With only 28 years under its belt, South Korean company, Treksta, is fairly new to the athletic shoe scene, especially compared to giants like Nike (52 years old), Adidas (67 years old) and Reebok (121 years old). But this young company is committed to doing things differently (and arguably better) than its older competitors.

We tried out their women’s Mega Wave (MSRP $125), women’s Alter Ego Star (MSRP $110) and men’s Sync Boa (MSRP $160). Here are our thoughts.

Treksta’s NestFit Tech

Before we get into the nitty-gritty of the actual shoes, it’s important to start with the brand’s most innovative contribution to the footwear scene. Treksta is launching its reputation off of its NestFit technology, what it calls a revolutionary new way to build a shoe.

All shoe companies shape their models using a mold, called a “last” in the industry. Typically, the last is a very basic outline of the foot. There are no toe contours; the ankle structure is undefined; and the arch is naught to be found.

The Treksta last

A comparison of the Treksta last against the standard last.

Deciding that was a poor starting point for a high-performance athletic shoe, Treksta reinvented the last. After taking more than 20,000 scans of real feet, they created a new map of the foot and dubbed it “NestFit.” Comparing the two molds, it’s immediately clear that there are individual toes and a more anatomically accurate ankle structure in Treksta’s mold. You also notice the shoe’s toe point, called the “high point,” is more asymmetrical than in a standard set of kicks.

The Treksta sole

The Treksta sole

Thanks to this mold, Treksta’s triple-density EVA insole offers heightened support for the main strike points on the ball of the foot and the heel. Notably, that shaping goes all the way through the midsole and into the outsole as well, creating a three-layer system that aims to absorb the impact of the trail so your joints don’t have to.

Also, the toes are able to splay out and go into a more neutral–and natural–position, which allows for better full-body alignment. All of those little details ladder up to mean NestFit reduces the pressure on the feet by 23 percent and the level of muscle fatigue by 31 percent, according to the brand.

 

 

Treksta’s NestFit in real life

In reality, we have to say, we didn’t notice a distinct reduction in the pressure on the feet. And frankly, it’s hard to discern the precise level of bodily fatigue felt after a workout. We’re usually tired after a climbing up to Royal Arch or running along the Mesa Trail… that’s kind of the point.

What we did notice is the comfort of slipping a foot into these shoes. The wide toe box easily provides room for the toes to splay out and have a broader range of contact with the ground. Nothing feels cramped, while at the same time, the shoes don’t feel too big or clunky.

We also loved the way the NestFit system cradles the heel. When you slip them on, there’s a distinctly different snugness around the back of the heel that makes them feel more secure than a standard shoe.

The individual shoes: Thoughts from the testers, Courtney and Mike

Mega Wave (Courtney)

Treksta Mega Wave

Treksta Mega Wave

I have to admit, until I tried out the Mega Wave, I’d been hanging on to the minimalist shoe trend. Not that I was ever one of the hardcore members of this tribe (I can barely make it to pick up my mail barefoot, so you’ll never find me attempting a 10K sans shoes), but after two pairs of super lightweight, less supportive trainers I was convinced that was the shoe type for me.

The Mega Wave changed that. When I first slipped on the shoe, I noticed a difference in the fit. And who wouldn’t–this high-cushion pair of kicks makes you stand a little taller, quite literally. But you’ll also notice that despite its extra mass, the Mega Wave remains impressively lightweight. My stride felt springy–it felt natural and “right” to take each successive step–without feeling overly bouncy.

My one complaint is the so-called Speed-Lacing system. I’ve been using the the Boa system for a couple years now on other sets of running shoes, and to me, that’s a helpful quick-tie system that makes sense. It’s fast and effectively tightens the shoe’s upper around my foot. With the Speed-Lacing system, I feel like any time I save by not tying the laces is spent in working to get the laces snug around my foot. And then I still have to dedicate another few seconds storing the laces in their “garage.”

The Alter Ego Star (Courtney)

Treksta Alter Ego Star

Treksta Alter Ego Star

These babies have become my go-to kicks for trail running and short, steep hikes. They’re lightweight enough that you feel nimble and fast, while still being supportive enough to keep you sure-footed.

The fact that I use them for hiking as well as running is a true vote of confidence in their sturdiness. I have a finicky left ankle thanks to an old climbing injury, so I rarely hike in anything less than a boot. The Alter Ego Star, though, is equipped with HyperGrip, a rubber compound designed to effectively grip whatever is underfoot. Thanks to that grippiness and the solid sole, I’m able to step confidently on both the ascent and descent–and ‘ole lefty doesn’t complain afterward like he used to.

The Sync Boa (Mike)

The Sync Boa

The Sync Boa

 

After hearing rave-reviews of the Boa closure system on trail-running shoes from some of my running partners, I decided to give the Sync Boa a try. I love how quickly the shoes go on, and I’m never worried about the laces tripping me up.

After a few runs, these quickly became my go-to trail running shoes for a snowy, Colorado winter. The IceLock technology–a series of special rubber studs on the sole of the shoe that increase traction–kept me sure-footed on snow-packed trails, and the upper construction was well insulated and kept my feet warm and dry.

I was a little hesitant switching from a zero-drop shoe to the Sync’s 6mm drop, but I found the shoe to run light and natural. The “NestFit” system’s over-sized toe box made the shoes feel large at first, but proved to offer great stability and comfort on the trail.