After dismissing Dynafit a few years ago, will the Dynafit Ultra 100 change Theo's mind on the use of the brand?
Dynafit was not a well known brand a few years ago among the trail running community. I discovered this brand around 2020 when I moved to Innsbruck, where they originated.
Despite some positive feedback from my friends, I always considered their wares more as hiking shoes than trail running shoes. So I was really curious to see where Dynafit was nowadays when I tested out the Dynafit Ultra 100.
Weight in Dynafit’s sample size: 310g (10.93oz)
Stack height: 32mm heel and 26mm forefoot for a 6mm drop
Dynafit 100 Upper – Solid and comfortable
The Dynafit Ultra 100 look sporty without being too aggressive.
Adding some strength and support to the upper, we find a white overlay. This overlay on the top and side ensures that the mesh will not break after a few hours in the mountains. Furthermore, these white stripes are even doubled on the toe box which has saved my toes from bruising on trail rocks. Although I have suffered no issues with the mesh upper so far, I am not convinced about its durability in the long term.
Holding the upper together, the shoe lace is very pleasant and comfortable and there is a wide lace guard in order to keep it safe during your runs. As far as comfort goes, the foam inside the shoe envelopes your feet really well. They have a delightful cocoon feeling around the foot which holds you secure.
Midsole – Rigid for better or worse
Even before putting them on, I was so so so surprised by the rigidity of the Dynafit Ultra 100 midsole. They are so rigid, I was unable to twist them in my hands. This is a complete contradiction to any other trail shoe I have tried. In my mind, this is a bold philosophy from Dynafit. Especially for long distance shoes because comfort is key.
Furthermore, and the greatest weakness of the Dynafit Ultra 100, this rigidity makes this shoe very unstable on technical terrain. Due to this lack of stability, it is very easy to twist an ankle on the trail. On the other hand, thanks to this rigidity, the Dynafit Ultra 100 are a very responsive shoe. Furthermore, the firm midsole in combination with the outsole (which we will talk about later) make these shoes enjoyable to run in.
Let me be clear, the Dynafit Ultra 100 is not a fast shoe (and it is not made for this as an ultra distance shoe), but you can push them especially on the uphill. Finally with the midsole, the thickness of the foam protects your foot very well from rocks on technical terrain.
The best grip and traction going!
Now we come to the strongest point of the Dynafit Ultra 100, the excellent outsole. This gives fantastic grip and traction. Let’s be honest, this superb grip should not come as too much of a surprise. The Vibram logo always lets us know that we are in for a fantastic level of traction. After a few hours outside, I still do not see any degradation on the outsole of the Dynafit 100. I have no doubt it will be very durable.
On uphill sections, the grip combined with the traction (traction lug technology from Dynafit) works perfectly. The return of energy is good and you can really push. On the downhills, the grip works fantastically on every type of terrain. You notice it especially on more technical terrain.
During my testing, I never slipped in the trails, in the mud, on wet rocks or in the snow. Overall, I was really amazed by this. You can even feel this grip on the asphalt, so the shoe sticks to the ground. What a shame that there is a lack of stability, otherwise these shoes would have been really playful on the downhills.
A real ultra distance shoe which is penalised by a lack of stability
The Dynafit Ultra 100 is a shoe designed for long distances. They are a bit heavy, well built to protect the feet from rocks on the front and side. However, I am a bit suspicious about the mesh on the top. Despite their rigidity, they are comfortable. Although, if you are a fan of minimalist shoes, this one is really not made for you.
The thick outsole will protect your feet so well against rock and roots that you will almost not feel them. Unfortunately, the counterbalance is their lack of precision. The Dynafit Ultra 100 would have been a blast in the downhill with their amazing grip.
In summary, it is a good shoe that I would use for a very long distance (more than 100km not under) and more during rainy or snowy conditions. If you are running an ultra trail and you like to change shoes during the race, I would use them more at the beginning, when your legs and feet are still able to accept this rigidity. On a non technical trail until 80km, these shoes will not be the right choice.
30 years old
178cm (5’8″) – 63kg (139lbs)
Midfoot striker – Stride runner