Montrail Mountain Masochist II Review

Montrail has had a unique classic in its Montrail Mountain Masochist. The shoe’s had enough of a following that Montrail left it largely unchanged for three years. Montrail has recently updated the line with the Mountain Masochist II ($100) featuring Montrail’s FluidPost technology that the company touts as providing variable pronation controlled based on your biomechanical needs as well as the terrain’s demands.

Montrail Mountain Masochist II Review Transcript

Welcome to Trail Trials, the video review section of iRunFar.com. My name is Travis Liles and in today’s review we’re going to be taking a look at the Mountain Masochist II by Montrail. In Montrail’s current line of shoes, the Masochist is the longest standing member. Since 2009, it’s seen very few changes other than updates to the colors. In 2012, Montrail brought the Mountain Masochist II into the fold. Being someone that’s worn the Mountain Masochist from training to 50ks to 50 milers to stage races and 100s, this is a shoe that’s near and dear to my heart. So let’s take a look at just how much has changed in the Mountain Masochist II.

Montrail Mountain Masochist II

The Montrail Mountain Masochist II

Let’s start out by looking at the bottom of the Masochist. So what we can see on the bottom are lots of different types of lug shapes and directions but we’ll start off here at the toe. The toe has these blades, both going opposing directions. These do a really great job of climbing, they do a great job in mud, on rocks, and on slick surfaces. I’ve really found the Masochists to be a good all-around bottom package. Some of the things I think add to that are: 1) This blade design that you see that do a nice job of traction, and 2) you have these cut-outs in there which believe are there for weight-savings purposes. Also, debris and things like that can sort of bunch up in there and give a much better hold. They do clear out relatively well, though, so you’re not carrying a bunch of gunk in there if you do happen to be in a muddy area. When we move to the middle here, we can see an exposed rock plate.

This is a semi-flexible rock plate here so it’s not completely rigid. The shoe does have flex to it even though it does provide a good amount of stability. When we move to the back of the heel, you start to see those reverse lugs so we can brake going downhill. Those go from larger all the way to smaller. So overall, low profile, flexible, and semi-sticky using the Montrail Gryptonite compound. It’s a very good bottom package on this. It’s going to have a good amount of grip without going overboard. You’re going to have a good amount of protection while still remaining flexible.

Montrail Mountain Masochist II - outsole

The Mountain Masochist II's outsole

We move up to the midsole. We have this orange foam that runs all the way around here and as you can see, it’s not overly tall. You do get a good amount of protection without being overly high off the ground. You can see that especially here where we have the cut-outs for the rock plate. You can see that’s not that high off the ground and your foot will sit down inside of that a bit, too. As we move to the heel, this line right here is roughly where your heel will sit, so you sit down inside of it like it’s a perimeter around your foot. When we move here to the inside of the shoe, or the medial part, what we’re going to notice is the FluidPost. This is what’s new on the Masochist II. This FluidPost, as we covered in our Montrail Badrock review, is a varying density post. This post is poured in a way that it’s not an abrupt post, soft foam and then hard foam. It works its way in and eases into it. You can see this with this sort of gray and black poured looking areas. To give you a bit of comparison, we’ll throw that in with the original Masochist, which you can see here. Here’s the post that was a part of that, so it already existed. And here, we’re moving into the Masochist II, and it looks to be extending out and a little bigger, but I assume that has to do with that formula of just how the midsole is used. So overall, a nice midsole, a good amount of cushioning without going too much and being too squishy, nice and responsive while remaining flexible, and giving you some protection.

Montrail Mountain Masochist II - lateral upper

The Montrail Mountain Masochist II's lateral upper showing the midsole.

We have a good toe bumper here as we start moving our way into the upper. It’s relatively hard, so that’s good as it’s going to keep you from kicking things. Then toe protection in general is done by adding this extra layer of fabric here that’s kind of a leather-like feel. So you’ve got a good amount of protection here on the toe. As we move around, we can start to see these bands that come up around the shoe. These do a really excellent job of hugging your foot and keeping it stable. You can tie these things down tight, you can keep them loose, but you have a nice wrap all the way around and that’s done by these straps on here. We move to the collar. We have a nice padded heel collar here. There is structure in this so there’s some plastic or something in here that adds to a nice heel cup. Overall what you get here is a narrow heel and a wide forefoot. So if you’re someone like myself that has a shape of a foot like this, this is a good shoe. It’s going to hug your heel really well, and I’ve even found it to do well when I keep it loose. This shoe seems to fit my foot really well, so even if my feet are swollen or have an injury or something along those lines, these shoes give my foot enough room to breathe while remaining stable.

Montrail Mountain Masochist II - medial upper

The Montrail Mountain Masochist II's medial upper showing the FluidPost.

Then, as we move up to the tongue, this has a very padded tongue. Probably one of the pluses and minuses here. This thing gets full of water and it does hold it a little bit more than I’d like it to, but you also have a good amount of padding so you don’t have to worry about bruising the top of your foot if you’re cinching down your laces. Lastly, that tongue is gusseted roughly from just above this Montrail sign all the way down. The upper in general is made with this mesh with fabric underneath that and then this suede-like feel here in the front for reinforcement.

So overall, you’re looking at about 10.8 ounces and a 10mm heel-to-toe drop (10mm/20mm). That’s pretty average on your trail shoe side of things. I’ve noticed this Masochist to be a hair lighter than the original Masochist. Other things you gain are the FluidPost and a little lighter package overall.

In closing, the Mountain Masochist II is just the right amount of everything without being too much or too little of anything. You’ve got good protection, cushioning, stability, without going overboard on any of those items. Those that are used to wearing the Mountain Masochists, the FluidPost is not a big enough difference to sway you from continuing to wear this shoe. For those who have never worn it before, it’s not enough of a stability post that’s really going to affect your feet and push your foot to the outside when you’re out on the rocky terrain.

So, as always, questions or comments, place them below the video. Thanks for watching and we’ll catch you next time.

Travis Liles

resides in Portland, Oregon where he is a husband, father, and a technical specialist for a software company. In his spare time, he is exploring his new home in the Pacific Northwest, getting more vertical but still not living in the thin air, while producing “Trail Trials with Travis Liles” video gear reviews for iRunFar.

There are 39 comments

  1. CJ

    Thanks for the nice review Travis…I enjoyed my Mt. Masochist one's. One of the most durable trail shoes I've seen without being bulky & heavy

    1. Mark Connolly

      I agree on the durability! The tread seems to last forever. The EVA breaks down as usual but the rest of the shoe lasts longer than anything else I've worn.

  2. grae

    Travis, I'd like to hear your thoughts about how the ride has changed between the 1 and 2 model's and what the fluid post change brings and takes away from the 2.

    1. Travis

      As I mentioned in the review, the changes are pretty subtle, if any. I can say that I do not notice a difference at all. Given how the FluidPost adapts to how the runner lands, it could just be that becuase I tend to land more mid-foot than heel strike that I am not using much of the post. To me, the ride and fit feel identical between the two.

      In terms of what the FluidPost brings; The idea of the FluidPost is to provide a safer transition when a runner is pronating. On trails I think that is important as posting can lead to rolled ankles. The Masochist has never had an aggressive enough post (in my opinion) to cause that. The MM "post" is more of a fatigue post than a true post anyway as it is only under the arch instead of extending back into the heel. Point being, the post was subtle in the MM1 and continues to be that way in the MMII.

      The only thing that I think it takes away is a bit of weight (a good thing). On my scale the MMII was about a 1/2 an ounce lighter than the MMI and the only difference between the two is that FluidPost unless they used some lighter material on the upper, which I am not aware of.

  3. Rob Digga

    My heart skipped a beat when I read that there was a MMII coming out. i'm a HUGE fan of the MMI and feared it getting discontinued but after this great review it seems that i dont have to worry too much. Same feel and look with some minor tweaks is fine with me. I would have hated it if this shoe became minimalist with no rock plate which is the direction of some top shoe makers – who lost bizness from me.

    Anyway thanks Bryon and Travis

    ps – for those who are looking for the best shoe ever you are looking at it now. MM for life!

    1. Trail Clown

      I've been running in the Altra Lone Peak, and I think if the MM were zero-drop it might be comparable? In other words, if the MM "went minimal" it could just be to a zero drop platform, while retaining the rock plate and stack height/cushioning (which is what the Lone Peak is). I agree that most of the top shoe makers who "go minimal" decide to remove the rock plate, remove the cushioning, remove the heel counter. The Lone Peak seems to be one of the only ones that kept all those elements, while simply dropping down to a zero-drop platform. For me it's allowed me to keep good form and not get injured in the process. Anyway, if I were running 100 miles tomorrow, I'd start in the Lone Peak, but would love to have a MM-2 as a backup when the form got sloppy!

        1. Trail Clown

          You just don't know it yet, but some day you will! :) Now, if they could only get the Hoka down from 4mm to zero…

          1. Bryon Powell

            You could essentially do that now. With the Stinson Evo, Hoka is introducing the concept of strategically drilling out the midsole on its shoes. With some selective drilling and a couple runs you could essentially zero drop your Hokas. Just sayin'.

  4. Tim

    The MMI is a good shoe. Not to sound like a broken record, but the tread is not that great and have noticed wear running on East Coast Trails. Overall the shoe is a stud. I would not want Montrail to have this shoe go to a zero drop, the world doesn't run on zero drop. At Run Rabbit Run I actually talked to a Montrail rep and they stressed they did not want to get "too much" into the zero drop category, but if there is market share they might at some point.

    One thing I am curious to know is what the concensus is on the Cascadia 7 vs. the Montrail Bajada. I bought the Bajada but was not that big a fan. I feel that the midsole has too much play in it. I have not tried the Cascadia 7 but looking at them in the store I would say the lugs are much better than the Bajada.

  5. Rob Digga

    can you really tell the difference? you do know that 4mm is less than half of a cm? I'm not calling you out but i am genuinely curious that you would buy a shoe if they lowered the drop less than half a cm?

    i was never a track guy – been a trail guy from the start so the only drop I worry about is on the trail.

    1. Trail Clown

      For me 4mm creates a slight cambered effect, throwing my stride just a tiny bit out of whack. But hey, I'm not a lightweight gazelle with perfect mechanics, so really I'm just doing the zero-drop thing to try anything to avoid the injuries that I've been fighting for the past 20 years of running. And ideally I'd love to be a "right on the ground" type of zero-dropper, but every time I try it I get hurt that way too. So the Lone Peak has been a good shoe for me. And if Hoka made a zero drop, yeah, I'd probably dish out the big bucks for it. But the 4mm is kind of a deal-breaker, strange as it may sound. But now I may just buy them and try Bryon's "selective drilling" method! :)

    2. Ben Nephew

      I wear the outside heel right off and wear into the midsole with road shoes with a 9mm drop, but never have this issue with 4mm drop shoes, where I land slightly more midfoot since that wedge of midsole is not there.

    3. Trail Clown

      Ben, no doubt that's because you're a stronger, more efficient runner than I. Even with just 4mm, I can't get up on that midfoot. I can't even really do it in the zero drop, I'm still wearing away the outside back edge of my Lone Peaks (so obviously still doing alot of heel striking, even with the zero drop). That's why I want to get "on the ground zero drop"–but when I go without the cushion/rock plate, etc., I end up hurting my feet. I guess I should just go for the Hokas…

    4. Rob Digga

      good discussion here. I'm learning a lot. i guess if you – trail clown – have been running (no pun intended) into injuries and the less shoe drop is helping then good on ya for finding part if not all of the solution.

      if i ever win a shoe on this website and it turns out to be a low – 4mm or 0mm – then i guess i will see what it is all about. but without any injuries yet – knock on wood – i dont have the urge to even think about a different shoe.

      bryon – do you have a blog about all this drop business? I have only been reading your site for maybe 1.5 years….

  6. Andy G.

    I'd be interested to hear how the drilling/inserting rods works out for people who try it. My brief foray into the googlesphere (= more procrastination) didn't come across any examples.

  7. Chad

    Honestly, when running on trails-especially more technical, the stride is so short that its highly unlikely that anyone will heel strike. Same goes for climbing. When descending, is when I find the heel to engage. I do not believe the difference in heel drop to interfere with my stride when descending-I feel they are pretty similar actually even on flats. It may just be my mechanics, but the less flat I run the less I notice any difference.

    I run in both 4mm, and 10mm drop shoes (peregrine and rogue racer), and I do not notice a difference in either shoe in regards to heel drop. More telling, the wear pattern on both is the same.

    I am very interested in the MMII now that I am confident that a 10MM drop does not interfere at all in my gait or stride. Furthermore, there is additional protection and traction in this shoe that is not present in the rogue racer. Thank you for a great review.

  8. Ben

    I've also been a MM fan for a long time, but have had trouble with the original ones de-laminating on the outsole. My pair of MMIIs have not had that problem (yet?) so I'm hoping they've corrected whatever was causing it. The upper of the MM is the most comfortable one yet to me. I may still be happy with this shoe if it were to go to a 4mm drop, but it's pretty dang good as is.

    Great review Travis.

  9. Jon Webb

    Thanks for the great review Travis and Bryon! The Mountain Masochist is here to stay and hopefully not going anywhere any time soon. Thanks to the community for the comments and discussion as well!

  10. Eric

    Can you compare the Mountain Masochist to the Bajada? I currently wear Nike Pegasus 28 (not the trail version) and love them, even on trails, but they hold water which is not good for running in water or wet conditions.

    I'm researching for my first pair of trail shoes and am considering the Montrail shoes. Thank you

  11. Tim

    @ Mike, the arch support and added lugs of the Rockridge seem to make them more bulky and cushiony than the Mountain Masochist (I have the older version of Masochist) not the ones reviewed in this article. I sometimes wear the Rockridge for recovery runs to get a little more cushion in the feet.

    @ Eric, the Masochist (over version) and Bajada are two different shoes in my opinion. The Bajada is more of a flat, good for racing. I usually wear them when I want to do some faster trail runs on jeep or ATV roads in New England, I would NOT wear them on technical trails. They are a very light shoe but do have support in the upper and arch. The Masochist are better than the Bajada on technical, loose gravel and rocky trail. I can confirm with you that both the Bajada and Masochist drain well, the Bajada drain better with the mesh upper that they are constructed with.

    Hope this helps.

  12. Jon Webb

    Eric, a couple of comments for you regarding the difference between the Masochist and the Bajada. I agree with Tim that the Bajada and Masochist are two different shoes but a flat it is not. If you are looking for more of a "flat" and want to stick with Montrail I would look towards the Rogue Fly or Rogue Racer. They both have a lower ride height than the Masochist or Bajada. The main difference between the Mountain Masochist and Bajada is that the Masochist utilizes a fluid post for light stability and the Bajada is nuetral with no posting at all in the midsole. Both I have used extensively on technical trail and I would say both are technical trail shoes. According to our most recent catalog the Bajada comes in right around 10.3oz (Men's 9) and the Mountain Masochist comes in right around 10.8oz (men's 9)… pretty similar weight wise. The decision, again, would be whether you want a light stability technical trail shoe or a neutral technical trail shoe. I hope this info helps and yes I work as a sales rep for Montrail in the Rockies. Cheers!

    1. Bryon Powell

      I would strongly agree that the Bajada is a technical trail shoe. It worked well for me at Western States (admittedly not hugely technical) and many other long mountain runs last year. I'm far from biomechanically perfect and generally go toward supportive shoes for longer runs, but even without a post, I find it to provide plenty of stability. It's a true shoe rather than a flat. In construction and performance, it matches the 12 ounce bread-and-butter shoes from, say, two years ago… it's just two ounces lighter.

      1. Tim

        I have been technically defeated I guess?!?! I guess the clarity part would be what is technical, I think it is fair to say technical is different to different people depending on what they are use to, example, I consider technical big boulders, loose boulders and ruggedness of NH, VT and parts of MA. I used the word "flat" incorrectly, I did not mean racing flat or minimalist flat, I meant more of a flat bottom, that doesn't have the blades or lugs of a Masochist or Rockridge. The bottoms of the Bajada do not have as good of a rock plate as the Masochist and I find lots of loose stuff getting caught in the bottoms of the Bajadas. I should challenge them more on "technical" but I just have too much trust in the Masochist and I play by the "if it isn't broke, don't fix it". I will say, the Bajada is better than the Cascadia 7 BUT the bottoms on the Cascadia 7 are a little better. Good conversation, and Bryon, "if its and ounce, it counts" :-)

  13. Chris Rusch

    I bought a pair of Mountain Masochists and after some longer runs am returning them. I will start with what I liked about the shoe before saying what prompted me to return them.

    First the upper. This shoe has one of the best designed and constructed uppers I have ever come across. One thing I still love about the MM is how the upper locks down the foot without feeling like I am losing circulation throughout my feet. The upper is extremely breathable. I bought the Out Dry version of the MM and was surprised that even during longer runs my feet were cool and dry, and secure my feet felt.

    Stability posting. No complaints here.

    Now, here are my issues with the shoes. First, I did not like the midsole. The midsole was too firm for me, even on the trails. At the end of some runs I felt like my feet had been punished for being bad. What little cushioning this shoe has is all in the heel, which stinks for a mid-foot/forefoot striker such as myself.

    By biggest beef with the MM was the curve of the last. Most light stability shoes I run in are less curved or almost straight. The last of the MM aggravated my feet and gave me blisters.

    I would consider buying this shoe in the future if it adopted the same midsole composition as the Sabino Trail, the last of the Sabino Trail, all while retaining such as awesome upper.

    Currently I have three pairs of Montrail shoes. The Fairhaven, Rockridge, and Sabino Trail are all great shoes. Thankfully Montrail is discontinuing just one of them (the Sabino Trail) which leaves me with two great shoes to turn to in the future.

  14. Nelson

    I'm not technical enough to be posting but here goes. This is the worst trail runner I've ever encountered. Destroyed my feet.

  15. Eric

    I owned a pair of these shoes for almost 10 years. They have been on every backpacking trip I have ever been on, and essentially every day hike in the past 10 years (almost every weekend). After 10 years, the soles have finally worn down to the hard inner plate; however, the shoes still remain surprisingly water proof and supportive. They are breathable and dry extremely quickly. I do not do much trail running, but for backpacking, they are grippy, lightweight, and diverse. These are some of the best shoes I have ever owned.

  16. equalizer

    I bought these at sports storerwhen buying brooks beast running shoe. I asked if there were any trail shoes that were similar to beast for flat footed guys with protanation. Well I like these MM better than beast because of wide toe box and great heel padding. I wear with compression sock and toes don't get squeezeed too much. I'm used so far just walking around. Like the backpacker these shoes feel great and are so affordable, only spent 70, would easily pay 125.

  17. brianj

    i picked up a pair of these as my first trail shoes starting to train for the North Face 50 mile a few months ago. At first i thought for sure i would return them, as the curve of the shoe takes some getting used to and is still feels somewhat arkward when first putting them on. After about the 5th or 6th outing they really stated to grow on my and really love the shoe now.

    For me, new to trail running, it seems to have the right balance of protection and support and i really like the wide toe box.

    I'll likely pick-up another pair when these get worn

    Quick question for you trail runners – is it stl rule of thumb to change out your shoes at about 400 miles like you do for road running?

    thanks

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