Tom Bland tests the new lightweight trail running shoe from Helly Hansen.
On first view, Helly Hansen’s newest foray into the trail running market, the Pace Trail HTXP, is a conventional looking, heavy duty affair that looks capable of handling some pretty rough terrain.
Weighing in at about 380 grams for our test pair (UK size 8.5), the Pace Trail HTXP is a solid offering with a few features that suggest it will be most at home over the rough stuff. The HellyTech mesh upper claims to be waterproof and is beefed up around the toes and outside of the foot with rubber HellyWear buffers. The C Zone midsole appears to offer cushioning and support whilst the HellyGrip outsole offers a moderately aggressive grip.
Putting the Pace Trail HTXP on, the feel is one of well-cushioned support. The heavy-duty first impression is confirmed. Taking the Pace Trail HTXP out for a spin, it became apparent pretty quickly that this is a good trail shoe. It’s not a minimalist shoe by any stretch of the imagination but it’s a robust, comfortable and supportive shoe.
The unseasonably dry weather we’ve been having meant testing the waterproof feature of the shoe was limited to standing in a muddy puddle for a few minutes. I can report from this scientific test that there was no ingress of water even through the mesh upper and after a few minutes of waiting, I decided the waterproof claim could be validated. It remains to be seen whether the Pace Trail HTXP would keep your feet dry during a long wet run but the puddle test is a very good start. The outsole is not aggressive enough for traction over really muddy terrain but it’s great for general off-road use.
My only gripe with the Pace Trail HTXP (and it’s a very personal one) is that I’ve got pretty wide feet and they did feel a little narrow across the mid-foot. Having said that, after wearing them on a few runs, I didn’t experience any significant discomfort.
All in all, I would recommend the Pace Trail HTXP as a go anywhere training shoe for running on the rough stuff. Not light enough to be a race shoe, but solid enough to take a battering over rough terrain, the Pace Trail HTXP could be your do anything shoe of choice for days on the trails.
The main review was written during the unseasonably fine March weather. With the resumption of normal Springtime weather in April, we've been able to thoroughly test the shoes' waterproofing claims. I've always been a bit sceptical about waterproof running shoes but Helly Hansen's pedigree of getting severe dousings on the deck of yachts has obviously stood them in good stead. On a particularly stormy April morning (tree-felling weather...literally!), it took over an hour of constant rain and immersion in some of the Cotswolds' muddiest puddles before any ingress of water was noticed. The Pace Trail has some of the best waterproofing in a running shoe I've ever come across.
Helly Hansen Pace Trail HTXPs are available to buy online from Helly Hansen priced at £100.
Tags: Helly Hansen Pace Trail HTXP, off road shoes, review, reviews, tom bland, trail running, trail shoes