Gear Review: Pearl Izumi syncroFuel XC Trail Shoe

A trail runner that can handle day hiking with ease


These trail runners bridge the gap between minimalist racers and beefier trail shoes, making them a great lightweight shoe to pack for a variety of activities like off-road running, dayhikes (with a 10-pound pack or less), and wandering bazaars. The seamless, airy mesh uppers—which kept my feet cool and ventilated in sweat-inducing conditions—have a snug, ultra-comfy fit, and the wider footbox doesn’t constrict toes. The EVA midsole has enough cushioning for long days of sightseeing or hiking. But it’s on the thin side, so it’s best suited to smoother, less rocky trails.

Best For

Travelers who want one shoe that can handle trail running, dayhiking, and urban walking

Tester Data

> Kim Phillips (other tester: Jonathan Dorn)

> Duration March to Nov.

> Locales/conditions CO, Chile; dirt, mud, snow, pavement; 20°F to 80°F

> “The thin midsole gives me a better feel for trail undulations, unlike built-up runners, which can make me feel unstable.”