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Thread: VJ Irocks

  1. #1
    Master Travs's Avatar
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    VJ Irocks

    After a bit of a footwear related disaster yesterday, I ventured into Keswick on the hunt for some new Fell shoes. After a bit of internet research I had my mind set on the VJ Irocks, and after a brief try-on I handed my money over.

    They look very similar to Xtalons on the sole, but the uppers do seem to be made of very tough material.

    My first impressions were very good. It's a very snug, slipper-like fit, true to size for me. Grip was very good, although on a hot dry day I'd expect it to be. I've never used the xtalon-like grip, having always had the big 'pyramid' type studs typical of a Mudclaw, and always been a little sceptical that they'd be as good, but they were fine today. Whether they can do it in some real winter mud I don't know. But I did cover varied ground today including rock, grass, tussock and some mild boggy sections.

    I couldn't completely "give it some hammer" as my feet are still in a bit of a state from Ennerdale, but the sides of the heels are low-profile enough to not rub against even my misshapen bony ankles, and when contouring and running across tussocks they seemed very snug and stable.

    They are in my opinion, a pure race shoe, very light, very little cushioning. It was only 4 miles today but first impressions were very promising. I'll post a fuller review when I've ran them in a bit more, and after Buttermere which will be a stern test for them!
    Last edited by Travs; 10-06-2018 at 07:48 PM.

  2. #2
    Senior Member CalFerguson's Avatar
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    They sound promising, Travs.

    I think these could be the ones that Kim Collison had on yesterday too
    http://calferguson.blogspot.co.uk/

    Calvin Ferguson - Calder Valley FR

  3. #3
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    I can vouch for them. Best grip of any shoe Iíve had, especially on wet rock. It gives me confidence on rocks I wouldnít have in other shoes.

    Also comfortable and durable. Did both the Fellsman and 4/5ths of my BGR in them and had not a single issue.

    Ben

  4. #4
    Master noel's Avatar
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    I did Clough Head in mine and was impressed with them. That's interesting benshep that you've done long stuff in them too. I was unsure whether to go with them at Buttermere, or use my x-talon 230s.
    No longer "resting"

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    Noel, I suppose it depends whether you need/want cushioning but personally they were great for me on the longer runs. Iíll probably even wear them on Lakeland 50 if itís wet on the day.
    Ben

  6. #6
    Master Travs's Avatar
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    I've sort of given up trying to find a dream combination of cushioning, durability and grip. Tried the LA Sportiva Mutants which were just about perfect, except I had to take a knife and cut the sides of the outer heels down, to stop them rubbing. This caused no issue at all, but when you pay upwards of £100 for a new pair of shoes you don't really want to be attacking them with a knife.

    The Mudclaw Classics I've been wearing for 9 months had been fine and the best grip I've ever had, but after saturday's "blowout" on Green Gable I was keen to look elsewhere.

    Glad to hear of good reviews from others about the Irocks. If they provide superb grip and longevity, even at the expense of some cushioning, I'll be a happy runner.

  7. #7
    Master ba-ba's Avatar
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    VJ are an orienteering brand, so the uppers are designed to be resilient to hacking through undergrowth, brashings and the like.
    From the pair I've used the grip was very similar to that of the X-talon, wearing at a slightly slower rate. I do find the X-talons a bit comfier though, often needing a re-adjustment/tightening of the iRock after a warm-up.
    I still tend to use X-talons as my race shoe as I can pick up old colour-schemes for about £50-60 a pair, whereas Irocks are only available for close to £100, so they come in fairly similar in terms of overall outlay. Probably.

    I personally find it worth having several pairs of shoes and rotating them. My current race shoes are kept for the big races when I'll need to trust the grip implicitly, so I preserve them. The retired racing shoes I use for training or the traily-type races in the peak, those ones where you can hear your studs screaming as you finish down a road.

    I have too many pairs of nearly-dead shoes in my porch/car boot.
    Nic Barber, Pennine. Downhill Dandy

  8. #8
    Master ba-ba's Avatar
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    Another tip - I carry a few long, strong cable ties in my bum-bag for shoe disintegration purposes. Not had to use them yet (I've had one show disintegrate and it was a short race so I didn't have a bumbag).
    Nic Barber, Pennine. Downhill Dandy

  9. #9
    Master Travs's Avatar
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    Thanks for the tip. Yes the marshall at the top of Pillar "fixed" my shoe with a penknife and 3 cable ties, at the cost of 15 minutes or so, but it probably overall saved me that much time over the next section as I was able to run reasonably hard again for a few miles. Unfortunately the running repair didn't last and the cable ties eventually pulled their way through the remnants of the sole, but I am eternally grateful to the Marshall for his help.

  10. #10
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    Had another runout in these last evening. On a grassy hill session. Again very impressed, slipper-like fit and there seemed to be absolutely no untoward movement once my foot was laced into the shoe (ok it wasn't the most challenging terrain in the world).

    It was a very dry grassy surface, and i did notice the lack of cushioning when going downhill, the gradient being such that an effort was still required to build up speed, rather than letting gravity do it's job. No difference to any other stripped fell shoe in terms of cushion, but certainly a racers shoe in my opinion. Having said that, as BenShep mentioned above, the good points of them are such that I've got no reservations about wearing them round the long and arduous Buttermere Horseshoe in 10 days time.

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