"It never gets easier, you just go faster." - Greg Lemond

Wednesday, January 8, 2014

Trail shoes for 2014

In a now annual fashion, I'll line off the trail shoes for the coming year that I am most excited about.

1.  Scott Sports Trail Rocket.  I liked the Kinabalu a lot, but the upper had some durability issues, and there seemed to be a little too much shoe than was necessary.  I really liked the TC Evo road shoe, and the Trail rocket seems to be a blend of the Kinabalu, TC Evo, and the Race Rocker (Scotts performance road race shoe).  Lower drop (5-7mm?), enough protection to run mountain trails and the light!
Sage Cannaday's review
Photo - Trail Running Review
2.  Salomon Sense Ultra Softground.  Not sure the "exact" name of this shoe, as it might just be called the Sense Ultra, or Sense Ultra 3, but this shoe should be turning heads everywhere.  Speedcross outsole on the Sense platform...  NICE!  I think the lugging will add a little extra cushion too.

3.  La Sportiva Bushido. Hmmm will La Sportiva finally nail the lighter-weight yet still ultra-ready category (is this a category?).  I hear 6mm drop, approximately 10oz, and sports a Vibram outsole.  Hopefully the midsole has the feel of the Helios or Vertical K, plush yet light, and the protection of some of Sportivas "monsters" like the Crosslite or Wildcat.

Photo - Trail Running Review

Photo Credit irunfar.com
4.  Asics Gel Fuji Racer 3.  I love the first iteration of this shoe, until I ran on rocky gnarl with it.  The outsole is just too hard and has no grip on rock, be it loose, wet, or dry.  So the 3 has a no outsole, but maintains the 6mm drop.  Also I should point out they got rid of those stupid drainage ports on the bottom.  If the outsole performs, you might see me racing in this shoe a lot.

Photo - runningwarehouse

Photo - runningwarehouse

5.  New Balance MT110v2.  Totally redone.  Thank-goodness.  Paper shoes be gone (thats what we have decided to call the wafer-thin MT110v1), this shoe maintains the 4mm drop associated with the 110, but looks substantially beefer.  Outsole geometry is changed, as is the upper.  If the midsole is Revlite (it is), consider me a New Balance customer once again.

Photo credit - Runningwarehouse

Photo credit -irunfar.com
6.  Scarpa Tru.  I've heard some great things about the Scarpa Spark, and this shoe looks to maintain a lot of the great features of the spark (protective, lightweight, good traction) and simplifies it a little bit.  6mm drop.
Photo credit - irunfar

Photo credit - competitor magazine

7.  The North Face Ultra.  TNF shoes fit my feet really well.  I know some people don't take TNF shoes very seriously, but I was mighty impressed with the Ultraguide, and I look forward to seeing what the Ultra Trail is like.  Lightweight (~9oz), slightly more heel (8mm drop) than the rest of the shoes above it (not necessarily a bad thing). The vibram outsole gets me pretty excited.  With all the badass runners that TNF is picking up, they really need a high performance trail racer to please these guys.  I hope this is it.

Photo credit - competitor magazine

Photo credit - irunfar

8.  Vasque Shapeshifter Ultra.  ???  Cool.  ???  Expensive...  $170.00.  Low drop, big cush.

Photo credit -competitor magazine

9.  Montrail Fluid Flex II.  I tried the Fluid Flex I, and the lack of any lateral support ruined the shoe, despite how much I enjoyed the foam.  It looks like their is more stability in this model but thats just a guess based on the stitching pattern.  We will see.  I like that Montrail has kept things simple and cheap despite pressure in the industry to make super duper expensive shoes.  4mm drop still and uber lightweight.
Photo credit -examiner

Photo credit - irunfar

10.  It was a tough choice, either the Patagonia Evermore or the Altra Olympus was taking this last spot.  But since I already have a ton of low drop, light weight shoes featured, I decided to put the Olympus as #10.  Big midsole, not sure of the exact stack height, but I'd guess 30mm or more.  0 drop just like other Altra shoes.  Fans of the Torin will probably like this shoe a lot.  I'm curious, that's for sure.

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