Gear

First Look: Garmont 9.81 Grid

Garmont’s new Grid model yields comfort and stability for long days on rough trails.

Garmont 9.81 Grid
Weight: 12.7 oz (per shoe, US men’s size 8.5)
Drop: 8 mm
Price: $155

Our first impression upon unboxing the new Garmont 9.81 Grid was that it possessed a quality, sleek look. Featuring a seamless PU overlay on a mesh-fabric upper, the shoe feels like it wraps the foot with solid support; a fairly stiff, padded heel cup and asymmetrical (taller on the inside) ankle cuff offer more stability. Over a dual-padded tongue (more near the top with a plush leather-y outer material), the laces lock in the fit further, while the toe area features aesthetic, raised wavy-topo overlays, and a reinforced toe cap.

Offering an overall wide-ish platform, the Grid has a slightly stiff, supportive midsole, and a burly Michelin Free Cross outsole with star-shaped lugs that grip well on rocks and loose trail surfaces. Weighing in at 12.7 ounces, the shoe won’t be a fast-and-light 5K fave, but for long days on rough, technical trails, Garmont has hit a sweet spot with the well-cushioned Grid.

The fit was nice and close on our tester’s medium-width, high-arch, high-instep foot; if anything, the shoe may run a tad short. The men’s model comes in either basic black or a flashier teal green/orange combo; the women’s is also offered in black and a light grey/light green model.