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.

There are 17 comments

  1. Thomas Bussiere

    Can’t wait to try these (CD user myself) but got a few questions: Do they run small in size, do they drain well, and which insole would work best with these? I know they are new, but any Intel would be great.Thanks.

  2. Eric Grossman

    I got my first pair last week. The fit is great, even better than the Streak. The ride feels more repsonsive than the Streak as well. I noticed this running, and was surprised because I thought the midsoles were identical. Now I understand that it is likely a result of that higher density material in the arch. Thanks for the detailed post.

  3. tom

    I really like the stability of this shoe and the added medial support. Once I dialed the side straps in I had no issues rolling over a variety of terrain; rocks, single track, off camber. Traction and weight seem very good. I've worn size 9 in Montrail for a long time and these feel no different. I also use superfeet without issue.

  4. Lloyd

    Bryon- Good luck at MdS!Regarding size: Here at the store (Vertical Runner in Hudson, OH) we've had the new Montrail line for a couple weeks. The Masochist (along with the Hardrock 09 and Wildwood) are trending a 1/2 size too large. A majority of folks are walking out with a Montrail 1/2 size smaller than their normal running shoe. FYI.

  5. Bryon Powell

    Thomas,The MM should breathe really well and drain from the midfoot, but I could see my tools staying a little wet after stream crossings. That's all hypothetical though, I can't recall that performance aspect off hand. As folks have noted, the MM production model does run a bit big. That said, I'm in a pair of 9s (my standard size) in Smartwool PhD socks (I thought these would be a good mid-weight sock sample) and the MM is none too large.I can't speak to insole – I don't wear them, but tom talks about them.

  6. Travis

    I just got mine and the sizing is fine. I've worn an 8.5 in previous Montrail models (like the CD) and these don't feel any larger to me. They acutally feel similar to the CD in the snugness of the upper, but it's lower to the ground and less stiff.

  7. richard

    I just grabbed a pair of the Masochists – the size 10's fit exactly the same as my Streaks did/do a 10, which is to say great.The '09 Hardrocks in a 10 are bigger – but the 9.5's were just a bit too snug.I'm hoping the MM's are stiff enough over the long stuff to replace my beloved Odysseys, because neither the Hardrock nor the Wildwood are quite it for me.

  8. priceyincanada

    Wish I had read this before buying my Mountain Masochist's 1/2 size too big..I ran in Salamon XA Pro this winter in a size 10.5 and got blackened toenails after some longer races.I thought going up to an 11 may help me out with foot problems with a bunch of ultras lined up for the yet to run in them yet so cant add anything on how they fit/feel just yet.

  9. Bryon Powell

    Hoyawolf,I've yet to see the Mountain Masochist in NoVa or its environs, but I haven't really been looking. It is available online now.

  10. Thomas Bussiere

    Went out a few days ago for a 30 mile trail run in the heavy rain & mud with my new MM trail shoes which performed nicely straight out of the box (No blisters, drained well, good traction, don’t feel bulky, and light at 11oz). Not sure how these will hold up for 100 miles, but the Montrail Mountain Masochist (MM) worked great for shorter runs (Time will tell). Compared to the Montrail Continental Divide (CD), these shoes are so much lighter, flexible, and breathable, but still offer the foot protection a runner desires. I normally wear a 9.5 in the CD and the MM 9.5 felt like a size 10. These very well could be the improvement in trail shoes I was hoping for. I will use them in my upcoming races to see how they perform. If all is well, I will use the MM during the Mohican 100. I also tried the Superfeet green inserts and was pleased with the performance.

  11. ma5ter5

    I picked up a pair after having the CD's. The only beef I had with the CD with a pair of orange superfeet in there is that my heel from time to time would not seat properly in the heel cup, riding up to high. I was going to put the orange superfeet in the MM, but felt that they raised my heel up to far and that I'd run into the same problem as with CD and even worse. I tried slipping some blue superfeet in there, which have a lower profile, and my heel seems to stay in much better. Has anyone else had this problem with Montrail shoes/ superfeet combo?

  12. Kevin

    I just picked these up based on the reviews and recommendations here and after seeing Geoff Roes give them an all arounder best shoe labeling. I needed something more comfortable then my highlanders and these seem like they'll fit the bill. First run in them was today on Sugarloaf Mt here in MD in about 4 inches of snow and while not necessarily ideal for the powdery snow they felt great! Thanks for the reviews!

    The Fleet Feet in Gaithersburg had them in stock this morning, though they're waiting on a long time coming shipment they're expecting in the next few days. Good people there and they're moving soon to a new, bigger location too.

    One more thing, got my bumper sticker the other day. Thanks Byron and crew!

    1. Bryon Powell

      Kevin, so glad you found the Montrail Mountain Masochist review useful and are enjoying the shoes. I spent a ton of time in the shoes in the Rockies last summer and only retired them after the soles and upper of my original pre-production test pair separated after far more miles than I should have run in them. :-)

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