Sunday, January 16, 2011

Montrail

I've been a part of the Montrail Ultrarunning Team for two full years and am really excited to be starting another year with them. Also, for almost 3 years before joining the team I wore Montrail shoes most of the time. In the past 5 years I have probably run 95% of my mileage in Montrail shoes. Despite being a big fan of Montrail shoes for half a decade there has never been a time when I've been as excited about the shoes they have on the market, or are bringing to the market soon as I am right now.

I am still doing almost all of my running in the Mountain Masochist (as I have for almost two years). In my mind these are the best running shoes ever made! I think they are a perfect balance of everything that a good trail shoe should be, and they fit my foot perfectly. I would recommend them to anyone for pretty much any type of trail running. At 10.8 ounces I think they are a perfect balance between the traditional 13+ ounce trail shoes that have dominated the history of trail shoes and the minimalist (6-8 ounce shoes) that are the latest trend in trail running. With the Masochist you get the best of both worlds: plenty of support, cushioning, and protection, but still light and flexible enough that you really feel the agility and quick foot speed that you feel in a really light shoe. I could go on and on about these shoes, but I've done that on this blog in the past and I think you get the point: If you haven't worn these shoes, you're missing out.

The one bad thing about having a shoe that I love as much as the Mountain Masochist is that I hardly ever have the patience/interest to try out other shoes. I've dabbled with all of the shoes that Montrail has on the market, as well as those that they'll be bringing to the market this year. I haven't however worn any of them enough to give any kind of in depth review. What I can say is that I like every Montrail shoe that I have worn in the past 3 years, just not any of them as much as I like the Mountain Masochist. Here's a bit about a couple of my favorites that we be available very soon:

The Rogue Racer is Montrail's answer to the minimalist trail shoe trend, and the demand in the marketplace for ultra light trail racing shoes. They will be available retail sometime very soon. I have been fortunate enough to do some running in a pair for the past several months. There are a lot of things I like about this shoe. If I ever raced shorter trail races (anything under 2 hours) I would likely wear these shoes. They fit exceptionally well and feel great under my feet, even on the most technical trails. For my taste they are a bit too minimal for runs over 2 or 3 hours, but for those who like an 8 ounce shoe even for longer runs I think it'd be worth your time to try these out.

The Badrock is another new shoe for spring 2011 that will be available retail very soon. This is a sturdier trail shoe (more in the line of the old Hardrock) that is actually a lot lighter (just a bit over 11 ounces as I recall) than it looks. When I first got a pair of these shoes I didn't think I would like them much, but as I've run in them more and more I'm liking them more on each run. They will be a great shoe for heavier runners or any runners who really like a lot of support and cushioning under their foot. I've been loving them lately for running in the snow. They have great traction on packed snow and the spacious foot box allows me to wear thick socks and still have plenty of room for circulation. I wouldn't be surprised at all to see this shoe end up with a loyal cult-like following similar to the old Hardrock shoes. They will also be available in Montrail's new Outdry waterproof technology which I think is going to be infinitely better than the GoreTex shoes that we've all more or less avoided over the past couple decades.




11 comments:

sethigherstandards.com said...

Hey Geoff, why don't you like Gore-Tex shoes? Just curious.

Anonymous said...

I would love to try out some Montrails, but as far as I can tell the are completely unavailable to everyone except their sponsored athletes. I have been to a dozen stores in 3 of the 5 largest cities across the US in the last year, including in the bay area around which many of the Ultracup races take place, and not found a single pair of Montrails to try on. All of these stores were suppose to have Montrails according to their own website. At three of these stores, two of them REIs, I was told they stopped carrying the shoes because quality had dropped off. I could order them online and guess on the size, but attempting to try them on in person seems like a full time job. What is the point of making a supposedly good product and sponsoring athletes to promote it if the product is not actually on the market. It is a miracle to me that they are still in business.

Starks said...

Thanks for the review Geoff. I'm very interested in the Masochist.

Two questions. I noticed that there's a Mountain Masochist and a Mountain Masochist GTX. Is it the GTX one that you wear and if not what is the difference between them?

And would you say Mountain Masochist runs true to size? My New Balance size is 12, would I be safe if I order a 12 online? (Ordering online is my only option, I don't have a chance to try them).

Thank you.

Geoff said...

sethigherstandards,
Gore-tex shoes suck in my opinion. they never fit me the same as the non gore-tex version of the same shoes and since the waterproof layer is placed inside of the shoe's mesh insulation layer you don't actually keep the shoe dry. your foot might stay dry but the entire outer part of the shoe gets totally wet, heavy, and ices up if it's actually cold out. once this happens you are basically wearing an ice cube around your foot. this same thing can and does occur on non waterproof shoes and this is why a gore-tex shoe seems like a good idea. but in reality it doesn't really do anything, except not fit your foot very well.

anon,
if stores are telling you they stopped carrying montrail because quality dropped off I would recommend shopping at a different store because they clearly aren't very educated or knowledgable about shoes. my guess is you're running into folks who think all trail shoes should be the 14 ounce clunkers of yesteryear or the 7 ounce minimilist fad shoes of today. the reality is that what the majority of people are really wearing (and in my opinion should be wearing) are the shoes in between these two extremes. that said, it's a bummer to hear that you're having a hard time finding montrail shoes. not to discount your experience but this hasn't been the case for me at all. i feel like i've seen them in just about every running specialty store i've been in in the past year. REI btw is definitely not a running specialty store. try something a little more local and specialized and i'd be surprised if you didn't find montrails in most of them.

Starks,
the gtx is the gore-tex version. i wouldn't bother with it for the reason i stated above. there will be masochist available soon with the new Outdry waterproof. if you want waterproof masochist i would wait and try those. as far as size i think they run dead on true to size, or maybe just a touch small. they definitely don't run large.

Jeremy said...

I'd have to at least partially agree with the post that Montrail's are not found very easily. At least in comparison to say Salomon which is basically everywhere. If you look and go to the right stores they are out there.

More importantly...I see you put another run at Crow Pass on your list for 2011?? And threw up that awesome pic on your main page from that race. Nice. Strabel vs. Roes again. Can't wait!

Jeremy

Ken said...

Not related to this post, Geoff, but congrats on being named Ultramarathoner of the Year! Well deserved.

Andrew said...

you forgot the biggest testament to any shoe I can think of... the fact that you have worn brand new Mt. Masochist for a 50 miler and had no issues. can't say that about many (any) other shoes.

thanks as always for the honesty in reviews!

Randy said...

@Geoff: What shoe do you wear for your Alaskan ultra runs? Mountain Masochist seems a little lightweight for something like the Susitna 100? Especially in a non-GTX variety?

Anonymous said...

Geoff:

I purchased my first pair of Mountain Masochists last summer. They are without a doubt the best trail running shoes I have ever owned. I could not agree with you more about these shoes.

Mike Vooris

Geoff said...

randy,
i would wear the mountain masochist for pretty much any race i would do at this point. my feet just feel so good in them that they are almost all i really want to wear. this said, if i were running an alaska snow race (like the susitna 100) again i would think pretty seriously about using the new Badrock with OutDry. i'm very excited about this shoe's snow running potential.

r said...

@Geoff: Awesome. Thanks for the info. I currently run in the Mountain Masochist but use them primarily for hardpack / gravel here in the SF Bay Area. Generally go with the Salomons (or dig up an old pair of Hardrocks)if I want something beefier.

Thanks again..