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Testing Puma Faas 300, Inov-8 Bare Grip 200 and Icebug Anima Buggrip

February 17, 2012

Puma Faas 300 approx 200g. A soft and comfy alternative to hard cushioned minimalists.

This time of year you better run with spiked shoes. But last sunday I went you for a mixed dry & fun run. Since I’m conducting a shoe review for an outdoor magazine I have been waiting for some ice free days. It was a sunny and warm (+3°C) day with patches of ice free tarmac, perfect for trying out the stylish Puma Faas 300, a semi-cushioned racing flat. The gave me an unforgettable smooth ride, until it was time to switch to the mean looking Inov-8 Bare Grip. Time to hit the hidden ridges, covered with a 20 cm layer of soft snow. The Bare Grip 200 is a lightweight low profile shoe with zero drop and sticky rubber studs, wonderful for running in untrailed terrain, not at least when you traverse steep slopes. I haven’t felt secure enough with other barefoot models in untrailed terrain, but these did the job and provided

Award for "Best barefoot hardcore trail shoe" goes to Inov-8 Bare Grip 200, with 230g and a 15/13 mm profile.

both traction and protection. However if you’re looking for trail racing shoe you’d probably be better off with the X-talon 190 or the F Lite for smoother trails. Scrambling my way along sunny ridges I wished I could just continue, without having to turn back. I realise more and more how beautiful and important these runs have become. It’s also funny how the snow layer change the environment, it’s like running in new places.

And prize to "Best grip on ice" goes to Icebug Anima Buggrip.

This winter I have also been running with Icebug Anima Buggrip, a lightweight spiked trailsko with 19 spikes, and Salomon Spikecross (with 9 spikes), which is somewhat heavier with higher profile, but offers good traction on slippery surfaces. For grip, lightweight feel and speed the Anima is the best choice. It  also has a wider forefoot, which allows  big foot runners, but for narrow feet it lacks the immidiate control you’d like in a trail shoe for rough terrain. The Spikecross is more protective, has a tighter fit and more cushioning, which makes it better for heavier runners and longer runs on hard surfaces.

As a shoe tester and running coach I can offer my clients to borrow spiked running shoes, which allows us to run naturally even on  ice and snow. Apart from trying to enhance their running technique I also let them try challenging trail running. Running in untouched snow can be liberating, and another kind of running experience than they are used to. If you haven’t tried it yet yourself, you should before the snow vanishes.

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