Latest gear - new footwear and more for 2019
Best new equipment this spring
Following on from last month’s article on new clothing for this spring, here’s a look at some new footwear and equipment that’s hitting the market this season.
In a similar way to new clothing lines, the footwear and equipment that brands focus on the for the spring and summer seasons tend to be lightweight and versatile products, often with bright colours and strong visual appeal. Here are a few products that have caught my eye.
Salewa Wildfire Edge
Salewa are a brand with roots in the rocky Dolomites. A place where the kind of technical approach shoes you often see on climbers in more and more urban environments are actually really useful to have. The Wildfire Edge have a really innovative lacing system that ramps up the shoe’s climbing capabilities when needed, yet easily loosen for walking. The Switchfit System enables the wearer to tighten the laces at the rear eyelet, which pushes the foot forward from the heel and into the toe box.
This gives the shoe enhanced climbing performance. Loosening the rear eyelet lace relaxes the fit back to normal. The rest of the features on the Wildfire Edge are also aimed at approach and climbing performance. A sticky sole from Pomoca, an Edging Plate right under the toes, and a lacing system that extends right down to the toes and wraps around the forefoot for a secure fit.
Scott Supertrac Ultra RC
Scott’s reputation in the trail running world continues to grow. The new Supertrac RC Ultra is a long distance specific version of the very popular Supertrac RC shoe. It is available in both men’s and women’s specific fits, and looks like a great choice for anyone looking for a shoe for long distances, or for the runner who prefers a more cushioned ride. The 8mm drop with 21mm at the forefoot and 29mm at the heel gives good support, cushioning and protection. The eRide midsole gives a lovely rockered ride and enhances efficiency. The deeply lugged outsole is designed to work in both wet and dry conditions. Scott have used Schoeller dynamic fabric for the uppers to create a very durable yet lightweight and comfortable fit over the foot.
Updated Osprey Talon & Tempest
It’s the Talon’s 10 year anniversary this year, so Osprey have updated the range. From a design point of view the Talon is one of the most influential outdoor products of recent times. It sparked a big shift in rucksack design and construction towards the clean, lightweight aesthetic it’s become known for. The Tempest shares the Talon’s feature set but has a women’s specific shape and fit. The new Talon and Tempest collections come in sizes ranging from 8 to 44 litres. Some new features that Osprey have added for 2019 include a new Airscape mesh back system, a seamless lumber area that wraps into the hipbelt, and updated colours. The Talon and Tempest are the perfect choice for lightweight hiking. They also cross into running, biking, and other fast paced mountain activities where lightweight and comfortable equipment is key.
Thermarest NeoAir UberLite
The lightest insulated air mattress on the market, the new NeoAir UberLite from Thermarest also packs down smaller than any other mat in the Thermarest range. Weighing an insanely light 250g, this is the mattress for alpinists, backpackers, and cycle tourers looking to keep weight to an absolute minimum. The NeoAir UberLight is 6.4cm thick, so provides a pretty comfortable base for a night’s sleep. It has an R Value of two, which is really impressive considering how light it is. Thermarest have been tweaking the construction of their air mattresses ever since the original NeoAir a decade or so ago. So, although the UberLight isn’t going to be as durable and puncture proof as a traditional foam mattress, it should still give years of reliable service.
A shoe’s drop is the difference between the midsole height at the forefoot and heel. Usually referenced in running shoes, the more drop a shoe has the more support it provides. On the flip side, more drop often means the shoe is less nimble and less likely to encourage an efficient stride. 0-4mm is low, with the average drop for most trail shoes being around 6-10mm, and a drop of over 10mm is considered high.
The R-Value is a measure of how thermally resistant a substance or material is. It’s a good way to determine how warm a sleeping mattress is, as the more resistant a matresses is to cold from the ground, the warmer the user is.