Yitka Winn August 08, 2013 TWEET COMMENTS 37

The Future of Trail-Running Gear - Page 2

Trend 1: The Running Shoe Mold Has Been Broken

Forget the trail-running shoes of yore—beefy, plodding road shoes outfitted with knobby outsoles to transform them into “trail shoes.” Forget, too, the sleek, feather-light, trail-friendly slippers that emerged out of the minimalist movement in the last few years. Like a love affair that burnt out fast, the lightest, most minimal shoes are no longer the stars of the show.

What’s emerged instead is not some hot, new prototype all companies are scrambling to mimic, but rather, a willingness among running-shoe companies to try something different entirely … a bold desire to truly innovate.

From Vasque, we'll see the Shapeshifter—a 10.6 oz, 6mm-drop shoe with Boa quick-lacing (most often seen in ski boots, but beginning to make a splash in the running-shoe world) with "high-rebound" EVA for reduced foot fatigue on long runs:



Dynafit, long renowned for its top-of-the-line backcountry ski gear, will launch an entire “Alpine Running” line of shoes, apparel, packs and other accessories. In giving us an overview of what to expect come spring 2014, Dynafit told us, “We don’t want to follow the trend of the lightest, most minimal.” The forthcoming Pantera trail-running shoe will feature an 8mm heel-to-toe drop, structured polyurethane heel and cantilevered midsoles to help with pronation.

From New Balance, we’ll see a burly new zero-drop Minimus (the 00v2) with 7mm lugs:



Speaking of mold-breaking … how about a leather running shoe? ECCO, one of the top five manufacturers in the world of premium leather, is going there. This trail-running shoe made with Tibetan yak leather will launch in February.


All this—the willingness to experiment and push the boundaries of what defines a running shoe—is nothing but good news for trail runners.


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