UKC

Dynafit Alpine Running Shoe Review

Back when we did our Spotlight Trade Show Reports in March, Dynafit took us through three different models coming out for SS'21: the Feline SL, Ultra 100 and the Alpine. Each contrasts with and compliments the next, making for a good range that covers all the bases. The Alpine sits at the lighter end of the spectrum, with a slightly softer midsole that's best suited towards shorter distances at higher speeds. The fact it has a bit of grip is - as far as British running is concerned - a bonus, not least with what must have been one of the wettest Mays on record meaning that all my local trails were in a fairly foul and wintry state during much of the review period. 

The Dynafit Alpine in a distinctly non-alpine environment  © UKC Gear
The Dynafit Alpine in a distinctly non-alpine environment
© UKC Gear

Functionality

At 290g per shoe in size 9.5, the Alpine is at the lighter end of the spectrum. Not super light, but functionally light, meaning that they're built to withstand the sort of rough terrain that you'd expect in the hills of the British Isles. That said, these aren't an all-out mud busting beast, as the 4.5mm tread lacks a little in the muddiest of conditions. But contrary to how that sounds it does still give good grip and is a great shoe for a wide range of terrain - not too much grip to hold you back on the trails and not too little to see you sliding around in wet conditions.

Its weight, coupled with its 6mm drop and soft midsole mean that it's most suitable for shorter to middle distance runs that are going to be on the faster side of the spectrum (although a lot of this comes down to personal preference and running style). It does though provide a good level of cushioning throughout though, with a 24/30mm forefoot/heel stack height, which is ample for the sorts of lengths and distances you're likely to use it for.

The Alpine has enough grip for rough terrain, but not so much that it feels like it's holding you back on tracks and trails  © UKC Gear
The Alpine has enough grip for rough terrain, but not so much that it feels like it's holding you back on tracks and trails
© UKC Gear

Rough and rocky terrain is where the Dynafit Alpine is most at home  © UKC Gear
Rough and rocky terrain is where the Dynafit Alpine is most at home
© UKC Gear

The Alpine's other forte is its ability to perform on awkward, technical terrain. Rocky descents and scrambles are very much its natural environment. The fact it's got a bit of reinforcement around the toe only adds to this too.

Fit

The Alpine is available in both a men's and a women's fit.

Fit is always a very personal thing. The first impression I had will potentially be different to others, but for me the Alpine comes up quite snug both in terms of length and width/volume. At the very least you want to be going up a full size from your high street shoe size and even then it could be worth trying another half size up, particularly if you have wider feet.

The fit is quoted as being 'medium' on the Dynafit website and whilst they probably are, they could - in my opinion - edge into the narrower end of the medium spectrum. The toe box in particular is quite low volume too, and I was worried when first trying on that my toes felt right up against the mesh. This didn't turn out to be a problem, as they wore in after a few outings. The key is to make sure you've got enough space at the front, as you wouldn't want to have your toes bashing against the reinforced toe-box.

Dynafit Alpine - Sole  © UKC Gear
Dynafit Alpine - Sole
© UKC Gear

Dynafit Alpine - Lacing  © UKC Gear
Dynafit Alpine - Lacing
© UKC Gear

Dynafit Alpine - Heel  © UKC Gear
Dynafit Alpine - Heel
© UKC Gear

Sole/Midsole

The Alpine features a Vibram Megagrip sole, with chevron lugs throughout. As per the intro, this isn't a shoe to use for outright mud-bath conditions, but is instead suited to strike a bit more of a balance. There's enough grip for wet/muddy conditions (providing it isn't too muddy), but not too much that it's going to hold you back (and wear out) when you hit the trails. Because of its relatively uniform depth it does well on rock, which - once again - goes back to its major selling point, which is its performance on technical ground. It also performs as well on wet rock as any shoe possibly can, although I still maintain that there's nothing that's actually that grippy on wet rock!

Whilst we've said they're not the best at outright mud, they're still fully capable of handling a good amount of mud  © UKC Gear
Whilst we've said they're not the best at outright mud, they're still fully capable of handling a good amount of mud
© UKC Gear

We get out feet dirty, so you don't have to...  © UKC Gear
We get out feet dirty, so you don't have to...
© UKC Gear

Uppers

So the Alpines are light, but they're not too light, and they don't scrimp on features that benefit durability. Reinforcement throughout the toe is particularly noticeable, but so too is the reinforcement around the sides, which helps to shrug off any rock, stones or scree that brush by their side (or heather, which can be impressively abrasive on insufficiently reinforced shoes).

At the front of the shoe, the toe box is covered with a highly breathable mesh, which helps to keep the air flowing and the shoe feeling quite cool. The sock construction/seamless tongue creates a good seal around the foot, whilst the lacing further helps to keep your foot in place. 

Summary

It's hard to find fault in the Alpine, especially when they're at home in their natural environment. They're light, but not too light, and they perform well in a wide variety of conditions, but particularly running on steeper and more technical terrain. They'd work nicely for hillwalking and even backpacking too, especially if you're anticipating lots of rough rocky ground. When it comes to the sizing it's worth being aware that they come up small and potentially at the narrower of the medium-width spectrum. It's this, coupled with its low volume, that could cause people problems, but it's worth noting that they do wear in quite quickly. 

Dynafit say:

The DYNAFIT ALPINE is the perfect all-round trail running shoe for every kind of technical terrain. With a drop of 6mm from heel to forefoot and a mid-volume design, the ALPINE is the ideal shoe for fast workouts and runs of various distances. Standout features are its lightness and a grippy Vibram outsole with the MEGAGRIP rubber blend. Its seamless tongue lends superb comfort. Its rounded Alpine Rocker sole design and well-balanced cushioning achieve a dynamic, responsive ground feel. All told, the ALPINE Trail Running Shoe offers everything that you need for your daily training runs.



For more information visit Dynafit

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