7/21/2022 Intro to Dynafit Trail Running Shoes
“I didn’t know Dynafit made shoes!”
We get it all the time at the shop. After all, most of our customers are used to seeing the Dynafit logo on their winter boots and skis. Shoes? Not so much… yet.
However, at SkyRun, we’re convinced that change is already well underway in a big way. In fact, the Dynafit Ultra 100 was one of our best-selling shoes last season and a big reason for that is their astounding comfort while still being capable on technical terrain. Much like their snowy side of things, Dynafit has kept the “go fast” ethos for their running line and is continuing to innovate.
To learn more about the brand’s summer offerings we checked in with Dynafit rep, Eric Poore.
When and why did Dynafit start making trail shoes, in addition to ski touring gear? How does trail running fit in with a brand known for ski touring gear?
Dynafit started offering summer gear with footwear and apparel in 2010. Dynafit’s goal is to provide the most efficient system for mountain endurance athletes regardless of the season. The ski tourer in the winter doesn’t stop going into the mountains when the snow melts. Dynafit 24/7 365 is very important to the brand as we recognize that our winter customers don’t stop persuing their goals in the mountains. The athlete that appreciates Dynafit’s attention to detail and technology with their winter products will see the same level of detail and technology in the summer collection.
When were Dynafit shoes introduced into the US and what has been the response so far?
Dynafit summer product has been in the US since 2012. Early on the response was a bit hit or miss, but so were the shoes. Several of the shoes were too techy/niche for their own good. The product was appealing to the top 5% of athletes but was not necessarily commercially relevant to the majority of trail runners. In the past couple of seasons, shoes like the Alpine Pro and Ultra 100, have been a big step forward for Dynafit with updated fits and more comfortable designs, but still perform on technical trails. New for this summer is the Ultra 50, which will help add another fit option to our collection and should be a top seller at our retailers.
What are some of Dynafit’s most popular shoes and why?
The Ultra 100 is our most popular shoe right now thanks to many factors. First and foremost, the uniqueness of the midsole. It is a max cushion shoe that still has a lot of energy in the mid-sole due to the density of the foam that we are using. The midsole also doesn’t collapse when rock hopping or taking tight switchbacks at speed, providing solid footing and protection. We are also using a POMOCA branded outsole that covers the entire bottom of the shoe. The lack of exposed EVA on the outsole really helps with durability and is a big reason why our athletes are getting over 500 miles out of a single pair of shoes. The Ultra 100 works as both an everyday training shoe or a race day shoe, which proves its versatility and is likely why it’s our best seller. If we could recommend one shoe from the collection, the Ultra 100 is our pick.
The Alpine is also a very popular shoe that is focused on technical trails. The Vibram MegaGrip outsole is one of the grippiest we have run in and performs particularly well on trails that we often encounter in the west – dry and loose dirt/rocks on top of hard compacted surface. The shoe is also a fantastic option for rock scrambling, if that is your thing. The rubber holds well when smearing, even on 5th class rock grades. This shoe is a great option for 50k and under races, but best suited for that trail marathon-length race on technical terrain. Our athlete Cam Smith won The Rut 28k on the DNA version last year, and we think that’s the perfect course for this shoe.
How have the shoes progressed over the years?
The biggest progression for Dynafit footwear over the years has been the inclusion of more approachable models like the Ultra 100. When the shoes were first introduced, we just had super technical shoes with feature sets like stiff midsoles. We found out that there just aren’t too many runners out there who need such a stiff midsole and that much energy transfer between the surface they are running on and their body. In response, we introduced several new shoes that blend better fit and more comfortable cushion, but still perform well on technical terrain. This trend toward comfort is widespread throughout the running industry, and it makes sense – runners no longer want to sacrifice marginal gains in performance to have their feet smashed or hurting all day. Furthermore, technological improvements in design and materials have allowed us shoe manufacturers to develop product that is both comfortable and performance-driven.
We are still committed to innovating for elite trail athletes who demand the best and lightest products for the most intense efforts, and the new Sky DNA is a good example of our commitment in this area. We didn’t cut back on any of the design features to create a shoe that is meant to push what our athletes can achieve in the mountains. The shoe has the best outsole materials you can find for maximum traction, features a new Pebax foam, double-speed lace for dialing in a performance fit, and a lightweight upper that wraps the foot securely. I think several of our athletes will land top podium spots or set some stout FKT’s this year in the new Sky DNA.
Why should someone give Dynafit trail shoes a try? What makes them unique compared to other shoes on the market?
As with any footwear brand, fit is going to be the biggest determining factor of a shoe working for a customer or not. Different brands have different fits. Consumers should give Dynafit shoes a try because we offer multiple fit options within the collection. Generally, our fits are more accommodating for our longer distance shoes and more performance fitting for our shoes meant to be used on short courses or trails.
Dynafit shoes are unique because we design footwear in conjunction with our athletes specifically for mountain running. We do distinguish between “mountain running” and “trail running,” which is why we prioritize features like protection, traction, quality of materials, and performance on technical terrain. You will see Dynafit footwear being worn at the most challenging mountain courses all over the world, and on the podiums of these races. Some examples from last trail season:
o 1st Place 2021 Run The Rut Vertical – Cam Smith – Alpine DNA
o 1st Place 2021 Run the Rut 28k – Cam Smith – Alpine DNA
o 1st Place Trans-Rockies Stage Race – Grace Staberg – Ultra 100
o 1st Place Bear 100 – Adam Loomis – Ultra 100
o 1st US Women finisher – Sur les Traces des Ducs de Savoie (TDS) – Alex Hasenohr – Ultra 100
o 1st Place and Course Record – Running Up For Air 6HR Course – Grant Barnette – Alpine DNA
What is the future of Dynafit trail running?
We fully acknowledge the growth and interest in ultra-distance racing and will be developing updates to our product collection and maybe introducing some additional models focused on this long-distance trail runner. We also have plans to continue building our athlete teams with the best competitors and partner with the best trail events in North America and Europe. Lastly, we strongly believe running is uniquely community-driven and we will continue to put efforts towards being involved at the local level by working with our shop partners and their customers. Brands that are tuned in to what is happening at the ground level have the best chance at connecting with customers in a meaningful way. At Dynafit we are proud to say that we are a company full of athletes who participate in and are members of our local communities. This summer you can find us leading group runs or volunteering on our local trails to maintain the areas we regularly use.This article was originally published on 4/1/2022 and was last updated on 7/21/2022.