Price Paid: $55
unquestionably my favorite trail runner/light hiker ever. i hadn't heard of this company until recently.
this is a low trail running/light hiking shoe. it isn't the lightest weight shoe you will find, weighing slightly less than two pounds for the pair. like most similar shoes, this is nylon reinforced by leather in a few key areas.
the sidewall of the shoe (instep and the opposite side) are clearly perforated for better ventilation in hot weather. it laces up via fabric loops rather than eyelets, which makes them very easy to loosen/tighten. the shoelaces are very slightly textured, which is a plus because they don't come untied like some smooth laces occasionally do.
One of the main reasons i love these shoes is that they fit like a glove, the first of many trail runners i can say that about. my feet feel locked in, they don't slide around, and they don't push forward and bang my toes. the toe box is relatively wide, the heel width average. even with my E-width feet, i have to lace them relative tight to keep my feet secure; consequently, i suspect people with narrow feet might feel like they can't get a secure fit with this shoe. the heel counter is quite firm. the front is extended, meaning that the front of the shoe most likely to bang your front two toes has a little extra room. the factory insole is moderately more robust than the usual pancake in most brands, with a little extra padding under the ball of the foot and the heel and harder material under the arch. i have worn these with doctor-made orthotics.
the midsole is made from relatively soft EVA. it provides quite a bit of cushioning.
the sole has a relatively modest tread - no deep lugs - and is relatively soft. interspersed with the main sole material are a series of triangle-shaped things that Treksta claims provide better traction on ice. i have only worn these in the spring and summer, so i can't tell if there is any truth to this claim. about mid-foot, beneath the arch, the sole is hard plastic, probably intended to provide a little arch support. with more than 100 miles on these shoes, the soles are showing some wear, but well within normal.
on the trail, this shoe feels forgiving and very comfortable. i have worn these on pavement, dirt trails, and rocky trails, carrying backpacks up to fifty pounds. because the sole and midsole are both soft material, you can feel hard edges or points of rocks if you step hard on them, though the shoe is well-cushioned, and i haven't bruised my feet in them. this is a low shoe, so there isn't any ankle support to speak of. lateral support is moderate - better than your average running shoe, but nothing like my heavier leather hiking boots. the sole is grippy on rocky and wet surfaces, and because it is shallow, sheds grit and mud quickly. i haven't experienced any toe bang or blisters with this shoe, even in brutally hot summer weather this year. ventilation on this non-gore tex shoe is excellent.
i have worn this shoe with moderately thick merino wool blend socks - either Darn Tough's boot sock full cushion or Bridgedale's endurance trekker. it feels tremendous with both of these socks. the shoe felt a little tight in Smartwool's heavy trekking crew, a heavily-cushioned and relatively thicker sock.
i liked this shoe so much that i purchased a Gore-tex pair for winter; i haven't worn those much yet. notably, the gore-tex version of this shoe has a firmer fit, the upper of the gore-tex version doesn't feel as stretchy as the non-gore version. i have not worn the gore-tex shoe much and plan to spend more time using it this fall/winter. i have, however, worn the gore tex version in the rain and on puddly trails, and they are fully waterproof for a low shoe.
if you want a firmer, higher, more supportive and protective shoe, look more toward the hiking/light hiking realm; if you want an ultra-light pair of trail runners, these might be a little heavier than you want. other than that, i have nothing negative to say about this shoe. within its relatively robust trail runner niche, it is as close to perfect as i have worn.