Trail running is primal. Rough. Muddy. Wet. But it liberates me from gym treadmills that go nowhere and soul-depleting urban running paths.
Before I dive into Patagonia Gamut review, there are three important details I will disclose:
- Trail running this winter has been sketchy due to snow; the trails that I have been running are double-track dirt roads that have been plowed.
- I’m sensitive to running because I got caught up in the barefoot running craze and it didn’t end well.
- As a result of my sensitivity, my Vasque Mindbenders would be my point of reference in evaluating the Gamuts.
New for Spring 2013, the Patagonia Gamuts (MSRP $125) are made for trail running in all conditions and distances. They have a forefoot shock and absorption plate, a multi-density, sticky rubber outsole for wet and dry traction, precise fit on uneven terrain, and synthetic leather to enhance upper protection and durability.
Drainage ports in the breathable, wicking air mesh regulate water intake when slogging through puddles. The Dri-Lex® footbed cover and lining with Aegis™ Microbe Shield provides temperature and moisture control.
The engineering, details and features are great, but how do they really work?
I’m pretty impressed. The Gamuts are every bit as comfortable, stable and easy on my joints as my Vasque Mindbenders. When sharp pains start digging into my knees and joints, that’s when I know the shoes go to Goodwill. They even work very well with super-high arches and/or wide feet.
The advantage that the Gamuts have over the Mindbenders is in weight. The Gamuts weigh in at a buoyant 8.2 ounces versus the beefy 11.5 ounces of the Mindbenders.
The disadvantage, though, is that the Gamut’s lightweight, breathable design lets in every breeze and blast of frigid Minnesota winter air. If you live in a place that has cold winters, I recommend using these as your indoor running shoes on days when the temperatures plunge below 40 degrees. I experimented with thicker socks for warmth (Merino wool cushion sock by Darn Tough Vermont) but found that the Gamuts have limited room inside. Light socks, like the Light Cushion socks from Darn Tough Vermont, work best.
I’ll be hanging onto the Gamuts. Their ventilation and breathability and stability are going to be much appreciated this spring and summer with the Minnesota spring melt and humid summer.
On a closing note, corporate responsibility is important to me and Patagonia is a company that I get behind. They are a refuge of reduce, reuse, recycle, and repurpose.
Through their Common Threads Initiative, Patagonia is committed to designing products that are made to last and thus, reduce our environmental footprint. Patagonia also repairs its clothing. They donate their factory seconds to field activists and send unsold Patagonia goods to people who lose their belongings in disasters. You can sell your gently-used Patagonia products on the Common Threads Initiative eBay site. They encourage you to send your threadbare Patagonia clothing back so they can recycle it into new fiber, fabric or repurpose what can’t be recycled.