll try to update this review when I've had more trail time in them.

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