Cushioned enough to be comfortable yet minimalist enough to allow you to feel your way across the terrain, the Dynafit Alpine Running shoe is a great option for training runs, particularly if you’re a heel striking runner. It’s a jack of all trades that quietly does everything well, though for race day you may want to turn to something more specialized.
Vibram Megagrip outsole gives superb traction
Keeps feet cool
No Gore-Text, unlike on some of Dynafit’s other running shoes
Not as much trail feel as some
Doesn’t quite lock to the feet
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Dynafit’s logo is the elusive snow leopard, one of the mountain environment’s most iconic beasts. It’s an animal that has mastered the slopes, crags and ridges of one of the world’s most hostile habitats. Dynafit’s products are designed to mirror this mastery, creating endurance products that excel in the wild places.
Enter the Alpine Running shoe, which Dynafit market as a ‘light, comfortable, all-rounder for technical terrain’. How do they measure up against the standards of the snow leopard. Do they purr across the terrain and growl their way up inclines or are we looking at a cat that’s liable to become extinct?
Dynafit Alpine Running shoe: first Impressions
Out of the box, the Alpines are good looking without being flashy. The protection around the heel and toes is immediately obvious, while its seamless tongue promises comfort without the chafing you get from pressure points. The Alpine Rocker sole design is intended to give excellent responsiveness and balanced cushioning even on rough terrain. Despite a good amount of cushioning, they manage to remain lightweight at 280g per shoe.
The outsole contains the same Vibram Megagrip rubber found on many other leading trail running shoes and approach shoes, promising ironclad grip on rock, and there are chevron-shaped lugs for traction on muddy surfaces, though these are not as aggressive as some. The Alpines feature a 6mm heel to forefoot drop, which is suitable for heel striking runners.
This all points to a shoe that’s at home on a variety of trail types, particularly during the warmer months. Unlike some Dynafit running shoes, there’s no waterproof membrane but then they’re not intended for long periods of wear, so this isn’t such an issue. It seems we do indeed have a competent all-rounder on our hands – or paws, as it may be.
• RRP: $139.95 (US) / £116 (UK)
• Weight (per shoe): 280g / 9.9oz
• Drop: 6mm
• Materials: Vibram Megagrip rubber outsole
• Colors: Alloy/ blackout, Fjord lime punch, Magnet frost, Winter moss blackout
• Compatibility: An all-rounder for technical terrain, great for training runs
On the trails
Having laced up the Alpines, there was a little movement in the heel initially, though once on the trails I stopped noticing this. They are comfortable on road surfaces, with cushioning to absorb at least some of the impact, but it’s once you hit the trails that the Alpines really excel.
Their lightweight feel and the confidence-inspiring rubber outsole give a very fast feeling and run ride across terrain that would cause you to pause for thought in lesser shoes. At no point during my many runs did I feel unstable, even when hurtling downhill on rooty and rocky footpaths. The Alpine Rocker sole succeeds in giving you a dynamic and responsive running sensation and I was able to change direction with speed even on wet terrain.
However, their lugs are not quite as aggressive as some shoes that are designed specifically for muddy ground, so if you regularly hit bogs and quagmires, you may want to look at a more specialised pair, such as Dynafit’s Feline shoes. Likewise, winter warriors after a waterproof shoe should also look elsewhere.
Nevertheless, I found myself reaching for the Alpines time and time again. Their weight, traction and comfort makes them a solid go-to for training runs and they are light enough to be worn on race day too. To top it all off, after multiple uses, there’s as yet no sign of wear and tear.
Where I tested the Dynafit Alpine Running shoes
I tested the Alpines over a few months on my frequent running haunt, Bristol’s Henbury Gorge. The combination of road, gravel, rocky trails and muddy earth, along with steep uphill and downhill sections, is a great testing ground for technical running shoes. The gorge’s Hazel Brook also enabled me to test the Vibram outsole on some slippery rock too.
Alex is a qualified Mountain Leader, adventure writer and content creator with an insatiable passion for the mountains. A Cumbrian born and bred, his native English Lake District has a special place in his heart, though he is at least equally happy in North Wales, the Scottish Highlands or the European Alps. Through his hiking, mountaineering, climbing and trail running adventures, Alex aims to inspire others to get outdoors. He is currently the President of the London Mountaineering Club, training to become a Winter Mountain Leader, looking to finally finish bagging all the Wainwright fells of the Lake District and hoping to scale more Alpine 4000ers when circumstances allow. Find out more at www.alexfoxfield.com (opens in new tab)
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