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Reviews > Footwear > Trail Shoes > Columbia Trail Meister Shoes > Owner Review by Mark McLauchlin

Owner Review Columbia Trail Meister Hiking Shoe
Monday, 15 October 2007



* Reviewer Information
Name: Mark McLauchlin
Age: 29
Gender: Male
Height: 1.76 m (5 9)
Weight: 87 kg (191 lb)
Email: mark at swanvalleyit.com.au
City: Perth, Western Australia

* Backpacking Background
I have been hiking for approximately 12 months with most of my hiking consisting of day walks averaging 16 22 km (9.94 13.66 mi) and short overnight trips where possible.

I consider myself to be a light hiker with an average pack weight of 13 kg (28.66 lbs).

My preference is for hot dinners, breakfasts of cereals with fresh fruit, and lunches usually of bars and sandwiches. I am starting to work with freezer bag type meals.

* Product Information
Manufacturer: Columbia
Manufacturer's URL:www.columbia.com
Year of manufacturer: 2006
Colour: two tone (grey and brown)
Verified Weight: 492 g (17.35 oz) per shoe
Year of Purchase: 2007
Model: Trail Meister
MSRP: N/A

* Product Description
The Columbia Trail Meister is classified as a hiking shoe (normal low cut) as opposed to a boot. Sizing of the shoe appears to be the same as my normal non-hiking shoes: in this case a 10 US.

This model and year of shoe appears to only have been available in a two tone colour consisting of grey toe and heel and the remainder brown.

Various materials have been used to form this shoe. The upper section is made from sanded suede and mesh, with a gusseted tongue and synthetic toe and heel overlays.

The mid sole is made from moulded EVA with exposed nylon shank with the outer sole a non-marking Omni-Grip rubber compound with multi- directional lug tread pattern.

The grip on the shoe, materials already noted, is quite chunky, and I expect the life of this to be long lasting.

The inner sole is nicely padded and also shows no sign of decrease in loft/thickness, however like most shoes the material has started to attract dirt from walking that is not easily removed.

The laces on the Trail Meister are round, as opposed to flat and also appear to be made of a good quality material and serve their purpose well. I am unable to find any details on their construction.

The eyelets the laces are fed through are oval in shape which seems a very good idea to reduce wear.

Gaiters are also well suited to this shoe. There is sufficient room in the underside arch for the gaiter strap to fit and the height of the shoe also means that protection from material trying to enter is great. The laces are also very well protected.

The shoes are easy to care for and simply require warm water and a scrubbing brush, which I apply to all parts with no issues so far.

Shoe cleaning is particularly important to stop the spread of disease while walking through native forest areas.

* Test Locations
Western Australia is known to bushwalkers for the Bibbulmun Track which runs from Perth to Albany (nearly 1000 km or 621 miles long). The many tracks that lead through this area also make up most of my walking.

The diversity of the track sections can range from well marked trails to overgrown and sometimes more challenging tracks to navigate. Old forest tracks and Park Ranger (Conservation And Land Management) gravel roads make up the majority of the access points to the track.

Elevation is from sea level to 585 m (1,920 ft).

The Trail Meisters have been used mainly around the Bibbulmun track as this is an area great for hiking. Walks can be from a few hours to 6 weeks to complete end to end. All of my walking has been on this track and its surrounding areas.

I have completed several sections of the track at the northern most end and spend several days out walking. The layout out the tracks means that I have been able to walk between huts which are generally one full days walk, 16 22 km (9.94 13.66 mi).

I would estimate, and with some degree of accuracy by using my GPS, that I have clocked up over 500 km (311 miles) wearing these shoes.

* Test Conditions
According to Australia's main weather bureau, BOM, the annual mean maximum temperature is 24.4 C (76 F) and the annual mean minimum temperature is 12.6 C (55 F). The mean rainfall for the year is recorded as 40 mm.

* Review
The Trail Meisters are the first pair of hiking shoes I have purchased and so far I am very satisfied with them. Initially the low cost was a concern when so many others on the shelf were almost double the price. "You get what you pay for" went through my mind.

I would also like to add that after the 3rd trip out while on an 80% off track walk I noticed that my laces had started to fray, no fault of the laces simply due to the rough terrain (before I discovered gaiters).

I hunted high a low for new ones and was unable to find something similar so I contact Columbia via email and had an immediate response. Still to my surprise Columbia sent me out two sets of replacement laces within one week totally free. Best customer service I have had in years.

Water resistance is not very good as light wet shrub can cause wet feet. However it should be noted that I have not applied any sealer to the shoes which will be the next process to follow.

The shoes have held up extremely well so far and I am very impressed with the construction.

To date no blisters have formed which is surprising as this often happens in other shoes that I wear.

* Conclusion
I really found the Columbia Trail Meister shoes to be good value.

Definitely a shoe to recommend, great all rounder.

* Pros
Light, very comfortable, hard wearing and affordable.

* Cons
Water resistance is an issue, walking through light/medium thick wet shrub has caused my feet to become quite wet.
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