VJ SPORT IROCK 2

PRICE: £110
WEIGHT: 210g

Designed for trail running and obstacle course racing – and worn by OCR world champion Jonathan Albon – the Irock 2 from Finnish company VJ Sport is a grip specialist. With a butyl rubber outsole and deep, well-spaced lugs, it clings to trails, grass, mud, rock and road, whether it’s wet or dry. The Fitlock lacing draws the shoe around the foot for a snug fit. We found the forefoot a bit too narrow, however, and the heel not quite fitted enough – definitely worth trying before you buy. There’s enough cushioning to be comfortable running on roads and harder trails. 6mm drop.

VERDICT: Super grippy on all terrain. Very narrow, particularly in the forefoot.

GRIP: 10
CUSHIONING: 5
PRECISION: 9

IMG_69827 Irock_preview.jpg

MORE MILE CHEVIOT 3

PRICE: £30
WEIGHT: 265g

British sports brand More Mile has designed the Cheviot 3 firmly with muddy fells in mind. It’s a straightforward design, with close-weave single-piece uppers and good toe/heel protection. The sole is very aggressively lugged – in fact, we’d challenge you to fall over in any conditions wearing these – so it’s not suitable for anything other than the softest terrain. It also feels quite hard on your feet, so not ideal for longer distances – but at £30 it’s great when you need all the grip you can get. The sizing’s small so you may need to go up half a size. We like that More Mile are dedicated supporters of grass-roots sport. 6mm drop.

VERDICT: A great-value basic shoe that’s made for the fells.

GEAR: 10
CUSHIONING: 3
PRECISION: 8

IMG_69866 More mile_preview.jpg

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

IMG_69839 Innov8_preview.jpg

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

IMG_54262_preview.jpg