Monday, March 11, 2024

VJ Lightspeed Multi Tester Review: 6 Comparisons including new VJ MAXx2

Article by Mike Postaski, Renee Krusemark, Jacob Brady, and Adam Glueck

VJ Lightspeed ($200)


Super light weight: Renee, Mike P, Jacob, Adam

Great energy return: Renee, Mike P, Adam

Secure upper: Renee, Mike P, Jacob, Adam

Excellent traction: Renee, Mike P, Jacob, Adam

Excellent heel hold - slightly better than MAXx2 Mike P, Renee, Jacob, Adam


Sizing is tricky: Renee, Mike P

Thick upper - could be more breathable Mike P, Renee, Jacob, Adam

Laces seem unnecessarily thick Mike P

Unstable rear - need to be “on your toes” Mike P, Renee, Jacob

Plate makes the shoe less versatile Jacob

Slightly too much heel hold, can cause blisters if not careful Adam


Approx. Weight: men's 8.6 oz  / 244g (US9)    women's 7.01 oz / 198g US8

  Samples: men’s  8.8 oz / 250g US9.5 ,  oz / g US

                  women’s 7.01 oz / 198g US8

Stack Height: men’s 29 mm heel / 23 mm forefoot ( 6mm drop spec) 

$200  Available now

First Impressions, Fit and Upper

Mike P: Out of VJ’s two latest releases-the other being the MAXx2 (RTR Review), the Lightspeed is called out as the more “advanced” and in a sense “elite level” shoe. We were actually given this guidance by VJ when introduced to the new models (including MAXx2) for testing. 

Designed for the “high end runner”, the Lightspeed has some characteristic features that make it speedier and more agile, but perhaps requiring a bit more control from the runner in order to keep them reined in. We’ll get into those specifics later in the review.

First point, I have to mention the sizing issue with the Lightspeed, and also in comparison against VJ’s models. I have a perfect true to size US 9.5 fit in the Lightspeed. My test pair of the MAXx2 in comparison - I have a perfect fit in a US 9.0 (I have literally ZERO shoes from any brand in a size 9.0). 

These are two similar shoes, not the same, “siblings” more or less - yet the numeric sizing is way different. Also consider the fact that I wear US 10.5 in previous VJ models - Ultra 1, Ultra 2, Spark, XTRM 2, with the exception of the Ace which I have in a 10.0. Needless to say, I think VJ needs to pick a relative sizing and stick with it. 

With that out of the way - back to the Lightspeed itself. My first impression was that the upper material itself looked noticeably thick. We’re used to so many light, engineered mesh uppers these days - and this is nothing of the sort. It’s somewhat felty/suede on the interior due to an array of underlays, and on the outside, the material seems quite thick. I assume they are going for durability here, but breathability may be a concern.

Despite the thickness of the material itself - it still retains some flexibility, and I find a nice and secure wrap around the foot. The shape of the shoe is a bit narrower compared to the MAXx2, but I find that upper material compliant enough that I don’t notice any extra squeezing. No pressure at the toes. 

The collar around the ankle and heel maintains that inner felty/suede material - which is soft, with no rigid edges rubbing into the ankle/heel. This is good, and better than the VJ Ultra model for example. 

One other difference with the MAXx2 that I’ll point out is the heel cup. I find it more shaped in the Lightspeed - it seems to “cup” around the heel bone a bit better. It feels just a bit more dialed than the MAXx2, where I did notice some slight extra space inside the heel.

Renee: I’ll reiterate Mike’s thoughts about sizing, although I have the opposite issue. I wore a women’s size 8 in the Lightspeed, and running them I think a 7.5 would work best. If between half sizes, the shorter might be best. 

As Mike wrote, the upper material feels a bit thick and therefore somewhat inflexible across the toe box. I had issues with the forefoot material causing irritation on my big toe. I think, with a better fit (smaller size), that irritation would decrease. Otherwise, the security and hold across the midfoot and heel are excellent.

Jacob: I am a frequent user and big fan of VJ shoes since I tested the MAXx one a few years ago. For technical single track, especially New England rugged mountain routes or when it’s wet, the combination of the best traction in the industry and solid foothold leads to high performance. 

I received the Lightspeed at the same time as the MAXx 2 to test. I was more excited for the MAXx as the Lightspeed has a plate (for speed), which I thought would not be ideal for rock hopping and scrambling, thus decreasing performance in the terrain I like VJs for.  However, the modern foam, low weight, and more refined upper design is intriguing—I like the direction VJ is going.

Out of the box, my first impressions were that it’s more elegant in design than any prior VJ. It also felt light and the platform was notably narrow; very narrow at the midfoot and heel. Weighing confirmed the low weight at 271 g / 9.6 oz in my US Men’s 12—lighter than the Spark by eight grams and the third lightest trail shoe I have weighed/tested out of 40.

Fit for me is nearly perfect. It’s the highlight of the Lightspeed. I went my typical size for all brands and models (including previous VJs). It’s secure and performance-oriented being relatively narrow, but there is just enough space for my toes to splay to not feel uncomfortable on the outside little toes. Length is slightly longer than the Ultra and MAXx 1. The midfoot and heel is glove-like with no slipping. The Fitlock band works really well on this model. 

Previous VJs for me for a bit loose around the heel collar—never a performance issue, but does let in debris and it was hard to determine lace tightness and felt sloppy—that is not a factor in the Lightspeed, 

it has a minimally padded collar with medium support and grippy fabric that wraps my foot. I can run fast on technical terrain without being concerned about my foot moving in the shoe but it’s not too tight that it puts pressure on my toes. The fit is ideal for my medium width foot.

The primary upper material is a dense weave fabric that is relatively stiff (good foothold) and feels durable. Breathability is low but that hasn’t been a problem for me testing in the winter and early spring.

Adam:  The Lightspeed  is the first shoe from VJ I’ve tested, and it’s quite a compelling first shoe to test.  The Lightspeed fits squarely into one of my favorite genres of trall shoes, light, fast, and capable trail.  

The first thing I noticed was the precision of the upper.  Although breathable, there’s noticeable overlays, and although the toes have room to move, the suede-like material on the heel and overall upper stiffness locks the foot down 100%.  This is both a pro and a con.  When combined with the weight the shoes are effortlessly precise which is a huge win on technical trails.  On my longest test run, I did have some irritation from the stiffness of the heel counter on my achilles, but adjusting the lacing diminished it, and I had no further issues over 15 miles.  

That being said, over 15 miles is not a place where I personally would enjoy using this shoe, so for the intended purpose, I think the upper is more than adequate.  The shoe feels fast, energetic, and incredibly grippy.

Midsole & Platform

From VJ:

“The midsole material on the Lightspeed and MAXx2 is a nitrogen infused EVA and TPU blend that we call SuperFoamance, commonly called a supercritical foam. The advances are obvious - lighter, more responsive, more comfortable and more propulsive  than traditional  EVA midsole. 

Why we chose the SuperFoamance over PeBA was the fact that the SuperFoamance material is far more durable in terrain. It does not rip as easily and the bonding to the outsole is much better. Tested in lab the rebound of PeBA and our foam is within 1% range, so we could say that the rebound is equal.

For the Lightspeed plate we tested 4 different materials: carbon fiber, nylon and two special polymers. We ended up with one of those special polymers made of renewable castor bean oil. 

For the plate shape we decided to go with Y-shape which provides the stiffness and rebound lengthwise but on the same time makes the shoe stable crosswise. The plate is increasing the rebound and adding running economy which leads to outcome that you can run faster and do for it longer period of time.”

Mike P: The Lightspeed shares the same SuperFoamance midsole foam as in the MAXx2. It has a similar very soft, bouncy, light and energetic feel. 

VJ provided specific midsole specs with the MAXx2 listed at 19/23mm and the Lightspeed at 18/22mm. We measured an effective total stack of 31mm at the heel for the MAXx2, so the Lightspeed is similarly in the range of 30mm under the heel, so mid-range in terms of cushion.

Despite the same foam and almost identical stacks, the two shoes are quite different in feel underfoot. The Lightspeed sits on a much narrower platform - notably under the midfoot. There are also differences in the plate construction. 

We didn’t get an exact diagram of the MAXx 2 plate, but to me it felt more like a thin, flexible, impact-deflection style plate, similar to Salomon’s flex film and said by VJ to be nearly identical to the plate in their Ultra, a higher stack broader platform shoe with a non supercritical foam in the current version. The Lightspeed plate (made of a renewable castor bean oil polymer ) is forked up front, and more propulsion-oriented.

The Lightspeed stack can feel somewhat narrow and tall underfoot - especially when just standing around in them. With the narrow platform and propulsive plate combination - it’s clearly designed to work best when moving (fast). 

One other note - the signature Fitlock strap feels particularly useful in the Lightspeed model - with such a narrow base directly beneath the arch. It noticeably hugs the inside of the foot (in a good way) and seems to really help with stability on landing. 

Surprisingly my Lightspeed actually comes in heavier than the MAXx2 - 8.8 oz in the Lightspeed vs. 8.6 oz in the MAXx2. The difference is negligible on the run, but it’s surprising due to the fact that the shoe is noticeably narrower underfoot and visually slimmer across the upper. Possibly a difference in plate thickness, or just the thicker upper material of the Lightspeed? Speaking of which - the Lightspeed also uses oddly thick laces - kind of reminds me of hockey skate laces. 

Renee: My MAXx2 weighs 22g more than my Lightspeed in the same size, so a different experience than Mike’s. I found the midsole to be top notch in terms of feel:  like a super version of Skechers Hyberburst foam. The plate is speedy, and there’s no doubt the shoe is meant for experienced and fast trail runners. 

The narrow platform under the midfoot plus the super foam can make the landing fast on uneven terrain a bit unstable if the runner isn’t prepared. I never lost stability, but felt like I would whenever I was pushing the pace. 

I understand the market being elite runners. The midsole and plate are what I’d expect from a road plated racer, and that also means some instability if the foot landing isn’t quick and sure. I’m a midpacker on trail, for reference. I tried strides getting down to a 4:30 min/mile pace, and the shoe is fast. That said, the ride felt quite uncontrollable.

Jacob: The Lightspeed uses a new-for-VJ supercritical foam (SuperFoamance, also used in the MAXx 2) and has a stiff forked plate to direct energy. The stack height is medium—there is enough foam for comfortable cushion, but it’s far from a plush high-stack shoe. The foam is solid and light with some bounce, it’s an upgrade in ride on smooth terrain and in lower weight from past models for sure (covered more in Ride section). I think there is stability lost compared to VJs previous classic somewhat dead EVA and the narrow platform.

The Lightspeed plate is very noticeable and is a good implementation for a shoe design for technical terrain. It isn’t as dramatic in propulsive effect or sense of bounding as a road plated shoe. For another comparison, it is more noticeable and obtrusive than the plate in the Hook Tecton X. The plate adds response and snappiness to the soft foam which helps increase cadence and feels good for trying to go fast on smooth terrain. When going slower or on rugged terrain, I wish for no plate (more specifically, I wish for the MAXx midsole with the Lightspeed fit, sizing, and upper).

For me, the most remarkable part of the Lightspeed midsole is the narrowness of the platform at heel through midfoot. It’s really narrow for a trail shoe. It reminds me visually of the Nike Vaporfly 4%. If you’re running fast and on the forefoot, this is not a problem—it saves weight and encourages staying toward the front of the shoe. If running slower or when running with less focus on easy terrain (where I have a midfoot-heel landing), it is unstable. I wish it were wider for sure.

Like Renee (unlike MIke), my sample of the MAXx 2 is significantly heavier than the Lightspeed.

Adam:  This Lightspeed has a remarkably narrow platform for a trail shoe, similar to the Salomon Pulsar.  The tight upper and midfoot strap help stabilize it and the shoe doesn’t feel unstable, and this does help keep the foot positioning precise.  As a result, the shoe is much more comfortable being run on the mid/forefoot, placed set-by-step over technical terrain vs. cruising on smoother trails.  

This is definitely a shoe that loves climbing, technical descents, and leaves me feeling in superb control.  The stiffness of the plate and relatively thin midsole does start to show over longer distances, and this isn’t a shoe I’d wear for a trail marathon. 


Mike P: Not much to add here - you get the same 100% Butyl rubber outsole typical of all VJ models. In comparison to the MAXx2 - lugs are 0.5mm shorter at 3.5mm and they are square shaped as opposed to the chevrons of MAXx2. There are similar minor cutouts under the forefoot, but generally we have full coverage. Perhaps those slits are there to enable a little bit of lateral flex, given the plate and the softness of the midsole.

Traction and grip is excellent in all conditions. I got to test them on dry ground, sand, soft mud, and even some snow. (BTW, I would not recommend them in snow, due to their narrowness - go with the spiked VJ Ace for those conditions (RTR Review).  As usual, nothing to be concerned about in the outsole department, all good, as with all VJ models. 

Renee: I ran on muddy terrain and a bit of snow. I’ll agree with Mike that the shoes might not be the best option for snow, mostly because the snow dulls the plate to where it’s not as effective. The outsole worked great in mud and is the typical great grip you’d expect from VJ. The fit of the shoe itself doesn't feel narrow on foot, but the outsole and platform are clearly narrow. The grip is great but the narrow landing itself might be an issue for stability.

Jacob: The outsole rubber is VJ’s typical butyl rubber and as usual provides 10/10 in traction in all conditions. Compared to many of VJ’s shoes, the Lightspeed has relatively shallow lugs (3.5mm). The outsole rubber is full coverage with slits for flexibility. The shallow lugs help with smoothing the ride on easier terrain and for the running I’ve done in testing with the Lightspeed. I ran on road, smooth trail, and technical, rock and root hopping signal track, including New England spring mud and the outsole has been excellent. It might help a bit, but because VJ rubber is so good, I haven’t felt like I needed deeper lugs. 

Adam: The outsole is a highlight of this shoe, and redefines what grip means to me in a trail shoe.  It’s thin and lightweight, but gripped ferociously in the wettest and muddiest California conditions I tested it in. It’s limited by the lug depth (you won’t get grip in deep mud), but nothing will grip in deep mud and it does seem to clear clumping pretty easily.  I echo Jacob here that the rubber is so good, greater lug depth doesn’t feel necessary.  This is an outsole I wish I could transplant onto other shoes because it’s such a highlight.

Ride, Conclusions and Recommendations

Mike P: I’ve largely focused on comparing the Lightspeed to the MAXx2 throughout the review, as they share so many similar features and characteristics. But they are quite different shoes. The Lightspeed proved to be the quicker shoe in my testing. The plate made the biggest difference, as there’s a slightly firmer feel under the forefoot, and a bit more forward spring.

When I say “firmer” - I do mean in comparison to the MAXx2, as this is not an objectively firm shoe by any means. 

The SuperFoamance foam is probably one of the lightest/softest feeling foams in any trail shoe. This is particularly evident in the lateral heel. It’s extremely soft there, to the point of instability. This shoe really encourages you to be up on your toes, even during descents. Hard mashing of the heel, especially the very rear, can sometimes feel a bit harrowing.

That leads to the stability factor. The shoe is narrow, tall, and bouncy. This combination doesn’t lead to inherent stability. The MAXx2, with its wider base, does a better job there, but even that shoe is still so soft underfoot, that it’s not the most rock-solid stable shoe underfoot either. But you really need to pay attention in uneven terrain with the Lightspeed. That super energetic bounce is great when going full speed ahead, but can be tricky if you place your foot in a wrong, uneven spot.

This is where VJ was absolutely correct in describing this as a shoe designed for the “high level runner”. You need to be agile, forward leaning, and quick on your feet in order to get the most out of the ride while still feeling safe and stable. Given the dialed in, well-wrapping upper, I found them really fun to run in. I’d prefer them in situations when I’m feeling energetic and want to go out for a fast run. Generally speaking, the MAXx2 is the safer option, and without a doubt the more versatile shoe, but the Lightspeed is a blast!

Mike P’s Score:  9.63 / 10

Ride: 10 - Fun, fast, lively, energetic - all the good things

Fit: 9.5 - Super secure, conforming wrap with no hotspots. Nice heel cup

Value: 8.5 - $200 is steep, but there is the less expensive, more versatile MAXx2 option

Style: 9.5 - Love the bright midsole and the crisp white upper

Traction: 10 - VJ’s trademark (copied from MAXx2 review)

Rock Protection: 9.5 - Good and adequate, fits the profile/ride of the shoe (copied from MAXx2 review)

Smiles 😊😊😊😊😊

Renee: Mike P has a great conclusion about the ride of the Lightspeed. The shoe is fast and best for runners who can control the narrow platform. The shoe isn’t uncomfortable underfoot at moderate or easy paces, it’s just that the plate works best for race paces. Otherwise, the MAXx2 is the better option. 

I didn’t lose my footing but I felt unstable when running fast. I’m sort of mediocre, so runners seeking podium finishes at fancy racing events might disagree. If you can run fast from a consistent forefoot takeoff despite uneven terrain, then the shoe will be great. A slightly wider platform would make the shoe fantastic for mid packers. I had issues with irritation on my big toe because of the thick, rather inflexible upper. I’m also probably between half sizes in them so I imagine that’s a me issue and not a problem most runners will encounter. 

Renee’s Score: 9.0/10 (.-40 narrow platform/instability, -.60 thick/unflexing upper)


Jacob: The Lightspeed ride is well-rounded for a shoe intended for fast running. With supercritical foam and stiff plate, it does like to go fast especially with a forefoot strike and quick cadence. However, it isn’t dramatically rebounding or propulsive like a road racer. It’s fine for me at endurance paces as well. With the excellent fit and traction, it always leads to a good run, however, I do not choose it primarily for shorter, faster runs.

The ride is quick and smooth for a trail shoe on the road or hard dirt paths; conditions previous VJ models were no fun. The shallow outsole lugs and softer foam contribute to this.

On technical terrain, especially at easier paces, stability is a concern for me due to the narrow heel and midfoot. It’s a bit tippy and requires focus to run. The lateral heel, as Mike notes, is very soft and thus heel landings are sketchy. It’s not an effortless cruiser. When going faster, I shift toward a forefoot strike like most runners and it feels more stable, especially along with being precise with foot placement.

The Lightspeed is great primarily because of the fit and traction. If the traction or fit were poor, I would never wear it. 

For recommendations, I think it is a good choice for moderate or faster efforts on non-mountainous technical singletrack or mixed terrain that includes some technical and easier trail or road. It ranks even better against competitors if it’s wet. Also, I recommend it for racing non-ultra distances on technical trail. There is a local technical singletrack race series around me with distances of 10 to 20 km and I will race the Lightspeed for all those. I will also use it for weekly tempo to upper endurance door to trail.

Jacob’s Score: 8.8

Ride: 8 (30%) Fit: 9.5 (30%) Value: 8 (10%)  Style: 7.5 (5%) Traction: 10 (15%)  Rock Protection: 9 (10%)


Adam:  The Lightspeed is a shoe I grab when I know I’m going to go for a fast trail run.  They’re not as versatile as a door-to-trail shoe or more cushioned cruiser, but for fast climbs, slippery descents, and anywhere I’m running highly technical terrain for short to medium distances, they’re a joy to run in. 

I tested these running a six peak loop around Mount Diablo (15 miles, ~6000 feet of climbing, and they performed admirably without a single slip.  


I agree with Jacob that the fit and traction are the highlights, and reasons to wear this shoe over others.  When it’s slippery, I’m climbing steep technical terrain, or need the most control and precision for a descent, this is the shoe I’ll grab

Adam’s Score: 8.6 / 10

Ride: 8 (30%) Fit: 9.5 (30%) Value: 8 (10%)  Style: 9  (5%) Traction: 11 (15%)  Rock Protection: 9 (10%)


6 Comparisons

Index to all RTR reviews: HERE  

NNormal Kjerag (RTR Review)

Mike P (9.5): Kjerag also uses a Nitrogen infused supercritical foam but it does feel and is by stack height way thinner underfoot and less bouncy and dynamic. It’s really a minimalist trail shoe compared to most trail shoes. Kjerag is similarly narrow under the midfoot and heel, but wider under the forefoot (and also in the toebox). It’s more stable and controllable, but, as mentioned earlier - thinner underfoot so you’ll need Kilian level feet to use them in overly technical terrain. If you’re ok being lower to the ground, it’s a more versatile shoe. Lightspeed will be faster in a straight-ahead race.

S/Lab Pulsar SG (RTR Review)

Mike P (9.5): I only have the original OG (gray) Pulsar. The Pulsar is amazingly a full 2+ oz lighter, and really feels that way. It’s Matryx upper and quicklaces must be much lighter than the Lightspeed upper/laces. Pulsar OG fit is yet tighter than the Lightspeed, borderline squeezy at the toes, where the Lightspeed is more compliant. Both shoes have similar narrow platforms and are somewhat unstable, relying on the ability of the runner for control. Lightspeed midsole feels bouncier and more dynamic, the sheer low weight and rocker of the Pulsar probably keeps it a faster shoe.

VJ Spark (RTR Review)

Renee: The Spark was a fun shoe for speed work, especially on inclines. The midsole has some softness to it, just enough to be comfortable given the low stack and somewhat aggressive lugs. The Spark is the heavier shoe, by far. For performance, distance, and variable terrain, the Lightspeed is much better. Sizing was much different for me. I wore a women’s 8 in the Spark and the length was just right, although shorter as compared to other brands and with a shallow toebox. My women’s size 8 in the Lightspeed is a tad too long, causing some discomfort over my toe where my feet flex. 

Mike P (10.5): Note the drastic size difference here. Spark does have one of the better, more footshaped toeboxes from VJ, so I could likely get away with a 10.0, but no lower than that. The Spark toebox is wider and more rounded - comfortable due to its shape, while the Lightspeed toebox is narrower but with a better wrap. The Lightspeed feels more dialed in. Spark used an odd rubbery insole which gave a bit too much movement at times (and heavy), while the Lightspeed has just a thin liner, so you really feel locked in to the footbed. The Spark was super flexible, probably having an edge in grip, but is far less dynamic and runnable. It is good for OCR, and some short technical runs, but the Lightspeed is a much better shoe.

Jacob: The Spark is a similar shoe in usage being light and best for faster paces. The Lightspeed is better in most ways due to its better ride and more toe space. The Spark is a bit low stack for my preferences and doesn’t have nearly the energetic, bouncy, soft feel as the Lightspeed. The Spark is harsh on road while the Lightspeed is decent. The Spark is more stable (though still a narrow platform) and the lugs more sharp and deeper. I wear the same size in both but unlike Renee this size is ideal in both. The Spark is shorter with less space around my toes. 

VJ MAXx2 (RTR Review)

Renee: The Lightspeed is a light shoe, and more dynamic in terms of performance and speed (both shoes are lightweight given the great outsoles and midsoles). The midsole geometry is more pronounced in the Lightspeed, even more so because of the plate. For mellow running and stability, the MAXx2 might work better, but I prefer the fun and fast ride of the Lightspeed. Sizing for both was tricky for me as someone who is often between half sizes. For both, if already between half sizes, I suggest the half size down. 

Mike P (9.0): As mentioned in the review - note the weird sizing. It’s the only shoe (road or trail) that I have in a size 9.0. MAXx2 is one of the best all-around trail shoes out right now, and also beats the Lightspeed in overall versatility. It has the same great foam, fun bouncy feel, yet it’s slightly wider and more stable for everyday/fast/moderate runs. Hard to really put a limit on them, whereas the Lightspeed is really just built for going fast. Somehow the MAXx2 is even slightly lighter. If you had to choose 1, I’d recommend the MAXx2, no doubt. But I still really like the Lightspeed, it’s just a different shoe. 

Jacob: They are similar shoes as the foam is the same, rubber the same, and the stack heights very close. The biggest differences for me is sizing and stability. I have the MAXx2 in the same size as the Lightspeed (my typical US 12) but it is unfortunately too large. I need at least a half size down in the MAXx2. I like the 12 in the Lightspeed.

I made several comparisons throughout the review, but as a summary, the MAXx is more versatile and more stable. The Lightspeed is more fun when going fast—it’s easier to run—and has better heel hold, but the narrow heel and slow-speed instability limits its versatility.

Merrell Skyfire 2 Matryx (RTR Review)

Mike P (9.5): These shoes are so similar in terms of platform and even outsole. Very narrow underfoot, tapered under the midfoot with a slim heel, also narrow under the forefoot. The Skyfire 2 has less rubber underfoot, but good solid lugs that offer great traction. The Skyfire is and does feel way thinner underfoot – you really feel like you’re putting full force straight into the ground in that shoe. Probably a top pick for something like a VK event but very firm and thin in other scenarios. The Lightspeed is the opposite - very soft underfoot, and therefore has way less ground feel and is way less stable. Lightspeed offers straight “speed’ while Skyfire 2 offers zero ground interference and hence supreme agility.

Renee: I agree with Mike. The platforms are similar although the Lightspeed has more midsole and is more comfortable for running longer distances. The Lightspeed is faster on mellow terrain, but the Skyfire is more stable with an easier to controllable, more agile landing. I wore the same size in both but had no issues with comfort in the Skyfire as opposed to a lot of discomfort in the Lightspeed over my big toe. 

New Balance SC Trail

Brooks Catamount Agil (RTR Review)

Mike P (9.5): Just wrapped up my testing on this one (review very soon). I find sizing about the same - I’m perfect in a US 9.5 for both. The Agil is quite a bit lighter - 8.0 oz / 227g  vs 8.8 oz / 249g The Agil has less stack, therefore lower to the ground with great ground feel - but not the harshness of the Skyfire 2. It’s probably sits somewhere in the middle of the Skyfire 2 and the Lightspeed. The Brooks DNA Flash 2 foam feels just as responsive, there’s just less of it underfoot, and the Agil also has a wider base, particularly under the midfoot. It’s is therefore the more controllable and a much more stable shoe. I’d say a lot more versatile too. Speedwise, it could be a dead heat - depends if you prefer the soft bounciness of the Lightspeed or the responsive, closer to the ground feel of the Agil. 

Renee: Sizing is similar but I found the toebox wider in the Agil. Both have unflexing upper material over the toebox, but the Agil has a lighter upper as compared to the thick Lightspeed. For distances, the Lightspeed midsole is better, and it can be unstable because of the narrow platform and plate. For ground feel, the Agil wins out. 

Index to all RTR reviews (Many 100's of them!): HERE

The VJ Lightspeed is available from VJ Shoes HERE


Men's & Women's SHOP HERE

Tester Profiles

Mike Postaski currently focuses on long mountainous ultras - anywhere from 50K up to his favorite - 100M. 5'10", 138 lbs, midfoot/forefoot striker - he typically averages 70 mpw (mostly on trails), ramping up to 100+ mpw during race buildups. A recent 2:39 road marathoner, his easy running pace ranges from 7:30 - 9:00/mi. From 2022-23 Mike has won the Standhope 100M, IMTUF 100M, and Scout Mountain 100M trail ultras. He also set a CR of 123.74M at the Pulse Endurance Runs 24H and completed the Boise Trails Challenge on foot in 3 days 13 hours, besting the previous record by 7 hours. Mike's shoe preferences lean towards firmer, dense cushioning, and shoes with narrower profiles. He prefers extra forefoot space, especially for long ultras, and he strongly dislikes pointy toe boxes.

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.

Jacob is a runner and general endurance sports enthusiast. He runs a mix of roads and trails in the Portland, Maine area. He has been running every day for over five years and averaging 50 miles per week. Jacob races on road and trail at a variety of distances from 5k to 50mi. He has a PR of 2:49 in the marathon. In addition to running, he does hiking, biking (mountain/gravel/road), sport climbing, and nordic skiing. He is 28 years old, 6 ft / 182 cm tall and 155 lbs / 70 kg. You can check out Jacob’s recent activities on Strava.

Adam is a cross country skier, runner, cyclist, and fan of outdoor adventures.  He grew up in New Hampshire, where he competed at NCAAs for Dartmouth Skiing, but is now based out of the Bay Area in California, where he enjoys the trails, cuisine, and engineering.  Adam enjoys running and racing track, road, and trail over a variety of distances.  He is 24 years old, 6ft /183 cm tall, and 197 lbs/ 89 kg.  Check out my Strava

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

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Cap:$39                                                             Bucket:$49
Limited Release! SHOP HERE

EUROPE Men's & Women's SHOP HERE

Europe only: use RTR code RTR5ALL for 5% off all products, even sale products 


Men's and Women's SHOP HERE

Men's & Women's SHOP HERE

Men's & Women's  SHOP HERE

Men's & Women's  SHOP HERE

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

Use our code RTR235 for 5% off all products

Men's & Women's  SHOP HERE

Men's & Women's  SHOP HERE

Men's & Women's SHOP HERE


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

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Thanks for reading Road Trail Run! We also welcome comments in French. See our page with links to all shoe and gear reviews HERE. You can also follow RoadTrailRun on Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and Instagram where we publish interesting run related content more frequently as well as links to our latest reviews. Shopping through links on articles help support RoadTrail Run and is much appreciated