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Keen A86 TR
$90, 8.2 oz, www.keenfootwear.com
The Dirt. Keen nailed it with the A86 TR, a vibrant-colored, nimble shoe that’s guaranteed to make you at least look fast. Testers found that multi-directional lugs on the heel and forefoot grabbed well on wet and muddy surfaces. A very flexible 100-percent PU (polyurethane) midsole offers more lasting protection than traditional EVA foam—it’s a firm rubber that takes longer to break down than EVA, which flattens relatively quickly. Absence of a rock plate keeps you in tune with terrain, and the stiff outsole lessens the impact of rocks and roots, so you won’t feel quite barefoot. A thin, stretchy mesh upper provides a close, comfortable fit.
Fit. An asymmetrical lacing system relieves pressure from your toes and instep because it sits just off common pressure points. Laces are set about an inch lower down the instep than on most shoes (low-volume feet with a narrow heel may experience heel slippage), but extend farther forward for a foot-hugging forefoot fit. The shoe fits medium- to high-volume feet and offers no arch support, so is best for a neutral foot.
Best For. A true trail-racing flat, this is a perfect shoe for a 5K or half-marathon PR whether you’re running on rocky singletrack or hard-packed dirt roads.