March 11, 2013

Montrail Fluid Feel Shoe Review

Spring time!  The temperatures are getting a little warmer, the buds are starting to appear on the trees and new lines of shoes are showing up on the shelves of the running stores :)  Just like spring flowers there are some pretty awesome colours appearing in running shoe design but I'll try to be a little more useful than just colour commentary in my thoughts on the Montrail Fluid Feel...

Having been trying out some of the lighter weight shoes in the Montrail line up (Fluid Flex and Rogue Fly) the Fluid Feel immediately looked quite a bulky and heavy shoe when I pulled it out of the box, which it is in comparison to a lot of the trends these days, but at. 8.7oz for women's it is not really a heavy shoe at all.  Like most Montrails, I popped them, thought they felt good for a test run, and went out for a standard 2 hour evening run.  When I got home I looked at my feet and realised I'd been meaning to 'test' the shoes when in reality I'd forgotten within minutes that I was running in new shoes.  Personally this is what I want out of an every day training and ultra racing shoe; something that is almost boringly comfortable and in many ways, unremarkable.


Montrail Fluid Feel - hybrid, neutral shoe, women's 8,7oz


Let's give an example; last November I headed off to JFK 50 miler in Maryland, I'd heard a lot about the course but had never actually set foot on it.  I knew that there was some decently technical trail, then some crushed gravel and finally a good chunk of tarmac, plus at 80km I was going to be on my legs long enough to get some pounding.  I packed 3 different models of Montrails in my bag but ultimately I threw on what I call my 'slippers' - that is my trusty Montrail Fairhavens which I have run anything from 50km to 100 mile races in, ranging from roads to some pretty rugged trails.  They just 'do' for anything.  This is how I feel already about the Fluid Feel - they are an awesome all round shoe (they are a 'hybrid' designed for both use on road and off road) that is not some radical new direction but simply a shoe that fits well, is solid enough to tackle varying terrain and yet is not so heavy so I will happily road run in them too.  This might make the Fluid Feel sounds rather bland but I think this is almost  it's appeal - whilst it can be nice to have a wide range of shoes in our cupboards the expense adds up and non-running partners can ask if you really need yet another pair of shoes!!  Well, with the Fluid Feel you could almost have just one pair of shoes and be good to go (great when travelling too and wanting to limit what you take with you).

A true test was my 24km run the other evening - for about half I pounded the pavement and the other half I was on snow or splashing my way through what is normally a rocky trail but has for the moment been transformed into a mini-river (welcome to winter rain storms in North Vancouver!)  The Fluid Feel had excellent grip on the wet rocks, I felt they had enough bulk to the shoe to protect my feet from  the possible knocks of a gnarly trail, and yet when I hit the pavement they performed well to picking up the tempo.

Check out the more technical specs here, and if you are in North Van both Forerunners and North Shore Athletics have a full range of Montrails on their shelves.

Montrail Fluid Feels - a perfect office shoe!







12 comments:

  1. I love them, as well. Like you, I thought they appeared bulky or heavy, so didn't rush to try a pair (plus, I'm not a huge pink fan, and thought they were kind of ugly :)), but in first putting them on, they are really light and flexible, compared to how they "look" and super comfortable--they don't feel bulky at all--they flex well. One of those shoes that requires no adjustment to, just put them on and run. I will be logging a lot of miles in this one, both on road and trail.

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks for the update Ellie. I was in NSA last week and saw the Fluid Feels and thought "This is the one Ellie Greenwood was talking about." They did look pretty bulky, but after reading this I'll be seriously looking to pick up a pair. They sound like a great addition to the training/racing arsenal! Thanks again! - Gord Flett

    ReplyDelete
  3. Gord - they are definitely worth a second look and are a great shoe for our North Shore trails :)
    Amy - glad you are enjoyin them too!

    ReplyDelete
  4. Went into the Denman Running Room today to pick up my race package for the St. Paddy's Day 5K. I actually didn't think they carried Montrails but I have an RR gift card from last fall's X-country series, so I thought it wouldn't hurt to ask while I was there. I asked one saleperson if they carried Montrails, and she gave me a blank look and said she'd have to check with someone else. She brought back someone more experienced, who also gave me a blank look when I asked about Montrails, but when I said "They're a brand of running shoe.", said "Oh, that's a brand, oh no we don't have anything like that." I thanked them anyway and said I didn't think they'd have them, but thought I'd ask. I thought it was amusing that people who sold running shoes for a living hadn't even heard of a major brand like Montrail. At first they seemed to think it was something I'd made up as a joke. My first pair of shoes that I bought to run in when I started up again less than 4 years ago, after a 35 year hiatus, was a pair of Montrail Hardrocks. I went through 2 pairs of those before graduating to Mountain Masochists. So I was pretty surprised today!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Wobbler, that is too bad but I do think Running Room tends to focus more on traditional road shoes rather than trail or hybrid shoes - though the more pople like you who ask for Montrails will ahve them rethinking! Hopefully you cna use your RR gift card for something else and then get your Montrails at Forerunners or NSA :)

      Delete
  5. These shoes look really big? I've been running with the New Balance Minimus, the v1 was a little strange with the curve on the front but they finally fixed it and they feel and look a lot better (See the comparison v1: http://www.newbalancevancouver.ca/minimus-10-trail-runningv1.html & v2: http://www.newbalancevancouver.ca/minimus-10-trail-running.html ). What in your opinion is the best shoe for trail running?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Corey, I think it's impossible to pin down one 'best shoe' for trail running - trail terrain can vary widely, are you running 5km or 100 miles and what works best for one persons biomechanics might not for another, there are just so many variables to say one shoe is 'the best'.

      Delete
  6. This comment has been removed by the author.

    ReplyDelete
  7. Did you go up 1/2 size in the Fluid Feel? I found them to run shorter thzn other Montrails and more snug in the toe, compared to the Bajada.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Elizabeth - no, I wear same size in Bajada's and Fluid Feels but I guess whatever works for you even if that means going up a 1/2 size...

      Delete
  8. I'm so looking forward to trying these out! Ps- Kintec carries them too!!

    ReplyDelete
  9. HI Ellie - Saw your review - I'm a lover of the Masochist on Trails but I'm getting ready to do this 50 milers all on a hard-packed bridle surface - I'm strictly trails and training on this stuff is killing my feet after 25 miles. I know I need something much more cushion-y - would you say this is a good one on the hard stuff? I can't do the HOKAS!

    ReplyDelete