Fit & Feel


Brands are fine-tuning the design of their footwear uppers to hug the foot, and combining them with midsole and outsole innovations that create a smooth and protected ride on the toughest terrain. Here’s a peek at some new styles ready to blaze the trail.


The big story for Spring 2020 from Tecnica is the introduction of its customizable fit technology into trail running. The Origin trail running shoe features thermoforming upper zones and a fully customizable arch and heel cup for natural support and foot hold. Retailers selling the Origin will have a machine available in-store to mold the shoe to the customer’s foot in 20 minutes.

Hoka One One

The Speedgoat gets an update in its fourth iteration for Spring 2020. Known as an ultra runner’s fave thanks to its cushioned ride and the traction offered by its Vibram Megagrip outsole, the Speedgoat also has multi-directional, grippy lugs that are not too soft. The style is named for Karl Meltzer, aka “The Speedgoat,” who holds the record for the most 100-mile trail race wins.


“The fit and feel of trail running shoes is different than that of road running shoes,” says Travis Hildebrand, endurance commercial manager at Salomon. The brand’s $160 X Alpine Pro is a mountain running shoe with a Carbon Edging Chassis and a climbing zone in the sole for stability and grip while scrambling. The upper is reinforced with a light, durable film  for rugged terrain.


The Dropline GTX is a speed hiking shoe with a stable and precise fit for moving quickly. Its EXA Shell cradles the forefoot and provides abrasion resistance on the upper. The shoe’s 8mm drop and rockered sole ensure a smooth transition from heel to toe. A rubber toe cap prevents painful toe strikes. The Dropline GTX is designed with firm heel hold and a snug midfoot to provide support and stability.


“We know that more runners are trail running than ever before, and we’ve created our Cascadia shoe to speak to seasoned trail veterans as well as first timers,” says Jon Teipen, Brooks senior manager of footwear product line management. The $130 Cascadia 14 focuses on underfoot feel with an updated Pivot Post system and the brand’s BioMoGo DNA midsole material that adapts to a runner’s unique weight and stride.


“Comfort is the absolute most important factor in a trail running shoe or light hiking boot,” says On co-founder Caspar Coppetti. “On’s engineering approach is to bring the fit, lightness and overall comfort of our running shoe to the outdoors.” The Cloudrock Waterproof, $229.99, is designed as a speed hiking shoe, with traction and protection. It is built for pace in tough terrain, with the brand’s Speedboard tech helping it offer stability and forward motion. The Cloudrock also has a Missiongrip rubber overlay for traction on its Cloudtec sole.


The new Arete for Spring 2020 aims to pick up where the Oboz Cirque, designed for fast ascents, left off. Built off the dynamic A3 chasis, the Arete is a lightweight, breathable shoe featuring seamless construction and a mesh upper. Independent TPU stabilizers provide torsional flex and allow for natural articulation while the single density EVA throughout provides cushioning and comfort. Available in men’s and women’s low and mid heights, as well as waterproof options in each design. Shown here is the women’s Arete Mid B-Dry waterproof.


The Roclite 370, $220, features G-Grip technology, which infuses Graphene into the shoe’s outsole, providing durability and sticky traction on wet slippery surfaces. “We have delivered to the market an outsole that is not only ready to take on any conditions but will do it for many, many miles,” says Brendan Murray, inov-8’s U.S. sales and marketing manager. “Runners are always looking for ways they can help improve their performance; the great thing about G-Grip is it helps them do just that.” Made for fast-hiking, the waterproof Roclite 370 has 6mm lugs for tough grip.

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