GEAR GUIDE 2008 : RUNNING

01 Feb 08

Gear Guide Home : Trail Shoes : Road Shoes : Apparel and Accessories

Ask the Expert: Bill Potts

Bill Potts has done every major ultrarun in the Blue Ridge, so we trust his opinion. In 2007, he ran six ultras in Vasque shoes, including the AMP, Endorphin, and Velocity, so we thought who better to test the company’s new Velocity VST. Here’s the word, straight from the runner’s mouth:

PROS

“The VST is similar to the AMP. It has a stiff heel, and the dual density mid-sole provides comfort and support when running over rocky and root-covered trails. The shoe has a generous toe box and a wide armored toe strip that provides plenty of toe protection. Vasque shoes are known for quality outsoles and the VST lives up to the Vasque reputation with gnarly lugs that provide superb traction in the mud and snow.”

CONS

“The mesh uppers coupled with the shoe’s low profile provide modest lateral support and limited foot protection when the trails are wet or muddy. The foot bed is thin and provides limited arch support. Runners will want to consider upgrading the foot bed with a quality insert.”

THE VERDICT

“Overall, the VST is a solid trail shoe ideal for use in the spring, summer or early fall. It would be best suited for faster trail runners or road runners who are looking for a lightweight trail shoe that is comparable to a road shoe. I would recommend wearing the VST when trail racing over distances between a 5K and half-marathon.”

——————– TRAIL

INOV-8 ROCLITE 305

There’s a reason that the world’s fastest trail runners are wearing the Inov-8 Roclite. It has enough support and grip enough to withstand the rigors of extreme conditions, but it’s lightweight enough to help runners produce course-record times. It’s not just elite runners gobbling up the Roclite (demand was so great that Inov-8 ran out of stock last fall); novice trail runners also can benefit from the agility and versatility that the Roclite 305 provides. $85. www,inov-8.com

NEW BALANCE MT 908

This spring New Balance launches a new line of burly trail runners.

The MT 908 was a little heavier than others we tested, but the extra weight was overlooked for the smooth, stable ride—the result of the touted NLock support harness and a gritty outsole that hungrily chewed up everything in its path. $100.

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Blue Ridge Outdoors Magazine

Your guide to hiking in the Southeast, biking in the Blue Ridge and Appalachian adventures from the Highlands to the Piedmont.