There was dismay when Montrail were scooped up by Columbia. Montrail had always seemed like a maverick left field company run by enthusiasts and racers, making some very original and exellently performing footwear. But they also had quality control issues and built-in flaws that would self destruct some models regularly.
Columbia immediately decimated the range and it looked like it was all over, the worse case scenario seemed likely: a few rebranded Columbia shoes that would still appeal to folk through past association with Montrail.
I don’t think anybody really considered a best case scenario, that Columbia would straighten out the problems and bring the brand back strong.
When I saw the lineup for ’08/’09 I couldn’t help but raise and eyebrow in hopeful expectation, there’s work been done in there. The range looks to have focus, there’s old favourites and new models. No Highlanders though.
The proof is on your foot and on the trail, and in for test to discover just how that goes I’ve got some models from across the new range.
There’s the Hardrock Mid GTX, Continental Divide GTX, Wildwood TR and the Streak. I’ve used maybe ten different models from Montrail, so I know what I’m looking for, and I know what I’m expecting. The fit seems to be the same as before, the construction looks good, the styling is refreshingly different.
We’ll come back to them for a proper look once they’ve been used, shiny shoes are banned from this theatre until further notice.