2013 Summer Trail Running Shoe Review

Montrail FluidFlex, $90

Category: Light & Fast

Weight: 7.6 oz (men’s); 6.1 oz (women’s)

Height off the ground: 21mm (heel); 16 mm (forefoot)

FIT: A snug-fitting heel with a high heel collar opens up for a roomy fit through the toe. (Runners might need to go down half a size for the best fit.)

FEEL: Flexible cushioning and a barely-there upper make for an all-around light and airy shoe sensation. The FluidFlex feels somewhat like a low-slung road running shoe but with just enough trail-specific features (including a reinforced toe bumper and durable mesh upper) to offer a connected-to-the-ground sensation on dirt, gravel and rocks.

RIDE: Light, fast and low to the ground, the FluidFlex blends a little bit of cushioning with a lot of get-up-and-go. Small, multi-directional lugs on the heel and forefoot offer good traction on moderate trails without impacting gait on easy trails or roads. The minimalist upper design worked best for neutral runners with good mechanics. “These had a nimble and fast ride, akin to a trail racing flat,” said one tester, who liked the FluidFlex for mixed pavement and trail runs.

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