Hit The Trails With These 4 Shoes You’ll Love!
NEW BALANCE SUMMIT K.O.M./Q.O.M.
PRICE: R2 500
WEIGHT: 317 grams (M), 257 grams (W)
The Summit K.O.M. (men’s, King of the Mountain) and Q.O.M. (women’s, Queen) are designed to withstand any trail, thanks to their rugged durability. Our testers found the shoe to be resilient over muddy and rocky trails; a RockStop plate inserted between the midsole and outsole minimises pressure and disperses shock. And testers confirmed that the shoe held up well in wet conditions.
The RevLite midsole reduces weight without sacrificing too much cushioning, though some testers wanted a little more underfoot. Others said the Summit K.O.M./Q.O.M. was still comfortable over long periods on the trail.
“I would have preferred a little more cushioning,” said a tester, “but I didn’t find my feet hurting any more or less when using these on some 40km-plus runs.” – A.F.
GET THEM NOW: newbalance.co.za
BROOKS CASCADIA 13
PRICE: R2 399
WEIGHT: 337 grams (M), 301 grams (W)
Trail runners will probably see a lot of themselves in the latest Cascadia – it’s spunky, quick, and at its best when covered in mud. For its 13th iteration, Brooks added more tools to gobble up off-road kilometres. A 3-D printed rubber mud guard now shields the lower foot from rocks and sticks, and a handy gaiter hook at the back of the shoe lets you strap on extra coverage for exceptionally dirty trails.
The Cascadia is also armed with more cushioning than its predecessor, delivering a softer ride for long runs, plus it has added stability for navigating singletrack trails.
Data from our Shoe Lab confirmed the increased support – and highlighted a slight improvement in forefoot flexibility from the previous version, though the shoe is still quite stiff. Our testers found that the shoe’s performance was excellent when running on dirt, grass, gravel and rocky trails, but felt a little unsteady when things got slick. – Morgan Petruny
GET THEM NOW: brooksrunning-sa.co.za
SAUCONY XODUS ISO 3
PRICE: R2 800
WEIGHT: 391 grams (M), 335 grams (W)
The Xodus has been hitting the trails for nearly a decade, and it remains every bit the tank it’s always been, with trail-pounding tread and foot-cradling protection. The third iteration has been refined and gets a brand-new midsole. Saucony’s Everun foam now cushions the entire length of the Xodus – dishing out a surprising amount of energy return and comfort for a shoe this rugged.
Plus, Saucony thinned out the sole a bit for a lower profile that keeps you closer to the trail. Our testers noted no loss of horsepower. The one knock: it’s become rather heavy. The shoe has packed on 85 grams over the last two updates; but our testers say it doesn’t feel that beefy, and they’re willing to trade the weight for the traction and durability it offers. – Morgan Petruny
GET THEM NOW: RUN, Sportsmans Warehouse, The Sweat Shop, Totalsports
ALTRA LONE PEAK 4
PRICE: R2 399
WEIGHT: 289 grams (M), 241 grams (W)
When you need claw-like traction, look no further than the Lone Peak.
A favourite among long-distance hikers because of its no-slip grip and burly build that survives long days on trails, the shoe also delivers for runners moving at a faster pace over gnarly terrain.
Credit the aggressive, angled lugs on the outsole, made from a stickier rubber. Testers found the shoe held firm on both slippery rocks and muddy surfaces.
Boosting its versatility is a rock plate that deflects sharp trail debris, so you can blast over the trails with slightly less worry about what you’re stepping on, and a strapless gaiter attachment that keeps dirt out where it belongs.
Tests at the Runner’s World Shoe Lab show that the shoe’s sole is harder, and wear-testers felt that dip in cushioning.
Some wish the 4.0 was softer like earlier models, while others appreciated the ability to feel more of the trail. – Amanda Furrer
GET THEM NOW: altrafootwearsa.com