SPEEDLAND GS:TAM First Impressions
Posted on April 01 2023
Speedland are a small brand based in Portland, Oregon and the GS:TAM is the second shoe they have released. This is how the brand describes themselves
We are a company who refuses to cut corners. We keep all of them. Bend them, twist them, and mold them into the best trail shoe that’s ever touched the earth.
Our vision for Speedland is drawn from two decades of experience with the world’s largest footwear brands. Over that time, we (co-founders Dave Dombrow and Kevin Fallon) have worked on and led design teams at Nike, Puma, and Under Armour
Through it all, we learned about what works and what doesn’t when it comes to quality footwear.
Simply put – it’s a dedication to the craft, investment in quality materials, and direct input from our elite trail athletes.
So we were extremely pleased to be able to get our hands on this shoe. It has been designed with the direct involvement of Dylan Bowman. The American, Red Bull sponsored Ultra Marathoner. Check out his profile HERE
First lets take a look at the Tech Spec:
The shoe is positioned and an absolute, no corners cut, ultra spec, 50km + comfortable Ultra Shoe and at the price of $2850 is the most expensive shoe we have in the shop. So for that price and that spec we have to expect a lot.
We have been running in it now for a couple of weeks, max distance about 15km but with lots of climbing and all conditions Hong Kong can throw at a shoe and we have even had the availability of rain to test the grip.
OUT OF THE BOX. This is a lot of shoe, big, bold and with a need for you to get involved with the construction of the shoe from the start.
It has a unique midsole design. It has in fact two midsoles to achieve the 37mm of stack height at the heel. One of the midsoles is actually inside the shoe replacing the normal sock liner. The reason for this is that you can remove this to fit the removable carbon plate in the shoe.
The logic is this is two fold. You can opt for either a stiffer, more responsive ride or opt for more trail feel by not using the plate. I have run in the shoe with and without the carbon plate. More of that later. The other reason is that in the US, the plate is sold separately (not in Hong Kong) and you can effectively take the plate out and use it in your next pair of Speedlands.
This little video show how to install the Carbitex plate.
The spec is impressive. The outer midsole is made from beaded PEBAX foam which is the same material as used in the Nike Next% however this iteration feels much firmer which is probably a good thing for a trail shoe.
The inner midsole is a combination of blended PEBAX and EVA to which you attach the Carbitex Carbon plate.
The Outsole is made from Michelin Rubber which is the first time we have seen it used on a running shoe.
The upper is a mesh upper with three straps attached to two BOA fit dials. Interestingly this BOA system can be turned in both directions to tighten or loosen without the need to pull them out, which can be done also.
It is a UNISEX shoe.
This is the size chart
SO HOW DID THEY FEEL ON THE TRAIL?
I first wore the shoes without the carbon plate and without inserting my orthotics, because there is no sock liner to remove and I was concerned they would not have space for the orthotics. I needn't have worried. The fit is quite large with a wide toe box and width also in the mid foot. The double BOA helps to tighten it of course but I was glad to later insert my orthotics and the fit then was perfect.
I suspect it may be necessary to size down half a size if you do not use inserts in your shoes.
I like shoes with a wide toe-box so this fit works well for me.
My next run also had the carbon plate installed.
In short, I really like this shoe. It is incredible stable, probably because it is so wide and your foot is enveloped in the sides of the internal midsole which wraps around the heel very nicely.
The Michelin rubber grips well even in wet Hong Kong conditions. I had no bum clenching moments despite the conditions being pretty bad.
The BOA system does make it easy to get the correct tightness. I do like the 2 way adjustment possibility because it can be a pain if you over tighten to have to go back and start again. This helps for fine adjustment both ways.
The overall fit of the upper is really good with a nice bootie construction around the heel which really locks in well.
The harder I ran in them the better they felt. The midsole is not soft but I did get reasonable trail feel even with the carbon plate in. I can't say I felt the propulsive effect of the plate on the trail but it probably works more as a rock plate. Where I did feel it was on the steps and catchwaters where you do get a nice flick from it. I also had the same reaction when wearing the HOKA Tecton X.
If I have one slight gripe it would be the weight. Its a 300g shoe and I guess that the trade off for what is a very comfortable and responsive ride with all that foam. I am looking forward to reviews of the shoes on the 50k + ultras for which it was designed. I can imagine, tired feet will be very happy inside this cossetted super car. I am looking forward to putting many more miles into it myself.
CHECK IT OUT AND BUY THE SHOE ONLINE HERE