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When you do double-digit trail runs every day for six days, you get ample time to test out gear. SNEWS staffer Ana Trujillo and her teammate Mike Trujillo were able to test four pairs of shoes during the Gore-Tex TransRockies Run. Here’s what they had to say:
Nike Run Free 3.0 (MSRP $70) and Nike Run Free 4.0 V2 (MSRP $100)
These two products aren’t trail shoes, but my brother, Mike, lives by the motto, “If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.” He’s been running in these two pairs of Nike Run Frees for the past four months, and since they worked so well for him in training, he packed them for the six-day race.
The choice surprised me, as Mike used to be an avid anti-Nike running shoe person. So naturally his rave reviews of the Nike Run Frees caught me off-guard. He maintains that it was a great choice as the two pairs he packed for the six days offered the same protection from rough terrain as any trail running shoe he’s used, plus they were lightweight and quick drying, which came in handy during Stage 4 when we ran through Turkey Creek for about a mile.
He didn’t get any blisters, didn’t have to use duct tape on hot spots as I did, and paired with both Injinji Trail socks and Point 6’s soon-to-be-launched trail socks with Celliant, his shoes kept his feet feeling relatively strong during all stages.
The only downfall, he said, was that the wide gaps between the outsole’s lugs (which make both pair of shoes flexible) were the perfect place for rocks to get stuck, leading to frequent stops to pry them out.
TrekSta Edict (MSRP $135)
A runner’s quest for a great shoe can be much like the quest for a great mate. Perhaps a flashy shoe caught your eye and you thought it might be a match for your running clothes, but in the end it doesn’t work out. Then there are those times you just click and then there are more dates and more chances to build your relationship.
On my first date with the TrekSta Edict, we just clicked. It was a trial run of the Stage 4 trail back in June. Despite pairing them with the wrong socks on that 15-mile run two months ago, I didn’t get any blisters or hot spots. Though I trained a lot on road with my Newton Distance (MSRP $155) shoes, every time I ran trail I used the Edicts.
The Edict features TrekSta’s NestFIT system, which is supposed to cradle your feet. The HyperGrip outsole made the traction perfect for the rocky terrain and Stage 4’s mile run through Turkey Creek’s slippery rocks. The shoes dried surprisingly quickly and didn’t feel that heavy when wet during the two miles we ran on a dirt road after running through the creek.
Funnily enough, though the Edicts made my feet feel safe and secure on the actual trails, it was the small rocks on the dirt roads we ran much of the time that I could feel through the outsoles, particularly on Stages 3 and 4.
I used the Edicts for Stages 1, 3 and 4 about half of the 120 miles total we did. For the other half, I used the La Sportiva Wildcat.
La Sportiva Wildcat GTX (MSRP $150)
Following a failed attempt at using my Newton Distance shoes on a test run of Stage 6 back in June, I reluctantly packed them as a second pair after my TrekSta Edicts. I was relieved when I got a pair of La Sportiva Wildcats to test because I didn’t want to use the Distance — which are perfect for road running — out in the wilderness.
We know what everyone says: Don’t try new products on a trek like this. But I’m nothing if not adventurous, so I left my Newton Distance shoes behind and I packed in their place the La Sportiva Wildcats.
I admit our first date wasn’t so great. I wore the wrong socks and got hot spots on the balls of my feet, and I started to develop two blisters on both big toes around mile 10 of Stage 2’s 14.5 miles. So I was not too keen on accepting a second date from these shoes, but I’m a sucker for second chances. I tried again on Stages 5 and 6. I was glad I did. When paired with the right socks (Injinji’s Trail 2.0, MW), these shoes that have a Gore-Tex lining are incredibly stable, have excellent grip thanks to the company’s propritary FriXion outsole and somehow manage to keep those annoying pebbles from hopping into your shoes.
With the Wildcats, thankfully, I did not feel the small pebbles on the dirt roads we ran.