When your trail running shoes match your backcountry ski boots, that’s a good thing right? If so, my new Dynafit Feline Superlight trail runners and my Dynafit Titan ski boots should have Wonder Twin powers beyond belief and transform me into a dirt and snow mountain slayer. In typical German fashion, Dynafit launched their Feline Superlight with more bells-and-whistles than I’ve ever seen in a shoe. But, would it need a German engineer to keep them on the trail?
Dynafit Feline Superlight Features:
- Athletic Fit: Precise adaptation to the individual musculature of the athlete
- Light Speed: Less is more: more speed
- Sensitive Fit: Athletic Fit that supports the pattern of body movements
- Vibram Mapping Compound: 3 different sole compounds and hardness degrees for 3 different functions
- Claw Grip: Claw-like Grip on mud and difficult ground thanks to the harder compound white lugs
- Multi Pad Midsole: Conforms immediately to mountain terrain for secure footing
- Invisible Lacing: Protected Lacing upper design
- Ballistic Bumper: Reduces impact on toes and forefoot during front collision
- Colors: Black/Red
- MSRP: $159.95
Dynafit Feline Superlight Review
With contagious enthusiasm, Dynafit PR Guru, Eric Henderson, led me to the modest Dynafit booth at Outdoor Retailer last Summer. Like a kid in a candy store, Eric pulled them from behind a closed door and began rattling off all kinds of features. I then was able to try them on (albeit they were too small) and get an quick sense of what they were made of. They were feature-packed, well-designed and on top of it all, they were color-coordinated with my ski boots — a very important feature.
Nearly a year later, I got my hands on a pair of the Feline Superlights to test them on the rocky and loose trails here in the Wasatch. The Felines are definitely different than any other trail shoe I’ve tested. From the unique invisible lacing system to the wrap-around upper, they stand out from the stacks of trail shoes in my mud room.
Lacing them up, it didn’t take long to appreciate the unique lacing system on the Feline’s. You get to pull the lower laces tight using a built-in lace pull that is well-labeled “Pull Before Flight”. Giving that a good tug, then pulling on the tongue itself using the unique finger pull hole. Tell you what, until wearing the Feline Superlight’s, I’ve never had a better lacing experience — you can easily cinch these up just right and get the tongue in the perfect position.
The laces are mostly covered, which all but eliminates debris from entering inside and keeps the laces tucked inside for a more streamlined experience. Ribbed laces stay tied over the long haul as well.
The interior volume is just a tad high, so I appreciated the laces and ended up swapping the stock insoles for a pair of SOLE Dean Karnazes insoles. They took up a little bit of volume and added a tad more support for my flat feet. The stock insoles were great, but for me, the SOLE’s made them perfect.
All this is great, but where it all counts is when you get out on the trails and knock off some miles. I received these shoes as I was training for the 2012 Ragnar Wasatch Back, so I was able to take them out on the trails as I prepped for my race legs. For me, trail running always involves lots of climbing. Most of my typical running routes involve nearly 1000 ft. of ascending, so the burly Vibram outsoles immediately came into play as they dug into all terrain I threw at them. I’m very impressed with the unique multi-compound tread design. It flat-out works.
But, with all that traction, you do have to be careful not to catch the lugs on roots and rocks along the way and they do suffer from too much traction at times (yes, that is possible). For demanding trails, the lug pattern is outstanding, but if you’re looking for fast-paced race-day running, these lugs are a little extreme.
As far as on-trail feel and stability, the Feline Superlight’s continue with the positive vibes. Trail feel is excellent (in spite of the large lug pattern). The Feline’s are on the light side as far as training shoes go, yet they still retain solid trail protection that expertly balances trail feel and foot protection. As far as stability goes, the outsoles are narrow, which makes these shoes more nimble, but the narrow heel does catch you off guard when you get lazy, so look alive out there and don’t twist an ankle.
Breathability has been solid and the overall fit and comfort has been outstanding. For a freshman effort, Dynafit has delivered quite a shoe.
Good Feline Superlight
- Love the pull tongue
- Lacing system is unique and works well
- Vibram outsole provides excellent traction
- Lightweight design doesn’t slow you down
- Comfort is superb
- Skillfully rides the line between trail protection and trail feel
Bad Feline Superlight
- Narrow heel lacks some stability
- Chunky tread can catch on trail scree
- Premium pricetag
Bottom Line: Dynafit Feline Superlight
The Dynafit Feline Superlight trail runners are loaded with technology only Germans can deliver. The whole package functions well and provides excellent comfort combined with out-of-this-world traction.
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