I’ve come to a realization that my running shoe preferences have shifted to a point where I simply cannot put miles on certain shoes any more. That’s not to say they are bad shoes, just that they don’t meet my personal needs. The two shoes that I’m going to comment on here both fit in this category, but for different reasons. I’ve had both for 9+ months, and I need to retire them to make additional space on my shoe rack…
When I requested a review sample of the Somnio Runnaissance 2 late last year there weren’t many truly zero drop shoes out on the market, so I was intrigued to see how they might work out (disclosure: these shoes were review samples provided free of charge by the manufacturer). They arrived in the middle of winter, and given the horrible conditions we had up here in New Hampshire last winter, I couldn’t wear them until the snow had melted (not enough traction on ice and snow).
The Somnio Runaissance 2 shoes are unique in concept because they are self customizable. You can insert foam wedges of varying density under the lateral heel and medial forefoot to suit your own needs/tastes (see yellow foam under the heel and forefoot in the photos to the right and above), you can choose the amount of arch support provided by the insole (3-levels to choose from), and you can opt to place a varus wedge under the insole (lifts the medial side of the insole up a bit (again, 3-levels of wedge height). Though my personal preference is for as little support as possible, I realize that others may have different preferences, and the ability to customize a single shoe is at least innovative. Adding in a way to self-customize heel lift to a shoe would seem like a natural extension of this design.
In terms of fit, the Runnaissance is pretty comfortable. It’s definitely not a wide shoe in the forefoot, but it doesn’t overly squeeze my metatarsals and toes together – I’d call it average width. The finish of the interior is nice, and the shoe is well constructed.
The sole of the Runiassance is durable, with a substantial amount of outsole rubber underneath. My first problem with this shoe, however, is that it’s advertised as a NADA shoe – meaning no anterior drop applied. However, when I measure it with C-calipers without the insole, I consistently measure it as 4mm drop (22.5 heel, 18.5 forefoot). The insole is uniform width, so I am doubtful that this is really a zero drop shoe.
On the run, the shoe feels similar to many other minimal drop shoes. The ride, however, is fairly firm and stiff – this is not a very flexible shoe, and the closest comparison I can come up with is the GoLite Amp Lite. Furthermore, and this is my biggest problem with the Runaissance, the shoe is heavy. At 11.3 oz, it exceeds my weight threshold by quite a bit (I almost never wear anything above 10 oz). This combination of firmness, stiffness and weight makes the shoe feel a bit brick-like underfoot. If you are looking for a shoe with a lower heel-toe drop and are coming out of a heavy traditional training shoe, you may not notice, but for someone used to ultralight shoes, these will not meet your needs. I’ve not put more than 20 miles on these for this reason – simply too much shoe for me at this point in my running life.
Interestingly enough, after writing the bulk of this review, I did a bit of poking around and it appears that Somnio may no longer be in business – their website lists no shoes in stock, and the chatter on their Facebook page suggests that they’ve closed up shop. However, I’ve heard very good things about the Somnio Nada (an ultralight, zero drop racer), and Donald over at Running and Rambling indicated that they may be rebranding as a company called Nada which claims to be “Born From The Minimalist Movement” – check out the nadasports.com webpage here. Not sure what the deal is or if they still are in business – if you have any insight, leave a comment and let us know!
Scott T2 Comp
Late last year I was contacted by a designer from Scott Running. Scott is better known for their winter sports gear, but they do make a small number of running shoes target mostly at the triathlon market. He offered to send me a few pairs of shoes to try out, indicating that they have a bit of a unique design that seemed to help encourage a midfoot strike.
One of the shoes that I received was the Scott T2 Comp. The T2 is actually a pretty solid shoe – fairly lightweight (9.3 oz in size 10), minimally structured upper, and capable of sockless use. It’s also a pretty decent shoe to run in – light and responsive, and I enjoyed my first few runs in them.
From an aesthetic standpoint, the T2 could use some work. It’s not the nicest looking shoe in my collection, and I’m not quite sure what the function of the little plastic wedge behind the heel is. Scott does have some better looking shoes in their lineup, but the T2 looks pretty bland. One other minor problem is that the perforated sockliner caused a bit of friction on the underside of my foot. As I mentioned above, this shoe works fine as a sockless shoe, but would be much more comfortable with a sockliner with a less abrasive feel to it.
My main issue with this shoe is that the sole design doesn’t work well for me. Scott put a rocker-bottom sole on the T2 comp, much like some of the shoes being made by Skechers. However, unlike the Skechers Go Run, in which the sole is very flexible, the sole of the T2 comp is stiff, with the apparent intention being to encourage your foot to roll forward smoothly off the shoe. I believe this rockered design is also why Scott feels this shoe can encourage a more midfoot strike. But, the shoe is 10mm drop from heel to forefoot (27.5mm heel, 17.5mm forefoot with insole removed), and I simply cannot avoid heel striking in them. This is not necessarily a bad thing as I’ve had several good runs in these shoes, but they prevent me from running the way I want to be running these days. If you are a heel striker and are content with that, these shoes are a perfectly reasonable option for you.
So, if you don’t mind a shoe with a 10mm lift, the Scott T2 Comp would be a fine choice. It’s light, fast and comfortable on the run. However, if you want a shoe that will not get in the way of your foot strike, you may want to look elsewhere.