VJ claims to have the best grip on the planet. These are the widest orienteering shoes with metal studs that I could find.
- Metal studs
- Hard to find
- Studs pick up leaves
I got these after realizing that my super-comfy Altra Lone Peak 6 may be great for all-day comfort, but don't compare with studded orienteering shoes for off-trail running and may be a little too roomy for competition.
After these arrived in the mail (from Latvia!), I tried them on, and took them for a 1.6 mile run through some nearby woods. The extra traction was most noticeable on logs. I then took them on a 4 mile trail run to break them in before using them in a competition.
My big test for these was an orienteering competition on Nov 5 (8km course that took me 8 miles to complete).
I couldn't find the brand or the correct category for these, so listed them as trail running shoes and brand as "other". There is a VJ USA site, but they don't sell orienteering shoes.
Fit: I got these in a size 42, which the site listed as a UK 8, but probably should have gotten these in a half size smaller. The fit seemed good when first trying them on, they hold my feet in place without squeezing my toes. After my first practice run in them, they are a bit loose. During my long practice run and the orienteering race, I tied these tighter and taped the laces to keep them from coming untied. No issues after that.
Comfort: Super comfortable. I was focused on the course, so didn't even notice them, except feeling more confident on slippery surfaces. I also got a thorn in one, so had to take it off to pull out the thorn. The uppers are stiffer than my Altra Lone Peaks, but that probably helps to protect my feet.
Traction: These things bite into surfaces! I can really feel how much more they grab the ground than even the stickiest trail runners I've used. It's most noticeable on logs and steep inclines. They also hold on to rocks better. It doesn't seem to make a difference whether the ground is wet or dry. (they are definitely noisy on rocky ground and pavement).
Temp Control: Ventilated nylon mesh with reinforced areas. They dried relatively quickly, were dry by the time I got home (even though the rest of my gear was still wet).
Ease of Use: Lugs and studs grab the ground. Laces keep them on my feet.
Features: 18 star-shaped metal studs per shoe. Nylon mesh upper with reinforced areas to prevent ripping. Wide fit for wide feet. A small drawback of the studs is that they hold on to leaves (like a trash pick-up stick)
Construction & Durability: They seem to be well made, though I've only logged 14 miles with them. Will need to see if they last to 100 miles and beyond.
Conditions: I've used these on 3 runs, ranging from 1.5 miles to 8 miles. Surfaces include trails, open forest, rocky ground, streams, logs, and open fields. The temperature was in the 50s-70s on sunny days.
How they could be better: I miss the gaiter traps from my Altras and the more secure lacing system of some others. I see that Ice Bugs have a thinner, lighter upper, not sure how they differ in comfort and durability.
As a Scoutmaster, geocacher, and orienteer, I find myself in forests at least once a week. I've gotten more into orienteering recently, taking part in 10 races over the past year.
Source: bought it new
Price Paid: €114.88 (about $121.20) from best4o.com
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Reviewers Paid: $121.00