Helly Hansen KENOSHA HT Trail Shoes

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They Say - Lightweight, low-profile trail running shoes for men that offer a great fit, comfort and stability. Dont be fooled by the stylish design and bright colours; these trainers are built for performance. Our Helly Tech® Performance waterproof membrane keeps your feet dry while the EVA midsole provides great cushioning and the rubber provides great traction.

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We Say – I decided to give these Kenosha shoes the ultimate test. Apart from an hour about town, the first time I wore them was for the Ultimate Trails 110km run in the Lake District. This involved 6 mountain passes, 14,000 feet of elevation and plenty of opportunity for new shoes to cause problems. Here’s a shot I took of them halfway round as I crossed a river.

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My last Helly Hansen trail shoes were completely waterproof, so I trusted these to be the same. A bonus was that these Kenosha are flatter shoes than my last pair which is what I wanted so that I could feel the trail better.

I put Vaseline on my toes and heels before the race and that was my only protection, apart from my Gore socks. The result was that I got only 1 small blister on a toe in 110kms of hard trail racing, which to me says that these are a well engineered pair of shoes. Ordering off the internet is often a hit and miss affair as many shoe manufacturers run their sizes either a little small or large, but these are spot on. With Helly Hansen, an 11.5 means an 11.5.

I crossed many streams, rivers and a boggy fell; the fell took an hour or more to traverse so you can imagine how wet the shoes got, sinking into 2 inch deep bog constantly. But they are brilliantly waterproof and my feet stayed dry.

As for grip, yes, it’s all there, never once lost my footing on flat ground and only occasionally on the downhills, but this is inevitable if you’re running down a slope made of unstable rocks in the darkness (the race started at midnight).

I really enjoyed that I could feel the trail but that it didn’t hurt me at all. The shoes are flat enough for your feet to hug the ground but tough enough that the stones and rocks don’t cause any issues. My arches didn’t hurt either, even though I went into the race with a sore right arch I gained in a 67 mile run I’d completed 7 days earlier. So full marks for the support these shoes offer.

Talking of stones and rocks; during my last run I was wearing a different pair of shoes and I had to stop 7 or 8 times to empty out my shoes, they had so many stones and pieces of forest/twigs in them. But this time I only had to stop 2 times, the fit around the ankle is good and prevents much debris getting in, although this could also be down to the design of the sole of the shoe, made so it doesn’t flick up so much debris as I run.

A final plus point, in this 110km the laces didn’t come undone once. I usually have to stop a few times to re-tie laces during a run and even though I didn’t tie them any differently this time around (I use a double knot) I didn’t have to waste any time re-tieing them this time around.

If you haven’t guessed, I love these shoes. They are 1st class trail shoes, I recommend them.

To discover more, please see http://shop.hellyhansen.com/gb/item/kenosha-ht-10790/?t_type=src&COLOR=991%20BLACK%20%2F%20NEW%20LIGHT%20GREY%20%2FC&t_type=cat

And if you’d like to see a short film I made of the 110km event that I tested these shoes at, here it is;

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