Thursday, September 3, 2009

Product Review - Patagonia Release Trail Shoes With Vibram Sole

I received a pair of Patagonia trail shoes from the good people at Vibram. They wanted me to evaluate how their Vibram Release Sole performed on the trails. I've logged about 60 miles in the shoes so far, with runs ranging from 5 - 15 miles, and feel I can now make an honest assessment regarding the shoe's and soles performance.

Here is some basic information from Patagonia's website.

Built to traverse the Backbone Trail without bonking midway, the Release trail-running shoe keeps your feet well-protected and comfortable on long-mileage runs. The breathable synthetic air-mesh upper is DWR (durable water repellent) treated to seal out water at creek crossings. The Dynamic Fit Lacing System provides a precise and secure fit that custom-wraps around the forefoot. A cushioning Ortholite® X-40 footbed wicks moisture and neutralizes odor; the triple-density EVA footframe (15% recycled) provides stabilization and pronation control. With a Vibram® sole that has embedded track spikes for excellent grip and traction on sketchy terrain.

Here is my take on it from the ground up.

The Vibram outersole is rock solid with an aggressive tread pattern and embedded rubber spikes for additional traction when the going gets rough. I have run over a variety of surfaces including, hard-packed trails, mud, grass, gravel roads and asphalt. The soles provided excellent traction in all situations. They also offer excellent underfoot protection from sharp rocks and gnarly roots so no need to avoid them. I my opinion, the best test of a soles traction is how it grips on wet granite slabs. I haven't had a chance to test the shoe under these conditions but will update you when the opportunity presents itself. I suspect the soles will handle it just fine. The Vibram sole is so durable, I suspect it will outlast the uppers!

The triple density EVA mid-sole offers excellent cushioning without feeling too soft and spongy. If you have to run on paved roads to get to a trail-head then this might be the shoe for you. The Patagonia Release has the most cushioning of any trail shoe I have tried so far, even more than my Cascadias, which I consider to have very good cushioning. If you're into green, the midsole uses 15% recycled materials.

The shoe's upper is treated with a durable water repellent (similar to the repellent used on water-resistant jackets) to help seal out water when you are running in the rain or splashing through puddles. I haven't had a chance to take the shoes through any stream crossing but the shoes should drain well due to the open mesh design of the upper material. This open design also makes the shoe very breathable, great for warm weather running. Rounding out the uppers is a nicely padded tongue and a Dynamic Fit Lacing system with loops that are separate from the instep. The lacing system custom-wraps the upper around the forefoot. I have the say this shoe fits like a glove! Super comfortable.

The Patagonia Release is now my favorite trail shoe for long-distance running over trails with varying surface conditions. I'll be using this shoe on my next 50K in October. On the down side, the shoe is heavy at 14.5 oz but I can't really say I've noticed the weight on any of my runs. It's a well constructed shoe utilizing quality materials and should last a good long time. What else would you expect from companies like Patagonia and Vibram?


  1. I have the vibram soles on my Xodus the soles! Very "grippy" and rugged for rocks. Thanks for the review.

  2. great review,
    might check these out in the spring

  3. Great review, Dan. I'm looking for a new pair of trail shoes. May have to give these a looksee.

  4. heard they run .5 US size too small, order up

  5. Great shoes, because of the positive review I think I want to try this shoes.


What's on your mind?

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...