Thursday, October 28, 2021

STR/KE MVMNT Vimana Carbon Runner Multi Tester Review: Can one shoe do it all? Trail Run, Hike, Gym/Crossfit, Travel, Everyday.

Article by Sam Winebaum, Beto Hughes and Jeff Valliere

Vimana Carbon Runner ($180)


Sam: The Vimana Carbon Runner is from STR/KE /MVMNT a Canadian company which says it:  “designs all products on the foundation of Intelligent Minimalism™: Versatility for broad-spectrum performance that meets both the technical and casual expectations of a new generation of movers and athletes.”

The Vimana is designed for a wide range of activities from trail running, to hiking, to gym/Crossfit, to on your feet all day travel and work/lifestyle. A tall list to live up to! Can one shoe do them all and well? Along with Jeff (technical trails) and Beto (trail running, crossfit, and gym) while I took them hiking, trail running, and for long days on my feet at the Boston Marathon reporting for RoadTrailRun. We put them to the test!

The Vimana is a “hybrid” running shoe with an asymmetrically flexing Carbitex carbon plate, low stack (17.5mm heel), 4mm drop, and multi purpose 4mm outsole. Its engineered mesh upper with gusset tongue has an anatomical toe box. 

I have now tested 3 shoes with Carbitex plates. Carbitex carbon composite plates are made up of 3 layers (composite, compression layer, composite) with the flex tunable in different ways. 

The DFX or dynamically flexible plate which in the Speedland SL:PDX trail shoe (RTR Review) and Scott Speed Carbon RC road shoe (RTR Review) stiffens as more force is applied so as to accommodate both faster and slower paces and in our testing has proven it to do exactly that.

The AFX or asymmetrically flexing plate in the Vimana we are testing here flexes as you toe forward and is completely rigid in the other direction (down) unlike the DFX which flexes stiffly up and more softly down. 


Multi Use

Very stable and protective on the trail and in daily use: plate, dense midsole, low stack: Sam/Jeff/Beto

Excellent standing on pavement, hard surfaces & city walking with leg saving characteristics : Sam/Jeff/Beto

Roomy, secure, and comfortable upper: Sam/Jeff/Beto

Agile and snappy on smoother trails thanks to plate and low stack: Sam/Jeff

Understated styling that looks good worn casually - Jeff/Sam

Effective) versatility for all activities from trail run to hike to, to gym to everyday : Sam

$180 but I think should prove a good value for its durability and versatility: Sam

Versatile from road to trai lthanks to the plate and rubber outsole. - Beto

Trail Running

Incredible underfoot rock protection - Jeff/Sam/Beto

Good dry rock traction - Jeff

Quality - Jeff

Gym & Crossfit

Propulsive and stable running ride after tough leg workouts at Crossfit or Gym. - Beto

Very stable shoe for heavy lifting such as Deadlift, Front Squats, Back Squats, Thrusters, Clean and Jerk. -Beto

Excellent functional workouts perfomance:  Box Jumps to Double Unders, Burpees over the box, Lungees, Air Squars, Jump Squats, Suicide runs, fast 400 meters to the mile,

Carbitex plate helped a lot with stability and with response, made lateral movements feel natural and stable with great response when running. -Beto

The traction on different types of indoor mats is great even when the floor is wet. -Beto


Multi Use

On the heavy side at 10.7 oz US 9 for its low stack, most likely due to thick rubber coverage and dense midsole Sam/Jeff/Beto

Don’t come here expecting lots of forgiving deep cushion, especially at the forefoot : Sam/Jeff/Beto

Trail Running

Upper would be perfectly fine on a more normal platform but given the rigidity here doesn’t quite keep up with underfoot at midfoot when pushed hard : Sam/Jeff

Poor wet smooth surfaces grip: trail granite, brick sidewalks, stone pavers, geometry doesn’t have enough contact and rubber is clearly not “tacky”: Sam

Soft ground/loose dirt traction - Jeff

Gym & Crossfit

Heavy as are most of Crossfit shoes for durability- Beto

The insole is thick so thin to medium sock are a must to have a normal snug fit. - Beto

Front toe box has a good fit but needs more volume for the toes to flex up. -Beto

A softer insole will make the shoe more comfortable for more users who seek more comfort in firmer shoes forcross training. -Beto


Weight: men’s  10.7 oz / 304g US9

 Samples: men’s  10.7 oz / 304g US9, 13.5 oz / 385 grams US13,  11.4 oz / 323 grams US10

Total Heel Stack Height (measured): 26mm 

  midsole stack 17.5mm + 4mm outsole + 4mm dense sockliner

4mm drop

Available now from STR/KE MVMNT ($180)

Tester Profiles

Beto Hughes Matamoros, Tamaulipas, Mexico 

31 yrs old, Height: 5’10,, Weight: 195lbs

I started running in 2016 and training to lose weight. I used to weigh 295 lbs and between running and Crossfit began my love for the fitness life and for running. I am now aiming to be a Boston Qualifier.

Weekly mileage: 60 - 75 miles on Road 

Favorite distance: Marathon and Half Marathon also Ultra Marathon.

You can follow me on Instagram @betohughes

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

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 if he is not enjoying too many fine New England IPA.

First Impressions and Fit

Sam: Low slung, serious looking in shades of gray and charcoal, the Vimana says to me I do what I am supposed to do just about anywhere and don’t need to shout about it. The feel on foot is low to the ground and even walking on the floor one can feel the flexible carbon plate giving a spring to the step. 

In hand the shoe flexes decisively up with a clear dynamic flex. It is absolutely rigid in the other direction (down) and even includes the following card in the box

At first I worried that the combination of low stack, firmer foam and plate up front would provide a very firm ride but that proved not to be the case but don’t mistake this shoe for anything maximally cushioned and isolated from surfaces. Not its purpose!

My pair is a half size up from my normal and fits fine. With heavier socks, as I usually wear, I would stay at half size up but for more gym oriented activities and warmer weather true to size should be fine for most too. The thick elastic gusset holds the mid foot snugly in what is a pliable, quite thick and otherwise overlay free engineered mesh upper with only an elongated toe bumper and always welcome diagonal from eyelets to heel counter overlay to lock the heel to the lacing.

The toe box is anatomical in shape and while not super broad or high the slight stretch of the mesh and pliable toe bumper provide a comfortable very secure fit which should accommodate a wide range of foot shapes with the gusset tongue locking things down.

Jeff V: Sam sums up the Vimana very well in his initial impressions and I share many of the same sentiments.  Out of the box, I am struck by the low key, classy, very subtle and understated look.  So understated, that they very easily sat unnoticed on the floor and I had to remind myself that they were there.  

They have a high quality and substantial feel in hand, perhaps a bit dense and a touch on the heavy side, with a low profile design.  Sliding my feet into the Vimana, I was impressed by the comfortable, if firm and stable feel.  

Fit is true to size for me with a thin or medium sock, with an accommodating, but not overly roomy toe box.  My first thought as to how I will use this shoe long term immediately jumps to a competent and functionally classy travel shoe and a shoe for going out to dinner that does not scream “outdoor shoe”, but can double as such to a certain degree.

Beto:My use of the Vimana Carbon is as a Gym and Crossfit oriented shoe that has running capabilities included given the Carbitex plate inside the midsole in a low 4mm drop. The upper and anatomical box holds the foot in place in a snug but comfortable lockdown with the toebox wider than a normal shoe but the toe box height a bit low and I you can feel it if you wear thick socks. I used my normal thin to mid socks with no problem. They felt really nice and secure, 

I received a size M13 US and this is perfect sizing for me as it comes tiny bit short so it felt like a 12.5 (my usual true to size)  with a bit of space up front so with a fit that was great for running and for Crossfit, not too long and not too short. 

The Vimana is a heavy shoe and a bit firm but that’s what you expect from a Gym or Crossfit oriented shoe. The Carbitex plate played an important part in this shoe for some workouts where you really feel the stability and how the plate helps in some movements. More on that in the review.


Jeff V:  The mesh upper is flexible, yet adequately secure for most moderate terrain, though not quite locked down or secure enough to use exclusively on more technical, steep or off camber terrain (though is acceptable for short stretches of tech). 

Breathability of the upper is moderate, where on cold mornings my feet were not too well vented, but on days as warm as 80, my feet felt comfortable.  The tongue is gusseted and reminiscent of Salomon Endofit, with a nice secure lacing system, complete with lace garage on the moderately padded tongue.

The heel counter is thick, yet semi flexible, with ample padding around the collar.  Heel hold is good overall, but the softness of the padding, while comfortable, allows for a slight bit of heel lift/slight movement when running/hiking up steep trails.

The toe bumper is semi flexible, good for moderate stubs and so far I have had no issues with the level of protection.


The upper is a mesh with protective overlays in areas such as the toe and heel to midfoot eyelet chain which helps to secure the lockdown. 

The upper is a bit thick but still is well vented.  During hot and humid days here in Mexcio I had no problems feeling my feet get overly warm. The tongue is gusseted and holds the foot in place helping the lockdown of the laces.

The lockdown is not exactly running oriented and is more oriented aroun a secure fit for ankle flex movements such as squats, box jumps, burpees or those dynamic movements where you need to be secure and free with movement.

The heel counter has enough padding to secure the heel in place so no issues there but I felt something peculiar and that is when you do leg workouts the heel feels a bit free and loose.. Yet, on the run it feels secure enough and in place so overall a very good implementation in that area especially when the workouts involve a lot of movement and the need to go from squats or heavy lifting to running a fast mile.


Sam: The midsole foam is an EVA/EPE blend.  Embedded within is of course the Carbitex plate which is located just above the outsole. 

The midsole foam was spec'd by STR/KE MVMNT to be quite dense and to have a low compression set (for durability over time) and a touch of rebound. For such low stack dense midsole there is for sure some rebound here. No dead firm brick feel but don’t mistake this midsole for a lively superfoam as the purpose is to maintain ground feel and proprioception and thus a more minimalist ride. I felt it delivered exactly that without being punishing.

We have a heel stack height (including outsole and sockliner) of about 26mm (measured): midsole stack at 17.5mm + 4mm outsole + 4mm dense sockliner. The heel to toe drop is 4mm

The Carbitex AFX plate is a star feature of the shoe. It has an asymmetrical flex so it flexes up in motion even walking or running and is totally rigid in the other direction for stability. The sensation in all activities is of a decisive snap on toe off with in the mix lots of front ground feel while total stability is maintained. 

The more you drive into the plate the more decisive its return. Unlike the dynamically flexing DFX plate in the trail Speedland and road Scott Speed Carbon  I find this approach more consistent in its return and more “present” and noticed. Without the plate I think the shoe with no other changes might be too flexible and unstable and for sure also less protective so it would be more like any more minimalist trail shoe from the past. 

How is the AFX plate constructed? It is 3 layer sandwich with 2 layers of carbon composite each of different stiffness characteristics separated by a thin compressive layer. 

The midsole overall is dense and protective with a touch of foam rebound and of course front carbon plate flex impulse.  This make up proved ideal for long days on my feet on hard surfaces such as pavement while spectating and walking at the Boston Marathon so perfect for active travel uses as well. 

It was also an ideal feel for the rocky hiking trails of the White Mountains with plenty of protection and very stable trail feel. 

On the run on trail the cushion feel is clearly more minimal but more than adequate with a slight rebound from the midsole and of course that front snappy carbon plate impulse that was unlike other carbon plated shoes and also never sensed as in the way or requiring lots of force to use (flex vs roll here). For shorter runs the tradeoff of more feel and tons of protection is worth it.

The sockliner is surprisingly rigid, dense and firm given the midsole and plate also being firm. I suppose such a sockliner is appropriate for gym and cross fit but I think the run ride would be improved by a less dense bouncier sockliner such as the TPU beaded ones found in some Inov-8 and Craft. An initial test substituting for one of those indicated a softer feel. 

Jeff V:  Sam’s description above is very good and I again agree with most of it.  While not a plush, super cushioned long distance ultra shoe, for hiking and light jogging in non technical terrain, the Vimana Carbon Runner offers a firm, but not at all abusive ride that compliments the carbon plate, providing a nice, low to the ground feel, reasonable proprioception, but simultaneously having bombproof under foot protection.  

When running in technical terrain, over rocks and roots however, I find the Vimana to be very well protected underfoot, but is too stiff for my liking and I found myself being overly cautious.  Instead of contouring over each pointed rock or root, I find the shoe doing a very obvious “pivot” action that can feel a bit disconcerting to me.  Additionally, when running downhill on hard packed dirt or pavement, I find the firm cushioning to feel a bit harsh and I am left feeling a little beat up.


Gym and Crossfit

The midsole and Carbitex plate are the stars of the shoe, I call this shoe a first of its kind, the midsole as Sam says is a EVA/EPE blend which is a dense midsole which helps with durability and most importantly stability and ground feel for heavy lifting and workouts where you need to really have both feet on the ground to feel stable and secure. 

The Carbitex AFX plate plays an important role in workouts such as box jumps,burpees over the box, squats, dead lifts, and especially on front squats, thrusters and short or mid length in workout runs where speed is important as the time is capped. 

The shoe is rigid and firm but the Carbitex plate feels stable on lateral movements and snappy when running straight. 

This also helps when legs are fatigued to keep good form and a snappy toe off after a heavy leg workout. 

The Carbitex plate feels protective and keeps stability on point and whenyou walk it bends but if you run you get the propulsion of the plate, in combination with the midsole which is dense. They work perfectly together in any direction, as Sam says. Without the plate the shoe could feel less stable and less snappy when running and  less protective when running on trails too as well.

While running you get the propulsion of the Carbitex plate and a snappy toe off with a lot of ground feel and a stable landing from heel to toe on pavement while on light trails the shoe is protective from any rocks or roots.


Sam: The 4mm outsole is what STR/KE MVMNT calls a “Meta Platform Outsole”. It has triangular faceted lugs. I found its grip and comfort excellent on almost all surfaces: hard pack trail, dry rock, light mud. I did find the outsole slippery on smooth wet rock, wet brick, and on the slick tile floor at a Five Guys Burger place where they had no grip at all. 

While relatively firm the rubber is not particularly tacky and the lug top surfaces ,while large, may not provide enough continuous contact surface across the sole on those smooth surfaces and as Jeff found grip and sharp angles when things underfoot are loose.

The outsole is continuous and I think this is in part to protect the plate just above and should provide lots of durability but the design likely adds weight as well. While I think for this particular shoe and its uses the tradeoff is worth it, decreasing its mass with less a sloping faceted design and increasing contact surfaces might be looked at. 

Jeff V:  While I found the Vimana to have acceptable traction on dry rock and slab, I found traction to be inadequate on even moderate angle, graded crushed gravel trails.  Whenever the trail is even slightly loose underfoot, I found my foot inefficiently slipping out and then on descents, I ran very tentative after a few unexpected slip n slides.

It has been exceptionally dry, so have not had an opportunity to test in the wet, or even find a creek crossing to get an idea, so will default to Sam on his experience (I have also not encountered any mud or snow).  Durability thus far seems to be very good.

Performance/Ride for Various Uses

Trail Running

Sam: I took the Vimana on my usual test routes in Stratham, NH. They were agile and fun to run. I did not notice the weight too much but did wish they were lighter but sure noticed the impulse of the plate on both flats and uphills and appreciated the ground feel and stability from the low stack and plate everywhere.  

The ride, particularly at the forefoot, prioritizes ground feel and the plate’s reaction to forces over big cushion. Given the highly protective and stabilizing nature of the plate in the mix and its impulse the ride was fun, energetic and very stable if a bit heavy feeling on the moderate single tracks I ran on . 

This said, and even though the EVA/EPE midsole provides adequate cushion and nice firmer rebound, it is clearly on the more minimal side of things. I only noted a few times where the upper at midfoot couldn’t quite keep up with the rigid platform below, giving a touch more than I would like but never “going over” as the stack is low and stable.

Jeff V:  I had similar impressions as Sam, but only on very easy, well packed trails and at casual to moderate efforts, but when actually running a bit faster, I found them to feel a bit harsh underfoot, particularly on hard packed or paved downhills.  While the plate offers great protection in rocky, rooty, technical terrain, I find the stiffness to be a liability when running, as they do not contour over the terrain (despite having an OK ground feel).  I also do not find them to be particularly lively or responsive, despite the carbon plate.


Sam: I went for a hike in the Vimana at Mount Cardigan in New Hampshire.  The trial included the usual boulders, roots, and some mud down low with extensive moderate slabs up towards the summit. 

Stable, plenty protective and light compared to a boot, the Vimana was really in its element here. Plenty of grip everywhere except a section of wet smooth rock as noted in the outsole section above. Tested extensively in British Columbia for hiking, it really shines as a highly protective and stable option for those who want to hike in a more minimal shoe instead of a boot

Jeff V:  I found the Vimana to be a much better hiker than a runner, but still, on long hikes, I found myself wishing for a bit more soft cushion underfoot and more traction.  Of course the upper is very comfortable for hiking and is well held and protected.

CrossFit & Gym

Beto: The Meta Platform Outsole has triangular lugs that at first I was skeptical they would  feel stable at the gym. Yet, they really surprised me on how stable and how much ground feel you can get from the shoe. 

d nice On gym mats where you tend to sweat a lot especially during Crossfit class the outsole performeand sticky, 

During jumps up to a box made of wood there were no issues.  The rubber gripped to the wood easily and securely. 

On dry pavement no issues it felt stable and grippy but on wet pavement I did feel just a tiny bit of slippage. 

On trails the triangular lugs gave enough traction and protection from rocks or roots, this outsole is more oriented to light and compact trail not those technical trails where you need a real trail shoe outsole. 

On sand, and I ran on the beach to test, I had no issues on loose sand and compact sand so a good choice for those summer beach workouts where you need to use only one shoe for everything.

Travel/Everyday Use

Sam: I wore them for two long days on pavement doing media reporting from the Boston Marathon. While I almost always get sore heels from such long days at trade shows and sometimes long hikes, but almost never running, here the stability and low to the ground ride had me perfectly fine for a change. As a do anything travel shoe and everyday shoe the ride here is outstanding. And combined with the subtle styling it will “fit in everywhere” 

As noted above wet brick and smooth stone pavers were not a place to move at anything other than very cautiously due to the outsole. 

Jeff V:  This is where the Vimana really shines!  I love the subtle, understated, casual look, and the low profile platform that does not draw attention as an athletic shoe can.  The comfort and the ease of stepping in and lacing up is appealing and is handy for a quick trip to the store or going through security at the airport.  

Beto: For daily casual usage such as walking or going to events where you are standing longs periods of time, the shoe feels comfortable just a bit firm, I wore them casually to a local 5 hour event and my feet were comfortable.  An improvement that will make this shoe even better will be a softer insole to help the shoe feel yet more comfortable and enjoyable. 

As a casual shoe the plate is present when walking, giving a nice impulse step by step, and last but not least the color really makes this a good looking casual shoe for almost any outfit from Casual to Athletic.

Conclusions and Recommendations

Beto: I will say the Vimana Carbon Hybrid is one of a kind. It’s a Gym/Crossfit shoe that can be used for running in pavement or trails and is versatile enough to be your only shoe in your bag when you only can have only one instead of lugging 2 or 3 pairs for each activity. 

The Carbitex plate is the magic of this shoe  and really helps with stability, protection and propulsion when doing multiple workouts especially Crossfit or HIIT where running is included in the WOD.  The plate is present in a natural motion which I really like and the outsole has a nice triangular  pattern that in all the tests hasn’t shown any signs of wear which means it should have long durability. 

I also like the idea of a traveling shoe where it can be used to hit the gym and then go out for a tour when during your vacation you only want one shoe to do it all.

The Vimana Carbon reminded me of the Rebook Nano or Nobull shoes in the cross training shoe category but to be honest the Vimana outperforms those shoes; Why? Because it is way more stable and when running you feel the transition more natural and with more propulsion while with the other two the landings are very hard and especially so on the joints.

Beto's Scores: 

Ride: 9 - For running is not soft by any means but still is a better option than other Gym/Trainers out there.

Fit: 9 - Excellent fit andlockdown for both Gym and Running but maybe en extra eyelet for a runner’s knot can be appreciated for other users.

Value: 8.5 - The price tag is high but for a Gym/Crossfit shoe is well worth it, because of how durable it will be and the high quality materials of the Vimana.

Style: 9 - Trainer/Casual good looking shoe, the design and color makes the shoe a good all around shoe from a Trainer to a Casual walking and Travel shoe.

Traction: Gym/Crossfit: 9 - Effective Traction on floor mats and wood floors at the Gym.

Traction: Road: 9 -  Enough traction on asphalt and descent on wet roads at toe off. 

Traction: Trail: 8.5 - Performed well on light trails and compact dirt with enough traction for up hills and down hills, not much on technicals terrains.

Rock Protection: 10 - Very well protected thanks to the thick outsole and Carbitex plate.

Jeff V:  In conclusion, I find the Vimana Carbon Runner to be a very high quality shoe that is very protective underfoot, has a very comfortable and secure upper and looks really nice.  I think they are a great casual shoe with the versatility to hike and run at a limited capacity.  Hiking performance is good, but would not buy them specifically as a hiker.  Running performance is limited and I would definitely not buy them or pick them as a dedicated running shoe.  Moving forward, I’ll limit my use of the Vimana to day to day wear and for travellng.

Jeff V’s Score:  8.2/10

Ride:  8 - Firm underfoot which can feel harsh at times

Fit: 9 - excellent fit and comfort

Value: 7 - $180 is a lot to spend for a casual/hiker, but quality is excellent and they deliver for the advertised purpose

Style: 9 - Subtle and classy good looks

Traction: 6 - I would love to see a model with more effective lugs/tread

Rock Protection: 10 - bombproof, you’ll never feel a poke through these

Sam: The Vimana is what it claims to be, a hybrid shoe that can be used for running, hiking, days on your feet, travel and as Beto attests the gym, although I don’t go there! 

It is extremely hard to pull off a shoe that can “excel” at all of these categories of activities and uses but the Vimana does about as good a job as any shoe I have tested with its particular strengths for hiking and long days on feet. I almost always get a sore heel from long days of standing and walking (never running) and the firm cushion and total plate stability here had me with fresh legs and feet after many hours of media duty at the Boston Marathon recently. A first or near first. 

The Carbitex AFX plate literally puts a pleasant and effective “spring” in your step, be it running or walking, while providing total rock protection and impeccable stability, maybe a bit too much stability for more technical trail running and too little cushion for longer distances but excellent while hiking. 

The dense low stack midsole provides a very adequate if more minimal cushion with a touch of rebound and of course contributes to the ground feel and overall stability. I do wish the shoe had a touch more stack height and/or foam softness for running uses.  The outsole, while effective on most terrain, was very slippery on any smooth wet hard rock and even wet sidewalk bricks. 

At $180 it is up there in price but if you need such a versatile do it all shoe with effective and for sure value added carbon tech and expected excellent durability, I think it is a quite decent value but agreeing with Jeff it is not an ideal dedicated trail runner due to its weight, firmer cushion, and rigid profile at mid foot that overwhelms the upper's hold somewhat while underfoot doesn't have enough give to contour to more technical terrain at faster paces.

I would like to see STR/K MVMNT consider splitting the concept into 2 shoes: the current more gym to hike version and a second somewhat more cushioned and softer version leaning run to hike with a more run/hike oriented outsole and lighter weight. 

I am scoring the shoe as a hybrid for what it claims to be, without the gym category as I did not test. My pure run score would be somewhat lower in the Ride category if I was scoring it uniquely as a trail running shoe with other scores the same. 

Sam’s Score: 9.06 /10 

Ride:9.1(30%) Fit:9.4(30%) Value:8.8(10%) Style:9.3(5%) Traction:8(15%) Rock Protect: 10(10%)


Index to all RTR reviews: HERE

Speedland SL:PDX (RTR Review)

Jeff V:  Both have  Carbitex carbon plates, but are completely different shoes in intent and purpose with the Speeland pure trail runner and Vimana a hybrid.  With the dual Boa dials and nearly custom feeling upper, the Speedland has a better fit, is more secure, more breathable and has a lighter, more flexible feel.  The dynamically flexible carbon plate in the Speedland is much more flexible and effective, but can easily be removed if desired and traction is far superior.  The Vimana would certainly look nicer and make more sense for casual and travel use.

Sam: I am with Jeff on the Speedland being superior for trail running but for everything else the Vimana is more versatile and a far better value at $190 vs. $375 for the Speedland if you have varied potential uses.

Saucony Switchback 2 (RTR Review)

Jeff V:  Both shoes have a low ground feel with good proprioception and I wear both casually and for travel, but the Switchback is lighter and more adept for actual running, though can feel thin underfoot in rough terrain or fast downhills on hard surfaces.  Switchback has far superior traction and the Boa is really nice and convenient.

Sam: Agree with Jeff. Both have lots of ground feel but for me the Vimana is far more protective and substantial. I would never consider taking the Switchback for a rocky White Mountains hike but would the Vimana any day despite its less than ideal wet rock traction. 

The North Face Flight Vectiv (RTR Review)

Jeff V:  Perhaps a stretch and not really a valid comparison aside from the carbon plate.  Vectiv, while firm, has more substance under foot for faster running on hard surfaces and/or downhills and is much more quick and responsive, especially with a rockered outsole, but like the Vimana, can feel overly stiff and tippy in technical terrain.  The Vimana has a superior upper and is a more logical shoe for casual and travel.  Vectiv has much better traction.

The Vimana is available from STR/KE MVMNT HERE

Tested samples were provided at no charge for review purposes others. RoadTrail Run has affiliate partnerships and may earn commission on products purchased through affiliate links. These partnerships do not influence our editorial content

The opinions herein are entirely the authors'.

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  1. Not a comment on the shoes reviewed, but I find racing flat style shoes, e.g. New Balance 1400, to be excellent for Crossfit or similiar types of training. Nice and stable with little squish, low to the ground, and light and responsive for running.


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