First Look at Upcoming Trail Shoe Releases

Bryon Powell, host/convenor/kickass-runner of and author of Relentless Forward Progress just posted pictures of upcoming shoe releases from the Outdoor Retailer Gear Show on his Twitter feed – @iRunFar – with promise of a detailed write-up at iRunFar on Monday (Tuesday Sydney time). Anybody not knowing what the Outdoor Retailer show is – it’s basically Christmas, Mardi Gras, and 11 birthdays worth of all the best and worst new stuff that a gear junkie can’t yet buy all rolled into one extravaganza of WANT!!! Just looking through these pictures there is some pretty exciting stuff going on for trail runners here.

Quickly whipping through some of these pictures to pick out personal highlights:

Sick new Hoka tread for 2012 – different pattern of movement built into the outsole, and potentially more aggressive and grippy. Not sure whether the pattern across the midsole is sticky hardwearing rubber or the less durable foam from the road shoe. It looks like the former but I think it’s the latter. It’s called the Stinson B, so potentially a more road-intended version of the Stinson but it looks ideal for mixed surface and roughing it.

Pretty cool looking shoe really, with an upper that looks like it’s using lighter materials and is perhaps also engineered to hold the foot even more snug and secure. Not something that Hoka is deficient in at all, but I guess that calling it the ‘Evo’ suggests they’re not resting on their laurels. The rocker looks more aggressive but hard to tell without handling the shoe – looking forward to Bryon’s reviews this week!

New Balance 110!! This is the follow-up to the widely enjoyed MT101, and the badly marketed, undersized and poorly distributed but clearly superior MTE101 (like an MT101 for people who like not slipping over). Anton Krupicka, dirty awesome overtrained and under-recovered trail legend was intimately involved in the design of this one and has described it as the best trail shoe he has ever worn.

Looks like having a nastyass aggressive outsole too, probably also a very light and responsive shoe. I do think the upper and foot-cradling hold on the NB 101 was one of the better innovations in running shoe design of 2010.. or ’09?

Curious at the positioning of the word ‘support’ further along the lateral component of the upper. Wondering if there are more innovations in this model for us all to play with. Hopefully New Balance have the foresightedness to properly distribute this shoe globally and manufacture it in sizes past a US12.

Brooks are probably on to a marketing winner with their Pure trilogy to be released in the US on October 1. I believe there’ll be a trail, road, and the usual Biggest Loser-targeted standard supportive wider market shoe. But this is a first look at the Pure Grit trail shoe, and I think it looks like kicking ass for a number of reasons.

Firstly, Brooks are better than a lot of other companies at making shoes that just feel good on, and it looks like they have coupled that with some of their recent experiments in lighter materials. Essentially, this might just be a Green Silence for trailrunning. Funny, considering that they will be cancelling production of the very awesome Green Silence after December this year. Apparently it’s too expensive to produce an awesome shoe that’s made entirely from recycled materials and appreciated as totally awesome by a limited number of runners. Yes, that was three uses of the word ‘awesome’.

Secondly – HOT OUTSOLE!!! They’ve taken the slightly split toe outsole design of the Green Silence and ratcheted things up a couple of notches, adding what looks like an aggressive but modified Cascadia-style tread in what we can only hope is a sticky rubber. It may even be a split-toe design that goes through to the shoe’s inner and your running feet. First time I’ve not been put off by that, because with the other design features here and Brooks’ established dedication to running as a sport rather than a statement of tendon-stunting individuality, this might actually work awesomely well.

It also looks like there will be reviews of the unreleased Montrail Bajada and light cross-country Rogue Fly, a new North Face shoe, barefoot-silly orgasms from Vibratram and Merrell (*unimpressed raspberry sound*) and super-ugly doorstopping Altras. Will also be interesting to see how many assumptions I’ve made here are totally wide of the mark, but hopefully there are going to be a few real leaps forward in function and design.

Make sure to check in with iRunFar this week to for hand-on reviews.

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