Montrail Rogue Racer Review

Montrail logoFor year’s Montrail was best known for its substantial, bombproof Hardrocks. Well, starting in the February 2011 the lightest end of Montrail’s running shoe line might become the company’s signature piece. With the forthcoming Rogue Racer, Montrail offers a stripped down, low profile racing shoe that weighs in at 8.8 ounces (250 grams) for a men’s 9 and 7.4 ounces (210 grams) for a women’s 9. iRunFar’s Tony Portera recently received a pair and put it to the test… including all 101.4 mile of the Javelina Jundred. While Tony’s praise might sound too good to be true, it’s taken straight off a wear test form submitted to Montrail, so he’s being objective. Anyway, we’re so excited about the shoe (and have been since first seeing it last February) that we wanted to share his observations with you. Don’t worry, we’ll be providing a full review in the next few months.

Montrail Rogue Racer upper

Overall Feedback
I’m extremely impressed overall. I have difficulty in finding shoes that fit well, but, with the exception of the top front of the shoe (which seemed to fit a little snug at first), the Rogue Racer fit very well (see more below).

Does the shoe fit well?
Yes. Putting on the shoe at first was nearly slipper-like. It fit well in the heel and bottom. At first I felt that it was too snug over the top front of the shoe, but with time the shoe seemed to break in and stretch to a perfect fit. Many shoes are simply too narrow when it comes to foot fit, but the Rogue Racer was a comfortable. I usually end up suggesting that a shoe either provide a little more width or at least offer a “wide” version, but there is no need with the Rogue Racer.

Does the shoe appear to be durable and able to withstand the abuses that it will face on the trails?
Without a doubt, yes.

My favorite thing about this shoe is…
How amazingly light it is. At times, I almost felt as if I wasn’t running with shoes on.

Montrail Rogue Racer OutsoleWould you wear this shoe in a race?  If so, why, and what distance(s)? If not, why?
Yes, and I used them for all 101.4 miles of the Javelina Jundred. They are so comfortable and light that it really makes a difference when it comes to running ultra endurance races. I’d certainly use them in trail races of any distances, including the Brazil 135 Mile Ultramarathon in January 2011, where I would love to take a pair or two.

Bonus Video
Here’s Montrail runner Gary Robbins’ take on the Rogue Racer. He talks about the shoe about 30 seconds in and then shares some parting thoughts at the end… the rest is trail running fun.

[Disclosure: Buying via the Amazon.com link in this article helps support iRunFar.]

There are 32 comments

  1. Tom

    Looking forward to giving these a shot. I have a wide foot, and have trouble finding trail shoes that fit my feet. The Montrail Sabino Trail are working for me now, but it would be nice to have a lighter option.

  2. John Mossman

    I'm way excited about the new RR. Montrail shoes just fit so perfect out of the box- if they're minimalist shoe holds up to that standard I'll have a replacement for my mt100's (haven't tried the 101's yet).

  3. Bobby Gill

    I couldn't put these down when my Montrail rep had them on hand at the MMTR 50-miler last weekend. As a minimalist, my New Balance MT100's do the trick on everything up to 50k, but if the distance is longer and includes any pounding on roads, a little extra cushion is needed underneath the metatarsals. I haven't found a minimalist shoe that remains light while still providing some of that needed cushioning, but this may be it. Looking forward to getting my feet in these come January.

          1. KenZ

            I do find it funny that the minimalist shoes are going up so much in price. Not that I blame the companies; they're after profit and that's fine. It's a company. However, in comparison, I just bought a pair of cross country racing flats from NB (NB 507's with rubber nubs). It's a 7oz racing flat, with a rock plate, made for trails. Price to include shipping? $44. Not saying it's got the bells/whistles this one does, but…. that's a huge disparity.

            However, compared to any other sport, the cost of running shoes is negligible. I like having an arsenal of different shoes to choose from for any particular run. If I found a favorite shoe and it cost $200, I'd pay it. I wouldn't be happy about it, but I'd pay it. Sometimes we forget how inexpensive our sport is compared to most.

          2. Eric

            It looks like the 101 will continue to rule the genre. In my opinion, the New Balance is far from perfect, but it's so cheep that I don't know why I'd buy anything else.

            1. urbanwilderness

              I've checked out the Rogue Racers (but haven't run in them – yet). The flex point is very different from the 100's (and I assume the 101's) – the 100's rockplate causes them to flex under the arch; the RR has less rigid protection and have a more natural flex close to the ball of the foot. Flex point is an important difference in my book.

  4. Dan

    NOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO! i was set on picking up a pair of the 101s as my next step in my light weight progression. i currently run in the vasque transistors and the montrail hardrocks before that. and now i have another shoe to consider. maybe i'll base my decision on price w/ the nod going to the NBs. grr.

  5. Jacob

    Bryon, what about the heel? I use the heel lock lacing technique to keep my shoes snug as my heel always starts to slip. I have sweaty feet! I notice this shoe does have the extra eyelets.

  6. Rob

    Can anyone offer a new trail runner some advice? I am just starting to do the trail running thing. Signed up for Bear Mountain Half Mara — supposedly pretty tough/technical terrain. I run reasonably fast on the road (1:30 half), mild overprnoator, trying to determine what kind of shoes I will need for Bear Mountain and, assuming I continue down this path, other similar trail runs.

    Any advice for a newbie? Thanks in adavance…

    1. KenZ

      I'm not expert by any stretch, but here's my $0.02. Assuming you really are new to it (trail running), I'd initially grab a pair of shoes that matches what you like for road shoes. What I mean by that is to try to find a pair of trail shoes (for now) that matches your road shoes in terms of weight, stability type (pronation control type or not), support, heel drop (how raised the heel is), cushioning, etc. but in a "trail worthy" form (meaning probably even more lateral support, durability, and of course some decent trail tread.

      There is a large push right now to move towards minimalist shoes (meaning low heel, light weight, less support, etc). Not saying everyone thinks it's a good idea, but it's certainly the rage as you can see from a lot of the reviews here and elsewhere. If you currently run roads in a lightweight racing flat, then a minimalist trail shoe might be a reasonable place to start. But if you instead usually buy more "standard" road shoes (say, 10-13oz in a size 9.5), or have never heard the term racing flat, then buying something completely different in makeup (like a minimalist trail shoe) would be asking for serious trouble.

      So, with that said, my "heavy" (read as: normal running shoe equivalent) is the Montrail Mountain Masochist which is rugged, durable, and can tackle tough terrain. I have a slightly less aggressive New Balance 749T trail shoe (which they don't make anymore) for just tooling around over long semi-rough terrain, and then the new New Balance 101 which is pretty darn minimal, and probably not appropriate for anything really tough and technical, at least not for your first trail race (they feel more like ballet slippers than running shoes). Don't get me wrong, the 101 is my new favorite trail shoe, but I worked my way up (down) to it.

      I realize that's not too specific. If you have a good running store near you, or even an REI or Eastern Mountain Sports, you might consider going in and bringing your road shoes with you, and see if they can help you find a trail shoe that is comparable. While I do think going minimal is the trend to watch if not follow, I wouldn't make radical adjustments to what you've got. Baby steps when switching shoe construction IMO.

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