Salming is an established Swedish brand of footwear that is entering the U.S. market for the first time this year. The company was founded on modern science of running biomechanics—natural foot movement and full-body kinematics instead of a traditional approach that focuses mostly on arch height and pronation—and its first tier of shoes available in the U.S. (through it’s Raleigh, N.C., office) reflects a modern design ethos. The Trail T1 is a fairly light and very agile shoe that offers a smart balance of cushioning, trail protection and feel for the ground. Our wear-testers loved how it doesn’t get in the way of the foot’s natural flex and movement patterns and how it runs lighter than it feels in hand out of the box. Although it lacks a rock plate wedge into the midsole, it does have sturdy upper material, a reinforced toe bumper and the thermoplastic overlay that encases shoe’s perimeter, although the semi-firm foam and durable rubber outsole layer over the entire underside of the shoe also provide protection against sharp rocks and roots. Our wear-test team found these well-suited for rugged, technical trails full of roots and rocks, but most found it served up a pleasant ride on softer and smoother dirt paths, too. It has a subtle but effective outsole lug pattern that offers a good amount of traction on rock, gravel, dirt and mud, although it’s not a sticky climbing rubber like a handful of contemporary mountain running shoes have. Bottom line: This is tough, sturdy trail shoe yet it flexes easily, runs nimbly and has a fairly smooth heel-to-toe transition.

“This is a great shoe. Light. Nimble. Agile. It’s a great shoe for short and technical trails runs.” — Jim Conaghan

“It neither adds noticeable energy nor makes me feel sluggish. I felt the shoe did what I wanted it to do and in no way held me back. I could anticipate the stability of a landing while being able to respond with a correction quickly to avoid ankle rolls.” — Wendy Drake

I felt the ground surprisingly well. I anticipated that the stiffness and toothiness of the outsole would make feel difficult, but not the case. The rubber is pliable and molds nicely around rocks, enough to protect you but not to totally numb feel.” — Casey Blaine

Price: $140
Weights: 10.1 oz. (men’s), 8.6 oz. (women’s)
Heel-toe offset: 5mm; 24mm (heel), 19mm (forefoot)
Info: Salmingrunning.com

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