[winter trail runner]
Keep your training going with the extra protection, traction, and comfort of this lightweight. In addition to shallow (3 mm) lugs that provide maximum surface contact, the Vibram IceTrek sole uses a rubber compound that remains pliable when the temperature drops. “The Icerunner sticks really well on hard-to-grip smooth surfaces like wet wooden bridges, and does better on ice than other trail runners without spikes,” says one tester.
The ultralight winter trainers feel racy, yet they’re surprisingly protective. The inch-thick rockered sole includes springy EVA and a half-length carbon composite plate between the mid- and outsole that absorbs shock from roots and rocks. A firm heel cup snugs the foot in place and protects from side impacts, and a more flexible toe bumper shields the front of the foot. While the Ion Mask treatment on the uninsulated, stretch-woven nylon upper is water-repellent rather than waterproof, the uppers have an extra stretch nylon and Lycra hood over the laces that helps shed light rain and slushy snow, which one tester appreciated on runs on Mt. Adams and Mt. Hood. Breathability proved excellent even for warm-weather runs, making this a year-round shoe for some testers. Runs a half size small. Limitation: Testers found the relatively shallow lugs didn’t have enough bite to maintain traction in mud. $140; 1 lb. 4 oz.; m’s 6-14, w’s 5-11; scott-sports.com