Our Favorite Trail Running Shoes
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Montrail Mountain Masochist III Review
The Montrail Mountain Masochist III ($100) is the third iteration in the Masochist series, and it retains all of the characteristics that the model’s loyal following as come to love: a well-draining, supportive upper; a midsole with just enough stability; and a multi-purpose outsole. With the Masochist III, most of the updates come in small modifications to the upper, including a smaller tongue and heel cap. Watch this video review to find out more about the newest version of an old favorite.
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Montrail Mountain Masochist III Review Transcript
Hey, and welcome to Trail Trials, the video review section of iRunFar.com. My name is Travis Liles, and in this video, we’re going to take a look at the Montrail Mountain Masochist III.
The Mountain Masochist is a bit of an oddity when it comes to trail running shoes in general, and that’s because it hasn’t changed much since its initial launch back in the 2008 and 2009 time frame. This shoe has gone through a couple minor changes here and there with the addition of the Fluid Frame which was brought in with the Mountain Masochist II. In this we’re really doing a bit of a subtraction, and we’re moving the heel-to-toe drop from 10mm down to 8mm. The shoe, in general, has some very basic statistics. This is, of course, a trail running shoe. It weighs in at just over 11 ounces though that’s not published on Montrail’s website, and again, 8mm heel-to-toe drop with kind of moderate cushioning. With that, let’s dig in. Let’s talk about these shoes, and let’s get up close and personal with them.
What we have here is the men’s size 9. This is in the color way of the gray and chartreuse. Basically it’s a bright yellow. There’s also another color here which is a light gray with some of the yellow as well as this orange. The women’s also has this exact same color way as well as one similar to this, but in place of the orange there’s what they call a clear blue or a teal. That’s what you’re looking at. Again, this shoe weighs in right around 11oz. It’s not published on their website, but that’s what I’ve come up with.
Overall, let’s just start at the tread and work our way around. If you’re familiar with Mountain Masochists in the past, you’re going to see nothing different here on this tread pattern. Some of the things I like about this tread pattern are, of course, you have the forward-facing lugs and the reverse-facing lugs. You have some of these cut-outs in here as well, or these blades. I’ve found these actually to work really well on some loose as well as some muddy-type conditions. That stuff tends to get in these little divots, not enough to hold it like a pocket, but enough that it gunks up in there and gives you some added traction. There are also some interesting cut-outs here that you see in this yellow.
The thing I really enjoy about these is that even though this shoe has more volume than a minimal shoe, it keeps your arch and the outside of your foot relatively close to the ground. For me, that makes for a relatively stable ride and keeps my ankles from twisting. In general, I’ve had a lot of good success with these, and I feel like a lot of it has to do with this low-to-the-ground feel even though you can see you do have a decent amount of foam in the heel.
They use Gryptonite which is a very common tread material that Montrail uses. That’s used all the way throughout. It’s a little bit of a sticky rubber, more of a general purpose, but again, tends to work well, tends to hold up well over long distances. I’m comparing this to my old versions of the Mountain Masochist I and II that I’ve had, but I’m generally able to get 300-plus miles out of a pair of these shoes before I have any problems at all specifically on the tread. It seems to do really well and definitely lasts the life of the shoe.
Just throughout, you’re going to see some nice little things like some lugs going inward and outward of the shoe or medially and laterally and, again, reverse lugs kind of throughout. They do some interesting things with the tread patterns hopefully giving you traction in every direction. Again, it’s a really protective shoe, and it works well across lots of different surfaces.
We’re going to go ahead and flip over to the midsole now. The midsole, again, is pretty much unchanged from the version II. The version II brought the Fluid Foam which is Montrail’s proprietary way of basically creating stability in the shoe without adding in a huge wedge of a frame in here that’s going to help with pronation control. Versus one kind of foam and then laying a block of harder foam in there, they have these various types of foam all the way throughout, so soft-hard-soft-hard-soft-hard all throughout here. It creates stability without being one big chunk of foam in there that could possibly push your foot to roll to the outside.
This is a much more gradual post than what you see. We looked at this same exact stuff in the Montrail Masochist II as well as the Fluid Flex ST that we reviewed last time. Again, this is something that I think works well. I’m a bit of a pronator. I feel this is a nice way of adding some stability on the trail without having to worry about having a full-blown post in there.
Overall, very good foam, very cushioned ride, not spongy like a Hoka or a super-cushioned shoe. It’s definitely in the middle of the road in terms of having enough foam in there that you have shock protection, that you have rock protection, that it’s something you can wear on your feet for a long time, but not so much that you lose that ground feel.
I feel like, again, with these cutouts here on the side and the way the shoe rides, it does really well. I also feel like it can do just fine on road, gravel, technical, downhills, uphills. This midsole, to me, is a very good general-purpose midsole. As you can see, it’s this consistent foam all the way around with the exception of the Fluid Frame that’s going to exist from about the middle part of the heel to right about where the forefoot starts here kind of right on the ball of your foot.
Let’s hop up here to the upper. One of the things I noticed was a slightly less hard toe-cap area. The apex here where this sole wraps around is still very much a good… going to be able to take some abuse if you catch your toe on something, but this vinyl material that’s overlayed on top of the mesh tends to have been relaxed a little bit which I think actually adds to a little bit better foot feel. My toes can stretch out a little bit more in here without having to feel crammed and feel like I’m butting up against a hard shell. That’s a nice little update here.
As we move around the shoe, we can see these straps. These are obviously very similar to what we had in the Mountain Masochist I and II, so the ability to create that cinch around the foot which I feel is really good especially for technical stuff and for running downhill hard and cornering. These things really grip my foot well and, I feel, put a nice hold on top of them. You see that throughout and, of course, on both sides.
Two points here I’ll call out on the tongue and on the heel. They’ve reduced the amount of foam on the heel cup here as well as on the tongue. One of the things I always thought was really great about the Masochist was that it had a super-padded tongue. The positive on that is over the course of those long-distance races, it’s kind of nice to have some of that protection from your laces so you don’t get that fatigue on the top of your foot, but it held water. Hopefully with the reduction in the foam on the heel and on the tongue, you’re going to see that drain a little bit faster which is going to happen by having half the material here, maybe 33% less, just a rough estimate, in terms of what’s there and making that a little bit easier on you.
Very traditional lacing pattern here—again, we’re going to use those anchors here to secure that to the foot—and really a lot of mesh in here. Something I’ve always felt like the Masochists have done an adequate job is draining water. I think a lot of that has to do with how this midsole sits in here. You have mesh that goes all the way down that exists on both sides of the shoe. Most of the time that water is probably going to settle in about the middle of the foot and be able to push itself out from there.
Really good feel. I haven’t really noticed anything different even though we have less foam in the heel. I don’t feel like it’s any less secure in the heel, maybe by a little bit, but nothing that using the upper laces and really cinching those things down isn’t going to help with. Overall, really good fit.
Let’s hop out and talk about final conclusions here. In closing, the Montrail Mountain Masochists are one of my favorite shoes. If you see pictures of me anywhere, I’m wearing a pair of these for the most part. That’s because it’s really like a pacifier. It is that shoe that if I don’t know what I’m getting into, if I don’t know how long I’m going to be on my feet, I’m not quite sure of the terrain, I know this may not be the absolute best choice, but it’s a choice I can count on for a long time. Again, just the fact that Montrail has really left this shoe alone and has just done some minor updates throughout the years, some may look at that as a bad thing. I look at it as a really great thing especially since it’s my go-to shoe. If you’re looking for an all-round shoe that can really do it all from mud to rocks to technical to groomed to even a little bit of road, this is definitely a shoe worth looking out for.
Call for Comments
Any questions or comments, place them below the video. Thanks for watching. We’ll catch you next time.