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Montrail’s Rogue Racer Trail Shoe Reviewed

If you want the short version, yes, Montrail’s Rogue Racer is a great shoe. For the complete review, read on!

The Rogue Racer is the new trail racing flat by the designing team at Montrail released a few weeks ago. With feedback from Montrail’s athlete Max King, this shoe kicks off a new lineup completely different that what Montrail had us used to. Don’t expect anything closer to their awarded Masochists, but instead the Rogue Racer is their answer to the minimalist running shoes trend.

Weighting in at 8.8oz for men and 7.4oz for women (in size 9 and 7) they are built to combine speed and lightweight into a low profile shoe positioned as a medium in between a more heavy regular trail shoe and the minimalist one.

Lightweight and flexibility are really its strong points. At 8.8oz (240gr) the feeling of lightness is absolutely amazing. Used to regular trail shoes, on average around 3.5oz heavier and bulkier, they feel as part of the feet, more like tight socks with outsole than shoes. Also, the fit is really excellent, specially in the heel and midfoot and the feet feel really wrapped in them. I guess for cross country or track and field runners this is no news, but for many trail runners these shoes feel like a new experience. And then there’s the second great feature which you can feel the minute you take them out of the box: flexibility. Its outsole is very very flexible, with a point of flexion (where the sole bends when you bend the shoe as if you were to break them in two) just above the ball of the feet, which helps to the low-to-the-ground feel, but still keeping enough structural integrity to make them stable.

The Rogue Racer have a really low profile. I wouldn’t place them in a minimalist category (let’s say, next to the Vibram Fivefingers or the new Inov-8 Evoskin), but they are far away from the usual of regular trail shoes. From toes – 9mm – to heel – 18mm – there’s only a 9mm drop which makes the feet to be very close to the ground increasing the fast responsive feel on the trail.

As per the cushioning, the EVA of its midsole gives you the right shock absorption for this type of shoes. The area from the heel to the flexion point mentioned before has just the extra cushioning to make them very comfortable to run in but not to make them heavy of clunky. Although my runs with the Rogue Racer have been relatively short – 2 hours max- and I’m not very heavy – 150lb – I haven’t had any issues with its cushioning and always felt comfy in them (except when used in rugged terrain). Even so, I wouldn’t recommend them for runs longer than 3 hours, specially for the heel strikers. The cushioning is also complemented (the new shoes featuring Fluidpost are the Fairhaven and the Badrock) with Montrail’s proprietary technology Fluidpost, which also manages the pronation control thanks to a midsole special material which adapts to each runner’s pronation (more details about FluidPost).

The natural habitat of the RR is on grass, service forest roads or single track trails not excessively technical. Most of my runs have been on forest roads and that’s where I’ve really got the most out of them. If you plan to run many miles on rugged terrain though, you should look for new shoes somewhere else. Also, I would not recommend them for muddy or sloppy surfaces. Though the test I did was on really muddy roads (where most trail shoes would not keep you stable no matter their technology), the Rogue Racer became very unstable as soon as it hit sloppy spots. The mud also stick in between the square slugs and there was no way I could get it out of there, which added a few ounces to its weight for nearly the rest of the run. Maybe longer and/or more spaced slugs would have fixed this stability problem in muddy conditions.

And, I’ve got to say it, these are durable trail shoes. After around 150 miles in them (mostly on forest service roads) the outsole barely shows any sign of wear. Even the small squared slugs – which I would’ve bet they would go away pretty fast – still preserve their shape. They cost $110, but in Montrail’s favor, these shoes are built to last.

Overall, the Montrail Rogue Racer are excellent shoes for those trail runners willing to get a taste of what’s that minimal shoes trend without suddenly going all the way to the extreme with some other options available in the market. They give you a great the low-to-the-ground feel, as well as lightweight, flexibility and a speedy touch which is perfect for many of the trail runners out there. If that’s the kind of feel you’re looking in a trail shoe, look for the Rogue Racer. You’ll love them!

Manufacturer’s Tech details:

  • Light and airy nylon mesh uppers with synthetic leather overlays offer excellent flexibility and ventilation while keeping weight low
  • Nylon linings wick moisture off your feet and dry quickly to keep feet comfortable
  • Compression-molded EVA midsoles are lightweight and offer great response
  • External thermoplastic urethane shank/hard EVAÂ plates protect against stone bruising by dispersing point pressure; external thermoplastic urethane shanks provide torsional stability
  • Montrail Rogue Racer shoes feature perforated Gryptonite rubber outsoles with small multidirectional lugs to supply traction with minimal weight penalty