Brand: Montrail Gear Reviews
Model: Fluidflex 2
Why we like it: The airy construction makes these a good choice for sweaty feet, hot weather, and watery adventures.
Breathability Breezy mesh uppers drain fast, which helped one tester’s shoes dry in about 20 minutes after dashing through creeks in 60°F temps in the Columbia River Gorge, Oregon. A large panel (about 8 square inches) of highly porous mesh above the toebox and forefoot sluice water and release heat effectively.
Support The compression-molded EVA foam midsole is springier than in most trail runners of the same weight, helping the FluidFlex excel on hills. “I found myself naturally accelerating over rollers and bombing the downhills with little effort,” says one tester who improved his pace on daily training runs.
Traction Small square lugs checker the outsole’s forefoot for improved grip. One tester says they grabbed better than average on a trail that gains 1,000 feet in a mile. The tread under the arch is slightly thicker than the surrounding areas, with greater contact area that offers an ideal platform for midfoot strikers.
Fit Thin layers of TPU run from each eyelet down to the midsole on the medial (inside) edge of the shoe, reinforcing the roomy upper structure for a secure fit and greater tear resistance. Andtwo soft, thick foam pads cushion each side of the Achilles. “They keep my heel locked in place, so there’s no friction that can cause blisters,” says one tester.
Tradeoff The airy design (no toe cap) means less rough-trail protection.
$90; 1 lb.; m’s 7-15, w’s 5-11;