INOV 8 X-TALON 212

PRICE: £95
WEIGHT: 215g

If you’re after a shoe for serious racing or a fast fun in the fells, this is for you. Light and responsive, the superb X-Talon 212 is perfect for those wanting to speed their way over rough terrain. Its foot-hugging fit is comfortable as well as brilliant for fast running on technical trails. The 8mm sticky rubber studs are super-grippy, allowing for high-speed cornering and contouring even on the muddiest of hills. It also sheds mud and water well and offers excellent foot protection. Surprisingly for a shoe that’s so obviously designed for the fells, it’s even comfortable and grippy on the road. 6mm drop.

VERDICT: Superb grip, highly responsive and great comfort. A top fell shoe.

GRIP: 9
CUSHIONING: 5
PRECISION: 10

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LA SPORTIVA MUTANT

PRICE: £95
WEIGHT: 365g

The Mutant is a funky looking mountain-running shoe with an emphasis on durability, foot protection and stability rather than minimal weight. La Sportiva’s heritage lies in mountaineering shoes, and it has used the experience to produce a protective sole unit with a 10mm drop that works well on dry mountain terrain but is also good in mud and on grass. The Spyral tongue wraps the foot, giving a lot of adjustment to foot shape and adding to the stability; it also acts as a grit gaiter. The Mutant has a slightly wider fit than some La Sportivas, which
works well for longer-distance mountain running.

VERDICT: A tough and dependable long-distance mountain-running shoe.

GRIP: 8
CUSHIONING: 7
PRECISION: 7

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SALOMON SPEEDCROSS 4

PRICE: £100
WEIGHT: 270g

The Speedcross 4 manages to deliver top-notch precision and grip in a super-comfortable, protective shoe. The aggressive lugs give superb traction on muddy and rocky terrain, whether you’re climbing, descending or contouring steep hillsides, yet the ride is smooth and cushioned enough for hard-packed trails. The only conditions it’s not great in is on wet, slippery rocks and roads, as the rubber’s not as sticky as some on test, and if you’re running through water the padded upper means it doesn’t drain quickly. But for an all-round off-road shoe – anything from a 5k to an ultra – they’re hard to beat. 10mm drop.

VERDICT: Protective, cushioned, grippy and comfortable. A great all-round off-roader.

GRIP: 8
CUSHIONING: 6
PRECISION: 7

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