Irish Mountain
Running Association

Shoes for Ultras

John CostiganJun 19 2020, 10:14amI would be interested in people's opinions on what shoes they would recommend for a long-distance mountain run such as the Wicklow Way Race or The Kerry Way Ultra. I've noticed that some runners have used the Columbia Montrail Trans Alps F.K.T. Do you have any experience of these shoes and any others that you could recommend.
Jason WebbJun 19 2020, 12:54pmHi John,

I have a pair of Columbia Fluid Flex F.K.T 2, they are falling apart at just under 500km (2/5th of Kerry way :), the few different pairs of Columbia I have owned have had great grip but very little cushioning.

As for a recommendation I couldn't say, each brand I have had have varied even, I usually aim for the lightest runners as it feels easier and avoid big lugs as I find they slip on wet surfaces (which is the opposite of what they are suppose to do), I would suggest aim for what you currently feel comfortable running.
Jason WebbJun 19 2020, 1:28pmSorry meant kway 200km, value of the shoe is not worth the 500km it got in, one race would be 2/5 of €120 pair of runners
John J BarryJun 19 2020, 7:12pmHoka such as Speedgoat or Altra Olympus / Lone Peak are popular ultra shoes.

I used Olympus on a 100 miler of good track/mixed trails. Found them great.

Used the Speedgoat on the Fellsman (100km) as the had a little more grip for Yorkshire Dales in April.
Seb SzmJun 19 2020, 9:52pmHi John, I run in Altra Lone Peak 4 and I would not say that they will last long I have only got 200k in them and the cushioning is gone, great for anything up to 20-30km on the dry trail. For ultras I got myself Hoka Speedgoat 3. I have heard that Altra Olympus are supposed to be good as well. I would advise you to look for shoes with a Vibram outsole for the Irish weather as they will give you a better grip. all the very best
John J BarryJun 20 2020, 6:36amAgree with vibram soles. The Olympus wouldn't be good on Fellsman but perfect for Wicklow way race. So avoid Lone Peak. Noted!
Garry CullinanJun 20 2020, 6:54amI run in both lonepeak and olympus. As said before lonepeak seems good and nimble anything up to 25-30 mile. Olympus is great for longer stuff, really comfortable. Suppose it all depends on how heavy you are too. I wouldn't be the lightest runner :) lonepeaks a bit slippy on wet rock. Both are zero drop, so if your not used to it, your calves will be knackered on the up hills. But definitely olympus for the longer stuff for me.
John CostiganJun 20 2020, 5:36pmThanks Jason, John, Seb and Garry for your very helpful feedback.
Rory LeadbetterJun 21 2020, 10:07amHi John, I’ve been doing all my road running in Asics GT2000s for years so when I went to do the Sli Mhuscrai and the Wicklow way last year I wanted something as close to them as possible. I ended up going with Asics Fujitrabuco 7s. I found the Support Similar, the grip very good, the cushioning ample and the toe box roomy. I was sure I’d have blisters on my feet after 80 miles but added some good socks to the equation and was lucky enough to not get any. Honestly couldn’t recommend them more highly. With A bit of searching around online I got them for about €85 incl delivery but the asics outlet in Kildare now has them for less than that.
Patrick KissaneJun 21 2020, 12:26pmI use the Speedgoat 3 for long runs and find them very comfortable and they don't hold water. The grip has worn down after 500 KM though. The comfort is still there and good for dry days. The 4th version are out now and look better.
John CostiganJun 21 2020, 7:02pmThat's very interesting Rory. I was training in the Salamon Speedcross and Brooks Cascadia. I find the Speedcross very durable and perfect for short technical terrain, but beyond 20 km they are uncomfortable. For longer distances I've been using the Brooks Cascadia, but after only 200 km, my big toe has come through the fabric. I also noticed that the Cushioning disappeared very quickly, after about 100 km leaving them with not much more cushioning than the Speedcross. I had never considered ASICS for trails, but from your recommendation, I will try them. At least, if I have to replace them often, there are much cheaper. Today, I have already picked up a a pair of Columbia FKT, not the FKT Trans Alps, just FKT. According to Columbia they are an allterrain shoe, lighter than the Trans Alp, but not as suitable to very rugged mountain.
John CostiganJun 21 2020, 7:06pmHi Patrick, the speedgoat is a shoe that I've also been looking at. I'm eager to find a shoe that I could get maybe 800+ km.
Rory LeadbetterJun 21 2020, 9:12pmNo prob John. I tried speed cross and just couldn’t get my feet into the toe box. Also La Sportiva Mutants but wouldn’t chance much more than 20k in them. The Fuji’s really suited me for the WW too because there’s all sorts of terrain including plenty of road which I found them grand and comfy on and very little boggy ground. Horses for courses I suppose.
Graham K. BusheJun 22 2020, 7:54pmHi John, I wore Dynafit Alpines for the Wicklow Way race, and found them very good for the mix of surfaces.. Comfortable with plenty of grip.
Graham K. BusheJun 23 2020, 7:33pmSee the post about the Dynafit event
John MurrayJun 24 2020, 11:36amHi John,

Just to throw another brand into the mix. For long distance running on routes similar to the Wicklow Way where you have a mix of terrain, road, bog, grass, gravel etc. I use Saucony Koa ST's. They have a nice wide toe box, plenty of cushioning, 4mm drop and 8mm lugs. I have a couple of pairs of them and even with plenty of road miles the lugs don't wear down like other brands. I have 1500kms on one pair and they are still like new. Price is reasonable too at about €75 from

Everyone wears down shoes differently and everyone's feet are different shape so just because someone only gets a few miles out of a pair of shoes doesn't mean you won't get more. Best to try on if you can before purchasing. And don't forget to buy a size bigger than your normal road runner if you plan on using them for long distances.

I've heard good things about the Columbia Montrail and plan to try them out at some stage.
Eoin KeithJun 24 2020, 12:23pmJust to go back to the original question... I run a lot of ultras, and run in mostly Columbia/Montrail shoes.

There is no one "right shoe" for running every possible ultra. There a lots of choices, and you will have to either buy several pairs, or compromise on the optimum shoe for a given race. Aslo, differeny shoes suit different people. We're all individuals. It's always worth tying before you buy if you can.

The Columbai Montrail FKTs you bought are a relatively new shoe type. I raced two big ultras in them last year (UTMB and UTMB Oman), and found them to be excellent. The best all-round trail runners I've used so far. I'm going to get a pair of the FKT lights as well, but they are a bit of a tighter fit. The only place I wouldn't use these would be in wintery conditions.

For wintery condition I'd go for something waterproof. My go to shoe for winter racing are the Tras Alps with outdry waterproofing. Great grip in mud, and surprisingly protective over long distances. I've used these recently in the likes of the Spine race, and UTMB Ushuiaia
John Murphy74Jun 24 2020, 12:28pmI have speedcross 4 but haven't gone past 30km in them. Used them in the Art O Neill and they were great in those conditions. But I'm looking for a shoe for longer races like the wicklow way and I have only just seen the dynafit, I like what I see and read but does anyone run in them
Gordon PlaceJun 24 2020, 12:32pmJust to make your head spin even more, I found the Hoka Torrents to be great for long distance on mixed terrains, Wicklow Way, Ecotrail etc.. Very comfy, very light, lower drop, wide toe and not as bulky as the other Hokas. Seem to be a slight bit bigger this year than last year for the same size.
Patrick KissaneJun 24 2020, 4:05pmI've a pair of Hoka Torrent 2 on order. There's some good reviews on youtube. Cheaper than the Speedgoats too.
Owen HarneyJun 24 2020, 7:26pmGordon, Patrick, I'd be interested to hear how you find the Torrent 2 - especially in comparison with the first iteration. I bought my first pair of Torrents a few months ago and love them! Hopefully not too much has changed in the Torrent 2!
Gordon PlaceJun 24 2020, 11:58pmHi Owen, I think they are much the same except maybe slightly bigger fitting in the same size. So if your last ones were on the big side, maybe try a half size down if you can.
Kevin LenihanJun 26 2020, 8:52pmHad the hoka torrents last year..wore them for the kerry way ultralite..great shoe but fell apart after a few months. The inov8 terraultras are a great alternative..well worth trying out. wide amd comfortable for the longer runs.
Graham K. BusheJun 28 2020, 3:43pmHi John Murphy, I currently use a couple of pairs of Dynafit runners and find them to be comfortable and durable.
I am hard on footwear and have shredded my fair share of runners of various brands, some in as short as a couple of months training only. For me the Dynafit have lasted much longer than other brands.
The last time I ran the Wicklow Way race I wore the Dynafit Alpines which I found to be comfortable throughout, given the mix of surfaces and the length of time I was on my feet. I still felt good running down off Fairy Castle with only a few km to go.
For the Trail league and Leinster league type races I wear the Dynafit Felines. Both the Alpine and the Feline models have great grip which gives me peace of mind whatever I am running on.

I know a lot boils down to personal preference and experience as you can see from previous posts. And what suits one person may not be good for another. But I think the Dynafit range is worth a look and a try. If you can get a chance, it would be great to go to in Laragh. They give you a pair to try out on the trails so you can find out first hand how they feel.
Another thing to note is that Dynafit are introducing a new runner for longer distances, the Ultra 100. I tried them briefly and like the cushioning. I have ordered a pair for the Kerry Way.
I hope this is of some help. I know it's confusing with so much choice and such variety. Best of luck. Graham
John Murphy74Jun 28 2020, 4:14pmThanks Graham for the comprehensive answer, I will take a pair for a rest drive I think.
Conor O'FarrellJul 9 2020, 10:17amOn the subject of shoes, I recently bought some Mizuno Diachi. I'm curious as to others' experiences with them. They are grand on trail, but so far I've not found them any good in anything very technical or boggy. The lugs are not fantastic on them.

My old Saucony Peregrines were great on all sorts of terrain, only that the insole kept coming loose and bunching up, or dangling out of the shoe altogether, especially in the wet or downhill. Despite this, I'll probably fork out for another pair of these and keep the Mizunos for simpler conditions.
Gordon PlaceJul 9 2020, 10:45amHi Conor, my speedcross insoles used to do the same, a blob of super glue under the heel kept the insole in place and still let you pull it out nearly all the way for drying
Gary Mason81Jul 9 2020, 12:36pmI’d also highly recommend hoka torrents. Trained for & Wore them for the Maurice Mullins,seven sisters, & Kerry way 200 last year. No issues at all, even after 34hrs in Kerry. Them 3 races cover every bit of terrain you can find in Ireland & they felt great on all of it.
I had tried various innov8 before & liked them but never loved them. I now buy 2pairs of torrents at a time.
Diarmuid KellyJul 11 2020, 2:15pmI'm looking at doing the Kerry Way Ultra Lite and was going to invest in a pair of Hoka Speedgoat or Torrent. What would people recommend? At the moment I don't have any plans on doing any other Ultra's, most other runs on them would be 10-25km. Thanks