Review: Vasque Trailbender II

Vasque Trailbender II Review

Review: Vasque Trailbender II

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David Tucker

As spring turns to summer, you'd think that trail conditions would become more dependable. But here in Bozeman, especially after our huge winter, we can expect a variety of surfaces all summer long.

To conquer said conditions as a trail runner, you'll need a shoe with exceptional grip. Expect loose rock on dry trails; punchy snow and slush up high; wet, muddy conditions at mid-elevations; and perfect tacky dirt (hopefully) in some places.

If you plan on undertaking some longer runs into the alpine, give the Trailbender II from Vasque a look. As far as traction goes, these rank among the tops I've tested. They employ Vasque's AxisGrip soles, which utilizes contrasting patterns to maximize grip, meaning you can charge through the scree on Baldy without worrying about a big slip. 

The Trailbender II also has superior cushioning. I've battled sore knees since I was a teenager, but feel much less pain around my knees and throughout my legs and ankles. That's important to me as I age, since I plan on running in the mountains for some years to come.

These shoes also keep my feet dry, which this summer especially, is something I'm concerned about. The Trailbender II allays this concern with a draining upper and moisture-wicking lining.

One complaint I have is the fit. The heel box is roomy, at least for my foot shape. On steep inclines, I get a lot of lift, which diminishes traction and stability. 

$130; vasque.com.


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