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6.1 ounces / 4mm drop / $90
The Dirt: The FluidFlex is stripped down of extraneous elements—not much more to it than thin mesh uppers and flexible foam cushioning.
Offering close contact to the ground, the FluidFlex features a low heel-to-toe drop and articulated flex grooves in the midsole to support natural foot motion.
Very thin collars offer small cushions to pad the Achilles, though some felt the heel cup was a tad sharp.
Best For: Short-distance runs on relatively tame terrain, and any run where speed is a priority. Quick-drying uppers did well in creek crossings.
Traction: Testers praised the low-profile, micro-lug tread, which transitioned well between hardpack and soft, wet terrain.
Fit: The asymmetrical lacing offers a close fit that disperses pressure evenly across the top of the foot, without being constricting—one tester appreciated the “wide, bunion-friendly toebox.”
The Downsides: The minimal design left testers vulnerable to ankle rolls and stone bruising on technical trails. Some also questioned the shoe’s durability.
Tester-Monial: “Given the light weight and thin fabric, I was surprised by the excellent traction and comfort it provided.”
—Maura Adams, Penacook, NH
Check out the other 10 shoes in our Spring 2013 Shoe Review.