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Vasque Pendulum Trail Running Shoe Review

Vasque Pendulum

Vasque Pendulum Trail Running Shoe Review

When Vasque sent the Pendulum trail running shoe for us to review, my first impression was that I wasn’t going to like the shoe very much. The shoe looks good, but it didn’t feel flexible while it did feel heavier at 10.6 oz., 300 grams than the current line-up of trail shoes in my arsenal. The Vasque Pendulum is a good example of why you can’t judge a shoe by holding it in your hand. You have to run in the shoe to find it’s personality. Meaghan and I did just that, and here are our thoughts from both a men’s and women’s perspective.

The Good

Thomas: The upper of the Pendulum fit my foot as good as any shoe has. During a muddy technical trail race the Pendulum held my foot right in place without sliding around on uphills or downhills. Through several stream crossings the Pendulum drained well, maybe not the best drainage I have experienced but certainly adequate. The traction of the Pendulum will have you filled with confidence even on rocky root filled kamikaze downhills. The rock plate provides solid protection from sharp rocks and roots. One of the shining attributes of the shoe is the way it traveled through my stride. Mid-foot and fall felt stable and and toe offs felt strong. The heel and throat of the shoe is rigid but the toe of the shoe feels flexible.

Meaghan: I was excited to hit the trails in Vasque’s latest (and lightest) trail running shoe, the Pendulum. They fit snugly through the heel and midfoot, and open up slightly in the forefoot. This shoe looks like a trail shoe, but feels more like a road shoe. Because of the size, I assumed the shoe would feel “clunky”, which wasn’t the case. They’re heavier than the road shoes I’m used to, but they still feel light considering the substantial cushioning and thick outsole (actual weight: 8.8 oz).The sole and rock plate provide plenty of protection from the elements and I had no issues with traction. They proved to be comfortable through all types of terrain.

Women's Pendulum

The Bad

Thomas: The weight of the shoe would be the main problem I would have with the shoe. The New Balance MT 1010 v2 is about 2 oz. lighter and the Merrell Ascend is almost 3 oz. lighter. Both the Merrell and the New Balance trail shoes are in the queue for review so we will let you know how they stack up to the Pendulum.

Meaghan: For me, the shoe is a little too snug through the midfoot. I was able to control this somewhat by loosening up the laces, but I would have preferred a little more room. The drainage of this shoe was okay, but not great. They didn’t seem to dry as quickly as I was hoping (although I think the conditions and extreme humidity may have been a factor).

The Conclusion

bottom-vasque-pendulumThomas: I didn’t think I would like this shoe. I ended up liking the Vasque Pendulum a lot. It isn’t often that a shoe can turn me around my first impression, the Pendulum was a pleasant surprise. The Pendulum handled smooth flat trails and some major technical trails with ease. Take a look at the elevation profile from the trail race I wore the Pendulum in, it certainly put the shoes to the test. The Vasque Pendulum is a solid trail that I would recommend to anyone, especially if they like a shoes like the Brooks Cascadia.

Pendulum Trail Profile

Meaghan: This is a solid trail shoe. I wore the Pendumlum for a technical trail race that included thick mud, river crossings, and steep elevations. I never had any slippage and they felt comfortable throughout the entire run. They’re relatively light and low to the ground yet still provide great protection and traction. It’s a very balanced (and aptly named) shoe that I think most runners would enjoy.


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  1. Jeff Levinson says:

    Currently I have reported an issue to Vasque, that the rock plate most likely slipped allowing sharp rocks to poke through.
    When new(er), the Pendulums were all that, and I used them on mountain trails around Mt. Rainier, with elevation changes as high as 9k. Snow, mud, rockfall debris, vegetative carnage from severe weather and rapid snow melt…however they only lasted abou150 miles.
    Way too short a distance for my money.

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