I like simple things, it's one of the reasons I love running. You just put on your shoes and away you go. Even more so with trail running - there's no need for fancy roads, kerb stones, pavements or car dodging.
So when I was asked to test the Salomon Fellraiser shoes I was thrilled. Salomon have a great heritage in fell and trail running and some of my running heroes swear by their shoes.
When I opened the box I was delighted to see that the had come in Mudstacle colours and matched my yellow vest perfectly. I couldn't wait to get out and go running in them, so I went for a cheeky trot around my local trails at lunch time. The first thing I noticed was the lacing system. A simple pull cord and friction lock system meant no more tying laces, which would certainly make taking them off to remove any stones a darn sight easier.
Next up was the substantial lugs - these babies were clearly built to dig into mud! Their aggressive appearance, 6mm drop and yellow colouring, certainly seems to put them in a very similar ballpark as the inov-8 Mudclaw 300s... although, dare I say it, they weighed in at 290g (10 grams less than the inov-8s)
I race tested the shoes at the Adidas Thunder Run, where I completed four 10km laps of trail running. The trainers were very comfortable and light on the feet, but the course was dry and wasn't really a good test of the grip, but they certainly passed the comfort test with flying colours.
The next race test was the Total Warrior weekend in the Lake District, where they would certainly be getting a hefty dose of mud, water, fire, hills and slick rain-soaked grass. I went out in the first wave on the Saturday, so the course was still pretty fresh and not too churned up but there was still plenty of mud to run through. The grip was perfect, with no fear of slipping. They remained comfortable and drained the water easily throughout the full 10km. I was going to swap trainers for the Sunday 10 mile race but I was so impressed I decided to put my damp trainers back on. By this point the course had been churned up by 12 hours of rain and 4000+ runners. The mud was deeper, thicker, and heavier, but the trainers gripped and never came loose.
As I implied at the beginning of this article, I'm a simple man - I have two requirements for OCR trainers: grip and comfort. I'm very happy to say that Salomon Fellraisers are super grippy and very comfortable, so they are winners in my book and are the best trail and OCR shoes I have used to date.
Find out more about the Salomon Fellraiser here: www.salomon.com