Dynafit Feline SL running shoes
With its beginnings in the manufacture of ski boots and winter sports equipment, the Austrian brand Dynafit has gradually made its way among the giants of this sector. A constant evolution of the brand born in 1950 that has led to great successes until today thanks to demanding mountain sportsmen and women in search of great results. Great successes achieved in both winter and summer seasons. And it is in this second time of the year that we refer to this brand. Because one of its evolutions was to launch, back in 2014, clothing, shoes and accessories for hiking and trail running. And in terms of trail running, they have very good material, such as the Dynafit Feline SL, Dynafit’s best-selling shoe that arrives in 2021 with important changes.
The latest version of the Dynafit Feline SL, the ones we tested in this article, feature several improvements that enhance the shoe’s performance in the mountains: the upper support that increases comfort and the outsole, with a new lug pattern that maximises grip in wet conditions.
The Sensitive Fit and the POMOCA pattern are basically what made us love the Dynafit Feline SL so much. Here’s why.
Dynafit have wanted to maintain the essence with which the Dynafit Feline SL were created: the hold and adaptation to the foot. They have not changed, although they have evolved. This is one of the main assets of this trail running shoe that runners like so much. They provide so much comfort and support that it feels like we are not wearing anything on our feet, especially in technical and rocky areas.
The new upper, known as the Sensitive Fit system, provides us with a very comfortable and well adapted fit to our foot in the instep area, facilitating the total freedom of our foot when impacting and taking off during the stride cycle. Thanks to the very fine mesh, the Dynafit Feline SL manages not to exceed the barrier of 300g on the scales, being a really light model for the practice of mountain sports.
It has the Ballistic Bumper fabric for more technical mountains that will help us to better protect our feet when we face more skyrunning situations. It is a fibre weave in the part that covers the toes to offer greater resistance to breakage and, it goes without saying, protection.
The Quick Lacing System takes care of the lacing system and the laces themselves. A type of system widely used by other brands that ensures a millimetric hold that is super adapted to our foot. It also ensures that our laces won’t come loose (and they won’t).
Continuing with the upper, it incorporates reinforcements in the heel to increase stability and adaptation to our foot. Although this is a somewhat stiffer part, it gives us confidence that we will have our feet well protected for running on steep downhill sections. Finally, the tongue of the Dynafit Feline SL is a bit padded, not too much, just enough that we don’t feel the Quick Lacing System pressing on the instep. It is a sewn tongue that does not allow impurities or dirt to enter and at the same time it has a kind of pocket to keep extra laces.
The midsole of the Dynafit Feline SL features a combination of Tpu with the Austrian brand’s own Multipad structure. This structure provides a more dynamic and reactive cushioning adapted to each type of stride in order to offer a greater shock absorption and a greater impulse in our take-off. This translates into a plus of security to face the most technical terrain and face steep descents.
They have a drop of 8 millimetres, something within the common considering that they are shoes with clear intentions to face alpine and demanding terrains.
Also helping the cushioning, although its presence is less noticeable and more to personal taste, we find the insole. An OrthoLite insole made up of 3 layers that increase the cushioning and comfort of our foot. We have mentioned that it is more to personal taste because there will be those who already use their own insoles or orthopaedic insoles for one reason or another, for that reason it is an aspect that we should not take too much into account.
As a result of the combination of TPU foam, Multipad structure and insole we get in this Dynafit Feline SL a soft, well cushioned and reactive midsole. A combination that will take us comfortably on trails, whatever the type, and that will provide us with good cushioning to face our most demanding workouts.
The last point to analyse is the sole. Dynafit has resorted for its flagship to the brand Vibram that gets so many praises. In particular, it has relied on Alpine compound and POMOCA lug distribution technology. A sole we can only rave about.
The sole will always be a key and fundamental aspect of a trail running shoe. That’s why it’s one of the parts where brands invest the most in R&D. And with Vibram’s experience in the field, we can be sure that it will work perfectly. And so it is. And thanks to the POMOCA pattern, a key piece. This is presented as an exclusive structure, with a slightly curved design that increases stability thanks to its shape, imitating the shape of the human foot. This results in a less artificial and less forced footfall.
As for the layout of the studs, they are arrowhead-shaped, multidirectional to increase traction in the toe and facilitate grip in the heel area. Well, it works well in both ascents and descents.
The outsole provides grip even in rocky areas and wet or damp terrain. If we find some mud, nothing will happen either, thanks to the layout and size of the lugs, which won’t clogging.
The only part that allows us some doubt is the durability of the outsole compound. The lugs are very large and separated, in the style of a soft ground shoe. But despite the miles we’ve put on them and the rather rough terrain we’ve been over most of the time, they look intact and with the original lug grooves. Just don’t run too much on asphalt.
After some kilometres with them
The Dynafit Feline SL are shoes that we loved, although we also had our ups and downs.
The positive part goes to comfort, cushioning, protection, support and durability.
They are really comfortable shoes that resemble those asphalt shoes with a boot shape. As soon as you put them on they feel like a sock: firstly because of the softness and secondly because of the breathability of the upper. Although it is a well-protected mesh on the sides, front and back, it is easy to wick away sweat and get rid of excess heat from our feet. The Heel Preloader and the Ballistic Bumper, are responsible for the fact that we can go confidently on the road without hurting ourselves, as they wrap a large part of the structure that holds our foot.
The Quick Lacing System is the big bet of the Dynafit Feline SL. During all the miles that we did with the shoes, they didn’t loosen at any time.
The cushioning of the midsole is really good. Very reactive. However you land, even if you land on your heel, Multipad technology will quickly correct the cycle to continue with a smooth transition to take-off. Reactivity is another key point of the midsole thanks to the fact that the foam is able to transmit forces from the heel to the forefoot. A midsole formed by a TPU plate and Multipad chassis with which the athlete will feel grateful.
Despite the fact that the outsole does not show flex marks, it flexes properly to provide grip on steeper terrains, allowing the front part of the shoe to maintain contact with the rock on steep climbs. We finish with our thoughts on the sole. At first it seemed a bit hard because every stride made too much noise on hard terrain, i.e., leaving home and going a few meters on asphalt. But that feeling vanished completely as soon as we got on the roads. Even on firm, dry trails, the outsole grips and gains traction effectively. As soon as we were able to test them on softer terrain, they were a delight to our senses. Great grip in these conditions as well as on wet rocks
The Dynafit Feline SL is a shoe for all runners, weighing less than 80kgs, with a neutral stride, they’re for those looking for a shoe to face demanding terrain on their training sessions with. Although also for medium distance races (under 30kms) and with technical terrain. Also very suitable for muddy and somewhat wet areas thanks to their prominent lugs.
Grip and traction on technical terrain.
Fit and comfort.
Nothing to object to.
Model Feline SL
Fit system: QuickLace
Upper: Sensitive Fit with Ballistic Fabric and Ballistic Bumper on toe and instep
Midsole: TPU with Dynafit Multipad structure
Sole: Vibram POMOCA
Available sizes: 35EU to 48.5EU
Weight: 290g (42 EU Men’s)
Colours available Orange/Blue; Black/Blue; Lime Green; Dark Blue/Orange; Reddish Orange.
More information here