Vasque has been one of the top brands in backpacking boots since before I can remember. The classic Vasque Sundowner hiking boots are some of the most iconic boots ever made. I’m sure there are millions of pair in use every day throughout the world. Building on the success of their boot line, a few years back, Vasque extended their expertise into a complete lineup of trail running shoes.
This extension has been very successful as their shoes are consistently top-rated and have become very popular. A quick trip to the local JANS in Park City showed the popularity of their runners as there were no size 10’s in any of the models they carried. However, that was the first time I got a good look at their lineup and I was impressed by the build quality and overall function of their trail runners. I was stoked to get my hands on a pair of Blurs for an in-depth product review.
The Vasque Blur is billed as a transition shoe that’s perfect for someone who’s looking to switch from road the trail. It’s not like the Blur’s are trail runners with training wheels, but they are durable, stable, have great traction and are still lightweight. I think of the Blurs as kind of an approach trail shoe. If you have to run a half mile or more on pavement to get to the trailhead, you won’t notice much difference between these shoes and your trusty Asics.
The construction of the uppers consists of very soft synthetic suede, nicely-vented mesh and more durable rubber toe and heel protection. I was surprised that the laces used traditional eyelets instead of the now-standard webbing loops. Though you don’t get quite the straight pull with standard eyelets, I never felt like it was difficult to get them properly tightened around my feet. The second eyelet is a loop that’s connected to webbing that acts to pull the foot towards the back of the shoe to further ensure a snug fit. A heel to mid-foot reflective band also provides additional support on the trail.
All materials felt supple and comfortable right out of the box. In fact, I hit the trails without even wearing these shoes around town and found them to be quite comfortable right out of the box.
Cushioning is handled by lightweight, dual-density foam with a heel strike area for increased squish as your heels pound the trail. The treads are burly, but not clod-hopper burly–just enough to let you know they are built for dirt and not asphalt. Another great feature of the sole is the integrated nylon textile plate to help shield your feet from sharp rocks or branches on the trail. It provides just enough protection, but still allows the right amount of trail feel.
On The Trail
I tested the Vasque blur trail runners on the local trails here along the Wasatch. Luckily, I’ve got several options right in my backyard, so I pounded out a few miles on the Bonneville Shoreline Trail and even hit a couple of miles on jogging stroller duty as I pushed my daughter around in our BOB Revolution.
I was quickly enamored by the stability, comfort and tread grip offered by the Blurs. As I ran up and down on loose, rocky terrain, I never once felt like I was going to lose my grip on terra firma. The tacky treads just stuck to the ground like Spiderman on the Empire State Building. I can say that I’m not surprised as Vasque has an unfair advantage at building functional treads with their years of experience building hiking boots. These guys know the dirt/rubber interface better than anyone on the planet and I can confidently say that the traction offered by the Blurs is second-to-none.
Overall cushioning was great as I felt the shoes quickly adapting to my foot and providing just the right balance of squish and stability on the trail and on pavement as well.This is the first pair of shoes I’ve owned in a long time that seemed to be just the right volume. My average width feet feel perfectly snug and cradled in all the right areas without having to cinch the shoes down.
However, it seems that the laces could be a couple of inches longer as I only had about 6 inches to work with. If you have high arches and footbeds, the laces might not cut it, so try them on with your footbed in hand. For me, the short lace length ended up being a non-issue. Frankly, I have never once had my laces come loose even though they are pretty short and stubby, so I can’t quite yank on them as I’d like.
The only real gripe I’ve got with the Vasque Blur is the looks of the grey microfiber on my shark/navy colored shoes. While they are not bad looking, the dark grey color just doesn’t have the right “pop”. I don’t know what it is, but they just don’t have that “look.” Maybe if it was a shade lighter or something? Well, lets leave that to the designers as it really has nothing to do with the overall function of these shoes.
The Bottom Line
The Vasque blur trail running shoes are some of the best overall trail shoes on the market. I was particularly impressed with the comfort right out of the box and the tremendous traction offered by these treads. At $85, they represent a real bargain compared to the many $120+ trail shoes on the market today. A great shoe for the occasional trail runner looking for a comfortable and durable pair of trail runners from a trusted, yet not mass-produced name brand.