Columbia is a well-known maker of quality outdoor goods. As a lifelong hiking enthusiast, I have owned many Columbia products over the years. From jackets to shirts, socks, and boots, Columbia has been one of my go-to brands.
One of my favorite-ever pairs of hiking shoes is the Columbia Plains Ridge. I have owned my pair since 2016 (almost four years). They have accompanied me on countless hikes.
These serious hikers are still somehow intact. Given this experience, I was eager to try the Vitesse Outdry, a new offering from Columbia.
The Columbia website advertises the Vitesse Outdry as a versatile hiker that is also a multi-sport shoe. The Columbia site describes the shoes as a “great choice for any activity.”
Although they are advertised as performance shoes, the Vitesse Outdry is also styled to “look good on trail and the street.” The Columbia website also emphasizes the lightweight nature of the shoes.
Columbia has designed the Outdry model to be completely waterproof, using a one-piece membrane for the upper. Nonetheless, the shoes are supposed to be breathable.
I decided to focus my test of the Vitesse Outdry on both everyday wear and trail performance. I am used to hiking in shoes designed specifically for rugged conditions.
I was curious how this more fashion-oriented model would fare when subjected to the same environments where I would use a serious hiker.
In summation, I found the Vitesse Outdry to be a decent hiker but not exceptional.
What should you look for in a hiking shoe?
There are some very specific features that I look for in a hiking shoe. These features are designed to prevent injury and maximize comfort.
The outsole is what makes or breaks a hiking boot or shoe. You need to feel stable and secure when you trek onto loose, uneven terrain.
A lugged outsole with raised bumps will help you feel sure-footed and minimize the risk of slipping and falling.
- A firm but flexible midsole
A good hiking shoe is constructed around a firm, supportive midsole that flexes at the toe. I look for torsional rigidity at the arch area of the shoe, which I test by trying to twist the shoe with my hands.
If the arch area remains unbent during the twisting, then I know that the shoe has adequate support. Also, I like solid cushioning in my hiking shoes. EVA foam is a traditional hiking shoe cushioning system.
Most higher-quality hiking shoes include a stock insole that can be removed from the shoe.
As a flat-footed person, I need to replace stock insoles with a more supportive aftermarket model. If you don’t have flat feet, using a cushioned replacement insole will extend the life of your shoes.
- A durable, protective upper
It’s easy to scrape a foot when hiking on rocky terrain. The shoes upper should be made of a rugged material that will offer good protection from the elements.
You should try on hiking shoes carefully to make sure that the shoe does not rub your foot uncomfortably in any area. Rubbing can cause blisters or hot-spots.
This feature is very important for preventing blisters. The heel of the shoe should be hard, firm, and should hug your rearfoot closely. Too much slippage in the heel leads to painful blisters.
The way I test this when buying a pair of hiking shoes is to push on the heel with my finger. If the heel collapses under the pressure, I do not buy the shoes.
Stubbing your toe on a rock is very painful. Most hiking shoes and boots include a rubber bumper at the front for toe protection.
- A sufficiently roomy toebox
If your hiking shoe or boot makes your toes feel squeezed, you’ve found the wrong pair.
Look for a style that gives your toes ample room to spread out. Cramped toes lead to injuries, so let those piggies spread out in the shoe as much as possible.
Now that you know what I look for in a hiking shoe, it’s time to see how the Columbia Vitesse Outdry measures up.
The Columbia Vitesse Outdry looks like a hybrid between a street shoe and a hiker. The bright colors and shape of this shoe give it a sleek and sporty appearance that reminds me of the 1990s trainers.
This throwback look appears to be popular with shoe manufacturers right now. The street appeal does give these shoes added versatility for those who want a somewhat rugged daily-wear shoe.
However, the bright colors also show dirt in a way that traditional hiking boots. For me, the street appeal of the Vitesse Outdry does not really matter.
As a suburban dad in my mid-40s, I look for performance and comfort from my footwear. Style is not much of a selling point for me.
Nonetheless, I like the way that these shoes look and enjoy the color combinations that Columbia offers in this model.
I am a 9.5D on a Brannock device. The Vitesse Outdry fit me perfectly length-wise in a 9.5D but initially seemed a bit too loose around the forefoot.
I replaced the stock insoles with an aftermarket model. This helped fill up the extra room in the shoes.
With thicker hiking socks, the Vitesse Outdry now fits fine. However, this is definitely not a model for people with a narrow foot.
The Columbia Vitesse Outdry is an ultra-lightweight shoe, which makes it good for faster hiking. At no point did I feel weighed down by the shoes during any activity.
I enjoyed the ability to pick up the pace in this model. Despite the lightweight design of these shoes, they felt stable during my hikes. I would give this model a 10/10 on its weight, which helps to give these shoes a performance-ready feel.
The Vitesse Outdry boasts a seamless, waterproof upper. This upper is specifically designed to be breathable despite being waterproof.
From my experience, waterproof shoes are often not very breathable. I was interested to see whether this model would truly perform as advertised.
I first wanted to see exactly how waterproof these shoes would be. Fortunately, a torrential downpour came on a day when I was testing these shoes!
The results are pictured below.
In summation, my feet stayed completely dry despite the deluge. You can see looking at the happy snail that the conditions were pretty wet.
I tested the breathability of this shoe by hiking in warm conditions. Overall, I found these hikers to be breathable enough to be comfortable.
The uppers did not cause my feet to feel overheated. I believe that Columbia has achieved its goal of designing this model to breathe reasonably well despite holding out water.
One area where the upper seemed to be lacking is foot support. The uppers could have used some firmer overlays of the kind typically found on hiking shoes.
Without the addition of an aftermarket arch insert, my feet did not feel very well supported in this model. Because of this issue, the Vitesse Outdry may not be the best choice for longer hikes.
I also wasn’t fully pleased with the difficulty I had cleaning the upper from the mud. The light color made the dirt and mud very obvious in these shoes.
However, the mesh upper was hard to fully wash and kept showing the dirt long after the hiking was done. If this matters to you, you might want to choose a different model or a darker color.
The heel cup on the Vitesse Outdry is sufficiently rigid to prevent unwanted in-shoe motion.
However, the shoe would benefit from an extra lace hole on the collar area to better secure the heel. I found myself having to lace the shoe extra-tight to achieve a secure fit that I prefer.
Columbia designed the midsole of the Vitesse Outdry using an advanced ultralight compound. The shoes are indeed very light and also reasonably supportive.
The midsole does not twist at the arch, which makes the shoes suitable for hiking. The cushioning is more than adequate as well.
With this model, Columbia achieves the right balance between firmness and softness.
The shoe comes with a soft stock insole that is easily removable. The stock insole is soft and provides a little cushion.
It appears to be designed around a neutral or medium arch. I replaced the stock insole with my aftermarket orthotics with no issue. The stock insole may be fine for some people until it wears out.
The outsole of the Vitesse Outdry is very grippy. The Omni-Grip design features triangular lugs that are very helpful in preventing slips and skids on rough terrain.
My experience was very positive with this feature, which protected me from injury more than a few times. I felt sufficiently confident hiking in these shoes on everything from loose dirt to rocky ground.
The Columbia Vitesse Outdry is a reasonably effective day-hiker for shorter, faster hikes. Its best qualities include:
- An outsole that provides excellent traction even when used on very rough undeveloped terrain in mountainous areas. The Omni-Grip lugging works to prevent slippage on rocks and loose terrain;
- A waterproof yet relatively breathable upper made from a seamless material;
- A rigid heel cup that holds the foot in place within the shoe and includes a heel bumper for extra protection and traction;
- A very lightweight design;
- A cushioned midsole that provides solid and dependable underfoot support.
The drawbacks of the Columbia Vitesse Outdry include:
- Afit that is a bit too roomy in the forefoot for the marked width. It took the addition of an aftermarket insole to achieve a proper fit for me;
- A lack of support around the midfoot, which could be fixed with the addition of overlays (thicker straps around the midfoot) to hold the foot in place.
- Absence of an extra lace hole around the collar of the shoe to shore up the heel support;
- Colorways that show dirt easily if these shoes truly being used as performance hikers, and are hard to fully clean;
- A bit of a high price tag for Columbia shoes, which are traditionally more budget-oriented. If you are truly looking for a performance hiker from Columbia, you can certainly do better at a lower price point.
The Columbia Vitesse Outdry is a stylish hiker with some solid performance features. It should appeal to a variety of fitness-walkers who care about how their feet look when they venture off the beaten path.
It sacrifices some performance-oriented features for style. This makes me wonder whether this shoe is really made for hiking or for casual all-day wear.
Nonetheless, the Vitesse Outdry is quite comfortable and does work for faster hiking. However, I would not recommend the Vitesse Outdry to be your primary pair of hikers.
There are higher-performing shoes sold at a lower price point. I suggest the Columbia Vitesse Outdry mainly for those who hike occasionally and want a shoe that they can use for casual wear as well as outdoors.
This may also be a good daily-wear shoe for those who live in rainy climates.