Developed by the world’s greatest athletes, this shoe is designed with an athletic fit and is perfect for alpine running races as well as the rest of us trail runners. It is light and tough with a midsole/sole technology that offers the cushion and stability typically only found in heavier shoes, what makes it suitable also for ultra trail races. With a proprietary Vibram® outsole, this shoe can easily handle extreme mountain terrain like mud and wet ground.
- Athletic, sensitive fit
- Vibram Mapping Compound- 3 different sole compounds and hardness degrees for 3 different functions
- Claw grip
- Multi pad midsole
- Invisible lacing
- Ballistic bumper
- Aura activator magnet
- Measured size 9
- Weight – 301 g (10.6 oz)
- Stack Height – 26.9 mm (heel), 15.9 mm (toe), 11 mm (drop) with insole
- Forefoot width – 99.3 mm (3.9 in)
- Retail – $160
Dynafit has been long known for their outstanding ski boots and more recently ski equipment. The Feline Superlight is one of two trail running shoes they have developed for technical trail running. These are not your normal trail running shoes; these have a very aggressive look and design for technical requirements. Dynafit knows climbing soles well and have built these with that know how and balancing speed versus weight. I was excited to be able to work with them to do a review of the Feline Superlight Shoes.
I got out and ran some trails. Her in Central Oregon we really have some great trails, but they are on the dry side. I was not able to test these in any real mud. I would say about 90% of my miles thus far have been on trails.
The Dynafit Feline Superlight is the first running shoes designed by Dynafit. They spent three years in development of these shoes using much of the knowledge they have gained making high end ski boots. The Feline Superlight’s are aimed at Alpine Runners. These are not your normal sissy trail runners. In the design of the shoes, Dynafit came at it with a background in climbing shoes and a balance of weight and speed. These shoes are made for the rugged environment of high-altitude terrain.
To address the rugged nature of alpine running the Feline Superlight’s core is the sole and midsole. The Dynafit Alpine Running sole system offers the cushioning and stability you normally only see in much heavier shoes. The shoes have a claw like compound that has been created by Vibram. This outsole is very aggressive with large multi-direction lugs for increased grip, whether you are climbing or descending. The outsole features Vibram’s Mapping Compound where they have used a combination of three different rubber compounds depending on the location and purpose of that section of the outsole. These different compounds vary in the hardness and allow for better grip across a wide range of surfaces. For cushioning, the shoes have a Multi Pad Midsole which conforms immediately to the differing mountain terrain for secure footing and stability. This all blends itself into Dynafit’s athletic fit, which was developed to support the pattern of body movements, promotes muscular coordination, and increases balance and control.
The upper is a mix of mesh, synthetic overlays, and a half gaiter covering the lacing system. The Invisible Lacing construction protects the shoe from accidental opening if it becomes untied and allows for the regulation and tensioning of the toe box. The half gaiter also keeps debris from getting in the shoe from around the tongue area. Only half of the laces are visible above the gaiter while the other half is covered. For more secure lacing, there is a pull tab to secure the lower laces as you tighten them up. At the bottom of the laces, there is a rubber cover for hooking the gaiter clip onto. Over the toes, there is a Ballistic Bumper to protect your toes from rocks and other hard objects. The last interesting feature is located in the arch. There is a device a called the Aura Activator, it is a magnet that is said to increase the athletes performance, resistance and equilibrium through the activation of a biocompatible wave. Ultimately helping the athlete use less effort.
The Dynafit feline Superlight is one of two new shoes, the other being a Gore-Tex model. The Feline Superlight is a unisex shoe so it can work for both men and women. It is relatively lightweight and has a drop of 11 mm from heel to toe. The shoes are fairly flexible in the toe and more rigid in the heel. The shoes look awesome. On looks alone these have to be one of my favorite looking pairs of shoes. They look fast, well made, and ready to tear up the trail. They remind me of when I was a kid and when I got new shoes, I felt like I was faster and could jump higher. I may have been able to as well; belief is a powerful thing. There is not much information about the exact materials used in these shoes. I was also not able to find any information about sustainable practices or initiatives. As I have mentioned before this doesn’t mean they don’t exist, just there is no mention of them.
Comfort of Material (15%)
Foot Length (20%)
Foot Volume (20%)
Heel Width (15%)
Midfoot Width (15%)
Toe Box Width (15%)
I am normally a size 9, and that is what I have been testing in these. I was nervous when they were wet to arrive because I usually have to size up on European shoes, but this was not the case with the Dynafit’s. The Feline Superlight Shoes are built with an athletic fit. This fit is made to be snug to the foot like their ski boots for better performance. This isn’t what would be classified as a “comfort” shoe with lots of room inside. I noticed once I put it on that it is, in fact, snug but not overly so. There is a decent amount of room in the toe box, and the heel is snug to keep the heel in place. Through the midfoot, the shoes seem to run on the medium to narrow side. I am a medium width foot, and they worked well for me but I did feel like if my foot was any wider it would be a stretch. The length of the size 9 was just about perfect; I had some room at the end but not too much. As with the fit through the midfoot, the overall volume of the shoe also feels in the medium to low range. For me, the shoes hugged my foot well and did not give me any blisters on any of my runs. I have not put any really long runs in with these on due to knee issues; two hours was my max. After being nervous when I got them, I have been really pleased with the fit.
Magnet Influence (10%)
The Feline Superlight Shoes have grip! Not only do they work exceptionally well on rough and rugged terrain, but they work well on tamer terrain as well. Just walking around you can feel the lugs underfoot and how they adjust to the ground underneath. The grip is so good I would even consider them for winter running in snow and slush, that is, as long as I had the Gore-Tex model. The mesh on these would get wet quickly. It is there to help the shoes breathe, which they do well. I do think Dynafit has done a good job making a stable and secure shoe. The upper with the gaiter and overlays secured my foot well, and I did not feel any excessive movement in the shoes when running. With the pull before you go tab, it really tightens the upper and makes you feel securely in the shoe. The shoe offers a excellent mix of cushioning and ground protection. While the forefoot does have some good flex to it, the rest of the shoe is stiffer making it more stable on adverse terrain. They do have more drop than I normally go for but once on mountainous trails I tend not to notice as much as my gait is a bit more erratic.
The upper with gaiter does a great job keeping out debris. There is even a rubber lace protector for hooking in a full gaiter if you need more protection. The shoes seem very well-made and have held up nicely through my testing. The different compounds of rubber have held up great, but I can see them wearing out quickly if you run too many roads and sidewalks in these. As I said above the traction is seriously the core of the shoes. I really could not tell any difference with the Aura Activator. I have been battling some IT Band issues, so I have not been able to put in any runs over 13 miles in these and wonder if it is in the longer runs where you may feel the difference. I have tried other magnetic type devices such as Phitten necklaces and bracelets and did not notice any changes then either. I would be curious to know if anyone has tried these before and had any results with the Aura Activator, leave a comment below either way.
Overall, Dynafit did a good job with their first running shoes. They obviously leaned heavily on their knowledge from making ski boots. These shoes are much better than you would expect right out of the gate. The fit is true to size in length but does have a tighter (lower volume) fit. If you are a wide foot or high-volume foot, these may be a bit tight for you, otherwise they will fit well. The Feline Superlight’s are not made for tame conditions, they will do a descent job, but they are truly made for the rugged mountains. Only the La Sportiva C-Lite 2.0 Shoes I reviewed had traction that could compare to these, and I think the Feline Superlight’s still have more. The construction and materials used on the shoes are high-quality and should last a long time even if you beat them up. I have not had any issues and with the wet rag, the shoes look nearly new. Speaking of the looks, for me, I think they are awesome looking, but that should not be too much of a factor, right. =) My only drawbacks would be 11 mm drop; I tend to like less, but it did not cause me any issues. With the Aura Activator, I was not able to feel and discernible difference. The Dynafit Feline Superlight Shoes retail for $160, which is on the expensive side. You get a well made and race ready mountain running shoe with lots of cool features. Is it worth it, of course, your mileage may vary.
- Amazing grip
- Comfortable with appropriate size
- Secure fit
- Half Gaiter keeps debris out
- They look sweet!
- On the expensive side
- Some might find them narrow
- Could not tell any difference with the Aura Activator – might be me =)
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