If you’ve been reading my blog for any length of time you’ll know that I love my Salomon XT Wings for trail running, you can read their review here.
With that in mind I am reluctant to try new shoes, working under the maxim of ‘if it ain’t broke etc’ well after some discussions with the good folks at the Wilderness Running Company they persuaded me to give something new a try and, well, I just may have found an alternative; the Oboz Ignition II
First some info from their website; The Ignition II is an updated version of the shoe Outside Magazine calls "Rookie of the Year". The dynamic bootie construction wraps around your foot to keep trail debris out while the forefoot cage locks your foot down to provide a secure fit.
* Synthetic Leather and 3D Air Mesh Upper
* Dynamic Bootie Construction
* Floating Forefoot Cage
* 3 Part Midsole
* Dual Density EVA
* EVA SupeSkin Plate
* Nylon Shank
* Ignition Outsole; 2 Density EVA Midsole - higher density heel perimeter for stability, lower density elsewhere for cushioning
* Underfoot EVA SuperSkin for torsional stability and stone bruise protection under the metatarsal heads
* Heel TPU clip for stability and upper/outsole integration
* Multi-directional high friction outsole
* Graded nylon shank for lateral and torsional flex control
* Strobel Lasted
* 3D Injection Molded Asymmetrical External Heel Clip; our external heel counters are 3 dimensionally injection molded. Unlike a flat molded heel counter common to most outdoor footwear, they provide long term support, motion control and heel lock. The heel counters are engineered gender specific to account for the differences between men's and women's feet: different heel-toe/heel-ball length ratios, different forefoot/midfoot girths, different Achilles heel attachment points, and different feet entirely.
* BFIT Tri-Density Footbed; our B-Fit insoles are designed with multiple densities of foam, providing support throughout the plantar fascia, and a defined and formed heel cup, these are after-market quality insoles, installed as original equipment.
And so on with the review. I have over 50 miles on these shoes now, not so much but as a guestimate about 10-15% of they’re useful life of 400 miles, and here is my initial review, I'll do another as the mileage increases.
Gender specific, the shoes are well constructed; they have a ventilated mesh upper which is composed of two different types of fabric. Rather than eyelets for the laces they have loops which are located on the top of the eyestays that are secured around the quarter panel to sole of the foot and heel cup. There are four eyestays that extend under the mudguard that rises up from the outsole of the shoe, the final loop at the toe end of the shoe removes the option for gaiters which initially was a deterrent, given my love for Dirty Girl Gaiters; the idea of a gaiter is to reduce debris from entering your shoe and causing irritation/blisters. There is a solid toe cap which seems to be double layered for extra protection. I sized up half a size to an 11 and they fitted great out of the box, there is a roomy toe box and despite their narrow look they fitted my foot very comfortably. The heel is not restrictive and the cupping is nicely supportive without pinching anywhere.
The most unusual feature of this shoe is that there is no tongue. The opening for the foot is a elasticized opening that is designed to envelop your foot.The top of the ‘tongue' sits at the approximate height as it would do normally and it is soft enough to roll/fold with the motion of your foot, there are well secured loops (I gave them a good tug) on the tongue and heel to allow you to get your foot in.
The sole has a solid grip pattern and is perfectly comfortable when walking on concrete and tarmac, I wore these around the house etc for several days prior to taking them to the trails, you can see the sole pattern compared to a retired pair of Wings, as you can see plenty of grip and a nice torsional shank. Not overly cushioned, the ride quite low, something that might appeal to anyone who is trying a more minimalist approach to running, they keep you in contact with the trail nicely and you can feel your way along with exposing your foot unnecessarily but provide you enough protection to absorb the narlier of obstacles. The weight of the shoe is well within the usual ranges that you’ll find for trail shoes at 13.5oz.
Of specific interest was the shoes ability to resist dust and sand entering through the uppers, typically after a long run my socks and feet look like I have been running without socks, and while I do often take photos of my icky feet; see here, I was pleasantly surprised to see how well they resisted, I wore these on Sunday night and fully expected to see the usual dusty dawgs once I removed my shoes, well not so this time. After removing my shoes my socks and feet were actually remarkable clean! This is a great feature as debris in your shoes can be an absolute nightmare as most trail runners will tell you, however this may mean that they are a little warm although this is not something I have specifically noticed.
Untested were their water resistance or drainage; southern California in the summer, water about a lot - they're ain't!
So in conclusion if you looking for a pair of trail shoes and thought of parting with $120, the current price for a pair of Wings makes you blanche these could be a great pair for you. Comfortable out of the box, gender specific, great at keeping trail muck out of your shoe, not too bright if you’re looking for a more neutral color and grippy on the trail, what’s not to like?
Of course I want to share the love and the good folks at WRC are running a special for you, order a pair following this link and you qualify for a free pair of Bridgedale socks (which are excellent; see my previous review and will save you $14-16) add the ‘Quad10’ discount at checkout and qualify for 10% off the normal retail price of $85.00 as well as free shipping and handling in the lower 48, you can be on the trails in shiny new shoes 'n' socks for a smidge over $75.00!…like I said what’s not to like?
See previous gear reviews on sidebar at right. If you have a product you’d like reviewed, contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.