By Shelby Johnson
Raidlight is a French-based company that has recently started to expand its US presence. The company was founded in 1999 and makes several products that support the trail running experience to include apparel, hydration packs and shoes.
Among the shoes, the Responsiv line is geared to tackle a variety of terrain types. We took these shoes out under conditions from buffed out gravel to rocky technical terrain, mud and sand, and rain and sun to see what they were made of.
|Responsiv Ultra||Responsiv Dynamic|
|Primary purpose||Long distance trail comfort||Technical or alpine terrain|
|Last||RL Relax Last||RL Regular Last|
|Stack heights (heel/forefoot)||25mm / 19mm||23mm / 17mm|
|Lacing||Traditional tongue and laces||Integrated tongue and sockliner|
|Midsole||High cushion injected EVA||Dual density EVA|
|Outsole||4mm lugs||6mm lugs|
|Special Features||M-lock band and lace system||Lateral torsion bar|
Raidlight Responsiv Ultra
As the name implies, the Raidlight Responsiv Ultra is designed for runners looking to run for extended distances and durations. Its Relax Last provides a wide midfoot and roomy rounded toe box which allows for full toe splay as well as potential swelling with high mileage. Runners with narrow feet may find the midfoot excessively wide which can cause some sliding if the lace system isn’t locked down; an M-Lock elastic band across the top of the lace system helps secure this fit while still allowing for some expansion with swelling. The toe box is reinforced to protect the toes from any rocks that may jump out on the trails. The shoe also has a durable upper which provides great protection to the foot and stood up to our many miles of testing. The Achilles cutout in the back of the shoe minimizes heel discomfort but still keeps small debris from entering the shoe. Along with impressive durability, the uppers drain effectively and shed mud well in the rainy conditions the testers endured this spring.
The single density EVA midsole provides a good amount of cushioning to the shoe, yet is still responsive. A moderate heel-toe drop allows for heel strike on downhills but doesn’t exclude midfoot strikers. The midsole platform felt stiff on our initial runs, but broke in nicely without losing any responsiveness with continued use.
4mm outsole lugs are positioned around the heel and in the forefoot area, with open EVA through the midfoot to decrease weight. The lugs are adequate for mild to moderate trail conditions, with stronger than expected grip in a variety of conditions including technical trail and mud. They also provide a smooth ride for road to trail transitions.
Raidlight Responsiv Dynamic
The Raidlight Responsiv Dynamic is much more aggressive in appearance than the Ultra, reflecting its purpose of movement through technical or high alpine conditions. It uses a narrower RL Regular last, as well as an anatomical tongue that wraps the foot and prevents debris from entering the shoe, resulting in a more snug overall fit. The toe box is also narrower than the Ultra and has asymmetric reinforcement for toe protection. The heel area sits higher on the Achilles than on the Ultra.
The Dynamic midsole is a dual-density EVA that includes a torsion bar for improved lateral stability on rocky technical terrain. It maintains the same 6mm drop as the Ultra, but sits slightly lower to the ground to further improve ground stability.
Lugging on the Dynamic is more aggressive than the Ultra, with deeper 6mm lugs and full length outsole rubber for increased protection. We found the lugs to be nice and grippy on a variety of surfaces, while still maintaining a smooth ride on milder terrain.
The Raidlight Responsiv Ultra and Responsiv Dynamic shoes are available in both men’s and women’s versions at www.raidlight.us.