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Trail Runners with sticky rubber soles

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Re: Trail Runners with sticky rubber soles

Postby Autoxfil » Wed Aug 08, 2012 9:38 pm

La Sportiva and Inov-8 are the only two companies making rubber you could classify as approach-shoe grade on real trail runners.

LaSportiva calls theirs FriXion, and the XT is the good stuff. It's available on the Vertical K and Raptor only. The AT is pretty good, but not the same. It's on the Wildcat, Quantum, X-Country, and most of their other trail shoes.

Inov-8 has "Sticky" and "Endurance" compounds. Sticky is good, somewhere bewteen the two LaSportiva compounds.

I have the Raptor and the Vertical K. The Raptor is much beefier and has way more rubber surface area, so it climbs slabs better. Niether is stiff enough to climb anything else well. I love them for 4th class slab.

The Inov-8 line are a great waffle-pattern sole that does everything well. The Roclite sole in Sticky is the best sole for scrambling, and it's probably almost as good as the Raptor, but I don't own a pair to compare.

If you're not actually doing much running, Five Ten Guide Tennies are where it's at. My feet are like yours - low-volume, but not narrow at all. The Guide Tennies are lace-to-toe so they cinch down well. I tried the Camp Four and Exum Guide and they were big, clunky things. The Guide Tennie is light, agile, and can really climb. Unlike running shoes, they work great in hand cracks, and edge pretty well. I've done plenty of multi-day hikes and fairly long runs in them, too. I'm a 5.8-5.9 leader for the most part, and I'm usually happy on 5.5 with GTs, unless it's thin edges. Handcracks and slab I can climb near my limit with them.

The Scarpa Crux and La Sportiva Boulder X are similar, but a little more hiking-oriented, and without quite as sticky rubber as the Stealth on the Guide Tennies. The new Sportiva Ganda should climb harder than the Guide Tennie, but I haven't used it because it costs One Billion Dollars.
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Re: Trail Runners with sticky rubber soles

Postby MoapaPk » Wed Aug 08, 2012 10:15 pm

I had the Inov-8 approach shoes with sticky rubber, which I din't find to be very sticky. After a year of occasional use, they are falling apart, despite attempts to reglue them. I went over the same ridge with camp 4s one week, inov-8s the next (this route). The inov-8s slipped a lot of places the camp 4s were solid. My maiden voyage for the inov-8s was here. The talus tore the crap out of them. They were comfortable shoes -- just not very sticky or very tough.
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Re: Trail Runners with sticky rubber soles

Postby Autoxfil » Wed Aug 08, 2012 10:30 pm

If Inov-8 rubber doesn't cut it for you, then I'd skip the Raptor as well. They are better, but I doubt by much. They are extremely durable, however. I've beat mine up horribly for a couple years now, and they are in great shape.

Sounds like Guide Tennies with real Stealth C4 would be the ticket - more grip than Camp 4s, for sure. Just seam-grip the outer rand a little and they will last, too.
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Re: Trail Runners with sticky rubber soles

Postby thegib » Thu Aug 09, 2012 12:17 am

Two seasons and my camp 4's are failing everywhere except the way over-engineered heel cup. I liked 'em before the holes in the sides and sole peeling off. I don't really blame the shoes given the terrain up there, but if a shoe is only going to last two years I'd rather not pay top dollar.
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Re: Trail Runners with sticky rubber soles

Postby MoapaPk » Thu Aug 09, 2012 2:22 am

Autoxfil wrote:Sounds like Guide Tennies with real Stealth C4 would be the ticket - more grip than Camp 4s, for sure. Just seam-grip the outer rand a little and they will last, too.


I've had dot-rubber soles, like on the old guide tennies, and they are great on rock... but suck for most of varied terrain, and are absolutely miserable on talus. I am thinking of several trips that have perhaps only 10-20% on rock, but on the rock, you really want grip. Downhills on scree, on dot-rubber soles, seems too much like uncontrolled skiing!

I had friXion rubber on a pair of La Sportiva approach shoes, and that was fairly sticky, though not like 5.10s. I felt the rubber on the Inov-8 Roclites was even less sticky.

I end up re-gluing all my shoes with seam grip urethane. I rebuilt the heel counters on my 1st camp four pair several times.

On the frictional limestone around here, one can get by with just plain soft rubber, like on most athletic shoes (unless one is on on a polished dryfall). What I dislike in most in trail runners, is that the sole often bends away when one tries to edge. On sandstone, it's a different story, but I just adjust. People did an awful lot in nailed boots years ago, so much of the love for sticky rubber probably just reflects me getting spoiled. On one trip I just forgot to put on my approach shoes when I was leaving the house, and didn't notice I was wearing just trail runners till we were trying to come down a rough stretch. I was probably safer, realizing that I no longer had any magic powers ;) .

No one shoe can be everything. Hats off to folks like Seano and cp0915, who do so much is running shoes, be they sticky shoes or not.

I guess it's obvious that I tend to have a lot of approach shoes wearing out at the same time.

So bring on the stickier-than-normal trail runners, and add the toes that can edge!

Looked at the raptors again, that may be what I want.
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Re: Trail Runners with sticky rubber soles

Postby MoapaPk » Sat Aug 11, 2012 7:10 pm

I ordered the raptors; good reviews and XF rubber sold me. Plus the assumed foot shape (wider toes, narrower heels) describes me. Sizing was a bit of an issue; Zappos had just 9 and 10. I normally take 9.5 in an approach shoe, 10 in a runner, and indications from reviews is that these size a little small, so I went for 10. Thanks guys.
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Re: Trail Runners with sticky rubber soles

Postby ExcitableBoy » Sat Aug 11, 2012 7:53 pm

I have the Solomon XT Wing or some such thing. Since the Montrail Hardrock changed its design, it seems the most sutiable for long, chanllenging runs, however the rubber is not particularly sticky. I have owned a couple of pairs of La Sportiva approach shoes and my experience from those would suggest they probably make runners with sticky soles.
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Re: Trail Runners with sticky rubber soles

Postby MoapaPk » Mon Oct 15, 2012 12:46 am

MoapaPk wrote:I ordered the raptors; good reviews and XF rubber sold me. Plus the assumed foot shape (wider toes, narrower heels) describes me. Sizing was a bit of an issue; Zappos had just 9 and 10. I normally take 9.5 in an approach shoe, 10 in a runner, and indications from reviews is that these size a little small, so I went for 10. Thanks guys.



My experience from 4 "hikes":

1) fairly fragile soles-- a few lugs ripped off after running down scree.

2) Sticky ONLY when landing on rocks as one might find in dry washes or stream bed, Not sticky at all for rock slabs. The reasons: a) La Sportiva friXion XF is just not that sticky; b) the soles are designed with relatively few, high-profile lugs. The idea is that when you land on a highly convex surface (say a 6" rock in the trail), the lugs splay apart and the base sole hits the rock, providing a good grip. Unfortunately, when you are on a flattish rock slab, just a few squirrelly lugs contact the rock, and these are more slippery than even my vanilla New Balance trail runners.
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Re: Trail Runners with sticky rubber soles

Postby asmrz » Tue Oct 16, 2012 1:19 am

Sorry for being late to this, but regarding the Exum Guides and strap on crampons, they work very well. Both Penelope and I have a pair of these boots, Pen has strap on Stubai aluminum crampons and the combo is light and works for not too technical Sierra terrain. We descended the snow fields from the shoulder of Mt. Carl Heller in May, the snow was frozen and I was a bit concerned for Penelope since I had a comfortable (stiffer) Scarpa boots and G-12s. But she just cruised down in comfort. Unfortunately, the Exum Guides run a bit wide. They are not for running, but for backcountry scrambling boot, they cannot be beat.
Last edited by asmrz on Sun Jan 13, 2013 4:50 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Trail Runners with sticky rubber soles

Postby MoapaPk » Tue Oct 16, 2012 3:20 pm

Thanks all! I'm embarrassed to say... I own two pairs of steel crampons and THREE pairs of aluminum crampons! (One steel pair is so old, that it gets monthly checks from the US Gov't.)

I used Stubai ultralights for years, but was not enamored with the (now-changed?) requirement to have a hex wrench to change the length in the field. Then one fateful day I walked out of one while wearing really soft boots (admittedly, the length was probably not well-adjusted), and had a very exciting 400-vertical-foot ride on a 40 degree slope. Since then I've been a bit more circumspect!
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Re: Trail Runners with sticky rubber soles

Postby sharperblue » Tue Oct 16, 2012 9:47 pm

One late reply: a second strong vote for the LaSportiva Wilcats: super lightweight, super ventilating, but with a reinforced toe guard. I soloed North Peak's NW ridge (icy) this weekend in them and they did great as rock shoes on easy (5.3-5.4) terrain - very stick, and the edges are fairly rigid (not dime-edge rigid, but more than secure for small knobs and crystals)
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Re: Trail Runners with sticky rubber soles

Postby visentin » Sun Jan 13, 2013 7:37 am

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Re: Trail Runners with sticky rubber soles

Postby SeanReedy » Sun Jan 13, 2013 8:36 am



I've seen people on SP saying positive things about the similar, but low-top, LaSportiva Wildcats. However, the bottom/sole looks different from the Crossovers. I recently delved into the world of specialized trail runners after years of getting good deals at the Reebok Outlet wasn't cutting it for me anymore (their offerings became less rugged and protective over time without becoming much lighter & I became more of a minamalist runner). I decided to try several different lightweight trail runners that I got a deal on ($40 range) at Sierra Trading Post. One pair was the LaSportiva C-Lite 2.0's that are very similar (same sole) to the Crossovers, but again low-top (I added waterproofing treatment at home). All three mentioned have the AT rubber, which is not advertised as being the stickiest variety from LaSportiva. I find that my big toes jam into the fronts of LaSportivas some on steep downhills, even in their largest size available, but like them besides that. I've used them in snow and mud, but haven't tried them out on much rock yet. Besides mud and snow, I figure they would be good for canyon running in gravel at Death Valley.

Not necessarily for stickiness, I also picked up and have enjoyed wearing some lightweight Keen A86TR's for trailrunning in terrain that isn't very rocky, and Montrail Mountain Masochists & Rockridges to try out on rougher (talus, scree, granite) terrain in the Sierra (waiting for winter to be over or a Death Valley trip to try them out). I love my Inov-8's the most for comfort, but I got a variety intended for working out rather than serious trailrunning (haven't tried them outdoors).
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Re: Trail Runners with sticky rubber soles

Postby asmrz » Sun Jan 13, 2013 4:42 pm

If you live in Southern California, the 5.10 outlet in Redlands has the Exum Guides and Camp 4s in stock for 78 bucks...Cannot beat that...
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Re: Trail Runners with sticky rubber soles

Postby Autoxfil » Tue Jan 15, 2013 5:20 pm



The Crossover is bascially a Crosslite with an integrated gaiter. It's the same rubber as the Wildcat (sticky for a trail-runner, but several grades below anything actually good for steep scrambles). The tread pattern is widely spaced, aggressive lugs which do much better on snow than the Raptor/Wildcat. It is a phenomenal snow-running and -hiking shoe. The Crossover in particular is appealing, because the lugs and gaiter are both well-suited for snow, mud, soft dirt dirt, and other loose/sloppy conditions.

The Crossover/Crosslite is a long, narrow last (much more so than the Raptor/Wildcat), and is fairly low. I'd chose them for running or hiking fast on dirt/snow, but less for most hiking/climbing. I love my Raptors for hiking, but rarely choose to run in them. They aren't nearly as clunky as they look, but still feel heavy and slow when my pace picks up.
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