Just when you think Spring is in the air this week the Alps were covered in another metre or more of snow and that's just at valley level. What a season - this winter just keeps on giving! But for many runners this can be a tricky time to get the miles and speed sessions in due to the challenging conditions underfoot. From fresh snow, slush, hard packed snow or ice – you can see how it can be tempting to skip a training session or two! In previous years I've worn spikes over my shoes (see previous blog) to keep me running but this year I've been delighted to try the new Scott Icerunners. A big plus for Icerunners too is that they feel like a normal trainer/sneaker on the different surfaces, where as when you wear spikes as you change surfaces you can often feel them underfoot. The Icerunners certainly offer an excellent compromise for an 'all terrain winter shoe' however on long steep sections of technical ice I would still recommend more of a crampon – such as the Kahtoola Microspikes over the top. That said, whilst trying out new equipment like this don't commit yourself and run into tricky terrain where turning back becomes awkward.
The Scott Icerunners are not only stylish to look at but have been really well designed, offering a trainer which provides excellent traction in pretty much all conditions and can truly promote itself as an "all terrain" running shoe. I've taken it on snow, mud, ice, road, gritty trails and rock and so far I'm really impressed with them. I had a half size larger than normal to enable me to wear warmer/thicker socks which allows for a little warm air to circulate – important for those sub 10 runs.
Water repellent/breathable 'ionmask' treated upper Contain the eRide midsole Icetrek traction Vibram outsole Weighing in at 250gm They have a sleek design in attractive colours (good for the bar as well as the trail!), a neat minimal lacing system with a simple waterproof cuff/gaiter to prevent the snow from getting inside. A waterproof feel to the upper and a stiff rubber sole with little rubber studs for traction.
So what is the Ionmask?
A protective layer, invisible to wearers, and is said to be over one thousand times thinner than a human hair! The technology is molecularly bonded across the surface of the shoe making it extremely durable, waterproof & breathable without affecting the look or feel of the product. Scott state that the ion-mask™ lasts as long as the material itself and is not compromised by everyday wear. By resisting the absorption of water and dirt, ion-mask™ should guard against stains, making products look newer for longer.
The Scott eRide component adds a biomechanically efficient and stable midsole. Vibram have added the latest Icetrek rubber outsole giving a secure winterised fit, good surface traction and cushioning on pretty much all surfaces. As the Icetrek sole is designed for a variety of surfaces and is therefore quite stiff, my only thoughts are that you wouldn't want to run for too long a period on normal tarmac....but you're unlikely to find too much of that in the Alps for a while yet!
Over all Scott have certainly created a superb quality shoe which combines; good winter traction, breathability & water repellency, style and comfort, therefore creating a versatile, high performance all-round multi-terrain winter trail shoe.
Next on the Scott shoe list when Spring does finally appear are the T2 KINABALU.