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12.7 oz. (360 g) for a US M9,
9.9 oz. (280 g) for a US W7.5
Short trail hikes
HH Quick Dry, HH Max-Grip outsole, HH Power Stride midsole
SAM: I saw a chart earlier this year in the same place we all find things these days — deep in Instagram’s endlessly scrolling purgatory (or Reddit, if you prefer an easier search). It was a timeline broken into three chunks, with the years 2010-2014 labeled “Nostalgia.” The timeline then moves to 2015-2019 and boils them down to the heading “2016.” It wraps up with everyone’s favorite years, 2020-2022, and chucks them under the heading “Plague.”
And that’s just spot on, right? Between the toxicity of the 2016 election, the equally toxic years that followed, and the collective trauma of the pandemic, the years between 2015 and 2022 blend into some darkly addled fugue soup from which we can differentiate little. Everything pre-2015 exists in the before-times, and everything after is, well, blurry.
Lest we get too far down the nostalgia hole, remember that not everything was sunshine and rainbows pre-2015. In our fondness for the “good times,” we forget that some things, like running shoes, have made huge leaps since those sweet, sweet 2010s. Sometimes, though, I have a shoe land on my porch that reminds me of the before times like an open-handed slap straight from 2013. Today, we’re looking at one of those.
The Helly Hansen Falcon is a trail runner with a full EVA midsole, an upper made of 80% recycled materials — including 100% recycled laces, mesh, and liner — and an HH proprietary rubber outsole called HH Max Grip. That’s just one part of a long list of proprietary technologies that I couldn’t match to the parts of the shoe if I tried. We have HH Quick Dry, HH Light-Frame, HH Power-Stride, HH Surround Grip, and more. I don’t know what any of them do, but the Helly Hansen Falcon definitely has them.
How does this all turn out? Well, like a shoe straight out of the early 2010s. So come with me back to a time when Kendrick was an upstart, we were drowning in Lorde’s “Royals,” and we, of course, knew that Benedict Cumberbatch was Khan in the new Star Trek, but J.J. Abrams was convinced that John Harrison had everyone fooled.
SAM: Look, I went a little long in my intro because I’m not going to have a ton for the rest of these sections. The Helly Hansen Falcon runs and looks like a shoe that either ignored or missed out on the past ten years of shoe technology (or that somehow invented time travel, but I’m already one Star Trek reference in, so that’s not a rabbit hole I’ll follow). But hey, not everything in those early aughts was bad. Or, you know, maybe this is just a hiker in disguise.
Anyway, I was surprised by the breathability in the upper — the HH Max Vent, I’m assuming — even despite the cast of rubber wrapping the mesh on this shoe. The fit runs a little long and a little narrow, so Helly Hansen’s European roots are showing through there. It’s admirable that HH constructed this of 80% recycled content. Some other brands brag about a minimum of 30% recycled content in an upper, but HH landing this at 80% for the upper and 30% for the outsole is pretty remarkable.
Below the upper, the firm midsole is plenty protective. The full coverage proprietary outsole (HH Max Grip) has an interesting topographic-inspired lug shape and design and was very stable and super grippy in all conditions.Shop Helly Hansen Falcon - Men Shop Helly Hansen Falcon - Women
SAM: I referenced this in the good, but the Helly Hansen Falcon is wrapped in enough rubber overlays that it resembles some climbing shoes I have more than a trail runner. No one needs the protection this shoe offers, and it all contributes to a ponderous weight on foot. The Falcon comes in at just about 13 oz. for my US M10, and boy, does it feel like it.
The shoe doesn’t have the worst lockdown in the world, but the midfoot wrap that accomplishes that lockdown has hard edges that are painful. It was annoying at two miles and downright painful at four, so I didn’t take it much farther than that on any runs.
On top of lugging more weight than a bag of coffee around on each foot, the midsole of the Falcon TR takes the opportunity to remain firmly unyielding for every footfall. That stiffness combines with a very firm midsole and a full-coverage outsole to make the transition rather cumbersome. So little comfort is offered by this combination that I have to echo Melissa in her review of the Helly Hansen Trail Wizard when she said that you won’t want to spend more than an hour running in the Falcon TR.
The real 2013-ness of this shoe is in the design. Lots of contoured overlays? Uninspired base colors with electric neon highlights? Check and check, and 2013 can have this one back.Shop Helly Hansen Falcon - Men Shop Helly Hansen Falcon - Women
SAM: The Helly Hansen Falcon is an overbuilt trail runner with lots of protection and great grip that might not be entirely in touch with what most runners want in a shoe today. It could be used as a hiker, but at $140, you could probably grab something off the shoe wall at REI blindfolded and end up with a cheaper and better hiking shoe.
If you really like the feel of an old-school European trail runner and want lots of protection for your feet, this could be the shoe for you. Or, if you feel like slipping on some shoes and harkening back to the before times of 2013, the Falcon could help. The time machine that is The Internet let me know that Outside gave the Helly Hansen Pace Trail HTXP a slot on its Top 6 Trail Runners of 2012, so maybe this is 2013’s bleeding-edge follow-up to that shoe.
You can pick up the Helly Hansen Falcon for $140 directly from Helly Hansen at the widgets below.
Sam lives in Baltimore with his wife and two kids and spends his days fixing espresso machines for Ceremony Coffee Roasters. He runs with the Faster Bastards when he can, races ultras, and has been working on completing the AT section by section. He thinks the best days are made of long miles on nasty trails, but that a good surf session, a really stunning book, or a day of board games are pretty all right too.
All-time favorite shoes: Saucony Xodus Ultra, Topo Athletic Ultraventure 3, Altra Lone PeakMore from Sam