Tuesday, May 10, 2011

TECNICA Diablo Sprint Shoe Review

Have you ever been on a mountain bike that was far more capable than you? The kind where you're doing all you can handle on a steep-rocky-rooty descent and the bike is yawning and rolling it's eyes at you? Well, that's what the Tecnica Diablo Sprints did to me on our first run. So, I had to decide whether I wanted to put them back in the box or take a little of it's trash-talking and step up my game. I chose to step up my game.

I've always been on the less picky side of shoes, not thinking a shoe could make me a better runner, but just feel good and reduce injuries. I had this idea that no shoe could make me a better uphill runner, but was certainly hoping that the Diablo Sprints would help me recover better from the steep Tecnica descents I frequent here in Asheville, NC. I run about 10 hours a week accumulating 15,000' of vertical. Being the weak downhill runner that I am, I tend to run the steep descents with my brakes on - doesn't smell good either. I know this is the worst thing to do, but when I let go and just try to control the pull of gravity I feel even more uncomfortable.

It was the first 3/4 mile, 500' descnet that I heard the Diablo Sprint yawn. I was hitting the brakes as usual, but decided, after the embarrassing yawn, to let go a little. This felt pretty good, so I kept it going for the final 400' of nasty descent. As the trail eased up I was grinning ear to ear and I think I saw a half smile on the Diablo Sprints as she asked for a sip from my hand-held.

The next section was gently rolling and I felt like I was just floating through this and was now looking forward to the final 1/2 mile, 400' descent coming up. I had already decided that I was going to let go and let the Diablo Sprints show me the way. This one was better than the first. I was running fast and controlled with confidence on the descents; something that I've never had the pleasure of doing before.

The Diablo Sprints allowed for easy day to day recovery as well as descent to descent recovery during long runs. This is an aspect I never expected from a shoe that has allowed me to train smarter every week.

I was quite suprised with how the Sprints made me a faster climber as well. I noticed right away how the top-front of the shoe curves up slightly. I wasn't sure the purpose of this, but the shoe felt comfortable so I assumed that was it's function. It wasn't until I noticed I was moving a little faster on some of the steep climbs I'm quite farmilar with that I realised how much I was benefitting from the form of the Diablo Sprints. This could be very well compared to riding a bike with the seat pefectly adjusted. A seat too low and you're not using all of your leg, you're using more energy and less muscle making yourself very inefficient. The Diablo Sprints are allowing me to use all of my foot during push off making me a more efficient, faster runner. I'm looking forward to racing in the Diablo Sprints at the end of this month at the Rock2Rock.

The confidence I've gained on the descents due to the traction/support, and the the speed I've gained on the ascents from the form of the shoe should not have suprised me since Tecnica has been a world leader in footware for a long time. Just like Tecnica has perfected clipping a boot to a ski, they have now successfully connected my feet to the trail like no other shoe I've worn.

If you have the opportunity to let the Tecnica Diablo Sprint take you for a run on some great single-track - don't pass it up - it just might be the awakening you need to see your true potential.

Tecnica Trail Running - New Introductions for Spring '11
•Inferno Max: Features TRS MAX technology with a 30% larger footprint, asymmetrical tunnel construction with race last, quick lace system; oversized trail running shoe in a race package. Superior downhill performance, race performance. Weight: 1 lb 8.33 oz. Men's only.
•Diablo Max: Features TRS MAX technology with a 30% larger footprint, asymmetrical tunnel construction with all mountain last; oversized trail running shoe in an all mountain package. Superior downhill performance; great all around trail shoe. Men's & women's. Men's weight: 1 lb 9.39 oz.
•Inferno Sprint: Features carbon Snapback Core-Tecs plate, asymmetrical tunnel construction with a race last, quick lace system, TRS Technology (an energy and cushioning system for superior energy transfer forward, cushioning and grip). Light, fast, perfect for uphills; race performance. Men's & women's. Men's weight: 1 lb 4.81 oz.
•Diablo Sprint: Features composite Snapback Core-Tecs plate, asymmetrical tunnel construction with all mountain last, TRS (an energy and cushioning system for superior energy transfer forward, cushioning and grip). Ideal all around trail running shoe; powers uphill. Men's & women's. Men's weight: 1 lb 5.86 oz.
Key Benefits of TRS MAX (found in the Inferno Max and Diablo Max trail shoes):
Enhanced cushioning
Greater stability
Better absorption
Rolling transition
More propulsion
Reduces fatigue and stress
TRS MAX Technology: This oversized technology uses proprietary premium materials and Tecnica's oversized and custom geometry to delivery maximum rolling, cushioning, and stability in a lightweight package. Stability and cushioning is priority. Comparison to traditional trail runners, TRS MAX has twice the cushioning, 30% bigger footprint (98 mm in heel, 80 mm in middle, 120 mm in toe) and an oversized rocker profile that has a 55% greater toe and heel rocker height that optimizes energy transfer and propulsion.
Key Benefits for Snapback Core-Tecs (found in the Inferno Sprint and Diablo Sprint trail shoes):
Energy return
Powerful transmission of energy
Light in weight
Rolling transition
Snapback Core-Tecs: A technology developed by Tecnica that uses proprietary premium materials and spring mechanics to deliver exceptional progressive energy return and transmission, great longitudinal and torsional stability, and best in class lightness. The ultimate race day shoe that excels in shorter distances with a lot of climbing. A carbon or composite plate found in the midsole construction of the shoe.
Story Angles: new technology; minimalist vs. max; other max brands: Hooka One One; benefits of; alternative footwear; options in running footwear
Link to website:


  1. Those look cool. Wish I had a link to check those out :D

    What's the spread on the Evans throw-down?
    Ask Lucho and GZ for a few minutes. You might beat em straight-up. Maybe I'll handicap it to get some $$ flowing. Turn trail running into a big gambling mess.

  2. Hey Matt - that's an attempt at humor by overkill;-)
    The spread on Evans between Tim, GZ and I? Probably not a whole lot of drama there, but here's my prediction...
    I will finish after GZ in the same amout of time that GZ finishes after Tim...

  3. One of the better shoe reviews I"ve read. Nicely done. Free pair, or purchased?

  4. Thanks Jim!!
    The kind people at Tecnica sent me a free pair. They certainly are not new to footware, but are new to trailrunning specific footware and they've started out with a great shoe.

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