Shoes. With all the different brands, styles and fads, it’s hard to figure out which shoe is the right one for you. Over the past few years I’ve tried out a few different lines of trail shoes, and I thought It’d be fun to share my thoughts on them. I’ve never been the kind of person who buys things simply because it’s “what the cool kids are doing“, so I’ve been hesitant to spend the money on Salomons. I really wanted to do my own thinking and come up with that awesome shoe that noone knew about.
Strike One: the Asics Trail Shoe:
I was pretty excited when I bought these shoes, paying over $120 for them. They looked cool, had good ventilation and seemed lightweight. Well, to make a long story short..they sucked. The laces didn’t stay tied, they held water and I got a lot of blisters. Running in wet conditions was like wearing roller skates.
Strike Two: The Hi-Tec Infinity-Lite
At first, I LOVED these shoes. Never before had I experienced so much traction and breathability. While running in these shoes, you can literally feel the air moving through them. They drain water very efficiently, the laces stay tied and they’ve got that handy hoop on the back so you can clip them to your pack while cycling. All this, AND you can find them at steeply discounted prices on ebay.
The one major problem with this shoe is its lack of durability. I’ve owned 3 pair of these shoes, and they all fell apart in nearly the exact same way. Before the 2012 Berryman 24 hour race, I bought a brand new pair of these, and the tread literally fell off halfway through the race. I was understandably pissed off, so I called their customer service people later in the week. Their response: “Wow, that sucks. ” Thanks, Hi-Tec..thanks a lot.
Then one day I got lucky and found a Merrell outlet having a clearance sale…
Big success! – The Merrell Mix Master
What a great shoe. I found these babies on sale for $40. They drain water wonderfully, breathe magnificently, are durable and they look cool . Win-win, especially for $40. If I could own 10 pairs of them, I would.
My only issue is that since the sole is so thin, I can “feel” the trail a little too well. I suspect this has more to do with my body-weight than anything, so we’ll overlook that. These are excellent shoes for adventure racing, no doubt about it.
The Hoka One One Stinson Trail Shoe.
If I could describe the Hoka trail shoe in two words, those words would be “Holy Shit”. These shoes have literally solved 95% of my running problems, with the other 5% being comprised of obesity and lack of motivation. Shinsplints..gone. Uber painful calf cramps…gone. Knee pain..gone. Shit, I think my teeth have even gotten whiter since I started wearing these shoes.
My one and only complaint is that they don’t really shed water very well. But seriously, these are the best and lightest trail shoes you’ll find. You can step on rocks and never feel them! These shoes have given me the ability to run downhill, and that’s not something I’ve been able to do until now. I seriously think these skins are some gonna be a major game-changer for me.
So…those are my thoughts on AR-specific trail shoes. Someday I’ll own a pair of Salomons, but for now I’m a Merrell/Hoka man. Feel free to call me a dumbass in the comments section and/or share your own opinions.