Syracuse-area Fleet Feet stores frequently have group runs that are sponsored by a shoe company. During these runs you get a chance to not only try on new shoes but try them on and run 3+ miles in them. This is much better than the 5 minute evaluation that you typically make after running on the store’s treadmill or around the block.
The shoe is made like a fat tire bike wheel. Even though it looks beefy, it is surprisingly light and comfortable. I was worried that the bottom might be too soft, like running on pillows, but that was not the case. The knobby tire bottom made it easy to run over ice, through snow and over rocks without any slippage or ankle twists. I could not feel any of these things through the shoe which is not always the case with trail running shoes.
I typically put Yaktrax over my running shoes in the winter but I have a love/hate relationship with them. They have never been something I liked but they were the best option available for winter running. Aside from being difficult to put on without snapping your fingers or having to take off your gloves, they are extremely uncomfortable if you run over any clear pavement. The appeal of the fat tire shoe is that it could be my go-to shoe for winter running. Unlike Yaktrax, the fat tire shoe is just as comfortable on clean asphalt as it on rough terrain.
I would recommend this shoe to anyone that runs trails or lives in a snowy place and wants to run outside in the winter. Some people complained that they felt like the shoe was too cushiony. I did not feel this way but my opinion might not be typical. I have worn motion control and cushioning shoes and also used trail running shoes as my primary shoe all year long. These are all shoes that might feel like “too much shoe” for a runner with normal arches and no pronation issues.
The shoe is new so it is $150. I generally try to buy last years model to save money but since this is a new shoe, it is $150 everywhere. There is a high top version available for $200. If I ran more trails, I would make this investment. The convenience of having a shoe that I wear in bad weather or on rocky courses that doesn’t affect my stride is the driver for me. Once this shoe makes a second edition, or I twist my ankle, I will buy it.
I know what you’re thinking. I do a lot of shopping and have spent more than $150 on shoes. But I love a good deal (because it means I can buy more stuff) and these shoes are not a necessity at this point. We’ve had a pretty light winter here in Syracuse so I probably would have paid the $150 if I had another month of snowy running ahead of me. This will be the second shoe that I have purchased after a Fleet Feet sponsored run. In both cases the shoe wasn’t even on my radar before the run.