Piggybacking off of the success of the road-focused Endur Distance, Craft is adding a new, trail-ready version to their PRO line with the Craft Endurance Trail. This shoe has many features we like but as with most trail shoes, there are some caveats.
Craft Endurance Trail
Weight: Men’s 11.8 oz, Women’s 10.1 oz
Drop: 9mm (27mm forefoot, 36mm heel)
Sizing: True to size
- Rundown: A go-to trail shoe for comfort or speed. The Craft Endurance Trail is a great option for anyone wanting a performance shoe without the $200 price tag.
Sam: As the trail footwear world seems to increasingly move towards more neutral drops and away from aggressive road geometry, the Craft Endurance Trail’s midsole gives runners a race-ready stack that is built to focus propulsion to the forefoot. With a 9mm drop, this is a shoe that really wants to run and excels at higher speeds. The Endurance Trail is the newest model for Craft’s Trail line, and it emphasizes their commitment to performance.
Craft’s new Px Foam, a single foaming agent that is 20% lighter than traditional EVA foam, makes up the midsole of the Endurance Trail. This foam is particularly responsive and light. For runners looking to go fast, you’ll find this shoe gives a good energy return while maintaining a soft and bouncy ride. The Px Foam midsole provides a good amount of shock resistance, making the Endurance Trail a little more stable in the heel than one would expect for such an aggressive drop.
Typically, you would expect a shoe with such a lightweight and responsive foam to break down relatively quickly. After roughly 70 miles in the shoe, I haven’t noticed any lack of energy return. The nature of the Px Foam coupled with the big drop almost gives this midsole the feel of a plated racer. I found that the bounce mimics the “snap” you receive from other carbon trail shoes, without the hefty price tag.
Drew: The Px Foam midsole of the Craft Endurance Trail is smooth, protective, and bouncy. Px Foam is a little heavy for a road shoe but it pays dividends on the trail as the extra density helps mute the rocks and roots.
Typically, I prefer less drop than 9mm but I think the drop geometry works really well with the design of the midsole and results in a rocker that feels propulsive and fun. The energy return alone puts it in the top tier of trail shoes but everything else the midsole offers makes it a complete package.
Sam: The Craft Endurance Trail Upper is a single-layer mesh that form fits your foot and is fairly breathable. Craft has added some TPU overlays near the pain points of the foot to protect from rocks and other debris you’ll run into on the trail. The tightly knit mesh layer is one piece, so you don’t run into any nagging or tears at the seams like you might with other trail uppers. The lacing system allows for a nice heel lock and the soft flexibility of the tongue ensures you don’t get any rub near the front of your ankle.
Drew: The engineered mesh is fairly basic but the upper is comfortable while protective in all the right places with the toe and heel guards. The gusseted tongue is helpful both to prevent tongue slip and improve lockdown. If you’re a normal or narrow footer you will have plenty of room in this upper. Craft makes some of the most wide foot friendly uppers in the trail shoe industry. You don’t have to avoid this shoe if your foot is narrow but you’ll want to wear thicker socks.
Sam: In the words of Craft Pro David Laney, “We basically took the Endur Distance and slapped a trail outsole on it.” The rubber outsole follows a two-piece (forefoot and heel) rubber compound with a fairly dense, squared lug pattern on the bottom. They do not list the official lug depth on their site, but I would pin it right around 3 to 3.5mm (think your basic Salomon Sense Ride).
For a shoe made to be responsive, I love the two-piece outsole as it allows for more flexibility in the toe. I found the rubber to be sticky enough and showed good promise on wet rock and wood. Because of the road origins of the shoe, I used this a lot as a straight-out-of-the-door, road-to-trail option. The outsole has held up fine over the 70 miles of mixed road/trail and has not shown any signs of deterioration. The Craft Endurance Trail is built for almost all types of terrain, but I wouldn’t classify this outsole as burly enough to handle your more technical and vertical trails.
Drew: The outsole of the Craft Endurance Trail gripped everything I threw at it including some dicey wet-to-dry to mud-to-dry transitions that often reveal traction issues. I was also impressed that the Endurance Trail packs so much rubber but still feels very flexible. The flex groove built into the forefoot and the two-piece construction really pays off in terms of making the shoe feel much more nimble than I thought it would be.
Is the Craft Endurance Trail wide foot friendly?
Sam: I consider my feet to be on the wider side and I found that the Craft Endurance Trail actually gets roomier as you move into the forefoot. The mesh upper also allows for some stretch so you don’t feel like your foot is crammed into the shoe.
Drew: The Craft Endurance Trail is as wide foot friendly as a trail shoe can be, especially in the forefoot. It provides plenty of room for toe splay as you speed around corners.
Is the Craft Endurance Trail worth $160?
Sam: Yes. The Craft Endurance Trail is a shoe that will perform at almost any distance for a runner and can be that jack-of-most-trades in your shoe quiver. The durability of the outsole coupled with the cushion of Craft’s Px Foam makes this a perfectly fine option for longer mileage days. The responsiveness and energy return of the midsole also makes it an ideal race day or shorter distance, maximum effort shoe for those not looking to venture into the $200s for a carbon-plated shoe.
Drew: A good portion of our favorite trail shoes are in the $150-170 range. That’s the going rate for a high-end trail shoe with all the bells and whistles except a carbon plate. The Craft Endurance Trail is priced correctly.
Sam: I couldn’t find much that I was upset with about this shoe, however an aggressive 9mm drop automatically makes it not for everyone. With a higher heel stack at 36mm, at times the shoe feels unstable at high speeds, especially if you’re entering more technical terrain where foot precision is a must. I took the shoe on a couple of muddier runs and found that the dense lug pattern didn’t shed mud very well, so I would not recommend this shoe for wet Spring days. This could be particular to me, but I experienced some pressure on the top of my foot while running in the Craft Endurance Trail. I would assume this is due to the 9mm drop that I’m not used to. Overall, the downside of this shoe is that you won’t have the stability of a lower-stack option on your technical terrain.
Drew: Sam nailed it. Stability can be hit or miss. I wish the midsole came up a little higher and cupped the foot, especially in the midfoot and heel. The wide base is great but unless you’re locked in TIGHT your foot may threaten to slide off the lateral edge on slanted terrain or sharp corners. With the wide foot friendly upper you need to make sure you nail the sizing of the Craft Endurance Trail. You don’t want any excess space bc if your foot gets wonky in this shoe it could result in a sprained ankle.
Craft Endurance Trail Summary
The Craft Endurance Trail was a very pleasant surprise. This shoe offers the softness and cushion of other long-distance options like the Hoka Speedgoat or Salomon Ultra Glide but adds a responsiveness and energy return that isn’t present in those other shoes.
Although it feels like this shoe is built to move fast and will perform well at higher speeds, the versatility of the Px Foam midsole will make it a good option for any experience level looking to have added comfort. The bouncy ride makes this shoe a fun choice for your less technical singletrack days and it will perform for almost any number of miles.
The road geometry makes the Endurance Trail a perfect choice for runners who like to go straight from their doorstep to the trailhead. It’s a jack-of-most-trades option and a shoe that many trail runners or hikers will benefit from adding to their rotation.