Can you help me find an "ultra" shoe?
Here are the basics of what I'm looking for in an ultra shoe:
- Lightweight (less than 10 ounces)
- Wide toebox (let my toes spread out)
- Fairly flexible (let my foot act naturally)
- Close to zero drop (max 4mm heel to toe drop)
- Some cushioning and protection (rockplate, thicker midsole, etc)
If it has trail traction/tread, that would be a plus, but not a necessity. The trails I run tend not to have too many extreme ups/downs or slippery sections. Road shoes often work fine on them. In fact, racing flats have worked fairly well--but lack the extra bit of cushioning/protection I need for a 30+ mile race.
Here are a couple of contenders for my next ultra shoe:
Altra Instinct (US13 was too short, 14 might be too big, no 13.5 available)
NB MT110 (comes out in early 2012)
Saucony Kinvara (road shoe, but might work)
Inov-8 (tend to run narrow in forefoot)
NB M700 cross country spikeless racer
Any thoughts on these shoes? Others I should consider? Maybe I should simply become a tougher runner and suck it up--my NB Trail Minimus might be all I need? Help me!
UPDATE: I have ordered the Saucony Kinvara shoe. It's a road shoe with a 4mm heel to toe drop (but with more midsole than my other minimalist shoes). Lightweight with reasonable tread, airy mesh, and a medium to wide forefoot. No rockplate, but I'm hoping the thicker midsole will provide protection and a bit more cushioning for the longer ultras.
UPDATE #2: The Kinvaras are too narrow/tight and they have a slight arch support that bothers me. I'm sending them back. Damn. This minimalist stuff is tough--I want a little more protection, but I don't want to lose the ability of my foot to act naturally and still sense the ground. I hear Merrel is coming out with a new trail shoe in 2012 designed to provide a bit more protection than the Trail Glove (called the Bare Access). And there's the New Balance MT110 in early 2012. Guess I wait? Or just get tougher and forget all this shoe stuff? Or maybe I should't run beyond 20 miles...almost any shoe can get me to 20 miles.
UPDATE #3 (Oct 27): Ordered the Altra Instinct in size 14. After blog comments, I'm also considering the NB M700 XC racer (spikeless version in 2E width).