Intro from Pete: This is a guest review by Laurie Greenberg, an ultrarunner from Warren, VT. I met Laurie this past summer when we coached together at the Craftsbury Running Camps, and was amazed by her ability to eat up miles. She is a certified personal trainer, mother of three, and is one of the top female ultrarunners in New England. Laurie is a past winner of the Vermont 50K, Stone Cat Trail Marathon, Jay Peak 25K, Pittsfield 50K, Covered Bridges Half Marathon, and Crater Lake Half Marathon. Most recently she finished third female at the 2013 Pisgah 50K. I’m honored to have someone with Laurie’s running resume writing here on Runblogger! Here Laurie reviews the Patagonia EVERlong trail runner.
Patagonia was founded over 30 years ago to serve athletes and outdoor enthusiasts who use their own lungs, limbs and muscle for power, rather than motor or machine. Their mission statement is simple; “Build the best product, cause no unnecessary harm, use business to inspire and implement solutions to the environmental crisis.”
The company is well-known in the outdoor world for making products that range from gear that will get you through the most extreme conditions, to a comfortable sweater that you can relax in with a cup of yerba mate or a tasty microbrew (Editor’s note: knowing Laurie, preferably one from Hillstead Farms!). For the past few years, Patagonia has been striving to apply the same top quality and functional design of their apparel to the world of trail running shoes. I recently received a pair of their newest model, the Patagonia EVERlong, and have been running in it for the past month. (Disclosure: these were review samples provided free of charge by Patagonia)
Patagonia’s goal in designing the EVERlong was to create a shoe that lets the runner feel the intimate details of the ground and gain a sense of freedom on the trails. They wanted to produce a shoe that will take you from a weekend trail run to a 100-mile race. To help achieve this goal, Patagonia worked with top ultra marathoner Jeff Browning to design the EVERlong. Browning states that there were four main design goals for the EVERlong: dialing in midsole width/feel, balancing traction vs. weight in the design of the outsole, incorporating a soft heel lock, and an upper/midfoot wrap that would prevent the shoe from feeling sloppy on downhills. Being familiar with Patagonia’s fantastic apparel line, I was excited to put this new trail runner to the test on the rugged trails surrounding my Vermont home!
I received the EVERlong four days prior to racing a 50k and, unfortunately, I didn’t feel I had enough break-in miles with them to use them in the race. However, my initial reaction was that they were extremely comfortable with ample toe room without making your foot feel like it was floating around. The design is meant for all function and little fluff; the EVERlong looked very basic but practical. These were made for a runner. Period.
After having spent a month running in the EVERlong, with runs ranging from five to 14 miles on a variety of trails and dirt roads, I have a better appreciation of what the shoe has to offer.
The EVERlong is a low profile shoe (23/19m mm; 4mm drop) that offers a cushy landing. It is definitely not a hard soled trail runner. If you are the type of runner that tends to like the feel of a softer shoe and a little extra cushion on the roads, the EVERlong will deliver this for you – it felt great on dirt roads and hard packed trails, and the cushion enabled me to transition from road to trail easily. You will feel the rocks and roots on more technical trails, but this was not a major problem for me.
The EVERlong is lightweight and unencumbering on my feet. Weighing in at 6.1 ounces for women, I appreciated not having to carry extra weight through my longer runs. Patagonia has done nice job keeping the shoe lightweight while still providing the cushion required to handle the uneven terrain that trails can dish out.
The EVERlong shoe was designed with overlays and a midfoot wrap that are meant to hold your foot securely on the platform – they accomplish what they were designed to do. I felt that my foot was securely locked down, but the internal mid-foot wrap did not feel overbearing nor like it held my foot in place in a restrictive way. It gave my foot just the right support it needed as I took sharp turns and hairpins on the trail. I have taken this shoe on some varied trail conditions from dirt and rooted trails to grassy meadows and felt my mid-foot was well supported without feeling trapped.
The EVERlong does not have a hard heel counter and again relies on a system of overlays and some padding to support the heel. This is the one area where I felt the shoe needs more support. During my first few runs it seemed to have the support my heel needed on the trails but it appears to have broken down fast. This gives me the feeling that my foot is starting to pronate more than it normally does (Editor’s Note – Laurie is a fairly extreme pronator, though it has not caused her issues from an injury standpoint).
Patagonia designed the outsole in a pod style to shave weight yet retain the traction needed on technical trails. It’s not a luggy trail shoe, but while running it responded well to damp, dew covered rocks and roots. We’ve been blessed with an amazingly warm and brilliantly dry Fall in Vermont so I have yet to try the shoe in the mud or on wet trails.
If you are looking for a lightweight, minimal drop, cushioned trail shoe the EVERlong could be the shoe for you. The EVERlong is a fairly minimal shoe, so if you are not accustomed to wearing this style of trail shoe you might not find the support you need. If you are a heavier runner who wears down shoes quickly the overlay design might break down rapidly on you and not provide you with the support you are looking for in a trail shoe. Although I liked the cushioning, the lightweight feel of the shoe, the outsole and the forefoot room, I probably will not use the EVERlong for trail runs longer than 20k because I do not have the support I feel is needed in the heel.
The Patagonia EVERlong will be available for purchase on November 14 from Patagonia.com.
Patagonia EVERlong Giveaway
Patagonia has agreed to provide a pair of EVERlong shoes to one reader of this review. To enter the giveaway, complete one or more of the tasks listed in the Rafflecopter widget below. You must reside either in Canada or the United States to participate(shipping is limited to North America), and a winner will be chosen at random on October 29.