Sunday, August 09, 2015

Outdoor Retailer Summer 15 Previews: adidas Outdoors, Montrail,LaSportiva, Salewa Trail Shoes and a Salomon Road Racer

adidas was featuring the Terrex X-King, if you will a "concept" shoe as they do in the auto business, that has been in development for several years and now is coming to market for 2016. Based on the tread of a popular Continental mountain bike tire, the shoe is essentially that tread laminated to an upper, what adidas calls the "chassis". The midsole/ insole is a one piece EVA insert that it interchangeable for different uses: training, racing, etc...Different midsole materials may be experimented with including potentially Boost. It is not Boost currently.
Terrex X-King

Terrex X-King

Terrex X-King

Terrex X-King

Without the included 6mm insole, the shoe is super flexible. Insole or not this is a shoe for the super agile and for super rough conditions. Available April 2016 in limited distribution. $150, 6mm heel-toe offset, 10.7 oz per

Of more "mundane" interest was a variant to the Terrex Boost (RTR review here, now called the Terrex Skychaser) the Terrex Agravic.
adidas has changed the upper to somewhat lighter materials, removed some of the heavy overlays and widened the shoe slightly to better fit US feet.  A welcome modification as the original Terrex was very snug for many. The Agravic also is 0.5 oz lighter than the Skychaser( 11.4 oz 325 grams)  at 11 oz 312 grams. 6mm drop. $135. GoreTex version $150. Available February 2016.

Terrex Boost upper for comparison to photos of Agravic.
Original Terrex Boost

adidas Terrex Agravic

adidas Terrex Agravic
Montrail, one of the original trail running companies,introduced 2 new shoes: the Cladorado and the Trans Alps. The shoes are themed and designed for the terrain of the Western States 100, the Caldorado and for the Ultra Tour du Mont Blanc,  the Trans Aips. The UTMB is a race Montrail is a key sponsor of starting in 2015.
Montrail Caldorado (top) Trans Alps blue (below)

The Caldorado and Trans Alps both feature Montrail's Fluid Foam and patented Fluid Guide technology which allows for variable density of midsole foam and thus greater, yet seamless feeling mid foot stability as there are no glued in layers, posts, etc... I am a neutral runner and hate all traditional support/stability models. One shouldn't associate Fluid Guide with traditional stability approaches, particularly on trail. It just doesn't feel like a support or stability shoe just a well supported trail shoe and the feeling carries over to the road as well.
Montrail Fluid Guide gray is denser for more stability.

The Caldorado is more shoe than the Fluid Flex ST, a shoe I like a great deal (our RTR reviews here and here) but has many of the same features (Fluid Foam, Fluid Guide, rock shield).  I expect the same stable, smooth ride on all terrain, including some roads, yet with more cushion.  With an all terrain outsole and co-molded foam (i.e. not glued in plate) Forefoot TrailShield (black) the Caldorado is in the same class as Brooks Cascadia. The Caldorado is a shoe I plan to review. 11oz 313g Men's 9.10z 259g Women's. Available Feb 2016.
Montrail Caldorado Outsole

The Trans Alps is the Caldorado's bigger brother with a beefier outsole and extra reinforcements to the upper. A bit too much shoe for me expect... may be an ideal shoe for the rocky White Mountains of New Hampshire! 12.5 oz/355g Men's. 10.9oz/283g Women's.

While we are on the subject of protective all terrain trail shoes LaSportiva introduced the Akasha, a shoe "designed for long runs in challenging terrain with stacks of protection and a roomy fit".
In many ways similar to the LaSportiva Mutant (RTR review here)  it has

  •  a more cushioned 26mm/20mm stack especially in the forefoot, 6mm drop  vs. the Mutant's 24/14 and 10mm drop 
  • somewhat less aggressive less "toothy" lugs 
  • a more conventional upper than the Mutant's great around ski boot type mid foot wrap. 
  • Akaska definitely has a roomier, softer toe box for those who found the Mutant's tight and snug, 
I found the Akasha a touch stiffer to flex upfront due to the additional stack. The Akasha weighs about half an ounce more than the Mutant at 11.35oz/330g Men's, 9.8oz/278g Women largely due to its higher more cushioned midsole. Available Spring 2016.
LaSportiva Akasha (left) Mutant (right)
LaSportiva Akasha (left) Mutant (right)
LaSportiva Mutant (left) Akasha (right) 

LaSportiva Akasha (left) Mutant (right)
LaSportiva also introduced the Helios 2.0 with speed laces and  new heel cup design and uppers.
LaSportiva Helios 2.0

Salwea, a German brand renowned in Europe, but little known in the US for its climbing, mountaineering, hiking and approach shoes surprised with a Michelin shod light and fast trail runner, the Lite Train and a somewhat beefier version (not shown) the Ultra Train. The outsole looked particularly versatile and flexible. The 3F Total System (yellow) coming up to tie midsole to upper and eyelets seemed particularly effective. If I recall they had a very flexible rock plate (carbon fiber?)  just below the Michelin outsole. At 245 grams 8.6 oz they are a contender in the same lightweight agile class as the upcoming New Balance Vazee Summit, S-Lab Sense,  Saucony Peregrine 6, Montrail FluidFlex FKT. Price and availability to follow.

Salomon introduced a revised version of the S-Lab X Series, the S-Lab Sonic ($170, 7.8oz/220g, 24/16), 8mm drop) and lower cost variants of the same basic design, with different upper materials  and Quicklace for the Sonic Pro ($140 8.5 oz/241g, 24/16 8mm drop)  and different upper and laces on the Sonic Aero ($120 8.5oz, 240g 24/16, 8mm drop). The S-Lab Sonic replaces the X-Series' speed laces with conventional laces and the lycra toe top material with mesh. We spoke to Max King who took the Sonic to an Olympic Trials qualifying time at the very hot LA Marathon who told us that the combination of laces and mesh toe provided him with a snugger more dialed in overall fit. There is no overall change in the ride, firm particularly in the forefoot, and stable on pavement and trails.
Salomon S-Lab Sonic
Salomon Sonic Pro

Salomon Sonic Aero

Salomon Sonic Aero

Missing some pricing and availability which I will inquire about and update.

Interested in other shoe brands, packs, illumination introductions at Outdoor Retailer? All our coverage at RoadTrailRun's summary page here


rms said...

some typos and mislabeled photos

Sam Winebaum said...

Rms and Dominick Thank you very much for highlighting the typos. I need new glasses!

BC said...

Thanks for sharing all this! So many things to ask Santa for...

Will the Salomon Sonic Aero and/or Sonic Pro have any more cushioning than the S-Lab version? (I am assuming the S-Lab Sonic is just a S-Lab X-Series with mesh and laces. Maybe I shouldn't be.) My S-Lab X-Series is about my favorite shoe, but I wouldn't complain if they added a touch more cushioning to it (or to another version of it, keeping the S-Lab racy-firm, then).

Any changes to the Sense series?

Sam Winebaum said...

Hi BC,
Sonic Aero and Pro will have same underfoot cushion as X-Series and Sonic from what I understand. Difference is uppers. The S-Lab Sonic has laces and a mesh instead of Lycra like top of toe compared to X Series. I too hope for a Salomon with lighter not overly firm decent cushion. The S-Lab Wings may fit the bill. Will dig in to other Sense changes. Thanks for reading!