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!