The Lafuma brand is more popular in Europe, but has been in the States for several years now. Their backpack, sleeping bag and footwear designs are a mixture of stylish and technical and they use a mixture of proprietary and licensed materials, such as Outdry, in their construction. I’ve now had the Lafuma Sky Race OT trail runners for awhile and have put them through their paces. Lets see how these performed.
About the Lafuma Sky Race OT Trail Runners
Because the Sky Race OT’s are built using Outdry membrane, they are an all-weather training shoe. Added on top of that is a solid and supportive Vibram outsole and unique Twin Lace system (isolates upper and lower lace tension separately). The result is a capable foul-weather trail runner.
More features of the Sky Race OT:
- Use: High-performance trail running in all seasons – Waterproof and breathable.
- Upper materials: 3D mesh upper – Front TPU stone guard – Tongue with gusset.
- Lining material: OUTDRY® membrane.
- Footbed: Removable PES/EVA. Sole: VIBRAM® XRUN rubber/ Phylon tri-density midsole.
- Twin Lace System: dual toggles made to secure the lower and upper foot separately
- Size 8.5= 430g each (14.8 oz)
- MSRP: $139.95
Lafuma Sky Race OT Trail Running Shoe Review
The Sky Race’s arrived just in time to compare head-to-head with Gore-Tex trail running shoe designs (Montrail Mountain Masochist GTX, Inov-8 Roclite 312 GTX and New Balance MT910) and the weather soon cooperated with rain and snowy trails beckoning me.
From the outset, the Lafuma’s were intriguing with their use of Outdry waterproof/breathable membrane, Vibram outsole and the Twin Lace system. The result is a technologically-packed shoe, but still a bit rough around the edges. Starting with styling (though always subjective), the test shoes were black and bright yellow–a combination that wasn’t so pleasing on the eyes. These are best relegated to trail-only duty where Mother Nature doesn’t care. I’ll be much more forgiving of poor looks if the performance is nails, so lets move on.
The Twin Lace system is an awesome concept and works pretty well (but still needs some refinement). I really liked the ability to cinch down the forefoot and uppers separately. Many lacing systems require you to slowly cinch down the entire shoe from the toebox to the uppers, inch-by-inch. These are cinched with a quick pull and locking toggle–providing cinched forefoot and upper. I had some small issues (hence my refinement suggestion) with one of the upper toggles wiggling loose during the course of a run. It was a small annoyance that required adjustment every 15-20 minutes on one shoe. The other issue is that the rubber “bridge” piece slips fore and aft instead of being firmly anchored to the laces.
I really liked the Vibram outsole on these as it provided superb traction and support. Snow-covered trails were little match for these shoes, which is pretty impressive in my mind. As mentioned, support is good and so was trail protection. I was running in pretty cold temperatures, so the midsole was likely a little less cushioning, but these shoes felt a bit harsh with minimal cushioning. In the heat, they may soften, but these shoes aren’t really meant for warm-weather, so take that into consideration.
Now onto the Outdry membrane. I subjected it to the same 30-second stream submersion test that I have done with all Gore-Tex shoes I’ve tested to date. I carefully step into the moving stream just deep enough to cover the entire forefoot, but not overrun the cuff. I was pleasantly surprised when the Outdry membrane performed as well as any Gore-Tex shoes I’ve tried. I stuck it out even a little longer and the shoe’s interior remained impenetrable.
In the end, breathability is slightly better than Gore-Tex and the membrane is quieter and more “one” with the footwear instead of feeling like it is just another layer.
Good Sky Race OT
- Outdry technology breathes a bit better than Gore-Tex
- Vibram outsole provides great traction in all conditions–including snow packed trails
- Cantilever lacing system isolates upper and lower laces
- Kept my feet dry and warm in fresh snow, slush and creek crossings
Bad Sky Race OT
- Twin Lace system is good concept, but still needs some refinement
- Pretty chunky… not for lightweight pursuits
- Questionable looks
- Relatively unknown brand in USA
Bottom Line: Lafuma Sky Race OT
These shoes are my first foray into Lafuma trail runners and Outdry technology. While the shoe’s looks are questionable, the solid Outdry technology combined with the Vibram outsole make these shoes an option for wet-weather trail-specific duty.
Buy Now: Visit LaFuma.com
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