MONTRAIL HARDROCK BOOTS
TEST SERIES BY AMANDA TIKKANEN
March 17, 2008
Southeast Indiana, USA
5' 4" (1.63 m)
145 lb (65.80 kg)
I have been hiking and backpacking since the spring of 2000 throughout Michigan and Indiana, covering several hundred miles, always with a dog by my side. Beau, my second trail dog, has been happily carrying a pack since 2002. My style of backpacking is moving from overnights to long distance hiking, including multi-day trips. Even though I have Beau with me, I'm usually the solo human on the trek, so I like to go as light as possible while still being comfortable. I document our adventures and misadventures on my website, www.uberpest.com
PRODUCT INFORMATION & SPECIFICATIONS
Year of Manufacture: 2008
Manufacturer's Website: http://www.montrail.com
MSRP: Not available
Listed Weight: Not available
Measured Weight: 2 lb 0 oz per pair (0.91 kg)
Other details: US Women's size 11 (UK 8.5, EUR 43, CM 26)
The boots are made from synthetic materials in a style very similar to the high-top tennis shoes that were popular when I was in elementary school. This version is light gray with almost-lime green accent points. The insole is removable and reveals the boot's construction, which appears to be inside stitched welt. The boots, according to the manufacturer's website, a dual-density midsole. The manufacturer states this is to control pronation--the foot rolling in or out while walking or running. The outsole is Gryptonite (TM), a sticky rubber purported to provide traction in wet or dry conditions. There are translucent green sections in the sole of the boot that are a harder material. Since these make it difficult for me to twist the boot in my hands, I think these are part of the "pronation control" the manufacturer refers to on its site.
The laces run through loops of fabric on both the edges of the boot and the boot's tongue. The little loops have patches of a grippy coating, but I don't know the purpose of the coating. At the top of the boot there are two pairs of green plastic hooks to secure the laces. On the outside of the boot, at the Achilles' Tendon, there is a bootstrap loop. The boot is lower in the back, but it does not have the pronounced notch many running shoes have for the Achilles' Tendon.
The inside of the boot is made of three colors of fabric. The silver fabric is used on the sides of the ankle and is somewhat smooth and slippery. The green is used on the area behind the heel and inside the tongue. It is not as slippery. The patch of green sports a label stating "SAMPLE/NOT FOR RESALE." The remaining fabric is a fuzzy white material. The outside fabric areas are largely mesh and appear to offer good ventilation. The tongue is held in place by a black mesh that, I think, is there to prevent trail crud from getting into the shoe. On the right shoe this material has some loose threads and also the seam near it is missing some stitches. I have included a picture of this. Below the area of loose stitching is a number printed in permanent marker. I was unable to get a clear picture of this, however the number is "9.5". I do not have a clue what this refers to.
I normally wear a US women's size 10 or 10.5, and that varies by fit of manufacturer and model. Prior to applying to test these boots I went to an outfitter and tried on both the low-top version of this boot and another in the same line, the Montrail Namche Mid. From this I determined I needed a US Women's size 10.5 (UK 8, EUR 42.5, CM 27.5) but received a boot that was 1/2 size larger. According to the manufacturer's website there is a boot made in my size. I will elaborate on the fit issues with this size below.
Normally I like to wear a running shoe while hiking and even while carrying a pack. However, I have been unable to do this since January 2007 when I broke my left ankle when I slipped on some ice. My ankle has had some noticable weakness, even with regular strengthening exercises, which leads me to using a supportive boot rather than my favored running shoe. I dislike this as most boots are significantly heavier than the average running shoe.
In addition to the need for a supportive ankle, my foot is wide in the front and narrow in the heel. Finding a boot that fits is challenging, to say the least. I often require various inserts to keep my feet comfortable and blister-free.
TRYING IT OUT
I only wore these boots around the house to check fit due to the fact that they may need to be exchanged.
While wearing them I felt the arch was too far back in the boot and put pressure behind my foot's arch. When I walked, the sole flexed across the first knuckles of my toes, rather than across the ball as they normally would. Also, the heel cup was a little loose and there was excessive room at the toe-- even with my thicker wool socks on I had a thumb's width between my big toe and the end of the boot. All of these complaints, however, are likely due to the boot being 1/2 size larger than requested.
Normally I have not enough room in the toe box in my boots and shoes and need a wide width. This pair had a good feel to the width--the toe box was neither too tight nor too loose. The materials themselves are comfortable-- the insole is soft, but supportive. The ankle snugged up to my ankle without putting painful pressure on my joints.
The outsole of the boot appears to be moderately aggressive-- not the heavy lug "waffle stompers" I currently wear. They are very similar to most trail shoes I have seen or worn. The laces pull smoothly and snugly and are long enough to tie into my normal rabbit-ear knot.
I have contacted Montrail's customer service department to exchange these boots for the proper size, however I have not been able to arrange the exchange at the time of this report.
Once I get the proper size boot, they will be my standard hiking footwear for the duration of the testing cycle. I will be taking many day and overnight trips during the test cycle since I have 30-40 miles of trails within minutes of my home. I expect the terrain to be smooth to gently rolling to rocky. They will be exposed to asphalt pavement, dirt, mud, stone, and rain. Spring is almost here so I do not expect to see any more snow or below freezing temperatures. Temperatures during the test cycle are expected to be from the lower 40s to mid 90s F (4.4-35 C).
I will be looking at the durability of the boot, how well it provides traction on dry, wet, or muddy surfaces, and rock. I will be paying particular attention to how well it supports my ankle since it still gets sore easily while hiking, even after more than a year since my break. I will also report on anything else that arises during the test cycle.
This report was created with the BackpackGearTest.org Report Writer Version 1.
Copyright 2008. All rights reserved.
Poor fit due to incorrect size
Weird color of green
I thank Montrail and BackpackGearTest for the opportunity to test the Montrail Hardrock Mid boot. My Field Report will be appended to this report in approximately two months.
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Read more gear reviews by Amanda Tikkanen