It has been quite the past 6 months testing the latest crop of trail running shoes from a variety of manufacturers. Some have been entirely new brands to me while others have been one of a long line of trail runners tested over the years.

The Avia Avi-Stoltz is the second pair of Avia trail runners that I’ve tested and what a difference between the two! Both are good trail shoes in their own ways, but each one gets there in entirely different ways. The Stoltz is the signature shoe of XTerra Triathlete, Conrad Stoltz and hence it’s built for speed and distance. Conrad knows how to win, so I’m guessing he also knows a thing or two about building the proper race trail shoe. As it turned out, these shoes are built for a fairly specific target market and foot type.

Avia Avi-Stoltz Trail Running Shoes review

About The Avia Avi-Stoltz Trail Running Shoe

Built for XTerra and triathlon racing, the Avi-Stoltz is a superlight raceday-capable shoe built for the rigors of both road and off-road pursuits. This race-winning machine is the shoe of choice for Conrad Stoltz and is built to be an ultralight raceday shoe. Weighing a paltry 10 oz. each and featuring a foot-snugging tongue, the Avi-Stoltz is built to look and perform like Spiderman shoes.

Features of the Avi-Stoltz

  • Lightweight air mesh upper with monofilament layer to keep out the grit
  • Gusseted tongue
  • Single-pull lace system
  • Avi-Lite EVA midsole
  • Cantilever System
  • Dura-Stryk and Dura-Ryd cushioning in forefoot and heel
  • Lightweight Rocksteady forefoot protection
  • Ortholite insoles
  • Weight: 10 oz. each
  • MSRP: $110

Avia Avi-Stoltz Trail Running Triathlon Shoes Review

Avia Avi-Stoltz Running Shoes Review

Out of the box, these shoes look like racers. The design is a bit Spiderman-ish, so I wasn’t super thrilled rocking them around town, but on the trail, the flashy bits set them apart from the sea of earth-toned trail runners.

I love the glove-like fit of the Avi-Stoltz… no question, these are some of the best-fitting uppers I’ve worn. The gusseted tongue and single-pull lacing system maintain even pressure throughout.  I really appreciated the extra-long heeltab for leverage when slipping into these shoes.

On carpeted surfaces, the Velcro-like grippy traction caught me off guard at times–staying put or grabbing unsuspectingly. As I found out on the trail, that same traction afforded a predictable trail feel.

I did notice that these shoes seem to run a tad small. I could have stepped up from my usual size 10 to a 10.5 or even an 11. Finding a local retailer may be key to the proper fit.

As far as fit goes, I ran these shoes stock as well as with Superfeet and Spenco Polysorb insoles. Since the Cantilever system (yellow/black plastic horseshoe-like heel support) provides extra stability and pronation support, these shoes felt a bit overcompensated when wearing supportive insoles. I felt like I was now rolling a bit more towards the outside of my feet than I should be. Running them stock was fine on the trail, but on pavement, I didn’t get the support my feet needed. So, be aware that these shoes would likely work best for those with normal arches–not flat-footers like myself.

Traction on the trail is solid overall, but limited to hardpack or soft, spongy dirt. Loose, rocky terrain gave these shoes fits with their low-profile lugs. Also, the Rocksteady plate isn’t much for forefoot protection. A long-distance run on rocky trails would likely result in forefoot bruising.

All that said, I really enjoyed the lightweight feel and overall cushioning of the Avi-Stoltz shoes and found them to be comfortable and smooth in their stride at a variety of speeds.

Good Avi-Stoltz

  • Very comfortable on/off road
  • Simple lacing system cinches with a single-pull
  • Traction aplenty on most trails
  • Supportive for mild overpronators
  • Swift long-distance runners
  • Ultralight race-day shoe
  • Excellent fit for a cradled feel

Bad Avi-Stoltz

  • Heel cushioning/support feels horseshoe-like
  • Not so great on muddy trails
  • A little flashy for around-town use
  • Forefoot protection is a little lacking

The Bottom Line: Avia Avi-Stoltz

These shoes are thoroughbred racers for your feet. Built to slay an XTerra race with enough comfort and stability to endure training runs, these shoes would be great options for folks with normal arches and those running on pavement or smooth hardpack or soft trails.

Buy Now: Search for Avia Running Shoes

About Author

A native of the Pacific Northwest, Jason quickly developed a love for the outdoors and a thing for mountains. That infatuation continues as he founded this site in 1999 -- sharing his love of road biking, mountain biking, trail running and skiing. That passion is channeled into every article or gear review he writes. Utah's Wasatch Mountains are his playground.


  1. I’ve had a pair these for a couple months now – not a lot of running in them as after the first few outing they started to irritate my achilles tendon. Looks like the nylon lining is starting to give out and bunch up. I run with high quality socks but I can still feel it. Not good for a shoe in this price range.

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