Boreal Saurus 2.0 Review

© Dan Bailey

We reviewed the original Saurus back in 2019, and found it a great all-rounder for both running and hillwalking, with a thick cushioned sole and plenty of support, without compromising too far on feel. The Saurus 2.0 continues this theme. On the basis that the original worked really well, I'm pleased to say Boreal have made few substantial changes; in fact the main upgrades are cosmetic. Nothing flash, maybe, but a solid performer at a very competitive price.

Pros: Solid, supportive shoes with plenty of cushioning; all-terrain all-rounders; good price
Cons: If you prefer minimalist shoes, look elsewhere

In use

The Saurus 2.0 has a similar feel to La Sportiva's Ultra Raptor, a shoe I suspect more will be familiar with (I'm on my fourth pair). Neither are light, but instead they offer lots of support on rough ground and a depth of cushioning for soaking up the impact on harder surfaces.

It's become a bit of a favourite  © Dan Bailey
It's become a bit of a favourite
© Dan Bailey
at its best on a mix of terrain, a jack of all trades

Underfoot it's an all-terrain sort of sole, so the Saurus does pretty well on days when you're mixing and matching grassy off-trail, wet ground, rocky paths, hard-packed forest tracks, even tarmac. I wore the original Saurus for everything from long hill runs to short local runs, summer hillwalking to backpacking. The update promises to be just as versatile.

Road testing in Wester Ross (Roads? Where we're going, we don't need roads...)  © Dan Bailey
Road testing in Wester Ross (Roads? Where we're going, we don't need roads...)
© Dan Bailey

I recently took the Saurus 2.0 for a hill walk in the Coulin forest, a very rough day with lots of steep, rubbly ground, some wet sloppy bits, and occasional scrambling. I felt nicely supported underfoot, and protected from countless jagged quartzite chunks; the soles had plenty of grip on rock and grass alike; and comfort was brilliant, even after several hours. As an all-round hill shoe I think they're actually better than I gave the original credit for, and I expect to be wearing them a lot more over spring and summer, be that for running, walking, or crag approaches.

Weight and durability

At 900g per pair in my size 47s (the same weight as the first version), the Saurus 2.0 is on the heavier side for a trail running shoe, something it shares with the Ultra Raptor (888g). It's solid though, and feels well made.

After, I'd estimate, a good few hundred kilometres of use my old pair wore through at the heel, and though the sole and the outside of the uppers still had life I had to retire them to gardening/DIY leave.

Fit and comfort

As ever, it's essential to try shoes on for yourself. The Saurus 2.0 comes in both men's and women's (lower volume) fit, but only up to a UK12/47; some people have even bigger feet than me, but they'll have to look elsewhere. It's a medium-volume fit, with enough depth at the front to wiggle your toes. The Saurus feels reasonably broad in the midfoot, but then comes to quite a narrow point at the toe when compared to some other chunky trail shoes. For a model that is otherwise well up to long distances it might have been good to put a bit more width into the toe to allow for foot spread over a big day. The shape doesn't best suit my broad-toed feet, but because the uppers have a bit of give it's something I can more than get by with.

Lacing extends far forward, which helps with a fine-tuned front-end fit, and the soft stretchy tongue has a nice foot-hugging feel. The tongue and much of the uppers are airy and breathable, for warm weather comfort. There's a bit of rand for foot protection; it's not as high as on some shoes, so it doesn't take much for water to seep in from puddles or wet grass. There's no waterproof lining, and I far prefer it that way - better feet get wet from outside than from inside. It's quick-drying enough.

With a chunky sole to soak up the impact, I think they're particularly good for hard-packed gravel tracks  © Dan Bailey
With a chunky sole to soak up the impact, I think they're particularly good for hard-packed gravel tracks
© Dan Bailey

Padding holds the heel firmly in place, but there's not so much of it that the fit feels spongy. I get no heel lift, and no undue pressure on the achilles, so for me the heel works really well. An external TPU cup adds support and stability on rough ground. 


Underfoot, the Saurus 2.0 feels as chunky as its predecessor. There's plenty of lateral stiffness, something I appreciated in the old model particularly when carrying a heavy overnight pack, but you also get a nice springy forefoot flex for loping along. The sole has enough body to feel secure on easier scrambling terrain, so while it's no substitute for an approach shoe on more technical routes it would be spot on for 'hillwalkers scrambles' like Striding Edge or Crib Goch, or long days with just bits and bobs of rocky stuff.

Spot on for rocky, scrambly ground  © Dan Bailey
Spot on for rocky, scrambly ground
© Dan Bailey

This is a deep sole by trail shoe standards, and comes with a hefty 8mm drop that puts it towards the upper end for an off-road shoe. Minimalist shoes might have half this drop or less, but the Saurus 2.0 is unashamedly maximalist, with a lot of cushioning and bounce. If, like me, you're a bit of a heel striker, then the cushioned sole and high drop may be just the thing. Fans of thinner, flatter-soled running shoes have plenty of choices elsewhere. While it does slightly reduce the feel on fiddly rough ground, the upside to the chunky sole is greater comfort when you're pounding along hard-packed tracks.

Grip-wise the Vibram outsole is reasonably aggressive in terms of tread, offering decent traction on a range of terrain from wet grass and muddy ground to rocky trails. It's not an all-out mud-munching machine; it's perhaps not as bouncy as a road running shoe; and it lacks the underfoot feel that you might want for the most technical, scrambly, sky racing-type running; but as an all-rounder I think the Saurus 2.0 is great. My local running takes in a mix of gravel tracks, stony footpaths, muddy and grassy ground. I could run on the odd bit of tarmac or pavement in the Saurus 2.0, but on the other hand I'm also happy wearing it on proper off-trail hill terrain.

Doesn't keep out much snow/rain/moisture, but it does dry fast  © Dan Bailey
Doesn't keep out much snow/rain/moisture, but it does dry fast
© Dan Bailey


Boreal were onto a good thing with the original, and happily they've preserved the best of it in the new Saurus 2.0. A solid and supportive running shoe with plenty of cushioning underfoot, this is a great all-rounder that can comfortably take you from the local park to a proper hill day. This versatile shoe is at its best on a mix of terrain, a jack of all trades that's equally suited to hillwalking and backpacking as well as running.

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