Road shoe comfort; trail shoe stability and grip.
Columbia are the official sponsor the world famous UTMB trail races. As such, they are a high calibre running brand and I had high hopes for there shoe brand, Columbia/Montrail. I first came across the Montrail footwear brand in the UK, as a rock climber, when a small number of approach style and rock climbing shoes popping up in specialist retailers. It appeared that they didn’t really take off in the UK market and I forgot all about them until I relocated to the alps and started to see a lot of them in the shops out here.
As an aspirant IFMGA guide, I spend a lot of time on my feet and comfort is paramount. I run a lot as a means of keeping myself fit for work, but also to achieve personal goals. I’ve been training towards an attempt at the Bob Graham Round (a 66mile, 9000m ascent in sub 24 hours, running challenge in the English Lake District) so as a result, I’ve been putting the miles in! The Men’s Rogue FKT II Trail Running Shoes have been one of my go-to shoes for training.
For trail running extraordinaires, this shoe is engineered with performance and functionality in mind. They might sound like something out of a sci-fi epic, but these runners are definitely well equipped to face the real world. Their 3D printed cage makes for a seamless and glue-less construction, ensuring lightweight and secure support at all times. The new tongue design means it stays where it needs to be and does not add any extra bulk. Exceptionally cushioned midsoles also pack some torsional rigidity and protection technology, whilst the sole offers excellent traction and flexibility.
For those that don’t know, FKT stands for Fastest Known Time and whilst I’m no record breaker or trail running extraordinaire, this shoe definitely has those hallmarks. An eye-catching and colourful design (nobody really wants drab colours), the first thing that struck me was the comfort. They feel as comfortable as a well cushioned road shoe but with the grip and stability to handle technical trails. This shoe is at the narrower side of things in terms of fit and I was concerned to begin with that these shoes were a little narrow for me (possibly contributing to premature wear on the mesh around the ‘little toe’ area), but after a couple of runs I felt this wan’t actually an issue at all.
I’ve mainly worn these on alpine trails around Chamonix and they are perfect. The sole (with it’s 4.5mm lugs) has sufficient grip on gravel, rock, mud and wet grass (although steep mud and grass requires a more aggressive tread in my opinion, so they’re not ideal for UK fell use). In terms of specifics, the substantial lugs provide traction and underfoot protection. Perforations are used for enhanced flexibility and a smoother transition throughout the gait cycle.
The uppers breath well, the shoes are light and feel stable too. This is aided by the 3D printed cage, which eliminates seams and glues while providing lightweight support. The comfort comes from a full-length FluidFoam midsole and the use ofinimal, co-molded mid-foot TrailShield for torsional rigidity and protection. With ride heights of 18mm at the heel and 8mm at the forefoot this gives a shoe with 10mm of “drop” (more about how to understand “drop” here.
To summarise, I really enjoy running in these shoes. Above all, they’re comfortable (exceptionally so) – but they’re also stable and grippy too. A great shoe for trail runners, they can handle a variety of terrains from gravel to mud, the only limitation being very steep grass and mud.
- RRP: £95.00
- More information and purchase at the Columbia website
NOTE: Always be aware that one of the main limitations with footwear (making reviews subjective) is the fit. If a shoe fits you well then that is half the battle. This shoe is at the narrower side of things in terms of fit.