Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Montrail Badrock Review

I bought three different pairs of shoes last week to try out.  I'd recently had some blister issues with my the Vasque Mindbender due to what I think is a very straight last, and toe box that is fairly hard and doesn't allow my toe's to expand as much as I would like on my long runs.  I wanted to check out three shoes from Montrail, because I've generally read good reviews on their shoes.

Montrail Fairhaven - I immediately shipped this back, as it was way too narrow in the forefoot and toe box for my wide feet.  I didn't run it, and so I'm not reviewing it. I wouldn't recommend this shoe to anyone with wide/high volume feet. 

Montrail Masochist II - This shoe felt alright, and I have heard nothing but good reviews on it.  I probably would have kept it, ran in it, reviewed it, and not shipped it back, if it wasn't for the fact that I got the Badrock. 

Montrail Badrock Review - (If you want all the specs for the shoe, go to Montrail's website and take a look.  Now for my subjective review.)

Right out of the box, these shoes were very comfortable. These shoes do a great job of accommodating (probably made for) wide or high volume feet, particularly in the toe box and mid-foot.  The shoe features variable width lacing, so you can customize the fit as well.  This worked well for me, as I have a fairly narrow heel that likes to be locked down in a shoe, while allowing for splay of my forefoot and toes. This shoe did just that.  

The grip worked really well on a 25 mile run I did around Mt. Spokane this past weekend.  I ran over some technical trail, rocks, mud, snow, and some road.  The shoe held up well and really was a nice mix of cushion and support.  I can tell the shoe has only a partial rock plate (compared to a full plate in the Mindbender) and actually preferred it that way, as it felt less stiff. The shoe was also quick to dry, which is nice because I can't stand carrying extra weight around after running in puddles or rain, or sinking into some snow.  

I've put runs of 12 miles, and then 25 miles in it so far.  The only question I have about the shoe is really my own issues with sizing.  I like to carry plenty of room in the toe box, so that I can bomb downhills not having to worry about my toes cramming into the front of my shoe.  I get this on the right side of my big toe of my left foot, and it's purely a personal preference for my feet.  My feet are wide, and I'm picky.  That said, the toe box protector 'gives' much more than the Mindbender's toe box, and so I didn't end up with a blister.  I may size up to a 14 for racing...we'll see.

Bottom Line:  Montrail Badrock is a great cushioned, support, trail shoe for those with wide or high volume feet.  I highly recommend it.  This will most likely be my White River, and default race shoe.

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