SportsShoes.com brand Higher State are getting ready to make some waves in the trail and off-trail running sector, starting with their distinctive trail running shoe – the Soil Shaker.
Selling for only £40 from SportsShoes (you won’t find many trail shoes for that price outside of an end-of-line sale), Higher State’s Soil Shaker has a striking appearance, available in blue, red, black, black & red, and the pictured orange with a sole that looks like they couldn’t fit more lugs onto if they tried, these shoes were crying out for a test over some muddy hills and trails.
First off, the Soil Shakers fit true-to-size. I ordered size 8 (I wear 8 in Inov8 and Salomon, 7.5 in Salming) and they fit fine. They’re not particularly wide, not particularly long so as long as your foot is the shape of a foot then ordering them in your normal size should do the job. They are as padded and supported as you will find on a trail shoe and will definitely keep your feet safe and comfortable, but probably not for you if you’re desperate to go for a minimal ‘feel-every-stone-on-the-ground’ type of shoe.
As mentioned, the Soil Shaker is a very well padded shoe – putting them on the for first time, the heel cup felt fairly stiff – this is of course just calls for a small amount of walking around a bit in them before hitting the hills. They have a very comfy fit – your feet will stay happy in the Soil Shakers over the cold winter months, protected from brambles, debris, and toe-stubbing roots!
Coming from someone who normally wears quite lightweight trail shoes, the Soil Shakers do look and feel quite chunky when compared with almost a walking boot feel to them – the laces themselves are long and thick walking boot-like laces – but for anyone coming from More Mile Cheviots or are used to Salomon trail shoes, the Soil Shaker will feel closer to those in feel on your foot.
The Soil Shakers come with a CRAZY amount of 8mm-deep lugs, aiming to keep you steady on slippery mud. At first glance my thoughts were “these will clog immediately”, but wearing them through some boggy and chewed up areas proved me (sort of) wrong. While they hold an amount of mud in the lugs (as every trail shoe does in thick mud), there are so many lugs and they are so deep that it became a non-issue, the strength of the grip remained despite the terrain.
They do prove a little bit slippy on stone and wet wood but what doesn’t? The fact is they remain great in mud and you can’t ask for more than that if you’re trying to get up a wet, slippery hill.
As pictured there, it’s nice to include in the box some care instructions. How many times have you seen people asking the question in a Facebook group “how do I wash my shoes?” or something similar? Well here it is.
Higher State’s Soil Shaker is a great choice for someone getting into trail running or obstacle course racing, or not wanting to break the bank when buying kit. They will keep your feet comfortable and provide confidence for putting some miles in over some trails through their grip and solid build. If you are used to a light shoe, fast water drainage, or a minimal sole then these might feel too built-up for you, but for comfort, warmth, and cost – you could do much worse than the Soil Shaker!
Available for £39.99 from SportShoes.com
Written by me: Keith Fairburn
Personal Trainer, Sports Therapist, S&C Coach.
Ninja Warrior Semi-Finalist, Obstacle Racer, Salming Running Ambassador.
If you have any questions about anything I’ve written in this post or want to get in touch, contact me.