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Behind the Scenes: Ultra DNA shoe – By athletes, for athletes

The ultimate shoe for demanding races: The Ultra DNA was developed in partnership with DYNAFIT athlete and ultrarunner Hannes Namberger. At the UTMB® 2023 – Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc – Hannes took an outstanding 8th place and in doing so was more than hour faster than two years prior. On his feet: The new Ultra DNA.


Compared to other ultra running shoes, the focus for the Ultra DNA was not only on protection but also on speed. The shoe combines lightness, stability, and comfort with the best possible protection in order to reduce the stress of running downhills and to regenerate the muscles for the next climb. Letting you run at the front and not at the back.

Interview: Hannes Namberger x DYNAFIT

How was it for you to be a part of the development of the Ultra DNA shoe?

Hannes: It was a huge honor to offer up my wishes for this shoe. The communication with designers Fred and Enzo was perfect. We discussed every detail, even the very tiniest. We wanted to build a shoe that was made for long distances, offers lots of rebound, and at the same time could run aggressively.


What were the challenges in the development process?

Hannes: The midsole had extreme rebound. But the “shell” where the foot sat was too loose. That’s why the power transfer hadn’t worked, and the shoe felt a bit spongy when running. We had to build the shell and upper stiffer without pushing the weight up in the process. It was a fine balancing act with different materials that ultimately we resolved successfully.

How long did it take from the first test to the finished shoe?

Hannes: I tested the first prototype in October 2022. I knew immediately that the materials used made the shoe pretty fast. In particular on the downhills the stress on the body could be decreased. I then received the final shoe the middle of August 2023. After the last testing phase I then ran in it immediately at the UTMB. In between there were of course models where small things were changed.


Do you have any particular anecdotes from the development process that you would like to share?

Hannes: Once I was sitting up at Mt. Watzmann and called our shoe designer Fred in a bit of a panic. I had somehow imagined that the shoe hadn’t wicked away the moisture from sweating. Of course, on this day it was a pretty hefty 30 degrees Celsius (86 Fahrenheit), and the fact that I was sweating a lot due to that was something that I hadn’t thought about. Fred had immediately poured water over all the running shoes he had at home and documented the water running off. The Ultra DNA completed that test the best.  This panicked call was in hindsight rather embarrassing.


Are you happy with the result?

Hannes: All that work was definitely worth it. Shortly after crossing the finish line at UTMB I pulled off the shoe and didn’t find one single blister. Also, thanks t the new materials, my muscles felt pretty good the next day, and could even maneuver stairs without much of a problem. Normally after 175k and 10,000 meters of vert that is not at all the case.

Do you want to rise to the challenge like Hannes? Then get yourself the Ultra DNA shoe and show what you are made of!

You aren’t quite sure whether the Ultra DNA shoe is really the right choice? Then get a look at our Shoe Guide to find the perfect trail running shoe for you!

Features and special characteristics

Perfect grip on challenging terrain

The time-tested Vibram® Megagrip outsole guarantees maximum performance and the best grip on technical terrain and in all conditions. Thanks to the innovative Litebase Technology, the sole is significantly lighter than a traditional Vibram sole; however, it continues to impress with the same traction and great long-lasting durability. 


Maximum energy return

The new Speed+ midsole ensures perfect flow even after many kilometers. Its outstanding energy return is impressive, and it scores with its extremely low weight.


Comfort and protection

The minimalist upper wins points with its lightness and excellent breathability. That keeps your foot temperature regulated over long distances and at high intensities. The knit cuff construction keeps out dirt or small rocks.


 No pressure points or blisters 

For a precise, firm fit, the Double Speed Lacing system ensures the shoe can be adapted precisely to your needs. It distributes pressure optimally across the entire foot so no pressure points are created. With the padding at the heel, your foot sits securely, firmly and still quite comfortably in the shoe.