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shoeporn: New Balance – 1500 V2 (Team NB Elite edition)

224 grams of running flat beauty – with the second revise of the firstly in 2015 launched 1500 series; prominent Boston based footwear makers New Balance provides an terrific and elegant shoe for wholesome and loose running.
The first issue of the 1500 series received raving reviews. Still New Balance included the athlete response and shaped a shoe that could be described as a perfect distance racing shoe. The 1500 in its second version comes up with light pronation stability as well as just about the right amount of cushioning that a running shoe of this style requires.
The special “Team NB Elite edition” looks extravagant with its “Bright Cherry” colour scheme. Pretty difficult to oversee. Naturally style is matter of personal favour. Personally I like the look of the new 1500 v2. That is how a racing flat should look like.
Sebastian Kienle, 2014 Ironman World Champ, wore the first version of the 1500 when he won the iconic event on Hawaii’s big island. Subsequently he was instrumental in the development of this shoe. Till now this is his racing shoe when it comes to Ironman distance racing.
Getting low – the general drop comes in at 6mm. Other hard facts are a 22mm heel height and 16mm on the forefoot. Proper racing style!
However the crash pad of the outsole still remains the same as seen in the first version, the design got altered a bit by the New Balance designers. Whilst they used tiny rubber cruxes in the previous model there are now some sort of triangular formed lugs. I took the shoe through its paces while running on the roads, gravel and on the track. I like the grip, no changes when it comes to ground control and general feel.
An inside look – The 1500 V2 bids added padding in the middle of the sole to care for runners with pronation troubles. While the shoe is light and meant for racing this could be a bonus for runners that are generally struggling with lightweight racing flats. Still the support is light that the extra “T-Beam” technology offers. The lightweight TPU shaft is built to provide torsional stability arch support through a middle beam design.
 “REVlite” is the title of the foam mixture that is used as the base of the shoe. The lightweight composition bids excellent and springy underfoot cushioning which I really valued.
Besides a tacky design the greatly centred heel-to-toe cavity supports the runner to achieve a straightforward and precise ride as the shoe is stabilised.
More specifics of the firm outsole and the certain lug-designs.
A key factor for the steadfast and supportive ride that this shoe offers is the “REVlite” sole.
Front end – New Balance reorganised the start of the lacing and built-in a petite holder in the centre of the bottom end of the shoe.
Pretty much like his predecessor the V2 comes in with a snug and well-made no-sew layers finish that is called “FantomFit”. A lot of racing flats are designed very narrow in the toe box area. Not so with this one. NB gives the forefoot plenty of space.
The foremost revise to the first version of the 1500 – a sock-like tongue support that keeps everything in check and creates a very comfy and precise feeling while striding.

With the revise of the 1500 NB raised the bar when it comes to running flats. Whilst the latest model supports a direct stride it still has some decent and well located cushioning. Something that hasn’t been seen within such a style of shoes. I really became a fan of this one. Still I don’t know why the up-to-the-minute model is a little bit heavier then the first version?

Tune of the day: Aidan Baker and Tomas Järmyr – Werl I

shoeporn: Hoka One One – Speed Instinct

You are well used to profound appraisals of Hoka One One foodstuffs over at this neck of the woods. When I firstly experienced the distinctive and debated marque it was all about all-out sole-pillow. Today it appears that Hoka One One reduces the sole tallness and transports even more dynamic into their collection of running shoes. The Tracer, Hokas elected Road Running Flat, emerges to be the turn to a very exiting expansion. Alongside the release of cross and track spikes, Hoka One One now tries satisfie even more Runners. Once I received the state-of-the-art Modell, the Hoka One One – Speed Instinct, I couldn’t wait to take it out. Not only the appearance, moreover the primary impression of this Trail Running shoe is somewhat else.
The Hoka One One – Speed Instinct is meant to be an agile shoe for steadfast off-road trips. Still growing, the busy trail running market is the target of this model. With a mere of 225 grams the Speed Instinct approaches interested runners with the Hoka trademark weightlessness.
Visually the web upper sticks out instantaneously. The smooth Air mesh upper is welded in a synthetic web and covers most of the shoe. For myself I like the design as it gives the shoe a distinctive and individual note. But there is not only a style factor inside the formation of this shoe. Though it looks noble it is also built to hold the hard-working feet in place whilst running. I liked the meek and enjoyable firmness that grips the feet in place whilst roaming past technical sections on the run. Still the toe shield does not really work as it should be and I experienced some slams whilst hitting rocks or woods.
The heel counter is very flexible and the collar is well padded.  Despite it’s flexibility, it offers great hold/support and is quite comfortable.
Alike the Tracer and the Clayton, Hoka uses their latest Pro2Lite midsole also within this shoe. I liked this sole in the other models and likewise with the Speed Instinct. The forgiving tail and the steadier front part of the sole is great with me. I like to run mid or forefoot so I like the straight sensation of this sole a lot. Still it is weird to have so much cushion with a shoe that bids so much dynamic and impulse to run fast.
A comparably widespread nonetheless shallow toe-box could be a potential difficulty for certain runners.
Though being a shoe that is meant to be used on un-paved undergrounds the performance on the road is great. The outsole is not too destructive on the legs, which delivers cosiness while wandering to or amongst off-road sections.
Quite the soul of each trail shoe – the outsole. For the Speed Instinct Hoka used a low profile, multi-directional tugs based design that do provides brilliant sense for the ground and faultless control. Most trail or off-trail units I ran with the shoe where great and joint with the soft sole the Speed Instinct performed to be a great and reliable companion. Although this altered when the underground got misty or very technical. As the lugs of the outsole are not very long the sole showed to loose grip here and there. A forceful sole design has its pros and cons. Not using lengthy lugs means that once the underground gets softer it ultimately loose grip. For me it was not a major problem during my daily running outings. The positive side is that the trip to the trail is smooth and without any hustle as sometimes spikey soles can be tough on the legs. 
The so-called Pro2Lite +10 EVA cushioning is used for the sole of the latest Speed Instinct. Eventually it supports fast and hasty off-road running.
The official product despricton states that this shoe comes with a rock-plate. I did not really experience a lot of protection while on rocky undergrounds. Some stones seem to find their way past the little red triangles. 
At the end – Some hard facts: Heel-to-Toe Offset: 3mm; 22mm (heel), 19mm (forefoot)
Hoka pooled the advantageous characters of their lightweight assortment into a top-class and exciting trail racing shoe. The Speed Instinct understands how to grip off-road streams with all obtainable types of speeds. The last couple of weeks I had tons of fun with this one as it combines the valuable Hoka qualities with a more prompter style. The low sole makes a lot of fun and the low to the ground gives you a lot of confidence when you hit the trails.

sneakerporn: Mizuno – Wave Ekiden 10

I do not really memorize which version, but the Wave Ekiden was my very first road-flat quite some years ago. From the time when then I got my first pair until now, I raced several pairs of this modern road-running classic. It is not only a shiny and fast looking shoe, it is also a superior racing flat I loved every time I got my hand on one. Now Mizuno released the 10th version. Lets have a close look.
The term “Ekiden” is something that should be well-known to all running fans across the globe. It refers to a long-distance relay running race, typically on roads. The Japanese term originally referred to a post-horse or stagecoach which transmitted communication by stages.
Mizuno calls the outsole by the name of “G3“. It is merely created for road running and bids just enough charge for reckless excursions on the cemented underground or track workouts. For a humble and slick get-up it latest quite some time when I used the shoe through numerous trainings and road interval sessions.
Personally I always enjoyed the fitting of the Ekiden. The elegant and thin upper creates a comfortable and close fit and makes running fast a controlled experience.
It is called “X10” and its job is to ensure stability and traction. The durable Mizuno carbon rubber allows for longer wear in high impact areas and provides more traction.
“U4ic” is the name of the midsole compound providing high comfort and performance, while being extremely lightweight.
The height of accurate racing expertise is found in this Japanese heritage shoe.
Unconquerable – the pure beauty of a simple running flat.
The polite 6mm offset bids a  fast and very responsive ride.
All pictures show the Mizuno Wave Ekiden in the Diva Blue, White and Safety Yellow colour line. Mizuno sticks to the characteristic design.
All my dear reader please note: This shoe does not have a lot of cushioning you consequently need to be able to have some experience running a shoe like this. The minimalist design does not offer much and feet and legs might need to work more. It is a pure racing shoe that follows the minimal route.
Mizuno’s 10th version of the Wave Ekiden bids minimal underfoot support which is desired to run fast and efficient. With a total weight of sweet 145g the shoe offers no arch support either. 
Once more I was delighted to have a go with this classic. Mizuno delivers once more as the only update their road-racing flagship insignificant. Why change a running system?

All pictures (c) Runssel

Shoeporn: Scarpa – Atom (Orange Fluo)

Scarpa is on the move. On the move to further increase and improve their quality alpinist inventions. Since years the Italians are a household name when it comes to high-quality off-road outdoor equipment. Particularly the footwear union is widely recognized and highly popular among hikers, mountaineers, alpinist or Skimo competitors.

The rapid chunk of mountain and off-road undertakings have been overlooked for some time. Last year’s running shoe collection (Already I reviewed the Minima) was an exciting starter to the lighter efforts of alpine travels. With the latest signing of well-known athlete, photographer and outdoor novelist Joe Grant, Scarpa puts the emphasis on the thriving trail-running market place. With a three-year contract in its pocket, Grant will be the face to their alpine shoe product line. It will be exciting to see how his contribution will assist the corporation to settle in this market slice.

The up-to-date product pool bids some pretty exciting lightweight and minimal goods. As I was checking the fresh assortment, the Atom caught my full attention. A refined and fast looking minimal piece of foot wear. Not only the flamboyant coloring forms an eye catching shoe, it is also the vigorous 4 mm drop that generates a shoe for quick and direct off-road undertakings.

In addition to the general clean and effective look, the Atom offers some thoughtful details that will appreciated during long and short outings. I ran the Atom through varieties of undergrounds and conditions. While I was training around the Cote d Azur lately, I had the chance to take the Atom from end to end of a variation of challenging undergrounds. Although damp and indulgent forest single-lanes were an laid-back mission, the shaky and technically difficult trails along the rocky coast line were a excessive playground for this model. I was astonished by the performance of the nifty grip the Vibram Genesis Lite outsole offers. The build-in rock platter bids a boundless protection without making the shoe too inflexible.

I still appreciate my excursions with the Atom as the shoe offers great traction that ends in a secure feeling during all sorts of punishing environments. Scarpa marks a move into the correct direction. It is going to be exciting to see what the Italians issue in the future. Their knowledge among mountain shoes is countless. How they will incorporate it into the light and fast style will be interesting to witness. Certainly the new-fangled Atom is a huge move that offers so much delight along the trails.

The low stack height of the Atom is created for steep and technical trails.

The brand name stands for Società Calzaturiera Asolana Riunita Pedemontana Anonima, which means Associated Shoe Manufacturing Company of the Asolo Mountain Area.

The Atom characters a fine and exiting refresh to Scarpa’s mountain running assortment.

Race ready – fused upper material to save weight and increase the comfort!

Hailing from the Montebelluna region in Italy, the company opened their US HQ in Boulder, CO in 2005.

249g of trail running madeness awaits.

The partner for wild outings is the Vibram Genesis Lite sole.

The midsole is made out of Compression Molded EVA and works quite well.

Not only the Orange Fluo painting makes this shoe stand out.

A pretty handy element – A little pocket on the tongue stores away the laces.

All pictures: Runssel

Tune of the day: Exiles beautiful Rework of Adiam’s Runaway Feat. BLU

shoeporn: Mizuno – Wave Catalyst

It is difficult to pick a running-shoe category for this one. With the latest Wave Catalyst, Mizuno just announced a successor for their Wave Elixir Modell. This shoe fulfils the lightweight and up-tempo chunk of their range. Pretty rare for a shoe of that category it features a moderate support for over-pronation. Looking back at the first-born Elixir model, the Mizuno engineers condensed the offset by 2mm. Mizuno used the grown space to renovate the padding, which provides this shoe a great cushioned sensation deprived of loosing a blameless contact to the ground, since very little energy is lost in compression and rebound.
Mizuno shaped a shoe that feels home among athletes gazing for a speedier trainer or tempo run shoe. Without a doubt there is speed in this shoe, but for a model like this it bids further stability, support and construction that a lot of comparable models miss.
The centre of attention is the Mizuno typical wave midsole (A Wave Plate constructed from pebax Rnew). It offers a great fitting and cushion through the heel and midfoot.
The Wave Catalyst is somewhat of a multipurpose, everyday training partner. There are not many shoes around that are that stable and likewise reckless. Mizuno offers great responsiveness with sufficient cushioning.
Pretty trendy – The Wave Catalyst in the “Palace Blue / Safety Yellow” colour theme. Mizuno understands to design characteristic shoes with a unique style.
Heavy-duty – I was astonished by the characteristic of the sole. Knowing the wear and tear sectors of my shoes following some miles of running, this one did not demonstrate too much shred. Mizuno promotes its extraordinary blown rubber to be super robust. Well, it looks like they are spot-on.
Besides the overall performance there are a lot of polite and petite features that make a shoe singular. Mizuno pleasantly incorporated their well-known runbird symbol in the sole.
The well-made compress of the upper material paired with stress-free adjustability of the laces creates a well fitting shoe. There is also plenty of room in the forefoot section without the impact on feet movement. With its 260 grams the shoe has a lot to offer for that weight division.
Robustness – A forceful carbon rubber is the highlight in the back part of the sole. Mizuno calls this rubber part “X10”. It supports the heel-striking runner. As a forefoot and middle foot striker I cannot access that piece. However I value the duration of the sole. Tough material is the backbones to the well-lit and bouncy cushion.
Key component –  The flexible midsole shield provides an well-organized arrangement between the heel the middle part of the foot. It adds a secure sensation to every stride. Well needed with such a low-to-the-ground purpose. Running relaxed and gentle the shoe transports a clammy touch. But this is gone once you get yourself into a more lively and speedier state. The Wave Catalyst starts to deliver a dynamic and steadfast sensitivity with an capable structure that keep the motion in check.

All pictures (c) runssel

Other Mizuno reviews:

Mizuno – Wave Kazan 2
Mizuno – Wave Rider 19
Sneak Peak

shoeporn: Hoka One One – Vanquish 2

Hoka is back with its second version of the neutral Vanquish. More cushioning does not mean more weight. So the new form of the Vanquish happens to be even lighter and offers this characteristic and remarkable sensation of sensitivity combined with an incredibly light performance. With a total weight of 276 grams (size 42) this shoe is considered to be a partner for a smooth gallop.
Gossip has it that Hoka is well known to be pretty narrow. Width-wise I never experienced any difficulties. The Vanquish 2 adds to that impression and offers enough space for my ordinary sized feet.
As usual, the framework design is very distinctive. Not a surprise when it comes to Hoka. A robust two-layer foam shell saves the legs with its dense core construction. It benefits the feet to stay in place without being too inflexible. A foam layer close to the foot delivers cushioning. Foam on the outer assists a robust and agile stride.
Frenchman’s Jean-Luc Diard and Nicolas Mermoud formed Hoka One One with the intention to offer more cushioning paired with a wide and firm stand based on light and durable fabrics. When they searched for a name they came by the Maori expression of “flying over the earth” which means Hoka One One.
A robust, well-muffled sole is the key factor to transport firm support in an active and responsive ride.
A Dual-Layer Midsole Construction that fuses rebound EVA in the body with a cushioned EVA on top, offers customary HOKA ONE ONE Ultrasize cushioning with a bit of extra springy ‘zing’ in the stride.
The images display the Vanquish 2 in the “Grey / Orange Flash” colour theme.
Properly there is not a spookier midsole out there then the one you witness here. Hoka uses the midsole to intensify lateral structure to their produces. This works tremendously well with this exemplary. A feature that makes the brand stands out from the competition. As far as I’m concerned there is not a comparable technique around with the competition.
This shoe is considered for road running and the “Full Ground Contact design” bids a secure feel. In the past the Hoka outsoles caused some light issues as the wear and tear was an problem. Not with this one.
Several geometrical details: Offset: 5 mm, Forefoot: 27 mm, Heel: 32 mm
The Vanquish 2 makes for a great long-distance training shoe – bouncy and reactive. A joy for training crushed up jogging limbs.

Other Hoka One One Reviews:
Hoka One One – Speedgoat
Hoka One One – Huaka
Hoka One One – Clifton 2

All pictures (c) runssel

shoeporn: Mizuno – Wave Rider 19

The Wave Rider already is a Mizuno classic. Now issuing its 19th (!) edition this is the up-to-date version of this well-liked neutral kick. Looking back a couple of years, I jogged one of the elder styles of the Wave Rider. I recall the shoe to be a fabulous light training shoe, which I used for marathon tempo runs and normal training runs. Then I picked up this version. I was keen to sense the transformation throughout the years. 
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It is pretty apparent that this is a quality made shoe.  Specifically the upper sock liner is effectively designed, smooth and decently soft. While the underfoot feel is a bit stiff the overall flexibly is great. I ran the shoe on longer workouts and during track sessions. Although the Wave Rider is direct, snug and smooth it still delivers sufficient cushion to guarantee a sensitivity that generates a lot of enjoyment while working out properly.

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A smooth design is significant. The 19th version of the Wave Rider looks great. Mizuno reorganized the upper style with additional resilience and shock attenuation. This increases foot comfort throughout the run.

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Mizuno’s Parallel Wave technology is a widespread characteristic with the Japanese company. It is designed to integrate more firmness into their models. Unlike the rest of the shoe brands, Mizuno uses a grade of foam thickness to generate stability. Basically there is plastic material that runs along the forefoot and the heel for best foot control. The sprightly U4ic midsole together with the corresponding wave technology comforts a bouncy approachable strike and gusted rubber in the forefoot area offers durability and softness.

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Mizuno’s existing Runbird was revealed for the first time at the 1988 Seoul Olympics when Carl Lewis and Florence Griffith Joyner won gold medals wearing Mizuno shoes.

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Nope. The Wave Rider is undeniably not a stability shoe. Although the Wave Plate in the forefoot portion offers some light assistance for the foot, there is not much stability seen anyplace else. The set-up offers a firm, fast ride and a stiff heel counter.

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With the 19th style the Wave Rider appears to have a bit more midsole material then preceding models. Furthermore the upper got an excellent re-design. Although the toe box seems a bit sloppier, it is very accommodating for wider feet.

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A mere of 229 grams is not that much for such a playful and comfortable shoe. I treasured this shoe throughout faster tempo track tests and speed workouts – a boundless all-rounder.

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The so-called “Blown rubber” in the forefoot area surges cushioning and responsiveness. Flex Controllers placed in high flex areas on the outsole act as miniature wave plates for increased flexibility and reduced weight!

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Mizuno calls its outside rubber “X10”. It is located in the heel and is created of robust carbon rubber for boosted traction

All pictures (c) RUNssel

Headphones Review: Philips SHQ3200

Philips is a household name. No introduction needed there. With their “ActionFit” Series they provide a nice set of sports earpieces. I gratefully got my hands on the Philips SHQ3200, an earloop piece out of this series.

While jogging, headphones should be there and don’t cause any troubles. Whilst running or cycling I clearly do not want to fix them over and over and the sound need to be on point. Not much to ask for, really.

Straight to the point so – The SHQ3200 is a pretty suitable compatriot when you out there training. The sound is quality and pretty decent. While it lacks a bit of punch in the bass it still delivers a great clean sound atmosphere. Particularly the midrange sound is where I found the SHQ3200 on top of his game. The sound is convincing and brings solo instruments and voices a clear benefit. If you are searching for a really loud, high volume headphone. This is not the one for you!

Maybe more important then the sound is the fit when it comes to an earpiece that should be a handy training partner. The earloop is alterable and after you get used to the shape it fits precise and secure. You can individually alter the loop-piece, so with a tiny bit of patience you will make this one fit for good. The cable has a perfect length and I found the little clip particularly handy to have a secure fit and no troubles with the cable moving around.

Another feature, which adds to the stability and the confidence, is the water resistance. I never had earphones that were sheltered against water. Looking into my box with old gear there are quite some headphones that lost the war against sweet and rain. Big bonus point there!

With the pleasant and individual look as well as the great processing you will find a good day-to-day partner for your runs. And also the price is pretty decent. The interweb tells me that you get this piece for about 28 EUR. That is pretty fair!

#shoeporn: Ecco Biom Ultra GTX

Since 1963 Karl Toosbuy’s company creates shoes. Somewhere in Denmark he began to craft unique footwear. Still they are the only major shoe company to own and operate their own production and retail facilities. Only in the last couple of years Karl’s business went into the creation of running shoes. However the collection is still fairly little, Toosbuy’s people entered the trail running market just a while ago. Now they further increased their line with a fresh model – The Biom Ultra.

Ecco’s Biom Running shoes have a pretty distinctive look. All their current models do stick out of the competition. The simple and clean style is something that Ecco is easily recognized for. And with the Biom Ultra they keep this pretty straightforward. I receive a test model and I’m instantly stunned by the quality of the shoe. The typical Ecco craftsmanship is obvious. The sewing, the material, the sleeves… all well finished and manufactured. This feels special and finishes the high-class look.

Ecco’s Lead Designer, “Bartie” Bikowski, authoritatively declares: “By pushing the core elements of our BIOM NATURAL MOTION system — flexibility, low-to-the-ground design, anatomical fit and biomechanical support — we have created a one-of-a-kind trail running experience. This is how it should feel to run in nature.” Ecco also states that they designed this shoes “…as our dream trail shoe”. This is unquestionably somewhat to look forward to. So how do Danish people think their fundamental off-road jogging shoe would be like? I’m ready to find out.

I lace them up and head out. As I look at the watch to find out that I’m out the door for 5 minutes it starts to drizzle and eventually it is raining. German winters do pay off but perfect weather for the Biom Ultra I tell to myself. The Gore-Tex-Membrane is one of the key characters of this piece. There is also a cheaper version available that comes without the waterproof material. The first muddy trail is just about to start. Rain has previously slogged the earth the last couple of days and weeks. A clean shoe does not longer exist as I cross around the trees and through the mud and puddles.

The first experience is not really tremendous. This one has enough cushions but a bit too much for my likes. For my style of running it does not really feel dynamic to run with this shoe. Grip is certainly there with the well-constructed sole and brilliant outsole but I cannot get the movement out of these kicks. On one of my favorite downhill parts I do not feel comfortable and lack the feel for the ground.

While the midsole is pretty adaptable it does not help me to support my usual stride. Ecco states that an anatomical fit but my feet do not really fit in. I feel to high up and not comfortable with the ambiance. Not connected enough and therefore not relaxed. It could be the support that the midsole provides that I’m not used to or the weight (330 grams) that would be a bit too much for my likes.

The Biom Ultra is undeniably a well-made shoe for longer distance racing and training. For my likes it misses the energetic feel and the effortlessness that a typical running shoe should offer. The more I run in this shoe the better I feel. As stated above the quality of the shoe is great. The inner sole and the tongue are in a good shape. I continue testing the shoe and get more pleased. Maybe I’m not used to that kind of shoe or maybe it is simply “too much shoe” for my likes.

I never ran in the Racer or Trainer Biom models that Ecco offers, but I guess the more minimal attitude with these shoes can be joined in a more dynamic and minimal trail shoe. While the Gore-Tex outer functioned incredibly well and also the heel part of the Ultra is pretty impressive, the overall feel is something that can be further enhanced. I can see potential in the Ultra. Currently I think it is something between a hiking and a running shoe. Toosbuy and crew know how to make shoes so I guess they will come back with a real dream trail shoe.

#shoeporn: Haglöfs Gram XC

Swedish outdoor enterprise Haglöfs is not really a trademark you would associate with foot gear. Since a couple of years they build some pretty nice alpine and hiking shoes besides their key range of clothing. Recently they paired up with Japanese footwear powerhouse Asics to please the booming trail running market. The distinguishing presence of their main model Gram XC is nothing to oversee. This shoe is red. Just red. Funky.

Appearance is a lot for me when it comes to running shoes. If I don’t like the look of a shoe I would not really use it. Indubitably taste is something that is interpreted in a lot of special ways. For me this shoe looks good. I like the shape of the shoe and the little gimmicks that come with it. It is well build and pleases the eye with its individual monochrome design. Something new in a very special way.

It is raining and storming when I lace up the Gram XC to go out in the forest for a test ride. The first couple of kilometers lead me past the local farm roads and through grass tracks. The shoe feels solid on tarmac. Sometimes trail soles feels awkward running on normal, even ground. This one is a bit unalike. The lightness of the shoe is a main feature according to the product information. Yes, the shoe is light but not any different to comparable models. It feels good and for a shoe with this amount of cushion it certainly is not heavy.

Just when I take a sharp turn into a soaky grass trail I get to feel a nice feature this shoe has to offer. The grip is pretty awesome for a sole of that style. A very sweet foam mixture of the sole and the shape makes it nice to move aggressively in corners and on technical trails. A very responsive feeling is something you really appreciate with this shoe. I continued on some slippy trails through the local forest. Hurdled some trees and cruised along rock sections that generally make a road running shoe scream. Not so the Gram XC. Very straightforward performance by this guy.

I continue to wonder about the flexibility of the Gram XC and certainly feel that this shoe obviously does have a Rock Protection in the AHAR (Asics High Abrasion Resistance) sole, as I land on some sharp gravels. The Asics Gel system nevertheless works nice and for a forefoot runner like me the cushioning is well placed in that shoe. As always I could do with a bit less plastic on the back. After running the shoe for a couple of weeks now I have to say that the sole material looks pretty “run down” at some parts. Something that other shoes in my rack don’t.

As you will see the pictures the Gram XC has some mesh covering the lacking. They say it is a ‘lace pocket’. I could not really fit the laces in there, as it is cut way to short and rigid. I tried it twice but lost the interest in that feature pretty fast. Other then this feature it is a nice protection against rocks and sand. Not so against water and rain. I found the shoe to get soaked pretty fast. Even with light rain and misty trails. The lacing system does come across a bit thin but feels good and holds the feet in a secure position. Also the cut of the shoe in the back gives a nice and secure feeling and all kind of undergrounds.

So did I like this shoe? I certainly did. Despite being a shoe designed for trails and off-road running the Gram XC pleased me on all king of terrains and weather conditions. It is a nice and well build all-day training shoe. For me the highlight is the sole and the way it supports you and keeps you on track. I’m exited to see what Haglöfs has on offer for the next round of trail running models. The start was ok. Lets see what the future holds.

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