Montrail Rogue Racer

I recently bought a pair of trail running shoes to use for a 20-mile (hopefully upgraded to a 50k) trail race. I realized I needed them after running some single-track trails in my Altra Instinct 1.5s and slip-sliding all over the place. I settled on the Montrail Rogue Racer and have since put in about 20 miles on trails with them. Here is my review as it currently stands.

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Specs: 8.8 oz, 18 mm heel and 9 mm toe (9 mm drop), low profile, 3 point lug system (pictured below)

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Feel: I usually run in Altra Instincts with a zero-drop platform and a ton of toe room, so I was a little concerned about the 9 mm heel-toe drop and more traditional shape. However, after a few minutes, they began to feel much more natural than I expected. There is enough toe room that my feet have space while still being supportive. I can cinch them up pretty snug in the mid-foot and heel, leaving space for my little piggies to wiggle. They have the feel of the racing flats I used for my year of high school cross country and are pretty light for being a trail shoe. The low weight and low profile make them feel very agile. I run trails at Lime Creek Nature Preserve, where there is a good mix of limestone gravel, dirt, sand, grass, and single-track mountain bike trails to use them on. The only thing that I could see going wrong is twisting an ankle on a root or rock if you happened to catch it just right.

Performance: I’m not exactly running in the Rockie Mountains with large stones to contend with, but these shoes held up great. The small lugs easily managed on the gravel, dirt, rocks, and grass. I’m not sure how they’d handle hardcore mountain trails, but for what I find in north Iowa, they do great. I have not run in mud or slick spots yet. That might be a bit of a difficulty given how small the sets of lugs are, I also predict that they will wear down relatively quickly. However, at the moment, they have been great.

Final thoughts: At the moment, these shoes are on sale for $50 on the Montrail website and they are a steal at that price. I appreciate their lightweight, agile construction and, for the kinds of terrain I’m running on, the shoes perform admirably. As I said above, I could see how the lugs may wear down a little faster than some of the beefier trail running shoes or how they may lose some of their performance in mud. I certainly plan on using these for a long time and may end up using these as winter training shoes. In a pinch, I could even imagine using these on road runs, too. This is a very lightweight, versatile trail shoe that is well worth the money!

5 Comments on “Montrail Rogue Racer

  1. Yes! Trail shoes are a MUST for trail running! Glad you made the investment. Those Altras are great, I have a pair, but your feet would’ve got TORE UP wearing them on the trails. You really need the protection of the trail shoe. Not to worry, you bought good shoes, they definitely WILL withstand the more rugged trails also. As for the muddy, or sandy trails, etc, nothing will really help there. It’s just a matter of “digging in” and moving forward. I did install “screws” on my trail shoes. That helps “some” with gripping on nasty trails. But like I said, nothing really helps too much under those circumstances. I mainly installed the screws for the icy trails – they are literally a GODSEND for those types of trails!!!
    You’re AWESOME! Good luck on your journey to 50K!! I’m excited to hear about it! 🙂


    • Thanks! It’s good for me to hear other people’s insights. Being in Iowa, we don’t exactly have technical trails all over the place. I’m glad to hear I made a good investment! I’m very pleased with them so far!


      • You’re welcome my friend!! When I started running ultras, my ultra friends gave me some PRICELESS great advice on everything from shoes to fueling, hydration, and clothing, etc… I’m always happy to be able to pay it forward! Have a great day!! 🙂


  2. Those are great! I tried them a while back and really liked them. I was a little worried about the lugs holding up – I thought they might break off after a bit – but it seems like they’re holding up well for you!


    • They’ve held up well so far! That is a concern for me long term, though. We’ll see how they hold up after a few hundred miles. Thanks for checking out the review!


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