Vasque footwear has always been one of my perennial favorites for hiking and trail running. Every Vasque trail runner I’ve reviewed has been a solid performer with little to complain about. Never flashy, Vasque trail runners are the consistent choice for a wide variety of conditions and terrain. With the Mindbender getting Gore-Tex this Fall, I came into the review with high expectations and the Mindbender GTX’s didn’t let me down.
Vasque Mindbender GTX Features:
- Reflective trim
- Gore-Tex waterproof/breathable laminate
- Weight: 13.6 oz. (386g)
- Outsole: Vasque Blur
- Last: Perpetuum
- Midsole: Dual Density EVA and TPU Instep Plate
- MSRP: $130
Vasque Mindbender GTX Trail Running Shoes Review
With samples arriving in August, I didn’t get a chance to really flog these until the weather turned. However, FeedTheHabit contributor, Kendall Card, promptly used his pair to run the Park City Midmountain Marathon with me. I insisted he was nuts wearing Gore-Tex trail runners in September, but he wore them and was impressed with both their performance and comfort.
I’ll be the first to tell you that wearing Gore-Tex shoes in the Summer here in Utah is about the last thing I’d ever sign up for. My feet sweat a lot and in the heat of the Summer… well, forget about it. That’s why I waited for the weather to turn. Temperatures below 50 degrees, wet trails and snow are the perfect mix for Gore-Tex trail runners in my book. So that’s the time I started wearing the Mindbender GTX’s.
The Fall and Winter have been sporadic here in Utah. With a hefty dose of snow around Thanksgiving, since then it’s been hit-and-miss. So, it’s been the perfect time to throw in some trail runs. I’ve been able to get some good miles in and have a good bead on the performance of the Mindbenders.
First off, they are very Vasque-esque. Meaning, they have a consistent fit, feel and performance. They aren’t race-day shoes, but instead are comfortable trainers that can carry you for miles at a time with minimal fatigue. The uppers provide excellent comfort and protection — both from the elements (thanks to the Gore-Tex liner) and from trail debris (thanks to the integrated scree guard).
The Blur outsoles are shared from other shoes in the line and really leave nothing wanting. All-around terrain both uphill and down is equally superb. I found the toe-off traction to be solid in steep and loose terrain as well as squishy and soft terrain. Support is top-notch and trail feel is just the way it should be with just enough feedback to keep you in touch with the terrain.
As with all my Gore-Tex shoe tests, I always do the 30-second submersion test and the Mindbender GTX’s came out with flying colors — no leaks whatsoever. Of note with these Gore-Tex liners is that they don’t have that crinkly loud feel to them. Some GTX shoes sound like you’re crinkling a garbage bag with every step… these are notably quiet.
With my pair, the only negative I noticed was the placement of some grippy material on the upper inner cuff of the shoe. This may be intended to keep the tongue in place, but tended to grab my socks as I slipped my feet inside — sometimes bunching them up a tad. It was a minor annoyance, but an annoyance nonetheless. Kendall’s pair has one section of the rubber outsole that is starting to come unglued, but mine remains solid.
Good Mindbender GTX
- Excellent traction both uphill and down
- Good stability even though they sit rather tall
- Great protection… both forefoot and toebox
- Built-in scree-guard
- Gore-Tex liner keeps things dry and warm
Bad Mindbender GTX
- Interior volume is on the big side
- They do feel a bit clunky on the road
- Laminated grippy material on the cuff can tug at your socks
Bottom Line: Vasque Mindbender GTX Trail Running Shoes
As one of the safest bets in the trail running market, Vasque really has a great shoe in the Mindbender GTX. No serious complaints from me here. You get a comfortable and capable trail runner for all weather conditions in a quality package.
Buy Now: Search for Vasque Trail Runners at Backcountry.com
I have this shoe (not the GTX version), my quick review:
durability: excellent (800 miles or so)
stability: very good
overall feeling: flexible, feels light, roomy toe box.
Not so good: the overall volume could be a bit smaller.
water test: drains well and pretty quick.