Dynafit Pantera (Spring 2014)$140 | 12 oz | 8mm drop | www.dynafit.com
The Dirt: From a company known for its top-notch ski-touring equipment, the Pantera is designed to tackle the gnarliest trails you can find. Its stiff, dual-density midsole is bolstered by a protective shank and ballistic toe bumper—testers felt virtually no impact from sharp objects encountered on the trails.
In a market saturated by minimalist options, the Pantera’s siren call will speak to those who appreciate solid support, protection and pronation control.
A Gore-Tex version (pictured, $160, 14 oz) is available—which, paired with the rugged Vibram outsole, makes for an unstoppable winter-running machine. “While everyone I run with was strapping on Yaktrax and screwing in cleats,” said one Rocky Mountain tester, “I felt confident with the Pantera unadulterated.”
Best For: Aggressive, root-, rock- and scree-laden trails—in all weather—and, as one tester suggested, “terrain where you may have to bust out some lengthy hiking.”
Traction: The Vibram outsole is equipped with three different rubber compounds, proving unstoppable on mud, talus, ice, snow, hardpack and even, as one tester reported after a rainy run, on a “notoriously slippery wooden bridge.”
Fit: The Pantera fits true to size, though and best suits narrow to medium-width feet.
The Downsides: All those protective elements come at the cost of feeling slightly clunky.
Tester-Monial: “If an engineer from Dynafit told me this midsole could stop a bullet, I wouldn’t argue. The Pantera will eat rocks all day long, and your feet won’t feel a thing.”
–Tom Morton, Chicopee, MA