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Editors’ Choice: Patagonia Tsali 3.0 Trail-Running Shoe (Fall 2014)

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10.4 oz / 10mm drop / $110

*Fall 2014 Trail Runner Editors’ Choice*

The Dirt: Hands down the best trail shoe we’ve ever tested from Patagonia, the Tsali 3.0 is outfitted with a flexible, quick-draining upper and innovative lacing system that accommodates a broad variety of foot types.

The midsole is wonderfully responsive for fast, nimble running, but a tad firm for super long distances. The Tsali’s relatively low-profile lugs offer tremendous grip on just about every kind of trail, and the forefoot rock plate lets you cruise confidently down fire roads and rock-strewn singletrack.

Best For: All terrain including rocky trails; dry or wet conditions; any distance up to 50 miles.Fit: True to size; the laces allow comfortable cinching for both narrow and wide feet.

 

Tester Raves

  • “The best part of this shoe is the great protection that it offers. On some tough and rocky trails, my feet felt great and I never had to slow down or take it easy on sharp, jagged rocks. Blasting down rocky descents with reckless abandon was a pleasure.”
    —Forrest Tracy
  • “Patagonia finally hit it out of the park with these shoes! This is a perfect shoe for someone who is switching terrain a lot in a race or run, as its versatility shows through in its ability to handle mud, dirt, grass or asphalt. They would be a great buy for a beginner trying to figure out trail running.”
    —Jen Burn
  • “Once you hit the trails you know you have something special. They gave protection to my feet and plenty of comfort for long trail runs. I had traction no matter where I went and they held up great for a bigger runner.”
    —Joel O’Polka
  • “I was really impressed by the lightness of the shoe in contrast to its structure. I prefer minimalist shoes, but many times they don’t provide the support I still need for my high arches. This shoe is a great balance between those two things.”
    —Lorelei Wagner

 

Testers on Fit

  • “These are comfortable out of the box. They just fit right, aren’t too light or heavy and don’t squeeze or pinch in weird places.”
    —Jen Burn
  • “The upper and toebox are roomy, making this an excellent choice for runners with thicker feet. For those with small feet, the lacing system has several eyelets which allow you to easily tighten down the shoe.”
    —Jane Pizem
  • “The uppers are extremely comfortable on the foot. They have a nice stretch feel to them but still hug the foot and don’t let it slide around.”
    —Joel O’Polka

 

Testers on Tread

  • “The shoe was responsive on many different types of terrain, including sand, wet/dry grass, exposed roots and packed Carolina clay. I enjoyed every run that I completed in these shoes, even in muddy and wet conditions.”
    —Lorelei Wagner
  • “The lugs aren’t super deep and when I first looked at them I actually thought they might not have quite enough traction. However, I never had any issues with grip. Mud, wet bridges, slick rocks, steep inclines—the soles handled them all and I only ever slipped once (after a decent bit of rain and the trails were pretty saturated.) They also drained water extremely quickly, so anything where I’m going to get wet, these are going to be the shoes I want on my feet.”
    —Joel O’Polka
  • “The grip is awesome. On some techy downhills, I had great control and contact with the ground at all times.”
    —Forrest Tracy
  • “The rubber outsole is flexible and moderately sticky. While I am confident that this shoe is well suited for a variety of trails and conditions, it excels on technical terrain. It’s a great match for a hot, rocky, hill run.”
    —Jane Pizem

 

Testers on Downsides

  • “Although the material of the upper seemed breathable, the shoe did get really hot in temperatures above about 85 and made running uncomfortable once my feet started to sweat. I recommend the shoe for cooler conditions. Other than this, I can’t find any other ‘flaws’ in the shoe.”
    —Lorelei Wagner
  • “I recommend purchasing another set of laces. The laces are extremely long and touch the ground even when double tied.”
    —Jane Pizem
  • “The heel-to-toe drop was too much. The underfoot in general could have been reduced quite a bit without sacrificing the protection that the shoe offers. On some of the flats I really felt like there was just too much weight and structure to the shoe.”
    —Forrest Tracy