The Vasque Constant Velocity II is a first-year traditional trail running shoe designed for the everyman and capable of handling a whole heap of mileage. With its forefoot rock plates combined with EVA foam cushioning, it is one of the more protective shoes in this review, and also hugs the foot securely for fantastic comfort. These attributes contributed to it being ranked in the top half of our overall rankings, a pleasant surprise from a shoe company that we haven't heard much from in the last few years. For trail runners looking for a comfortable, protective, and durable shoe that will last them through an entire training cycle, we think this is one of the better options out there.
Vasque Constant Velocity II Review
Cons: Absorbs a lot of water, laces come untied easily, heavier than most
Our Analysis and Test Results
Constant Velocity II vs. the Constant Velocity
In the new version of the Constant Velocity, the Constant Velocity II, Vasque has completely redesigned the upper. Many of the seams have been replaced with a .6mm polyurethane film, which is meant to give the shoe more structure, dust protection, and eliminate stitching in flex zones like the toe box. The new CV II also has more vents along the midsole-upper seam. Additionally, these new shoes have more eyelets for lacing. All the changes have occurred in the upper, so the midsole and outsole remain the same. The price also remains the same, at $120.Below are pictures of the CV II and the CV, respectively.
This is a summary of the key differences between the Constant Velocity II and the Constant Velocity:
- Upper Construction-- Addition of an abrasion-resistant AirMesh upper with a .6mm polyurethane film for structure, dust protection.
- Lacing System — More eyelets meant to increase adjustability.
We haven't had a chance to head out with these shoes yet, so the following review refers to the previous model.
Hands-On Review of the Constant Velocity
Vasque has not been a major player in the trail running shoe market for a while, but this year they released a new line of three trail running shoes targeted toward different styles of running. The Constant Velocity is the most traditional trainer in the group, while their Trailbender seems more aimed at ultrarunning, and the Vertical Velocity is a lower profile shoe. One thing is evident from wearing these shoes — Vasque understands the shape of the human foot. It is entirely possible that no shoe in this review hugs the foot in such a secure and comfortable way as this shoe, which immediately endeared it to our hearts. Its 8mm heel-toe drop and durable, aggressive lug pattern further convinced us this was a shoe that we could run in every day. Compared to the competition in this review, it naturally felt a bit heavier and more burly than the host of low-profile shoes we tested.
The underfoot protection offered by this shoe feels solid and burly, in a firm and stiff kind of way, which is a direct contrast to the soft, squishy protection offered by a shoe like the HOKA ONE ONE Challenger ATR 4. The stiff outsole, in combination with multiple forefoot rock plates sandwiched inside EVA foam all, contributed to this impression. The upper is made of breathable mesh in combination with TPU overlays that unfortunately weren't positioned exactly over the highest wear areas, like the forefoot crease, where we have begun to notice some wear. It also has a flexible sewn toe bumper that we appreciate, but wish was a bit more solid. There is no doubt this shoe is more protective than the Saucony Peregrine 7, but was a small step down from the much thicker cushioned Brooks Caldera. 8 out of 10 points.
The outsole of this shoe is made of a harder rubber patterned into roughly 4mm deep four-leaf clover shaped lugs adequately spaced out over the length of the sole. Oddly, in the highest wear areas under the big toe and back of the heel, there are no lugs, where almost featureless rubber replaces them. We speculate that this is to prevent lugs from ripping off in the most likely areas but aren't a fan of these first and last contact zones being so featureless. We found this shoe grips well to grass, ever so slightly less so to steep dirt, and struggles a bit on rock and wet rock, seemingly due to the hardness of the rubber. In the end, we awarded it 7 out of 10 points, which was the same amount that we gave The North Face Ultra Endurance, as well as our best overall trail running shoe, the Nike Air Zoom Terra Kiger 4.
This shoe provided better than average stability. While it does have an 8mm heel-toe drop, on our side-hilling test, we found that it securely locked down our foot onto the platform such that we did not notice much tendency to want to roll our ankle. For a traditional shoe with moderate drop and stack height, it performed quite well, on par with the Nike Wildhorse 4, but not as well as a lower profile shoe like the Inov-8 Roclite 290.
We have mentioned before that we felt this shoe was quite comfortable right out of the box and securely hugs the foot. We felt that it fits true to size, and is also of average width. For the sake of discerning between so many comfortable shoes in this review, we will get nitpicky and complain that it is perhaps a bit tight around the heel and edges of the ankle, but not at all in an egregious way.
A very legitimate complaint, however, is that it absorbed a ton of water in our bucket test, swelling to 154% of its average weight, and was also the second-worst in shedding that water after a short five-minute run. In particular, the insole seemed to be like a wet sponge and didn't offer the same performance in this regard as the top performing Hoka Challenger ATR 4. We docked it a point and gave it 6 out of 10 for comfort, which was on par with the Altra Lone Peak 3.5.
Our size men's 11 weighed in at 23.8 ounces for a pair, which was on the heavier end of the scale when compared to the competition.
As a very protective and burly shoe that includes a forefoot rock plate instead of relying entirely on foam, this reading is pretty understandable. However, when running, it certainly didn't feel as light on our feet as the New Balance Vazee Summit v2, and was not even in the same league as the lightest shoe, the La Sportiva Helios 2.0.
On the spectrum of dancing vs. destroying, this shoe is much closer to being a destroyer than it is to being a dancer. There is nothing wrong with that, and this shoe could make a great companion for those people who like to "pound" down the trail, "tromp" through the grass, or "crush" their enemies into oblivion (kidding!). For the bobbers and weavers out there, we wouldn't recommend this as the first choice, and as such it received a paltry 3 out of 10 for sensitivity, which was right on par with the Challenger ATR 4 and offered hair more trail feel than the New Balance Leadville v3.
This shoe is designed to be able to handle any trail running well, and withstand abuse for many, many miles. We think it will do that quite well. While it most likely won't be the shoe on your feet when you set your trail half marathon PR, it is an excellent supporting cast member that you can train in every single day during the lead-up.
The Constant Velocity retails for $120, which places it squarely in the realm of average for a trail running shoe. Since we think it is one of the better shoes in this review, and believe it is durable enough to last you awhile, it presents a pretty fair value.
The Vasque Constant Velocity is a first generation shoe that is highly protective underfoot and comfortable straight out of the box. It was rated as the second highest performing traditional trainer that we tested, and is designed to be able to handle any terrain and trail well. While it likely isn't optimal for spinning the wheels as fast as possible, it will serve great as an everyday shoe in all environments.
— Andy Wellman