Best New Trail Running Shoes from the 2016 Summer Outdoor Retailer Show

In the dog days of every summer, a slew of shoe companies share many of their trail running shoes that will debut in “Spring/Summer” of the following year at the Outdoor Retailer Summer Market in Salt Lake City, Utah. While these are “Spring/Summer” releases, most will hit retailers shelves first thing next year, while a few will be available much sooner. Below are some of the most notable shoes that were shared at this year’s Summer OR.

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.)

Vasque Trailbender ($130 – Mid-December 2016)

After a couple years on the down low, Vasque is reentering the trail running world with three entirely new models late this year. The most ultrarunning-oriented model from that lineup is the Vasque Trailbender. The 10.4-ounce shoe with 6 mm of drop is built on an entirely new last with a broader, but relatively shallow toe box with more arch support than prior Vasque trail running offerings. The outsole is highly segmented to conform to trail obstacles, while the shoe lacks a rockplate. In the U.S., all three new models from Vasque will be an REI-exclusive for one year.

The Vasque Trailbender.

Also from Vasque:

  • Vasque Constant Velocity ($120 – Mid-December, 2016) — The Constant Velocity is a do-everything shoe with 8 mm of drop in a 10.8-ounce package. It’s got the most aggressive lugging of the three models and contains an ESS rockplate.
  • Vasque Vertical Velocity ($120 – Mid-December, 2016) — This 9.8-ounce shoe is the lowest to the ground of the three models and has a 4-mm drop. It features a Vibram MegaGrip outsole and an ESS Rockplate.

The Vasque Vertical Velocity.

Salomon S-Lab Sense Ultra ($180 – February 1, 2017)

For anyone who’s looked at the Salomon Sense lineup of shoes longingly over the past half decade without the tools to run in them (at least not for very long), you might want to take a look at the Salomon S-Lab Sense Ultra. You can think of this as François D’haene’s answer to Kilian Jornet’s shoe. Most notably, the Sense Ultra’s drop has been increased to 9 mm with the addition of more midsole material in the shoe’s midfoot and rear, such that it should yield a more cushioned ride. The lugs are also deeper and there’s a full-length Pro-Feel Film protective layer. All of the rest of the features and know how from the S-Lab Sense line are included.

The Salomon S-Lab Sense Ultra.

Also from Salomon:

  • Salomon XA Enduro ($160 – February 1, 2017) — A 10.6-ounce (300 g) mountain running machine with a mesh upper and a breathable, integrated gaiter that’s attached from within the ankle collar. It also features Salomon’s premium sticky rubber and Pro-Feel Film protection.
  • Salomon Sense Pro Max ($150 – February 1, 2017) — A highly cushioned trainer debuting Salomon’s Vibe midsole inserts to reduce vibrational shock found in the midfoot phase of foot strike. The 10.2-ounce (290 g), 6-mm drop model has a more generous forefoot fit than most Salomon models.
  • Salomon S-Lab XA Amphib ($180 – February 1, 2017) — From the now-I’ve-seen-everything department, Salomon is offering a dedicated swim-run S-Lab model.

The Salomon XA Enduro.

Altra King MT ($140 – February 1, 2017)

The Altra King MT is definitely aimed at the “hardcore” end of trail running with super-aggressive lugs (6.5 mm), a full-length rockplate, and a midfoot velcro strap for quick additional lockdown on the most technical terrain. Built on Altra’s XC-racing last, the King MT is part of the company’s multi-model launch of its new Altra Ego high-rebound midsole material. The shoe has Altra’s rear velcro Gaiter Trap while the brand has added a ring at the front of the laces for the forward attachment. The shoe will weigh in at 9.5 ounces.

The Altra King MT.

Also from Altra:

  • Altra Timp IQ ($220 – February 1, 2017) — The Altra Timp IQ is the brand’s first computerized training tool for the trails. More generally, it’s designed to generally fit in between the brand’s Lone Peak and Olympus offerings, while it will be built on the Superior’s last. A non-IQ version is in the works.
  • Altra Superior 3.0 ($110 – November 15, 2016) — The all-new Superior 3.0 has both a new outsole and a new midsole, but they’re both similar to those components in the 2.0. The major updates are in the upper with more durable mesh and the addition of some sewn-on overlays for structure and durability. The weight will increase only slightly.
  • Altra Escalante ($130 – February 1, 2017) — While it’s on the road side, the Escalante is Altra’s first offering with a knit upper. The 8.5-ounce shoe has a burrito tongue and an Altra Ego midsole.

The Altra Superior 3.0.

Brooks Caldera ($140 – December 1, 2016)

If I’m honest, the Brooks Caldera is what the Cascadia should be at the moment: a versatile, everyday trail runner that weighs less than 10 ounces. The 4-mm drop Caldera has a nice rocker for a quick transition. The shoe features an all-around outsole with semi-soft rubber in 3-3.5-mm multi-directional lugs. The reasonably breathable upper is built around a new last that’s snug in the midfoot and wider in the forefoot. The upper features a lace garage, true gussets, and a rear gaiter tab.

The Brooks Caldera.

Also from Brooks:

  • Brooks Cascadia 12 ($130 – January 1, 2017) — The 12th Cascadia remains quite familiar with 10 mm of drop in a 12.1-ounce shoe. The midsole and outsole are all new with the biggest change being the four triangular “pivots” being replaced by an X-shaped internal chassis. Rumor is that the Cascadia is in for a major update soon.

The Brooks Cascadia 12.

Hoka One One Arahi ($130 –  January 1, 2017)

The Hoka One One Arahi (“Guide” in Māori) is described as a “dynamic stability” option for the roads. That’s primarily achieved with a wide footprint, dropping the foot into the midsole material, and the introduction of the “J-Frame,” a band of denser (than Hoka’s standard) foam that runs along the inside and rear of the shoe. Think of a softer than usual post. With this shoe and some other model updates for spring/summer 2017, Hoka is introducing its HR3 last, which will be more generous in the toe box. Hoka is also introducing new upper materials in many of its SS17 updates, the most notable of which are “puff print” overlays that provide a small amount of give as opposed to the highly inelastic TPU-film overlays used in many of today’s shoes. A men’s size 9 weighs in at 9.3 ounces (265 g) with 5 mm of drop.

The Hoka One One Arahi.

Also from Hoka One One:

  • Hoka One One Challenger ATR 3 ($130 – January 1, 2017) — The Challenger ATR gets the new HR3 last and puff print upper construction with better upper breathability. The lug spacing is widened for better mud shedding. It weighs 9.5 ounces (269 g).
  • Hoka One One Bondi 5 ($150 – January 1, 2017) — The 10-ounce Bondi gets an upper revamp with higher quality materials (such as puff print overlays) and Hoka’s new HR3 last with a more roomy toe box.

The Hoka One One Challenger ATR 3.

SCOTT Supertrac RC ($150 – January 1, 2017)

The SCOTT Supertrac RC looks like it will be a lot of fun to run in. The radial lug pattern is reminiscent of soccer (football) shoes and is unlike anything I’ve seen in the trail market of late. The outsole is also designed with lots of surface area for a smooth feel on roads, while the chevron lugs and siping should add a touch of cushioning. Underfoot, the shoe uses that lug-based cushioning and full-rubber outsole to eliminate the need for a rockplate. The shoe will weigh 8.8 ounces with a 5-mm drop, although SCOTT’s platform makes the drop number less useful for inter-brand comparisons.

The SCOTT Supertrac RC.

Merrell Agility Peak FLEX ($130 – November 2017)

With the Merrell Agility Peak FLEX, the company tried to bring its hallmark barefoot feel to a more traditional running shoe. To effect this, they came up with “Flex Connect” wherein they put significant grooves in the top of the midsole, such that it can much more easily flex downward in addition to upward. On the other hand, the shoe has 6 mm of drop and a two-piece rockplate in the heel and forefoot. The shoe should be grippy with its 5-mm lugs. It’ll weigh in at 11 ounces.

The Merrell Agility Peak FLEX.

Also from Merrell:

  • Merrell Agility Charge FLEX ($110 – November 2017) — The Agility Peak FLEX’s less aggressive sibling. It retains Flex Connect and the 6-mm drop, but has a lower overall stack height, 4 mm lugs, a forefoot-only rockplate, and a burrito tongue.

The Merrell Agility Charge FLEX.

Inov-8 Roclite 290 ($120 – November 1, 2016)

Due out this autumn, the Inov-8 Roclite 290 looks like a well-lugged, every day trail running option. The upper is open and airy with good midfoot lockdown. The Roclite 290 weighs, unsurprisingly, 290 grams (10.15 ounces) and has a 4-mm drop.

The Inov-8 Roclite 290.

Also from Inov-8:

  • Inov-8 Roclite 305 ($130 – November 1, 2016) — Similar to the Roclite 290, but with more durable upper materials and 8 mm of drop.

The Inov-8 Roclite 305.

SCARPA Spin ($130 – February/March 2017)

Next spring, SCARPA will launch the SCARPA Spin, which it positions between its inline Neutron and Atom. Despite that, the shoe will weigh in as the lightest shoes in the SCARPA trail lineup at 8.9 ounces. Underfoot, it features a full Vibram MegaGrip outsole (with weight-saving cutouts) and rockplate with a 4-mm drop. The upper features a sock-like tongue and lace garage.

The SCARPA Spin.

Arc’teryx Norvan VT ($170 – February 1, 2017)

Next spring, Arc’teryx with enter the trail shoe world with the Arc’teryx Norvan VT, a high performance shoe aimed at mixed trail running and scrambling. Made from a mix of Vibram MegaGrip in the heel and midfoot and proprietary climbing-rubber-inspired Idrogrip compound up front, the outsole features 3.5-mm modified chevron lugs that are arranged for high surface area for maximum grip on wet rock while still penetrating softer ground. The most innovative feature is a hook on the medial side of the lacing to which you can attach the lace from the lateral side of the forefoot, thereby going from a more roomy trail running fit to a tighter precision fit for scrambling without having to retie one’s shoes. It’s got a breathable booty construction that has some some folks going sockless. The 9-mm drop shoe will weigh in at 300-310 grams (~11 ounces) and also come in a $200 GORE-TEX version. There’s no rockplate.

The Arc’teryx Norvan VT.

Icebug Oribi RB9X ($160 – April 2017)

The Icebug Oribi RB9X looks like a light (230 g/8.1 ounces), grippy trail shoe that should work for those looking for a bit more drop, as the Oribi comes in at 7 mm. The moderate lugs are made from Icebug’s particularly tacky RB9X compound. There’s a rockplate located above the midsole. There are tiny, sausage-link laces.

The Icebug Oribi RB9X.

Also from Icebug: Other Icebug

  • Icebug DTS3 RB9X ($160 – Spring 2017) — Icebug finally offers a non-BUGrip (studded) version of its everyday “Distance Trainer Shoe.” It’s got a 12-mm drop and weighs in at 11.1 ounces (315 g).

The Icebug DTS3 RB9X.

La Sportiva Akyra ($140 – February 1, 2017)

The forthcoming La Sportiva Akyra looks like a more runnable version of the brand’s Ultra Raptor model. First off, the upper will be much more breathable. The outsole is also more aggressive for better trail bite. Underfoot, the outsole is decoupled at the heel and big toe for better roll. The shoe will weigh in at 11.3 ounces with a 9-mm drop. The Akyra will launch as an REI exclusive.

The La Sportiva Akyra with the Ultra Raptor in the background.

New Balance Fresh Foam Trail Hierro 2 ($115 – January 1, 2017)

The New Balance Fresh Foam Trail Hierro 2 adds Vibram MegaGrip with a change from somewhat linear lugs to a much more multi-directional pattern. This version also adds 3 mm of additional Fresh Foam throughout the shoe for even more cushioning. The shoe also has more protection and should offer better midfoot lockdown than its predecessor. It will weigh in at 10.8 ounces (307 grams) with a 4-mm drop.

The New Balance Fresh Foam Trail Hierro 2.

Also from New Balance:

  • New Balance Vazee Summit 2 ($100 – April 2017) — In version 2, the Vazee Summit’s upper is massively reinforced with TPU-film overlays over the midfoot for a more structured fit and greater durability.

The New Balance Vazee Summit 2.

The North Face Ultra Vertical ($120 – January 25, 2017)

The North Face Ultra Vertical replaces the company’s Ultra MT model. Like its predecessor, it’s got well-lugged Vibram MegaGrip outsole, but with a more of a yin/yang multidirectional focus. The Ultra Vertical will also be built around a wider last than the Ultra MT. The upper has been opened up with fewer overlays, the substitution of TPU-film overlays for fabric overlays, and the removal of the shoe’s distinctive overlasting. The Ultra Vertical weighs 10.7 ounces with a 6-mm drop and a Snakeplate.

The outsole of The North Face Ultra Vertical.

Also from The North Face:

  • The North Face Endurus TR ($130 – January 25, 2017) — An 11.2 ounce, 8-mm drop shoe that introduces TNF’s new Xtrafoam midsole material. The Endurus TR has a Snakeplate, heel cradle, light breathable upper, sock-like fit, and 3-mm stairstepped lugs.

The North Face Endurus TR.

Columbia Montrail Caldorado II ($120 – February 1, 2017)

Built on the same midsole/outsole package as its predecessor, the Columbia Montrail Caldorado II’s updates focus on the upper. First, some stitching and overlays have been removed. Second, the tongue and gussets are completely redesigned, with the highlight being no little flap at the bottom of the tongue. They’ve also reduced the heel counter a bit and replaced the laces. At the end of the day, the weight drops a fifth of an ounce to 10.4 ounces. (There’ll also be an Outdry Extreme version of the shoe.)

The Columbia Montrail Caldorado II.

Saucony Peregrine 7 ($120 – January 1, 2017)

Saucony isn’t going to mess with a good thing. As such, the Saucony Peregrine 7 merely tweaks the previous model. The biggest change is the removal of an EVERUN–the brand’s proprietary TPU cushioning–heel pod with the addition of a full-length EVERUN topsole. Otherwise, the outsole and midsole are unchanged. Saucony removed the forefoot gaiter ring from the upper while replacing layered overlays with simpler TPU-film overlays. This version weighs 9.4 ounces.

The Saucony Peregrine 7.

Dynafit Alpine Pro ($160 – March 1, 2017)

The Dyanfit Alpine Pro is a feature-rich every day trail shoe. The 8-mm drop, 10.6-ounce (300 g) shoe has a Vibram MegaGrip outsole, carbon rockplate, and quick laces.

The Dynafit Alpine Pro.

adidas Outdoor Terrex Agravic Speed ($120 – February 1, 2017)

Coming in at 8.8 ounces (250 g), the adidas Outdoor Terrex Agravix Speed will be adidas Outdoor’s lightest trail running option. The breathable upper has a sock-like construction, while the shoe has a 6-mm drop.

The adidas Outdoor Terrex Agravic Speed.

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!]

Bryon Powell: is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of iRunFar.com. Having spent nearly 20 years as an ultrarunner and three decades as a trail runner, he's also written Relentless Forward Progress: A Guide to Running Ultramarathons and co-wrote Where the Road Ends: A Guide to Trail Running. He calls Silverton, Colorado and Moab, Utah home.

View Comments (84)

  • Great review, Bryon.

    The Brooks Caldera -- 10 oz and 4 mm drop -- Is this the Puregrit with a new name?

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    • The Puregrit will live on apparently. RoadTrailRun discusses the differences between the two.

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      • Shoot. I guess I never submitted my original comment, but the PureGrit remains in Brooks's trail line unchanged, hence no mention. The basic aim of the two shoes is different with the Caldera in Brooks's "Energize" silo aimed at responsiveness while the PureGrit is in the company's "Connect" silo.

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  • Is it just me but does damn near every shoe on this list look space age, stiff and over built. Mellow out guys-they're just to protect your feet

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    • Yea, seems to me that the Adidas Outdoor Terrex Agavic Speed is the least 'overbuilt' and is the lightest if I remember correctly.

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    • Don't worry. Whenever the Born to Run movie comes out, the pendulum will swing hard and fast in the other direction.

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      • Hahaaaa! Then I'm selling my last pair of MT110s for $200 on ebay.

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      • I suppose these shoes are marketed towards trail runners but the fact American marathoners are way slower than they were 40 years ago when they were basically running in slippers throws a major wrench into the more is better paradigm that seems to be trendy again. Revenge of Bowerman haha

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        • I think that has more to do with the runners than shoe tech. The fast people are faster now (globally, especially, but Hall didn't run 2:04:58 in 1976 either). The rest of us are collectively slower, because now marathon fields exceed 20,000, when they used to barely crack 200--and those very serious runners. John and Jane Doe aren't slow because cushioned shoes exist; they're slow because they run 20 miles a week and weigh 225 lbs.

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  • The Altra King MT looks great for outings in the alps. Would come in handy also on muddy and snowy winter trails, pity only available in Feb, making it sometime April when available in Europe...

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  • Foam, foam everywhere. Way too much foam, not enough solid design.

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    • It's the SNL "More cowbell!" sketch, but with foam. Seriously, the Inov-8 Roclite 290 feels like a palate cleanser for the eyes. I get that the companies only offer what people are buying, but it's definitely not for me.

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    • It's like looking at a menu for rolled ankles. Would sir care for the moderately rolled, Grade II sprain or something more heavy duty?

      I loved my original Altras but they now look like the kid brother of the latest NBA All Star Altra. Please stop going upwards.

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      • Adrian, not sure what you're referring to.

        The King MT is the thinnest trail shoe we've ever built.

        The Superior is the same thickness as the previous couple of versions and thinner than any of the original Altra's.

        The Lone Peak is the same as the previous couple of versions.

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        • The King MT looks very interesting - I'd like to see a snow / cold air version of that shoe with those lugs! (and a water resistant gaiter too!).
          The current Superior 2 is a great shoe and so far more durable than the original Superior 2. So v3 is on my try list. My LP1.5s are still going strong, and I like them a lot, so hoping the v3 is as good.
          If, like me, you want to avoid high stack height, just don't buy the paradigm or even higher Olympus. I actually have tried both and they are nice, but my feet feel blind in them.
          My REAL CONCERN - don't let the creep towards narrower toebox continue!!! I need the wide let the toes spread toebox. My latest purchase is the LP3 midheight hiking boot. I really like them but they are a slightly but noticeably narrower than the LP1.5.
          Right now Altra is the only brand I can wear, because of the toebox and 0 drop.

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        • That's interesting to hear - as my original Lone Peaks vs my current pair were just so much more stable. I've had ankle sprains in my new ones twice - something I never had in the originals. Partly, it seems to be that the upper just doesn't hold the foot in place properly in the newer ones (the neo-shell is a much more secure upper, supporting this possible explanation) but also, the stack height difference is 7mm between 1.5s and 2.5s. Superiors seem to be the same, stack height increased by 3 or 4 mm I believe between those. They definitely went upwards!

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          • I bought lone peaks 3.0 and I just got a high ankle sprain last night. Multiple factors of course, and I think it could have been worse but high ankle sprains are really un fun.

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  • The best articles of the year! Thank you for recapping OR for those of us not fortunate enough to attend!

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  • What about new shoes from Nike Brand ?
    Is there a new version of Terra Kiger ?
    Thanks

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    • Nike doesn't show up at the Outdoor Retailer show... so I don't know.

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    • David Laney has been running in a Nike Kiger 4 according to Strava, so it would seem the answer is yes.

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    • Yes, there will be. New uppers on the Kiger 4 compared to the 3s. Same midsole and outsole I believe.

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      • I'm almost sad to hear that a new version of the Terra Kiger is on the way. The Terra Kiger 3 has been a perfect shoe for me. One of my favourite running shoes of all time. At least the midsole and outsole are staying the same. I hope the new upper retains the accomodating feel of a wide toebox.

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        • I wouldn't be surprised if the upper on the kiger 4 will make use of the flyknit tech, and resemble the zoom all out, and flyknit streak. The flyknit could act as a gaiter which looks similar to what Salomon have done on the Kilian "monster" shoe that he's been wearing.

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  • Anyone else confused by the naming of that first pair of Salomon's? Sense Ultra, that's not replacing the classic red and white, right? Same name different shoe?

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    • Different shoe, not replacing the white and red Sense ultra 6. More built up, for more of the crowd and long distance racing.

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      • Red and whites (s lab sense) have a softer midsole next year. Not the firm bricks they have been previously (although a lot of people obviously liked the hard misole from years past)

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      • Are they replacing the Sense Ultra models that are more of a soft ground shoe then?

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  • Some of those look like Pokemon mating with Transformers mating with shoes which is a horrible Thing to imagine. I'd agree the Adidas is the least evil looking one. See you guys in Chamonix!

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  • That "Columbia Montrail Caldorado II" .. Is that a cooperative effort between Columbia and Montrail? Or did Columbia buy Montrail? Or are they already sister brands?

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    • Columbia bought Montrail in 2006. This year, Columbia repositioned Montrail as a sub-brand of Columbia itself.

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    • Columbia has owned Montrail since 2006. Montrail, starting in spring 2017, will be re-branded as "Columbia Montrail".

      I run for Montrail. I do love these new Caldorados (I also really like the first version and have worn them in every ultra I've raced this year with zero issues). I plan to wear these new ones at UTMB.

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      • Do you happen to know if a Columbia Montrail Bajada will come out as well?
        I was trying to see if they got exhibited but haven't seen any other images so far..

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        • Um, I don't remember... I think so. The Caldorado and Bajada II are built on the same last (technically different lasts, but only bc the Caldorado is 2 mm lower, so same shape, w/ one slightly lower) and I wear both, but have been trending more towards the Caldorados since they came out. Doesn't answer your question, but if you like the Bajada you might also like the Caldorado.

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          • I own and enjoy the Caldorado, but find it to be significantly wider in the toebox than the Bajada.

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  • Man... what is the deal with trail shoes this past year or two? I agree with most people here - overbuilt, too heavy, ugly. Give me something light that doesn't look like it came from a cartoon! Under 9 ounces or I'm passing. The Adidas and Icebug are the only ones.

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    • Brian, all the Salomon Sense models are sub 8 oz, the new Sense Ultra is sub 10 as is the new XA Enduro (closer to 9) for those needing more protection. And of course all the weights are for men's size 9. Scott also has a new cool low and light trail racer coming. Believe me, there are still plenty of options for everyone.

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      • Matt, I agree. You can't please everyone and there certainly are lots of options beyond this list

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      • True about Salomon, but the price puts most of their low weight offerings out of reach. You have to admit, the trend still leans towards bulkier shoes and more protection. Even lighter weight initial offerings such as the Brooks Pure line have put on a little more weight with each iteration. I'm not sure why this is the case.

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    • Brian you should check out the Salomon sense pro 2. A streamlined shoe that is versatile and sleek with just enough cushion without the slab price tag.

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  • Has anyone worn and run in the Arcteryx shoe or any prototype? It is the only one in the whole group besides the Sportiva that intrigues me. I have way too many shoes and I don't like most of them.

    Sportivas have become my "go to" since they haven't cheapened their product like altra/hoka and montrail.

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  • I guess runners aren't the only ones overthinking running. The shoe companies have lost their minds trying to rename the basic parts of a shoe, and make their shoes different than their competitors. I still just want another pair of bondi b's.

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  • Same observation as most others. Disappointed at the crazy trend toward massive soles. BTW, the Inov-8's (my fav brand) still look reasonable. Looks like they still intend to specialise in low-to-the-ground shoes. My experience is bulkier soles don't perform as well on technical trails and the tendency to roll the ankle is much higher. Perhaps living in New Zealand where we have a lot of muddy trails has something to do with it, and harder-packed trails can benefit from all that cushioning that is the current trend. Funny that not so long ago, the closer to barefoot you got, the cooler you were (Vibram). Now it's the opposite (Hoka). There ain't no science going on here, folks.

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    • Very same feelings. I look forward to try Inov-8 TrailTalon 250 but these new shoes are all too overbuild. For me the thick midsole is almost antithesis to "Sense" line of Salomon shoes and other brands are not much better. Maybe Scarpa, Adidas and Inov-8 might be worth a try.
      Honestly, I would love to see a shoe with durable (which means overbuild for running) upper but still with minimal outsole. Something like TrailTalon 250 universal outsole with X-Talon 225 upper for hiking and backpacking. Maybe with current trend of quick hiking in mountains there will be some nice option for next year. Salewa Lite Train is quite promissing but I couldn't find any long-term reviews. Just to make it clear - with 10kg pack I would probably be more comfortable in a bit more cushioned shoe but wearing not so soft shoes is (for me) the best training for longer ultras (feet get used to uncomfortable feeling).

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      • The new roclite 290s are definitely close to the ground, but still have good protection. I've been running in the trailtalon 275 for a few months now, and I don't think I'd want to go with less midsole for anything very long in the mountains. The GTX construction tends to ensure a durable upper, so I'll be trying the trailtalon 275 GTX soon. Not sure what was at the show, but I'm more excited about the trailtalons and the X Claw 275, which is an awesome shoe. That upper on the trailtalon outside would be good.

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        • Inov8 may look good on paper but they really need to look at there build quality imo

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          • "the closer to barefoot you got, the cooler you were (Vibram)"

            We minimalist runners are still as "cool" as ever. I think the science is there, and if you want to develop strong muscles, you'll go minimal. 'Born To Run' totally convinced me - all this cushioning is making for weaker feet. I can no longer run in a high stack heavy shoe after running in vibram five fingers, merrell trail glove, and new balance minimus. I feel the high stack heavy soled shoe separates me from the trail to the detriment of the overall experience. I've yet to run 50K at a time, but at this point it seems like totally unnecessary padding now that I've developed my muscles sufficiently.

            My latest everyday trail runner is the Minimus 10v4 Trail. It is 7 oz, with 4 mm drop, and can handle all kinds of rocky/rooty trails. I totally agree about higher stack height and "bulkier soles don’t perform as well on technical trails and the tendency to roll the ankle is much higher."

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        • Ben I have blown through two pairs of the Trailtalon 275, the eco skeleton that wraps around the upper has separated in two places. I spoke to Inov-8 and they have replaced. I don't think these are very good for the mountains, NH, VT, ME. The new roclite 305s are very tight I am normally a size 10.5 but definitely require a 1/2 size up. the toe box is alot tighter than the trailtalon or the raceultra. there is a rubber toe guard that i think is overdone and comes up too high.

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  • The Vazee Summit update looks pretty disappointing - the current version is just about perfect IMO. Any reactions from people who've seen them?

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    • I had the opposite reaction. I would love the current version, except that my foot slides all over on anything steep or off camber. The overlays on the new version certainly look like they could correct that.

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      • main issue for me with the VS is durability (that and the godawful laces and insole, but those are easy fixes). the soft outsole rubber is worn through to the rockplate in the lateral forefoot strikezone (where most my stress happens), and my pinky toes are wearing through the upper. if they could somehow up the durability on these, they might win out over my Nike Wildhorses, which are a bit bulkier but basically bombproof. with the exception of ultralight roadracing flats, i expect 500+ miles out of my shoes...im poor.

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  • I miss the original New Balance 110. Put some additional rubber and lug height underfoot and would be excellent! Summit could be okay minus the high heels.

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  • What about Pearl Izumi?

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    • Pearl Izumi wasn't at the show.

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    • Pearl Izumi has just announced that it will shut down its running business at the end of the year. http://i-rn.fr/PI-OuttaRunning

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  • I am currently running in Hoka Mafate Speed 2's, which have the new wider toe box and run like they have the old soft foam. I had sworn off Hokas, as they had slowly wiped out everything that made their shoes great (Imo). The mafate speed 2s are really good. Any idea when the new models of Hoka will be available in the states?

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  • Bryon, do you know what the stack height of the Salomon Sense Pro Max and new Salomon S-LAB Ultra are?

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    • Shoot. My tech sheets are in Moab and I'm on the road for the next month. I'll see what I can find out.

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      • Thanks. Did 50 miles at Hardrock this year in the Sense Pro 2 and just ran Silverheels 100 in the Sense Pro 2 as well. They are great shoes but I can see the appeal of more cushion. Just hope that it isn't a huge increase in stack height.

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        • Sense Pro Max is 30mm/24mm (6mm drop) and the S-Lab Sense Ultra is 26mm/17mm (9mm drop).

          Love the article!

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          • Thanks, Kristina!

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  • When Brooks says the Caldera has wider forefoot, what is that relative to? It would be nice if they would try to compete with Altra for a truly wide forefoot and snug midfoot. I can't figure out why the huge foam sole of Hoka has taken off in popularity with other brands, but a foot shaped last with a low drop like Altra or the original New Balance MT110 has not.

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    • Chad,
      I'm sure that the "wider forefoot" would be relative to their other similarly positioned products, such as the Cascadia. Nothing I saw indicated an Altra-like forefoot fit.

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    • My humble opinion is this. Altra takes commitment to bed in (get use to the zero drop), Hokas don't. A big slice of the audience buying Hokas are mid packers like me, life commitments outside of running and just want to get a pair of shoes on and run on decent trails for a decent amount of time. I think Zero drop scares a bunch of people with shortened and tightened calves coming off 10mm drop shoes, we think injury!. 5 mm is just doable. That is why finally manufacturers after spending a couple of years nibbling around the edges of maximal cush are providing Hoka cushioning but mixed with their traditional fit. I think Hoka have made a big mistake focusing their fit on European feet to the detriment of Americas and Asia. The vast majority of Hoka complaints are fit (narrow).

      So I've moved from Hokas (tried 4 models) to Altras with a heel insert, raising the drop to 8mm, works sweet, getting the roll and not killing my calves. 2017 is going to be an interesting year.

      As for the natural foot shape, it works well for me, but maybe not a big enough draw card for other brands to focus on, as their fit is typically not bad in their or customer's eyes.

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      • I'm curious - what sort of heel inserts are you using? I've pretty much given up on Altra because after running regularly in several pairs over the past few years, I still haven't adapted to the zero drop. At least, I assume that's what's going on, because even two consecutive runs in Altra shoes leaves my lower legs fried. But the fit of the shoes is great, and I'd love to be able to make them work for me.

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  • Will the Altra Superior 3.0 still come with the removable rock plate?

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    • I emailed Altra recently about purchasing the rock plate inserts. They responded that these are being phased out, making me think that the new Superior won't have that option. However, Altra could be totally redesigning the insert...

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    • The Superior 3.0 will once again feature Altra's removable StoneGuard.

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