2012 Trail Running Shoe Review

Photo: Scott Draper/Competitor

Tecnica Inferno X-Lite, $110

Weight – M: 10.4 oz; W: 8.8 oz.

Fit: The wide toe box is this shoe’s most remarkable fit feature. They fit snug in the heel and semi-snug in the midfoot/arch area, though the speed-lace system isn’t quite as simple (nor reliably snugging) as it is intended to be.

Feel: The Inferno X-Lite uses a unique oversized cushioned and has a rockered geometry. Combined, those two elements provide exceptional cushioning and forward momentum, but they also detract from the ability to feel the trail and the agility that comes from such proprioception. That said, once you get used to the forward-rolling sensation these shoes encourage, running in them becomes much easier.

Ride: Unlike minimalist trail shoes that require a runner to do a delicate dance through technical features, the Inferno X-Lite plows right over rocks, roots and other sharp and uneven obstacles. The ride is relatively soft and disarming, but one devoid of nimbleness, thanks in part to a fairly stiff demeanor in the forefoot. Although Inferno X-Lite shoes don’t feel heavy or bulky on rugged terrain, they tend to feel a bit bulkier on flat, smooth trails.

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