Outstanding fit for my foot. Speed laces are welcome. Low-profile sole can be slippery in the mud and wears fairly quickly. Heel counter was a little painful over time, and EVA midsole squashed quicker than I would have liked.
- Lacing system
- Comfortable walking-around shoe
- One-material midsole lacks heft
- Low profile sole wears quickly, slips in mud
- Heel counter proved painful over time.
Unquestionably my favorite trail runner/light hiker ever in terms of fit. Some other qualities could use improvement, or perhaps I should try different models from this company.
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.
The main reason I like 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 relatively 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. It might be a tad narrow for my foot, which caused some pain over time. 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. On the downside, it doesn't do much to protect your feet and compacted somewhat more quickly than i would have liked. I also missed the extra support of having multiple types of EVA foam, with stiffer foam under the inside of my foot, which is a normal feature in every running shoe I use.
The sole has a relatively modest tread — no deep — 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 could not tell if this really provided better traction on ice, in part because I wore these a lot and wore parts of the ice-lok feature off the soles.
About mid-foot, beneath the arch, the sole is hard plastic, probably intended to provide a little arch support. The uppers of the shoe experienced normal wear over the course of over 400 miles; the soles and midsole showed quite a bit of wear.
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 very good 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 enough that I purchased a Gore-tex pair for winter; the Gore tex version has similar features and succeeded in keeping my feet dry in the wet. 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.
UPDATE NOTE 1/15: I ended up with a third pair of these, the Evolution II, which had dual-density EVA foam in the midsole. A welcome improvement. However, I still found the heel counter a little narrow, and the sole and most of the EVA foam still showed a lot of wear.
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. I have veered away from these shoes due to individual fit issues, and because I craved more aggressive treads and better durability in the midsole and sole.
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $55
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