Montrail Mountain Masochist Review

A review of the Montrail Mountain Masochist trail running shoe.

By on March 17, 2009 | Comments

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Montrail Mountain Masochist Review

MontrailThose who’ve heard of Virginia’s Mountain Masochist 50 miler know that it is a challenging mix of pavement, dirt road, and gnarly single track. Well, Montrail’s forthcoming Mountain Masochist trail shoe would be well suited for use at its namesake race, as it’s comfortable on roads, responsive on dirt, and stable on rock encrusted single track. All this in a low-riding, breathable trail shoe that weighs in at only 11.3 ounces for a men’s size 9.

Montrail Mountain Masochist mensFor those already familiar with Montrail’s trail shoes, the Mountain Masochist looks like a cross between the Montrail Streak (iRF Streak review) and the now retired Montrail Highlander. From the ground up, the Masochist borrows the Streak’s more-than-capable outsole and flexible midsole. Montrail did, however, make one key change to the Streak’s midsole by adding higher density foam to the Masochist’s arches, which makes the shoe more supportive. While this results in a slight decrease in the flexibility that speedy trail racers love in the Streak, it also means the Masochist is a better shoe for less speedy, less efficient runners (i.e., most of us!).

Montrail Mountain Masochist womensMeanwhile, the Masochist borrows the best features of the Highlander’s upper – 10 straps on each shoe (5 on each side) that firmly wrap your feet from the midsole to the laces, as well as more toe and forefoot protection that the Streak. By incorporating the Highlander’s strengths into the Mountain Masochist, Montrail takes the nimble Streak and transforms it into a shoe better adapted for more technical trails.

Having tested the Mountain Masochist last July, I longed to have a pair of Montrail’s flexible, light weight, yet stable trail runner when I attempted the rooty Iroquois Trail 100 last September. I’m now psyched to have a pair to wear at the 2009 Marathon des Sables.

It’s worth noting that many folks are finding the Mountain Masochist runs large and are buying the shoe a half size smaller than they normally wear. For the record, I’ve been happy wearing my standard size 9.

The Mountain Masochist are now available for $95. (men’s and women’s at A GORE-TEX® version is also available for $115. (women’s GTX at

If anyone else has used Montrail’s Mountain Masochist, please share your thoughts.

Bryon Powell

Bryon Powell is the Founding Editor of iRunFar. He’s been writing about trail running, ultrarunning, and running gear for more than 15 years. Aside from iRunFar, he’s authored the books Relentless Forward Progress: A Guide to Running Ultramarathons and Where the Road Ends: A Guide to Trail Running, been a contributing editor at Trail Runner magazine, written for publications including Outside, Sierra, and Running Times, and coached ultrarunners of all abilities. Based in Silverton, Colorado, Bryon is an avid trail runner and ultrarunner who competes in events from the Hardrock 100 Mile just out his front door to races long and short around the world, that is, when he’s not fly fishing or tending to his garden.