Carson Footwear Iguana review: running shoes made in the USA

Carson FootwearChris Jensen

Carson Footwear Running Shoes Made In The USA

Quite possibly the coolest thing about Carson Footwear isn’t the shoes – don’t take this the wrong way, we’ll get to the shoes – but that they're made right here in the USA, something almost unheard of in the shoe industry. And, in fact, the materials in the shoe are almost entirely source form the USA, as well.

To say it took Everett Carson persistence to bring his minimalist running shoe company to life is to put it mildly. He had to bring specialized machinery back from Asia and track down a master cobbler. Someone once told Everett “the day you make a running shoe in the USA is the day Iguanas fly”... hence the Iguana Racer, the first shoe Everett Carson brought to market the and the one I review here.

And, to our benefit, the Iguanas fly!

Carson Footwear Review Running Shoes Made In The USA

Iguana Racers Review

Lets get to it.  My initial impression of these running shoes made in the USA was, "wow, these things are light and bright." After putting them on, the only thing I could think was the too often used cliche, "these feel like slippers." The Carson Footwear Iguana Racers are soft, comfortable and breathable.  

Living in Teton Valley, Idaho allows me great access to varied terrain, so I got to put the shoes through their paces on everything from steep, rocky terrain to flat country roads. The shoes were in their element on mountain trails.  I could tell they were designed by a trail runner who had put a lot of thought into this shoe.

Carson Footwear Review Running Shoes Made In The USA

The upper:  The Iguana Racer has seriously the most breathable upper I have ever worn. I could literally feel the breeze on my feet while I ran. It’s a very minimal design with little structure or support.

The Midsole and Outsole:  The Iguana Racer features a polyurethane blend in the midsole and outsole. Most shoes use EVA. According to Everett, EVA only absorbs shock in one direction while polyurethane displaces shock in all directions and creates more bounce. I’m no physicist, but I will agree that these shoes offer an amazing amount of cushion and protection, given how thin the sole is.  Plus by only using one material for the midsole and outsole, there is no way the tread can delaminate (I won't name names).

Traction:  I was super impressed with the polyurethane oustsole and its ability to grip the trail. Its lug size and depth are perfect for all but the deepest mud.

 

Pros:

  • Lightweight
  • Breathable
  • USA Made!
  • Zero drop, if you are a fan of zero drop
  • Unique
  • Trail eating machine

 

Cons:

  • Because the upper is so minimal there isn’t much lateral stability.  I only noticed this on steep rocky downhills.  If you are used to minimal shoes you won’t notice this.
  • Zero drop. If you aren’t used to a zero drop shoes, be sure to ease into these shoes.

 

Bottom Line: For a first offering from a USA made startup, these shoes are very impressive. I would not hesitate to recommend them, especially to someone who prefers a minimal, zero drop shoe.  I can’t wait to see what’s next from Carson Footwear!

Carson footwearGear reviews

1 comment

Kim

Kim

How’s the toe box on these shoes? I’ve been running in Altras for several years, and I cannot imagine switching back to a show with a narrower toe box. There’s an outline on the product description, but it’s difficult for me to envision how that impacts the fit.

Leave a comment

Most Read Articles

  1. 8 Pieces of Ultralight Gear Under $5
  2. The Controversy of Cairns
  3. Joe Chocolate Co Coffee Caffeine Thru-Hiking Backpacking Snacks Food