Dynafit Speed MTN GTX Review Facts
Trail running is a pastime that has gained considerable popularity in recent years. Although it is incredibly dangerous and can be potentially life-threatening, this form of exercise has been adopted by more and more people who find low-intensity forms of running to become boring or no longer challenging. With the increase in attention around this strenuous off-road exercise, more companies have devoted time and resources toward developing footwear and other accessories to accommodate this growing market. Dynafit is one of these brands and they excel at designing and distributing effective articles of fitness apparel geared toward these brave outdoorsy runners. Their Speed MTN GTX is just one of their many products, although it offers enough quality and functionality to stand out on its own.
There were two primary goals Dynafit set out to accomplish with the design of this trail running shoe’s outsole: speed and traction. In order to provide speed, the Speed MTN GTX was designed with a tread pattern that is slightly shallower than the vast majority of trail runners, which consequently reduces its weight. Additionally, these lugs are evenly spread across the entirety of the mostly flat
outsole, meaning that energy dispersal is much more even across the wearer’s entire underfoot. While this has more to do with traction than speed, it does allow for greater speed as a consequence since it will allow the wearer to retain momentum over different surfaces and inclines. Speaking of traction, this admittedly underpowered tread pattern is reinforced through a Vibram coating, ensuring a solid grip that will last for a long time and in the face of multiple road hazards.
Since trail running is a sport
that often involves navigating a variety of harsh and uncomfortable running terrains, the most common design practice when designing shoes for this pastime is to place a great deal of emphasis on midsole cushioning. With the Dynafit Speed MTN GTX, on the other hand, no semblance of a traditional midsole can be found in its design. In lieu of the traditional EVA foam padding, these trail runners opt for the use of an internal Ortholite footbed. While this feature will provide extra support for the undersides of runners’ feet and drastically reduces the product’s weight, the loss of comfort and durability may be too much for some runners to bear. For that reason, these shoes shouldn’t be considered ideal for entry-level trail runners.
Based on some of the observations regarding the bottom half of these trail running shoes, it may seem that Dynafit doesn’t care about providing a durable or protective product for customers. However, the upper portion of the Speed MTN GTX has some interesting features that greatly bolster their ability to offer both of these attributes. For starters, a Gore-Tex membrane ensures that moisture
from any liquid substance won’t be able to penetrate the external layer of this shoe and contact the wearer’s feet. Furthermore, a combination of Ballistic Fabric and a Ballistic Bumper near the forefoot ensures that one area commonly exposed to environmental hazards will be able to deflect them and prevent harm to the wearer’s toes.
The average weight for a pair of Dynafit Speed MTN GTX trail running shoes is around 13 ounces for men’s sizes and 12 ½ ounces for women’s. This isn’t as light as most casual running shoes but it is much closer to that weight class than the average weight for any other pair of trail runners. This has a lot to do with streamlined design elements located on the bottom half of these shoes, such as a thinner outsole and the use of an Ortholite
footbed in lieu of a traditional midsole. This reduced weight is a core component to the Speed aspect of the Speed MTN GTX since it will allow runners to generate more momentum and increase their responsiveness. However, there are inevitable drawbacks to this design style since it causes the underfoot of these shoes to have questionable longevity in the fact of repeated abrasions and road damage.
It may come as a surprise to many individuals who are used to traditional running shoes and trail runners to find that the Dynafit Speed MTN GTX doesn’t devote many resources toward making their shoes breathable. These design features are usually implemented to the upper portion of the shoe and often take the form of a breathable mesh fabric for parts of its construction. However, this shoe’s upper places much more emphasis on protection and durability, hence the addition of Ballistic Fabric, a Gore-Tex waterproof coating, and tech leather for its construction. These materials don’t do these shoes any favors in terms of promoting constant airflow, but there are some internal elements that allow for any moisture to drain out. Additionally, the lighter than average weight helps to prevent these shoes from becoming too warm
In many ways, these shoes have a design closer to that of minimalist barefoot-style road running shoes than they do of traditional trail running footwear. This has mostly to do with their minimalist
bottom half that is comprised of a thin outsole and no midsole. As a result, these shoes simply aren’t as comfortable when compared to the average trail running shoe. This isn’t to say that the wearer’s feet are going to be extremely uncomfortable; after all, the Vibram outsole is still quite sturdy and capable of absorbing shock from repeated impacts. Additionally, the Ortholite footbed that functions as an ersatz midsole provides supportive benefits and can always be replaced with a thicker insole. However, many runners who are used to a traditional midsole will likely experience discomfort until they adjust to this form of off-road footwear.
One way to describe the Dynafit Speed MTN GTX’s style is to say that it is distinctive. It’s not common to see trail running shoes with this kind of look, which is one of the primary reasons why this product stands out from many others on the market. Other than Salomon, there aren’t many brands of camping and hiking footwear that offers a unique visual style. For that reason, many fashion-focused trail runners will want to strongly consider picking up a pair of these for the novelty factor alone. However, one unfortunate downside to this shoe’s style is that it only offers two different colorways. One is a combination of bright teal and highlighter green/yellow, while the other is entirely black. These may be sufficient for some customers, but the lack of additional color schemes is disappointing nonetheless.
One of the most important things for any trail running shoe
is durability. This can make or break a trail runner, literally. Because of this, it’s quite a shock to see that the Dynafit Speed MTN GTX doesn’t place the same level of emphasis on this important design attribute, at least when comparing them to other trail running shoes on the market. To be fair, the upper portion of these shoes feature many design elements that do ensure a long-lasting lifespan. In particular, the Ballistic Fabric, Ballistic Bumper, and Gore-Tex membrane provide these shoes with an impressive amount of longevity. On the other hand, the lack of significant treading or any form of midsole cushioning whatsoever makes the bottom half of these trail running shoes much less resistant to damage over time. A Vibram coating on the outsole mitigates these concerns to a degree, but the end result of this design decision is still questionable in terms of durability.
In general, a trail running shoe that offers excellent durability also offers excellent protection, with the inverse also being true. While this isn’t a universal design constant, it’s a safe bet when it comes to most forms of footwear on the market today. In the case of the Dynafit Speed MTN GTX, this stereotype applies. The upper portion offers the most significant durability and also offers the greatest protection; this can be primarily attributed to the Ballistic Bumper located near the forefoot, but the tech leather around the midfoot and rear also provide decent protective properties. In the case of the bottom half, these shoes can offer a decent but somewhat mediocre degree of protection due to its Vibram outsole. The only reason why this would be considered mediocre is that the lack of a midsole or thicker lugs detracts from its effectiveness.
Usually, the midsole for any running shoe has the most significant impact on its responsiveness. Aside from comfort and durability, this portion is intended to provide a bouncy underfoot sensation that drives the wearer’s feet forward perpetually as a result of its EVA cushioning. Surprisingly, the Dynafit Speed MTN GTX doesn’t have a midsole to speak of. Because of this fact, many people would be led to believe that these shoes aren’t very responsive. However, they still manage to provide wearers with a comfortable and competitive level of feedback thanks to their lightweight and streamlined design. In this respect, these shoes bear much more resemblance to minimalist road running shoes like those made by Vivobarefoot.
Much like with responsiveness, most running shoes provide support for the wearer’s feet through their midsole. Since the Dynafit Speed MTN GTX doesn’t have a traditional midsole, its approach to support is a bit different than traditional methods. The internal Ortholite footbed takes on this design responsibility as a replacement midsole. This allows the Speed MTN GTX to offer a decent level of underfoot support, although it isn’t as comfortable as the standard method of doing so. However, by adopting this method of providing foot support Dynafit is able to greatly reduce their product’s weight, resulting in a tradeoff that speed runners will find acceptable but comfort lovers likely won’t. Fortunately, this footbed can be easily removed and replaced with a different orthotic device, which means that individuals with a proclivity towards some running injuries like plantar fasciitis or shin splints can mitigate these issues with the aid of some additional accessories.
The Dynafit Speed MTN GTX is a trail running shoe, which means that it is intended to be worn on running surfaces with more obstacles than those commonly encountered during a casual running session. To meet these needs, the outsoles of these shoes implement Vibram, a footwear technology that is extraordinarily resistant to damage from all manner of debris and road hazards. This material was shaped into a tread pattern that is evenly spread throughout the entirety of the shoe’s underfoot, ensuring that the wearer will be able to grip a variety of terrains and inclines. These shoes can also provide decent performance on running surfaces that aren’t commonly encountered during a trail run, such as a sidewalk or asphalt road. However, they won’t perform as well on these terrains than they would on a mountain trail or hiking path.
Trail running shoes, on average, tend to cost the most out of the many varieties of running footwear on the market. This has mostly to do with the extra material used to construct the average pair, although the extra design work that makes these shoes more durable and protective play a large part in this pricing practice as well. Even with this in mind, the intimidatingly high price tag associated with the Dynafit Speed MTN GTX is concerning. It’s true that these trail running shoes were released just a few months ago as of the time this article was written. However, it may be difficult for many trail runners or casual running enthusiasts looking to dip their toes into the world of trail running to justify paying the price for this product since the offer an arguably inferior experience to cheaper offerings for the sake of improving speed. Still, a niche product will naturally have a niche price, and these shoes will provide an experience more or less on par with their asking cost.
As with any reasonably well-made trail running shoe, the Dynafit Speed MTN GTX was designed with an outsole intended to provide traction over a variety of harsh running environments. However, these trail running shoes offer a unique approach in this regard by focusing more on speed than on grip. There’s still enough traction present in the design of this shoe’s outsole treading to allow for wearers to handle themselves on the trail, and the Vibram coating added to them ensures a respectable longevity. However, they won’t offer the same grip as something with more weight and a more aggressive tread pattern since they are primarily designed to accommodate speed work and sprinting rather than hiking or jogging.
The lack of a midsole in the design of the Dynafit Speed MTN GTX means that there is significantly less material present in its design. This comes with the natural consequence of increased flexibility, with this feature being most evident near the bottom half of the shoe. Some runners are likely going to find this increased amount of give to be uncomfortable and may need to take some time to adjust to it. However, it isn’t so much of an issue that it causes stability to suffer since the upper portion does an admirable job compensating for this design factor.
Most running shoes, trail running or otherwise, will offer stability on the bottom half of their shoes and flexibility on the upper half. This is the manner in which most footwear designers strike a balance between these two polar attributes, but Dynafit does the opposite. Thanks to the lack of a traditional midsole, the Speed MTN GTX has a surprisingly flexible bottom half. As compensation, the upper portion of this shoe is much more stable, thanks in no small part to the combination of tech leather and Ballistic fabric that makes up most of its construction. As a result, wearers will still experience that balance between a flexible and stable ride, although it will be slightly different from the norm.
Since there isn’t a midsole on these Dynafit trail running shoes, it goes without saying that there wouldn’t be any midsole drop. In general, these are very flat running shoes and wearers shouldn’t expect any difference in padding between its rear and front. However, customers can adjust this elevation to a degree by replacing the Ortholite footbed that serves as the Speed MTN GTX’s ersatz midsole with a different orthotic that has greater padding wherever they may prefer.
- Vibram outsole with even tread pattern
- No EVA midsole
- Replaceable Ortholite internal footbed
- Ballistic Fabric and Ballistic Bumper for upper protection and durability
- Gore-Tex upper membrane provides moisture protection
It’s best to think of the Dynafit Speed MTN GTX as a minimalist road running shoe with trail running applications rather than as a typical trail running shoe. There are many appealing features to this product, such as their lightweight design and excellent water resistance. However, there are also some drawbacks that are worth considering before making a purchasing decision, such as their high price and limited comfort due to the lack of a midsole. Ultimately, however, these are reputable trail running shoes that will serve the needs of those interested in trying this fascinating hobby, even if they aren’t ideal for beginners.