|Tecnica Diablo Max|
"Ever try Tecnica?"
"Yeah, I had some sweet Tecnica ski boots."
Tecnica has been developing quality outdoor footwear for 51 years, starting in 1960 with indestructible work and mountain boots (you know, the ones that would take 5 years to break in and then outlast the owner's life). Tecnica is also the company that brought us the moonboot in the 70s. And, of course, they moved into producing some of the best ski boots in the world.
Now, they're at it with trail running shoes and have released four new models this spring: Diablo Max, Diablo Sprint, Inferno Max, Inferno Sprint. I'll be writing about the Diablo Max today.
I put in a good week of training only in the DMax, culminating in a 5+ hour run gaining 7,500 feet in Boulder, CO, covering rocky technical terrain and icy steep trails up higher. The Diablo Max performed perfectly.
If I had to come up with a sentence describing the shoe (which I did have to recently), it would be: Sure-footed confidence and responsive comfort make Tecnica a shoe that runs as sweet as it looks. Cheesy? Maybe it's cheesy but it's accurate. The cushioning is the first thing you notice. It's not the marshmallow cushioning of some shoes but more responsive with an active feel. The last and sole provide one of the best heel to toe transitions I've ever experienced and I've worked in specialty running stores and worn just about every flavor of shoe from waffle racers to 18 ounce stability bricks. The Diablo Max is a great blend of nimble feel on the trail and shock absorbing cushion. The cushion allows for less punishment after hours of running and uninhibited descents over the gnarliest trail. The hourglass shape of the cushioned sole with the heel and forefoot wide and the arch area narrow provides amazing stability. Ankle rolling is not an option in the Tecnica.
The attention to detail and design is apparent in the Diablo Max. I've always wondered why so many shoe companies spend millions on design and development and then slap some cheap insert in it. Tecnica is smart (it's mandatory to be smart when you make a $1,000 ski boot that is worth every penny). They use Ortholite insoles in their trail runners. Sure, they cost more to use and are likely overlooked by many users but for those of us who notice quality, it's an appreciated detail.
The sole is another well designed feature. To save weight, Tecnica uses criss-crossing strips of knobby tread (as opposed to one full layer of heavy rubber) on the outer sole. It worked as well as any shoe I've tried over varied terrain.
The fit is well thought out. A form-fitting heel cup that keeps your heel in place gives way to an ample forefoot. I have a narrow foot, so I have the laces cinched fairly close together. It's going to be nice to have that option of extra room in races lasting 10-20 hours when the foot tends to swell a bit. The sizing is true. I wear a 10.5 in most shoes and it fits perfectly in the Tecnicas with about a half inch between my big toe and the inner wall of the tip of the shoe.
Overall, I'm sold on Tecnica and look forward to wearing them on many trails this year.
Next review will be the "hot" styling Inferno Max. I got some yesterday and took them out for a quick spin. I can see a beautiful relationship forming between the Inferno Max and myself. I hope the Diablo isn't jealous because I love it too!