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(The Gear Loop) - Dynafit has had a laser focus on mountain endurance sports for over half a century. Its alpine gear is a mainstay on race days across the European continent, be they sky-running events, ski competitions or MTB meets. Mountain adventure is a key strand in the company’s DNA, which is reflected in the snow leopard on its logo.

The kit is designed to help athletes embody the characteristics of the elusive snow leopard – "extraordinarily fast and with phenomenal endurance"… "they move light-footed, nearly silently, with elegance and total efficiency,' or so the official spiel goes. We got our paws on Dynafit’s Alpine Running Shoes and put them to the test on British trails.

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Designed as a lightweight, comfortable all-rounder for technical trails, the Alpines tick all the boxes of an ideal training shoe. It’s not quite as minimal as Dynafit’s ultralight race shoes, while it’s more streamlined and agile than a shoe designed for ultras and the like. 

In essence, this versatile cat occupies the middle ground, making it at home in a number of habitats. 

Our quick take

A no nonsense, excellent all-rounder that has everything you need and nothing you don’t. For day-to-day trail running in the drier months, these cats have got you covered.

Dynafit Alpine Running Shoe review: no nonsense trail-running performance

Dynafit Alpine Running Shoe

4.0 stars
For
  • Grippy Vibram outsole
  • Comfortable
  • Lightweight
Against
  • Not waterproof
  • Some may want more trail feel

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In the Loop

A quick look at what you can expect from Dynafit’s Alpine Running Shoes:

  • Alpine Rocker sole design for balanced cushioning and responsiveness on the trail
  • 6mm heel to forefoot drop
  • Vibram Megagrip outsole for a high level of traction on a variety of terrain types
  • Lightweight: weighing 280g per shoe
  • Seamless tongue
Alex FoxfieldDynafit Alpine Running Shoe review: photo 3

Features

The Alpine Shoe makes use of Vibram Megagrip rubber in the outsole - technology often seen in other high-end trail running shoes and approach shoes, too. This should equal plenty of grip on rocky scrambling terrain, while their lugs bite into muddy terrain well, though they are less aggressive than their Feline shoes range, which are aimed specifically towards use on soft, boggy surfaces.

The heel to forefoot drop is 6mm, making them a shoe suitable for heel-striking runners, while you also get a decent amount of cushioning. This places them more towards the maximalist end of the spectrum, rather than something barefoot warriors would be interested in. However, when it comes to long outings on rocky mountain terrain, your feet will thank you for a little padding.

Unlike some Dynafit’s trail runners, there’s no Gore-Tex membrane to keep the rain out, which is worth bearing in mind if you often run in wet conditions.

Alex FoxfieldDynafit Alpine Running Shoe review: photo 7

At 280g, they’re lightweight, though there are more minimalist options out there when it comes to race day. 

Their weight and cushioning are designed to make them perfect for daily training runs, protecting your feet and giving you staying power for longer routes. The Alpine Rocker sole design combines with the balanced cushioning to achieve a responsive, dynamic ride.

Performance

The old cliché states that the best outdoor gear is the gear you forget you’re wearing, because it does its job quietly and efficiently. This is definitely true of the Alpines. They’re comfortable on the trails and when approaching the rougher stuff on tarmac, they grip potentially difficult ground well, and they’re cushioned enough to give your feet an easy ride, while still allowing you to respond to the terrain. 

Alex FoxfieldDynafit Alpine Running Shoe review: photo 13

There’s no standout USP, they just do everything well, which makes for a great training shoe that you will find yourself grabbing time and time again.

One downside is that they are not waterproof, so when splashing through puddles or crossing streams with joyful abandon you can expect your feet to get wet.

However, unlike with a hiking shoe, you’re not going to be wearing them all day, so it isn’t too much of an issue. That is, of course, unless you’re taking on an ultra. But then, that’s not what the Alpines are designed for.

Alex FoxfieldDynafit Alpine Running Shoe review: photo 10

A word on their Vibram lugs. We found the amount of traction perfect for technical summer trails, even when the ground was a little damp. However, you may want to look for a pair with longer, more aggressive lugs if you frequently run through bogs or plan to head out often in winter.

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To recap

There is no one standout feature when it comes to the Dynafit Alpine Running Shoes, they just get on with the job in hand with little complaint. Comfortable, light enough and supportive, they’re a great all-rounder trail running shoe, but we can’t help thinking they may be overshadowed by more established running brands.

Writing by Alex Foxfield. Editing by Leon Poultney.