This past Saturday I attended my first-ever “shoe demo” event organized by ATRA member Salomon to preview its new Ultra Glide trail shoe in Colorado Springs, Colorado. This event provided the rare opportunity for American Trail Running Association followers to test the upcoming Salomon Ultra Glide shoe, set to launch August 1, 2021. Attendees were also able to meet elite Salomon trail runner, Courtney Dauwalter, who provided her input on the shoe. In this article, I provide my top three reasons to attend a “shoe demo” event and what made this exclusive ATRA-Salomon event was a trail running success.
Meet The Experts
This event provided a rare opportunity to meet and ask questions with Salomon representatives integral to the design and development process of the Ultra Glide. Salomon product line manager, Mike Ambrose, gave a talk to kick off the day’s activities describing his involvement in the shoe’s design and provided specifics on the company’s goals and special technological features of this new model.
Dig Deeper: Learn more about Ambrose and the Ultra Glide in my interview with him last month.
Sponsored Salomon athlete, Courtney Dauwalter, shared her experience wear-testing demos of the shoe and how she uses it now in her training. The atmosphere of the event was relaxed and allowed attendees to approach Ambrose, Dauwalter, and the other Salomon representatives for one-on-one conversations to provide feedback or ask further questions about the Ultra Glide or Salomon. I have never attended an event where it seemed so easy to talk to and make personal connections with shoe experts and brand representatives.
Put The Shoes To The Test
Unlike ordering a new pair of shoes online or trying them out at a running specialty store, an event of this type allows you to really put shoes to the test by choosing your size, slipping them on, and running on trails. Attendees experienced on some of the nearly 25 miles of trails in Colorado Springs, Colorado’s Palmer Park. The trails provided a mix of flowy, technical, sandy, rocky, downhills, uphills and flats.
I observed how the shoes responded when I pushed up steep rocky sections and how they felt when I relaxed and opened up my stride on flatter, wider sections of trail. Overall, I’d love to attend more shoe demo events to be able to test shoes before I decide on making a purchase. I feel more confident buying a shoe that I’ve worn and put to the test on trails than relying on others reviews and would recommend attending a shoe demo event if you’re looking for a new trail running shoe.
Meet Your Fellow Trail Runners
Since the beginning of the pandemic, running social events have been few and far between. This event provided a way for runners to reconnect in small groups, while adhering to current county COVID-19 regulations. I enjoyed talking with the mostly Colorado-based runners about their running goals, experience of the Ultra Glide, and what brought them to the event. This small-talk was great and much appreciated after not having had many chances to mingle in the trail running community in the past year.
The event also provided attendees with the opportunity to get to know one of Salomon’s most well-known trail runners, Courtney Dauwalter, who was not only at the event to provide input on the Ultra Glide, but to meet attendees. During the group run, Dauwalter ran and chatted with many runners from the back to front of the pack.