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GoLite Carbon Fyre Shoes (Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2007)

GoLite goes lighter in their shoe line with this shoe built for speed.

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by Carol Crooker | 2007-08-11 00:32:00-06

GoLite Carbon Fyre Shoes (Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2007)

Timberland Invention Factory has developed a new shoe, the Carbon Fyre, which will be available from GoLite in Spring 2008. At 11.4 oz it will be the lightest shoe with the innovative Isomorphic Suspension system where lugs adjust individually to uneven trail surfaces. The Carbon Fyre is built for speed. (The 12.0 oz Versa Force - blue in photo - also available in the spring, offers more stability.) GoLite reduced weight by trimming the Trail Claw lugs and using a carbon fiber cradle for support. The shoe has an air mesh upper which should be more durable than last year's mesh and the same glued on NeoFORM (a type of dense foam) to provide seamless support.

I'm hopeful about these shoes. I've been wearing last season's Sun Dragons and absolutely love how good my feet feel after strenuous trail hiking. The Sun Dragons are deteriorating very quickly though. The mesh upper problem has been addressed in the Carbon Fyres but it remains to be seen how fast the soles wear.

GoLite Carbon Fyre Shoes (Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2007) - 2
Trail Claws on the GoLite Carbon Fyre.

Specifications and Features

  • Manufacturer: GoLite
  • Product: Carbon Fyre
  • Weight: 11.4 oz
  • Features: NeoFORM seamless upper, debris shield system, stabalizing heal cradle, anti-microbial footbed, Trail Claws, Gripstick rubber, PreciseFit system
  • Sizes: men 7-13.5, women 5.5-11


"GoLite Carbon Fyre Shoes (Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2007)," by Carol Crooker. (ISSN 1537-0364)., 2007-08-11 00:32:00-06.


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GoLite Carbon Fyre Shoes (Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2007)
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Carol Crooker
(cmcrooker) - MLife

Locale: Desert Southwest, USA
GoLite Carbon Fyre Shoes (Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2007) on 08/11/2007 01:08:13 MDT Print View

Companion forum thread to:

GoLite Carbon Fyre Shoes (Outdoor Retailer Summer Market 2007)

Scott Peterson
(scottalanp) - F

Locale: Northern California
GoLite Carbon Fyre Shoes on 08/13/2007 15:39:58 MDT Print View

Is the half size an indication that the manufacturer has moved to the industry standard of offering half sizes rather than the current sizing offered for 2007? Like shirts or any other garment....a size range means it just does not fit as well if you are on one end of the size range or the other.

Brian Lewis
(brianle) - F

Locale: Pacific NW
Carbon Fyre --- eager for any more info on 08/13/2007 16:30:11 MDT Print View

I love my Golite Sun Dragons, but like others I'm finding the durability is low. Not as low for me as in some other reports (such as at, I've got about 250 miles on mine and they're still wearable, I'll bring them along on a hundred mile trip I'm starting next week, but I'll also bring duct tape ...

My intention is to thru-hike the PCT next year, and the Sun Dragons would be a perfect shoe if I wasn't likely to need something like ten pairs along the way.
If the Carbon Fyre fit the same and overall feel and wear the same but have better durability, that would be *wonderful*. But "spring 2008" is when they come out and that's about when I start my PCT trip. I sure would like to be a beta tester ... !

Brian Lewis

Ben 2 World
(ben2world) - MLife

Locale: So Cal
Nice! on 08/13/2007 16:34:56 MDT Print View

Looking forward to a full review -- esp. regarding support, traction and durability. Hate out soles that wear smooth after just a few months!

Rick Dreher
(halfturbo) - MLife

Locale: Northernish California
Re: Carbon Fyre --- eager for any more info on 08/13/2007 16:41:13 MDT Print View

Hi Brian,

Soles, uppers or the whole shootin' match failing on these?

(Not knowing what these new CF versions cost, I caution that the adjective "carbon" routinely adds a hundred bucks to cycling shoes.)

Edited by halfturbo on 08/13/2007 16:42:51 MDT.

Brian Lewis
(brianle) - F

Locale: Pacific NW
There is some wear on soles but ... on 08/14/2007 12:24:55 MDT Print View

In terms of my Sun Dragons, there certainly is wear on the soles, but it's pretty uniform wear, and the deep lugs of this unit mean they'll have traction for as long as I can keep them on my feet, I think. In contrast, I have a pair of Nike "zoom air" trail runners and nearing the 100 mile mark on a hike last year (100 mile trip, shoes started out brand new) a sizeable chunk of a piece of the sole at the heel basically came off, hanging by just a little rubber "thread" and I pulled it off. For me, at, least, the Sun Dragon soles seem to be degrading gracefully. Not sure yet whether that means they would do, say, 500 miles and still be useable, but they're fine after about 250.

My bigger concern is what everyone else is reporting, the fabric across the toe uppers. On each shoe a couple of horizontal straight-line cracks in the fabric that are bound to grow. There are also little side panels on both sides of the shoes; the inside ones on both shoes are for whatever reason somewhat shredded now with the connecting plastic/rubber broken below leading down to the sole.

None of this stops the shoes from continuing to work great --- for now. I just reckon I'd like to get a reliable 500 miles from a pair of shoes and I'm doubting that I will with these, but TBD. And of course, other posters are reporting worse experiences than me. I met a couple doing the AT near Damascus in May and they said they (or maybe one of them) had tried two pairs of Sun Dragons and their claim was that both pairs "blew out" in terms of the upper toe fabric in not much more than 100 miles.

I guess I should only talk about my own experience; I'd say I've done a bit more than half of my mileage on trails, but a lot on roads, some of that on F.S. roads, but perhaps approaching 100 miles on pavement (mostly local walks near home). I'll do another 100 miles or so soon (PCT section K in WA state), and if they still seem up to it after that I'll try an almost 200 mile trip in September with them. Sure wish I could get my hands on a pair of Carbon Fyre's to do some of that with this year, I was really hoping to settle on a pair of shoes well in advance. Various other options haven't worked out; Vitesse seems like it's on its way out, can't find my size anywhere now. New Balance 873's felt great but gave me a sizeable back heel blister after fairly low mileage (heel cup seems quite rigid and aggressively shaped). It's enough to make a fellow think of going back to heavy clunky boots!

Brian Lewis

Aaron Sorensen
(awsorensen) - MLife

Locale: South of Forester Pass
Re: There is some wear on soles but ... on 08/14/2007 12:30:45 MDT Print View

It's not the bottoms that are the problem, it's the fabric on top.
I've gone through 2 pairs.
Each got about 150 miles, (of hard use), but they are shot.

Carol Crooker
(cmcrooker) - MLife

Locale: Desert Southwest, USA
Sun Dragon upper on 08/14/2007 12:35:25 MDT Print View

According to folks from the Timberland Invention Factory (developers of the Sun Dragon), they have fixed the upper cracking problem. The mesh was made brittle from chemicals used in the glueing process for the neoform sections. The new Sun Dragons have a different mesh and glue process.

Brian Lewis
(brianle) - F

Locale: Pacific NW
"new" sun dragons? Excellent! on 08/15/2007 12:44:33 MDT Print View

Fantastic! Fixing the flaw in the sun dragons would be even better than trying a new shoe that's not available yet.

To be really clear, if I order a pair of Sun Dragons *now*, is there any way to calculate the odds that I'll get "new" versus old? I.e., whether Timberland pulled the old ones out of the channel, or if they'll continue to sell the stocks of old ones until they're gone?

If you have a contact with them who can answer this reliably, I for one would be very grateful.

Brian Lewis

evan parsons
(freestyleparsons) - F

Locale: Dowtown LA
Re: GoLite Carbon Fyre Shoes on 08/28/2007 00:17:34 MDT Print View

What do you mean? I've always thought of half sizes as a good thing, better fit. Or was that second comment totally disconnected from your first point? I'd love to know your insight.

Brian Lewis
(brianle) - F

Locale: Pacific NW
re: Sun Dragon Upper on 09/04/2007 11:46:29 MDT Print View

I was really jazzed by Carol Crooker's comment about the problem with the uppers being fixed. Carol kindly gave me a contact to follow-up with some questions, and I just got permission this morning to post what I learned. To put this in context, I really like my Sun Dragon's and would like to use them to through-hike the PCT next year, but I have natural concerns over durability --- I don't want to have to buy too many shoes over the course of the trip!
Maybe I need one of their "Endurance" line instead, Trail Fly or perhaps the new Versa Force.

Anyway, from my initial contact I got this text from Golite/Timberland:
We at GoLite Footwear are aware of the problems some are having with the durability of the
textile in the uppers of our trail running shoes and now understand the cause. During the
initial production, the process used to mold the uppers was not the process agreed to by our
quality department. The final process has surpassed all tests for durability in athletic
shoes. This final process utilizes a thin film of PU as a bonding agent between the EVA
protective upper and the Powervent Mesh. This film is applied directly under the EVA portion
of the upper and results in a very strong bond. However, the initial shoes were mistakenly
produced using a process where the factory dipped the entire Powervent mesh piece in a
different type of bonding agent. The end result of this process is that the mesh becomes
brittle and breaks down more quickly as some have witnessed. Our quality department has run
tests on subsequent production runs and are satisfied that the proper process is now being

Having said this, it is important to note that these shoes are meant to be utilized for trail
running. Due to the nature of the lighter weight construction they will wear more quickly in
extreme conditions (as a running shoe might in the same). We have had testers and consumers
say they are very satisfied with performance over months of normal use. But we have also seen
shoes completely destroyed in as little as two weeks during extreme use. There are always
trade-offs for such light weight equipment, although we are passionately committed to minimize
those trade-offs and will continue to search for new materials and processes that offer the
best of all worlds. A successful example of this search is the technology built into our
midsoles. The midsoles designed into all of our performance models are made from a special
formulation of polyurethane. This material will provide an extremely consistent level of
underfoot support for the life of the shoe unlike most trail running shoes that are built with
EVA midsoles which begin to break down the first day of use and the quality of support will
degrade continually throughout the life of the shoe.

GoLite stands behind our products. If anyone is experiencing premature wear of the upper
textile material, the shoes will be replaced under warranty. Please contact our customer
service department directly for immediate service. Toll Free - 866-784-6466

Great stuff, but this left unanswered for me the question of whether the older shoes are still out there for sale, i.e., if I buy a new pair now, would I get the older type or newer? In fact, it might be that I have a newer pair, as I've got 300 miles on mine and they're still useable, though I opted to leave them home on my latest 200 mile trip, I'm losing confidence that they'll hold together for that many more miles (dunno). Is there any way to visually determine whether a pair of shoes I buy were manufactured with the older or newer process?

The only answer available to this question was this:

"Unfortunately there is no way to tell the difference between the older production vs. newer production shoes in the spring 2007 line (Sun Dragons, Trail Fly, Spike Tail, Set Wing). The best GoLite footwear can offer is that any pair that wears out prematurely will be replaced under warranty."

One somewhat intriguing comment included with the answer was this: "The new soft shell Storm Dragon and Shadow Dragon (delivering now) for fall 2007 as well as all new products delivered in 2008 will have the correct uppers."

These guys are certainly cranking out a lot of models. I wasn't able to find much out about the Storm and Shadow Dragon models, but this link mentions them (along with the contact I got info from, Bethany Mousseau):

While I wasn't able to get the absolute complete set of details that I'd like, I really appreciated the details and friendly response I got from Bethany, and again my thanks to Carol Crooker for giving me Bethany's contact info.

Brian Lewis

P.S. I came back last night from a planned 200 mile trip where I didn't take my Sun Dragons but another shoe. Had to abort the trip at under 100 miles due to an old foot problem (bunionette) that I never had surface with the Sun Dragon's FWIW --- hard to say for sure if there's cause and effect there, but the Sun Dragons definitely feel more cushiony.

Edited by brianle on 09/04/2007 11:49:22 MDT.