TRAIL running is a combination of mud, rain, rocks, the occasional tumble and a lot of “I made it!” grins at the finish line.
The natural convergence of running and mountaineering, trail running is a niche sport that has a loyal and fast growing following. Compared to road races, trail running adds elevation and navigation (it’s harder to spot landmarks in the boonies) elements to the usual distance.
Seeing the writing on the proverbial wall, Saucony Philippines invited SPIN.ph along with other members of the media and brand ambassadors to the Conquer Trail Adventure event in the mountains of Tanay, Rizal for a test run of its latest offering for the trail running set, the Nomad TR.
Trail running shoes should be able to handle cross country conditions that include grass, mud and even water. When we were handed the red, black and colorway pairs, everyone took note of the Nomad’s light weight design as well as the unconventional diamond-shaped pattern of the PWRTRC outsole when compared to the larger lugs common to other trail shoes.
For the trial, Saucony arranged for the testers to take part in the 11-kilometer category of the TAC Attack 4 race. There were around 100 participants at the 6 a.m. gunstart on what turned out to be a rather chilly morning.
ITU-certified coach PJ Rivera earlier said he was just going to take it easy and try the shoes for a few klicks before returning to the camp and calling it a day. After being splattered by mud, however, the affable triathlete decided to go full-throttle for the whole 11 kms. He observed that the Nomads allowed him control even as mud started to accumulate on the outsole.
Team Herbalife’s Joy Reginald Antolin chose to make it a race as well. The veteran triathlete decided to go sockless and had no difficulty completing the course and even finishing third with zero blisters, praising the shoes’ sock-like fit for their comfort and the available space in the forefoot area (he has wide feet).
On a personal note, I felt like I had mountain bikes on my feet. I climb occasionally and only had a single 6K trail run under my belt. Still, I had no problems going as fast as I could on rocky downhill portions of the course while maintaining control over momentum and stopping.
I also noticed that the pro-lock lacing system kept the shoes in contact with my feet at all times, even as I pulled it out of mudholes (which are never to be underestimated, I once lost the outsoles of my trekking shoes to a treacherous hole en route to Mt. Pulag). Cushioning was adequate as well. As for durability, time would tell whether the Nomads would hold together. On the traverse, the Nomads maintained traction at all times.
As for maintenance, the Nomads, by virtue of their smooth, one-piece upper construction, is easy to clean and does not hold dirt in crevices or corners. Same goes with the soles. Take note that these aren’t water resistant yet dry quickly after washing.
And back at the camp, there was unanimous agreement that the Nomad TRs performed as advertised, judging by our clean hands and butts.
The Saucony Nomad TR (P5,495) is available in Saucony retail shops and selected department stores.