I keep saying it but TNF are really getting their act together with run shoes, no doubt the signings of Timmy Olson, Rob Krar and so on are having a huge influence in how the brand not only look at run shoes, but design them. The Ultra TRII is a shoe that has elite (or should I say fast) runners written all over it. It’s a light shoe designed to tackle long runs that can include road and dry trail trail. Ultralight, this durable running shoe has been designed with a glove-like fit and the non aggressive Vibram® soles provides excellent traction.
The TRII is an update to the award-winning Ultra TR and the shoe has the same exceptional traction and featherlight ripstop construction that has taken influences from track shoes or a racing flat.
The TRII has an 8mm drop which for me is just perfect, I keep saying it but 8mm (for me) is the perfect all round drop and particularly when running longer, the 8mm allows for a little more leeway when technique gets sloppy with fatigue.
These shows feel fast before you even run in them. A neutral shoe, they are designed for runners with a good run style. When you slip them on, they feel like slippers and the tongue of the shoe is attached to the upper enhancing that glove like feel. Toe protection is minimal but the shoe has ‘Snake Plate’ and the TNF ‘Cradle’ to offer excellent protection for road or trail.
The heel ‘Cradle’ in particular is something that TNF have used for sometime and it most certainly helps with foot positioning, support and energy return.
The shoe has ‘Airmesh’ and is designed to keep the foot cool and thus avoid hot spots, using FlashDry™ fibres in the lining adds to the plush feel. The upper is ripstop fabric from the tent industry and it therefore should be very durable. The shoe has a suede forefoot and the black/ silver upper contrasts nicely against the brightly coloured sole.
Cushioning is good with 8mm at the front and 16mm at the rear, drop as mentioned is 8mm. The weight is very good at 230g (UK8).
The sole is Vibram, say no more. It works exceptionally well for its intended use; dry trail, rocky terrain or road.
The shoe feels great the first time you slip it on and the upper is seamless and snug. The shoe feels light and fast but yet it still has plenty of cushioning for long runs.
8mm drop for me is perfect, it provides a drop that allows me to run longer and when I can’t keep my form, the extra height allows for some compensation, especially with the 16mm cushioning at the rear.
The shoe is not for muddy runs, not at all. It’s a shoe that excels of dry trail, rocky trail (wet or dry) and road. It has actually become my preferred road shoe and at least once or twice a week I have used this shoe for shorter/ faster road sessions. They feel great and actually encouraged me to run faster. Feel for the ground is great and the Vibram® full-length road-to-trail outsole engineered for optimal traction and balance really does a great job.
On trail, the shoes feel great and for example, I can see this shoe have a great influence from Rob Krar. I can almost certainly see him blazing a trail to another Western States victory in a shoe like the TRII. As mentioned, it’s a dry trail shoe and on the odd occasion when I have encountered mud, the shoe has had little grip. That is not a criticism as the shoe is definitely not designed for anything other than dry, slick or rocky trail.
The heel box holds the foot secure with no slipping. It’s snug and reassuring. The toe box is generous but not wide, so you would need to try the shoes on if you have a wider foot. Because this shoe is designed for faster running and due to the influences from track spikes, the TRII should have a snug feel as this adds to the security when running on technical trail. It’s all about personal preferences, for me, they are spot on!
The relatively seamless upper and sewn in tongue really holds the foot secure and has given me no hot spots, the very breathable upper obviously adds to this.
Sizing is true to size. I use a UK9.5 and this shoe fits perfectly.
Using the ripstop technology and minimising cushioning definitely has definitely paid off. The upper is very breathable, the laces are slightly textured and stay fastened; ideal! The Vibram sole has enough grip for the intended purpose.
It’s a great shoe for those who want something light, fast, 8mm drop and will run on road and dry trail. It’s not an all rounder and therefore if you are looking for a ‘one shoe does all’ this is not it. It’s a shoe to add to other shoes and one that you will use every now and gain for specific runs. It would make a great race shoe.