From attempting the UK Wife Carrying Race and Beer Mile to running a Centurian 100 Mile Trail Race to currently holding Four Fastest Known Times including The longest Inland Trail in the UK at 625 miles, Lee-Stuart Evans know outdoor gear. Between balancing insane distances with insane fun, he found time to review the LALO Zodiac Recon AT and here's what he had to say.
The ZODIAC RECON AT running shoes are great in more ways than I thought possible for a running shoe. They have more than average cushioning for long runs on trail whilst still maintaining plenty of control when you are running or hiking on uneven or rocky terrain. They have a non nonsense ‘normal’ fit across the toes so your feet enjoy a more natural foot shape and your toes don’t get squeezed.
The grip meets the demands of a multitude of terrain by being good in the wet and the dry and the shoe has been designed to be used on sections of tarmac too because in the real world we all have to run to the trails or do sections of sidewalk as well. I love the drain features and quick drying fabric too which repels water on its outer coating. I would describe these shoes as like mini military hovercrafts, but they handle more like a dirt bike!
IN DEPTH REVIEW
When I set out to create the record for the fastest known time on the 225 Mile New England Trail I faced 5 days of self reliance in the wilderness crossing the entire state of Massachusetts and Connecticut. I review a lot of running shoes from a lot of companies and have piles of shoes to choose from but the Zodiac AT is now basically my favorite shoe for trails in the USA in all weather conditions.
The LALO Tactical Athletic line is a direct result of briefings Lalo received from their Special Operations Forces. The need was to build a lightweight, packable, breathable shoe they could cross train and run in – a shoe they could count on, whether training or deployed. The tactical athletic designs put an emphasis on noise reduction, support and game day performance; gear that hits the mark time after time.
What surprised me with these shoes straight out of the box was that the guys that could make a supremely rugged military spec ( and used) tactical boot had also nailed a decent long distance trail running shoe. These two types of footwear (tactical boot and running trainer) couldn’t be further apart and yet I knew the The Zodiac Recon AT shoe would be great on the trails just by looking at the features .
WET AND DRY
So the upper fabric has a very breathable mesh that keeps your feet and socks dry from sweat and moisture. What I also noticed was that the outer coating seems to have a DWR like water repellent coating on it because light splashes of water beaded and fell off the fabric rather than soaked in.
When your feet do get fully wet these running shoes have special drain holes along the base to help water escape quickly and the material was also quick to dry when I ran through stream crossings and brooks on trail.
Sounds like a weird thing to talk about…a shoe being foot-shaped but very few running shoes actually are. Most are too narrow and pointy. The ZODIAC Recon ATs have a wide, comfortable toe box so your toes don’t get squished and you are less likely yo get blisters. On long distance runs your feet swell so these shoes give you the room for your feet to remain comfortable all the way beyond marathon trail distance.
The laces aren’t too long and the shoe avoids metal lugs by using reinforced holes and straps instead. Its a minor gripe but I would like to see an extra hole up near the ankle so that I can do heel lock lacing, but after running in them I found the heel was a very secure shape and fit so this may be the reason they avoided an extra lace hole.
SOFT AND TOUGH
The ride on these shoes is like nothing I’ve really run in before. They are extremely well cushioned for long distance running and trail hiking, but somehow they have a dual layer in them that means they are also very stiff and rigid lengthwise. What this means is you get a sturdy supporting shoe that will not allow rocks to bash through and bruise your feet, but beneath this solid shield is a soft and comfortable ride. Its like an armored hovercraft on your foot.
The grip is designed to work in a wide range of conditions. I found it was good on wet rock, excellent on sidewalk ( we run to and from trails right ?) and they also don’t clog easily in mud and loose dirt. Overall these shoes have a rugged ugly/pretty unapologetic design that reminds me of classic military gear like the Hummer or an Apache Helicopter.
GREAT FOR SPIKES
The flat overall grip on the underside of the shoe means they are great in winter when you attached ice running spikes to them. I find that other shoes with a raised higher section before the heel tend to make spikes slip.
None. I wouldn’t change anything on these shoes. I’ve literally never written this in any review before.
I suggest buying half a size up to your normal shoe size as the fit tends to be very snug otherwise, especially with thicker socks in the winter, or swollen feet from the heat of the summer.
These shoes are great in so many ways. They have more than average cushioning for long runs on trail whilst still maintaining plenty of control when you are running or hiking on uneven or rocky terrain. They have a non nonsense ‘normal’ fit across the toes so your feet enjoy a more natural foot shape and your toes don’t get squeezed. The grip meets the demands of a multitude of terrain by being good in the wet and the dry and the shoe has been designed to be used on sections of tarmac too because in the real world we all have to run to the trails or do sections of sidewalk as well. I love the drain features and quick drying fabric too which repels water on its outer coating. I would describe these shoes as like mini military hovercrafts, but they handle more like a dirt bike! These will not disappoint.
* LALO OCF – Operator Component Fit System
* Internal stability wrap for extra mid-foot support
* Carbonized heat transfer toe cap
* Drainage ports for a two-way passive drainage system
* EVA heel counter for maximum stability and a secure fit
* Lightweight, breathable upper for second skin-like fit
* Multi-density EVA construction designed to cushion at foot-strike and propel during toe-off
* Signature LALO Off Road Traction Pods (ORTP)
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