Update: Ran across the Montrail Rockridge. Not sure on specifics like weight, but it looks to fall into the hybrid category based on the review here. I hope to learn more from info coming out of the Outdoor Retailers Show that is going on this week.
Here we are at the beginning of the new year and you know what that means? New Gear is coming out! That’s right, just like cars our hats, bikes, gloves, socks, and of course.. shoes have model years. With the recent growth in popularity of trail and ultrarunning (my ultrarunning’s group 25k/50k sold out in 5 days!) and the minimalist movement driven by “Born to Run” shoes manufacturers are pumping out new trail specific designs that are more than just a road shoe with a black upper to hide the dirt. Let’s check out a few I have stumbled across recently.
First up is the Vasque Transistor. I’ve seen this one floating around for a while and it’s supposed to launch this month. Vasque is using something called FootSync to make the foot bed more anatomically correct thus forgoing the need for a removable insole. This differs from what most shoes manufactures do which is to throw a separate curved insole on top of the flat midsole on the inside of the shoe. This means your foot rides directly on top of the midsole and should provide better control and less distance between your foot and the ground. This one weights in at 11.4 ounces.
Next is the X-Talon 190 from Inov-8. We here at RunTheUltras have mentioned before that the number Inov-8 puts in their shoe’s names represent their weight in grams. So, lets see 190 grams converted to ounces is…… yea, your math is right, this thing weighs 6.7 ounces! What they have done here is take the outsole and upper from other light weight models (X-Talon 212, and F-lite 230 respectively) and moved down to a level 1 cushioning. Check out Jeff Browning’s post on this shoe over at his blog. (photo courtesy of Jeff Browning)
Lastly we have one that I hope hits the US Shores. It’s the Wave Harrier 2 from Mizuno. This one weighs in at 295 grams (10.4) ounces and has some aggressive fell shoe like traction. The Wave Harrier 2 is the lightest of the Mizuno trail line which has some some decent success and accolades for their Wave Ascend 4 and the new Wave Cabrakan, (both available stateside). I’ve been wondering when Mizuno was going to start shaving some weight off of their trail line, especially since they already carry a sub-4 ounce road flat and it looks like they’ve done it, it’s just not in the US yet. Thanks to my buddy Caleb for pointing this one out!
I’m excited by these new comers, maybe not specifically about each shoe on it’s own but more about what they designs show. It shows that a trail running shoe no longer means just beefing up the upper and putting a few lugs on the bottom of the popular road trainer and calling it a day. Looking at all these I see a growing trend to get your foot lower to the ground and make shoes that are actually built with the trail in mind. So what do you think? Anything here that peaks your interest? How about a few models that you are excited about that are not mentioned here. Leave your comments below and let us know.