Thursday, April 15, 2021

Skechers Performance GO Run Razor TRL Multi Tester Review: Razor Hyperburst Goodness for Trail!

Article by Jeff Valliere, Renee Krusemark, Peter Stuart, John Tribbia, Canice Harte, Jeff Beck, and Sam Winebaum

Skechers Performance GO Run Razor TRL ($140)

Introduction

Sam: The Razor TRL is a fully trails worthy variant of the popular light and fast Razor road shoe with a Goodyear trail outsole and a mono mesh and polyester upper. It has a full stack height of 32mm heel / 28mm forefoot of lively Hyperburst and has no rock plate. Weighing approximately 8.2 oz /232g in a men’s US9 it is extremely light for a trail shoe for this amount of cushion.


I was lucky enough to wear test early versions in 2020. My test runs in them were in Park City on a route with a mix of paved rail trail, road base gravel, hilly bike paths and steep downhill pavement to flat. Of all  the many shoes I tested on that loop in 2020 including many road shoes they were the fastest, clearly indicating their more mellow mixed terrain versatility.  I was eager to test the final version of this fun, light and fast pretty much do anything “trail shoe”.


Peter: My first trail shoe from Skechers. The Razor line has been pretty consistently great with Hyperburst providing a reliably excellent ride. I’ve been doing a bunch more trail running lately so I’ve been doing lots of shoe comparisons. With the combination of a Goodyear outsole and a Hyperburst midsole, this should be a great shoe. 


PROS

Light and fast, plush yet firm responsive cushioning, secure fit, comfort, stability, road to trail versatility Jeff/Sam/Peter/Jeff B

Feels like a slipper and has a very secure fit, bouncy and responsive John/Sam/Peter

Excellent and fast on road Jacob/Peter/Sam

Lightweight ride suitable for short, fast efforts,cushioned enough for long runs Renee

Totally suitable as an all around road trainer as well with less bottoming out of the heel of the regular Razor Sam

Remarkably light given the cushion and trail designation Jacob

Light weight with nice rebound / spring to the midsole Canice



CONS

Outsole sits it somewhere between road and trail. That’s OK but would also like to see a more aggressively lugged version for more rugged terrain. Sam/Jacob/Peter

Heel insecurity on uneven terrain Canice / Jacob

Earlier than expected loss of midsole resiliency/durability Canice/ John

Outsole durability Jeff V/ Jacob

Exposed foam in center of outsole can result in the occasional zinger, wet traction Jeff V

Outsole not the best option for anything but dry, relevantly buffed terrain Renee / Jeff B

Outsole too knobby for roads, less than optimal wet traction because of knobs John

Toe bumper creases/collapses and rubs uncomfortably on my toes Jacob



Tester Profiles

Jeff runs mostly on very steep technical terrain above Boulder often challenging well known local FKT's. 

Renee is a former U. S. Marine journalist, which is when her enjoyment of running and writing started. She isn’t that awesome of a runner, but she tries really hard. Most of her weekly 50-60 miles take place on rural country roads in Nebraska, meaning mud, gravel, dirt, hills, and the occasional field. She has 2020 PR’s of 1:35:44 for the half marathon and 3:26:45 for the marathon

Sam is the Editor and Founder of Road Trail Run. He is 64 with a 2018 3:40 Boston qualifier. Sam has been running for over 48 years and has a 2:28 marathon PR. These days he runs halves in the just sub 1:40 range training 30-40 miles per week mostly at moderate paces on the roads and trails of New Hampshire and Utah. He is 5’9” tall and weighs about 164 lbs.

Peter has been a road dog for years and is just getting out on the trails in a serious way. Sub 3 marathon PR and still keeping Half Marathons under 1:25. Trail runs are successful if he doesn’t fall on his face more than once. 

Canice is a 2 x finisher of the Wasatch 100, the Bear 100, Moab 100, Western States 100, and Leadman as well as many other ultras. He regularly competes in Expedition Length Adventure races with his longest race to date 600 miles as well as in traditional road races and triathlons.

John Tribbia (5' 6", 130lbs) is a former sponsored mountain/trail runner who has run with La Sportiva, Brooks/Fleet Feet, Pearl Izumi, and Salomon. Even though he competes less frequently these days, you can still find John enjoying the daily grind of running on any surface, though his favorite terrain is 30-40% grade climbs. He has won races such as America's Uphill, Imogene Pass Run, and the US Skyrunner Vertical Kilometer Series; and he's held several FKTs on several iconic mountains in Boulder, Colorado and Salt Lake City, Utah. If you follow him on Strava, you'll notice he runs at varying paces between 5 minutes/mile to 12 minutes/mile before the break of dawn almost everyday.

Jeff is the token slow runner of the RTR lineup, and as such his viewpoints on shoe and gear can differ from those who routinely finish marathons in three hours or less. Jeff runs 30 miles per week on roads and trails around Denver, CO (and sometimes on the treadmill when the weather gets too much for a Phoenix native). Jeff only got into running in his 30s, as a result his career PR's are 4:07 for the marathon and 5K at 23:39. Jeff has finished several ultra marathons, from 50K up to 50 miles, and is still debating if he wants to go down that road again.


Stats

Estimated Weight: men's 8.2 oz  / 232g US9)  /  women’s 6.88oz/195g (US8 ) 

  Samples: men’s  9.1oz / 256g (US10.5), 8.04 oz / 228g US8. 8.6oz / 247g US10

women’s 6.88oz/195g (US8) 

Total Stack Height: 28/32, 4mm drop

Available May-June 2021. Available now from Running Warehouse here  $140


First Impressions and Fit

Jeff V:  Less than 2 years ago, we reviewed the Go Run Speed TRL Hyper and I was quite impressed with the light weight, response, agility, relatively good protection and traction for such a light and fast shoe.  The Go Run Razor Trail, while named differently, seems like the continuation of that idea, with the same purpose of going all out fast.  The Razor Trail has even more cushioning at about the same weight, with a more refined and secure upper, basically minimal up top and more maximal down below.  Just trying the Razor Trail on in the kitchen, it is 100% obvious that this shoe is going to be my first choice for PR/race efforts on all but the most rocky, technical terrain.  Fit is true to size and while not overtly narrow per se, the upper is very precise fitting with no extra material or extra room, all business race fit, while remaining very comfortable.

Renee: Hyberburst + Midfoot Strike + Lightweight = Shoe Goodness. Skechers cannot go wrong with the Razor series, and they know it judging by all of the recent Razor spin-offs. The Razor TRL is a great, lightweight shoe with all the awesomeness one would expect from a Razor. I would like a little more “trail” and a little less “Razor” for this rendition of the series, but that is the only negative I have about the shoes. I was hoping for a perfect mix of the Speed TRL Hyper and the Razor+, and the shoe is more Razor than Speed TRL. Nonetheless, the Razor TRL is a winner. From 4-mile runs to 20-mile runs, the Razor TRL is a great shoe at a variety of paces. 

The fit is similar to the Razor+, although the Razor TRL has slightly more room in the length of the toebox. For sizing, I recommend true to size or the same size as the Razor+, with the expectation that the TRL offers slightly more room and length in the toebox. 


Sam: Light, very light for a lugged (if smaller lugs) trail shoe with lots of lively cushion. Fit is true to size, decently secure and comfortable


Peter: Light and agile, fits and runs like a road shoe with a more aggressive outsole. True to size and pretty good looking. 


Canice: I found the shoe to fit true to size and to be very comfortable. The shoes are noticeably light so it’s more of a sports car than a tank which for me is a good thing. I felt nimble and found my foot placement to be precise in the Razor TRL


John: The shoe fits like a slipper and feels extremely light on foot. It felt nimble and gives the runner an ability to precisely step in the narrowest of placements. 


Jeff B: Anytime a new shoe has Hyperburst, they have my attention, and doubly so when there’s talk of a little extra width over the Razor 3. They still have a little ways to go when it comes to making a toebox that I love, but this is the second best Skecher Performance toebox for me (after the recently released GoRun Ride 9 RTR Review).



Upper


Jeff V:  The lightweight, durable mono mesh and polyester upper is very thin, light and streamlined, providing a very secure fit with strategic welded overlays around the midfoot to provide excellent stability and lockdown.  The lacing is very secure and integrates well, providing a very locked in, yet comfortable feel.  While I have only run in temps as warm as the low 80's F, breathability has thus far proven to be very good.  

Jeff: The toe bumper is somewhat thin and flexible, yet protective enough that I never feel exposed.

Jeff: The molded heel counter is sturdy and secure, providing excellent heel hold, protection and stability, with ample padding around the collar without feeling over built.

Jeff: The tongue is not gusseted and quite thin.  


While it takes a little bit of extra work/time, at least for me, to assure myself that it has not folded over or bunched up at all internally, I have not really had any issues, nor have I noticed the tongue sliding, as can occasionally happen with non gusseted tongues.  

While the tongue is also thin and not padded, I do not feel any lace bite or pressure. 

As I mentioned above, the fit is very precise and race oriented, so ideal for very fast running on varied terrain, but those with wide feet or preference for more room for splay and swelling over long runs might want to consider carefully.

Renee: I agree with Jeff, the upper is meant to be precise. For me, it offers more flexibility and stretch in comparison to the Razor+, although the Razor TRL has different overlays across the midfoot and a toe bumper. 

The extra room in the upper is welcomed on buffed surfaces, although for technical single track trails with drastic turns and inclines/declines, I would prefer a tighter fit or different upper material. I wear between a women’s size 7.5 and 8, and with a size 8, I had no issue with the toebox feeling narrow. 


Sam: Everything you need in a fast trail shoe upper and nothing more. I agree with Jeff that it is precise in fit and with Renee that it could be a little tighter or maybe with less stretch. 


Peter: Not much to add here. It’s a good looking and breathable upper that fits and feels like a nimble road shoe. Breathability is good, dries quickly and feels pretty much at one with my foot from the jump. 


Canice: I enjoyed having a breathable upper that was both light and comfortable. Unfortunately I did experience the toe protection biting into the sides of my feet at the flex point near the ball of my foot. I now have a little over 80 miles in the Razor TRL and that feeling is still there. It’s not terrible but I feel it every run.


John: The upper is very conforming and comfortable on skin. I ran sockless and had no trouble spots. The tongue is thin, as mentioned, but bunches up uncomfortably when lacing up. The comfort of the thin upper also draws concern about its durability -- on a run down a local mountain, the shoe grazed a rock in a normal foot swing and hole rubbed through the upper.  


Jeff B: Precise fit is the word of the day, and it’s accurate. I normally like a little more room, but in this case, it makes sense. This isn’t meant to be an all day shoe (at least not for runners like me) and the lack of room to let the foot swell and expand isn’t a problem because you should have the shoe off before then!

Midsole



Jeff V:  The full Hyper Burst midsole is the star of the show in my opinion, providing an unrivaled balance of deep soft cushion, remarkable predictability/control, all day comfort underfoot and snappy response.  

Hyperburst is a supercritical processed EVA foam. The process lightens the midsole and gives it its characteristic spring by creating a matrix of resilient bubbles in the foam.


Gone is the Pebax plate and denser front UltraFlight as was found in the Go Run Speed Trail Hyper, which now greatly softens the ride.  While the Razor Trail performs quite well at slower speeds, this shoe begs to go fast.  Whether pushing an all out effort for an hour, or running an ultra distance event, the Hyper Burst midsole provides plenty of cushion, protection and response for just about anything.  Even running on roads, hard rocky slabby trail or extended downhills, there is plenty of  cushion to absorb the impact and leave the legs feeling relatively fresh.

Renee: The Razor TRL midsole rides just like the Razor+. The Hyperburst and Midfoot Strike work well together for me during a long run (20 miles) and during speed work. The stack height is enough for me to run 20 miles, and given that I ran a 50K in the Razor+, the Razor TRL could be an ultra distance shoe for some runners (depending on the surface). 


Sam: The miracle sauce here is the Hyperburst midsole. Light, lively and springy those CO2 supercritical processed bubbles in the foam deliver a resilient midsole that has plenty of decently soft cushion but also which doesn’t squish out (as say Boost does requiring firmer EVA and plastic pieces)  and make the platform unstable for the very light weigh. The full coverage outsole not only adds to cushion and shock reduction but stabilizes the  midsole. I struggled in the original road Razor with the heel feeling low and bottoming out when tired due to the inadequate rubber coverage. Here no such issues whatsoever even on road. 


Peter: Yep, Hyperburst is dope. The midsole feels great, especially at tempo. It’s snappy and responsive and very fun to run in. It is, however, a bit on the soft side--which is only really noticeable when stepping on a sharp rock. Between the relative softness of the midsole and the lack of a rockplate, this is not the shoe to take on very rocky terrain. There’s a lot of sharp rocks here, and every once in a while I really feel it in the Razor. 


Canice: I found the midsole to have plenty of cushion and a nice spring / rebound. I do feel a difference in the amount of cushion from mile 1 to mile 80 and best guess is they’ll be good for another 40 or so miles. For me this is faster degradation than I typically experience with trail running shoes priced at $140. I expect more life out of a shoe at that price but they do feel good. Hmmm…


John: Canice is spot on. The spring and rebound of the cushion is enjoyable and yields really good energy efficiency on uphills and downhills, but durability is not a strong suit. After 60 miles, the cushion deteriorated and I could feel it in my joints. With an orientation more toward speed and ride, the Razor TRL is a good fast *trail* shoe that is well suited for racing and not necessarily a go-fast in technical terrain because of what Peter articulates above about the softness.


Jeff B: Hyperburst is still in the conversation for best midsole materials, and this is a good, albeit interesting use of it. It really feels like SP has made a racing flat for the dirt, and the firm but energetic midsole works really well in that regard. This isn’t your easy day shoe, or rather, you are likely to be a little underwhelmed if that’s how you are going to use it.



Outsole

Jeff V:  For such a light shoe, the Goodyear outsole with about 3mm lugs is competent, providing good grip on most dry surfaces, but the low profile lugs struggle a bit off trail, on loose surfaces, wet surfaces and are especially slick on ice (while I do not expect any shoe without spikes to really perform on ice, these were more slippy than average).  Like the Speed TRL Hyper, durability is not so great with faster than average wear and is probably my single biggest complaint.  

Outsole coverage is good, but the strip of exposed foam running down the center of the shoe is prone to the occasional zinger if you mis-step on a pointed rock (typically while running downhill fast).  That said, underfoot protection overall is pretty good.

Renee: The outsole provides more traction as compared to the road version of the shoes, and the extra coverage will help prevent a “bottoming out” feel during long runs (something I experienced in the Razor+ when running on crushed rock). The outsole is not as trail-friendly as some other options, and the shoes are probably not the best choice for technical terrain or surfaces when protection underfoot is needed. 


Sam: Clearly the outsole is a compromise between decently adequate grip for non technical trails and weight reduction. The widely spaced small lugs have decent grip but are prone to wear and shearing due to their small surface areas. I can say the outsole plays nicely on road. Yes you will notice the lugs as little independent piston like elements  but as said by Renee and me in the midsole section the full coverage and extra depth helps reduce the bottoming out low feel I sensed in the road Razors.


Peter: The outsole feels and works best on jeep roads and gravel for me. Grip hasn’t been an issue, but pointy rocks and general fatigue have been. Coverage is good and I love that the outsole doesn’t feel like it gets in the way on roads or fire roads. 


The outsole does alright in mud considering the lugs are small and soft; I had mud and gravel stuck on the outsole during one run, but the shoes are so light that it didn’t bother me. Like Jeff wrote, the outsole won’t be the best choice for loose trail terrain, mud, or ice.


Canice: I found the Goodyear outsoles to provide plenty of traction on Utah single track. I ran them in a mix of dirt, snow and mud but mostly on hard packed dry dirt. As mentioned above the exposed strip of midsole foam in the center of the heel allowed sharp rocks to find the bottom of my heels, and a few times I really felt the impact and limped away. Clearly I just need to watch my foot placement, but on technical descending trails that’s not always easy to do. Ouch!


John: The outsole feels secure and stable on a variety of surfaces. On one run, I went up a 30-40% grade on loose dirt, finding the shoe grabbed the surface well and kept me moving forward. I found the “small but many” lug design to be inefficient on hard packed trail and road.


Jeff B: This is probably the weakest element to this shoe, and my colleagues have detailed the several issues very well. I’m not sure where the outsole shines, but on road, dry dirt, wet mud, and snow, I was underwhelmed.


Ride

Jeff V:  The ride of the Razor Trail is smooth, fast, responsive and well cushioned, great for racing, uptempo training or PR efforts.  The moment I put them on, I just feel like running fast and even if I am not planning to run fast, I find myself moving quicker than I expected with a lower perceived effort.  I find that the sweet spot for the Razor Trail is uptempo training or race efforts on most trails, dirt roads and even on pavement, but they do require a bit of finesse on the most technical terrain.

Renee: The ride is lightweight with a good roll forward that encourages a consistent stride without being intrusive. The midfoot strike is best felt when running tempo paces on even surfaces, although I used the shoes on a 20-mile easy run and felt fine (on relatively even dirt and gravel). On single track, the ride was okay given that the shoes are so light, which helps with nimble landings. 


Sam: The ride is fast, fun and light. Yet at the same time it is very well cushioned. Most of my testing was on dry more mellow trails and quite a bit of paved road. If things don’t get too muddy or technical I have yet to experience as versatile, fast, and dynamic a ride in a “trail” shoe on non trail terrain. The ride is yet more versatile for the firm and smooth than the 2019 Speed TRL, my trail shoe of  the year which due to its plate and front denser feeling Ultraflight was clearly more at home on trails


Peter: The ride is fun, springy and nimble--especially on smoother, less technical terrain. It really does run like a Razor with a gnarlier outsole. The ride is most enjoyable when I can turn up the speed and not worry so much about more technical stuff. 


Canice: Jeff captures the ride quite well. The one thing I will add is that I found the heel to roll underfoot on descending technical terrain. What I experienced wasn’t bad, but it was enough to get my attention. 


John: All that is said above summarizes the ride very well. On steep uphills, the bouncy and efficient ride propels the foot forward and, when coupled with the precision described in multiple sections, allows for a high cadence. 


Jeff B: The best kind of firm fun, it’s got plenty of spring and really wants you to run fast. That inclination really makes them ideal on smooth-ish dirt trails, where you can light it up and run as fast as your lungs and legs will let you.


Conclusions and Recommendations

Jeff V:  The Razor Trail is pure speed with its feathery light weight, responsive full Hyper Burst midsole, secure fit and agile, stable ride.  This is a shoe that I would suggest primarily for racing or special efforts where you want a shoe that is pure performance while it is also ideal on more buffed out singletrack, dirt roads and even pavement.  


They also are plenty adept on moderately technical trails and some technical trails with some finesse and awareness of traction limitations.  


The upper is very comfortable and secure and while there is plenty enough cushion for all day ultra distance runs, many may feel a bit constrained by the precise race like fit for an all day effort where you may want more room for splay and foot swell.  


Underfoot protection is overall very good, but the exposed strip of foam underfoot where there is no tread requires a bit of caution when running fast through rocky terrain, especially pointy embedded rocks, but this is a very minor concern.  While the outsole is competent under most dry conditions, I would love to see a bit better wet traction and durability here, which as a result, limits the overall versatility of the shoe and relegates it to a pure race shoe given the rate of tread wear.

Jeff V’s Score:  9/10

Ride: 10

Fit: 9 (fit is great for my foot, but some may find limiting for longer distances)

Value: 8.5 ($140 is a fair price considering the performance that it offers, but better outsole durability would bump this score up greatly).

Style:  8.5 (they look good in my colorway, but don’t necessarily knock my socks off.  The other colors are much less appealing in my opinion, but beauty is in the eye of the beholder).

Traction:  8 (a generous score because traction is good for a shoe this light and fast in dry conditions, but wet traction could be improved).

Rock Protection:  8 (good overall, but prone to zingers in rocky terrain).



Renee: For trail runners who like lightweight shoes, the Razor TRL is a must try. The Razor TRL is not much different from the Razor+ road shoe, adding essentially more traction. The shoes might not be the best option for technical trail running, so I’m not sure most runners need both the Razor+ and the Razor TRL. For technical trails, there might be better options in the lightweight shoe category for serious trail runners, although none will be as light as the Razor TRL. As someone who runs on gravel and dirt country roads, the Razor TRL is a great shoe for me, particularly because I can use it for short and long runs at easy to fast paces. 

Renee’s score: 9.4/10 (-.10 outsole durability vs cost, -.10 longevity of midsole vs. cost, .-40 somewhat limited utility on more technical surfaces)


Sam: Trail racer, mellow trails fast cruiser, excellent road shoe. What is the Razor TRL?  Well it is all of those in a very light for the cushion package at only 8.2 oz/ 232 g for a stout 32/28 stack height.  There are some compromises made in terms of the outsole (design and longevity) and maybe a bit the upper to deliver that versatility and light weight.  I accept them but one should be aware of what they may entail for your terrain, distances and uses. If you can accept them you for sure should consider the Razor TRL as it is comfortable, very light for all it provides, fun and fast.

Sam’s Score : 9.28 /10

Ride: 9.8(30%) Fit: 9.2(30%) Value: 9(10%) Style: 9(5%) Traction: 9(15%) Rock Protection: 8.8 (10%)


Peter: A really fun, fast and light trail shoe that’s best run on smoother and less technical trails. Cushioning and fit are superior and are good for short fast efforts as well as longer ones. I’d highly recommend a pair for fast days, road-to-trail runs and for less technical race efforts. 

Peter’s Score: 9.2/10


Canice: I really enjoyed running in the Razor TRL. I would love a little more rubber under the heel to protect my feet from rocks encountered during heel strike and more midsole durability, but I like how light they are and how fast they feel.

Canice’s Score: 9.3 /10

Ride: 9.7(30%) Fit: 9.5(30%) Value: 8.5(10%) Style: 9.5(5%) Traction: 9(15%) Rock Protection: 8.5(10%)


John:The Razor TRL is very lightweight with a very comfortable upper that provides an enveloping fit. It is bouncy, smooth, and has a consistent ride. This shoe performs well on a variety of surfaces, but struggles in the highly technical when it comes to protection. Notwithstanding my primary worries about durability and protection, if you are someone who enjoys a light and responsive trail shoe that is looking for a fast road-to-trail shoe, the Razor TRL is an excellent go-to option. 

John’s Score:  9/10

Ride: 10 (fun and bouncy!)

Fit: 9 

Value: 8.5 (I don’t anticipate more than 200 miles on these)

Style:  8.5 

Traction:  8 (definitely a good shoe for dry and steep, but not efficient on roads)

Rock Protection: 8 (a softer shoe that has minimal protection)


Jeff B: Crazy light for how much cushioning you get, this shoe wants to be run fast. The outsole may limit it from certain terrains, and as for the rock protection I found it decent, but not great. Luckily, it’s a fast and agile shoe that makes it fairly easy to dodge rocks so the lack of a rock plate isn’t a big miss. Ultimately if you like light and fast trail shoes you should give them a look - they’ll win the Pepsi Challenge more times than not.

Jeff B’s Score: 9.1 out of 10

Ride: 9.5 (30%) Fit: 9.5 (30%) Value: 9 (10%) Style: 10(5%) Traction: 8 (15%) Rock Protection: 8 (10%)



Comparisons

Index to all RTR reviews: HERE


Skechers Speed TRL (RTR Review)

Jeff V:  While I had no issues with fit in the Speed TRL, the Razor TRL has a much more dialed and refined upper.  The full Hyperburst midsole in the Razor and ditching the pebax plate is a huge improvement along with a higher stack, making for a much more smooth, cushioned and comfortable ride without sacrificing performance or stability.  Traction and outsole durability are about the same.


Renee: For me, the Speed TRL feels more trail-ready. I liked the booty-style upper and thought it provided a more precise fit as compared to the Razor TRL. The pebax plate in the Speed TRL helps with stability on uneven surfaces (even if slightly) although at the cost of becoming uncomfortable and hard during long efforts. I wore a men’s size 6.5 in the Speed TRL Hyper and a women’s size 8 in the Razor TRL. I found the sizing very comparable in terms of length and toebox fit.


Sam: The Razor TRL is not quite as propulsive in feel or protective without the plate but is more cushioned, smoother running on firm surfaces  and has a more refined upper



Skechers Razor 3 or + (RTR Review)

Renee: The Razor TRL is basically the Razor+ with a different outsole, a toe bumper, and midfoot overlays. I ran with the Razor+ on gravel and dirt from 3 miles to a 50k, so I appreciate having a Razor that gives more traction and coverage on the outsole. For trail runners looking for a super technical version of the Razor, the Razor TRL is not it. If you like the Razor 3 or Razor+, you will like the Razor TRL. 

Sam: While the Razor + improved on the bottoming out at the heel for me for all uses road and trail I much prefer the Razor TRL as it is more cushioned, less low at the heel feeling and has a more secure upper.


Arc’Teryx Norvan SL (RTR Review)

Jeff V:  The Norvan SL is lighter, but way more minimal and primarily an uphill shoe, as stack height is thin and cushioning firm with little forgiveness, where the Razor TRL is much more cushioned, well protected and better suited to going fast uphill AND down.

John: The Norvan is stiffer with more ground feel, whereas the Razor TRL is lively and yields a more performant ride. Like Jeff says, the Razor excels at fast uphill and down; I find the Norvan to be better for casual paces on rockier terrain.


Saucony Switchback 2 (RTR Review)  

Jeff V:  The Switchback 2 has a much more minimal feel with a lower stack, less protection and a more firm midsole.  Traction is comparable, but the Switchback 2 outsole is more durable.  Of course the Switchback 2 upper features the Boa lacing system which is easy and convenient, but does not provide the precise locked in upper as does the Razor TRL.


Renee: I agree with Jeff V. The Switchback 2 has a lower stack and firm midsole, so the ride is much different than the TRL. The Razor TRL is much more comfortable underfoot for any distance and it’s much lighter. The Switchback 2 has a braided rock plate, so it has more protection and offers a more stable landing on uneven surfaces. The Switchback 2 is a fun shoe for short distances, but between the two, the Razor TRL wins.


Salomon Sense Pro 4 (RTR Review

Sam: If your trails as a rule lean more technical, rocky, with deeper grip and protection required go with the Sense Pro 4 but good luck running them on the road or even smoother hard surfaces trails as they are considerably firmer, 1.1 oz heavier and not nearly as much fun or versatile if more protective and stable in uneven terrain.

John: The Sense Pro 4 is an all mountain shoe with the TRL best left for trails and road. The Sense Pro 4 has a much better outsole, more durable upper, and customizable fit. The Razor TRL rides fast and bouncy, but only on mellow terrain.


Salomon S/Lab Pulsar (RTR Review

Sam: The Pulsar is actually considerably lighter than the Razor TRL, amazingly 2 ounces lighter at 6.2 oz. Its narrow geometry at the heel clearly favors fast paces and a mid foot to forefoot strike. Its midsole is also lively and fun with incredible rebound off the front with more than adequate rock protection and a more distinct climbing focused flex point. On the flip side there is less midsole height and width at the heel which is felt as low (and lower than the TRL)  at anything other than fast paces. The Puslar upper is more secure, more breathable and lighter. While the Pulsar outsole likely will prove somewhat more durable due to its broader contact lugs there is not even as much lug depth  as Razor TRL’s so neither  is ideal in more technical looser terrain.


Quite clearly an elite trail racing machine, Pulsar can also be a very fine shorter distances road racer and is actually as a trail shoe lighter than just about any road racing shoe. Fewer will effectively race (or train) with  Pulsar on trail or for that matter road something one can easily do in the Razor TRL with more overall cushion and a friendlier yet still fast ride at all paces. The Razor TRL ends up a better value  and a more versatile option for me.


John: Like Sam mentions, the Pulsar is *actually* lighter! It is also more energetic and precise, and my pick for race day. I’m a sucker for the Goodyear outsole rubber on the Razor TRL, which is nice for light scrambling and playing around in the rocks and on cruisy smooth trails. The Razor TRL has a broader base, while the Pulsar yields a springy energy return when running on the forefoot. 


Hoka Torrent 2 (RTR Review)

Renee: The Torrent 2 is overall a better option for technical terrain. The upper has less flexibility, which provides a more precise fit for me. On the flip side, the upper of the Torrent 2 is warmer and with less give for long runs and feet swelling. The outsole of the Torrent 2 is more protective and better on technical terrain. Both shoes are lightweight for a trail shoe, although the Razor TRL is much lighter. Choose the Razor TRL for buffed surfaces and more cushion and the Torrent 2 for technical trails. 


Jeff V:  Agreed with Renee, the Torrent 2 is superior for more technical trails and all mountain use, better traction and overall more protective upper.  Having run both shoes very fast through rocky, technical terrain however, at those higher speeds, specifically quick downhills, I find myself dancing a bit more through the rocks in the Torrent than I do in the Razor TRL, as the Torrent does not have as much cushion/protection.


Peter: These are pretty similar shoes, with the Torrent edging out the Razor TRL for me overall. Rocky runs leave me feeling pretty beat up in the Razor TRL, while I feel much fresher at the end of same run in the Torrent 2. The Razor TRL feels a bit more nimble and is more fun on fast, smooth surfaces, but for protection and overall comfort I lean to the Torrent 2


John: Peter and I share the same opinion. The Torrent 2 is my go-to for basically everything, especially for rockier and other technical terrain. I do enjoy the Razor TRL for really fast efforts and that’s where it excels compared to the Torrent 2.


Inov-8 TerraUltra G 270 (RTR Review)

Renee: The TerraUltra G 270 is better suited for technical trails and surfaces. I consider the TU G270 to be lightweight for a trail shoe, but the Razor TRL is much lighter. For technical runs, choose the TU G270; for basically everything else, the Razor TRL works fine. 


Jeff V:  Along the lines of Renee’s assessment, the TUG270 has far superior traction and better suited for technical terrain, but will specify, better for softer technical terrain, as I found the TUG 270 to be a bit thin underfoot for rocky terrain.  While the Razor TRL is not ideal for rocky technical terrain either, cushioning is much better under foot, response is better, the upper holds my foot better and is overall a faster shoe.  Of course the TUG270 is zero drop, so one must consider that vs. the 4mm in the Razor TRL.


Sam: The G270 is a zero drop shoe and while well balanced the drop and lower stack height of 21mm  is clearly felt on firmer terrain or road.  About an ounce heavier the G 270 at about 9.1 oz is certainly light and its midsole has some nice bounce and for sure it has superior traction. For fast hiking in the rocky White Mountains of New Hampshire I would for sure first reach for G 270 due to its traction and superior stable agility. Both play in the light and fast category. If the trails are more technical I will reach for the G270 but if they are smoother or if there is road or hard surfaces in the mix the Razor TRL. 


Peter: What Sam and Jeff and Renee said!


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Tested samples were provided at no charge for review purposes. No other compensation was received by RTR or the authors for this review from Skechers . The opinions herein are entirely the authors'.
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7 comments:

Josiah said...

Lol, what ever happened to the Max Trail 6? https://www.roadtrailrun.com/2019/12/skechers-performance-2020-introductions.html

I was looking forward to that trail shoe, but could never find it, not even from Skechers directly, and then they release this? Does this replace the Max Trail series?

Bruce said...

Hi, great review, I was just wondering how you would compare the GO Run Razor TRL to the Brooks Catamount.

Regards
Bruce

Sam Winebaum said...

Hi Josiah, Yes it was a while ago it was announced. Not sure of status but will inquire.

Hi Bruce, a good comparison and thanks for kind words. I am a bit hazy on the Cat as have not run them in a while but have added this comparison:

Almost identical in total stack height with the same heel height but with a 2mm greater drop and 2mm less at the forefoot the Catamount is 1.3 oz heavier and includes a hardened EVA rockplate which the TRL does not have. Both share a supercritical EVA midsole with the TRL a bit more forgiving likely as much to do with not having the rock plate in the TRL. Traction depth is fairly comparable with the Catamount outsole more durable and technical trails superior due to larger contact more angular lugs. Fit is quite similar for me. Both play well in the faster smoother trails game with the Cat a bit more protective upfront with a climbing flex point and the Razor TRL a bit more agile as well as more road hard smooth terrain friendly.

Jeff Valliere said...

Bruce, I have run in the Catamount recently and confirm all that Sam says above, he nails it. I do think the Catamount, while heavier, has a bit more pop at toe off, but splitting hairs, as both of these shoes are very fast. I think the Catamount might be better for longer days if only for the slightly more roomy toe box, though cushioning is not a plush as the Razor TRL, so there is that trade off.

Bruce said...

Jeff, Sam,

Thanks for the reply and comparison, I put my Catamounts away around September last year as the conditions where I live in the UK meant I needed something with a bit more grip.

Thanks for all the reviews you guys and the RTR Team do, it’s my go to place for new shoe reviews.

Regards
Bruce

Unknown said...

Which be best for daily 10k fields and towpath run with dog usually our for about an hour run time around 45 mins average 7:30-7min/miles 50+now tried catamounts that were ok but didn't feel energy return or pop also tried hoka speedgoats Evo which felt faster but the lugs felt like they dug in to foot on longer club run on harder surfaces so sent them back not sure to try them again or go for something else like these or addidas Terra speeds pro ?

Sam Winebaum said...

Hi Unknown,
Great questions. Either Razor TRL or Ultra Speed would be great choices. Ultra Speed will weigh more but have a superior gripping and durable outsole and a more secure upper. For me its strength is more towards uphills but it is super fine reminding of a Boston on flats and pavement. Razor TRL is a faster flats shoe as Hyperburst really shines on firm ground and pavement as does the outsole there.
Sam, Editor