Monday, January 29, 2024

Vimazi Trail Z2 Multi Tester Review

Article by Renee Krusemark and Sam Winebaum

Vimazi Trail Z2  ($170)


Introduction

Sam: Vimazi is a new road and trail shoe brand focused on “pace based” shoes. Their line includes six road shoes (RTR Reviews soon), two trail and one walking focused model. In addition to varying stack heights, uppers, and outsoles each model’s EVA blend midsole foam's durometer (firmness) is tuned differently with slower pace higher stack shoes tending to be softer.


In this review, Renee and I are taking a look at Vimazi’s heavier duty trail shoe, the Trail Z2. It is designed to be rear stabile and to reduce arch compression and thus pronation. It has a very stout plastic heel clip placed far lower than most, a flat continuous profile through midfoot and a noticeable rear and front rocker. Thus, a solid very stable heel landing, a  stable flat transition and nice roll to toe off. Sounds like the ideal geometry for a walking and fast hiking shoe to me, Is it a trail runner?


Unlike Renee I have not been able to run mine as I have been recovering from a broken knee cap that required surgery and 2 screws but.. I have extensively walked in them. 


Of the many shoes I have walked in (with and without brace) with about 100 miles in December and 140 miles in January it has been one of my favorites due to its impeccable stability, forgiving cushion, and rolling rocker. At a hefty 12.2 oz /346g in my US8.5 /EU 41.3 sample, it is at the upper end of what I would prefer for trail running on all but technical trails but for sure, examining its construction it is a strong candidate as a light hiker and as I found out any surface walking shoe. 


Pros:

Good arch support: Renee/Sam

Excellent heel stability, broad continuous ground contact platform: Sam

Noticed and effective rocker: Sam

Deep energetic cushion: Sam

Smooth fitting supportive true to size upper: Sam

Fine walking and hiking shoe: Sam

Cons:

Weight: Renee/Sam

Geometry underfoot for trail running: Renee

Pace emphasis in marketing is not helpful: Renee/Sam


Please find the testers full run bios at the end of the article after Comparisons.


Stats

Approx. Weight: men's 12.35 oz  / 351g (US9)  /  women's 10.88 oz / 308g US8

  Samples: men’s      12.08 oz / 343g US8.5

                  women’s 10.88 oz / 308g US8

Stack Height: men’s 31 mm heel / 26 mm forefoot ( 5mm drop spec) 

Platform Width: 85 mm heel / 80 mm midfoot / 110 mm forefoot


$170  Available now at Vimazi here


First Impressions, Fit and Upper

Renee: My first impression of the Z2 was that the shoe’s 8-12 minute/mile pace guideline is a bit difficult to understand for trail running because pace is so terrain specific. I was surprised at how comfortable the shoes felt underfoot, especially given their weight, 10.88 oz / 308g in my women’s US8. 


The width and security worked okay for me. The width seems best for average to narrow feet. The toebox is listed as wide, although I consider it average. The toebox tapers some, so if between half sizes, choose the longer size. The tongue is long with just enough padding to be comfortable and not obtrusive.

The heel collar/counter does not sit securely against my foot-the elf heel was a funnel for snow at times). When running slow, the heel security was not an issue, but it is a reason I wouldn’t take it on a technical trail or on single track with numerous switchbacks. 


Sam: I agree with Renee the Z2 is very comfortable underfoot and on the foot. The upper is very secure without being overwhelmingly snug. 


The upper mesh is simple, a single dense thick almost padded and soft softshell like material. It reminds me of the feel on foot of the similar thickness Saucony Run Shield upper on the Xodus Ultra Run Shield. Smooth, soft, consistent in hold and foot conforming 


Clearly the upper adds to shoe’s weight  Breathability and summer comfort  remains to be seen but I can conclusively say this is a superb fall into winter upper.with decent water resistance and a touch of warmth. 

4 dual overlays extend from the  lace eyelets to the midsole. While substantial, they are not broad so the feel/hold is not stiff. While of  he style of many single layer thin modern unpadded leatherette tongues the Z2’s is very well padded. There is no gusset with the tongue and none is needed. The laces are a bi tslippery and smooth but effective although I do wish for laces with more texture.


The entire rear of the shoe upper is molded in one unit with a gradual progression from soft at the rising “elf” achilles collar to moderately rigid further down to totally and utterly rigid at the big plastic clip. The inner padding is quite firm and made up of two side pads. I found the heel hold (and stability from the giant clip) excellent and very comfortable at my walking paces.

The toe bumper progresses from thick but relatively pliable over  the toes to very rigid in its vertical drop. 



While not super high, the over the toes height is just right for me. The toe box is decently broad with the thick softshell like upper material providing plenty of hold.

The fit of my US8.5 is true to my usual size US8.5 and medium to narrow feet.


Midsole & Platform

Renee: Vimazi states the shoe is “designed and engineered for running from road to trail, with an emphasis on steep and rugged.” For me, the shoe works better on smooth and rolling terrain than steep or rugged. For rolling hills, the strong midfoot rocker is helpful, but on uneven or rugged terrain, the rocker is not necessary and interferes with nimbleness. In terms of the midsole being protective, I can see why the shoe is labeled for rocky terrain, but I’m not sure the ride geometry works weill for those conditions. 


Underfoot, the shoe is comfortable. I don’t consider the midsole propulsive in any way, rather the ride is affected more by the rocker itself. According to Vimazi, “The Trail Z2 keeps the outsole area under the arch filled in to provide support during push-off, precisely when you need it most.” To me, this translates to having a midfoot rocker that greatly supports the arch. For runners with arch needs or underfoot pain, the shoe might be a great choice. 

Sam: One immediately notices the most prominent feature of the platform, the very large and low TPU heel clip. Usually we see such clips start at the top of the midsole and often extend farr forward to control pronation and knee motion, in “rails” such as in Brooks GTS and Nike Infinity’s earlier versions, something I can’t stand as they overly restrict forward motion. 


Here the clip extends quite far forward but not as far as most and at the rear almost to the ground overlapping a good part of the height of the midsole. 


This clip clearly is intended to control the heel landing and it does in a decisive way that for me which doesn’t interfere with forward walking motion. Behind the clip we have a prominent outrigger and rocker which made walking pace landings and moves forward very smooth and easy. No over soft mushy landing just a decisive and very stable roll sensation off the heel


The midsole foam is as Renee describes it “comfortable” with a touch of soft bounce contained by the clip at the rear, the stable arch and the substantial outsole. The platform is very stable as a result and suitable for long days at slower running paces on moderate terrain and hiking/walking paces. 

Moving forward from the far rear, the midfoot has a quite flat full contact profile and in combination with a thick sockliner with plenty of support at the ground and at the arch, as advertised.. 

The front of the shoe has a quite abrupt forward rocker which was effective during my walks. There is a bit flex to the front but not much even after my test miles


Outsole

Renee: The outsole has 3 mm lugs with differing shapes and placement that work with the underfoot rocker and roll forward. Smaller lugs are placed under the forefoot, down the centerline, and at the heel.

I don’t consider the placement or lug depth aggressive in terms of soft terrain (mud, snow, or “off trail”), but it does work well on gravel.

Sam: The outsole is designed to complement the rolling mostly rigid rocker profile of the shoe and multi surface purpose of the shoe with a longitudinal arrangement of lugs with long quite large flat lugs and as Renee describes them a more filled in heel and forefoot. Grip has been adequate and durability should be excellent. .  


Ride, Conclusions and Recommendations

T

Renee: The ride of Z2 is strongly controlled by the midfoot landing and roll forward. The arch support is great and the underfoot feel is smooth. All of that works nicely for easy to slow paces on rolling or smooth terrain. 


In terms of use, the Z2 is more of a walking shoe for me than a running shoe. Even for hiking or running/hiking mix, the shoe is a bit heavy for me. It’s not a shoe I can use for faster paces on any terrain. The weight and rocker aren’t great for me on uneven landings. 


Vimazi has the shoe labeled as “awesome” for “speed” because it’s “nimble and light, with an aggressive tread and stable push-off when it's time to get up and go.” The shoe is not light or nimble. For runners who like some ground feel for control and a forefoot landing for speed, the Vimazi works against all of that. 


That said, I think it’s a great option for those who need arch support or who might have underfoot issues (like PF). I found them comfortable for slow miles running in my testing up to 3 hours on rolling gravel. I won’t choose them for uptempo or moderate paces or for single track running. As a running shoe, the shoe does not work for me. As a walking shoe, it has a fairly interesting geometry similar to a recovery slide. I’ll give a few points for that. 

Renee’s Score: 7.5/10 (-1 weight, .5 heel fit, -1 limited usage in terms of pace/terrain) 

😊😊


Sam: The ride (and for me during my test while walking) is distinctive. The impeccably stable heel transitions to the stable midfoot and well supported arch then to a surprisingly effective rocker up front.  Seen as a running shoe, I agree with Renee it is limited. For sure heavy and quite rigid, the Z1 is not what I would select for most trail runs except maybe easy ones with a mix of hiking/walking in the mix.  I also agree that if pace and speed is not your priority, but support is, they are a solid option 


Seen as a durable walking and hiking shoe and I would  also say trekking shoe on moderate terrain, the Z1 is far more in its element. It would have been the ideal shoe for my 2023 Tuscany trek with long days on gravel and paved roads. I very much enjoyed the 25 miles or so I walked on pavement and smoother gravel bike paths in them. The stable landings followed by rockered take off were really pleasing and great for my healing knee. I will score it as both a running shoe and walking /hiking shoe.

As a running shoe:  8/10 (as Renee says heavy and limited to slower paces)

As a walking/hiking shoe 9/10 (his shoe loves to roll along -walking, is very supportive and well cushioned, (deductions for weight and cost)


Comparisons

Index to all RTR reviews: HERE 


Hoka Speedgoat 5 (RTR Review)

Renee: The Speedgoat is a much lighter and more runnable shoe. The rocker of the Speedgoat is less pronounced, allowing for more control on trail. The midsole is firmer and more protective. Generally, just a better shoe. The Vizami might have a more comfortable underfoot feel, but that’s only a positive when using it to walk (not necessarily “hike” unless the hike is basically a walk). I wore a 7.5 in the Speedgoat as compared to an 8 in the Vizami. 


Hoka Bondi (RTR Review)

The Bondi is lighter and has more and softer cushion.  The Vimazi while not as wide in platform is at least as stable. Its rocker is far more effective and it has the bonus of a trail worthy outsole which Bondi, a road shoe does not. For standing all day and mellow running Bondi, for everything else Z2.

The Trail Z2 is available now at Vimazi HERE


Tester Profiles

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 PR’s of 1:30:59 for the half marathon and 3:26:45 for the marathon.


Sam is the Editor and Founder of Road Trail Run. He is 66 with a 2018 3:40 Boston qualifier. 2022 was Sam’s 50th year of running. He has a decades old 2:28 marathon PR. These days he runs halves in the just sub 1:40 range if he gets very very lucky. Sam trains 30-40 miles per week mostly at moderate paces on the roads and trails of New Hampshire and Utah be it on the run, hiking or on nordic skis. He is 5’9” tall and weighs about 164 lbs, if he is not enjoying too many fine New England IPA’s.


Samples were provided at no charge for review purposes. RoadTrail Run has affiliate partnerships and may earn commission on products purchased via shopping links in this article. These partnerships do not influence our editorial content. The opinions herein are entirely the authors'.

Comments and Questions Welcome Below! Please let us know mileage, paces, race distances, and current preferred shoes

RoadTrailRun Official Store Custom Fractel Caps and Bucket Hats
Cap:$39                                                             Bucket:$49
Limited Release! SHOP HERE

RUNNING WAREHOUSE US
Men's & Women's SHOP HERE
FREE 2 Day Shipping EASY No Sweat Returns

REI 
Men's & Women's  SHOP HERE

BACKCOUNTRY
Men's & Women's  SHOP HERE

TOP4RUNNING EUROPE
Men's & Women's SHOP HERE
Use RTR code RTRTOP4 for 5% off all products, even sale products

SPORTSSHOES.COM UK/EU
Use our code RTR235 for 5% off all products

MOOSEJAW
Men's & Women's  SHOP HERE

AMAZON  
Men's & Women's SHOP HERE

WATCH OUR YOUTUBE REVIEWS ON THE ROADTRAILRUN CHANNEL


Find all RoadTrailRun reviews at our index page HERE 
Google "roadtrailrun Shoe Name" and you can be quite sure to find just about any run shoe over the last 10 years

Enjoyed this post? Never miss out on future posts by Following RoadTrailRun News Feed

Please Like and Follow RoadTrailRun
Facebook: RoadTrailRun.com  Instagram: @roadtrailrun

Twitter: @RoadTrailRun You Tube: @RoadTrailRun



No comments: