Summary

We spent 9 hours reading reviews from experts and users. In summary, this is what runners think:

5 reasons to buy

  • Quite a few purchasers hail the snug fit of the Columbia FKT. 
  • Several buyers appreciate the comfort provided by the running shoe.
  • It provides a stable performance, claimed some runners. 
  • The athletes laud the shock mitigating qualities of the trail running platform. 
  • A number of customers commend the lightness of the runner.

2 reasons not to buy

  • A few reviewers state that the shoe requires quite a long time to break-in.
  • It constricts foot movements, some users commented.

Bottom line

An excellent all-terrain option for versatile runners, the Columbia FKT offers responsive cushioning and maximum comfort. With a design centered on implementing optimal durability and traction, this trail running shoe is a reliable choice. Packed in a featherlight platform, the running shoe offers premium support for a stable performance.

Facts

Expert Reviews

86 / 100 based on 3 expert reviews

  • 90 / 100 |

    Columbia Montrail FKT- Stable and grippy trail runner

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    Though I won’t be setting any FKTs (fastest known time) in this shoe, I was pleasantly surprised by the performance of the Montrail FKT by Columbia. It has flexibility where you need it, but it’s also stable in the heel and midfoot, so you aren’t slipping around in the shoe when going over uneven terrain.

    What is the most striking (pun intended) about this shoe is that the outsole is so grippy that I could take it over wet soggy grass and then onto the rocks without slipping around.  It’s not a super cushioned shoe like a Hoka, but it has comfortable and responsive cushioning.

     

     

    The insole is removable if you need to add your own for extra cushioning and comfort.  Overall this has everything that you need in a trail shoe at a price that makes it a great value too.

    Construction & design

    Starting from the outsole, the 4mm lugs give you enough grip for most surfaces and I can attest to how well these work on a variety of surfaces.

    I wasn’t able to test these in deep mud, so I can’t say how well that they would do in that situation, but in my experience, you would need much bigger lugs to do well in that type of situation.

    Not only are the outsoles versatile, but they are also durable as well.  There is solid protection along with grippiness on the outsole.  

     

     

    The midsole is not stiff like a lot of trail shoes. The forefoot is quite flexible which allows you the agility that you need to maneuver over a variety of terrain.

    The midsole is cushioned, but there isn’t a lot of it there so if you are looking for a Hoka shoe you have come to the wrong place.

    Despite the lack of stack height, it is still comfortable enough to put a lot of miles on. I do wish that there was a bit more cushioning for those downhill rides.

     

     

    The upper, what can I say about the upper other than it feels like a nice warm hug. The heel counter secures your foot so that it feels like it is molded to your foot.

    The ankle collar is padded all around, so you don’t feel any chafing or discomfort during your runs. The lacing system adds to that warm hug feel and wraps around your foot in a way that doesn’t create any hotspots around the top of your foot.

    The dual-mesh upper is breathable in the forefoot, but all of the padding around the heel isn’t really breathable, so they balance each other out.

     

    Fit/performance/durability

    What do you get when you mix a warm hug with flexibility?  Hot yoga maybe, but you also get the Montrail FKT.  Which will get you outdoors in fresh air rather than the contained hot air that accompanies every hot yoga class.  

    The shoe does well over grass, dirt, rocks, and man-made roads.  I was not able to test this on every type of terrain, but our current environment allowed me to venture out from the mountain trails that I normally run on.

     

     

    The shoe gave me the flexibility and room in the toe box that I need with the structure in the heel to make the ride quite comfortable.  

    I was very pleased with the fit and ride of this shoe and I like that it is durable enough that it will still be in good shape to take on the mountain trails when those open up again.  

     

    Pros

    • The upper is amazing with a wide toe box, breathable material, and stable heel counter.
    • It has decent cushioning that is responsive and comfortable.
    • Good midfoot lockdown and the tongue is padded so the shoe hugs your foot all over.
    • There's not a lot of overlays that end up being distracting.
    • It has a grippy outsole that works over a variety of terrain and is durable too.
    • Flexible where you need it most, but still stable and secure.
    • Sizing is perfect.
    • The leather addition on the heel acts as a pull tab which is quite helpful if you are not one that likes to sit down to put on your shoes.
    • Great value for such a well-constructed shoe.

    Cons

    • The cushioning it does have is great, but I would have preferred just a bit more to cushion those downhills and when you are on the flats.
    • The colorways for the women were not made for the trails.  I threw these in the wash for some good photos, but salmon pink and light blue don’t do well with dirt.
    • The ankle collar goes up a little higher than other shoes so I would recommend lower crew socks.

    Conclusion

    This is a great versatile training shoe and if you are in the market, I highly recommend it.

     

  • 90 / 100 |

    Columbia FKT - A serious trail runner

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    Opening the box of the new Montrail F.K.T. was a stimulating experience. The first thing I noticed was the cool blood orange color wrapping mostly all the shoes with the exception of just a bit of black accents.

    The rubber compounds and mesh are all soft to the touch and feel like durable, quality materials. The Montrail’s mountain logo is a neat design and is located near the lower midsole and on the pull tab.

     

    Style & design

    I have to highlight the Montrail's color option once again. Columbia really nailed the vivid blood orange selection making this shoe standout from the plain neutral tones of so many shoes in the market today.

     

     

    One can tell that functionality was a primary factor in the design of the Montrail. Protective rubber and welded overlays, 4mm lugs, and no-slip lacing system are all elements designed to get any serious trail seeker through any terrain.

    A minor feature I’d improve would include the heel pull tab located on the upper portion of the heel counter.

    Instead of a loop design, Columbia chose to place a short one-piece flap here that was short and didn’t offer much leverage to pull the shoes on with ease. A simple loop would easily solve this issue and make the overall design even better.

     

    Upper

    The upper of the Montrail F.K.T. is constructed of seamless mesh that excelled in the way of allowing proper ventilation.

    The inner lining within the upper provided a nice sock-like fit. I feel like the extra foot cage that was also integrated into this area was a bit excessive.

    It did seem to wrap the foot a bit more for a little more support. The downside to this extra support, however, was that getting your feet into the shoe felt awkward and almost uncomfortable at first.

     

     

    Once your feet slipped completely inside this area, everything was in its right place. Most importantly the shoes were really comfortable.

    I especially noticed that despite the changing temperatures outside on runs with snow, rain, or high humidity, the shoe breathed properly at all times. There were no blisters from any tight spots, no heel slippage.

    One improvement I would make would be to add a little more height to the shoe in the ankle region as this is a pretty low profile shoe. This would prevent ankle rolls that did occur a few times during testing.

    Midsole

    I was happy to discover that the midsole of the Montrail consists of an EVA and TPU blend of foam.

    TPU, or thermoplastic polyurethane, is a green product with high durability, responsiveness, low toxicity. This foam technology is more recently being integrated into shoes today.

    The Montrail’s unique blend of foam material combined with Columbia’s Trail Shield protection plate. It offers great stability and safety from protruding objects.

    Although some shoes with integrated plates fell more like a nuisance, the Montrail’s midsole design works well not to limit the foot in any way.

     

     

    I never felt the plate got in the way of ground feel and I was able to flex just enough in the forefoot area of the shoe. Much to my enjoyment, the Columbia Montrail F.K.T. produced a consistent and responsive ride.

    I credit this to this great blend of modern midsole materials. The TPU proves to be very durable and should hold up to many technical trail runs without any issues.

    Outsole

    Columbia went with a full rubber outsole that really sticks well to the ground in all elements. Rain, snow, mud, and loose gravel were all no match to this sticky outsole with nice 4mm multi-directional lugs.

    Performance

    The “break-in run” for these shoes consisted of a 10K collegiate cross-country course just a day after receiving pouring rain.

    Needless to say, the Montrail F.K.T. stood out as a serious trail shoe. The 4mm lugs dug into the wet grass fields, mud, and dirt and were relentless in providing all the grip I needed.

     

     

    There was no hesitation in cornering fast through quick switchbacks on the course. I spent a lot of time training along a converted railway trail with packed rock terrain as well as single-track terrain used by trail runners and mountain bikers.

    When training over ten miles on long runs, I didn’t notice any real issues related to foot fatigue and the cushioned response was consistent throughout every run.

    The shoes were tight enough not to allow smaller pebbles into the inner liner. While attempting to slide on wet surfaces as a “grip test,” the Montrail’s outer rubber did not budge.

    The rubber compound really excels in this area and its ability to grip over larger rocks, tree roots, loose debris, steep hill climbs, and speedy trail descents was much appreciated.

    Conclusion

    The Columbia Montrail F.K.T. is indeed a responsive trail shoe that offers plenty of breathability, traction, response, and support.

    I would consider this shoe for any trail distance and not surprising if this shoe also crosses over to the hiking market for its superior durability and long-term comfort.

    To be transparent, this was the first time running in a shoe from Columbia and I was left extremely impressed! If Columbia would improve the inner mechanisms of this shoe, then this would have been a nearly perfect score.

     

Become an expert

Since the FKT’s configuration revolves around sturdiness and support, the trail running shoe features the brand’s renowned Tri-density Trail Reaction System. This technology features an integration of three important midsole elements. These are the shoe’s mid-density EVA midsole, combining the Trail Shield forefoot protection plate. These two are then layered on top of a responsive TPU foam for optimized cushioning and stability. 

Complementing the shoe’s Tri-density Trail Reaction System is the running platform’s TPU heel counter. This helps lock the foot in place, boosting security and support even further.

The Columbia FKT is designed using the standard measurements for both men and women. Buyers can get a pair using their usual size choice. However, buyers are encouraged to try on the fit or go through reviews of the shoe first before proceeding to purchase. 

For the fit of the running shoe, one of the components responsible for this is its Tri-density Trail Reaction System. This midsole innovation promotes both comfort and lockdown fit. To top it all off, an external TPU heel counter is added into the shoe’s engineering, locking the foot securely in place.

For amplified traction, a full-length rubber, just like that of Brooks Transcend 6, runs full-length on the Columbia FKT’s outsole. Exhibiting high-strength properties, the rubber outsole also enhances the protection and durability of the trail shoe. The outsole material is also flexible enough to encourage the natural flex of the foot while employing minimal bulk. 

Added to the outsole fashion of the shoe are the directional lugs. These are 4mm in height, heightening the traction and sturdiness of the trail running shoe.

As mentioned, the midsole composition of the Columbia FKT features the Tri-density Trail Reaction System. It sports three different midsole elements—mid-density EVA foam, Trail Shield protection, and TPU foam—combined together to optimize support and comfort. 

The EVA and TPU foam pronounce the rebounding qualities of the FKT. These components also increase the plushness and security within the platform. Moreover, the Trail Shield protection enhances the torsional rigidity and provides substantial forefoot protection. Overall, these elements pose for better impact attenuation, protecting the foot from strain or injury. 

Tasked to supplement the Tri-density Trail Reaction System of the shoe is the external TPU heel counter. This midsole element equips the wearer with better fit and lockdown.

Comfort from the FKT is not only found in its midsole components but also in its upper design. The trail running shoe boasts an irritation-free running experience with its seamless textile upper. Coupled with welded overlays, not only does the shoe highlight comfort but also structural integrity and sufficient security. 

A power mesh sock fit is also incorporated into the platform’s construction to act as the airflow system. This power mesh sock houses the foot securely, preventing unwanted shoe removal. 

For extended fit and support, a secondary lace cage is also introduced to the trail running shoe’s engineering.

Author
Jens Jakob Andersen
Jens Jakob Andersen

Jens Jakob is a fan of short distances with a 5K PR at 15:58 minutes. Based on 35 million race results, he's among the fastest 0.2% runners. Jens Jakob previously owned a running store, when he was also a competitive runner. His work is regularly featured in The New York Times, Washington Post, BBC and the likes as well as peer-reviewed journals. Finally, he has been a guest on +30 podcasts on running.

jens@runrepeat.com