The “one” flaw I have (work with me here), for virtually all my hobbies, is that I am always in the pursuit of the perfect gear setup for making my outdoor enjoyment even better! Shoe selection is not exempt from this search. So, when Tahoe Mountain Sports asked for someone to test the Dynafit Ultra 100s, I (figuratively) jumped at the chance.
Background on My Personal Biases on Running Shoes
When I first started running I gravitated towards Salomon for trail and started with Asics originally for road but quickly latched on to Hokas after a continual battle with blisters. Two years later I was an ambassador for Salomon and recently have been running Topo for both trail and road. For the review of the Dynafit, I intentionally did zero research on the shoe, the weight, the drop, or anything else put out into the internet on the shoe. This review will start will zero prior Dynafit knowledge and then include some actual data towards the end.
I got the chance to wear the shoes around the house for a couple weeks before I took them for a stroll. Since I had a race coming up, I felt that was a bad time to try something new. Perhaps not fair to Dynafit, my first attempt at their shoes was the day after the FOURmidable Half in Auburn, so I was running on some fatigued legs. Always making wise decisions (insert eye roll), I got ready to run and noticed a bit of rubbing from the Dynafit shoes right above my heel. I put some Squirrels Nut Butter on and headed out to Waddle Ranch for a 6-mile loop.
One thing I had noticed before the run, while inspecting the shoe, was that it seemed light, well ventilated, a “taller” profile similar to a Hoka Speedgoat (as opposed to a lower riding shoe, such as the Topo and Altra), and a stiff footbed. Each of these observations proved to be true once in stride on the trail. I found the stiff sole to seem fast and responsive. I have never run in a carbon running shoes, but this is what I would imagine them to respond like. The stiffer sole also seemed to have a rock plate, as the rocks on the trail did not seem to bother me at all. I liked the light and airy feel of this shoe and did not find the narrower platform to be restrictive. In fact, the material lends itself to some give if a wider foot would typically feel restricted in an average toebox design. The laces stayed tied as well, which is one of the things I have had difficulty with on the Topo. The tread gripped the trail and terrain in all conditions including pavement, gravel, dirt, and snow.
What I missed about my Topo was the wider toebox and lower profile. As I was concerned about the shoe riding taller, I did end up rolling my ankle slightly on a descent. This is not a fault of the shoe, but more my fatigued legs and lack of paying attention. Other minor concerns were that the top of the laces are covered with a cloth material, leaving all but an eye loop or two being able to adjust the cinching in that area. This will be great for not picking up sticks and twigs in your laces, but kept me from being able to adjust the laces along the top of my foot. Also, the heel rub gave me a slight blister on the initial run, but didn’t seem to be a problem in later adventures with this shoe.
Since The Maiden Voyage
I have run in the Dynafit Ultra 100's several times since and liked them more each time. As I mentioned, they are fast and responsive like the Salomon, while being slightly wider (barely) in the toebox area. They also felt like they have a higher drop than the Topo and Altra, though I didn’t actually research that before this point in writing the review. Speaking to the “taller” ride of this shoe, I have not rolled my ankle since the first run (I now have about 40 miles on this pair) and have learned how to use this shoe to fit my running style the best. Still not a fan of the black and white shoe from a cosmetic standpoint, but appearance rates very low on importance in a running shoe.
The Research and Data
Now that I have finished this part of my review without doing any research, I jumped online and found a couple other things that I should point out. They do describe this shoe as intended for longer distances and I can see that as being a real possibility based on my experience thus far. The men's shoe weighs 310 grams, with a 6mm drop that is consistent with what I felt from my experience with the shoe. Others provided similar comments relative to the mesh covering over the laces. At the same time, others appear to applaud this seeming to come down to a personal preference. However I was pleased to see others suggested “hacking” a brand-new pair of shoes by removing it with scissors if it proves to be problematic. I should mention that while I may have thought about doing this, I ended up not having a problem properly securing my foot in this shoe. Note: Sizing does run small. I ran in a half size larger and could almost go a full size up if I wanted to.
All in All
I would say this shoe exceeded my expectations and I have actually had a lot of fun in it. I also really like the level of cushion in the sole and have even been able to run both road and trail runs in them without discomfort, which has been an issue for me in all but the Topo Ultra Adventure Pro thus far.
Want to try these running shoes out for free? Find your perfect fit with our Dynafit Ultra 100 Free Shoe Demo going on now until May 31st. In store only.