A trail-running shoe is a different beast to its bitumen-based brethren. That's because it covers far more rugged terrain. It needs to combine the attributes of a running shoe (lightweight, supportive sole, proper fit) with that of a hiking boot - protection from trail detritus, plenty of ankle and foot support and a more robust build.
AGO has been testing the Wildcat 2.0 trail runner for 18 months now, with our initial impressions of a tough, supportive shoe ringing true on the trails since we started.
The construction is excellent: the uppers are lightweight but, combined with the easily adjusted lacing system, do a good job of securing the foot in the shoe. Even when twisting sharply to change direction quickly, my foot still feels well supported.
The EVA midsole offers decent support (even for this heavyweight tester!) over rocks and harder surfaces, and the TPU shank softens the impact on the ankle fairly effectively - especially considering I am a "heel-first" runner. Impressively, the Wildcats' inbuilt gaiter also seems to work, keeping a fair amount of dirt and tiny rocks out of the shoe itself.
In the past two years, the trail shoe market has exploded, which is great news for trail runners. Even better news, though, is that the all-new La Sportiva Wildcat 3.0 is due to hit our local trails any day now. With more mesh for better ventilation - and even more robust materials - it looks like being another winner.
RRP: $199 (Wildcat 3.0)