Arc'teryx Sylan GTX | Review - Outdoors Magic

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Arc’teryx Sylan GTX | Review

Like your trail shoes to have a bit of rock and roll to them? Then you might just like what the Arc’teryx Sylan GTX brings to the table

Released March 2024, the Arc’teryx Sylan GTX is a shoe that the Canadian brand says is designed for mountain runners looking to move faster on technical trails. I’ve been using it on my daily runs over the past month now, mainly taking it on muddy early spring trails, with a bit of vert thrown in thanks to a few forays up some Welsh hills. Here’s how I got on with them.

The Sole Geometry

What first really struck me about these when I first saw them was the shape of the sole unit. It has a very visible rocker design to it, with the heel and the toe curving upwards at the base of the shoe. The purpose of this is to provide an extra touch of forward propulsion to the wearer and, from my experience, it does just that. The result is a relatively speedy feel and in the longer term, these types of shoes are credited with reducing injury due to the more natural foot movement they support.

Another thing that’s quite noticeable about the Sylan is the stack height. At 28.6mm at the heel and 22.6mm at the toe that’s pretty high – higher, in fact, than any previous running shoe from Arc’teryx. You therefore have a fair bit of cushioning underfoot from these. It’s not as plush as, say, the Hoka Speedgoat, but it’s definitely more cushioned than previous offerings from Arc’teryx. 

The Upper

The upper has a durable feel to it. It features recycled polyester fibres wrapped around a nylon core, resulting in a material that looks very similar to ballistic nylon. A PU-coating at the heel and from the toe to the midfoot adds a bit of extra structure and durability. It’s early days but these shoes feel to me like they’re going to last a good while.


The only real padding in the upper is at the back of the ankle cuff. This, I’d say, feels adequate. As for the tongue, that’s gusseted and successfully keeps moisture and debris out up top. It also has a nice little mesh pocket at the top of it for keeping your laces tucked away. Said laces are flat, which I’m glad about as I tend to find flat laces more secure. 


I’m a UK 10 and nearly always fit a UK 10. I’d say I have a fairly average shaped foot. In my usual size, the Arc’teryx Sylan GTX fits me very nicely, that’s as both a running shoe and a shoe for casual wear. I’ve found it to be ever so slightly wider at the toe compared to Arc’teryx’s Norvan shoes and it’s also easier to slip into. Despite that marginal extra bit of width, it still offers a precise feel and I’ve not had any forward to back or side to side slippage in these. 


At 300g, I would say that the Arc’teryx is on the heavy side and I don’t think it’s a shoe for super high cadence. This, I guess, is the price you have to pay for the cushioned sole, stack height and solid build. As such, I’ve found this is better suited to longer and slower runs than to short and fast stuff. 

The Sylan’s biggest downside for me is that it lacks the kind of bite I like to have on muddy trails. Running and hiking in it on coastal trails on the Isle of Man recently I didn’t have the confidence that I usually like to have on wet weather runs. This initially surprised me as the outsole doesn’t seem to be much different to the one found on the Arc’teryx Norvan LD, a shoe I found that to have good, reliable grip. What I think might be to blame here is the rocker geometry as it reduces the surface area that’s in contact with the ground at any one time. I also found that the sole wasn’t shedding mud and the lugs clogged up quickly – so I wouldn’t recommend the Sylan if you’re looking for a lot of running on muddy trails. 

On the other hand though, this shoe has excellent performance on hard-packed and rocky stuff, mainly thanks to the stiff rock plate in the midsole, that durable upper and the cushioning also coming into play there as well. So, if you tend to run on hard and drier trails more often than on soft and squidgy ones, this is a shoe you should like.

The Sylan is currently available in Gore-tex and non-Gore-tex versions. There’s also the Sylan Pro which has a larger logo. All are available in men’s and women’s versions and in multiple colourways.

Price: £210
Weight: 327g
Best for: long runs on rocky mountain trails
Key attributes: comfy, durable
Available from:

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