Dynafit Speed Mountain Shoe Review

Trail running in Switzerland's Jungfrau Region
Trail running in Switzerland's Jungfrau Region

On the way to the Chrinnenhorn, above Grindelwald, Switzerland

When we walked into our local mountain shop, Interlaken’s Vertical Sport, both the men’s and women’s version of the Dynafit Speed Mountain caught our eye. Like so much of what Dynafit makes, they were pretty sexy and needed further attention. My first impression was that I was holding an approach shoe. A bit heavy, lots of rubber, beefy, and with the telltale, under the big toe, climbing support.

We each stood studying our respective model, until Kim finally announced, “It looks like a really bomber alpine running shoe”.

Our friend, and gear guru, Flo, was working that day and confirmed, “It’s Dynafit’s new Speed Mountain shoe. They’re selling really well, people love the fit.”

Minutes later, both Kim and I were doing 3 meter sprints in them around the store proclaiming, “These things feel great”. It was immediately apparent that while they look like an approach shoe, they fit and felt like a running shoe.

Trail running in Switzerland's Jungfrau Region

At home on trails as much as off trail. Here, on the way to the Chrinnenhorn, above Grindelwald, Switzerland – one of our Way Ups.

Now, a month later, we can confirm. These things are great. Dynafit has hit a home run for people seeking an all around alpine shoe, and for just about everything that the mountains can throw at you. We’ve found them to be the ideal shoe for our Way Up Alps project, where we run trails, hike talus, kick steps in firm snow, use crampons, and scramble along easy-ish rock ridges. They do it all, and thanks to a relatively stiff sole, keep my feet happy with the support they provide long into big days.

Running and climbing La Ruinette, Swiss Alps

The Speed Mountains combine well with Kahtoola MicroSPIKES. After a trail running approach, then a crumbly rock scramble, La Ruinette has a rapidly shrinking glacier to cross. This 3875 meter peak in Switzerland’s Valais region will be on Elevation soon.

The Good:

  • It’s a mountain running shoe that climbs.
  • It’s an approach & scrambling shoe that you can actually run in.
  • Plenty of armor over the toes for rocky terrain.
  • Sticky rubber for climbing.
  • A stiff sole that keeps the feet happy when tired, climbs well, and is supportive on snow.
  • Crampons work great on this shoe! I’ve been using both the Kahtoola KTS and Edelrid Beast Lite and they fit perfectly to the shoe’s shape and stiffer sole.
  • Gore-Tex, if you are into Gore-Tex (I am not! – see Bad. …for me anyway).
  • The Speed Mountain seems very well made. I’ve used mine in some conditions that would destroy a lesser shoe and they’ve come out looking like new.

A Little Bad (but not so bad):

  • The lacing system is fussy. I find Dynafit’s speed lacing system to continually loosen up, forcing me to always give them a tug.
  • The pocket sleeve for the laces is slow to stuff the laces into (after giving the laces that much needed tug) and the laces regularly fall out. After post holing in calf deep snow, the pockets fill with snow, stretch out, and cause the laces to continually hang out (crampon catchers). Overall, I’d prefer a standard lacing system.
  • Gore-Tex. I know I know, some people like it. I do not. I’d like to see a non-Gore version of this shoe to lighten things up and let my feet breathe. My issue with Gore-Tex is that feet get wet inside no matter what, it comes in from the ankle or from sweat. With Gore-Tex, once your feet are wet, they stay wet and get clammy cold. Non Gore-Tex shoes may get wet inside faster, but they’ll breathe and dry out. So while Gore-Tex is fine up high, they are sweltering hot once you begin that descent back to the lower elevation. That moisture you accumulated inside isn’t going anywhere.

Overall, I highly recommend the Speed Mountain. Dynafit has found the right balance between a running and approach shoe. If you run in the alpine world, do some easy climbing, or simply want solid protection for your feet – the Dynafit Speed Mountain will be a great addition to the shoe quiver.

By Dan Patitucci

Running and climbing La Ruinette, Swiss Alps

Kim scrambling on the final rocky ridge on La Ruinette.

Running and climbing La Ruinette, Swiss Alps

Shoe eating terrain on La Ruinette. The Speed Mountains were in their element, and made it home without injury.

Climbing the Balmhorn

On Switzerland’s Balmhorn, the Speed Mountains with the Edelrid Beast Lite crampons. The Balmhorn is another Way Up featured on Elevation.

Dynafit Speed Mountain

Minor issue… cold, stiff laces that fall out of the top of shoe pouch and dangle off to the side.

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