southernrunningguide.com asked high profile charity runner Mark Cooper - a man who likes to stack up the miles - to review the Blade-Max Trail from K-Swiss, that brand's first venture into the trail shoe market. Here's what Mark thought:
So K-Swiss has developed their first trail shoe, I was looking forward to trying these out and when they arrived I wasn't disappointed with their appearance. I decided to test them out on a few training runs and on the Speyside Way Ultra, an off road 36.5 miles race in the Scottish Cairngorms. This would put them to the test.
It did seem for a while that all K-Swiss were able to focus on was tennis and everyday footwear but with this new product they are looking to challenge the best known brands in the trail shoe department. In appearance I think they certainly matched up to the others but in the end appearance counts for nothing if performance isn't there also.
The shoe weighs around 375 grams, a little heavier than some trail shoes that are out there but about average compared to a lot of the market. The Blade-Max Trail is marketed at the off road/ trail running scene, a hard market to break into as many trail runners have their favourites brands, however the shoe has some nice features, a 'hydrophobic ion mask' and a stitched tongue to keep your feet dry. On the Speyside Way Ultra last weekend I noticed that they had good cushioning on the off road sections. Even though I was out running for close to six hours during the Speyside on uneven terrain I did not have a single blister, this was a miracle to me considering my feet were still pretty messed up from running 129.2 miles only four weeks before.
On the trail the shoe sole did not get clogged up with mud (and it was very muddy and wet in places) I did however almost slip twice but as I say the ground was very muddy in parts so I would forgive the shoe for this, anyway I only ALMOST slipped so they done their job.
They do seem to have lost a little bit of their original shape at the front section but this is probably to do with me having wide feet, they still feel comfortable and as I write this I am sitting at my computer screen wearing them to walk around town.
Overall I would say this is a good all round shoe, comfortable with great ankle support. The look is great for those that care what a running shoe looks like (not me). A little soft on top perhaps, I would prefer a larger toe guard for the serious trails.
For more details visit the K-Swiss website.