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Editor’s Choice: Best Trail Racer
$100, 10.2 ounces, www.adidas.com
Featuring a six-millimeter heel-to-toe drop (the lowest profile shoe in Adidas’ trail lineup), the Adizero XT 4 isn’t quite a minimal shoe. “It’s minimalist enough for a long race, and also stout enough for an everyday trainer,” said one tester.
A breathable mesh upper includes welded overlays that held testers feet in place without adding much weight. Dense, responsive cushioning provided adequate rock protection, even without a rock plate.
Best For: Intended to be a trail-racing shoe, the Adizero XT 4, says Adidas, is for “the runner within the six- to 10-minute-per-mile pace.” Indeed, testers agreed that the shoe is light, fast and performance oriented. Deep lugs gobbled up technical, loose and muddy terrain.
Traction: Designed with what Adidas calls a “mud-release system,” sticky, knobby lugs shed mud globs. Plus, multi-shaped and -sized lugs (larger in the heel and smaller in the forefoot) gripped well on almost every surface. “It definitely sticks,” said one tester. “I have yet to slide or feel worried about my foot placement.”
Fit: The shoe runs slightly long, but testers praised the shoe’s fit, which snugly hugs your mid-foot with just enough room in the toe box to not feel restricting.
The Downsides: While the welded overlays held testers feet in place, a few felt they were unnecessary.
Tester-Monial: “These shoes are the best of both worlds: They are lightweight and minimal with bomber lugs that give me confidence on the trails. The Adizero XT 4 is the best trail racer I’ve worn!”
–Jill Forsythe, Allentown, PA