Vasque Ultra SST ReviewApril 14, 2014
- Very light considering the thick midsole
- Novel design—all one piece of foam
- Huge midsole for bottomless cushioning
- Roomy Fit
We weren’t all that impressed. At $170, the Ultra SST among the priciest out there, but there were too many funky aspects of this shoe for our team as a whole to get behind it. A number of our team found the fit loose (due to the molded construction, it’s either going to fit or it isn’t, and if it doesn’t it can be uncomfortable). It’s not as boxy as it looks, but is not quite as soft as expected either. But it does offer nice, deep, long distance cushioning for those it fits well.
Vasque combined the concepts of a thick, cushioned EVA midsole with a molded construction that follows the contours of the foot and has a 6mm drop. The design is also built up around the foot, so you aren’t riding quite as high as you think. The tread has decoupled pods for a smoother and more flexible ride, and the upper—which is stitched to the molded chassis of the shoe, has overlays for enhanced stability and support.
Security of Fit
Thanks to the BOA lacing system, the upper can crank down, but it’s still roomy. Your foot nestles down a bit for a secure ride. While foam can feel soft underfoot, the wrapped foam sidewalls can rub. There is no real adjusting that can be done, so pay attention in the store because it quickly becomes evident if they hit you in the wrong spot.
Comfort & Protection
This is a boxy shoe, meaning your foot is protected from below and from the sides thanks to the one-piece design that forms the sole, midsole, and sidewalls. The interior is smooth and the sock like fit holds at the ankle with a soft, neoprene collar. If the shoe doesn’t fit you well, though, don’t expect the laces to help snug things up much—you’ll just feel lace pressure on the top of your foot.
For cruising along rolling trails, the speed was just fine for a 10-ounce shoe.
Agility & Traction
The sole has multi-directional lugs with relatively big crash pads, but the lugs are on the smaller side. As for agility, this is a big shoe, so it depends upon how it fits. I have a narrow foot and had room. For me, it didn’t feel particularly nimble.
For the amount of cushioning involved, these didn’t give much in the way of a “springy sensation,” yet they didn’t suck the energy out of my stride either.
I do not doubt the R&D that went into this shoe, but at $170 it’s the most expensive in our review.
This shoe used to be called the Vasque Shapeshifter. If you see other reviews under that name, it’s the same shoe.