Weight: 7.77 oz / 229.786 grams
- Synthetic lining
- Breathable textile mesh upper
- Non-marking rubber out-sole
- 3mm multi-directional lugs
- Removable high-rebound EVA foot-bed
- Protective toe-guard
While I'm a big fan of the KEEN lifestyle and their shoes, I have to admit, I had some apprehension about putting them in the performance category. I was pleasantly surprised to be wrong. The A86 TR are comfortable right out of the box and even when worn barefoot (not necessarily recommended) I had no problems with chaffing or rubbing of any kind.
At first look, the asymmetrical lacing seemed more of a stylistic than useful feature, however, as I began running I found it to make for a softer feel on my foot than conventional lacing systems. Normally, I have to be careful with hot spots on the top of my foot if I get my laces even slightly too snug, but the A86 TR made this issue obsolete. The tongue on my right shoe did leave a slight gap once I had been running for a while, but nothing that effected my run; just left a thin strip of dirt on my sock. I consulted other KEEN fans online and they have had no issues with the tongue. The lacing ends a bit low so I had some slight concerns that my heel would move around too much, but it wasn't an issue. The shoe is so flexible and laces up nice and snug it left a very secure fit without being binding.
The cushion on this shoe is effective but minimal, so unless you're a seasoned minimalist runner, I would be cautious when rapidly increasing mileage. (which you shouldn't be doing anyway) That said, I'm currently putting only about 15 miles a week on trails with the A86 TR and have had no issues with any kind of foot, knee or hip pain. Because my mileage is so low right now, I had another athlete, putting in a lot more mileage, test the shoes as well. Her reaction was about the same as mine, "No joking, these are the most comfortable trail shoes I've ever run in... they feel like a moccasin."
The three directional lugs are effective on dirt, rocks and mud but when it got really muddy I did have some slippage issues. I have my doubts any shoes would have kept me upright through ankle-deep mud. The shoes are incredibly flexible and light and though I could feel the rocks and terrain as I ran, my feet felt well protected.
The sizing was right on for me, but KEEN advises that the shoe runs a half size small. If they are available, I would recommend trying them on before you buy to make sure you get the right fit if you plan on purchasing online. As an added bonus, they come in eight colors!
Overall, I'd have to say, KEEN has produced a solid trail shoe with the A86 TR and it has enthusiastic fans to show for it.
For more information about KEEN products go to: www.keenfootwear.com