Gear Guide 2012: Montrail Rogue Fly Shoe

This shock absorbing shoe offers cushion and support.

[cushy featherweight]

“The Rogue Fly is über light but no dainty slipper,” says a tester who credits the shoe with helping him rank high in his age group in a rugged marathon on forest roads and trails around Oregon’s Mt. Ashland. The midsole offers a surprising amount of cushioning and shock absorption for the shoe’s low weight, thanks to a full-length wedge of dense, closed-cell foam (it’s one inch thick under the heel for shock absorption and tapers down to a half inch under the forefoot for better sensitivity).

The sole flares out slightly to provide lateral motion control on impact. “It’s light enough that I didn’t feel weighed down on the inclines, but it’s also supportive enough that I could bomb down the steeps with confidence,” he says. The Rogue Fly shaves off ounces with a thin and superbreathable nylon mesh upper and a thin rubber outsole that is scattered with confetti-size lugs.

A lean plastic shank* beneath the foam adds a limited amount of rigidity under the ball of the foot and arch that helped prevent foot fatigue on long runs. The Rogue Fly is not built for rocky, rugged terrain (the tiny lugs could wear down quickly—after about 75 miles for one tester). But it’s an excellent choice for groomed-trail and dirt-road runners who want to experience the benefits of a lightweight shoe without sacrificing cushioning or stability. $105; 15.2 oz.; m’s 7-15, w’s 5-11; montrail.com

*SHANK A rigid longitudinal component of a shoe's midsole that protects the foot and prevents it from overflexing (which can lead to foot fatique)