I started out in my Nike Free 4.0 and then when Bruce gave me your shoes I switched. I was skeptical that the canopy would feel bulky, but I am surprised that it did not. In fact, I’ve come to appreciate the canopy entry! I’ve been pleased with the shoe and for the most part I’ve been running trails, approximately 40 miiles/ week in Park City, UT. For a racer, 8.5 US size will fit perfectly. I have a 9.0 US size now and it works with socks I’ve been wearing in the winter, but thinner socks mean the shoe moves too much, so 8.5 is perfect. I genuinely really like the shoes and I intend to continue running in them and they are definitely a shoe I will race.