New Balance 100 Race Flat
$75, 7.7 oz, www.newbalance.com
Based on the 790 last, the 100 Race Flat was designed with input from young, trail-ultra stars Kyle Skaggs and Tony Krupicka, known for their affinity for lightweight shoes. While the upper is stripped bare, the midsole offers surprising support and protection, and provides a smooth, catlike roll.
The minimalist outsole has low-profile lugs, however, the shoe's dexterity makes up for this in allowing precise, ground-gripping foot placements. A testament to the shoe's long-distance capability, in June, Trail Runner intern Ashley Arnold wore them to run the entire 148-mile Desert R.A.T.S. Race Across the Sand stage race from Grand Junction, Colorado, to Moab, Utah, with stages up to 52 miles.
The shoe fits narrow to medium feet, and is best for neutral runners.
TESTERMONIAL: "The Race Flat allows me to rely on the mechanics of my foot, giving an accurate feel for the trail, and the snug, glove-like fit contributed to better stability than expected." —Brian Hass, West St. Paul, Manitoba