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Discussion: Best orienteering shoes

in: Orienteering; Gear & Toys

Sep 26, 2023 4:10 PM # 
2023 money can buy are still on sale. There may not be an S/Lab Cross 3, get them while you can.
Sep 29, 2023 2:36 AM # 
How is the durability, the grip, the fit? They don't have spikes and seem to aim towards a minimalist style. I might try a pair, but what are the best features of these shoes?
Sep 29, 2023 3:59 AM # 
The laces don't come undone.
Sep 29, 2023 8:00 AM # 
Features? That high ankle gaiter feature looks very attractive to me.
Metal studs are a negative IMHO as they do not do well on hard surfaces and almost no event organizers will let them in any building they are using, including washrooms/ restrooms/ WCs/ bathrooms. So that makes this shoe a positive.
Sep 29, 2023 11:45 AM # 
I'm actually wondering whether they would still work if the gaiter part were cut off. T/D, any comment? They are like the old Spikecross 2 or 3 (which were wonderful) but with the (to me) highly undesirable high upper.
Sep 29, 2023 11:49 AM # 
Is it just me or has the speedcross become “chunkier” (more shoe) the last few models? I recall it being sleeker when it first came out.
Sep 29, 2023 11:51 AM # 
Metal studs are a negative IMHO

Depends on where you live. For me, any shoe without metal studs doesn't even get considered for most orienteering races.
Sep 29, 2023 1:35 PM # 
I don't know how I survived so long without metal studs. I only bought my first pair (Integrator) in July last year. Before that I only wore Salomons. Now I can stick to rocks and other surfaces, provided it's not too wet. I don't bother with them for urban events.
Sep 29, 2023 1:35 PM # 
the stack height looks pretty big, do people have issues rolling ankles?
Sep 29, 2023 2:39 PM # 
Heel stack 16.5 mm. Maybe it just looks taller?
Sep 29, 2023 3:15 PM # 
Metal studs are a negative IMHO

Alligators in FL do not like to chew them
Sep 29, 2023 5:04 PM # 
Metal studs were an issue this summer at the NAOC Relay. The handoff and finish were on the skating rink at Northstar Village. We had to be off the rink by 2:00 so that they could start roller skating. We tested the surface and metal studs did not damage it, but it was very smooth. We envisioned people running full-speed into the finish and falling on their tail bones. We discussed putting something down like carpet; Gavin was going to get new carpet at home and considered bringing some strips of the old stuff. However, it was just too much to haul up to Tahoe. As far as I know, nobody fell or even skidded on the surface. With all the pavement on the rest of the course, I think a lot of people didn't wear spikes anyway.
Sep 29, 2023 9:07 PM # 
Day 2 of the Italian 5-day this summer also finished in a skating rink. I certainly wore spikes, don't recall what the surface seemed like or how it may have been protected, but certainly no issues with slipping. Like J-J, I always wear spikes for forest races.
Sep 29, 2023 9:10 PM # 
If you don't like the gaiter part (a must in California), get the Cross 2/Pro. These are no longer available firsthand from Salomon, you'll be scavenging from whoever has those left in stock at whatever prices and availability. To me the S/Lab Cross is a quintessential orienteering shoe: very low stack, flexible, lightweight, not particularly durable whereas the Cross/Pro is the quintessential rogaining shoe: heavier, more stable, pretty indestructible, well breathing.
Sep 29, 2023 9:45 PM # 
Have been wearing spikes for 35yrs. Including on rock and street events - I think there are always micro-holes in "smooth" surfaces that they grip on. Mind you they have Scandinavian pedigree, I have seen wannabe spikes without a proper foundation in the sole that just tear out.
Oct 2, 2023 4:04 AM # 
There's clearly no single best orienteering shoe:
* Most forest orienteering races, studded O shoes are a must. Yesterday I was running in wet, mossy forest with lots of rock and wet logs. No way I would have run without studs.
* In drier conditions (e.g., Kamloops/Wyoming type terrain), fine to forego the studs. Today's orienteering/adventure run had a lot of trail, so I opted for studless orienteering shoes.
* Salomons for trail running. I find SpeedCross good for trail running (but too tall/unstable off trail, particularly on side-hills). SpikeCross for winter running (on ice). The S/Lab Cross look like a potentially good mountain running shoe, particularly if the stack height is lower than the SpeedCross.
Oct 2, 2023 1:41 PM # 
No way I could wear those shoes, especially with the high ankle thingy. And what's with the Apple logo studs, and especially the three large round studs on the forefoot? Can't imagine how any of them would give good grip in orienteering terrain.

No-one has mentioned shoes for sprint. If it is, or has been raining you need good grip on both hard (especially brick paving and certain types of concrete) and soft (mown grass) surfaces. Inov8 X-T 212s for me with their sticky rubber soles and super-light weight. And they're pretty good in the forest too.
Oct 2, 2023 2:55 PM # 
And what's with the Apple logo studs

You missed the whole point. How can you imagine running in San Francisco without

the Apple logo studs??
Nov 9, 2023 5:13 PM # 
The Inov8 X-T 212s are only good if it you're not on cobblestones. Don't wear anything like that on cobblestones when its wet cos your slipping and sliding everywhere! Just normal light road shoes are best for those - I recommend Brooks or Olympus, cos they give the maximum contact but are still really light and bouncy.
Nov 15, 2023 1:24 AM # 
Because you can find anything on the internet, here's a review of a shoe that will never be made again.

3 (4?) events in and the s/lab cross 2s were a good purchase.

The good:
* lightweight
* not a big chunky sole like the speedcross has moved to
* built-in ankle gaiters keep out stuff
* snug fit

The not as good
* the hard laces can be felt inside the shoe and rub on the bone on the top of the inside of my foot.
* the round treads are not as grippy on steep terrain as the arrows on the speedcross
Nov 15, 2023 9:23 PM # 
Terje Mathisen:
I have been using Inov-8 almost exclusively for 10+ years, have bought maybe 30+ pairs (including a bunch for my son) during that time. The various X-Talons have been the main selection, starting with the original 212 and 190.
Nov 16, 2023 2:17 AM # 
Best orienteering shoe 2023 money can't buy

Icebug OLX2
Nov 17, 2023 1:37 AM # 
Thanks for sharing the tip about the best orienteering shoes of 2023 that are still on sale. Finding the right gear for orienteering is crucial, and it's great to know that there are quality options available.
Nov 17, 2023 6:58 AM # 
I bought Icebugs for the Czech O Tour because we weren't allowed studs of any sort but I don't particularly like them. I bought them with money that couldn't buy them.
Nov 20, 2023 6:43 PM # 
Best shoes for going orienteering in Texas and Oklahoma are found @ Tractor Supply. I like these

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