By: randosteve|Posted on: August 7, 2011|Posted in: Gear, Gear Reviews | 19 comments

As a retailer, it’s amazing to see all the new companies entering the footwear business every year and fighting for the same chunk of the consumer pie. This summer, Salewa, parent company to Dynafit, entered the US market and next summer, Dynafit itself will come to the plate with a new trail runner called the Feline Superlight. Salewa will also offer the first mountaineering boot, called the Gaiter Pro, with a climb/walk mechanism, similar in concept to a ski/walk option in an AT boot.

Sexy new Dynafit Feline Superlight Trail running shoe for 2012.

On first impression, the new trail running shoe from Dynafit looks very nice. The Feline Superlight ($159) has really cool styling with a red, black and white color scheme and the Gore-tex version ($189) will be green, grey and black. A ballistic plastic toe cap offers superior protection from toe-bang against roots and rocks.

Lace cover with access to lower laces and “Pull For Flight” tab, which
tightens the mid-laces and increases fit and stoke on your run.

Like many “alpine running” shoes, the Feline Superlight has a lace cover, which is a bit more thought out than others and still offers access to the lower laces, and includes a tab which helps tighten the middle section of laces before cinching down and tying the upper section. Lace covers are nice, but some make it hard to really fine tune the fit, so it is nice to see Dynafit putting some though into their lace cover creation and providing easy access and adjustability to all the laces on the shoe.

Triple Density outsole and Aura Activator located under foot.

The outsole of the Feline Superlight is made with three different densities of rubber (white/firm, red/medium, black/soft) to provide a good combination of durability, grip and traction on loose dirt, rocks and mud. The bottom package also includes a techy innovation called the Aura Activator, which in the most basic terms is a magnet located in the sole that claims to help tune and strengthen the runner’s bio-field…kind of like those magnetic bracelets you see advertised on TV. I always thought those things were a gimmick, but you can judge for yourself and read about the Aura Activator here. (Full study on the Aura Activator here, more in-depth and with pictures.)

At 9.5 oz (270grams) the Feline Superlight is pretty darn light, but still offers pretty good support, protection and some unique features not found in other really light trail runners. After trying them on and doing some short runs at the trade show, I have to say the fit was VERY good and “like a glove” around the mid and rear sections of my foot, while at he same time allowing the front of my foot to stay relaxed and comfortable. Five stars on the fit for sure.

Another cool and interesting product at the Salewa booth was found in the new alpine mountaineering boot called the Pro Gaiter. The boot will be the first of its kind to offer a climb/walk feature located in the sole of the boot. By rotating a small dial in the heel of the boot, one can choose between a rigid sole for support when climbing on steep terrain, or a “walk mode” that allows the sole to flex a bit more, making a long walk or approach on flatter ground much more bearable. You could definitely notice a difference in modes when wearing the boot and I’m sure the boot only flexes more after the soles become “broken in” and more flexible.

Climb/Walk mechanism in the Salewa Pro Gaiter mountaineering boot.

The tooling for this feature is more-or-less a camming mechanism that acts on a metal shank located between the mid and out-sole section of the boot. In climb-mode, the shank is held tightly in place and keeps the sole rather stiff. Turning the dial in the heel to the walk-mode introduces slack into the system, which in turn allows the sole to flex. Pretty cool ideal and the Salewa Pro Gaiter has won a few awards on the design already. Pretty innovative, so look for it next summer.