Gear Institute Expert Test Menu

The Top Trail Shoes of the GoPro Mountain Games

By: Kim Fuller - June 16, 2017

 Joe Merrell shoes right Sages HOKA ONE ONE shoes left

The men’s running competition was deep with talent this year at the GoPro Mountain Games in Vail, Colorado, and an impressive fleet of trail shoes were also on display at the competition. The runners put on quite a show for those in attendance, flashing their speed, endurance, and trail savvy.

World Mountain Running Champion, Joe Gray, came back to win the Superfeet 10k Spring Runoff for the fourth year in a row, beating renowned Boulder-based runner Sage Canaday by just over one minute.

“There was really good competition this year,” said Gray after the race. “There were guys out here that I’ve been on national teams with, so I knew it was going to be a tough race.”


Gray, who lives in Colorado Springs and is sponsored by Merrell, wore that company's All Out Crush Shield. He said the Shield version blocks mud and keep your foot really dry while out on the trail.

“There were some muddy sections, and I could just run through knowing that my feet wouldn’t get wet,” he said. “They have really good traction, so when we were hitting those steep ascents on the grass I was really confident.”

Canaday said Gray came out of the gate pretty hard.

“He pretty much opened a gap on us on the first climb,” Canaday said of Gray. “I saw him for a couple miles, and then I didn’t see him. He just kept extending his lead a bit.”

The course was on and off mountain bike trails on Vail Mountain, so there was a lot of singletrack and roots to maneuver. This presented some unique challenges to competitors who saw the terrain change throughout the race.


Canaday, who is sponsored by HOKA ONE ONE, wore the Tracer, which is actually a light and fast road flat.

“I knew it was mostly dry and so I would have traction,” Canaday told us. “But I have been wearing the Speedgoat 2, which is an improvement from the first Speedgoat.”

He said he would wear this tough-terrain friendly trail shoe for his biggest race of this season, the Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc, coming up in September. Both Gray and Canaday will be competing this weekend at the Mountain Washington Road Race as well.


A new event for the Mountain Games, Pepi’s Face Off, takes ambitious athletes on a Vail Village-facing ski slope to see how many times they can climb and descend it in 30 minutes. Carbondale, Colorado-based runner, Sean Van Horn, got second in the event (after also landing a 10k podium spot for his age group that same morning) and was wearing Dynafit Feline Vertical Pros. Van Horn is the manager of Independence Run and Hike in Carbondale, and he couldn’t say enough about how well these ultra-lightweight vertical runners performed.


“These shoes are just absolutely awesome,” he said. “I think they saved me on the descent. I don’t really think I’m the best descender, but they are just really grippy and give me a lot of traction.”


About the Author

Kim Fuller

Kim Fuller

Kim Fuller lives in the Colorado mountains as a freelance journalist and outdoor enthusiast. She’s a runner, skier, mountain biker, hiker, backpacker and yoga instructor, and believes movement and fresh air is the key to happiness and vitality.


comments powered by Disqus