Tuesday, March 17, 2009

La Sportiva FireBlade Review...

As a long time Montrail Vitesse user I must say I was saddened when I learned that this shoe was no longer going to be made. The Vitesse was Montrail's flagship, and for many years only, trailrunning shoe. I'd worn the Vitesse since before Montrail was Montrail, back when they were still OneSport (anybody remember that?). Anyhow being invited to join the Wasatch Speed Goat Mountain Racing Team I was excited to learn that La Sportiva was one of our sponsors. I was excited because I knew that Karl Meltzer wasa big fan of the La Sportiva FireBlade and he too was once a die-hard Montrail Vitesse fan. So I figured what's good for Karl might be good for the rest of us Vitesse fanatics! Still I had to stay objective about this so I recently recieved my pair of FireBlades just days before the Delano 12 Hour race (that turned out to be a real mud fest). With my hectic school/work schedule I was only able to get in a few miles in the FireBlades before the Saturday race, but I already could tell these shoes were a winner in my book. I've learned that any shoe that you can wear right out of the box without any issues is a keeper and the La Sportiva FireBlade is one of those shoes. Like the old Vittesse the FireBlade has
the sockfit upper but better than the Vitesse, the FireBlade is lighter only 359g and the traction is far superior to the Vitesse (most people's #1 complaint with the Vitesse I'd guess). The FireBlade's FriXion® rubber soles are about the stickiest material I've ever experienced and along with the widely spaced, low profile lugs I had no traction issues at all at the Delano 12 Hour; even in deep mud! Any fan of the Vitesse should give these shoes a chance, I'm glad I did. At the same time I believe trail runner out there that desires a more "minimal" shoe but with a bit more underfoot and forefoot protection will really like this shoe.