Higher State Soil Shaker 2 fell running shoes – 5 month update

Spot the finger poking through the side of the shoe
Spot the finger poking through the side of the shoe

Back in January I purchased a pair of Higher State’s budget-priced fell running shoes, the ‘Soil Shaker 2’. If you’ve not read my initial review, you can find it here.

In summary, I noted that they were a comfortable shoe, seemed to work OK with my Haglunds bumps and were priced relatively cheaply. They had adequate grip, having taken them around my ‘eventful’ Pendle Way race in February.

But I also noted that the plastic trim on both feet had cracked along the natural crease line of the toes.

So whilst I was initially impressed with my purchase I concluded that it was something that needed to be reviewed a little further down the line.

And that point is now.

An update

As I was getting ready to co-lead our new coached ‘introduction to trail running’ course with Marple Runners I grabbed my shoes and realised that the right shoe had split along the outside edge of the shoe, where the upper met the sole. And this wasn’t some loose stitching, no it had definitely split:

Spot the finger poking through the side of the shoe

Spot the finger poking through the side of the shoe

Having seen this I inspected both shoes in a bit closer detail and it seemed this fault wasn’t just contained to this area. Although it was the only section where it can completely detached, there were multiple areas on both shoes looking like they were going in the same way:

How far travelled?

The following morning I sat down with Garmin Connect to try to work out what mileage these shoes had done. As you’ll be aware if you’ve been following my (rather few) updates this year, it has been a year hampered both by illness and by the threat of the Haglunds becoming inflamed again. Or to put it another way, I’ve not done much running, And indeed, a fair proportion of the runs I had done were on the road, where I use my Saucony Triumph 19s.

So, what mileages were involved?

According to Garmin, for 2023 to date:

Trail miles run: 210
Road miles run: 180
Cycled miles: 304

These figures are actually overstated as I didn’t get the Soil Shakers until mid January but I couldn’t be bothered to work out exactly when I swapped over from my outgoing Altra’s.

Whichever way you cut it, 210 miles from new to falling apart is pretty rubbish. In comparison, my Saucony’s still look like new, despite having done only a slightly lower mileage.

I forwarded the photographs to Sportsshoes.com where I bought them from to see if they could help.

A bit of background

From my previous trail and fell shoes (a mix of Altra and Inov-8) I’ve generally managed anything between 800 – 1500 miles before they have whimpered into defeat; you see with off-road shoes, it’s often the upper that gives way first, unlike with road shoes where the soles get hammered into oblivion by countless steps on the unforgiving surfaces such as tarmac and concrete. In this part of the UK, we have areas of peat-based ground which tends to be mildly acidic. So if you don’t clean your muddy trail shoes off what tends to happen is the uppers rot away.

So in order to preserve the investment into what are normally quite an expensive item of equipment, you need to look after the shoes. Which I’ve continued to do with these Soil Shakers. But, seemingly, to no avail.

An updated conclusion

So unfortunately, I need to revise my verdict on these relatively cheap trail shoes. It’s possible I’ve just happened to get a dud pair, but based on my experience I can’t recommend them. 200 miles to failure is unacceptably low and if nothing else, just leads to extra pairs of shoes ultimately ending up in landfill (I am able to recycle mine at the end of their lives but I don’t think many people do this).

Obviously as and when I hear back from Sportsshoes I’ll update things on here.

2 Comments on "Higher State Soil Shaker 2 fell running shoes – 5 month update"

  1. Dr Alan Cornell | February 5, 2024 at 4:34 pm | Reply

    Had a few pairs of these (in red, green and blue) and your review is spot on.

    They have reasonable grip (nothing to compare against as I started my trail running in regular trainers) but all three pairs gave up the ghost in exactly the same way as yours within 6 months of running 10K twice a week.

    Contemplating trying a pair of Innov8 Parkclaws next.

    • That’s interesting to know Alan. Thanks for sharing. My replacement pair are still working but I’ve not done much mileage in them as yet and I need to add that up to see how things compare. For what it’s worth I’ve previously run in Inov8’s, having used the Roclite & Terraclaw which are for mild trail and the X-Talons which were more aggressive and less cushioned. I’ll return to Inov8 for fell running once the HS’s give up.

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