CimAlp have brought out a new trail shoe earlier this year called the 864 Drop Evolution. This shoe offers an adjustable drop, using 3 different inserts that come as part of the package. The ladies version just came out on 1st September and we were given a pair of each to review.
CimAlp Ladies 864 Drop Evolution by Kate Allen
When I first opened the box from CimAlp and took out the shoes, I was surprised at how sturdy they are. They are very different to the other trail shoes out on the market, which these days have been paired down to nothing to reduce weight.
However, the stand out feature of these shoes is they come with 3 different inserts to give you three different drops. The idea is you can swop the inserts out, either to progress gradually to a lower drop or simply to adjust for different terrains and distances.
- Ultra-dynamic CHROMOSOME® midsole for an effective stride and improved proprioception.
- R-SPEED®: Hollow structure in the forefoot for better comfort.
- VIBRAM® MEGAGRIP outsole: excellent grip properties on both dry and wet terrains while maintaining a high level of durability.
- Lightweight with a mere 275g (excluding insole), without compromising cushioning, stability or durability.
- R-MESH® upper: Seamless & breathable fabric for high comfort. Stretchy where it needs to and featuring reinforced panels for support and rock proofing.
- MULTI CONTACT inner tongue: Seamless to eliminate pressures. Feels nice and snug around the foot.
- DUAL DENSITY insole: Improved vertical comfort thanks to EVA rubber sections that boost propulsion.
- Supplied with three pairs of insoles; 8mm, 6mm and 4mm drops
- RRP £169.90 for mens and women’s
What’s good about the Ladies 864 Drop Evolution?
I’ve been wearing these now for a solid two months. They are slightly heavier than other trail shoes, but they offer much more cushioning, not under your feet but around them. Yes, my feet have got hotter, but they drain well when I’ve walked through streams and they provide a lot more protection for the whole foot.
The rand at the front, together with the increased upper gives great protection around rocks. As the shoe was born on the trails around Chamonix, this heritage shows. The mega grip sole is good for all purpose trails; I’d compare it to the Hoka Challengers.
As for the inserts, I think the idea has a lot of merit. There is a 8mm drop insert; a 6mm and a 4mm. Personally my legs and feet are pretty used to any drop and if I buy specific shoes for specific terrain I expect them to have the appropriate drop.
But having a choice allows me to use these shoes in a variety of circumstances. Given the tread on these shoes, I have worn these happily for a road run. In which case I used the 8mm drop. When I’m doing short, sharp trails I put the 4mm inserts in. I didn’t use the 6mm at all, but for anyone who is gradually reducing their drop they would be useful.
The fitted tongue is fantastic too. For the first time, the tongue doesn’t work itself halfway down the outside of my foot during my run. It has little squashy pads so there’s no pressure points across the top of your foot, which is something I suffer with personally. Having read Dan’s comments on the lacing, I have not had any issues with them so he’s clearly got big feet and needs longer laces!!
What’s not so good about the Ladies 864 Drop Evolution?
They are quite pricey, with the RRP being £169.90.
I really like these shoes. As a lower cushioned alternative to the Challengers, these are now my go to shoe for daily running. They cope well with the rocky terrain around me in the Peak District and are really comfortable to wear. They cushion my whole foot and protect my toes, not only from external bashing but from internal movement.
The price tag might make your eyes water, but they may well be a good investment because I expect these shoes to last far longer than other shoes, which seem to get holes in the foot crease within a couple of hundred miles.
CimAlp currently have a sale on for the Ladies 864 Drop Evolution at £99.90.
CimAlp 864 Drop Evolution By Dan Stinton
My first impression of the CimAlp Drop 864 Evolution were that they looked like a sturdy well-built shoe. Nothing flashy, a simple two-tone blue design; lighter blue for the mid/outsole and darker blue for the upper. The lacing system is fairly standard with the tongue affixed to the bed of the shoe with a liner either side. The outsole is the VIBRAM MEGAGRIP with diamond patterned lugs, which aren’t particularly deep and look suitable for a variety of terrains.
The USP of this shoe is the ability to control the drop by changing the inserts (supplied). There are three inserts in the box with varying drops and the CimAlp website suggests they are provided for the following; 8mm for comfort during long/ultras runs, 6mm for medium/marathon distance (is a marathon a “medium” distance nowadays?!) and 4mm for speed and performance.
What’s good about the CimAlp 864 Drop Evolution?
Being able to change the drop of a shoe with supplied inserts is a pretty unique feature. The inserts are reasonably easy to change although I sometimes struggled to get them in properly first time (i.e. flat and fitted right to the end of the shoe). Being able to change one variable, the drop, felt like a true scientific test, and means you can really feel the effect when swapping between different drops without changing shoes entirely.
Whilst CimAlp set-out the potential uses for the different inserts, I think it’s important to find a drop that best suits your running style. For example, heel strikers may be better with the bigger drop but, those runners who are looking for a more “natural” running experience could gradually change the inserts to allow their bodies to become accustomed to running in progressively reduced drops.
I recently ran the Ring O’Fire Ultra (the coastal path around Anglesey) and used these shoes for the initial day (35 miles). I opted for the 6mm drop which worked well for me. The Vibram sole provided excellent grip and gave me confidence over a multitude of terrain; fine sand, pebble beaches, road, dusty trails, rocky trails, rickety wooden boards, the only thing we missed out was the pub carpet.
The extra cushioning around the ankle was really good, the toe protector saved me multiple times and the shoe remained comfortable throughout the day with no rubbing or blisters. It’s always great to be able to test a shoe on an ultra-distance to really get a feel for how your feet are going to feel many hours in and the CimAlp Drop Evolution definitely passed the test.
What’s not so good about the CimAlp 864 Drop Evolution?
One of the problems I encountered was the flat-type laces which I found often slipped undone during a run. The obvious solution is to use a double knot but, because I have fairly wide feet, there was barely enough lace remaining to be able to tie one. Obviously a slightly longer lace would help to resolve the issue. Most of the shoes I’ve been using recently have the more modern lacing system which doesn’t rely on knots and work really well, so it did feel slightly odd using normal laces again.
This is obviously subjective, but looks-wise I don’t think these necessarily have the “wow-factor” of some of the other major brand releases. They’re a very traditional looking shoe without all the bells and whistles you may find with others. That’s not to say it’s a bad thing but may not appeal to some.
First off, it’s a nice feature to be able to change the drop. You could change them for different types of running, pick one that’s suitable for your running style, or use to gradually reduce your drop if you so desire.
The 864 Drop Evolution looks to be a traditionally designed running shoe with a good quality sole, sturdy and padded upper and I think are suitable for a wide variety of terrain which may lend themselves to longer runs. A functional, go-to shoe that didn’t let me down, but some extra length on the laces and a bit more style would have helped.
CimAlp currently have a sale on for the 864 Drop Evolution at £106.80.
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About the writers: Dan Stinton is a former Editor of RunUltra. He’s a Peak District based runner collecting mud and scrapes in and around Glossop, and he likes nothing more than escaping into the Dark Peak and then writing about how difficult it was.
Kate Allen is Editor of RunUltra and in her spare time can be found running and racing with her dog Mac around the hills of the Peak and Lake District.