They Say -Â Superior traction meets waterproof-breathable construction for an ultra-lightweight shoe that will keep you nimble, comfortable and dry during all kinds of outdoor activities. The mesh upper is fortified with a protective rubber screen-print to maximize durability while the Fluidframe midsole provides ideal underfoot support for a lively, responsive ride.
Protective rubber screenprint over mesh
OutDry waterproof, breathable construction
Techliteâ„¢ lightweight midsole, superior cushion, high energy return
FluidFrameâ„¢ multidensity underfoot support
Omni-Gripâ„¢ high traction non-marking rubber
We Say – I gave this shoe a first outing on a 10 mile run across the North Downs. I was impressed that they gripped as well as they did – no slipping on grassy banks or muddy paths – and that they gave me enough cushioning on the pavement lead in/out routes.
They weren’t perfect on the pavement, no trail running shoe is in my experience, but they were good enough so I trusted them to get me round the Royal Parks Foundation 50km Ultra, which was to go from Hyde Park to Bushy Park and was 20km tarmac, 30km offroad. It’s always difficult to choose shoes for such a race; do you go for a road shoe to help you cope with flat, even surfaces or a trail shoe that will protect you against rocks, tree stumps and other obstructions? I generally go for a trail shoe as my road running shoes allow me to feel every single bump underfoot and I don’t like that, and this time these Columbia were my choice.
You can’t see the shoes much in this film I made of the run, but you can see the terrain they dealt with;
Overall, I was happy with them during the race. The first half of the run, through central London, was mainly flat on a mixture of pavement, paving stones, cobbles and steps leading to and from the bridges. The shoes cushioned me enough so that by the time that was over my soles were un-bruised and ready to take on the trail running part of the race.
The path ran alongside the side of the River Thames mostly and the river had flooded recently so often the path was covered in wet mud and had marshals at the side shouting ‘careful, it’s very slippery here!’ but I had no issues with slipping, thankfully, so we can put that down to the shoes’ grip. The banks were also dottedÂ with puddles that were unavoidable but my socks stayed dry; I can say that the waterproof membrane works well at keeping water out whilst at the same time keeping the feet relatively free of sweat.
Bearing in mind that I’d only worn them for 10 miles before this event, the fact that I didn’t get any blisters, or any other foot injury, throughout that 50km is excellent. So based on this experience, I’d say that overall these shoes are a good option for trail running.
I have worn them to a few parks, just for day hikes, and yes, they are ok for that.
I didn’t get to test their waterproof ability out in really wet conditions, the sort of torrential rain one gets in the Lake District or Scotland, for instance, asÂ we’ve had mega dry weather most of the time this summerÂ but I felt I had to give them a thorough test so I put a cm of water into a washing up bowl, put the shoes on and stood in the bowl whilst trying to recreate outside conditions. That is, not pouring gallons of water over them but splashing them liberally all over for 10 minutes. If they were going to let in water easily, they would have done during this time, I reckoned, yet they didn’t.
Based on this very un-scientific experiment I’d say that for spring through autumn in average English conditions, these shoes are ideal for running/hiking. And if we do happen to have heavy, sustained rain over the next month or so I’ll wear them out in it and report back here to let you know how they fare.
I also find them comfy enough to wear casually. The colour scheme isn’t great for just wearing around town, but it’s not bright white either so that a step up from most trainers.
In summary, if you’re looking for a shoe that can handle long trails, whilst running or hiking, and for shoes that look ok for regular town wear, give these Columbia Conspiracy OutdryÂ some consideration. Columbia are a brand known for the hardwearing quality of their clothes and shoes so I’m not expecting the shoes to degrade in performance for a few years yet, so whilst they may be a little more pricey than the cheapest shoe (which probably isn’t going to give you much support) they’ll work out better for your pocket, and your feet, in the long run.