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Jul 22, 2012

Vasque Mindbender Trail Shoes

The Vasque Mindbender
A couple months ago Vasque via Darby Communications sent me a pair of Vasque Mindbender Trail shoes to test and review.

As all of you know, I've been getting into trail running.  I love being on the trail as it's so tranquil out there and sure beats the pounding of your feet on cement.  I was really excited to test these shoes because they are made for long runs.  When I mean long runs, I mean LONG runs as in Ultra runs.  Now I haven't worked up the courage to run an Ultra just yet but someday it will be in the plans.  For this review, I'm referring to my trail runs which have not gone more than 20 miles.

My first impression of the shoe is that it's a very nice looking shoe.  You might as well have something stylish especially if you'll be running for 3-48 hours in these things.  Plus one for Vasque in providing a really nice looking shoe.
Nice reflective details on the front and back
In regards to comfort, right out the box these are quite comfortable.  Most of my road running shoes, I really need a break in period where I run in these for a few miles at a time before going longer.  For some reason, most of the trail shoes I've tried, I have not had to go through a break in period.  First time out, I ran six miles in them and I liked the feel.  The shoe has a nice wide toe box area which I really prefer in all my running shoes.  In addition, the shoe wraps around the rest of your foot so your foot stays in place.  Also, my heal stayed in place as well.
Toe - enough protection
It's a very stable shoe; however, one of the drawbacks, is that it's not quite as flexible as many of the shoes I've worn.  Of course, they are made for the trails so one would expect them to be a little more stiff.  I didn't mind that as long as they remained comfortable(which they did)  The upper was very comfortable and the midsole and outsole gave enough cushion but not so much that you could not feel the response of the trail.
The drop on the shoes is 10mm so for those of you that are looking for a more minimalist shoe on the trail, these are probably not the right option for you.

The shoes fit true to size as I wear an 8.5 running shoe which was a perfect fit for the Mindbender.

I really love how the company describes these shoes:

"Running an ultra is a mind-bending experience.  The Mindbender was developed to help you wrap your head around the challenge.  Built on the Perpetuum last, this light but rock solid shoe was created to eat up miles without eating up your feet."

I could not agree more with this statement although I'm still trying to get my mind bent into an Ultra.  Haha!  In regards to eating up your feet, I did not get any blisters from the shoes.  I could not feel any spots that rub incorrectly and my feet stayed relatively cool and comfortable throughout all my runs with the shoe.

While we do have lots of trails to run here in Michigan, I don't have anything comparable to places like Colorado or Vermont but we do have some fairly steep hills in Michigan that give plenty of challenge to test the shoes.  The Mindbender handled the hills like a champ.  My feet stayed planted and I felt I had the stability needed to handle the technical trails.  Take a look at the bottom of the shoe to see how they grip the dirt.  It kind of looks like a tire tread on a mountain bike.
Great sole for any trail surface
One thing that I think I've been spoiled on with other shoes is the weight.  The Mindbender is not bad at all and runs only 11.5 oz for a men's size 9 or 9.9 oz. for a ladies size 7.  Perfectly acceptable for the kind of distance you'll be using these for.  I'd like to see them try and reduce the weight just a bit in the next version and perhaps even start moving the drop from 10mm down to 8mm to help transition to a more forefoot strike.

I also tested these out on the roads too.  They performed great there as well.  I'm not sure I'd use these as a regular shoe to run on roads but if you have a race that also has some roads to it, these would work just fine.   I did a test run on just cement with no problems at all.

Here's some additional details from the company on the shoes:

MEN’S SIZES: M 7-12,13,14,15 WOMEN’S SIZES: M 5-11
WEIGHT: M 9: 11.5 oz. (326g) W 7: 9.9 oz. (281g)
GTX WEIGHT: M 9: 13.6 oz. (386g) W 7: 11.1 oz. (315g)
LAST: Perpetuum, Women’s Specifi c Perpetuum
UPPER: Synthetic Nubuck, TPU Weld, Airmesh Nylon
FOOTBED: Removable Dual Density EVA
MIDSOLE: Stability, Dual Density EVA, TPU Instep Plate, Textile Forefoot Plate
OUTSOLE: Vasque Blur - Slip-resistant Compound

The bottom line is that these trails shoes are really comfortable.  Whether your planning an Ultra Trail race or your looking for a shoe to walk some trails, these would be ones to consider.  They have the quality needed to remain on the trails for hours at a time.

Interested in learning more about the Mindbender by Vasque or their other shoes?

For their website, click HERE.

For their Facebook page, click HERE.

For their Twitter page, click HERE.

I want to thanks Vasque and Darby Communications for the opportunity to review these fine trail running shoes.

* Note - I received a complimentary pair of Vasque Mindbender Trail shoes in exchange for this review.  All opinions on this blog post are my own and I was not paid or required to give a particular opinion on the shoes.

Have a great day and....Keep Running!!!!

1 comment:

  1. If you want a challenging, hilly run in SE Michigan, a good one is the Hike / Mountain Bike Trail at Pontiac Lake Rec. Area in Waterford / White Lake. It is a nice challenge.