I was lucky enough to try out and review the Flash Lite running shoes from GoLite (for a woman’s perspective, check out Women’s Endurance Gear), and they followed up by sending me their newest trail shoe, the Tara Lite.
The next evolution in Class 1 trail running is inspired by the Tarahumara tribes of Mexico, whose name means “those who run fast”. These amazing athletes are best known for their superior running abilities while wearing minimal thong style sandals. The Tara Lite for men takes the best aspects of the Tarahumara sandal and adds the protection, stability and traction benefits of our Class I trail runners.
Built on the BareTech platform with a zero drop heel, runners can enjoy all the benefits of a natural gait with the exceptional stability and protection of our Soft Against the Ground technology on all terrain. The “second skin” upper provides comfort and lightweight protection from the elements.
The internal “sandal” thong and our unique closure system provides adjustable fit, security. And energy efficiency by preventing excessive foot movement.
GoLite Footwear’s newest outsole, the Sticky Gecko, is inspired by the gravity-defying “traction” of geckos. The 350 small GripstickTM rubber lugs replicate the tiny hairs on a gecko’s feet that create surface contact and friction.
While some might think this as a minimalist shoe, GoLite does not want runners to approach it with that thought in mind:
“First, and most importantly, we want to be clear that the Tara Lite is not intended to be defined as a minimalist shoe. As part of our BareTech series, the Tara Lite represents what we believe to be the perfect balance between minimalist footwear and traditional trail running shoes. The design intent was to combine the features and benefits of barefoot/minimal shoes (zero drop heel, wider toe box, light weight materials) with the practical protection of traditional trail running shoes (traction, stability and cushioning along with removable arch support).
Second, we are including a pair of split toe socks with every pair we sell since we believe that this will enhance the overall comfort of the shoe. Some runners may opt to wear the shoes without socks, but it is our recommendation that the socks be worn with these shoes, especially when evaluating their performance.
Finally, we are aware that the midsole thickness and overall weight are somewhat above the cutoff for true minimal shoes. However, we have eliminated the excess materials found in traditional trail running shoes, reducing the weight considerably from what many are used to wearing on the trail. And we have maintained what we consider to be just the right amount of material to protect the foot and minimize injuries.
We believe that the shoes in our BareTech series offer a solution that is appropriate for those runners who want to experience natural running but aren’t able to make the full shift to minimal shoes.
Please consider this distinction when testing these shoes to determine whether they deliver on the promise of a ‘natural ride with full protection’.”
While not defined as a minimalist shoe, the Tara Lite does offer a light, simple option to those that do not need the support and cushioning of a traditional shoe. These are one of the lightest trail shoes I have worn and, while the sandal “thong” does take some getting used to, the two straps offer quite a bit of adjustability, which should make this shoe comfortable for most.
One thing about the design of this shoe is that it is not for shrinking violets. I would think most people will either love or hate the look of the Tara Lites, with their spectacular orange color and chunky straps. These shoes look like they mean business! (If you haven’t guessed, I’m in the former camp, glad that GoLite Footwear injected some forward-looking fashion sense into the sometimes staid world of trail running.)
Though nominally a trail shoe, I felt comfortable in these shoes on all surfaces, including the treadmill. With their slip-on entry and ability to cinch tightly with the 2 straps, these shoes should be appropriate for rocky runs even without gaiters. Though not in any way waterproof, even completely soaked the shoes remained comfortable and retained their insulation, so my feet were not unhappy. As with the Flash Lites, these shoes are quite roomy, so think about ordering a half size down for optimal comfort.
The women’s version will be available from GoLite in July – look for an upcoming review over at Women’s Endurance Gear.
GoLite Footwear is a forward-thinking company well worth checking out; for more info and to keep up with new products, check out their website, like them on Facebook, and follow them on Twitter.
Disclaimer: This product was sent to me for review purposes, courtesy of GoLite Footwear via New England Footwear. I was not compensated in any other way for the review, was not obligated to give it a positive review, and all opinions are my own. Some information in this review was taken from the company website.