Higher State Soil Shaker 2 trail running shoes
At first glance, the Higher State Soiler Shaker 2 Running Shoes conjure two clear thoughts: they are extremely colourful – practically luminous, in fact – and they are very affordable. On the face of things, they are a cheap and cheerful trail running shoe. A good start for those on a budget, but the real question is, how do they perform in the great outdoors? I took them on a series of runs on muddy paths, wet pavements and grassy fields to find out.
Let’s start with comfort. Despite looking a little boxy and rigid compared to other trail running shoes, the Soiler Shaker 2 is actually quite comfortable and has a lot more flexibility than you may first think. It has good cushioning and low, firm support around the ankle. Weighing in at just under 300g – that’s about average for a trail running shoe – it strikes a good balance between weight and support. It’s a fairly narrow fit, so if you have wide feet, this may not be the shoe for you.
The Soil Shaker 2 is a self-confessed fell and mountain running shoe. It’s clear the makers had mountains in mind when then designed the outsole with its 7mm rubber lugs (the tread on the underside of the shoe) – this is grippy and copes well with rough rocks and muddy trails. It’s worth noting that on wet pavements there is a little bit of slip between the shoes and the ground, but nothing that will stop your flow.
The ripstop upper, which crosses over the top of the shoe, feels quite thick and durable, while retaining a good level of breathability. This is particularly important if you’re someone who likes to go off-piste, tearing through brambles and over rocky surfaces. Both the heel and the toe are reinforced, providing further protection. For some runners, the stiffness of the heel may be a little too much, though I found it added welcome support.
When combined, the midsole and outsole are thick enough and cushioned enough to offer a decent level of protection from uneven terrain. The cushioning is good, without being spectacular.
The lacing is standard, with a traditional lace-up closure and padded, gusseted tongue that sits snug to the front of your ankle. This close fit ensures debris doesn’t enter the shoe.
The shoes are available in a range of vivid colours, from bright green and yellow, to blue and red. The women’s version of the shoe is currently unavailable due to supply issues.
Higher State Soil Shaker 2 trail running shoes specifications
- Weight: 296g
- Activity/terrain: running, severe trails, fells and mountains
- Material: Ripstop mesh upper, Moulded EVA midsole, rubber outsole
- Lacing: traditional lace up closure – ensures quick and easy lace up for a secure fit
- Drop (difference in height between the heel and forefoot): 8mm
- Lugs (indentations on the sole of a shoe): 7mm, multi-directional
Haglöfs L.I.M Breathe GTX Shakedry Jacket
The jacket weighs just 204g (men’s large) – that is about as heavy as an adult hamster, in case you were wondering. In other words, it’s light. So light, in fact, that you almost don’t know you’re wearing it. Every element of the jacket has been designed to minimise weight; the zips are subtle, the buttons tiny, and the hood, cuffs and hem are elasticated, replacing the usual drawcords. This is a huge draw for adventurers who like high-energy pursuits such as trail running and don’t want to risk overheating. It also makes it easy to stow away in your rucksack when not in use, packing down to the size of, well… a hamster.
Yet despite its slightness, the jacket is 100% waterproof. Up to now, Gore-Tex fabric has comprised a waterproof membrane bonded to an exterior textile layer treated with a DWR (durable water repellent) to repel water. Invariably this external repellency declines over time and with wear. In contrast, Gore-Tex’s new Shakedry fabric omits the upper textile layer. The outer ‘laminate’ layer is highly water-repellent. When it rains, you’ll notice the beading on the laminate layer. As the wet weather subsides, a quick shakedown or snap of the jacket removes these droplets instantly, meaning you can stash the jacket into you pack almost completely dry. This is another feature mentioned in the name – Shakedry.
Inside, the laminate layer is fused with a smooth and dry-feeling backer. Combined, the two layers keep you completely dry in spring, summer and early autumn downpours.
Breathability is also an important factor to consider when looking for a lightweight jacket. In the lab, the L.I.M Breathe GTX Shakedry recorded a RET rating of <3,5, which translates to ‘extremely breathable; comfortable at higher activity rate’. Out in the field it matched up to this. It felt light and airy, even when moving at a quick pace beneath dry skies.
There are practical perks to the jacket, too. The hood, though lacking adjustable cords, fits snuggly over your head, holding securely in moderate gusts (strong winds push the hood back slightly). There are two hand pockets, which are a good size, though not large enough to store a standard OS Map.
Find out more about the Haglöfs L.I.M Breathe GTX Shakedry Jacket.