Vasque FootSync Technology Debuts in the Transistor FS

Vasque logoEarly in 2010, Vasque is introducing a pair of new trail shoes – the Mindbender and the Transistor FS. While the Mindbender is Krissy Moehl’s go to shoe, we’re going to focus on the Transistor FS for the moment. In particular, we’re going to talk about a couple of the new technologies found in the Transistor and how they came to be. First off, we’ll let Vasque designer and Leadville 100 finisher, Brian Hall, explain how the new technologies came about. They we’ll explain FootSync, the foundational technology in the Vasque Transistor. If you like video, you can watch Brian Hall explain FootSync. You’ll want to stick around even if you aren’t a shoe tech guru, as we’ll be giving away 5 pairs of the Transistor FS to readers interested in helping iRunFar review the shoe.

How Did the Vasque Transistor FS’s FootSync Technology Come to Be?
Vasque designer and trail ultrarunner Brian Hall explains how he came to develop the FootSync system.

For me, developing this technology was an evolution of several ideas involving fit, stability, and reducing weight over several years. At its essence, FootSync adapts to the runners foot, getting them closer to the ground for improved stability and feel, without sacrificing comfort. We were able to achieve this by taking away material instead of adding, so the end result is a lighter overall shoe.

It was important for me to develop a new platform that didn’t have its roots in road running technology. The demands of running on trails are very different. I took a more holistic foot approach, instead of having heel or forefoot centric technology. I wanted a shoe that adapted seamlessly to both your foot and the terrain. I looked at stability as a low center of gravity and superior whole foot fit over adding dense posting material or other corrective measures.

In a lot of ways this was a dream project for me. To be able to create something new based on my own running experience as well as the experiences of several talented athletes. I have a passion for this kind of work and this is an exciting first step in a process that will continue to evolve. It is a really exciting time in running shoe development. There is a lot of debate over the foundations of traditional running shoe technology, and I think we are in store for some new thinking and exciting developments that will change the status quo.

Vasque FootSync
Vasque FootSyncNow that Brian Hall has filled you in on how Vasque’s FootSync system came to be, we’ll tell you more about what it actually is. As you may have gathered, Vasque has coined the primary new technology in the Transistor, FootSync. FootSync is all about fit. More correctly, they are all about fit as FootSync has three distinct components: the Immerse 360 last, a Flux Foam footbed, and Wave Form midsole. We’ll try to explain each of them without all the marketing hype.

Immerse 360 Last
Vasque Immerse 360 LastFirst off, what is a shoe last? The last is the 3D-form around which the upper and bottom portions of a shoes pieced together. It is the last that gives a shoe it shape, which means that while you may never see the last used in making your trail running shoe, it may very well be the most important piece in determining the fit and function of the shoe.

Most shoe lasts are constructed with flat bottoms… for the sake of convenience. Vasque’s Immerse 360 mimics the foot in all dimensions, including under the foot. This should help provide a more solid (though not in the sense of being stiff) platform for your foot. It’s worth noting that the Immerse 360 last results in a narrow heel pocket to lock in your foot. Vasque developed the Immerse 360 last using thousands of foot scans in the Red Wing Shoe Company’s vast foot scan databank.

Flux Foam
Vasque Flux FoamWith the FootSync system, there is no sockliner (a/k/a insole). Instead, you run on the strobel, the upper most, non-removable part of a shoe’s bottom portion. Take our word that you wouldn’t want to take out your insoles and run on most strobels. Strobel materials are rarely comfortable on the foot, there is often a 90 degree angle between the strobel and the upper (insoles are used to taper this angle), and the stitching is not designed to be run on.

Insert Flux Foam as a solution. Flux Foam is a firm, slow rebound foam that retains a foot’s shape when the foot is lifted rather than instantly rebounding to the foam’s initial shape. It’s not that the Flux Foam permanently molds to your feet. Instead, the Flux Foam gradually molds to your feet during your run.

Let’s think big picture for a moment. So with Flux Foam you can now run without an insole. Hmm, that means you’re closer to the ground. And more stable. And more in tune with the trail. Seems like a good way to use technology to get closer to natural running.

Waveform S/C Midsole
Vasque Waveform SCThe Waveform S/C Midsole is the yin to the Immerse 360 last’s yang. Basically, the midsole contours your foot’s bottom. There’s no need to insert fancy marketing speak for a basic component aimed at a comfortably supportive though not over controlling midsole.

FootSync Video
If you’re more of a visual or auditory learner, watch this short video in which Brian Hall explains FootSync.

Vasque Transistor FS Review Giveaway
Vasque Transistor FSAs we mentioned at the top, we’re giving away five pairs of Vasque’s Transistor FS for iRunFar readers to test. By entering the giveaway, you are agreeing to provide us with your feedback on the shoe to use in a future iRF Transistor review if you are selected as a winner. (You’ll have 3-4 weeks to test the shoes.)

To enter, all you need to do is leave a comment with your name and town (so that we can identify the winners) by Friday, February 27 at 5 p.m. PST. We’ll be choosing most of the winners at random, but reserve the right to select one or two winners based on the creativity, quality, or other compelling characteristics of a reader’s comment. If you enter, please check iRunFar next weekend so we can get the shoes out to you ASAP!

[Disclosure: Vasque is giving us a little something for publishing this article. We’re cool with this. Heck, the post was our idea! Seriously, we came up with the idea, then asked for some support, and then negotiated five pairs of Transistors to giveaway to you, the iRunFar readers. Win. Win. Win.]

There are 78 comments

  1. Tamara

    I'll review some shoes … and test them in the Northern and Southern hemsipheres in the time period!

    Bellevue, WA (…heading to NZ for some trail running too)

  2. Heidi

    Hi Bryon! I normally can be found trail running in Washington (I live in Seattle and did the Orcas 50K recently) but I'm planning a trip next month to Nepal. Maybe I should take these shoes and see how they hold up to a few weeks of trekking around Everest?

  3. Steve Sweeney

    Who isn't looking to feel the trail underfoot? With the description of the shoe last and design, I'm ready to try them and eventually use them on Ultra Trail Runs!

  4. paul rondeau

    Hey Byron, i'd love to be one of the test subjects,i'am in the market for
    a new pair of trail shoes,with a couple of 50k in the next couple
    of weeks and a 50 miler in 2 months i can give you some awesome
    feedback with the brutal trails out here.

    Paul in PHX.

  5. Tony Mollica

    Byron I would love to get the opportunity to test one of these new Vasque shoes! The technology sounds great and the idea of having no insole is intriguing. Anything that would allow me to go for it more on a trail run; and reduce the need for caution is something that I'd like to give a try! I am not an elite trail runner, but a regular guy who loves to run trails. I think I would be very representative of the experience that an average trail runner would have.

    Thank you for your consideration!

    Tony Mollica
    Athens, Ohio (aka God's Country)

  6. Brian Hall

    To Will T,

    Where did you get that pair?! You can't find any info because they never went into production. This "style that never was" is called the Hydrocity Tech. It was a spin off of the Aether tech, but with drainage for running in wet, hot environments. In the end, a little too niche, so no one bought it…and alas, we never built production shoes.

    1. Will T.

      Thanks for the inside info Brian on the Hydrocity Tech. They drain amazingly well up here the NW, too bad they never made it into production. I guess I'll just have to make them last, since I won't be finding them in the store anytime soon. By the way, they caught my eye at a Vasque Sample Sale and I just had to give them a try. I'm always looking to try new, unique shoe designs.

  7. Kim

    If you'd like a 50 year old female ultrarunner to test the Transistor on rugged muddy, snowy, uneven, sandy, rocky trails, complete with cow pies, burrs and cheat grass, in Boise, Idaho, I can produce a well written, comprehensive review to provide feedback on this exciting shoe techology.

    Kim Neill
    Boise, ID

  8. Josh Allfree

    I run trails in the Louisville, Kentucky area. I'm currently a big fan of inov-8's products, and the idea of a light, low-to-the-ground shoe is right up my alley. We've got mile of excellent single track in our area, featuring steep hills, rocks, roots, mud, and occasionally snow and ice (thought things got melty and muddy yesterday).

  9. EricG

    I had a pair of Vasque years ago which I never replaced after beating the hell out of them in a few adventure races. I have since gravitated to TNF's Rucky Chucky and am now on my first pair of TNF's Single Track (loving them). Would love to try out the latest from Vasque and compare it to the Single Track. Peace
    EricG, Braicliff Manor NY

  10. ChrisG

    Colorado Springs, CO

    I'll up Tracey and Nick and 'Ring the Peak' once I break these babies in.

    The Transistor sounds really cool. Regardless if I win, I think I'll be giving them a try this spring/summer.

  11. Thomas E. Booker

    I run and train on trails around Knoxville, TN. Several of the trails are very technical as well as challenging. I would have welcomed the chance to have tried the Transistors on the Black Warrior 50K this past Saturday in Moulton, AL. In three weeks will run the 50M in Western KY (Land Between the Lakes) trail run. Thus, I would like the opportunity to train and run in a pair of Transistors over these next three weeks. Definitely would put the shoes through its paces, providing feedback on how the trail shoes performed.

  12. Alison Hanks

    Krissy was just telling me about the Transisitors on a run this weekend, saying she thought I'd like them. Would love to try a pair up here in the Washington north country!

  13. Pete Nelson

    I've had a lot of shoes over the years but my last pair of Vasques has made me a believer. Now I really want to try the Transistor and like a radio (get it?!) I'll broadcast my test results near and far.

  14. Jorge Fernandez

    Look pretty interesting.. i actually have the Vasque's Aether Tech SS and they have been great besides the plastic "reinforcements" starting to peel off. I will love to run on this new shoes! Jorge, Downingtown,PA

  15. Rodrigo P.

    Hi, Bryon,

    It would be outstanding to try and review a pair from trails across the pond, especially this time of year when varying terrain/weather conditions will challenge the best of the best, runner and gear alike. If it's of any help, mailing to St. Augustine, FL would do; I take it from there.

    All the best,


  16. jeff wilbur

    Yes! At last a shoe for my generation – first transistor radios and now transistor shoes – I cant wait to figure out how to tune them in while Im running (you know us old people and technology!) Do I have to wear rabbit ears? Im thinking My Favorite Martian runs Masanutten (probably before your time – google it) Ill even send you hand written reviews for you to scan – how retro is that. Cheers, the uphill both ways generation.

  17. DaveB

    Well, my current pair of size fourteens are working okay as snow shoes, but I would like to try something new in the spring. Put my name in the hat!
    Neptune, NJ

  18. Scott Thomas K.

    Been giving every brand of trail shoe that I can get my hands on a try over the last few years since getting interested in ultras, and nothing has even come close to satisfying me. I'm particularly interested to see if these puppies can live up to the hype that many, including myself, have bestowed upon them — especially since Vasque's Aether model has been about the only trail-specific shoe that I've felt comfortable enough in to notch serious mileage with.

    Scott Thomas Kretzmann
    Detroit, MI

  19. Nick

    I run several times a week on the trails of the Middlesex Fells near my house in Somerville, MA with my two Red & White Irish Setters. I've been interested in trying new shoes that use a more minimalist approach after reading Born to Run. But, I just don't think I would look right in a pair of Vibram Five Fingers.

    Nick C.
    Somerville, MA

  20. Gretchen

    I adore my Aether Techs, as you know. I'd definitely be interested in checking these out and giving some comprehensive feedback. I think I could find a few trails to test them on.

  21. Josh

    I definitely love trying out new running shoes, and after cleaning out my closet recently, and especially ditching any shoe that struck me as clunky or heavy, my collection of trail shoes is a little lacking right now. I'm ramping up for my first 100 miler in August and am out on the trails 2-4x week. I'm trying to transition to lower-profile, lighter weight shoes for all my running. This seems like a perfect choice and it would be great to add a pair of these to my collection!

    If you pick me and it's ok with Vasque, I'll add my feedback and reviews to my own blog which pales in comparison to yours! Josh

  22. Justin

    I'm excited for the new technologies. It'll be interesting to see if these technologies end up really changing things, or just getting lumped together with the rest of them.

    Justin B.

    St. Albans, VT

  23. Jeannie

    I work at an outdoor retailer and since it is retail and I make no money I only wear/run in their shoes at the moment and they absolutely kill my feet. The Gortex models feel like I am wearing a cement glove on my foot and their other trail models after a month of running lose all their cushioning and I have severe heel pain. I know they try put a lot of thought into theirs shoes but I think it has to do with their midsole. I live in Chicago and create my own trails, I live on the Lakefront but mix it up with running on the beach and on dirt when I can. I am built like a sherpa, so not a lean mean machine, so shoes that work for string beans don't work for me. My goal is to finish at least 1 ultra this year, and I really ulitmately want to do some mountain ultras. I still think someone needs to come out with a "Lakefront" shoe, that works on snow, ice, rain, cement, sand… Anyways, since I am broke I could use some shoes and I will give u feedback…

  24. JasonD

    My Cascadias are about due for a replacement and I like the "less is more" sound of these shoes. I'd love to take them out for a test drive! My wife just gave birth to twins on Wednesday so I'm in need of some good shoes that will both get me away AND get me back again. :-)

    Jason D.

    Magalia, CA

  25. Steve

    I hope I'm not too late, as I'm not sure if the deadline was Friday or the 27th :) Anyway, I'd love to give them a try. I can't guarantee a test on dirt trails since I live in Idaho and dirt season is still a ways off. But I figure ice and snow are close enough.

    Steve B.

    Idaho Falls, ID

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