Lightweight and fairly low to the ground, this shoe takes a cue from Hoka’s new line of svelte and speedy road shoes. Unlike Hoka’s more thickly cushioned trail models, the Speed Instinct serves up a fast and agile ride with a more acute proprioceptive feel for the trail. Our wear-test team found it to have just enough soft cushioning under foot and appreciated the slightly firmer and very responsive feeling in the forefoot. In other words, this shoe has plenty of giddy-up! (The Speed Instinct doesn’t have a rock plate sandwiched within the midsole, but the firmer forefoot helps keep pointy rocks, roots and other debris from the trail at bay.) With a full-length knobby rubber outsole with direction lugs, it offers consistent traction over all types of terrain at all speeds. The ride is soft, flexible and nimble without any structure to get in the way of the natural movements of your foot, but that also means it’s not a very inherently stable shoe. That’s just fine if you’re a nimble runner with some experience running on uneven surfaces, but perhaps a word of caution to others. That’s not to say our wear-testers didn’t like this shoe; they loved it! We pegged this as a great short-distance to mid-range shoe for running fast, ideal for sub-ultra racing, hill repeats and tempo runs. But it’s also not too shabby for fun casual runs through a variety of types of trails. The Speed Instinct earned a “Best Debut” award in the Fall 2016 Trail Running Shoe Buyer’s Guide in the October issue of Competitor.
This is the shoe for you if … you’re looking for a lightweight, low-to-the-ground trail shoe that is built to run fast.
Weights: 8.4 oz. (men’s), 7.5 oz. (women’s)
Heel-to-Toe Offset: 3mm; 22mm (heel), 19mm (forefoot)
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