/ NEW REVIEW: Trail Running Shoes

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Sarah Stirling Trail Shoe Montage, 3 kbIn this long term test three keen trail runners spent spring and summer 2013 putting five leading off-road shoes through their paces.

Here's what they think of the Scarpa Spark, La Sportiva Raptor, Mammut MTR 141, TNF Ultra Guide and Berghaus Vapour Light Claw.

Read more at http://www.ukclimbing.com/gear/review.php?id=5916

The New NickB 14 Nov 2013
In reply to UKC Gear:

I'm interested in your choice of shoes to review. You describe them as "five leading off-road shoes", really? The La Sportivas, fine. TNF ok at a push, but these really arnt the leading trail shoes in the UK market. No Salomon, no Innov8, no New Balance, no Asics, no Brooks, no Adidas.
The New NickB 14 Nov 2013
In reply to UKC Gear:

I notice they are all great shoes, what is UKC's relationship with the manufacturers / distributors?
r0b 14 Nov 2013
In reply to UKC Gear:

No Inov8 is a very big omission, they probably sell more trail running shoes in the UK that are actually used for running than all of those brands put together.
mountain.martin 14 Nov 2013
In reply to UKC Gear:

Yes, disappointing that you don't cover Inov8, or Walsh.

The reviewed shoes might be good for trail running, but similar shoes that I have used don't come anywhere close to the Walsh PB for rougher terrain and proper fell running.

Walsh is also a British brand that deserves supporting and the PB is considerably cheaper than the shoes reviewed here.

mountain.martin 14 Nov 2013
In reply to UKC Gear:

Sorry, to be fair your review is titled Trail running shoes, I was reacting to the sub heading that says they are leading off road shoes.
Hopefully these shoes are good on reasonable trails.

For most off road running I have done I would rather be in a proper fell shoe like the walsh or innov8 as they will be fine on trails and great on rougher terrain, whereas most trail shoes are good on trails but pretty poor on really wet/muddy stuff.



The New NickB 14 Nov 2013
In reply to mountain.martin:

My complaint here is that UKC are only reviewing shoes made by companies with an existing commercial relationship with UKC i.e. advertisers. I don't mind the product information posts where it is clear that they are not reviews and that they are only posting product information from companies that advertise with them, but this crosses a line.

La Sportiva and arguably (I'm being generous) TNF could be described as established in this market place, Berghaus, Scarpa and Mammut are definately not as is clear from the reviews, so it is dishonest to describe this selection as "five of the leading off-road shoes" with the exception of La Sportiva the market leaders (La Sportiva are a long way behind the big players in terms of sales) have been excluded from the test on the basis that they do not advertise with UKC.

All the reviews are positive, well they would be, you don't want to upset your advertisers. The shoes may well be great, but how can we trust the review, when it is so clear that it is completely commercially driven.
TobyA 14 Nov 2013
In reply to mountain.martin:

> The reviewed shoes might be good for trail running, but similar shoes that I have used don't come anywhere close to the Walsh PB for rougher terrain and proper fell running.

I'm sure that's a very fair point, but then the review is called "trail running shoes" as opposed to "fell shoes". Trail Running has become a huge market sector now, I hugely bigger than the specific and much older British fell running market - a bit like some British frame builders have been doing cyclocross bike before and through the whole mountain bike explosion over the last 25 years.

I've tried to do group test before for UKC but it's actually really hard to a proper job across a whole product range - it would be a full time job for someone and I suspect Alan would tell us that we'd all have to pay to use UKC before they could employ another person to do that! Supertopo/Outdoor gear lab come closest to doing it I think, but it's noticeable than some times by the time they get a group test up, the manufacturers have changed the product somehow or even stopped making it.
The New NickB 14 Nov 2013
In reply to UKC Gear:

It appears UKC only review items where the manufacturer is a UKC sponsor and this isn't made clear in the reviews, a very unsatisfactory situation.
psychomansam 14 Nov 2013
I have to say I agree with the above comments and think it's totally disgusting that UKC is just acting as a sales rep for the companies it sells advertising to. And furthermore that it's not even been forthcoming about it. Get your act together! You're taking the piss.
Muttly 14 Nov 2013
In reply to The New NickB: It's not long ago we were reassured that although gear news was biased gear reviews was not and yet this review doesn't not fit with that.
Denni 14 Nov 2013
In reply to UKC,

There are so many people on here who use this type of product, are experienced in trail/fell running, offer advice to others starting out and I would say have more than one brand in their quiver so why not post asking for people to give a review in 3 or 4 months, collate them all and then publish an article?

I'm sure most people wouldn't object and certainly wouldn't want paying? At least you will have a bigger choice of trainers, you could pick out the best articles and round it all up with a percentage graph showing the highs and lows.

Just my tuppence worth and you could do that with any type of kit.
TobyA 14 Nov 2013
In reply to The New NickB:

> It appears UKC only review items where the manufacturer is a UKC sponsor and this isn't made clear in the reviews, a very unsatisfactory situation.

Alan or Jack needs to confirm this but I don't think it's always true. At least some of things I've asked to review in group tests were from brands that I don't think were advertising on UKC at the time.

And even when a company is a regular advertiser, UKC has never told me not to say (or to say) something in a review. I was just looking down the list of reviews I've contributed now to UKC since 2006, and I can remember what problem or downside I found in each product. A few things I've used have been close to perfect for their intended use, but not many, so most reviews have cons as well as pros. Nevertheless, most have been perfectly good, and you can feel a bit picky sometimes - like your actively looking for something to moan about even if its minor. There have been a couple of times when companies have been actively annoyed by my reviews, normally where I think there were design flaws, but UKC have made it very clear that this isn't my problem and I should write what I think.
The New NickB 14 Nov 2013
In reply to TobyA:

I did look through quite a few reviews and couldn't find any that didn't also have product news links, on the product new it acknowledges that they are advertisers.
Banned User 77 14 Nov 2013
In reply to The New NickB: It is misleading though.. the lead trail running shoes are Solomon and inov8.. what must they make up 80-90% of the market?

I was running with a German mate and he told me about a new company making trail running shoes.. Inov8.. I pointed out they just have their 10 year anniversary.. but they are finally stepping across.

Saucony, Adidas, Asics to name a few others but its now a huge market.

I quite like to hear about new brands.. most are normally way too heavy and robust.. like they come from the walking book angle..

Evan Walsh now have a trail shoe, no idea what its like.
TobyA 14 Nov 2013
In reply to The New NickB: Do you feel that UKC shouldn't review advertisers products? Or that some firms are over looked because they don't advertise? And many many companies have advertised at one point or another but aren't currently.
The New NickB 14 Nov 2013
In reply to TobyA:

I don't think they should only review advertisers products and I don't think they should misrepresent the product. This is a review of "leading off-road shoes" that doesn't mention the major players in the market and mainly talks about new entrants to the market, who happen to be UKC advertisers.
Banned User 77 14 Nov 2013
In reply to The New NickB: Yeah I agree.. I see nothing wrong with reviewing sponsors shoes.. yet you could question the impartiality.. but the leading brands are not them. I never even knew Scarpa or Berghaus made trail running shoes.
Run_Ross_Run 14 Nov 2013
In reply to The New NickB:
Just to put a different view on it. Berghaus vapour claw was given 'best in test' in Trail running magazine recently. The review had most of the makes that ukc reviewed.

Agree that they aren't the biggest/best makes out there.
Banned User 77 15 Nov 2013
In reply to Run_Ross_Run: This makes me laugh..

I did a photo shoot with trail running a while back... and they basically cut off my feet.. But world champs... top 4.. solomon.. then I think it was adidas road shoe x 3...
The New NickB 15 Nov 2013
In reply to Run_Ross_Run:

This isn't an issue unique to UKC and Bauer Media have been mentioned a few times with regard to interesting practice regarding reviews in Trail / Trail Running.
steveriley 15 Nov 2013
Being slightly charitable, some of the shoes look interesting but I'm guessing you'd be hard pressed to find them for sale in any running oriented shop. More the sort of thing that outdoorsy retailers and catalogues would take to flesh out the range from existing brands.
Mike Highbury 15 Nov 2013
In reply to TobyA:
> (In reply to The New NickB) Do you feel that UKC shouldn't review advertisers products? Or that some firms are over looked because they don't advertise? And many many companies have advertised at one point or another but aren't currently.

It has long been the case with advertisers and editorials, for instance in women's magazines where major advertisers products are called in for editorial shoots.

It is perceived as a problem when companies run forms or similar to create a community and drive advertising revenue and users feel that they are being duped (by their own naivety).
The New NickB 15 Nov 2013
In reply to Mike Highbury:
> (In reply to TobyA)
> [...]
>
> It has long been the case with advertisers and editorials, for instance in women's magazines where major advertisers products are called in for editorial shoots.
>
> It is perceived as a problem when companies run forms or similar to create a community and drive advertising revenue and users feel that they are being duped (by their own naivety).

A review is something different to an editorial shoot, or indeed product information on here.
The New NickB 15 Nov 2013
In reply to SteveRi:
> Being slightly charitable, some of the shoes look interesting but I'm guessing you'd be hard pressed to find them for sale in any running oriented shop. More the sort of thing that outdoorsy retailers and catalogues would take to flesh out the range from existing brands.

I have not tried any of the shoes and I am always interested in new ideas, but I want to know how they compare to the actual market leaders.
Qwertilot 15 Nov 2013
Take, put on feet and see how they feel. About all you can sensibly do with any shoe

I suppose that a fair proportion of the trail (rather than fell) shoes are selling for people going walking as opposed to running.
steveriley 15 Nov 2013
In reply to The New NickB:
Mm, probably more 'here's a review of the shoes we've been sent recently' and UKC aren't particularly on the radar of Inov-8, Walsh, Mizuno and all the rest. Reviews seem pretty measured but a bit of context against what else people have worn wouldn't go amiss.
The New NickB 15 Nov 2013
In reply to SteveRi:

I guess unless someone from UKC wants to comment on why they picked these shoes and why they misrepresented the market position of the products, we won't really know for certain.
TobyA 15 Nov 2013
In reply to The New NickB: Maybe email Jack and ask, but I suspect the truth is he sat there thinking of something to say and "leading" popped into his mind. I think you might be trying to make a bit of a conspiracy out of one perhaps not perfectly chosen word.

Had the text read "five new shoes" or "five interesting shoes" or "five shoes from the companies that answered our email" would your point stand?

Perhaps "five shoes you might not have seen already reviewed in the running media" might have been best!
The New NickB 15 Nov 2013
In reply to TobyA:

I put it down to sloppy writing, up to the point that I looked at the rest of the review section. No matter, the main outcome is that all reviews will be treated with more than a pinch of salt, but they were anyway really.
Chris M 16 Nov 2013
In reply to UKC Gear:

Come on UKC. That was poor. Where are the real trail running brands?
Aldaris17 Nov 2013
In reply to Chris M:

Agree. Article on trail running shoes withouth Salomon? LOL.

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