Light, Fast & Free: 2014 Summer Trail Running Shoe Buyer’s Guide

Under Armour Speedform XC

Under Armour Speedform XC, $100

8.5 oz. (men’s), 6.9 (women’s)

18 mm (heel), 10 mm forefoot

Category: LIGHTWEIGHT MINIMALIST

Fit: Modeled after Under Armour’s award-winning road shoe with a similar name, the XC version has a similar form-fitting snugness in the heel and midfoot but a slightly wider toe box.

Feel: Although it has a decent amount of soft cushioning under foot, this shoe has a low-to-the-ground nimbleness to it. It’s light and minimally constructed, without any extra features to get in the way. The water-resistant soft shell upper offers protection from the elements without sacrificing flexibility, although a few of our testers thought it made their feet a bit toasty in warmer conditions.

Ride: Like UA’s road running shoes, the Speedform XC has a decidedly natural ride—it lets the foot move how it needs to without interfering much. The easy-flexing construction, multi-density foam midsole and low-profile outsole are big reasons for that. Most testers appreciated the traction from the subtle lugs and a few said the shoe encouraged a high-cadence midfoot gait. Our wear-testers found this shoe surprisingly stable for such a low-to-the-ground shoe, likely because of its wide profile. “It has a solid, stable base, but it is very minimally built on top of the foot,” one wear-tester said.

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