Last weekend, I took myself on over to the mall for a long overdue fitting room session at lululemon, but the crazy neon shoes I had on apparently stole the show. Therefore, it’s time to give them their proper time in the spotlight. Not only are they obnoxiously neon, they’re quite comfortable to boot.
Let me introduce to you the Mazama Trail Running Shoe, by my personal favorite running company, Brooks Running. (Shown in Diva Pink Anthracite Bluefish)
FIRST IMPRESSION: One of the most noticeable things about the Mazama is that it’s much lighter than the trail running shoes I’d previously been using, the 2013 Brooks Adrenaline GTX. I initially headed into the store for a subdued replacement for my heavy duty all-black Adrenalines (which I did get, the Brooks Cascadia), but neon. NEON. Suddenly Tom Haverford & Donna Meagle were in my head telling me to treat myself to the insanely bright pair I instantly fell in love with.
I was honestly surprised how light the shoe’s construction was, given the fact that trail runners are known for being sturdier, and are meant to block out the unpleasant feeling of uneven terrain underfoot. The fellow helping me out at REI said that these were designed with obstacle racers in mind.
I don’t personally own any Nike Flyknits, but I would liken the Mazama’s construction to a sturdier version of that. While most running shoes are a strategically constructed network of mesh and less-stretchy leather or synthetic materials, the Mazama fits on the wearer’s foot like a glove.
Take notice that the tongue is much thinner than usual. However, it seems effortlessly part of the shoe. One of the best parts of the Mazama is that your foot does NOT move around. I truly feel one with this shoe. It does the work to conform to your foot on its own, so you don’t have to worry about lacing up tightly and having an oddly loose toe box.
WE WILL ROCK YOU (…MAYBE): The soles are plenty grippy, they held onto this fence quite nicely. The only reason I fell off (only once, I swear) was that my balance decided to take the afternoon all for itself. Some trail running shoes can be substituted for hiking shoes, but I would recommend against taking these out on any rugged terrain. While they grip great, they also flex very well. This is a plus for trying to get around said obstacles, but sometimes can be a hindrance if you’re trying to maneuver rougher trails.
Aside from my stupid bunions, I have normal feet. No odd arches, and no width issues. That said, I’ve heard feedback from others that the Mazama is a bit on the narrower side. With their glove-like fit, I can understand how that may be a concern for some. Also, don’t expect much squish. (Squish is a technical term now, because I said so.)
All in all, the reason I called this post ‘Up Close’ and not an official review is that I haven’t actually ran these through the dirt for more than a short jog. To be perfectly honest, I may never take them near the mud, given how bright the colors are.
Aesthetically, they take an otherwise muted outfit and take away from the fact that you really didn’t go nuts with your outfit.
All in all, Brooks is a a Cinderella fit for me. After doing a gait analysis with Fleet Feet back in 2013, I was introduced to Brooks. The second I put on the Ghost 5, all of my “woe is me nothing feels quite right” over running shoes evaporated into thin air, and I haven’t turned back since.
If your feet enjoy the Brooks fit, they should feel right at home in the Mazama. Brooks is an incredibly durable brand, and will happily take the mud-covered beating you’ll throw at them this summer, without weighing you down.