VJ MAXx 2 Evaluate – iRunFar


VJ Maxx 2

The VJ MAXx 2. All images: iRunFar/Molly Schmelzle

VJ is a model recognized for its aggressive and daring footwear, and the VJ MAXx 2 ($180) is a good entry level into the model’s secure of choices. My expertise with VJ path trainers during the last couple of years has been a welcoming affair — these footwear activate and tune up for path circumstances. I typically consult with VJ footwear as area of interest path and mountain performers and impediment course racers par excellence, however I encourage any path runner or adventurer residing throughout the geographies and geologies to lace up a pair.

It’s an expertise.

This shoe is a good choice for many who haven’t had prior expertise with the model’s choices. It has a extra well-rounded design and extra midsole cushion than different VJ fashions. The shoe casts a large web on distance and terrain that it performs effectively on, together with pavement, hard-packed forest roads, and slabs. I wasn’t hesitant about taking them out on two of my longest winter runs instantly after granting them freedom to recent air, rain, and sunshine from their boxed compartment.

The VJ MAXx 2 is totally different than the prior model of the shoe, the VJ MAXx, in a number of definable methods, however the general outcome is identical — a flexible shoe for all distances and surfaces. The VJ MAXx 2 has barely extra raise with a 31-millimeter heel and 25-millimeter toe stack peak for a 6-millimeter drop to go together with a 4-millimeter lug peak. These specs are typically amenable to a big swath of runners.

I think about the MAXx 2 to be a high-volume shoe. It’s spacious and has the flexibility to lock down the place it’s wanted essentially the most. There’s ample room within the toebox, nevertheless it comes extra from further vertical house reasonably than a conventional vast toebox akin to footwear from Topo and Altra. It pushes the scales at a claimed 9.9 ounces (282 grams) for U.S. males’s 9.5, however the Finnish designers have a approach of engineering footwear to trip gentle. As a facet be aware, aside from their winter-specific coaching footwear, most of VJ’s fashions are unisex match, however that hasn’t stopped this lady from loving many of those fashions.

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VJ MAXx 2 Higher

VJ Maxx 2 - lateral upper

A lateral view of the VJ MAXx 2.

Definitely, super consideration has been given to the superior outsole grip of the VJ MAXx 2, however the firm’s attentiveness to the higher’s sturdiness and performance deserves equal recognition. VJ’s origin story dates to Eighties Finland and to the game of orienteering, an exercise that locations excessive calls for on footwear as footwear should be capable of trek by a spread of tough, rugged, and moist circumstances over lengthy expanses of time. This higher is a one-piece engineered mixed-Kevlar mesh materials that fantastically protects toes from rocks, snags, and barbs. There are solely two sew strains behind the heel for reinforcement.

Since orienteering typically takes place in moist circumstances or cyclic dry-to-wet situations, VJ integrates non-absorbent supplies into the higher, which additionally contributes to the fabric’s general robustness. There’s a skinny protecting TPU bumper circling practically the complete base of the higher for a bit bit of additional safety. It isn’t as thick as seen on the model’s extra aggressive footwear, nevertheless it nonetheless supplies a layer of protection towards rocks and different low-lying threats.

As talked about earlier than, the MAXx 2 is a a lot wider and better quantity shoe general in comparison with the extra technical and rugged-oriented VJ choices. This enables it to suit a wide range of foot shapes, and it will probably nonetheless lock down the midfoot and heel.

VJ footwear combine a Fitlock system on the midfoot, which is a thermoplastic wrap that extends from the midsole base as much as the laces, snugging within the arch whereas subsequently maintaining the heel firmly in place. The laces management the diploma of motion and supply safety, and so they give a excessive degree of management.

In digression, and if I could opine — aesthetically, the designers could possibly barely tighten the higher across the forefoot — utilizing much less materials and stopping creasing on the base of the toes and atop the toebox. This didn’t trigger any discomfort or rubbing whereas working, however it might give the shoe a sleeker look and reduce its weight whereas nonetheless sustaining the next quantity for each wider toes and longer endurance outings.

VJ designers have listened to wearer suggestions and invested in shoelace design, enhancing maintain and materials thickness. The laces are lengthy sufficient for a double knot, or if desired, to slide by the higher lace gap. As soon as these laces are tied, the tongue is firmly in place. I applaud VJ for making a tongue that has a smooth felt underside and clean really feel. There’s a extra open mesh atop the tongue.

The MAXx 2 higher is the colour of a tennis ball — inexperienced or yellow on the neon spectrum — and generally you are feeling like one bouncing alongside the paths. There’s good cause for that.

VJ MAXx 2 Midsole

VJ Maxx 2 - medial upper

A medial view of the VJ MAXx 2.

One of many important variations between the unique VJ MAXx and the VJ MAXx 2 is the midsole foam. To remain at the vanguard of midsole science and know-how, the MAXx2 involves market with a proprietary and extra totally cushioned SuperFOAMance midsole.

That is an enchancment in comparison with the Poron cushion built-in into the heel and forefoot midsole of the unique MAXx. This shift locations VJ in competitors with different high-performing path runners in navigating the nuances and science of midsole foam and vitality return. The SuperFOAMance foam affords ample rebound for continued endurance and robust kicks throughout the spectrum of working gears with out overwhelming the runner with an excessive amount of cushion and a scarcity of floor really feel.

The shift in foam affords a lightness and welcoming cushion to a extra technically geared shoe. Curiously, there’s nonetheless a full-length rock plate to guard the runner from the ruggedness underfoot. I attempted to essentially interact with this underfoot really feel throughout a wide range of path textures and located that I typically like this mixture. It had me reflecting upon my appreciation for the Topo Terraventure 4 — each are footwear that give a short time nonetheless offering sufficient safety.

It’s a delicate steadiness between torsional rigidness and luxury that gives the flexibility to push the shoe onto and into unforgiving environments. The up to date midsole foam opens the gates to not solely longer endurance adventures — 50 to 100 kilometers — but additionally permits a runner to tread extra simply on pavement and hardened forest entry roads. It’s price noting that the midsole extends out past the higher. Some path runners refer to those protrusions as rudders, and so they supply elevated stability, management for downhill working, and luxury for heel landings.

VJ MAXx 2 Outsole

VJ Maxx 2 - outsole

The outsole of the VJ MAXx 2.

The VJ MAXx 2 comes from a protracted line of footwear with outsoles designed to carry out on the technical terrain confronted by an orienteering athlete. The corporate has undoubtedly succeeded in residing as much as the motto of offering “the perfect grip on the planet.” The outsole on the MAXx 2 maintains the butyl rubber seize the model is thought for, though with much less depth than that present in VJ’s area of interest footwear. As an alternative, the outsole has extra typical four-millimeter chevron-shaped lugs for longer floor contact instances, a much less aggressive chunk, and fewer general stiffness.

The outsole performs as marketed, however with the brand new midsole foam and smaller lug heights, the shoe remains to be snug on tougher surfaces. That is advantageous when runs embrace each pavement or filth roads and technical trails.

General, the outsole is a standout, however the MAXx 2 isn’t greatest in slick, muddy circumstances the place a few of its fellow VJ fashions stand out, together with the VJ XTRM 2.

VJ MAXx 2 General Impressions

VJ Maxx 2 - top

A high view of the VJ MAXx 2.

I’m an amazing fan of VJ footwear, and the VJ MAXx 2 is a good introduction to the model for many who haven’t skilled it earlier than. I typically have a repetitive nature or a important theme after I write shoe critiques. There are specific components of the testing expertise and the shoe that I hope readers take away whereas participating in self-education or leaning on the sumptuous mixture of subjective-objective gear verbiage when deciding whether or not a working shoe is true for them.

And I’d wish to reiterate that I’m an amazing fan of the VJ model.

Their footwear are designed for rugged efficiency, the unpredictability of the weather, and diversified terrain that many “regular” path trainers can’t deal with frequently. Once I slip right into a VJ, I really feel doubly protected and assured that the shoe will carry out as anticipated.

The MAXx 2 is an entry level into the universe of VJ footwear and is a reliable shoe that stands on the rostrum of versatility and extremely endurance anytime, anyplace. It will possibly deal with myriad environments with considerably extra cushioning and fewer edge than its shake-’em-down gritty siblings. Whereas I commented on earlier VJ critiques, “the general firmness and arduous rubber appear to restrict it to extremely experiences versus extremely distances,” the MAXx 2 alternatively affords path runners and adventurers the perfect of each extremely experiences and extremely distances.

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Name for Feedback

  • Have you ever tried a pair of VJ footwear? What did you assume?
  • Do you will have one other pair of footwear for adventurous missions?

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