4/6/2022 2022 SkyRun Season Preview
Welcome to the second season of SkyRun!
Warming temps mean the mountains are thawing and it’s time to start running on snow-free trails, training for your upcoming race, and checking out the new shoes coming to the shop. Yep, the 2022 season preview is here!
First, we want to say thank you to everyone for being a part of our first year. As a dedicated trail running shop, it was a blast getting to know more folks in the running community. From group runs to volunteering at aid stations to in-store events, we can’t wait to do it all over again!
And although spring seems to have arrived before some of our gear (thanks to continuing supply chain craziness), let’s dive in and see what we can expect on our shelves this season!
The Akasha is Back!
Perhaps the most anticipated shoe this season is La Sportiva’s Akasha II. The original Akasha was a hit with many runners for rugged trails and big days in the mountains. And boy were folks unhappy when it was discontinued. However, we’re convinced La Spo was just playing a prank on us because they’ve brought it back and better than ever! Expect the same fully capable, protective, and high-comfort shoe as before but with updated breathability and durability.
We’re also looking forward to Dynafit’s Ultra 50 hitting the shop. A few of us at SkyRun got our feet in a pair last year and were impressed by their ability to provide ample cushion for long distances while still giving plenty of ground feel and nimbleness. It’s like Dynafit took the comfort of the popular Ultra 100, combined it with the sporty Alpine, and then gave it a generous toe box to accommodate more folks.
And for those of you who aren’t familiar with Dynafit as a running brand, you’re not alone…but not for long. We interviewed a USA rep to get a look beneath the hood of the running side of this popular European brand widely known for their ski gear. Read that here.
A Salomon Boost
In addition to the mud-eating S/Lab Cross and Cross Pro shoes, we’ve decided to add more Salomon trail runners to our lineup. These include the popular S/Lab Ultra 3, the high-cushion Ultra Glide (available in a wide version for both men and women), and Kilian Jornet’s Pulsar and Pulsar SG. The latter two were designed with the European super athlete so you can expect some of the lightest and fastest - yet fully capable - trail shoes out there. They’ll be perfect for chasing the podium on race day.
Speaking of Jornet, he recently teamed up with COROS. This makes yet another high-level athlete that swears by the brand’s quality. We’ve also found them to be impressive and that’s why we’re proud to offer COROS watches for our customers. Runners love their long battery life, consistency, and accuracy. Keeping track of your stats while training is imperative for athletes preparing for races. If you’re in the market for a new watch, be sure to give COROS a look!
Not Going Anywhere
The latest and greatest new shoes and gear are always fun to get excited about. But, there’s something to be said about the shoes that have been thoroughly tested and proven. That’s why these three best-selling shoes aren’t going anywhere. For the uninitiated, here’s the brief lowdown on why they’ve become staples in our shop.
La Sportiva Cyklon - A shoe dedicated to the art of sprinting uphill and mobbing back down in questionable, loose terrain. That’s what the Cyklon was designed for but runners discovered that that was only part of the story. It became a hit for short to medium distances thanks to the BOA lace system that makes dialing in a precise fit impressively easy, a built-in gaiter that keeps all annoying debris out of the shoe, and the aggressive outsole that gives you traction when it’s needed most. Oh, and its futuristic, radical looks don’t hurt either.
Dynafit Ultra 100 - Plenty of cushion that stands up to punishingly long days on trail. Sure, any shoe manufacturer can double down on their midsole and call it a distance shoe, but there’s something really special about the cushion on the Ultra 100. Maximum comfort without feeling spongey or dead. At the same time, it’s not so ridiculous that you feel clumsy or out of touch with the trail. It’s one of those “try it on and you’ll know what we’re talking about” situations.
La Sportiva Mutant - Versatile and capable, the La Sportiva Mutant has been around for a long while, and for good reason. Aggressive, sticky lugs keep you upright no matter the terrain and the burrito wrap style uppers hug your foot for a comfortable yet secure fit. This is the go-to shoe for those days when you’ll be both running and scrambling. In the Wasatch, that means the WURL.
When it comes to sizing, we’ll be the first to admit that online shopping for new trail running shoes is never a 100% certain affair. However, in order to minimize the guesswork and maximize the happiness of your feet, we have created the Shoe Fitter! Simply fill out a handful of quick questions and our staff will send over recommendations that will hone in on the right new pair for you. We also offer helpful comparison pages that enable you to see side-by-side specs of shoes and other gear. But rest assured that if the new kicks simply won’t work, even after all that, we have free return shipping on shoes purchased through the Shoe Fitter!
Poles, Poles, Poles
Maybe we took one too many laps up the quad-burning West Grandeur trail last year but we’ve seen the light and have gone all-in on running poles this season. Our now robust selection ensures a variety of options from the straightforward cost-effective Dynafit Ultra Pole to the imperceptible Leki Ultratrail FX One Superlite. Runners, pick your sticks and then use them to power up hills and save your legs on crushing descents! If you’re still on the fence, SkyRun staffer Zak wrote a convincing article about when and why he uses poles for trail running.
And while we’re on the subject of poles, Black Diamond now offers a free tent with the purchase of the Distance Carbon Z poles. Okay, not exactly, but this lightweight, packable tent does include (and use) those poles for its structure. The Black Diamond Distance Tent w/ Z Poles is perfect for fastpacking and other bipedal overnight missions.
Pack it up!
Carry water, nutrition, an extra layer, keys, and other knick-knacks. Sure, it’s a simple task but the execution isn’t so simple for designers who also aspire to make them comfortable to wear, minimize slop, and lightweight yet durable for everyday abuse. That said, we swear these brands have considered every last detail, from gear organization to pole carry to the material used. As a result, it’s now imperative to have lots of options for runners so that they can choose their ideal system. Starting this season, our growing selection of packs now includes offerings from CAMP. They’ve long been known for their lightweight, quality gear on the mountaineering side of things so we’re glad to see them execute so well for trail running. The CAMP Trail Force series features soft and stretchy material that conforms to your body and equipment to reduce bounce and general awkwardness.
We’ve also been enjoying Dynafit’s Vert 3 for short distances or on race day to hold you over between aid stations. It is constructed out of mesh to make it SUPER breathable and featherweight. Plenty of smart pockets also makes it feel more capable than just three liters.
As part of the running community, we have been excited to feature a variety of folks on our blog. From trip reports to training tips to interviews, we love hearing from other runners and sharing inspiration. Our most recent article is from performance coach Jimmy Picard and he discusses why running slow helps you run fast! It's a great article to start your season with so you can work towards breaking your PR.
SkyRun exists to help build community and we find that blog posts are a great way to do that. If you or someone you know has done something interesting (success or failure), has some thoughts on a topic, is planning something audacious, or has been ruminating on an idea and wants to get it off their chest, we’re happily taking submissions. Reach out to James@Skimo.co with any ideas!
Similarly, we’re planning out another full season of aid station volunteering. Last year’s highlights included several Cirque Series events, Speedgooat 50k, Scout Mountain Ultra, and the inspiring Wasatch 100. Once things are official, we’ll be sure to announce them and invite everyone out to volunteer with us. Or, better yet, we hope to cheer you on as you pass through the station!
Lastly, group runs this season will look a bit different! As much as we love slogging up Grandeur, we’ve decided to opt for a more casual event that will emphasize community and socializing. Think mellow paces, post-run coffee, giveaways, brand partnerships, and trailhead loitering. Stay tuned for details!
Whether you’re a local Wasatch runner or are in town for an event, we invite everyone to come visit us as the shop. We love swapping stories and hearing what folks are up to! But regardless of where you run, we wish you a great season and are eager to help in any way we can. Happy trails!
-The SkyRun Team