A little bit of a thread resurrection...
Recently got a bug up my ass to really put the miles on and managed to wreck yet another pair of Merrell's. I was all set to pick up another pair but ever since the holidays, REI has had virtually no inventory (always pointing to the clearance/garage sale route.) I guess they are replacing them with a newer model, the 'FST'.
Figured now was as good a time as any to try something new, and while the big heavy pair of Salomons in my original post are still going strong, I figured I'd give that brand a shot in the trail runner category.
A pair of their X Ultra II's left the store with me and promptly got tested on Squaw Peak.
https://www.rei.com/product/894798/salo ... shoes-mens
It wasn't a perfect test since I was also hauling up a hefty pack full of camera gear, but the first 1/3rd or so of the trail was pretty brutal. I felt muscles in my feet getting worked that didn't like to be worked, and while I went into it knowing they had less support than I was used to, I thought it'd make for better trail feel on my brisk descents. Instead it just made for fairly rapid buyer's remorse, despite being some of the most comfortable shoes I've worn in ages (except under heavy load on jaggy stuff.)
Soooo, back they went today and a fresh pair of Oboz Sawtooth's left with me instead.
https://www.rei.com/product/781640/oboz ... shoes-mens
A friend had strongly recommended them to me when I was busily selecting the Salomons, but the PV REI didn't have any in my size, and I suck at being patient. Luckily, today, the Tempe store had my size and while one hike is hardly a full test, they're already SUBSTANTIALLY more comfortable for me than the old standby Moab Ventilators, and a lot more support on the jaggy bits than the Salomons. I clocked a relatively tame 20 minutes down Squaw Peak with them tonight, and the grip was really good too. (Probably could've pushed the speed a bit more, but not knowing the shoes that well, and being a new year where I'm nowhere near meeting my insurance deductible, I didn't wanna get too crazy.)
With a personal target of 4 hiking days per week, time will quickly tell how they hold up but I'm pretty hopeful.