If you aren’t a trail runner, you may not have heard of Montrail. Even if you have heard of them you may not know much about the company. Here is what Montrail has to say about Montrail:
“Montrail serves the high-performance footwear needs of runners who train, race and recreate on a wide variety of surfaces. Since its founding in 1993 as “The Original Trail Running Brand” Montrail products have been favored by some of the most accomplished endurance runners in the world. An intimate knowledge of the biomechanics of running drives product innovation and informs marketing to attract more consumers to the brand. Montrail was acquired by Columbia Sportswear in 2006.”
Montrail has pretty small product line but what they do, they do very well. They have 14 different products (including flip flops!) and the Montrail Fluidfeel markets itself as an all terrain shoe and indeed it is. It works equally well on trails, roads and carpet. You read that right. In addition to the usual dirt and loose gravel trails at the cottage, I used these shoes for HIIT style workouts in my living room. Trail shoes are surprisingly good for this. The lateral movement and resiliency one needs on trails translates well to plyometric exercises.
It is extraordinarily light for a trail shoe at 238 g which in part is due to the full length, compression molded FluidFoam™ midsole. The upper is quite breatheable (no stinky feet here!) and the shoes dried very quickly when wet. They are a little roomier in the toe box than I prefer for a trail shoe but my foot didn’t shift around too much to be a hindrance.
These aren’t a rugged trail shoe and look very much like a road shoe. But looks are deceiving. The traction system is very effective and I never felt out of control on steep slopes or loose gravel surfaces. On the whole, I have very little to complain about with this shoe. Even after a summer of use, they are a little faded but still look like new. Actually, the only real drawback for me is the appearance of the shoe. They are a very masculine shoe and the yellow/black colour scheme did nothing for me. I don’t always want a pink or purple shoe but these looked like something my Dad would wear. So the fact that I liked them so much in spite of the aesthetics means a lot! (FYI, Running Free has the newest Fluidfeel which is a little less manly.)