B2R Trail Performance
Written by Ellen and Johnny, 2014-11-13
We’ve had the opportunity to try a truly unique shoe—the B2R Trail Performance Shoe. This is zero drop shoe with a split toe, designed to give you a more natural and balanced foot strike. The B2R shoe range is designed by Eric Orton, who is the running coach in the famous book Born to Run. Being ultra runners, competing on distances like 100 miles and more, we’ve tried many different brands and shoe models, both for trail running and road.
The shoe is very well made. You can tell someone with attention to detail has been involved in the design. Of course the split toe makes them look a bit odd, but we like that head-turning feature—it’s shown to be a great conversation starter on the trails. Good if you’re looking for company!
When you first put them on, the split toe takes a little getting used to. The feeling is very different, both in terms of how the shoe separates your big toe from the other toes, but also in regards to how this makes you run differently. Especially on tricky trails, your big toe works by itself, gripping around the roots.
And it goes without saying that you need some sort of toe sock to be able to run comfortably in these shoes. If you’re not already used to running in Injinji, you can order socks with a split toe directly from B2R.
The shoe fits perfectly around the heel, no extra fluffy stuff going on there, and still no tendency to get blisters. It’s got a very nice snug, close-fitting feeling over the midfoot, which allows for being a bit careless when lacing it up—it doesn’t really matter how hard or loose you tie the shoe, it fits great anyway. This is usually one of those annoying details with trail shoes; it can be very difficult to get the lacing just right. No trouble here though!
On the downside, those of you who have wide feet might think that the toe box is a little bit narrow. The big toe has lot’s of room to play with, but the other toes would be happier if provided with just a tad more space. This is really not a problem unless you run very far and your toes tend to swell during the run. For any distance up to about 20 miles, you’re fine!
This is the case with many trail-shoe models and especially those that are designed for orienteering. So if you’re used to running in another trail-shoe, you'll probably feel at home. However, if you’re an ultra runner going for long distances and you have wide feet, you might not use it for your 100-miler :)
The B2R Trail Performance Shoe would probably be categorized as a minimalistic shoe, compared to any other “ordinary” running shoe, since it’s got a minimum of cushioning. Despite this, it’s very far from other barefoot brands with a split toe design; like ZEMgear or Vibram Fivefingers. The B2R Trail Performance Shoe is much more of a real shoe, offering great protection against sharp rocks. It’s got a robust feeling to it, and is still very lightweight and flexible. You get a great ground feel, which is usually what you want from a trail shoe. We tried removing the insoles to get even closer to the ground, and it works just great to use it like that. Ellen actually prefers it that way!
When running on slippery trails, you want a shoe that makes you feel secure. The design of the outsole is aggressive and the traction is great unless you step on a wet root straight under your midfoot. In terms of grip The B2R Trail Performance Shoe meets up to other major trailrunning brands such as Salomon or Inov-8. Johnny actually said the overall feeling of the shoe is very much like the one you get in Inov-8 Xtalon 190, one of his all time favorite trailrunning shoes.
The overall impression
For anyone looking for a trail shoe to use for fast trail runs, The B2R Trail Percormance Shoe is the perfect companion. It’s also a great shoe for perfecting your running technique, but if you’re used to running in the traditional heavy trainer, you should start with short runs, preferrably on the trails so you get a natural soft landing, when transforming from heel striking to a more natural way of running.
Something you notice about the shoe the first time you’re out in heavy rain or on running on very muddy trails, is that it feels super lightweight, despite being wet. This is important if you’re running in the Swedish woods, since this usually means running through swamps, in pouring rain or through snow. It also means the shoe dries quickly, so you’re ready for another run the next day.
The shoe makes you feel fast, and and it does in fact improve your foot strike (at least it does for us!). Ellen has been running in zero-drop shoes for quite some time, and she still felt that the shoe helped her get a more correct landing, especially when increasing the speed on flat ground.
We’re so looking forward to try The B2R Trail Performance Shoe on the rocky trails of Spain next spring, when we’re off for our Ultra Trail Camp Spain 2015!
FACTS B2R Trail Performance
- Unique Split-toe design
- All-purpose Trail shoe for smooth to moderately technical terrain
- Aggressive lug design for superior traction that still maintains a smooth ride and ground feel
- Perfect for low or high mileage experienced performance runners and those conventional runners looking to make the transition to an appropriate performance running shoe
- Zero-drop (the difference in mid-sole/outsole height between the heel and the forefoot is approximately 0 mm)
- Weight: 8.4 ounces for Men’s shoe size 9
Price 119.99 USD
You can order the shoes from www.born2run.com
We also got to try out the everyday model Gavilan Casual Moccasin! This is a great shoe, with zero drop, split toe design and they feel like they're made to give your feet a natural strength training session every day! Apart from that, they're super soft and so classy!