Writing a shoe review is always hard. It’s tough to get through all the tech talk and tap out something that’s simple and understandable for the average Joe. In all honesty, a lot of the facts, figures and trademarked technology that goes into making a shoe can be a little confusing and often meaningless in the scheme of things. The measures I like to use are very basic: look, comfort and durability. Of course, there are some numbers and nerd speak that’s necessary to make the point, but I’ll do my best to avoid it!
To begin with, these are a very sexy looking trail shoe. The colours they come in are known as Power Orange (Pictured) and Jasper Green. In this case I call it fluro orangey-red. They’re certainly fast and flashy in appearance, which I love! Being the evolution of the popular and award winning Ultra Trail, there’s a lot to live up to, and the Ultra Trail II does it with ease.
The upper is made from a feather-light ripstop material that gives a very comfy and glove-like fit. According to the manufacturer the upper was inspired by cross country spikes, which at first I thought would be too minimal, but that’s certainly not the case. There’s oodles of support and durability that makes you feel confident and comfortable on any terrain. This is largely thanks to the heel, which is very stable.
On the bottom you’ve got the famous tread that provides sensational traction on any surface from dry, rocky stuff to wet grass, muddy trails and even on the road. The midsole and forefoot are stable yet soft, with an 8mm drop that means it’s not too aggressive or ‘flat’ and provides plenty of impact resistance and doesn’t load up your Achilles or calves.
In terms of durability, these puppies will tackle several months of wear on the toughest terrain. I’d suggest anywhere up to a total of 800km running will see them out. So for the average punter you can get 4 to 6 months of joy on the trails from them.
The trial pair were a size 9 and weigh 460g
As seen in Skyrunner ANZ magazine issue 2: