Thursday, August 22, 2013

The Montrail Rogue Fly Review

I feel that I have given these shoes more than a run for the money and after a year of running and racing in them, have a pretty fair opinion on how they perform.

A Fresh Pair.

Out of the box, the Rogue Fly weighs in at 6.4 oz.  Although many websites categorize this shoe as "minimalist"  by the true definition it is not.  The stack height, or heel to to differential is 10mm, although it is built on a slightly lower platform than some of their other models.  The reason it is often called minimal is due to the material in the upper of the shoe.  There are no fancy overlays, it is essentially two mesh sides and the tongue.  Even the lace is a lighter stripped down material from their other shoes.

The shoe excels at drying fast after stream or creek crossings , and certainly keeps your feet a bit cooler on hot days.  At first I was a bit worried about the mesh stretching and causing my foot to shift around over the midfoot platform on uneven surfaces, but after going through more than four pairs, I have yet to see that as being an issue.  The midfoot and heel hug your foot very comfortably and a roomy toe box leaves plenty of breathing room.  I have had some blister issues with the tips of my toes rubbing on the front of the shoe, however, even during a 50 mile race, it never felt painful since the meshy upper is so soft.  

In all honesty though, the only shoe I have run and raced in where I didn't experience much in the way of blisters was the old Montrail Hardrock...and since that doesn't seem to ever be making a comeback, I honestly wouldn't call this a huge complaint.  More than anything, when I slip this shoe on, I feel like it was made for my foot.

The "multi directional" lug pattern is the same that Montrail uses in the Rogue Racer, a heavier revision of the Rogue Fly.   It handles loose rock, packed trail, and even mud quite well.  In really muddy conditions, as with most other shoes, it does get a slippery, so something like the Bajada, with a deeper lug would do a bit better.  I went so far as to wear this as my road shoe, as I have had some difficulty finding other shoes I like as much.  I ran a road marathon, and did all of my training miles in this shoe.  It held up wonderfully, and since then I have seen a few others racing in this shoe.

The midfoot is soft enough for the road, but handles trail surfaces well.  It has enough cushion to stand up to 50 miles of running with no issue.  I have a few pairs with more than 400 miles on them, and they do lose their spring like any other.  I am interested in trying out some of the fluid foam line that Montrail has out, as they tout a longer lasting midsole with the new material.  

One complaint that I see frequently with this shoe, is that it has the 10mm heel to toe differential.  Although it does very well with that, I think more people would take a serious look at this shoe if it went with an 8mm drop.  Enough to keep a solid base under foot for long runs and races, but a lower setting to appeal to a more minimalist crowd; an 18mm heel platform to 10mm midfoot could be a great combo.  Still leaes cushion for a longer ride, while adding just a bit under the midfoot to prevent any bruising from sharp rocks (there is no rock plate in this shoe.)

The Rogue Flyis a fast moving shoe, and has become my go to shoe for anything from 5k, 50k to 50 miler.  I have my first 100 mile race coming up this fall, and plan to ear this shoe for the first 40-60 miles and switch into a heavier shoe for the remainder.  I am a tried and true fan of this shoe, and will continue to train and race in it. 

When I first ordered the shoe, I went with my typical 7.5, and went through more than a few pairs in that size.  For the 50, I did order an 8, and was very glad I did.  On a course with a good bit of descending I would recommend doing so.

I am definitely a big fan of what Montrail is putting out, and would love to try out a few other shoes from their line.  If you are looking for a light weight, fast shoe look no further.  They've done a great job with the Rogue Fly, and it's worth taking them for a spin.

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