I had the opportunity to check out two different styles of Columbia trail running shoes. I was impressed with both of them in different ways.
The Women’s Mountain Masochist IV is a running shoe that is truly built for the trails. It has great traction that Columbia calls Gryptonite – “more grip, less slip.” It also has what is called TrailShield, which protects the foot and allows for better traction. As for comfort, that was the first thing I noticed when I put this shoe on. It has a FluidFoam midsole, which was made for cushioning, flexibility, and support. It also has the patented FluidGuide technology which is said to enhance mid-foot stability and allow for a smooth ride on the trails. While I don’t understand all the technology, what I do get is how cushy the shoes felt on my feet. The Mountain Masochist IV has a well-padded tongue, which also added to the comfort of the shoe.
I really like the speed lacing system, which means easy off and on and no need to stop and tie your shoes while on the run. The drop on these shoes is 8mm, which is the drop most commonly chosen by runners with a mid-foot strike. Overall, I give these shoes a big thumbs up for comfort.
These shoes look sharp in Dark Mirage, Jupiter and I was super excited to get out on the trails in them. Sadly, the women’s sizing is not the same as the shoes I usually run in, so I ended up with shoes that were way too big. If you are new to Columbia shoes, I would recommend going down at least a half size. Or even better, try them on before you buy! While, I’m sure you’ll be much impressed with these shoes, it is important to get the perfect fit for that perfect trail run.
My fellow Run Oregon blogger, Kelly, tried the Women’s Fluidflex X.S.R. She also found the sizing to be an issue. She had this to say:
I tried these shoes, eager to wear them on a run that included about 3 miles of trail and 2 miles of road. I have had great luck with Columbia Montrail shoes and I liked the lilac color of these. At size 8.5, I expected them to fit, but when I put them on I realized they were a little long. Around the heel the fit was great and I really liked the sock liner which was snug but not tight; and the laces were plenty long to tie and double knot (as I always do with running shoes). I did wear them for a run of just over 5 miles, but they were just too big and I got some hot spots at the front of my arch on both feet, so I then gave them to another blogger for whom I thought they would be a better fit. Had they been a half or maybe even full size smaller, I am sure I’d be running in them on at least a weekly basis, because I love getting to the trail – especially in the summer, where it can be cooler to log a couple miles.
Since the Mountain Masochist IVs were a 9.5 and seemed almost a full size too big for me, I tried Kelly’s Fluidflex X.S.R. in an 8.5. From the second I started my run in these shoes, I fell in love. They are so light and cushy (that amazing FluidFoam midsole); and they have a more neutral 4mm drop. With less aggressive traction, these shoes were perfect for a mix of road and trail. They also held up great in the rain. I got drenched while I was running and yet my socks weren’t even wet when I got home! That was pretty awesome. My only issue was that they were definitely a half size too small. On my right foot (my slightly bigger foot) my big toe kept hitting the end of the shoe. I was so bummed, because I was in love! I would definitely recommend these if you have to transition from road to trail on your runs and your trails aren’t highly technical. And, if you are used to a more neutral running shoe, you will appreciate the fit, feel, and function of these.
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Born and raised in Portland, Oregon, Columbia Sportswear Company has been making gear so that Pacific Northwesterners can enjoy the outdoors for more than 70 years. At the helm for over 40 years has been our Chairman, Gert Boyle. Her Tough Mother persona has grown Columbia into the global sportswear company that it is today—still based in Portland, still making no-nonsense apparel and footwear to keep you WARM, DRY, COOL and PROTECTED no matter what. Our unique Pacific Northwest heritage and Boyle family irreverence is what sets us apart from the competition.
Thank you to Columbia for providing us with sample shoes. Please read our transparency page for info on how we do our reviews.