Earlier this year Timberland announced its acquisition of the GoLite brand name and its intention to launch a new line of trail running shoes under the GoLite Footwear label. The resulting shoes – six models from race and training to trail-inspired after-sport shoes designed by the Timberland Invention Factory – made their debut at Outdoor Retailer.
According to Timberland’s Doug Clark, the goal of GoLite Footwear is to meet the unique needs of trail runners. While road runners can concentrate on efficiency and technique, the number one concern for a trail runners is “not falling on your ass.” Instead of a traditional road-running sole, which is soft underfoot and hard against the road, the new GoLite shoes are softer on the outside, allowing them to absorb footfalls on rocks and roots while still providing a wide base of support. The core of the system are the large, deep lugs on the outsole; they’re soft enough that if one lands on a stone, it will compress completely, allowing the others to touch down around the obstacle and maintain solid footing.
The GoLite Footwear line will be available in stores beginning in spring, 2007. While GoLite has received positive feedback from their test base of New England running clubs, it will be interesting to see how the soft-on-the-bottom concept holds up, especially in terms of durability.