The Helios just appeared right on time. As the season got worse and worse, my daily runs got a bit out of control. Snow and frost on the streets and challenging trail situations made up for some dodgy actions while training.
With a fine heel-toe drop of 4mm the Helios could be perceived as the bigger, bulky brother to La Sportiva’s Vertical K trail running shoe. I jogged the Vertical K and treasured the shoe for it’s minimal style and the forceful sole. With the Helios La Sportiva established an additional lightweight (8.1 oz, 231 g) shoe which can be seen as a day-to-day workhorse and light racing shoe for runners who can handle just about the perfect extent of cushioning and nothing more. We are talking about a light and steadfast trail shoe by any means. I found it hard to slow down while cruising the trails with this reliable partner. On muddy trails I found the grips to be utterly astonishing. The inner of the Helios is made up in a sock-like style. Besides a comfortable feeling it helps to pretend from slipping or sliding.
Being a admirer of an minimal approach to shoe design, I have to say that La Sportiva did a fantastic job with the Helios. I used the shoe in rain, snowfall and on dry days, on the road and on the trails. I never was dissatisfied by any means. The comfortable mood stayed with me all the time without loosing the aggressive style and touch for the soil. For me the Helios is a complete training partner and flawless racing shoe for longer trail competitions. Having a wide foot I found this shoe to be a perfect fit. Well done, La Sportiva!
|Prego – 231g of italian trail running funk.|
|HyDrain Mesh on the outside. Feels good.|
|This sole goes by the name of FriXion. I dont know what it means but i know that it works. Pretty well.|
|Grip as you need.|
|Ciao Bella! Another red italian race car?|
|Straight outta Ziano di Fiemme.|
|Trail jogging made easy with the Helios.|
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.
Brooks – Ghost 6
Brooks – PureGrit 2
Brooks – PureDrift
Brooks – Adrenaline ASR 10
Brooks – PureConnect
Brooks – T7 Racer
Ecco – Biom Ultra GTX
Haglöfs – Gram XC
Haglöfs L.I.M Low
Haglöfs – Gram Comp II
Altra – Adam
Adidas – Adizero Adios Boost
Salomon S-LAB Sense Ultra
Skechers – Go Run 2
Skechers – GoRun 4
Dynafit – MS Feline Superlight
Dynafit – Feline SL
La Sportiva – Anakonda
Nike – Streak XC 3
Scarpa – Minima
Mizuno – Wave Catalyst
Mizuno – Wave Rider 19
Mizuno – Wave Kazan 2
Hoka One One – Vanquish 2
Hoka One One – Speedgoat
Hoka One One – Clifton 2
Hoka One One – Huaka
Merrell – All Out Crush Light
Merrell – All Out Charge
Merrell – Bare Access 4
Nike Zoom Terra Kiger 3
2016 Running Shoe Highlights
New Balance – 1600V2 Spikeless
Anton Krupicka Signature Collection Short and Vest + Headband
Jabra Sport Wireless+ Bluetooth Headset
yurbuds Ironman Inspire Pro
Limar Ultralight+ Road
SKINS – A200 Compression Long Tights
Haglöfs – Essens III Hooded Down Jacket
My Tour du Mont Blanc gear
Bellroy – Elements Sleeve
Norrøna – fjørå flex1 Shorts and aero100 Jacket
Norröna – Bitihorn dri1 jacket
New Balance – Ultra Hooded Jacket
Zone3 Evolution SwimRun wetsuit
It is not an easygoing mission to find the accurate shoe for this kind of damp and rainy climate. You never really know what to expect when you go out for a run these days in the middle of Europe. The day-to-day training bounces amongst dull roads, misty forest paths, muddy farm-tracks and your splashed home-grown single trail.
Most of the time I’m just so impatient to go out running that I simply do not want to think about the shoe I’m going to wear. Unquestionably in summer it does not really matter what you wear. The difficulties and undergrounds do not ask for to much during daily exercise. Suddenly in wintertime this changes. Not only to the best.
So when you jog along in the early morning or evenings you need some comrade out there. You need somebody who can do it all. Someone who is an “a jack of all trades”. Just call it an “a jack of all tracks” – the polymath of running. Let’s call it: Adrenaline ASR 10
It is not the first time I run this shoe and it surely wont be the last. In this kind of season he is man. The Adrenaline comes with a humble but efficient and well positioned „MoGo“- cushion that still give you enough sensation for the environment your leaping past. Together with the new outside that features the well-known Gore- Tex Membrane nothing really speaks against this shoe.
With the 10th version Brooks still opted the game for this role-model that set the standard. Merged with this new ADR sole. Well, they created a true polymath for daily running training.