My first race experience with these shoes came in form of the Frontier Adventure Challenge, a 12 hour race covering approximately 75 km’s via a combination of canoeing, portaging, trekking and mountain biking. I used these shoes for all sections except the mountain biking.
My first impression of the shoes were that they were very light. I broke them in with a few runs (purely road running) of about 5k and 12k in the weeks ahead of the race. They work very well for road running, albeit perhaps a little stiff along the sole. They provide a decent feel for the road with ample support, but they are not a pure road running shoe. Ideally you may wish for a more supple sole for this purpose, depending on your personal preference.
As far as adventure racing goes, these shoes were great! The stiffer sole provides the support you need when traversing a mixture of mud, rocks, gravel, roots, etc. The aggressive treads provide enough traction for all surfaces, which was great because most of my race was completed in a mixture of sporadic drizzle, rain and even some hail which made everything wet, slimy and slippery. I didn’t suffer any slips or falls when crossing wet logs, stumps, roots, rocks, etc.
The shoe really impressed when it came time to get really wet. A great amount of our trekking was spent crossing bogs, swamps and small streams. The sidewalls of the shoe are very thin, with a strong mesh style fabric covered in spots with strips of translucent supporting plastic. This provided the shoe with a great balance between sidewall strength and drainage. Upon leaving the bogs and such, the shoe drained very quickly leaving no noticeable standing water inside. This increased the rate at which my feet could dry out and become comfortable again. And since our race was on October 6th the bogs were very cold! This was perhaps the most impressive aspect of the shoe. If your adventure is likely to take you places where your feet will get wet, this is a great shoe for you!
The one downside I noticed (as did my teammate with the same shoes) was the laces. This could be due to the fact that the shoes are relatively new, and as such still stretching to fit our feet (this was the first time I had gotten them wet), but the laces needed to be re-tightened a couple of times throughout the race. They would slowly work themselves loose and a noticeable rubbing began on the heel, fixed easily and quickly at the next stop, but still a nuisance. Worst case scenario you simply upgrade your laces to something you’re more comfortable with, but I suspect that once the shoe gets fully broken in this will abate.
Overall I was very impressed with the shoes performance and look forward to using them again in my future races.
For what it’s worth, my teammate with the same shoes was also very impressed with the shoes.