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Recommended footwear for high routes, Alaska, and early-season conditions

By Andrew Skurka / March 26, 2020 /

What is the optimal backpacking footwear for high routes, Alaska, and early-season conditions? Each year I field this question from dozens of clients, so here I’d like to provide a list of proven winners (and a few losers). These recommendations are relevant to anyone planning a trip to similar locations or in similar conditions, whether…

Blast from the past || Review: Clifton 1 Reissue

By Andrew Skurka / November 15, 2019 /

Winter arrived early on the Colorado Front Range, pushing me out to the gravel multi-use trails and quiet county roads about a month earlier than usual. I wasn’t prepared for it: my inventory of road-worthy shoes consisted of just one pair of Hoka One One Clifton 5 (my review) with nearly 600 miles on them.…

Review: Salomon X Alpine Pro || For high mountain runs + high routes

By Andrew Skurka / October 19, 2019 /

For years I’ve been an enthusiastic user of Salomon trail running shoes, with my all-time favorites coming from the Sense family — the Sense Pro, Sense Pro 2, and SLAB Sense Ultra. But Salomon has never broadly or successfully extended the winning features of its trail running shoes — notably, the glove-like fit, reliable outsole…

Long-term review: La Sportiva Bushido II || Ideal for high routes, Alaska, early-season

By Andrew Skurka / August 21, 2019 /

The La Sportiva Bushido II ($130, 10.5 oz) is designed as an all-mountain trail running shoe. It may perform well in that application, but I bought a pair earlier this summer to instead hike in Alaska’s Brooks Range and on the Yosemite High Route in early-season conditions. Over a 5-week period I put 315 demanding…

Preview: Salomon S/Lab Ultra 2 || Lighter & stickier than predecessor

By Andrew Skurka / February 6, 2019 /

The Salomon S/Lab Ultra 2 will be available soon, in April 2019. This third-generation model remains purpose-built for long trail races and training runs, and the iterative changes seem entirely likable. Like most Salomon models, the Ultra is a neutral shoe that is designed for narrow and low-volume feet. But it has more forefoot volume…

Review: Salomon Sense Pro 3 || Smooth speedster for soft ground

By Andrew Skurka / December 13, 2018 /

The Salomon Sense Pro 3 is a fast, smooth, and aggressively lugged trail running shoe that is best for narrow/low-volume feet and soft or loose surfaces. Even though the Sense Pro 3 will replace the Sense Pro 2 and shares nomenclature with the Sense Pro 1, it most strongly resembles the S/Lab Sense 6 SG, which was the…

Long-term review: Salomon Sense Pro 2 || Nimble & capable trail shoe

By Andrew Skurka / December 6, 2018 /

The original Salomon Sense Pro (long-term review) is still one of my all-time favorite shoes. It fit me perfectly and was extremely versatile — in it, I ran a road marathon, a 50-miler on smooth singletrack and jeep roads, and a 100-miler on tough mountain trails, among other races and training runs, and never felt…

Preview: Hoka Challenger ATR 5 || Multiple changes, wide sizes

By Andrew Skurka / November 13, 2018 /

The intended use of the next generation Challenger ATR remains the same: easy and moderate trails, and runs with mixed pavement and dirt. But multiple changes have been made to its construction and features. The Hoka One One Challenger ATR 5 retails for $130 and will be available exclusively from REI on December 1, 2018. Distribution…

Preview: Hoka Clifton 6 || Mix of old & new generations

By Andrew Skurka / November 13, 2018 /

The first three generations of the Hoka One One Clifton (my review of the Clifton 2) were wonderfully plush and lightweight. They were widely adored, to the degree that Hoka recently re-released the Clifton 1 for a limited time. But v1, v2, and v3 were not flawless. Specifically, the fit was too narrow and low-volume for…

Preview: Hoka Speedgoat 3 || Tweaks to a top-seller

By Andrew Skurka / November 13, 2018 /

For two years the Hoka One One Speedgoat 2 (my review) has been the brand’s top-selling trail shoe. So in developing the third generation, it was understandably reluctant to mess with success. The most significant change to the Speedgoat is the midfoot lockdown. The TPU overlays have been re-mapped, and a yoke-like collar has been…