Soil Shaker by Higher State are a budget trail running shoe designed for the muddiest of conditions. We put the latest version to the test on the boggy Peak District fells.
The Soil Shakers look quite chunky and certainly aren’t the lightest trail / fell shoe on the market; my pair of size 7 mens weighed in at 564g. I expected them to feel stiff and “clumpy” but they are actually remarkably flexible. When I tried them on I found that the laces were far too short to allow them to be fastened properly using all the eyelets! Although classed as a trail running shoe their aggressive sole makes them well suited to running on the fells.
- Updated Ripstop Mesh Upper – Robust upper and offers debris protection, while still providing much needed breathability.
- Lightweight – Lighter than its previous edition.
- Gusseted Tongue – Prevents debris from entering the shoe.
- Traditional Lace Up Closure – Ensures quick and easy lace up for a secure fit.
- Padded Tongue and Heel – Provides maximum comfort, reducing the risk of rubbing.
- Reinforced Toe – Offers extra protection against loose debris.
- Reinforced Heel Design – Built for optimal support while descending and contouring.
- Moulded EVA Midsole – Provides lightweight cushioning.
- Soil Shaker Outsole – Specifically designed to clear debris with every stride.
- Grippy Rubber Compound – Ensures a great combination of grip and durability.
- Forefoot Flex Groove – For increased flexibility.
- 7mm Multi-Directional Lugs – Offering maximum traction during extreme conditions.
- Weight – 296g.
- Drop – 8mm.
- RRP – £79.99, currently on offer at £39.99
Pros of the higher state soil shaker 2
The Soil Shakers are very affordable. It is almost unheard of to be able to buy a pair of running shoes for less than a hundred pounds so at less than £80 these seem like a bargain. At the time of writing they were further discounted to just £39.99 from Sportsshoes!
The wet and boggy fells of the Peak District provided a good testing ground for the Soil Shakers and I found them to perform well in terms of grip, with the 7mm lugs giving good traction on muddy terrain. They also gripped reasonably well on wet gritstone rocks. The flexibility of the sole allows them to mold to the terrain and perform well whilst contouring on steep ground.
The uppers offer good protection, keeping out grit and reducing discomfort when running through coarse heather whilst the toe bumper offers some protection from stubbed toes and loose rocks. The generous padding on the uppers and around the heel feels comfortable and I found my size 7 to be true to size.
Cons of the higher state soil shaker 2
I had a bit of a “false start” as the first pair only lasted 3 runs before the sole started to detatch! Hopefully this was a one off rather than a true reflection of build quality. Thankfully my second pair have been in use for a month and clocked up over 100 muddy miles with no sign of damage.
I found that after a couple of weeks of running in wet conditions the upper material of the Soil Shakers lost its water repellency. They don’t drain particulalrly quickly either so if water gets into the shoe it tends to stay there for a while. This means that they become quite heavy when wet.
The flexibilty of the sole means there is little underfoot protection so running on stony ground can be uncomfortable.
The heel cup is quite high (compared to several other shoes that I’ve used) and I found that it aggravated my achilles tendon. However this might not affect everyone and isn’t due to lack of padding or stiffness of the shoe.
And as previously mentioned, those laces are way too short!
Due to their relatively heavy weight and slow drainage I wouldn’t use the Soil Shaker 2 as a shoe for fell or trail racing, however I feel they would make a good winter training shoe for muddy conditions. Think of them as more of a workhorse than a racehorse! The pricing of the shoes means they are much more affordable than some of the bigger and more established brands on the market. They would be an ideal shoe for someone who wanted to try muddy trail or fell running but didn’t want to spend lots of money on a pair of shoes they might rarely use.
In times when we all need to consider our environmental footprint I would want to see how long the Soil Shaker 2 lasted before they needed replacing. If we want to reduce the amount of things that we throw into landfill then spending more money on kit that lasts longer is a better approach. A longer term test of the shoes is needed, hopefully the Soil Shakers prove to be both inexpensive and long lasting.
You can buy them here.
About the author
Dave Taylor is an experienced, competitive fell runner based in the Peak District and runs for Dark Peak Fell Runners. He is a UK Athletics coach specialising in fell and mountain running via his website, Fell Running Guide
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