BY FOREMAN T. MILE
Everyone knows a good pair of trail running shoes are practically essential for outdoor running. But if you’re thinking of taking those bad boys off after you leave the dirt behind, think again: More and more, runners everywhere are wearing their trail shoes to work. (Now that’s one “rat race” I can get behind!) In this article, I take a look at a few new trail running shoes to see how our wear testers thought each pair performed in a corporate office setting.
Hoka One One Challenger ATR
Hoka’s pillowy soft cushioning is a favorite among trail running enthusiasts. But how do they stand up to an 8-hour workday? Wear testers were impressed by the Challenger’s full EVA foam midsole and how well it responded to sitting in a chair almost the entire day. On the few occasions our testers actually needed to walk, the meta-rocker outsole helped testers realize significant gains in their sitting-to-standing transition times – some by up to 0.015 seconds. Forefoot volume was also a huge win for several testers – “That extra bit of space up front really allows for maximal toe splay as I descend the stairs from the break room once a day,” reported Mike G., a consultant. Not lost in the shuffle was the low heel-toe differential – testers felt like the 5mm drop provided the perfect ride for a number of corporate office activities, including submitting expense reports, organizing virtual meetings, and participating in team huddles.
Though complaints were few and far between, criticism centered on the Challenger’s glued-on carbon rubber sections on the outsole. John A., a corporate trainer, reported that these sections “can catch on the carpet if you move your feet at all while sitting – a clear injury risk.” Another reported that the upper did not keep out water as well as advertised. “As a test, I staged a little accident near the water cooler while replacing the jug,” said Hannah B., an accountant. “Instead of inserting the bottle at the top of the reservoir like normal, I just spilled it all over my shoes. I was disappointed how soaked my feet got!” Finally, another tester reported that the Challenger does not pair well with tapered dress khakis. “My pants get stuck on the tongue of the shoe instead of going over it.”
IN THE LONG RUN: Despite those couple of glitches, testers generally reported that the Challenger ATR is a worthy addition to your work wardrobe. This is one shoe that works in canyons and cubicles!
PAIRS WELL WITH: Haggar Straight Fit Flat Front Gabardine Dress Pants (Men); Eliza J Pintucked Waist Knit-Fit Flare Dress (Women)
Saucony Peregrine 5
The Peregrine is known for being a fast shoe with an aggressively lugged outsole that gives trail runners the traction they need outdoors. But can it survive a five-day workweek? Wear testers with messy coworkers who regularly litter office supplies on the ground loved the dual rock plates in the midfoot and forefoot – “These things saved my feet from puncture wounds more than once,” reported Samir F., a Java programmer. The protective rubber toe bumper was also a huge hit with a group of our testers who prefer to flush the toilet by foot rather than hand. “I would’ve had to call in sick several times this year already if not for that toe bumper. It’s so cushioned and protective that I don’t even think twice about flushing by foot instead of by hand. My exposure to germs has easily been cut in half. Smooth toe-off, too,” reported Amelia Fortune, a multimedia services coordinator.
The outsole lugs were a double-edged sword for testers. While many praised the performance over unstable terrain like old, bunched-up carpet or vinyl tile with large missing portions, just as many thought the lugs added unnecessary weight to the shoe. “Do these weigh 10 ounces?” asked Melissa B., a supervisor. “I really feel the lugs dragging me down on each of the 600 or so steps I actually take at the office each day.”
IN THE LONG RUN: Don’t hesitate to add this winner to your everyday work attire, but definitely be wary if shoe weight is a concern for you.
PAIRS WELL WITH: Land’s End Pleat Front Tailored Fit Year’rounder Wool Dress Pants (Men); Dressbarn SmartFit Trouser Pants (Women)
New Balance MT10v3 Minimus Trail Running Shoe
I’ll admit some impartiality on this one – I ran in the MT10v2s until they smelled worse than my shorts after a week of camping! (I did stop wearing them to work after some coworkers complained.) So when we asked 37 wear testers across the country to put the MT10v3 through its paces in the office, I was especially interested in the results. Not surprisingly, testers who already favored shoes with a low drop loved the pared down build of the v3. “When I walk a tenth of a mile down the street to pick up a mocha and a donut at Starbucks, I can really feel that negligible heel-to-toe differential making my calves work. These shoes help me burn so many more calories!” said Miguel Santillo, a data architecture analyst. Other wearers were wowed by the low-profile, barefoot friendly mesh upper, which allows for plenty of toe splay and the option to leave your socks at home. Testers also observed just how much the Acteva foam midsole impressed in the boardroom – “I had a power meeting one day. With my MT10v3s, I strutted in there with confidence and never turned back!” said Dan M., a senior marketing analyst.
Only a handful of testers noted negative marks for the Minimus. Two commented that the shoe’s negligible stack height made pairing it with slacks challenging. “They’re just not high enough,” reported Dan M. “If I’m going to decrease my life expectancy by sitting at work too much, I just need a bit more midsole.”
IN THE LONG RUN: The MT10v3 is an awesome solution for trail runners looking to extend their passion for running into the office. Just make sure you have long enough slacks for the lack of stack!
PAIRS WELL WITH: J Crew Essential Chino, Tall (Men); Nine West Pleated ‘Emily’ Skirt (Women)
There you have it – three great choices that will get you from trail to cubicle in style! If you were on the fence at all before reading this, hopefully this gave you some confidence to reconsider shedding your trail kicks when you clock in. Until next time, happy trails!