As noted in the previous section, I’m sure Dynafit could have trimmed a handful of grams from the Alpine if they elected to work with lighter, less durable components. Most brands trying to slip under a certain weight will look to strip any excess material from their model’s upper, which tends to take less of a beating than, say, a shoe’s outsole. But doing so is often to the detriment of the shoe’s longevity and performance. Dynafit’s build quality is great throughout the Alpine, with seemingly no corners cut.
The shoe’s upper is a great blend of techy design and practical application, ensuring an adaptable and secure fit. The Alpine’s upper does a great job of locking my foot into the shoe’s frame, inspiring a confident and controlled ride on varying terrain. Add in the upper’s TPU toe cap and thermal bonded microfiber foot cage overlaid with PU, and you have a well-fitting shoe that’s protective against sharp objects like scree & hardy brush. Protective uppers can often run hot and drain poorly, so I made sure to target both of those concerns during my testing. All in all, I’d call the Alpine’s drainage standard for its class. As I assumed, the protection on the side panels doesn’t allow for quick drainage, but the shoe emptied out plenty well on long runs with water crossings.
Now, I want to spend some time focusing on Dynafit’s proprietary “heel preloader,” because it’s a very interesting feature seen throughout the brand’s entire trail running line. While technically part of the upper, the heel preloader functions as an extension of the shoe’s midsole in many ways. So, what is it, why is it there, and what makes it so special?