Available Spring 2012 this 12 ounce $120 shoe recently took Jennifer Pharr-Davis through her 2200 mile, 46 day Appalachian Trail record. A record for this epic trail for anyone by almost 7 days! Salomon gave me a pair of Synapse to try. A full review will follow but I am already finding the Synapse to be a great road to trail performer. I have run about 40 miles of road, hard pack gravel, and rocky single track in them. Equally adept on rough trails as pavement. While classified by Salomon as a "Run Your Hike" shoe due to a natural stride geometry my quest for the one shoe to take for any run or adventure may be over. Not overly firm on the road as many trail shoes are yet totally stable and responsive on single track. I can see how this became the AT record setter.
Hoka One One Stinson B EVO
I am a big fan of Hoka One One "clown shoes". I have tried the Mafates and the Bondi B. While the Bondi B is lighter than the Mafates I learned at OR that it also has a different rocker sole geometry, with the heel strike point further forward which favors a mid foot striking runner. As I found at Boston when you lose the mid foot I settled back onto my heels as I got tired I sank and leaned backwards. Not good.
The Stinson has the Mafates' midsole geometry with a new softer and more flexible upper and a hybrid sole which is more durable than the Bondi's EVA and has more pronounced lugs, yet not the lugs are not so pronounced s that they are unsuitable for roads. Hoka calls them hybrids and I agree. I am running in a pair of the first generation Stinson B/Combo XT now and finding them, much as the Salomon Synapse equally adept on roads and trails. I will certainly consider the Stinsons for my next marathon.
The Stinson B EVO is a Spring 2012 model which does away with laces by using a cord system similar to Salomon's. has a slightly different upper and will feature the ability for the runner to drill small holes into the midsole to either make the sole more flexible or stiffer through the insertion of small plastic rods. Still under development this concept has real merit. I made my Bondi's a bit more flexible in the forefoot through cutting grooves in the midsole at the forefoot and sure could have used more heel firmness.
|Current Model Stinson B|
|Spring 2012 Stinson EVO|
Not particularly well known for running shoes Technica is in its second season with trail runners based in part on the same technology as Hoka: oversized outsoles, thick light cushioning and rocker rolling technology.
I saw the Spring 2012 Inferno MAX Ms, $140 330 grams which is about the same weight as the Synapse and Stinson. Lighter than the first generation Technica at 11.6 oz . The line also features lighter lower to the ground models all based on Technica's rolling energy transfer technology: "TRS or Technica Rolling System"
|Inferno Max Ms|
Most impressive from Technica was an ultra light hiking/trekking boot based on the same oversize rolling technology, the TRS Max Hiker Mid GTX. This 550 gram/ 19 oz $190 boot/shoe would have been an even better choice than the Salomon XA Pro Mid GTX on our recent Chamonix to Zermatt trek. In 2009 I hiked the Tour du Mont Blanc in Hoka One One Mafates and found the day to day recovery benefits a big plus although upper support and grip a bit lacking on the rockier rougher parts of the trail. The Chamonix to Zermatt trek is considerably rougher with many boulder fields so the high top, oversize outsole and cushion, and Vibram lugged sole of the MAX Hiker would have been ideal.