Shoes for skyraces

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  • #61638

    Happy new year everyone!

    I have a couple of skyraces this year, Snowdon Skyrace 40km 3000m vert and Ben Nevis Ultra 50km 4000m vert.

    I was just wondering what shoes people are wearing for similar events or which shoes have great grip on wet rock.

    In the past, I’ve been running in Salomon’s S/Lab Speeds but they’re discontinued. Sadly La Sportiva’s just don’t fit me!

    I’m tempted to try a pair of VJ’s but don’t know much about them.

    Anyhoo, just thought I’d get a general vibe of what people are wearing

Posted In: Mountain Running

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    Jane Mackay on #61643

    Kevin, have you tried Inov8s? They’re a UK firm. I now have 4 pairs (diff models) and just replaced my original pair of Terraultra G270s with another pair of the same. The grip on all models I have is awesome. One thing to note though is that they are all (I think) low-drop and many models, e.g. the Terraultras, are zero drop, and most or all models have a lot of ground feel. Those are two qualities I look for in a shoe, but if you want heavy cushioning and big drop, Inov8s won’t do.

    As for VJs, I’ve seen them raved about by skyrace runners, with the VJ Maxx mentioned by several people as their favourite all-round, and the grip is supposed to be excellent. I’m planning to try a pair of VJs as my next purchase. VJs again are low-drop and not heavily cushioned.

    Fletcher on #61647

    Hi Jane,

    Thanks for the reply, yes I ran in a pair of inov8s years ago. They’re on the list. There are some X-Talon Ultra’s which sound good – although their 8mm lugs sound slightly aggressive!

    I too go for ground feel but prefer a slight drop. I once ran in a pair of Hoka’s which felt like they zapped all the life out of the run!

    Jane Mackay on #61648

    I too have looked at the X-Talon Ultras!

    A couple of years ago I bought a pair of Dynafits that were marketed as being for ultrarunning but the midsole was so deep compared to what I was used to that I never felt stable in them.

    robsinco on #61650

    Arite Kev!

    Defo with you on the Salomon speeds and speed 2s, they were ideal for skyracing, all sorts of boggy, wet and hilly terrain. Perfect for all Scottish terrain so when a shoe delivers on the nails Scottish terrain you want to keep it. Sucks Salomon haven’t released anymore… The closest I have got to a Salomon recommendation is the Cross Pros but again just not quite as perfect.

    I have a few similar events to you this year coming up, hopefully headin to Trofeo Kima in August when they say it’s on and the rest just waiting on calenders going live. Exciting to get away again ain’t it!? But aye, for these events I am away to get myself a pair of the VJ Irock2 3s. Ran with a mate the other weekend and super scrambly, techy, snowy stuff he said they have been absolutely dynamite – zero issues. All I can report in them when I quizzed him is
    – narrow fit, so suits mountain goat normal to skinny feet
    – bulletproof grip in all conditions
    – drain well when wet
    – he did about 4 UK skyraces last year I think was scafell, pinnacle ridge Xtreme, glencoe skyline and snowdown wearing I rock 3 and I rock 2.

    Don’t know what the lacing system is but I would maybe cross over to a quick lace set up with them once get them as been with Salomon for a few years now and I’m so used to that set up!

    I feel your pain in though as it’s never cheap to just spend £100+ on trainers that may not live up to the hype or your feet shape…

    Fletcher on #61654

    I know right, I bought 3 pairs of those S/Lab Speed 2’s when I heard they weren’t making anymore!

    It’s a real shame, for years I run in nothing but Salomon but I think it’s time to try something new – not sure I even know how to tie a shoelace anymore!

    I was up in the Pentlands at the weekend in a pair of S/Lab Cross’s – they just didn’t bite into the mud as I’d liked and the Speedcross is just too much shoe.

    Inov8 or VJ’s definitely seem like the way to go.

    robsinco on #61660

    Superb man, well stocked up then!!

    Totally agree, not the same and you do slide about a bit… Compromise you do not not want to take especially when on techy terrain and you have to be All or Nothing Commited or else disaster strikes.

    We should both get the VJs and report back for the testing benefit of the others, and if they ever come to the mighty Scotland or the UK for training or racing. Sure they are going to be mint!

    There is a new Salomon Pulsar Speed launching in 2022 which may be possible for skyracing… Not sure on launch I think perhaps Spring. Could be a shout for some as I imagine they will be beefed up sole technology so for rocky descending, quality. I raced the Pulsars in Spain in November on a 75k, major variety in terrain, and had zero issues. Quite a slick shoe but really good grip but only in pretty much dry conditions! Wet and boggy and they are just a disaster!!

    robsinco on #61661

    Also just a thought but the Scott line of shoes are quite common for a few of the local clubs up here beside Aberdeen. Some folk sweat by them for the long days. Personally not tried them, be interesting to hear if anyone else had!

    brianbauer on #61857

    when I race Broken Arrow Skyrace this past fall I brought 2 pairs of shoes: Hoka Speedgoat and Hoka Evo Mufante. a bit of testing the day before the race concluded that the Evo was the better shoe for the conditions. for what its worth, I also wear these 2 shoes in East Coast mountain races that are typically wet, muddy, rocks, roots and all the other nastiness that the Beast Coast is known for.

    rich.b on #61875

    Shoe choice is obviously very terrain specific and then what fits your feet. That said, as someone who has run in the S/lab speed and still does and that running in the Swedish fjäll can be analagous to your fell terrain, I can relate to your question. The Speed are a great shoe for mountainous terrain where muddy, boggy conditions and/or steeper mountain terrain are encountered — although my criticism of particularly Speed 2 is they do not drain well, and I was unlikely to a second pair of those had they continued. The original Inov-8 x-talon 212 were the best, but they changed the last and materials and subsequent versions never fit my feet.

    If not expecting much mud and thus mostly harder ground or rocky conditions, my preference is the Inov-8 Terraultra G270. The grip for me is very good and the shoe takes a beating. I’ve put a lot of km on my first pair. When the Speed 2 wear out (not so much the sole as the material due to wet, boggy running) I am looking at Inov-8 Mudclaw G260 as the next bog shoe. Sadly I have nowhere to try them on. I know VJs can be popular, but the fit haven’t worked for me. Hard to choose with the vast number of shoes out there nowadays.

    jane s on #62153

    I’ve always steered clear of La Sportiva as I couldn’t get my foot into the Bushido, but I have a pair of Jackals now, which I’m loving.
    Sole people have trouble with the heel cup, but I like the control, which I don’t get with Innov8, which are sloppy round the heel cup.

    Mark on #62155


    I would highly recommend the VJ brand of shoes. They’re a Finnish brand and they are excellent for skyrunning. The VJ XTRM is great for medium distance races (up to a marathon) and they have other shoes for longer range. Jon Albon is sponsored by them.

    If you are doing shorter range races (e.g. half marathon or less) then I would recommend the iRock.

    sacha.abecassis on #62707

    Hi Kevin,

    My personal choice would be the Dynafit Feline Up Pro. This things are awesome !

    The outsole is made if vibram megagrip, you can wear them on dry rocks, wet rocks, mud, snow, ice, you name it, they stick to it! They are so light, and so fast it´s impressive. The flexibility and ground feel is not that bad either. They´re one of the favorite shoes of Eric Orton alongside the TerraUltra G270.

    I´m also a huge fan of inov-8, but more for the ground feel than the grip. The grip is really good, but not so versatile. The grip from the terraultra/trail talon is really good on firm ground, but not so good on soft ground. On the opposite, the x-talon serie is awesome on soft ground, but the low surface of outsole in contact with the ground makes it really bad on things like wet roots and rocks. For skyrunning I´d advice the terraultra if you plan on finishing in 4/5+ hours, the trail talon if you plan on finishing in less than 4 hours.

    As for VJ, I´ve never tried them so I can´t say.

    A cheaper pair of trail runner for skyraces would be the Saucony Peregrine serie.

    lfjsa on #63109

    For your type of races, I can thoroughly recommend the Scott Supertrac RC. Been running in them since 2018 and they’re one of my favs. I used them for 2021’s Glen Coe and will probably do so for this year’s. I couldn’t be happier.

    6mm lugs, 5mm drop, and they’re so much fun to run in. You do feel the ground, they’re ever stable, and yet they add a spring to your step. Incredibly versatile, but I they truly come alive in wet and rocky conditions. A nice thought is the rubbery insole that holds your foot well in place. Nice for races, but I train with custom insoles.

    As or its downsides, the rubber is not quite as grippy on wet rock as Vibram Megagrip, but it comes close enough and beats Salomons Contra Grip. For dry and very technical rocky terrain I prefer more direct and shoes with a smaller tread like Scarpa’s Spin 2.0. I also found that the upper of the Supertracs (both v1 and v2) require a little longer to break in than its competitors. I’d give it 2-3 10-15km runs.

    Enjoy your races, you’ll have a blast!

    robsinco on #64771

    So much good shoe chat here! Just bagged myself my first pair of Salomon Pulsar Soft Grounds so going to well and truly batter them in the hills and see how they live up to the test! If anything like the normal pulsars then after several rough runs they will break into tiny pieces…. since when did Salomon shoes become scared of heavy duty terrain!??!

    Did you get a shoe in the end Kev?

    Fletcher on #64801

    Yes, I know exactly what you’re saying about the Pulsars. I have the SGs too – out the box they’re great but the mid sole compresses so quickly! For technical ground there isn’t enough structure for my liking, I feel that shoe is better for hard packed trails.

    Yes and no, The quest continues. I’m currently swaying towards the Supertac RC 2s or the Hoka Torrent 2s.

    I think the Hoka’s will be a little more forgiving over the 40km race but the RCs will be grippier and speedier… decisions, decisions.

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