Kalenji Evadict XT8 Trail review: superb grip and durability at an affordable price

A great-value, robust trail running shoe, the Kalenji Evadict XT8 Trail has a great grip and enough padding to take on an impressive range of terrain types

Kalenji Evadict XT8 Trail
(Image: © Claire Maxted)

Advnture Verdict

An amazing value pair of off-road trail shoes with deep lugs for soft, muddy ground and enough padding for short road sections.

Pros

  • +

    Very grippy 5mm lugs

  • +

    Comfy padded tongue

  • +

    Snug fit laces

  • +

    Cushioned

  • +

    Responsive

  • +

    Bouncy

Cons

  • -

    Might not fit all foot shapes

  • -

    A little heavy

  • -

    Slightly long fit

  • -

    Relatively narrow toe box

  • -

    No eco-friendly materials mentioned

Why you can trust Advnture Our expert reviewers spend hours testing and comparing products and services so you can choose the best for you. Find out more about how we test.

Kalenji Evadict XT8 Trail: first Impressions

At less than half the price of many of the best trail running shoes, the Kalenji Evadict XT8 Trail has a lot going for it, starting with the grip, which features widely spaced, deep 5mm lugs in a chevron design similar to the Salomon Speedcross 5. These bite into deep mud and soft ground with excellent traction, and shed muck quickly once you’re on to less gloopy paths. 

Specifications

• List price: $75 (US) / £70 (UK)
• Weight (pair UK 6.5): 592g / 20.9oz
• Colors: Men’s black / blue; women’s: blue
• Drop: 8mm
• Compatibility: Long distance, off-road running over soft, muddy ground

The cushioning is Kalenji’s own and it allows you to feel much of the trail beneath your feet without too much padding to block the response. You can run on roads for short distances in these but it’s really a waste of those impressive grips; these are mainly for off-road use. The laces ensure a very snug fit to cope with terrain at all angles, there’s no chance of your foot moving about inside this shoe. 

The only downside that we can see is that the Kalenji Evadict XT8 Trail is slightly heavier than more expensive trail running shoes, by approximately 35g on each foot. It also comes up ever so slightly long, so you may want to try a half size smaller than your usual size.

We found this one of the most impressive shoes in our buying guide to the cheapest running shoes on the market. If the Kalenji Evadict XT8 Trail fits your feet comfortably, they’re an absolute bargain, buy immediately!

Kalenji Evadict XT8 Trail: on the trails

This is a really great, grippy, budget trail running shoe, worth getting excited about. Those 5mm lugs in the classic Salomon chevron shape (is it just me who can tell what shoes runners are wearing from the footprints they leave in the mud?) bite nicely into the slop on rainy days around my local quarry, and along paths around the famously claggy Lincolnshire fields. 

I didn’t feel the slight bit of extra weight was an issue at all – you can’t tell when you run, and the moment you get them wet and cover them in mud it’s all arbitrary anyway. 

I found the fit super snug straight from the box, with laces that allow the upper to wrap around the foot nicely. However (and this may well not be the case for everyone, as we all have different foot shapes), I found that that lovely snug lacing created a hot spot around the start of my arch, just behind the knuckle of my big toe. 

I would be keen to try these a size smaller to see if this eased the situation, but if these fit your feet then we’re envious as hell as you’ll never have to spend twice the amount on trail shoes again!

The co-founder and former editor of Trail Running magazine, Claire now runs the YouTube channel Wild Ginger Running, creating films packed with trail- and ultra-running content. An award-winning journalist, writing for outdoor and adventure sports magazines and websites, her first book The Ultimate Guide to Trail Running 5k to 50k is out in January 2021. Claire also speaks and presents at events and races.