Best Trail Running Shoes of Outdoor Retailer Summer 2013

It’s the beginning of another August and that means it’s time for our roundup of the best new shoes of this summer’s Outdoor Retailer show, where companies highlighted their spring/summer 2014 offerings, which will generally debut in the first two months of next year. For the most part, this year’s show was full of incremental rather than revolutionary change.

Click on any of the following featured shoes to jump down to our preview of the model. If you don’t find what you’re looking for on this list, try searching this page as we provide abbreviated previews on a number of other models. We’ve also published a Facebook album with additional angles and models.

Hoka One One Conquest ($170 – January 1, 2014)

The Hoka One One Conquest is going to be one of those shoes that we have to run in before forming an opinion. Why? Because it looks ridiculous, BUT so did the original Hoka concept and it’s worked out well. So what’s going on with the Conquest? Two main things – Rmat and a truss system.

Rmat is a new midsole material proprietary to Deckers, Hoka’s new parent company. It’s an injectable natural rubber with high weight-to-resiliency properties resulting in greater midsole durabilty and an even more silent ride. The Rmat layer is overlaid with Hoka’s proprietary EVA to maintain the Hoka feel underfoot.

Unlike the traditional use of a truss in footwear, the Conquest’s truss isn’t there to add support. Rather, the truss is there to allow decoupling in the rear of the shoe upon heel strike. The truss and a deep foot frame in the heel make the Conquest look like it rides higher off the ground than it really does. The shoe incorporates water drainage ports.

Hoka One One Conquest

Hoka One One Conquest

Other updates from Hoka:

Rapa Nui 2 ($130 – January 1, 2014) – While the original Rapa Nui was never released in the US, the Rapa Nui 2 will make it over to the States in a limited release late this year before a full launch at the start of next year. The shoe has been updated with a no-sew upper that provides a more streamlined fit.

Bondi B 3 ($150 – January 1, 2014) – The third version of the Bondi B will keep the same midsole/outsole while the upper switches to a seam-free interior to the upper that’s more flexible, more breathable, and subject to high QA standards. The tongue will be thinner and lighter, while the midfoot has been snugged up a bit.

In addition, aside from the Kailua, all Hoka’s women’s models will switch to a women’s last with January 1 releases.

New Balance 110 v2 (Price TBD – July 2014)

Next year’s revision to the New Balance 110, the 110 v2, will offer a lot more underfoot and dumb down the 110 to the basics. There’ll be a full rockplate. There’ll be a full-coverage rubber outsole that’s a durable, sticky rubber. The upper won’t offer so many easy-tear perforations. The last will switch from the Minimus last to a 4-mm-drop version of NB’s PL last. It’s a last that allows for an insert. The midsole will be switched from Acteva Lite EVA to RevLite.

All of these changes make the shoe sound completely unrelated to the first version of the 110, but, from a wholistic perspective, it’s still a light, 4 mm drop, nimble trail running shoe.

New Balance 110 V2

New Balance 110 V2

Other additions and updates from New Balance:

00 v2 Trail ($109 – March 2014) – A radical departure from the original Minimus Zero Trail with a 7 mm lugged outsole based on the UK’s RX Terrain fell-running outsole. There’s a more significant toe rand and a synth suede-infused upper that’s reminiscent of the RX Terrain’s design. The Minimus last is again out with the PL4 last being tweaked down to zero drop. The rock plate’s extended into the midfoot. The result is a more protective, more trail-worthy shoe in a heavier (8.8-ounce) package.

007 (no, seriously) ($99 – April 2014) – A training shoe brought outdoors for bootcamps and mud runs. It’s got a gusseted tongue.

Patagonia EVERlong ($110 – November 15, 2013)

Patagonia Footwear made a radical leap when it released the minimalist EVERmore this year and it overshot what most of Patagonia’s own runners were looking for. With the forthcoming Patagonia EVERlong, 100-mile specialist Jeff Browning spearheaded development of a light, simple shoe that would excel where he does – very long runs in the mountains. Browning started with the idea that many runners toward the front of ultras these days are wearing road-racing shoes, showing that light shoes that run well are key, so you can bet that the EVERlong runs well on road stretches and hardpack trails. When things get technical, there’s a real midfoot wrap (but not over the lower metarsals) and a strategically placed toe bumper where you actually kick things – the front of your big and second toes. Padded heel pods help enhance foot lock down.

The EVERlong does have “minimalist features” such as a straight design in the arch and big toe as well as a 4 mm drop. Likewise, there’s no traditional heel counter. However, while the arch is straighter, it’s also not scooped out.

Patagonia EVERlong

Patagonia EVERlong

Salomon S-Lab Sense 3 Ultra SG ($160 – February 1, 2014)

Next year, Salomon is kicking another $20 off its pinnacle shoe line, the S-Lab Sense. Just as exciting is the introduction of a Softground version of the Sense in the Salomon S-Lab Sense 3 Ultra SG. Otherwise, the Sense remains the Sense. The only other notable update across both models is the addition of a finer outer mesh on the upper, thereby reducing the migration of grit through the upper.

Salomon S-Lab Sense 3 Ultra SG

Salomon S-Lab Sense 3 Ultra SG

Another update from Salomon:

Salomon S-Lab Sense 3 Ultra ($160 – February 1, 2014) – Essentially the blend of the S-Lab Sense 2 and Sense Ultra with a higher-durometer midsole than the original Sense, a compromised amount of lugged outsole area, and the Profeel film extending through the midfoot. As suggested above, the S-Lab Sense drops from $180 to $160 next year and features a less permeable (for dirt, not air) mesh upper.

La Sportiva Bushido ($125 – Late February/Early March 2014)

La Sportiva claims the Bushido is a racing/performance shoe, but I see many of iRunFar’s readers making the La Sportiva Bushido an everyday shoe that they might also where on race day. The 6-mm drop shoe swings back from the 4-mm drop of the Vertical K and weighs in at a now middle-of-the-road 9.8 ounces (278 grams). The primary story in the Bushido is the “STB Control” feature that moves the stabilization shank from underfoot to the sides of the shoe to allow for better underfoot feel. It’s got a rockplate, an airy mesh upper, and mix of Sportiva’s Friction Green and Friction Blue outsole rubbers with the stickier rubber in the middle of the outsole.

La Sportiva Bushido

La Sportiva Bushido

Altra Olympus ($130 – January 2014)

Altra’s message has always been cushioned zero drop. With the Altra Olympus, the company keeps the zero drop and adds even more cushion to a trail shoe a la Torin on the road side. Altra tested various midsole thicknesses and found that runners didn’t notice any difference in cushioning above the thickness they used in this shoe. The Olympus has a less aggressive outsole than the Lone Peak and features some exposed EVA for added traction on wet rock. This shoe is built on more of a stability last… it allows for neutral running, but compensates so the thick EVA doesn’t enhance medial collapse 150 miles into usage. There’s also a firm layer under the sock liner. The toe offers a steep taper for a pretty aggressive toe off. The Olympus’s last has more volume in the big and small toes and is a bit straighter overall. Although not shown in the photo, the production model will include a gaiter trap to go along with a gusseted tongue.

Altra Olympus

Altra Olympus

Other additions and updates from Altra:

Altra Superior 1.5 ($105 – January 2014) –  Like the Lone Peak last year, the Superior sees significant upper revisions on an unchanged underfoot package in the Altra Superior 1.5. The new version has an enhanced metatarsal wrap, a much tougher upper material, and the Lone Peak’s gaiter trap.

Altra Instinct/Intuition Everyday ($130 – January 2014) – Slick looking, cushioned, zero-drop casual shoes. Perfect for zero-drop fanatics as well as folks like me who like to casually wear low-drop shoes.

The North Face Ultra Trail ($110 – January 25, 2014)

The North Face Ultra Trail seemingly continues down the path blazed by the recently released Hayasa 2, in that it’s a low-riding, breathable trail runner with a decent run feel. The shoe includes TNF’s recently introduced Cradle Guide support system and extends the brand’s FlashDry technology throughout the entire upper for the first time to go along with a lightweight, breathable upper. The Vibram outsole consists of a tight array of tiny lugs that provide a great deal of ground contact and supplement cushioning. The 8.7 ounce (245 g) 8 mm drop shoe has 8 and 16 mm of midsole height in the forefoot and heel, respectively.

The North Face Ultra Trail

The North Face Ultra Trail

Another addition from The North Face:

The North Face Ultra Smooth ($110 – January 25, 2014) – Essentially the Ultra Trail for the road and smooth trails. The outsole and Vibram ground-contact EVA aim to provide a smoother ride for this 9.3 ounce (263 g) shoe.

Vasque Ultra SST (née Shapeshifter Ultra) ($170 – March 15, 2014)

The Vasque Ultra SST (née Shapeshifter Ultra) aims to conform to your foot and the terrain both through materials and geometry. Underfoot, there’s a slightly cupped midsole topped with 4 mm of foam rather than a strobel board and a traditional insole. The midsole material is used extensively in the structural elements of the shoe, including the toe rand, the heel counter, and even the metatarsal wrap up to the eyelets. The upper is a pull-on fit with a BOA lacing system. As for ground conformity, the extensive midsole in the shoe’s 22/28 mm stack heights (6 mm drop) enhances ground conformity along the same line as Hokas and La Sportiva’s Morphodynamic shoes, while the Shapeshifter’s individual pillars allow for more mechanical deformation. Like Hoka’s Conquest, this is one for which judgment will have to be left to the trails.

Vasque Shapeshifter Ultra

Vasque Shapeshifter Ultra

ASICS Fuji Racer 3 ($110 – November 1, 2013)

The 8.7 ounce ASICS Fuji Racer 3 features entirely new midsole/outsole tooling and a brand new upper in a 6 mm drop shoe. ASICS added ground contact to the outsole, spaced out the lugs for better mud shedding, and closed in the underfoot drainage holes. The Fuji Racer 3 retains its water-drainage feature by creating underfoot channels (that correspond to forefoot flex grooves) that drain out of the side of the midsoles.

ASICS Fuji Racer 3

ASICS Fuji Racer 3

Saucony Peregrine 4 ($110 – January 1, 2014)

From the looks of things, Saucony is making the Peregrine a franchise shoe. What else can you say when the Saucony Peregrine is the fourth generation of a yet-to-be-completely-revamped shoe. In that way, it reminds me of the Cascadia of the past half decade. In 2014, the Peregrine will get another millimeter of lug depth to go along with a more aggressive outsole pattern. On the other hand, the shoe’s rockplate has been thinned, which should lead to a more flexible forefoot. The midsole material goes from Progrid to Powergrid, while the upper sees a thinning of the Flexfilm overlays as the material continues to replace additional traditional overlays. The toe box should be more roomy thanks to a new upper pattern and the Flexfilm updates. The Peregrine remains a 4 mm drop shoe that will sit at 9.4 ounces.

Saucony Peregrine 4

Saucony Peregrine 4

SCARPA TRU ($109 – February 2014)

Following on the surprise success of the Spark, the SCARPA TRU is a trail racing shoe built with SCARPA’s concept of “mountain minimalism” – lightening things up, but still offering adequate protection and support – in mind. The result, a 8.5 ounce, mountain-worthy trail racing shoe.The TRU has a 6 mm drop and a very breathable upper.

SCARPA TRU

SCARPA TRU

Other additions from SCARPA:

SCARPA Ignite ($125 – February 2014) – Where the TRU brackets the Spark on the lighter side, the Ignite does so on the upper end. It’s a new take on a traditional trail runner that comes in at 10.2 ounces with a 8 mm drop (10/18 mm midsole heights) and a rock plate as well as a real outsole (4.5 mm lug depth).

SCARPA Ion ($120 – February 2014) – This appears to be a slightly more protective version of the Spark, with a 1.2 EVA rockplate rather than the Spark’s fabric rock protection. It’ll weigh 10.3 ounces.

Merrell AllOut Collection ($110-120 – February 2014)

Merrell’s AllOut collection is a good example of the pendulum swinging back to the center on drop. Neither Merrell nor the other companies that saw huge booms with 0 to 4 mm drop shoes are dropping those models, but they’re realizing that some consumers want and/or need more drop. Hence, the addition of the 6 mm AllOut collection. The Merrell AllOut Rush ($120) appears to be a traditional trail shoe at 10 ounces with 5 mm of lug depth… it’s just got a 6 mm drop. The Merrell AllOut Fuse is a 8 ounce, door-to-trail shoe with 2.5 mm lugs.

Merrell AllOut Rush

Merrell AllOut Rush

Brooks Cascadia 9 ($120 – February 1, 2014)

The eighth update to the classic Brooks Cascadia focuses on the upper with less sewing there. New flat laces reduce pressure points. Count on this one as a “don’t mess with a good thing” update. The latest version weighs in at 11.7 ounces for a US men’s 9.

Brooks Cascadia 9

Brooks Cascadia 9

Dynafit Pantera ($125 – Feb 15, 2014)

In talking with Henry Guzman of Boulder Running Company, who played a large part in the development of the Dynafit Pantera, the shoe fills the hole still empty from the departure of the Montrail Hardrock and is a shoe made for the “other 80%.” It’s a solid, protective, well-lugged shoe (that looks even luggier than it is) that’s snug in the midfoot and open in the toebox. The 8-mm drop Pantera weighs in at 12 ounces (340 grams).

Dynafit Pantera

Dynafit Pantera

Vibram Vybrid (Concept Stage)

Vibram’s currently test marketing a 14-mm-stack-height FiveFinger model, the Vibram Vybrid, at a Boston-area store. It’s currently in the concept stage, but worth noting in the context of other developments at this year’s summer OR show.

Other updates from Vibram:

Bikila EVO ($120 – February 2014) – The Bikila’s sole is increased from 7 to 8.5 mm and there’s a new antimicrobial upper.

Montrail

While Montrail is introducing two new models next spring – the FluidFlex II ($90 – February 1, 2014) and FluidFeel II ($110 – February 1, 2014) – both are incremental tweaks to their predecessors. The FluidFlex II seems to be an update to the fit of the upper as well as providing additional medial structure. The biggest update on the FluidFeel II is aesthetic; however, the upper is now more breathable.

Montrail FluidFlex II

Montrail FluidFlex II

While the Bajada remains the Bajada, it may have seen the most meaningful changes in the Montrail line with Fluid Foam being added and the upper mesh being improved to reduce blowout issues.

Rogue Racer fans… stock up this season, the finale for this model.

There are 192 comments

  1. Greg H.

    Wow. These shoes are getting ugly! What's up with all the crazy clown colors. I hope they make the Brooks Cascadia 9 in a different color scheme. What are these companies thinking?

    1. Mic

      They're thinking, "most the market is demanding flashy bright colors". And it's that simple, the majority of runners are buying brighter colors now, you my friend are now in the minority.

    2. panos from greece

      I strongly agree. It is rare to see so many ungly shoes in the same season. I like bright colours, but the combinations i see above, are failures, to say the least.

      you shoe companies for saving me money !!!

      1. Tom Caughlan

        Looks like we went from 1988 (gaudy but cool) to 1990 (just plain gaudy). Lets bring back floral split and big wraparound Oakleys just to match.

    3. max

      If after a single summer's trail run the color scheme still shows something's wrong. Besides, nothing wrong with horrid colors when there's no one around to see me.

  2. olga

    Personally, I hate such bright colors, and the way the shoes industry went, both for road shoes, and now for trails shoes, is the ugliest and surely makes me not even come look at new designs. I thought we should be blending in with nature, not yell out against it?

    On another note, was it just an accident, a pick of iRunfar, or a general trend, that 90% of the shoes shown here, by different companies, are all gone "Hoka" platform style? I am not a minimalist by any means, and Hoka does seem to be popular, but all companies suddenly doing same thing? Even Merrell, the well-known low profile? Brooks and Altra, and Sportiva? Asics and New Balance, by naked eye, are the only ones that could still be considered "what it was"…

    1. Mic

      NB is making both a Hoka style road shoe and trail shoe. Just the market following trends, purchases in the minimalist block are dropping and shoes in the maximumalist category are growing.

  3. Charlie M.

    Finally my dream shoe. The Vibram Five Finger Toe Shoes with a 5-foot Stack Height! I will be 11 feet tall but with good procioception! 2014 is the year I dominate, folks….

  4. Hone

    Wow! I literally can't afford any of these. This really is becoming a rich mans sport and getting super ridiculous. I remember a few years ago I was complaining on this site when we started to see a couple pairs of shoes creeping to the 100 dollar range. Now 100 bucks is considered "cheap". Glad the 110's are on sale for 30 bucks each at my local NB outlet store. I would rather spend my paycheck taking care of my wife and kids than blowing it all on a pair of over priced flashy sneakers.

    Good review though. You are just trying to let us know what is out there and I thank you for that. It just frustrates the hell out of me when I see the prices.

    1. Marc Britten

      Just wait until the next season and buy these then. I buy great shoes 1 season out of style for 50 bucks or so. I just received my Mix Master 2's for 35 dollars.

    2. Andy

      And hopefully the "real" 110s will stay in stock and continue to sell at $30 for at least another 12-18 months. July 2014 — a full year away — for release of the "v2"?! Gimme a break!

    3. MikeC AK

      I've been stocking up on minimus trail and mt110 myself. Hopefully that money is going to ultra runners sponsorship, but I doubt it.

      Anyone priced the full s-lab salomon kit(shorts, shirt, jacket, shoes, pack, compression sleeves…)? Big money! I did find some Salomon shorts on-sale shorts though, they are really good.

    4. @UltraZebban

      If you think these are expensive, you would faint if you walked into a running store in the Nordics. The shoes are about twice the price here, often more. When I go to the US, I go nuts in the sports stores, buying everything in sight :)

  5. Flandria

    Do you happen to have an image of the upper part of Salomon S-Lab Sense 3 Ultra SG? If you have catalog or references on specifications of the shoes, that would be great, too! :-)

    Just wanted to see what improvements they've done or taken away or changed…

  6. Ultrawolf

    Seems like minimal shoes are done and the big shoe companys move on. Now they found their cash cow in fancy colors and Hokalike platforms.

    Glad good old Inov-8 is still around – or so I hope…..

    1. DavidJH

      Good thing about Inov-8 is their core design philosophy is about low stack, low drop, full outsole shoes and now they have a lot more options on their natural last. I'll be running in Inov-8s for the majority of my running for quite a while by the looks of these trends…did not know the new 110v2 and 00v2 were on the PL last now…definitely a turn off.

      Bryon, why no Inov-8 preview again this year…they are Skyrunning sponsors and definitely a player in the trail running market…gotta be someone who will sit down with iRunfar from Inov-8?

        1. DavidJH

          Sounds good. I had heard from a source at the show that they were doing an update on the upper of the Trailroc (much need) and so thought that might be something of note…did you see anything of that nature, will the new upper be randed or just new overlays? Fingers crossed for a randed Trailroc 245 :).

    2. Hone

      I thought Inov8 turned into a Crossfit company. It seems like every gym rat in SoCal is rocking them now. They still make running shoes? jk

  7. Tahoe Pete

    Very interested in the hoka conquest and the vasque shapeshifter. Does anyone know if the shapeshifter provides a good cushion like the hokas?

    1. Bryon Powell

      SCOTT wasn't at the show. The Kinabalu 2 and a trail version of the Race Rocker are quite appealing. I'd have written about the trail Race Rocker, but there are still major decisions being made about the shoe.

      1. Sage Canaday

        (WARNING: Blatent sponsor plug): Held a prototype of the Race Rocker trail last month…they're trying to keep it around the 7oz range (Mens) and the drop in the 4mm-6mm range (of course that feels lower with eRide "rocker" shape).

        1. Mike B.

          Sage,

          If SCOTT needs the opinion of a non-elite let me know and I will drive up from Golden to pick up a pair. :-)

          That shoe sounds like it might be right up my alley.

  8. Tim

    Any idea why New Balance seems to have walked away from the Minimus last/fit? I loved almost all of the minimus line, and most people I talked felt the same way. Are they going forward with any of the current minimus shoes? Will there be new shoes that fit like the old minimus stuff?

  9. Leerunner

    Well, I too am a little put off by the overdone colors and designs to the uppers. I guess it's all relative. My MT110's were kinda weird when I first got them, huh?

  10. DAVID G

    The move to a more Hoka-like stack height is not all that surprising, even if I'm not all that enthused by it. I am however surprised by the shift back to higher heel-toe drop, and dismayed by NBs shift away from the minimus last.

    Inov-8 has the right idea with it's TrailRoc series (quality issues aside): design a shoe with a natural last, and offer it in 3 different levels of protection/drops.

  11. Rob Youngren

    Look for some new offerings from Skechers as well (yes, seriously!). GO Trail and GO Run Bionic Trail are two pretty incredible trail shoes at a pretty honest price point. I've been working with Skechers for over a year doing some serious wear testing of many prototypes. These guys, Skechers Performance Division, are serious about developing some quality running shoes. While they're new to the game I think they've done a pretty good job. Give them a chance! Also, be looking for the GO Run Ultra that is like a scaled down, less clownish Hoka. It's far more flexible, better traction and very light. Very excited about this shoe; wore them at this year's Hardrock 100. Should be available by the end of the year. I'm working on my final shoe review now. You can see a preview on my blogsite: http://youngrenepics.blogspot.com/

      1. Cody C

        I know they posted pics of the Instinct Casual to their (Altras) Instagram page but I haven't seen the Superior 1.5s anywhere.

  12. Dean G

    Thank you, Bryon, for a great preview…

    Who can keep up with all of these shoes?

    And is anyone making a trail-friendly version of the NB RC 1400/1600? Or do I just keep using them.

    :)

  13. Dean G

    Oh and as for price… It's true if you wait and extra few months you can get all these shoes for a song. I just picked up a couple spare pairs of $140 shoes for $29 a pair. And they were only released 8 months ago.

    1. DavidJH

      Agreed! Inov-8's got the right philosophy for mountain running footwear and they keep it simple. Even F-Lites (which are supposedly crossfit shoes) run much better than many shoes out there because they are simple and work with your foot while providing traction (sticky rubber) and enough protection to be practical.

    2. Mike B.

      I will put in another vote for Inov-8. I hope they stick with what they are doing. The Patagonia Everlong looks pretty good too.

  14. Joe St. L

    The 110v2… I'm so let down by the "chunky" commercial shoe look. The colors look great, but man what a change to a perfect niche trail shoe. Hell, they've even taken away the bubble laces! It's like the time when your favorite band goes all commercial and shit trying to appeal to a broader audience. By the looks of it they're doing that to the 110. I'll be buying dump loads of the current version and putting them on ice before v2 arrives. It's not a total letdown though. After all the 0 drop, NB ZEROv2 at OR show looks pretty aggressive and trim, but even with that shoe they're not going with the Minimus last and it won't be under 8oz. I actually think that the ZEROv2 will be the real successor to the current 110 for Tony K. in 2014 sky running events. The 110v2 with the added weight, added insole, and removal of the Minimus last makes it seem chunky to me in comparison to the current 110. Might be a deal killer for fans of NB Minimus.

    1. DavidJH

      Agreed on the last change…confused for sure. I definitely think the beefier overlays and full outsole are a plus. The 110s just didn't hold up for me (100-150 miles max running anything but plush trail). The stack height doesn't look too high so I doubt they will be super clunky feeling, but the last change might make them feel not as racy (never liked the PL last on anything I've tried from NB). I agree on the zerov2…looks like the better mountain shoe of the two (although maybe too aggressive for summer mountain running), but still confused about the PL last…that shoe on the NL last would be dialed. Can't give a final verdict till I run in them, but the last change has me less excited.

  15. Jonathan

    No news from Pearl Izumi and the EM series? Changing the 110 in that way seems weird and those colors are plain ugly.

  16. Jamie

    They are THINNING the upper of the Peregrine?!? You were lucky to get 200 miles out of any of the prior models of this shoe. Everyone I know with these shoes has blown out the upper on the side around the pinky toe. I had hoped the flexfilm in the P3 would fix this problem, but no. 200 miles in and I have big open holes on both sides. Won't be foolish enough to go for the P4.

  17. Ben Z

    No coverage of that Blue Salomon Sense I saw pictures of Bryon? The one that is a 'Sense' for the average trail runner at a lower price point?

  18. Justin Reidy

    I love the whole range of Merrells, and I'm pretty disappointed to see them move away from what's made them so great. That said, Patagonia's new Everlong and Rover (which isn't mentioned here, but is a 7.3oz minimalist style low-drop shoe) look promising.

    What's interesting is that both Merrell and Patagonia shoes are actually manufactured by Wolverine Worldwide… so there might be some design crossover there.

    1. Runnerlet

      From the article, "Neither Merrell nor the other companies that saw huge booms with 0 to 4 mm drop shoes are dropping those models, but they’re realizing that some consumers want and/or need more drop. Hence, the addition of the 6 mm AllOut collection. "

      I'm not sure how that is moving away but rather fleshing out a more complete line.

  19. Astroyam

    To all the inov-8 fans out there… The roclite 243 has become my favorite shoe. Its a beefier version of the f-lite 195 and, imo, runs better than the trailrocs. 3 mm drop with medium lugs. Padded enough to run the downs fast but minimal enough to keep good form. Awesome.

    1. Andy

      Been running in them the last week or two. Similar to the v1 but with a bit more bulk and weight, fuller (though not full) outsole coverage, and more padding in the tongue. They also seem to run a wee bit longer. (I think someone posted that they weigh in at a full ounce heavier, which could well be true). The upper mesh and stitching is changed to (hopefully) prevent them from falling apart after 50k. Not changed as dramatically as the 110 seems to be from v1 to v2, but other than fixing the upper it's too bad as I liked them the way they were.

      As for colorways, just like all the shoes profiled above, they are flourescently garish and still shedding mud such that they are not nearly brown enough yet.

  20. Dom

    The 110v2 is a blend of the best elements of the 101 and the 1400. This is far from a standard PL last, the foam drops off right at the upper, and the toe off is very quick. There is a bit of cushion, but it still feels light on the foot. I think the current 110 requires additions to be a 100 mile shoe where the 110v2 is a homage to the essence of ultra running with a roomier toe box, filled in midfoot, durable overlays, and the best directional lugs I've seen on a trail shoe.

    We spent a lot of time evaluating the most important characteristics, and this is a shoe (almost) everyone can appreciate.

    1. Runnerlet

      Wouldn't a name change have been warranted here for the new model rather than a "version 2?" For me version 2 would have been changing the upper to be a bit more durable. Instead, version 2 doesn't resemble anything like it's ancestor.

    2. Andy

      Well that's pretty encouraging. I agree 50m was my max in the 110 v1, and a shoe that retains the good elements while being able to "go the distance" is appealing (though I thought that the 1010 was originally designed to fill that niche). In any case, why do we have to wait *12 months* for release?!

  21. Todd

    I love the n1 trail as well, but was hoping that they would make the section of material by the big toe a little more durable as I've blown the shoe out there on two pairs.

    1. Yup

      I'm told by the PI product line mgr that since PI introduced the EM line last fall, and the line has done so incredibly well, they are on a 2 year cycle for shoe changes, and those will just be minor updates and tweaks. In other words don't mess with what works. Look for EM updates in 2015 and a couple of new Trail Sku's as well. I did get a chance to put my foot in the new EM Zero though and it's bad ass. So are the new Trail colors for 2014. And yea, it's pretty much hard to beat the EM Trail line up. All 3 shoes are rock solid and the podium finishes in the line this and last year speak for themselves.

  22. Mike

    Hey, teachers, leave our MT110 alone!

    Seriously my perfect trail shoe, and they're gonna 'sunset' the perfected design and update it to average. NB: update the 110 but don't call it 110v2…and leave the 110 as is and keep making them!

    1. Hammer

      Amen – leave it alone. The MT110 is my goto trail shoe. I don't want a cushy 50+ mile shoe. I want a shoe that eats up trails.

    2. andrew

      Again, agree!

      I can see that there would be a demand for a more protective shoe but then surely this should be a different a model and not a MT110 V2?? This is not an update, its a different shoe for a different job and such a big departure why drop the minumus last? I just don't understand it?

      The MT00 V2 makes even less sense – almost double the weight and now it has a rock plate? If you are on terrain that requires a rock plate, you would choose another shoe from the lineup.

      The reason I really liked the MT00 V1 – MT110 V2 – MT1010 is because they allow me to pick the right tool for the job on a given day. They all had little flaws which needed updating but the basic formula was perfect. Why mess with this?

      Bye bye New Balance, hello Salomon and Inov-8 for me I reckon

    1. Runnerlet

      And the Hokas are becoming more minimal. I'm waiting for a new company, Holtra or Altka to capture this burgeoning market.

    1. Rob Youngren

      In my experience the Resalyte and Resagrip midsole/outsole materials used by the GO line do tend to wear pretty quickly because it's essentially like having a shoe without a high-friction outsole. This is an issue they are addressing, however if you don't mind the cosmetic look of the outsole wearing down they've seemed to hold up reasonably well in my experience; especially for exclusive trail use only. For an $80 shoe I think they do pretty darned good.

        1. Rob Youngren

          I've heard about the sockliner slipping. I think this issue will be addressed in version 2.0 of the GO Bionic line. I did a bunch of testing with improved sockliner. Disclaimer: I generally run with SuperFeet insole so I'm used to just removing the sockliner and replacing it with my own.

        2. dogrunner

          It is true. I just took mine out. They really did not serve any useful purpose anyway (I wear socks).

          Have not tried the GBionic Trail, but the GoBionic has been my favorite road shoe since it came out. Much lighter than most shoes (except the MWU), zero drop, wide forefoot, easy to snug down midfoot and heel, comfortable but not excessive cushioning, flexible, Still love 'em.

    2. Johnny

      The durability issue I found on the GObionic Trail is that the upper tore after only about two months of trail running (and I only run on trails on the weekends). It tore where the upper meets the outsole.

      The sockliner/insole on the GOrun 2 and the GObionic does tend to slip. But I attribute it to the super thinness of the sockliner (which you can just take out). The GObionic Trail's sockliner doesn't slip which is probably because it's a tad bit thicker. GObionic Trail with the insole gives it a 4 mm drop and without the insole gives it a 0 mm drop.

      1. Rob Y

        Yep, durability in the uppers is indeed an issue as is the durability of the outsole. These issues are being addressed. However, I think the Skechers Performance Division folks are doing a pretty good job considering they are very new to the game, only a few years now. I can remember some of the early Inov-8s, Montrails, etc… and how horrible and unrefined they were and how far they've come. Give Skechers some time; I'm sure they'll progress. They have to!

  23. Tyler

    I keep seeing Inov8 trail shoes used as cleats for ultimate frisbee over traditional soccer or football, which is pretty cool.

    1. Martin

      Does anyone know how durable are inov8 shoes used as cleats for ultimate frisbee? I really like the idea but they cost much more than basic cleats and honestly I don't believe that they will last long.

      1. bmj

        I have a pair of older 235s (I think) that have a season of running, plus another 8 months or so general wear on them, and the sole is still in good shape. I certainly don't abuse them in the same way your would playing ultimate, but given that I wore every day for several months, they've held up very well.

    1. Andy

      Had success with Inov-8 255s, and am experimenting with LaSportiva Helios. NB MT 1010s have been good for the first 50 but haven't gone beyond that in them.

      I see others talking about the NB 1400s, which I wear and love on the roads, but here in the rocky rooty northeast I have been reluctant to take them for long distance.

  24. Todd

    It's kind of embarrassing but I buy all my running shoes on ebay for about a third of the retail price. In most cases, the shoes have hardly any detectable wear. Fit isn't an issue if you stick to brands that you know fit well.

  25. Ocram

    This reminds me of the cycling industry all over again, $$$ over passion. xeroshoes it is, $20. The simplicity and the minimalism away from mainstream and reconnecting with nature is what made me fall in love when I saw AK in his MT10's. 2014 line up is Justin Bieberesque rather the tools of the trade for one who enjoys the beauty of the trails and the thin air.

    1. Dom

      I've been in the 1400 for longer races. I think most runners adapt to new shoes: they break them in, learn their nuances, and grow to love them. I thought the 100 was great and the 101 had a stiff upper, but I ended up adapting to it and learning to love it.

      I too wish for a bigger specialty trail line from New Balance, and we've brought in the new trail 00v2 which is a whole new offering for fell mountain running. It's impossible to please 100% of the trail world that prides itself on being unique but we do our best. The 110v2 is due out December/January.

      1. Nick J

        Sounds great to me Dom. I'll be looking to get the new version, I think it looks great. Also as a expat Brit who dabbled with a bit of fell running I'm very interested in the RX Terrain inspired 00v2. The two shoes in tandem should work well for the majority of conditions.

  26. Pat W

    Got about 60 miles on mine including a 50K and a 22 mile long run and they still look brand new. Never ran in v1 because of the reputed build quality issues.

  27. Dom

    I agree, the 110v2 looks visually chunky, but in my opinion, the v2 is a suprisingly strong performer in technical rocky terrain. The revlite foam is lighter than it looks.

  28. GPR

    Thanks for the coverage, Bryon. Any updates with the Brooks Pure line, or will that be the same for the foreseeable future? I'm inclined to say they updated the line just last fall or winter, but I figured I'd ask…

  29. Mario Perez

    I really like the Go Run Ride for long runs in pavement and my favorite is the GoBionic but they have to work really hard on the Go Bionic Trail, I nearly destroyed the soles in one month of training and one mountain marathon.

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