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

Oboz Helium

Oboz Helium

10.4 oz. (men’s), 8.9 oz. (women’s)

17 mm (heel), 7 mm forefoot

Category: LIGHTWEIGHT MINIMALIST/MOUNTAIN MARAUDER

Fit: The Helium has a slipper-like fit aided by an upper that envelops the foot and snugs it down to the midsole/outsole chassis.

Feel: It feels light and low to the ground like a trail racer, but it also feels sturdy and protective like a mountain shoe. A unique blend of new materials and construction techniques makes this an energetic outlier, a blending of two distinctly different worlds.

Ride: The Helium has some true minimalist qualities built into a versatile shoe capable of devouring up rugged trails. While it’s amazingly low to the ground and sparsely cushioned, a thin, flexible rock plate and a sturdy, low-profile rubber outsole offer great push-through protection against sharp trail debris. Its sweet spot (and it’s very sweet) is in the middle on semi-technical trails, but this is definitely not a middle-of-the-road hybrid. It’s one of the few shoes that runs very well on all types of terrain from hard-packed dirt trails to jagged-rock routes that are barely runnable. Said one wear-tester: “This might be the hidden gem in this review. It’s both deceptively fast and nimble and has loads of protection.”

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