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The shoe has a boa fit lacing system, a knit collar sock-like fit, Michelin rubber outsole, Pbax midsole, removable Carbitex plate, and customizable lugs/drainage. These bells and whistles make the shoe enticing to anyone looking at a high-performance trail shoe. The heel to toe drop is roughly 5mm and the stack height isn't crazy compared to other trail shoes. The price point for these shoes is $375.
On technical, long, warm, and dry training trail runs, the Speedland HSV is one of my favorite go-to shoes since it is comfortable (spaciousness allows for foot-swelling) and offers both responsiveness and protection. However, I will always choose VJs for wet/cold technical terrain due to the rubber outsole far exceeding that of the Speedland HSV. (UPDATE: Since I initially wrote this, I've now used the HSV on steep, technical, and wet East Coast terrain. They grip nicely and do not hold onto the mud)
Since the HSV is rather heavy, I would not choose it for a sub-ultra trail race. However, it seems like a phenomenal shoe for an ultra!
I have noted the Boas as both a pro and a con because it is a convenient, easily adjusted lacing system. However, I have "popped" a Boa on technical, mountainous terrain; this experience was frustrating because although the reassembly was simple, some dust/dirt impeded the lacing system to the point of being virtually nonfunctional.
For me personally, I struggle with how the Speedland HSVs fit my narrow foot. This is largely due to having to size up to a women's 9 from my usualy 8.5 because I have long feet. The size 9 length fits great, but the shoe width also increased, so my skinny feet don't always feel secure. I've found that wearing a thicker sock helps though. While some folks with wide feet will probably love all of this room, I have to crank the Boas down. During the break in period with these shoes, this resulted in several hotspots and blisters.
I do not often run with the Carbitex plate in the shoe regularly because it adds to the already substantial shoe weight and it seems to take away from the responsiveness of the shoe, but the plate is a fun feature for feeling springy and fresh on steep uphill terrain.
I've put roughly 150 miles on these shoes so far, and they continue to show zero signs of wear! The durability is incredible.