Fall 2012 Trail Running Shoe Review

Karhu Forward 3 Trail WP, $140

11.6 oz. (m), 10.3 oz. (w)

Fit: Plenty of volume throughout the shoe makes them a good fit for wider feet, but testers appreciated the fact that midfoot overlay panels could be cinched down for a more secure fit. Narrow-footed testers experienced some fabric bunching in the spacious toe area.

Feel: From under foot softness to a padded ankle collar and tongue, the Forward 3 Trail has a cushy feel. At 14mm, these have the highest drop of any of the shoes in the review, but that drop is designed to work with the stiff midsole, fulcrum plate to put runners in a forward leaning position. Due to the forward lean, testers said secure lacing was important to prevent toe bang.

Ride: According to Karhu, the fulcrum plate is designed to make any sort of stride more efficient. While heel-to-toe transition was smooth, the ride wasn’t as dynamic as our test team was expecting, although testers reported having better responsiveness when running with a forefoot strike. With such a high-volume shoe, those with slimmer feet experienced a fair amount of foot movement and some inward heel roll. Knobby rubber lugs provided good traction on variable trails.

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