While Patagonia outerwear and clothing is one of the most respected brands in the industry, their footwear line is perhaps still living in the shadows. But, just as the outerwear has evolved, so has the Patagonia footwear line. This season, Patagonia introduced a handful of trail runners that are light, comfortable and functional on the trail. I’ve now had the Patagonia Tsali trail runners long enough to know that they aren’t perfect, but definitely ones for the keeper pile.

Patagonia Tsali Trail Running Shoes Features:

  • X-Dynamic lacing system
  • Lightweight DWR for additional water protection
  • Gender-specific fit
  • Ultralight Dupont foam footframe is 25% lighter than traditional EVA
  • Multi-density sticky rubber outsoles
  • Reflective inserts
  • Mesh uppers
  • Weight: 10 oz each
  • MSRP: $100

Patagonia Tsali Review

When the Tsali’s were launched at Outdoor Retailer, I was immediately impressed by the sharp looks and the X-Dynamic lacing system. Yes, the lacing system caught my attention because it was such a simple and intuitive solution to the need to more evenly cinch the upper laces for a snug fit.

The X-Dynamic system consists of two looped webbings that lock the uppermost laces into place against the top of your foot. Check out the photo below to see it in detail. This system not only provides a secure fit, but it also keeps the tongue in place for proper cushioning and protection.

On the trail, the Tsali’s cinch down comfortably in foot-cradling comfort. The mesh uppers are reinforced in key areas to provide breathability and support where needed. On the breathability side, I think they could be a little better, but some of that may have to do with the dark color of the sample shoes. In the hot sun, they get a little roasty toasty.

Patagonia built these with a breathable air mesh upper that is treated with a lightweight DWR which provides a respectable amount of water protection. In my submersion tests, the shoes were good for about 5 seconds before water started seeping through. Most trail shoes last 1 second or less, so that extra DWR is better than nothing should you wander into storms or wet terrain.

The outsoles are flat with a slight anatomical curve. While most shoes have distinct forefoot and heel areas, the Tsali’s are instead made from a single piece of rubber featuring varying treads for both uphill and downhill traction. Midsoles provided the right level of cushioning and support in this neutral runner. I slipped in a pair of Spenco Earthbound insoles for the duration of my tests with fabulous results. The fit continued to be superb with just the right amount of additional support for my flat feet.

In talking with the manager of my local running sore (Runner’s Corner), he mentioned that flat outsoles are a much better overall construction for a natural stride and feel. On the road, I agree, but on the trail, I always seem to step on rocks or roots just under my arch (where most shoes have less outsole), causing my foot to roll. These are not the first trail runners I’ve experienced this with, so maybe I need to be more cautious in my foot placement while wearing this type of shoe.

Good Tsali

  • Lightweight
  • X-Dynamic lacing system locks down the foot for a comfortable feel
  • Great traction both up and down
  • Excellent cushioning
  • DWR treatment provides additional weather protection

Bad Tsali

  • While some may say the flat outsoles are better, but I seem to be less stable on the trail
  • Can run a little hot
  • Could use a tad more forefoot protection
  • Run about a half size small

Bottom Line: Patagonia Tsali Trail Running Shoes

The Tsali is very light yet supportive and comfortable. Not many 10 oz trail running shoes can boast the type of overall performance that the Tsali’s provide. Foot-snugging comfort with only a few minor downsides… I can definitely recommend these if you’re looking for a great overall trail shoe.

Buy Now: Find Trail Running Shoes at REI

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.

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