We were always fascinated by the beauty of different textiles. When you see such a detailed picture of a structure of some amazing fabric, you can definitely understand the whole world of exploration and development behind its creation. And you are just mesmerized by the beauty of it.

So we started our THM MACROSHOTS editorial series, where we explore the complexity, depth, and beauty of different fabrics, textiles, materials, and hardware through the macro lens.
This time we are going to explore Moncler TrailGrip GTX, the process behind the creation, investigating the conceptualization and realization of such a perfect merger between performance and luxury.

This sneaker, and the whole FW22 footwear collection, represents a new era for Moncler. We had the opportunity to have Nathan VanHook – Head of Footwear Design – explain it to us, attending the presentation event in Milan. Footwear follows the brand's design philosophy, which takes us on the path from the extreme conditions of the peaks, down the valley to the crowded city streets, providing the same protection, comfort and lightness. When skyscrapers are mountains to climb, subway steps are steep paths to run on, and sidewalks are trails full of obstacles, we can use the same shoe to get out of the office and rediscover the beauty of nature in the wild – TrailGrip GTX.
The whole piece uzes technical vibes and attention to detail.

The ghillie lacing passes through reflective bands and ensures a tight fit, thanks to a cord-lock that can be fixed to the end.

A tiny piece of leather with an embossed icon is stitched in the center to fix the last fairleads towards the toe.
We find reflective bands also used as a logoed loop on the tongue and on the back heel, as well as under the eyestay, forming a sort of M.

The upper features a refined mix of sleek lines and rounded corners, enhanced by the use of calfskin leather and nylon ripstop. The whole upper is water resistant thanks to GORE-TEX technology: an inner membrane with billions of holes that doesn't allow water to come in while permitting foot breathing.
The lower part, including the heel counter and the toe cap, is made of rubberised leather, skillfully sawn and turned to hide the stitches. This textured material is used to guarantee foot protection and facilitates the bonding of the sole during production. You get the impression that the sole goes up wrapping the upper because we feel the same texture continuing on the thick EVA midsole. A TPU spoiler inserted on the heel between upper and midsole will help us to easily put off the shoes just using your other foot, handsfree.
As we notice the Vibram logo on the tooling we already know: it's a guarantee of research, quality and innovation. In fact the extreme outsole, made of signature Vibram MEGAGRIP compound, optimizes traction and is non-slip while remaining flexible and durable. Looking under the outsole we are fascinated by the lugs, inspired by original Vibram patented carrarmato, and seeing through squared off holes between them reveals the carbon fiber plate. This technology supports the walking posture by ensuring return of energy from toe to heel and vice versa, and protects the footbed from shocks and distortions.
Hiking field test review
I took the Trailgrip GTX from the studio in Milan filled with stones and grass to the real mountain trails to test their actual performance and see how they fit into a very competitive world of outdoor footwear.

"They should look better dirty" told me Nathan in our interaction after the presentation. The pair definitely turned heads on my way to the peak, and after the whole ordeal it accumulated a nice sandy gradient all over the midsole, so job well done I guess.

Speaking of the midsole, the cushioning of the shoe is what I noticed first during the Studio Ascenti experience. On the flatter terrain it responds with a squishy give in the heel and mid arch area – you can definitely have a nice time in them on the city streets. Going over rocky terrain you get a mid level absorption of your foot strike, especially when going downhill.

Shape of the outsole makes your feet placement level out while gripping with the outer spikes, providing a nice sturdy and confident feeling. I have not noticed a lack of grip during my time on dry terrain (wet terrain is yet to be tried), even on sand or rocky paths – Vibram's outsole definitely does it job well in this stellar shape, so it's not all looks.
Two interesting points are the carbon plate and lacing system of the shoe. The plate's middle part especially provides a very distinct feeling while you walk, getting extra stiff at the end of the foot strike and returning the energy on the outgoing stride. The comparison to a running shoe is not something I am getting to, yet the feelings are very much alike. Due to the thickness of the outsole and its width spreading towards the ground, in combination with the plate, you'll have to get used to a walking pattern that is rarely associated with a low sneaker hiking shoe.
The one thing that is concerning to me is the lacing system and general fit. For starters shoes are very roomy both in the width and length. I sized down from my usual, yet there is still some space, especially with my summer socks. The lacing system out of the box is very loose fitting. I tightened them down, yet the side to side stability while on a fast paced walk is still loose for my licking. Maybe the fact that the tongue is quite slim and is not pressing hard enough on my feet is to blame for this. Regardless, if you are like us and would love to get these out to where they belong, you'll have to check the fit of this model yourself.
The sneaker is soon to be available online and in Moncler stores in several color variants, which include all-black, all-white versions, and interesting color mixes that harken back to fashion trends as much as to the hiking and trail running of the world. We should expect new models, already presented in Milan, to be released later this year. The collection will include structures developed on the same sole as mid top and high top boots and new sneakers with variations of the upper. But not only that! We can't wait to introduce you to the innovative models in the collection that embrace the monoblock concept developed from a single mold of EVA. Stay tuned.
Produced by TECHUNTER Media.

Technical review: Sangi.
Field test review: Ivan Dzhatiev [THM].
Images, edit: Ivan Dzhatiev [THM].
Producer, layout, edit: Alex Zabelin [THM].

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