Lightweight, cushy ride, with a traditional shoe fit and performance vibe.
Patagonia is rollin’ out some new dirty tread for Spring 2014 called the EVERlong. This shoe fits between their EVERmore (less cushioning) and Tsali (more cushioning) trail shoes and had development support from 100 mile monster Jeff Browning with the focus being a lightweight road inspired trail shoe with long distance comfort.
I am a fan of the EVERmore (my EVERmore review), so I was real curious when a Patagonia rep offered the opportunity for Olga and I to test-drive both the men’s and women’s EVERlong.
Specs of Interest
- Light-ish weight – Spec’d at 8.4 ounces men and 6.1 ounces women (my size 12 men’s was 9.5 ounces on my digital scale)
- Low drop – 4 mm, with a 24mm/20mm (heel/toe ) stack height (top of insole to external edge of outsole)
- Low-profile Pod-Style Outsole
- Flexible mesh upper
In your hands, the shoes does feel feathery, especially for a trail shoe. I was comparing with my pair of EVERmore, their less cushioned shoe, and had to head to the digital kitchen scale to confirm my suspicions.
The EVERlong (more cushioned) shoe actually weighs less than the EVERmore! At size 12, the EVERlong was at 9.5 ounces and the EVERmore 10.3 ounces. The weight likely jumps off the EVERlong with the simple and flexible mesh upper and minimalist outsole.
And what about that outsole?
It is essentially cushy midsole with checkerboard segments of more durable low-profile outsole integrated with it. Less of the “heavy” outsole means less shoe weight.
I would consider piggy protection minimal.
Check out Patagonia’s video on the shoe with Bronco Billy himself!
Olga and I haven’t discussed the shoes. I finished my review and then included her info.
Men’s Patagonia EVERlong Test Drive – David Hanenburg
Meet and Greet
Out of the box, hey, I took a second look. Although the shoe string color did have me briefly thinking of nuclear vomit.
Handling the shoe, I really dug the flexible mesh upper. The mesh around the heel area was also flexible.
Inside the heel cup area is a small section of additional padding to help keep the heel locked into place. (not sure if it actually does)
And again, the shoes had a light, feathery feel.
Heel through midfoot felt comfortably wrapped. With more of a traditional shoe style design, meant the toebox area is smaller and less roomy. I miss that just right roomy-ness from the EVERmore.
I also felt some foot tension where the toes attach to the metatarsal heads. The upper felt a little tight in this area.
I could wear either a thin or medium thickness sock. A thick sock would not work for me – too tight of a fit.
Get Dirty Testdrive
Within the first strides in the EVERlong, I could sense the cushioning. It had a slight floaty feel which is my way of trying to say I could sense a bit of cushy midsole compression with each stride. I like some cushioning but prefer it to have a firmer feel.
On the rooty, rocky, and groomed Texas trails I scampered on, the EVERlong performed exceptionally well.
Roots and sharp sections of rock were nicely muted.
Bombing steep and moderately technical downhills was a blast! Felt in control and protected.
The shoe climbed fairly well on a variety of terrain. For real steep and loose terrain, I may like a bit more bite in the tread but that is more of an exception than the norm.
The foot tension with the upper seemed to dissipate after some miles of break-in time but still notice it although not service-affecting.
The spunky feel while holding the shoes (so light feeling) seems to be less-so when on the feet…I feel due to the cushy midsole compression.
As compared to the less-cushioned EVERmore:
- The EVERlong is lighter (at least at my size 12)
- The EVERlong has more cushioning (definitely noticeable when running)
- The EVERlong has less ground feedback (due to the cushioning)
- The EVERlong has a simplier upper
- The EVERlong has a more minimalistic low-profile Outsole
- The EVERlong has a less roomie forefoot due to the more traditional design
And then a new observation while running my 8-mile out-the-door road loop in my Saucony Kinvara’s…
The EVERlong have a very similar feel and composition in many ways as the Kinvara’s.
Take a look.
Both have a similar simple mesh upper and flexible heel cup area…along with that added cushioning in the heel cup to support fit. The EVERlong included a bit more midfoot wrap as compared with the Kinvara’s. General feel – very similar.
The midsole/outsole between the two had a similar vibe…this blending of midsole/outsole as apposed to having an obvious outsole layer separating the ground from the midsole. The EVERlong includes more segments of outsole (typically called the tread). Less than one ounce separated the two shoes in weight for my same size 12s.
General ride comparison between the EVERlong and Kinvara:
- The EVERlong has a more cushy ride (more “give” in the midsole)
- The EVERlong has slightly more midfoot wrap in the upper.
- The EVERlong has a slightly more low-rider / wider base feel.
- The EVERlong is slightly heavier (less than one ounce at size 12)
While I did mostly enjoy the ride of the EVERlong, my wishlist would be to firm up the durometer of the midsole (equals less floatie feel) and provide more piggy room and protection as Texas has an abundance of rocks and roots…yowza!
The Last Mile – Final Thoughts
The design intent of the EVERlong was to be a road inspired lightweight trail shoe with long distance comfort. In many ways that is exactly what Patagonia created. The shoe definitely has a performance vibe with a focus on the essentials and nothing more to help keep the weight down.
In many ways, the EVERlong is a road shoe in trail shoe’s clothing. This shoe is universal and could really play most anywhere.
What I think is also really cool, is the introduction of more trail shoes that fit in the moderate cushioning yet fairly light category.
Who Would Most Dig the EVERlong?
- Looking for a fairly lightweight trail shoe with moderate cushioning
- Like a lower drop shoe
- Is OK with a traditional shoe fit in the forefoot
- Looking for a minimal low-profile outsole
- Digs the road and trail running versatility
Women’s Patagonia EVERlong Test Drive – Olga King
Patagonia has always been THE go-to company when it comes to outdoors clothes. Back many years ago they were partners with Montrail shoe company sponsoring the ultrarunning team I was a part of, and I was spoiled in their awesome tops, shorts, jackets…Years passed, and they decided to start their own shoe line. Some feared it’ll be “not-so-good”. Some, on the opposite, were certain it’ll be “the bomb” because who better knows what outdoor people want and need than the best outdoors gear making company.
The real assurance in the positive direction came when Patagonia had assembled their own ultrarunning team and their ambassadors began putting an input into shoe design. Folks like Krissy Moehl, Rod Bien and Jeff Browining know a thing or many about running shoes! I tried Patagonia EVERmore past Spring and loved them, taking them for a spin from 25 km trail race all the way to a nasty technical 100 km trail race – and they held great, performed awesome, and had minor details I would have liked being altered.
Well, enter EVERlong. The all-too-minimal EVERmore with a twist by Jeff Browning, a specialist in fast, technical 100 mile races, just to make sure you can go long, you know.
From the first “out of the box” it was love at first sight. Super-light shoe (just over 6 oz for a female size 8), super-bendy, wide toe box…I was in heaven. I put them on right away, and walked my six miles road route to work – and it felt right.
The shoes are designed with road-to-trail in mind, per description.
So, what I saw and what I felt. The shoes are designed for neutral running, and it holds true. The wide toe box allows your toes to spread very nicely just like Altra or latest models of Merrill do, and I loved it – I always feel squeezed in forefoot in most of the shoes but do not subscribe to the Vibram idea. The EVERlong combined the freedom to move your toes and yet protection nicely.
The toe box has a rock-protection at the top of 1st and 2nd toes, and it does the job, but I felt that if I really kicked a serious rock, I’d be in trouble. However, I rather have it less prominent (the protection) than extra weight and a hard surface, so for me this works.
The inside of the shoe at the heel has a great idea of some added cushion of a heel pad to hold the heel in place around ankle bones even as the laces not tightened up all the way if desired. That was sweet! However, I felt the opening at the top of the ankle could have been more narrow, as small debris still got into the shoes on the run.
Speaking of laces, they did not possess the feature of Teva or latest models of trail Pearl Izumi shoes and needed a double-knot to stay tied during a run, especially if you cross creeks and get wet.
With respect to water, the shoe’s draining ability is phenomenal! Soaked in water, in two minutes it is drained, and in another five minutes it is totally dry. It is achieved due to a very light mesh upper of the shoe, very breathable too. Loved it!
The shoes had enough cushion in midsole to get through road runs and hard-packed trail surface and rocks, but I thought the forefront of the soul could use just a tad more.
The shoe drop is four mm, which seems to be a direction trail shoe companies are going, and it works for me as well. The soft and extremely flexible midsole allows your foot to contour around every rock or root as you step on a technical trail, yet if you happen to “jump” on a sharp rock, you will feel a hell of a lot of pain. The protection of a minimal shoe only goes that far. However, the low stack height lets you step quick and nimble. The shoe has a wide platform which makes shoes very stable on technical downhills.
The midsole foam is very squishy, and while it makes for a very comfy ride, it may feel a little like “drowning in sand” if you’re trying to really speed up – but that is only negative to a very small number of trail runners.
The traction – the thing that separates road shoe from the trail one – was not where many would want it to be. Due to trying to make a minimal shoe where weight is concerned, a lot of height of the sticking rubber squares got cut off. The result was a low-profile rubber sole which hold you well on some mixed rocks and even slick-rock – if it’s dry. Get a rain or water crossing to the mix – and you slip and slide. However, because the shoe is so “bendy”, the foot can still hold on to the little things as it goes along (this same rubber sole would be a dead proposition on a firm rock plate). I tried them on muddy trails, and I had to slow down quite some, and I would assume same goes for snow.
I ran the first 13 miles on the trails in these shoes by mistake, during a race practically out of the box (with only one walk on roads prior) – and they were stunning! I took them for more road runs and nasty trail runs, but only topped my longest as 20 miler, although in very wet and muddy conditions, due to recovering and tapering times during last few weeks. All in all, the shoes went through about 80 miles, and so far have hardly a wear on them. But with such a thin upper mesh and not over-built midsole, I do anticipate their life to be on a shorter timeline, may be about 250 miles.
These shoes are fit for more of a faster and a lighter runner due to its weight, low profile and minimal cushion. If you walk a whole lot in later stages of a race, if your race has very hard-packed dirt or granite rock for many miles, or if your running style puts you as a heavy footer – you might want to limit their use to short distances. But if you’re quick and efficient – fly in one!