Hoka Torrent

255g  (Men's UK 9)
www.hokaoneone.eu
£100

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An interesting shoe given Hoka’s well-known high rise feel. This, while sitting on Hoka’s usual superbly cushioned base, actually feels quite solid and low to the ground. It’s the kind of shoe that creates a feel for the surface, while offering good protection thanks to that Profly midsole, high-traction rubber and aggressive lugs. The resulting good traction means the shoe provides a nice feel at pace, so you could easily use them for racing as well as training. Hoka’s extreme cushioning means the 5mm heel drop is very easy to get along with and if you’re keen on moving to lower numbers, they’re a great starting point. 

Verdict: Fast paced, well cushioned, easy to get on with.
8/10

Scott Kinabalushoe shoe review

320g (UK 8) scott-sports.com
£130

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The Scott Kinabalu is an extremely comfortable shoe, cushioned with 29mm of Aero Foam+ at the rear, making it ideal for those who like longer races and offers a bouncier feel to your run. The 8mm heel drop and the unique eRIDE midsole geometry is designed to increase efficiency, and the shoe certainly feels fast despite coming in a bit heavier than some of the competition on the market at 320g.

This is also definitely a shoe for harder, firmer trails as the lugs aren’t particularly deep and won’t be great at eating through mud. It's a surprisingly responsive shoe for something that looks a little bulky.

Verdict: 7/10
Ready for rock and drier conditions – think alpine.

See the August-September issue of Trail Running out on July 12 for our more all-rounder trail shoe reviews.

New Balance 910v4 shoe review

329g (UK 9) newbalance.co.uk
£90

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From the hard knocks school of running, the 910v4 is solid feeling – the type of shoe that enjoys serious mud and nasty conditions. Given the shoe's rigid feel, it's best suited to controlled, steady running rather than racing or pace work; but for everyday running it's just fine.

New Balance use a Rockstop plate between the midsole and outsole for extra protection against roots and rocks, and the Hydrohesion rubber outsole provides grip in adventurous environments. There’s also a 10mm heel to toe drop. The rigidity might be an issue for some runners, but we found them comfortable
mixing road and mud.

Verdict: 7/10
Solid feeling initially, but quickly loosen up.

See the August-September issue of Trail Running out on July 12 for our more all-rounder trail shoe reviews.

La Sportiva Lycan shoe reviews

275g (UK 10.5) sportiva.com
£115

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A solid all-rounder is the perfect way to describe this lightweight, supportive shoe. Packed with plenty of extras – including a rock guard outsole with an impact brake system and breathable mesh upper – the Lycan provides a solid, secure feel in most running conditions.

Perhaps best at home on solid trails, the grip is good on all but the slippiest of surfaces and you’ll also notice the support provided. To some it might feel a little unforgiving, but to others it will feel like a robust, hard ride. The 6mm heel drop is quite competitively low for a La Sportiva shoe, but it doesn’t feel tough to get on with.

Verdict: 8/10
Good on technical trails, and great
on the road. 

See the August-September issue of Trail Running out on July 12 for our more all-rounder trail shoe reviews.

Columbia Caldorado III

366g (UK 11) columbiasportswear.co.uk
£115

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The UTMB tag suggests these are tough, uncompromising beasts. Tough they may be, but they’re also very soft and cushioned – happy on solid paths, but also ready for off-road action. The FluidFoam technology provides a soft and supple ride, while the grip is perfect for everything from canal paths to dry mountain tracks.

The uppers are suitably abrasion-proof and there’s a slimline, racing-shoe feel to the fit. Given the UTMB approval stamp, the Caldorado III is perfectly happy tackling rocks, roots and uneven ground. Its armoury even includes a rock plate in the forefoot, with an 8mm heel drop.

Verdict: 9/10
Road-friendly and capable of tackling the toughest trails.

See the August-September issue of Trail Running out on July 12 for our more all-rounder trail shoe reviews.

Scarpa Neutron 2 shoe review

330g (UK 10.5) scarpa.co.uk
£125

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These shoes are comfortable out of the box, with a fairly soft and cushioned ride. The outsole also gives good grip on a range of surfaces with a mix of tread and sticky rubber to give some versatility. That touch of softness to the midsole means that on firmer ground the shoe has a forgiving feel to it. This is matched by an upper that is comfortable and yet secure.

The ride of the midsole having that slightly plush feel to it does mean the responsiveness is slightly compromised as a result. There's a 6mm heel drop, and if you've worn Scarpa before you'll be pleasantly surprised by the softer, more flexible feel of this latest model.

Verdict: 8/10
Soft ride, placing comfort above responsiveness.

See the August-September issue of Trail Running out on July 12 for our more all-rounder trail shoe reviews.

Altra Lone Peak 3.0 shoe review

325g (UK 10.5) altrafootwear.co.uk
£120

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With a toe box designed to give your toes room to spread more naturally, it isn't a surprise that the forefoot of the Peak 3.0 is roomy. But Is it comfortable? Yes. Does that sacrifice some precision and the sense of a secure fit? That’s a yes as well. On more even ground that’s not a problem. The grip is good with the stickiness giving you more confidence.

This is combined with a midsole that offers good cushioning and guidance. In keeping with the desire to have a shoe that allows your foot to behave more naturally there is zero heel drop, which does mean the Peak 3.0 can be tricky to get used to.

Verdict: 8/10
Natural feel with a good midsole, but not fully responsive.

See the August-September issue of Trail Running out on July 12 for our more all-rounder trail shoe reviews.

Arc’teryx Norvan LD shoe review

330g (UK 10.5) arcteryx.com
£135

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The look of the Norvan LD is deceptive. There isn't a lot of visual impact, but this is a
very comfortable and effective trail shoe. The upper looks very simple but the fit is very good, and the comfort matches this. You get a grippy outsole that works on a fair range of terrain, in particular harder ground and slippery surfaces, and is combined with a midsole that offers a smooth and comfortable ride.

While this isn't a lightweight shoe, there's a well cushioned midsole that comes with a 9mm heel drop. Fans of the brand will appreciate Arc'teryx's move towards more competitive running shoes.

Verdict: 8/10
Good cushioning and ride – will log plenty of miles.

Salomon Sense Ride shoe review

300g (UK 10.5) salomon.com
£110

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These shoes are comfortable from the off. Anyone used to Salomon shoes will have already taken into account the need to buy half a size larger than normal, and the fit is very good throughout the foot once this is factored in.

The ride is comfortable with a good spring to it that, when combined with good flexibility, adds to a responsive ride – including for faster running. 

The grip is good on most terrain – although not so much for the mud – and adds to the feeling that this shoe can cope with a wide range of trails. The 8mm heel drop is easy to get used to and helps make the Sense Ride comfortable with pace work.

Verdict: 9/10
Comfortable and responsive on a wide range of terrain.

S/LAB ULTRA

Priced at: £150

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Designed in collaboration with UTMB winner Francois D’haene the new version of the S/LAB Ultra combines stunning looks with ultra running-specific design. The Sensifit system incorporates two arms on each side of the shoe which link directly to the Quicklace; this holds the foot incredibly well offering good comfort and stability from quite a minimal upper. The midsole is constructed from several grades of compressed EVA, each offering different levels of cushioning and energy return to maximise protection, comfort and the transition from landing to take off. The Energysave foam insert in the forefoot adds cushioning and protection. The midsole is customised to each shoe size offering different levels of cushioning to reflect the likely increase in a runner’s weight with foot size. The new Contragrip outsole is designed for better wet traction than ever before and the tread pattern includes reverse lugs on the heel to aid downhill running. Click this link to be directed straight to these incredible running shoes: https://www.salomon.com/uk/product/s-lab-ultra.html?article=402139

NEW FROM MAMMUT

We haven't tested the new Mammut Sertig Low shoe yet, but it sounds like one to keep your eye out for. We'll have a test for you soon but in the meantime Mammut tell us it has been developed for ambitious mountain training on changing surfaces. It sits close to the foot, is lightweight and offers effective cushioning, making the shoe ideal for different speeds and distances.

It weighs just 255 grams, and has a seamless tongue construction designed to prevent pressure points. The Advanced MTR Speed Lace System allows to make lightning- fast adjustments to the laces during the run, ensuring a perfect fit at all times. Surplus ends of laces can be tucked out of sight in the blink of an eye.

Another highlight is the patented Rolling Concept. Thanks to this sole concept developed according to orthopedic principles, optimising the foot's natural rolling behaviour thus reducing fatigue - and therefore the risk of twisting an ankle. Sounds good, watch this space for a full test.

 

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GTX shoe reviews

Waterproof footwear put to the test

Saucony
Xodus ISO GTX
385g Men’s 10.5
www.saucony.com
£140

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There’s general agreement among trail runners that GTX shoes can be rigid and unforgiving. But that’s certainly not the case with these amazingly flexible, lightweight, performance-loving shoes. More than any other shoe on test, they're as at home on the road as they are off it, making them supremely versatile and a great bet for urban trail types. The technology is old-school Saucony, featuring a resilient Everun topsole and an ultra-grippy PWRtrac outsole, all working off a competitively
fast 4mm drop. Fit is less of an issue with shoes today and this is no exception – it feels comfortable from the off.

Verdict
As close to a racing shoe as you’ll get in the world of GTX shoes.
Grip: 8/10
Cushioning: 9/10
Precision: 9/10
Overall: 9/10


La Sportiva
Ultra Raptor GTX
457g Men’s UK 10.5
www.lasportiva.com
£140

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These shoes might well shock you; bulky and heavy-feeling
on that first in-shop fitting, you’ll probably think they
won’t cope with anything too serious. But take them out on the trails and they’ll surprise you. Sure, they’re not racing snakes but, actually, the fit and general cushioned feel makes them feel pretty lively, and they're capable of a good
clip. Of course, the Gore-Tex means they can cope with wet mud, while the grip, perhaps a bit slippy for road, comes via the Frixion XF outsole. But, all this aside, it’s the fit and cushioned response, along with the higher 12mm ride, that will impress you the most.

Verdict
An ideal shoe for long days in the – preferably wet and muddy – hills.
8/10

Grip: 7/10
Cushioning: 9/10
Precision: 7/10
Overall: 8/10


Salomon
Speedcross 4 Nocturne GTX
368g Men’s 10.5
www.salomon.com
£140

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There’s plenty to like with the Speedcross 4 Nocturne GTX. As ever, Salomon has provided very good fit, thanks to its Sensifit technology, which holds your foot in place over technical terrain. The shoe offers great cushioning, which is on the harder side – but that's an asset for the type of run you’ll take these on. Demanding, wet, rocky conditions are what these shoes thrive on, and you’ll certainly feel confident in the protection on offer. We love the technology and the 10mm drop, but appreciate that some won’t get on with the lacing system and tighter feel that it can create. Keep that in mind when making your decision.

Verdict
A supremely technical shoe that will cope with the most severe of conditions.

Grip: 8/10
Cushioning: 8/10
Precision: 10/10
Overall: 9/10


Scarpa
Neutron GTX
365g Men’s 10.5
www.scarpa.co.uk
£130

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Flexible, surprisingly plush underfoot, and pleasingly lightweight, you can expect the unexpected with Scarpa's Neutron GTX shoes. The excellent Gore-Tex lining makes them a waterproof shoe, but the dual-density EVA midsole provides a superb level of cushioning – which makes them a very handy shoe for everyday wear. Everyday, that is, as long as you live near some horrible wet, sticky mud. That’s because the grip is right up there in terms of security. For a relatively low-cut shoe – it has a 6mm drop – they feel nice and supportive. They're easy to get  on with pretty much straight from the box. 

Verdict
Flexible, lightweight and cushioned – just
pull on and go!

Grip: 8/10
Cushioning: 8/10
Precision: 8/10
Overall: 8/10


Dynafit
Feline GTX
359g Men’s 10.5
www.dynafit.com
£145

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Featuring a huge variety of add-ons, this alpine path shoe certainly leaves an impression. It’s from the firm-ride stable –
a racing-type shoe – but does offer suitable cushioning and protection for those venturing further. Essentially the adaptive grip, multipage midsole and invisible lacing systems are all about allowing your foot to adapt to the underfoot conditions and create balance and support. The Vibram used on the super-aggressive-looking sole definitely signals that these are made for mud,
snow even, which means the Gore-Tex is perfect. The shoe is on the narrow side, working off an 8mm drop. 

Verdict
Mud, snow and very wet conditions, all dealt with comfortably.

Grip: 10/10
Cushioning: 7/10
Precision: 8/10
Overall: 8/10


New Balance
910v4 GTX
313g Men’s 8.5
www.newbalance.co.uk
£100

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For a shoe that appears to be relatively standard in appearance, the 910v4 GTX from New Balance is actually packed with technology, featuring all the elements you need to run on the wettest of trails. The REVlite midsole, Rockstop plate, and HydroHesion rubber outsole all provide a safe, secure and, more importantly, dry environment for your feet to enjoy. Significantly – for us at least – this is a shoe that can cope with road and urban trails as well as the more demanding winter surfaces many of us enjoy. The 8mm drop creates a low-to-the-ground feel, but the cushioning is quite responsive.

Verdict
Gets on with the job without drama – safe and secure in the nastiest of conditions.

Grip: 9/10
Cushioning: 8/10
Precision: 7/10
Overall: 8/10


 

Scott
T2 Kinabalu GTX 3.0
421g Men’s UK 10.5
www.scott-sports.com
£131

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Scott uses eRide geometry which provides a smooth and natural heel-to-toe transition – think of it as rocking your foot in a forward motion and you’ll get the idea. Thanks to this ‘faster’ feel, and despite the friendly 11mm drop, the T2 Kinabalu GTX 3.0 from Scott is the kind of shoe that’s most at home on forest trails. However, there’s plenty built in to help you on tougher terrains – the rock plate is a good defence. Claims of self-cleaning lugs might be a bit bold, but it’s true they don’t clog up! The Gore-Tex goes about its job pretty well in that the upper, built without seams, feels light and breathable. 

Verdict
A faster-feeling shoe that can cope with a host of different terrains.

Grip: 7/10
Cushioning: 7/10
Precision: 8/10
Overall: 8/10


Inov-8
Parkclaw 275 GTX
340g Men’s 10.5
www.inov-8.com
£140

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The GTX tag implies a certain degree of additional weight, but as we’ve discovered with this season’s versions, that’s not always the case. Light, low to the ground, but not excessively so – thanks to a 8mm heel drop – these are the type of shoe you want to accompany you on a (very) wet path where performance is key. We don’t generally think of waterproof shoes as racers, but these could well do the job. Most importantly, they provide a smooth transition from your front door to some moderately challenging conditions. No, you don’t want deep mud, but as for rain and slippery surfaces… bring it on.

Verdict
A shoe fit for a variety of runs, from training all the way to racing.

Grip: 8/10
Cushioning: 7/10
Precision: 8/10
Overall: 8/10