Preview: Keen Versatrail
This new release from Keen is a hybrid outdoor sports shoe, supposedly designed for both off and on-road wear. Its upper is made from a mixture of synthetic fabric and mesh - enough...
Daniel Neilson introduces the qualities of trail shoes weighting less than 800g a pair!
Trail shoes are all about confidence. Confidence that the grip will keep you on your feet, that they’ll fit after long days on the mountains, that the support will hold your ankle, that they’ll be comfortable after treading through mud and mountains, rock and river. Shoes are the most important piece of your outdoor armoury and they need to be as close as possible to perfect.
It’s no secret that at The Great Outdoors, we’re advocates of trail shoes. For me, unless there’s snow on the ground or you’re negotiating terrain that is particularly tough on the ankles, trail shoes are the best option. Why? Well, they nearly always fit snugly, they are lightweight and the movement is more natural, and thus less tiring, than wearing boots.
In the ultralight trail shoe reviews on this website we narrowed the selection down to what we believe fits the bill: under 800g a pair (for a size 11). And, if you're wondering, there is a refreshingly diverse range of shoes on offer. Each pair offers something different and each could be suitable for different uses, thus it shouldn’t be taken as a true like-for-like comparison. I’ve used them all walking, including with a heavy load, and most for trail running, which I’ve found quickly highlights any benefits or problems.
It’s worth mentioning that none of the shoes in this test features a waterproof membrane system like Gore-Tex. I prefer trail shoes without one, because there’s a big hole in the top that lets water in and with a membrane it stays in. All the ultralight trail shoes reviewed on the website mesh uppers that dry quickly and let out water once it gets in. In warm weather, they allow the foot to breathe better.