VJ - ULTRA
Tech and Spec
What VJ Say
If you are looking for a well-cushioned trail shoe, but are not willing to compromise on weight or responsiveness, the VJ Ultra is for you. Developed with input from elite runners, the VJ Ultra is outstanding for longer distances, as the name implies. It is also an excellent choice for shorter distances when you want a little extra cushioning and comfort. To ensure exceptional grip, the Superior Contact outsole is made of our famous butyl rubber. The last is a medium +, which is suitable for most runners. The added toe space gives you some extra balance and comfort.
Activity Trail Running, Swimrun, Obstacle Course Racing, Sky Running
Fit Scale 4
Gender (details) Unisex
Outsole Superior Contact
Upper 22% DuPont Kevlar®, 78% Nylon
Lug depth 4mm
Weight 265g (UK 8)
The Ultra is good looking shoe, that also looks and feels robust enough to withstand a beating on the trails and hills.
Looks: The bright green colourway is bold. I like it, even though it does look as if you're wearing Stabilo Bos Highlighters on your feet.
Weight: Weighing 265g the shoe is light for one built for ultra distances.
Feel: As with the VJ XTRM the ULTRA fits a little small, especially in the toe box. Walking around in the shoe it is firm and comfortable but also feels quite stiff.
I decided to take a big risk and test these on a long (17 mile) run that had a decent mix of terrain.
The first thing I noticed when I put these on was how soft they feel on your feet considering how stiff the shoe actually feels when you move and bend it in your hands. Taking these on a run you can feel that the grip on the rubber is solid on hard trails and wet rock, however as the lungs are not as deep I did find myself slipping and sliding when I hit particularly muddy patches.
VJ make a big thing about their butyl rubber, in a similar way to Inov-8 and their use of graphene and to be fair I do feel they make a compelling case. I am a big fan of the rubber in both fair of VJs that I have tried, especially when compared to Scott trainers where even just looking at tarmac makes the rubber sole wear down.
The ride itself in the shoe felt quite nice, in a similar way to the XTRM, you fell like the shoe wants to propel you forward, combine this with the shoe only weighing around 265g it does feel quite fast.
Another innovation that VJ like to mention is their 'fitlock' that is designed to improve the fit of the shoe by keeping in secure on your foot. The shoe did feel secure on my feet, but it is hard to say how much of this is down to the fitlock, especially as I feel that they fit small.
After around 8 miles I began to feel that the shoe was either a size too small or very narrow for its size. Unlike the in the VJ XTRM, where this was not and issue, I found my toes really being affected by the toe protector. On the downhills my toes were sliding into the front of the shoe, and while just generally running I could feel my toes rubbing. Although this did not form a blister, I was not that comfortable and had me thinking way more about my toes than I normally do.
The upper of the shoe is made from kevlar, and it does feel really hard wearing and should be able to withstand almost anything thrown or any rocks they scuff up against whilst still being very breathable and keeping out most bits of small stone and dirt while still being able to drain water well. Linked to the upper are the laces that are excessively long I found came undone on several occasions during the run even though I had tied them in double knots. These are not the worst laces that I have used, but if i was to continue to use this trainer I would swap them out.
On the whole the VJ ULTRA is a decent shoe however I my review is heavily influenced by the fact that the VJ sizing seems was off. This was also the case with the VJ XTRM and ties in with what other I know who have used VJ say.
I was excited about trying these, as on paper this shoe should be a contender for running my UTMB. Although the shoes I wore were possibly half a size too small, from this experience they did not do enough for my to want to go out and try this shoe again in a larger size.