What I want from a trail shoe is comfort, support, grip, durability, the ability to stay on, and drainage. They should also be as pretty as possible and available in awesome colours. Then they have to not be a millionty pounds.
The Fellraisers are a pretty common OCR shoe, I thought, as I stared habitually at other people’s feet at a Spartan training day. Not wanting to be left out of the Inov8 vs Salomon debate, I have picked a side, and Salomon is my king.
As for comfort, I’ve worn these shoes over a few races now, and for all of my trail-based training. (Look at me saying *all*, like I’m out there every day). The only place I have ever gotten a blister is on the underside of my big toe on one foot, and at the minute I’m not convinced that it’s the shoes – I think it’s the seams on my More Mile socks, but only time will tell. They’re easy to get on and off, aside from the occasions where the lace slider gets a bit clogged with mud and needs a bit of extra attention.
I think this shoe falls down in terms of support when you compare it to its beefier sister, the Speedcross 3. I do have quite weak ankles, and I have noticed that they are sometimes sore after a big run in these. I will have to build them up with some training, but it’s something to think about if you have shoddy pins like mine. I have yet to *go over* on my ankle because of them, but I think that’s because I’m hyper aware that they don’t support the ankles as well as other shoes. That being said, they form a great support to the rest of the foot, and are a good shoe for those who want to feel like they are really wearing trainers. To me, Inov 8 feel weird as they’re almost too light, but I can see why people might think the Salomons are clunky in comparison.
The grip is strong with these ones. I have a lot of faith in these shoes, which is lucky, as I lumber up and down hills in them.
Their durability appears to be more favourable than that of the SC3s (which often split at the side), the Reebok All Terrains (same deal) and of a lot of Inov 8s, says the word on the street. I certainly haven’t noticed any defects in them, and I’ve had them in rivers, streams, the sea, sand, mud, clay, over concrete, tarmac, in the washing machine and on radiators. They have held their shape well and haven’t shrunk.
They stay on fantastically, only really requiring a pull on the laces maybe once per run. The lacing system is incredibly easy, and I’ve not lost a shoe yet. I can imagine it would be a bit of a pain if a lace broke, as they’re quite specialist, but you can buy replacements. The only gripe I have is that the mechanism can get a bit clogged with mud/sand etc, and takes a bit of persuasion at times.
Drainage is probably not the strong point in these shoes. They come with a particularly absorbent insole which takes on a lot of water and makes for the most melodious sponge when you’re running out of puddles. Short of strapping two ducks to your feet, the sound is quite unrivalled, but it doesn’t really bother me. I should imagine that the extra water-weight taken on by the insoles may mean the difference between a PB and a crushing defeat if you’re the UK’s answer to Speedy Gonzales (only not a mouse), but to the likes of me, they’ll do just fine.
You can grab a pair of Fellraisers for around £65-£80 – keep an eye out for discount codes, as they do come around occasionally. Size wise, I went a size up from my normal shoe size and they’re perfect.