The Tara Lite is GoLite Footwear’s latest evolution in BareTech trail running shoes. With an internal thong for lateral stability, the design is inspired by the sandals worn by the Tarahumara tribes of Mexico. GoLite Footwear’s BareTech series combine the best aspects of minimal shoes and adds protection, stability and traction, resulting in a unique shoe that lets you focus on the wilderness instead of your feet.
- Soft Against the Ground Technology for superior stability and comfort
- BareTech zero drop and contoured last for a natural ride
- “Sticky Gecko” outsole, inspired by gravity defying gecko uses over 300 mini lugs for maximum surface contact, friction and traction on any terrain
- Dual density EVA midsole for protection
- Unique closure system provides adjustable fit and security
- Lightweight, performance “second skin” Lycra upper forms to your foot dries quickly
- Product ships with pair of split toe socks
- Measured size 9
- Weight – 339 g (12.0) with insoles
- Forefoot width – 99.7 mm (3.9 in)
- Stack height – Heel (17.2 mm), Toe (17.2 mm), Drop (0 mm) without insoles
- Insole width – 5.9 mm
- Retail – $120
The GoLite Footwear Tara Lite are not like anything I have run in before. GoLite has taken the sandals of the Taramuhara Indians of Mexico and created a shoe with some of those properties and a bunch of other technologies. I must say GoLite Footwear is definitely trying something different here; the question is on whether it works.
GoLite Footwear Tara Lite shoes are very different. You cannot help but notice that they are bright orange. GoLite does now have a black pair as well. The Tara Lite’s are different in that they are a shoe built like a sandal. The upper of the shoe is a lightweight Lycra material to be like a second skin. The securing system is like a sandal. There is a strap around the heel and one around the front of the foot near the ankle that connects to a strap coming up from between the big and second toes. It is best to look at a picture of this to get a full understanding. There are some structural elements added around the heel area and over the front of the toes. On the upper GoLite has put two loops to aid in pulling these on; one in the back and the other in the front of the opening.
On the inside of the shoe, GoLite Footwear uses their Precise Fit insoles. These insoles can be customized for each foot for the fit you are looking for. You can add or remove padding from the bottom of the insole to adjust the amount of room inside the shoe. The midsole is made up of two different densities of EVA foam. GoLite calls this their Baretech technology. There is a hard EVA material below the insoles for stability and protection. Below that is a soft EVA for shock-absorption, balance, and stability. The idea is called Soft Against the Ground by GoLite. The soft material near the ground absorbs the shock and creates a soft and stable ride. The harder material acts as a platform. The best analogy is the shocks on a 4×4 that takes out the bumps on the road making for a more comfortable ride.
The outsole of the Tara Lite shoes is made out of Gripstick Rubber. It is lightweight, durable, and provided good traction over a multitude of surfaces. Pair that with the Sticky Gecko outsole design for ultimate traction. More than 300 small lugs replicate the tiny hairs on a gecko’s feet that create maximum surface contact for better traction, especially on wet, uneven surfaces. Made with 2 densities of EVA, the Sticky Gecko sole lets you move fast and with confidence over any terrain in any conditions.
The GoLite Footwear Tara Lite shoes are different than others I have tested so I needed to evaluate them slightly differently as well. I tested a size 9 as that is what I normally wear and felt like it was a good size for me. Getting these on at first takes a sec as you have to get your foot in and make sure your toes are in the right spots. I have to say that the strap between the toes feels odd. I have run in Injinji’s and Vibram Five Fingers but I found these to be a little odder I think due to the width of the strap. While I did not always notice it, a majority of the time I did. Speaking of the inside of the shoes, the upper felt nice with and without socks on. The insole is also a bit different in that you can adjust the width of the shoes and it seems to work. I actually had plenty of room when using the medium width so I did not use the wide setting but for a couple minutes.
The GoLite Tara Lite Shoes are different than any others I have ran in. They are not a minimalist shoe and they do not claim to be. They are a fully cushioned zero drop shoe. Their weight is similar to other full cushioned trail runners on the market. The main difference is in the zero drop. The shoes do not fit me tight but they actually run fairly well. I could not tell much of a difference in stability with the Soft Against the Ground Technology. They definitely do absorb the rocks and bumps well though. I am used to running in zero drop shoes so there was not any transition for me. One technology I was impressed with is the Gecko Grip sole. There was ample traction on all surfaces I ran on. The only thing I did not get to run in was mud since it was summer in Central Oregon. The shoes are a bit on the warm side, the upper breathes a little but not as well as mesh does. The second skin upper does keep dust and rocks out well though.
I am impressed by how GoLite Footwear is pushing the limits and doing something different. For me the shoes ran fairly well and should last a long time. I was not impressed with the fit, I was not able to tighten the upper the way I like. Also I could not get used to the cord going between my toes. Another issue I can think of is GoLite gives you a pair of socks but if you want to run in these shoes daily you must buy more socks or do laundry often. I feel like they do have a good opportunity for a cushioned zero drop trail runner. They are not for high tempo runs, more like a smooth long distance runner. I would be interested in seeing some of GoLite’s technologies in a more traditional shoe. As always, Your Mileage May Vary.
- Cushioned zero drop
- Loose Fit
- Cord between the toes