Every January brings a ton of trail shoe manufacturers to Salt Lake City, Utah for the Outdoor Retailer Winter Market (i.e., Winter OR), where they show off their offerings for the following Fall/Winter season. In reality, these shoes tend to hit the market around August 1st, give or take a month. Below, I profile many of the most notable models from this year’s show. While Winter OR tends to be quieter than its summer partner show in terms of trail shoe debuts, this show saw more new models than usual, such that I’ve left out a few models that merely represented the waterproofing of an existing model. On the other hand, I’ve highlighted a few manufacturers who I didn’t meet with at last Summer OR (See our Summer OR ’16 shoe preview!), who have notable trail shoes that have just hit store shelves.
If you’re interested in a particular brand or model, you can jump ahead to the following models. (Full paragraph previews are bolded in the list.)
- adidas Outdoor Terrex Agravix Speed
- Altra Lone Peak 3.5
- Altra Timp
- Brooks PureGrit 6
- Columbia/Montrail Bajada III
- Columbia/Montrail FluidFlex II
- Columbia/Montrail Rogue FKT II
- Columbia/Montrail TransAlps FKT II
- Hoka One One Speedgoat 2
- Hoka One One Speed Instinct 2
- Hoka One One Stinson 4 ATR
- Inov-8 ParkClaw 275
- Inov-8 TrailRoc 270
- Inov-8 TrailRoc 285
- La Sportiva Akyra and Akyra GTX
- La Sportiva Tempesta GTX
- La Sportiva Urugano GTX
- Merrell Agility Glacier Flex ICE+
- Merrell Agility Summit Flex
- Merrell Trail Glove 4
- Salomon Sense Ride
- Salomon Snowcross 2 CSWP
- Salomon Speedspike CS
- Saucony KOA ST
- Saucony KOA TR
- Saucony Peregrine 7 ICE+
- Saucony Peregrine 7 Runshield
- Saucony Xodus ISO 2
- SCARPA Neutron G
- Skechers GOtrail 2
- The North Face Ultra Cardiac II
- Topo Terraventure
- Under Armour Horizon KTV
- Under Armour Horizon RTT
If I could get just one pair of shoes from those I saw at Winter OR right now, it’d be a pair of Saucony Peregrine 7 ICE+. Why? I’d simply love a lightweight pair of shoes that have both Vibram’s Arctic Grip (for wet ice) and Ice Trek (for dry ice) compounds in the outsole. Here in the hills above Moab, I end up running many a winter mile on poorly plowed rural roads covered for weeks on end with some combination of snow, slush, cold sheer ice, and ice coated with liquid water with frequent transitions between each type of treachery depending on the road’s bend and angle, the sun angle, clouds, elevation, temperature, and so on. Having the Arctic Grip/Ice Trek outsole would give me one tool to take on these variable conditions. The upper is made primarily of Saucony’s FLEXSHELL water-resistant material with an attached tongue. The Peregrine 7 ICE+ weighs 9.4 ounces (266g) for a men’s 9 and has the Peregrine’s standard 4mm drop.
Personally, I’d love to see a road shoe with this Vibram rubber combination. Put that beneath an upper with an ion-treated or other water-resistant upper and you’ve got a winter winner on the roads.
Also from Saucony:
- Saucony Peregrine 7 Runshield ($130 – September 1, 2017) — Essentially, the same as the Peregrine 7 ICE+ described above, but without the winter-specific Vibram outsole materials.
- Saucony Xodus ISO 2 ($130 – June 2, 2017) — The Xodus remains the same underfoot while the upper is updated, including a reinforced heel frame and enhanced toe bumper.
- Saucony KOA TR ($110 – June 1, 2017) — A new 10.3-ounce (292g) hybrid trail shoe with moderate 3.5mm lugs and 4mm drop. There’s no rockplate in the KOA TR.
- Saucony KOA ST ($130 – June 1, 2017) — The KOA TR, but with 8mm(?!) lugs at supposedly no weight penalty over the TR version. The ST replaces the TR’s laces with a quicklace system.
Hoka’s original Speedgoat has been in its lineup for a couple years. Now, the Hoka One One Speedgoat 2 is what appears to be a great update to the original. Anyone who’s run in the original Speedgoat will immediately notice the similarities. Just as quickly, some differences will pop out, primarily with the upper which is a whole lot more refined in the second iteration. First off, the overbuilt and, frankly, clunky tongue construction is much more streamlined. Overall, the upper seems lighter and more breathable. Underfoot, the lug pattern has been redesigned, but retains its 5-mm depth and Vibram MegaGrip, while the flex grooves have been lessened a bit for a more stable platform. Much less noticeable are the slightly wider platform underfoot, wider last, and new injection-molded EVA midsole that should feel a bit less rubbery and a bit stiffer. The Speedgoat 2 will weigh in at 9.8 ounces (278g) for a men’s 9 and have a 4.5mm drop.
Also from Hoka One One:
- Hoka One One Stinson 4 ATR ($160 – June 2017) — For those looking for a wider forefoot on a Hoka, this is your shoe. Based on a new last, it will have the widest toebox of any Hoka along with a more gradual taper around the little toe.
- Hoka One One Speed Instinct 2 ($130 – June 2017) — Updates to the mesh and overlays make for a more breathable shoe as well as increasing durability by avoiding overlays over high-crease areas.
The entire Columbia/Montrail FKT line gets a revamp come late summer. The Columbia/Montrail FluidFlex FKT II will retain the same underfoot package while improving the step-in comfort. To start, there’s an improved ankle collar with a nicer lining material. The tongue gets a big update across the FKT line with a laser perforated microsuede tongue with zonal cushioning that’s attached at the bottom via a flat seam. Not only should this be more comfortable, but it should shave weight, as well. The FluidFlex II should weigh in around 9.3 ounces (264g).
Also from Columbia/Montrail:
- Columbia/Montrail Rogue FKT II ($110 – August 1, 2017) — Aside from the new “FKT Tongue,” The Rogue FKT gets a simplified upper with a redesigned TPU cage.
- Columbia/Montrail TransAlps FKT II ($155 – August 1, 2017) — Having determined that the first TransAlps FKT stripped too much away, the TransAlps FKT II has more substantial overlays, including over nearly all of the forefoot, as well as a more durable mesh upper.
I was about to include this as an add-on bullet above, but an update to my favorite trail shoe of the past half decade and Meghan’s current go-to shoe is about to launch. While I wrongly assumed the model was going away, there’ll soon be a Columbia/Montrail Bajada III. (And there was much rejoicing.) For fans of the shoe, the midsole and outsole remain unchanged. Up top, there’ll be a good deal more TPU-film overlays, for both additional structure and greater durability. The heel collar is much more padded, while the insole has been upgraded to a dual-piece unit. The tongue construction has been upgraded by changing to a less-intrusive apparel stitch where the tongue meets the forefoot mesh while there’s an asymmetrical gusset that’s higher on the medial side. The Bajada weight remains unchanged at 11.2 ounces.
Salomon’s big launch for the summer will be the Salomon Sense Ride, a shoe that brings some of Salomon’s premium features to a more standard price-range product. The most prominent feature is a full-length midsole insert of Opal Vibe, a compound previously used to reduce vibrations in car chassis that both dampens impact vibrations and lightens the shoe’s midsole. This will also be Salomon’s most affordable shoe with Premium variant of its Wet Traction Contagrip outsole material. The shoe will have a bit more of a generous fit that many other Salomon models. With an 8mm drop, the Sense Ride will feature the sock-like EndoFit system and weight in at 9.7 ounces (275g) for a men’s 9.
Also from Salomon:
- Salomon Snowcross 2 CSWP ($200 – August 1, 2017) — The Snowcross gets updated from the Speedcross 3 to the Speedcross 4 platform. The full gaiter now zips asymmetrically to the lateral side. The previous version’s carbide spikes have been removed.
- Salomon Speedspike CS ($170 – August 1, 2017) — This is the Speedtrak (née Fellraiser) with the addition of nine carbide spikes per shoe, an upgrade to Premium Wet Traction Contagrip (from the non-premium version), and a ClimaSalomon waterproof membrane shell.
While there were plenty of more showy winter running shoes at this year’s Winter OR, the La Sportiva Tempesta GTX was one of my favorites. The combination of a very low-gaiter with fully accessible laces was great, given the infrequency that I’d personally need a high-gaitered waterproof shoe and the near universal difficulty in adjusting the laces on shoes with integrated waterproof gaiters. The Tempesta GTX weighs in at 11.3 ounces (320g) in a men’s 9. It has a 10mm drop.
Also from La Sportiva:
- La Sportiva Urugano GTX ($190 – September 1, 2017) — A high-gaitered version of the Tempesta that retains the accessible laces. It weighs in at 12.0 ounces (346g).
- La Sportiva Akyra ($140) and Akyra GTX ($160 – both September 1, 2017) — An aggressively lugged cousin of the Akasha, this time with a 9mm drop, but still in a 11.35-ounce (330g) package (13.7oz/388g for the GTX version).
Altra announced the Timp IQ last July, and will follow that with the non-computerized Altra Timp this summer. Altra feels that the Timp falls in the sweet spot between the highly cushioned Olympus and the more traditional stack height of the Lone Peak. The 11.8-ounce (335g) Timp also has what might be the sleekest and most breathable upper amongst its Altra trail running peers as of this coming summer.
Also from Altra:
- Altra Lone Peak 3.5 ($120 – June 1, 2017 at REI, July 1 elsewhere) — Altra’s reduced the number of overlays on the upper from four to two, while replacing some of those overlays with strategic stitching. Conversely, the LP 3.5 goes from two to four gaiter attachment points to go with its redesigned gaiter. There are now a couple drainage ports in the toe cap as well as a tongue that’s a seamless continuation of the forefoot mesh. It weighs 10.4 ounces (295g).
This summer Inov-8 will relaunch its TrailRoc series with the Inov-8 TrailRoc 270 (and 285). The new TrailRoc 270 has short lugs with lots of surface area for a smooth ride over hard-packed trails while a denser midsole provides protection on rockier terrain. It’s got a stripped-down upper and 4mm drop in its 9.5 ounces.
Also from Inov-8:
- Inov-8 TrailRoc 285 ($150 – July 2017) — Very similar to the TrailRoc 270, but with 8mm of drop and an additional 15 grams.
- Inov-8 ParkClaw 275 ($130 – July 2017) — An alternative road-to-trail shoe with 4mm of drop and 4mm lugs just like the TrailRoc 270, but intended for tamer terrain.
Under Armour recently launched what looks like their first legitimate foray into trail running with the Horizon line. Amongst the line, the Under Armour Horizon KTV stands out as the lightest, most nimble option while remaining an everyday option for many. The 9.8-ounce (278 g), 7mm-drop shoe has a one-piece upper that’s heavily overlayed with TPU film along with a beefy toe bumper and a forefoot ESS plate. The tongue is perforated for additional breathability with the laces transitioning from punched holes to ghillies and back to punched holes for a precise fit. It has moderate 3.5mm lugs.
Also from Under Armour:
- Under Armour Horizon RTT ($110 – Out now) — While only 10.6 ounces (300g), the RTT is positioned as “the tank” next to the KTV. It’s got an ESS rockplate and 5.5mm lugs.
For the time being, the combination of Vibram Ice Trek (best on ice that’s dry) and Arctic Grip (for ice that’s wet) is proprietary to Wolverine-owned brands, including Merrell and Saucony. The Merrell Agility Glacier Flex ICE+ is a high-gaitered version of the Agility Flex platform (see preview) with an Ice Trek/Arctic Grip outsole.
Also from Merrell:
- Merrell Trail Glove 4 ($100 – May 1, 2017) — After a bit of a pause, the Trail Glove gets an update. It’s got a redesigned outsole and upper while sticking with its popular last.
- Merrell Agility Summit Flex ($170 – August 1, 2017) — Apparently integrated low gaiters are an “it” thing at the moment, and the Agility Summit Flex brings this feature to Merrell’s Agility line.
The SCARPA Neutron G is one the of the growing legion of high-gaitered winter running shoes. Built on the Neutron platform, perhaps the nicest distinguishing factor of the Neutron G is its thinner-than-usual lighter gaiter material. On the downside, it’ll also make your wallet lighter with its $210 price. The outsole and 5.5mm-deep lugs are made from Vibram Ice Trek for traction on ice that’s dry. The Neutron G has speedlaces, a 6mm drop, and weighs in at 13.8 ounces (391g) in a men’s 42.
In its sixth iteration, the Brooks PureGrit 6 retains the same outsole and midsole as its predecessor with the updates coming solely in the form of updates to the upper. The primary update there is the use of 3D-printed rubber as a primary overlay component, including a 360-degree mudguard. There is one slight change underfoot as the strobel (the component between the insole and the midsole) will change from EVA to mesh, reducing weight and slightly lowering the foot toward the ground. There’s also a simple lace garage. The PureGrit 6 will weigh 9.6 ounces (272g) in a men’s 9.
After two years, the Ultra Cardiac gets a full revamp to The North Face Ultra Cardiac II. Underfoot, the outsole now has a more articulated “podular” construction along with an upgrade to Vibram Megagrip, while the drop has been lowered from 8 to 6mm. The shoe utilizes the same midsole EVA, but at a slightly higher density for a bit more rock protection and a firmer ride. On the upper, the TPU film overlays appear to be thinned out in general, while additional structure is given via a cable cradle in the rear- and mid-foot. The suite of changes adds a bit over an ounce per shoe to come in at 11 ounces (311g).
At this winter’s OR show, I checked out the full Topo line for the first time and it’s surprisingly broad. What caught my eye was the Topo Terraventure, a 3mm drop trail shoe with an ESS forefoot flexible rockplate. At 10.4 ounces (295g), it’s Topo’s heaviest trail model, but the shoe’s still plenty nimble for everyday use.
Launching this spring, the adidas Outdoor Terrex Agravix Speed is the most nimble adidas Outdoor offering that I’ve seen to date. It’s a mere 9.2 ounces (260g) and is quite flexible. It features a sock-like fit.
The Skechers GOtrail 2 is an all-upper update that features TPU-film overlays over knit fabric that makes the shoe a bit lighter overall. The shoe’s most distinguishing characteristic is the use of three different eyelet styles, moving from loops to ghillies to traditional eyelets as you move up the shoe in pursuit of a better fit.
Call for Comments
- Which shoes are you most excited to check out?
- Fire away with any spec questions you might have on these models!
[Editor’s Note: If you’re affiliated (i.e., an employee, ambassador, etc.) with a shoe brand, please share your relation in each of your comments on this article. Thanks!]