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Review: CimAlp 864 Drop Evolution trail running shoe

Written by Fiona

October 04 2021

CimAlp, founded in 1964, has been focused on supplying kit to those who love the mountains. The 864 DROP EVOLUTION trail running shoe is one of the many products that the brand claims will make it easier and more enjoyable to get out into the wild places.

My guest reviewer Seth G has tested the CimAlp 864 Drop Evolution running shoe. He writes:

If you are interested in transitioning to a Zero Drop shoe, or you like to have more control over the cushioning for different levels of training, hiking, or time on your feet, you might want to check out this shoe.

Features include:

  • Ultra-dynamic CHROMOSOME® midsole
  • R-SPEED®: Hollow structure in the forefoot for better comfort
  • VIBRAM® MEGAGRIP outsole for grip and durability
  • R-MESH® upper: Seamless, breathable, stretchy
  • MULTI CONTACT inner tongue: Seamless and snug
  • DUAL DENSITY insole
  • 1 shoe + 3 pairs of insoles (8mm – 6mm – 4mm)
  • Weight: 275g (excluding insole)
  • Price: Currently £106.80 on cimalp.co.uk (I earn small commission for each sale.)

What’s good about the CimAlp 864 DROP EVOLUTION trail running shoe?

I will address this from two angles. From the basic shoe standpoint, this is a quality shoe. It has a good weight. The sole is what I look for in a trail shoe: Sturdy and good grip.

The fit is nice, keeping my foot snug and without a lot of potential rub spots. I have put many miles on these shoes and I can see limited wear and tear. I have been watching for seam splits, glue issues, discoloration, etc. and I am very pleased.

As far as little things go, the fit is normal, no surprises there. The inner tongue is nice and keeps my foot snug.

Lacing is fine, although they seemed short when I first put them on since I use the ankle lock system. Maybe I am just used to excessively long laces…I don’t know.

My typical training has me up in the mountains over a variety of terrain with rocks, gravel, dirt, and mud. These shoes have handled it all just fine.

If that were it, I would say these shoes were a good option for trail shoes. Comfortable. Durable. Well designed.

But this shoe is trying to offer something above and beyond that “good trail shoe” level. And here is where you might be interested in testing a pair yourself.

First, CimAlp has created a shoe that allows you to be more selective of your cushion and drop depending on your various runs or hikes. If you are putting in more miles, or need more cushion, you can use the 8mm insole. If you want something lower for a more sustainable stride, you can go with the 4mm. If you want the “just right”, you can insert the 6mm. It is like your own version of Goldilocks!

Switching out the insoles is easy, and there is no need to buy anything extra, or do your own trimming with a razor.

Second, if you are thinking about transitioning to a ZeroDrop style shoe, CimAlp has made it possible for you to test out what feels best for you without making it miserable. No one like the feeling of your calves balling up about three miles away from home, but you may know what I am talking about if you ever tried to transition to a ZeroDrop shoe by going “all in”. With this shoe you can test out the level that you need to bring your stride and running form to the place you want it to be.

What’s not so good about the CimAlp 864 DROP EVOLUTION trail running shoe?

I don’t have any issues with the overall fit, durability, or construction of the shoe, so these “cons” are mostly to deal with questions that are lingering in my mind.

Is this sustainable or not? If someone makes the transition to a lower drop, will they want to go higher? If not, then these shoes would be shoes which a person might purchase a couple times and then dial in on what they like and find another shoe. Not a big deal, but a question.

Will people want to switch out their insole regularly? It obviously doesn’t need to be every run, but do people think about that enough to warrant a shoe with this option?

The positive side is that the buyer isn’t spending any more money on a pair of shoes than they would normally pay, so it isn’t a financial loss like purchasing a product you use once and throw away (I’m looking at you, Ab Roller).

Conclusion: The CimAlp 864 DROP EVOLUTION shoe is a good trail running and hiking shoe that offers more customisation than any other shoe I have tested. If you are interested in testing out different levels of drop, or find yourself in situations where you need to moderate your cushion, this shoe is your answer.

As a trail shoe, these are good shoes. With the extra bonus of multiple insoles, I think these can be really helpful.

  • Seth received these shoes free of charge in exchange for an honest review.
  • About the Author: Seth writes about his family adventures and the kit that keeps him alive over at www.sethgrotzke.com.

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