VJ Sport is a Finnish shoe company that’s popular in Obstacle Course Racing. With OCR starting to merge with trail running, VJ has made some inroads in the European trail running circuit. VJ Shoes USA started importing shoes out of Sherwood, OR to feed the North American market.
The MAXx is a shoe VJ developed for longer runs. VJ athletes have run 100-mile races in the MAXx, so I felt comfortable giving them a try. Altra Lone Peaks are my main training shoe due to my flat and fat feet. The fit was a little tight when I put the MAXx on for my first run. The MAXx has a feature called the Fitlock that keeps a snug fit around the middle of the foot. It took some time, but the shoes seemed to mold around my feet. After about 20 miles, the Maxx was no longer tight and fit a little more like my Lone Peaks.
The Poron cushioning is 16 mm at the heal and 10 mm in the toe. This Poron is similar to a Hoka One One shoe, but only about half the thickness of Hoka’s Speedgoat. This 6mm drop is 6mm more than a zero drop of the Lone Peak, but I felt fine with it.
All of VJ’s shoes have a butyl rubber outsole to give it what’s the call “the best grip on the planet.” In 125 miles of testing the shoe, I was able to test it on dirt, rocks, gravel, granite boulders, through creeks, rivers, and more. There’s a full rock plate in the midsole that can cope with any difficult hard surface. Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to try mud, but I’m confident the 4 mm lugs will provide enough grip to handle it.
The feature that I’m most impressed with on this shoe is the upper and toe box that’s reinforced with a breathable Kevlar sandwich mesh. Anyone that’s had Lone Peaks or almost any other trail shoe probably gets frustrated with the uppers blowing out around 300 miles. I can imagine getting double that distance with the MAXx.
I can see why this has been a popular shoe in the OCR series. For those looking for a new type of shoes, give these a shot. I’ll be putting the MAXx in my rotation, with a heavy emphasis this winter when the trails start to muddy up. VJ Shoes is offering Northwest Dirt Churners a 10% discount by using code NWDC10.
VJ USA MAXx retail – $160.
- Runs true to size
- Cushioning units in front and heel
- FitLock for mid sole stability
- Outsole is 100% Butyl-rubber
- Full length rock plate
- Strengthened rubber toe-cap
- 4 mm cleats in outsole
- 16mm/10mm stack height
- 6 mm drop
- Weight (US 8.5): 8.8 oz (250 g)