Updated: Jan 3
I tried this shoe on just about every terrain from sandy singletrack to pavement, 3 rd class
scrambles to blazing downhill fire roads. I never noticed a time where the shoe stole the show, but it always delivered.
Dynafit offers a wide selection of nimble, trimly built mountain shoes, but the Ultra 50 brings a lower gear to the mix, allowing for long, steady pushes on big terrain. This shoe will appeal to American audiences more than their previous quiver of shoes, primarily for the fit, but also
because it showcases Dynafit’s talent at creating pared-down alpine racing shoes.
While the front end of the shoe does open the doors a little for toe splay, it still retains the
Dynafit trend of narrow toeboxes. For many runners—especially American runners—this will be less than an attractive selling point. With companies like Altra and Topo pushing for spaciousness over trim, aggressive fits, Dynafit might consider jumping on the bandwagon even more, especially since this shoe is marketed as an ultra shoe.
It will appeal to mountain ultra runners, especially those keen on technical rocky terrain. Runners who have soured on the pliable toe boxes of other shoes on the market will enjoy the balance of a compact, slightly aggressive-fitting shoe that provides responsive performance but doesn’t constrain.
While some might find the heel cup a tad low and under-built, the fabric on the heel cup has a sticky, Velcro-like weave that mitigates sock-sliding. As with other Dynafit shoes, the fit derives from the excellent tailoring, not over-designed harness technology. While I am thrilled by the slightly wider toebox, Dynafit could have gone even further in accommodating wider feet. They market the fit as “maximalist”, but most American runners will find it just barely so. I appreciate how the lower half of the lacing weave is protected by an integrated fabric barrier, which lends the shoe a hermetic fit in gravelly or sandy situations.
The Ultra 50 was not a very responsive shoe on flat pavement or gravel. This shoe is made for
complicated terrain, not tempo runs. With an 8mm drop, the Ultra 50 proved to be a lively shoe on the trail, both on sluggish ascents, and pounding descents. Runners will find the shoe somewhat stiff from the heel to the midfoot, but not distractingly so, and what the outsole lacks in sensitivity it delivers in energy to the foot.
The outsole pattern is simple, effective, and made from a single piece of rubber compound.
Don’t expect to have any de-laminating issues or the dreaded “peel-back” of treads. Personally, I highly dislike “lug-roll” on the edge of outsoles, especially as you sidestep large rocks. Thankfully, the modest lug height strikes an adequate balance between traction and
responsiveness. While crossing streams and crashing through technical muddy terrain, the Ultra 50 maintained admirable traction—a selling point for a shoe that claims to crush alpine terrain.
Weight: 290g (Men’s size 9)
Size: 6-12, 13 US
Stack Height: 22+4/30+4 mm (Heel/Forefoot)
Fit: Maximum Volume
MSRP: 129.95 USD