Model: Feline Vertical
Our take When it came time for long, long runs with steep, steep climbs, we laced up the Feline Vertical—a minimalist, lightweight trail runner. The Megagrip outsole—Vibram’s stickiest—adhered to slick, rocky surfaces in the Boulder Flatirons. The deep, cleat-like lugs seemed to conform around debris and adapt to rooty surfaces. Grooves in the heel area, which look like steps terracing toward the back of the outsole, help with braking. Caveat: All that tackiness comes at the price of durability—our sample’s soles are wearing down after five months.
The details The cushion is average, and the short, 4mm drop allows for a natural stride. Testers loved the slipper-like comfort and speed-lacing system. Note: The meshy Feline Vertical was designed with breathability in mind; they aren’t waterproof. Fit is low-volume for extra control on technical trail runs.
Trail cred “The low weight reduced fatigue, and they did not give me blisters even though I did 16 miles in them out of the box,” says a tester who tallied 200 hard trail miles around Colorado.