Light, Fast & Free: 2014 Summer Trail Running Shoe Buyer’s Guide

Montrail Fluid Flex II

Montrail Fluid Flex II, $90

8.0 oz. (men’s), 6.5 oz. (women’s)

22 mm (heel), 17 mm (forefoot)

Category: MODERATE HYBRID

Fit: It feels like just like a racing flat for the roads, with a snug fit in the heel and midfoot but slightly wider toe box.

Feel: Soft, sleek and low to the ground, the FluidFlex II feels light and runs light. Agile runners will love this shoes uninhibited liveliness, but less experienced runners might feel vulnerable on anything but smooth trails.

Ride: The underbelly of soft foam offers sufficient cushioning without getting in the way of the feel for the trail, allowing it to run like a neutral road shoe on smooth trails and even semi-rugged terrain. There’s little stability and not much protection built into this shoe (except for a reinforced toe cap), so it’s not ideal for rock-hopping on rugged routes. But that’s the trade-off for a super-agile shoe that feels like it’s part of your foot. “Like butter,” said one wear-tester, who loved the sublime smoothness to this shoe.

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