Craft CTM Ultra 2
I have only known Craft to be in the apparel side of things. And let me just tell you that none of their clothes have EVER disappointed me, so when Kathy, The Running Well Store’s owner, came to me to let me know that she was sending me their new shoe so that I could write up a review on it, I will be honest, I was a little skeptical, but intrigued as to what this shoe was going to be like.
How does it feel/fit?
My initial impression upon first putting it on was surprise: for feeling like it had quite a firm midsole material, this was quite the plush step-in feel. On closer examination, much of this comes from the sockliner that is complete with their Pebax foam, which is thick, plush, and gives a great step-in feel. So, I definitely felt like my foot just sunk right in. Also, in the bottom layer of the midsole they use their UD Foam Pro, which is lightweight and durable. The toe-box is quite wide, which caused a bit of bunching of extra fabric, but still very breathable. The entire upper of this shoe is very light, almost flimsy, with no seams, overlays beyond at the heel, heel counters, or other plastic bits and pieces. Yet it fits so securely in the heel that the overall fit is one of extreme security. Out of the gate, this shoe is different, but I loved it.
I was worried that because the sole looked like a lot and narrow, I still felt very stable. For having a 40mm stack height the shoe feels surprisingly grounded. The geometry is done well with a large heel bevel and mild to moderate toe spring.
CTM Stands For Craft Tailored Motion, and in this shoe it did not disappoint. All in all this shoe definitely fit just like a glove.
The one-piece engineered mesh upper is sleek looking, extremely lightweight and highly breathable. Made from 100% Polyester Ultra Light Mesh, this is probably the most breathable upper that I have ever run in.
It is “see-through” single layer breathable, which is perfect for long distance running, especially in the heat.
The collar has a fairly narrow entry to balance the one-piece mesh upper so as to create a solid foothold.
The shoelaces are a bit tedious to lace and unlace, one row at a time, but comes with the “territory” of having a minimalist upper. In fact, the shoelace system is narrower compared to most brands; again this to ensure a better foothold given the minimalist upper.
Call it a racer, call it a trainer, call it a door to some trails it does them all and very well. Craft pro David Laney refers to it as “the gravel bike of running shoes”.
The CTM Ultra 2 is a highly cushioned road, dirt roads, and smooth trails hybrid running shoe. I have not run this version on wet surfaces, but can say that on dry trail and pavement the grip is excellent and given the high stack the outsole is not a noisy bother on road as trail shoe type outsoles can be.
Now, for the opinion part
As soon as this shoe came in to the store, I thought to myself, holy cow, this shoe is really sweet looking. I tried it on and knew that it was going to be one of my most favorite shoes. Of course this was just walking around the store in it. Once I was able to actually run and/or walk in the shoe it became very relevant to me that yes, it was going to in fact be one of my fav shoes.
I really liked how the shoe was very lightweight and breathable. I also liked that I was able to run on the treadmill, sidewalk and still able to wear it on a rocky/pebble road without any issues or hesitation. The shoe is speedy, snappy, energetic and very stable, with a max cushion feel.
I had to size up a half size and because they have missed the mark on the sizing the toe box is a bit roomy. I love a roomy toe box, however people with a narrow foot may be turned off.
I also did not like how long the laces were. I think because the upper was so loose that I had to tighten the shoe so much that the laces were falling to the ground and flapping all around when moving.
One last thing to note is that while wearing on small pebbled road, the pebbles were getting stuck in the lugged traction.
Who Is This Shoe Good For?
The Craft Ultra CTM 2 is a great shoe for anyone looking for a shoe to work for everyday training, up-tempo runs, every day walker, and even race day. Anyone that is looking for a smooth, responsive ride. This shoe is not designed just for 1 runner/walker.
Who Is This Shoe NOT Good For?
For those customers that are in the “stability” category that need a true guiderail support system, like the Brooks Adrenaline, New Balance 860, or the Asics Kayano, then this shoe is not for you.
Now for the SPECS:
• Price: $164.95
• Stack: 40 mm / 30 mm
• Drop (10 mm)
• Weight: 8.5 oz (M) 6.9 oz (W)
• Midsole: UD Foam Pro ™ midsole bottom layer: lightweight, high rebound, and durable; Pebax Foam midsole insert: ultra light, ultra-high rebound
• Category: Neutral (lightweight daily trainer)
• Upper: One-piece engineered mesh upper
• Outsole: 3-pieced lugged traction rubber that is capable on road or moderate trail surfaces and in varying climate conditions
Shop Craft Ultra CTM 2
About TRWS GURU Hilary
Hilary started running in high school, and took some time off in her 20’s, but then went through a divorce in her 30’s and decided to get back at it and hasn’t stopped. She has run multiple 5k’s, then moved to running a butt load of 10k’s (sweet spot distance). After getting the long distance bug decided to run her first 1/2 Marathon, Rock the Parkway in 2013. Her first (and LAST) full marathon in Lincoln, NE in 2015. She has also run several ultra-marathon’s and a 50 miler. Over the past several years will run a destination 1/2 Marathon with her 2 sisters each year. So, far her favorite has been the Nike Women’s 1/2 Marathon in DC. She joined The Running Well Dream Team at the Barry Road location in 2019, and plans to be a “lifer,” for sure.
Not certain if this shoe is right for you?
We understand! There are a lot of options of footwear on the market and deciding what model is the right model for your needs is not easy. We are here for you! You can come into one of our three locations (Lee’s Summit, Northland and Mission, KS) for a free stride analysis. No appointment is necessary, but if you would like to schedule an appointment, click here. We take in-person and virtual fittings. Want to do research online? We have a find my fit tool that will help you narrow down footwear options. We hope to hear from you soon!