Montrail Rogue Fly Review by Jay Aldous
|My Shoe Quiver Comprised of Mostly Montrails|
Let me start with a disclaimer. I’m a Montrail guy. I’ve been trail running for about four years and have tried many different shoes – La Sportiva, Inov-8, and New Balance. But, with the exception of some Hokas, my current quiver is exclusively Montrail. And, more than half of the quiver is comprised of Rogue Racers and Rogue Flys.
I first experienced the Rogue Racer when I borrowed a test pair from my friend Christian in early 2011. One run in the Rogue Racers and I knew this was my shoe. I ran eight races in 2011, ranging from 50K to 100 miles, technical mountain terrain to running tracks – all in the Rogue Racers. In each of the races I was able to place in the top three. I partly credit my good year to shoes that fit well, were extremely nimble and responsive, never caused a blister, and were light. I often referred to my Rogue Racers as my “happy shoes.”
When I heard that Montrail was bringing out a shoe (Rogue Fly) that was essentially the Rogue Racer with a new upper and was more than an ounce lighter (7.6 oz vs. 8.8 oz), I couldn’t wait to give them a try. The Rogue Flys did not disappoint.
|Men’s Rogue Fly Available in Grey or Red|
The Outsole: The bottom is comprised of sets of three-point lugs. The lug height provides reasonably good traction in loose dirt, snow, and on loose surfaces. The lugs are short enough that the shoe feels great on pavement or on a track. Montrail uses its patented “Gryptonite” rubber that is fairly grippy on everything EXCEPT anything that is wet. On a wet surface the “Gryptonite” turns into “slyptonite.” Runner beware! I find that I wear down the lugs between 400-500 miles.
|Rogue Fly Lugged Bottom|
The Midsole: I find the Flys super responsive and they provide me with just the right amount of trail feel. I feel connected to the surface and love how I they make me feel like I am a part of the trail – not removed and distant like beefier shoes. That said, there is not a lot of protection and you do have to watch foot placement. Step on a sharp rock and you will feel it! For a minimalist shoe, they offer a surprising amount of cushion for bombing downhill. Hokas they are not, but you can still descend full throttle in them. I also like that they have a 9mm drop. My feet and legs are used to some drop and are happiest in shoes with 6-10MM drop. I’m glad Montrail didn’t feel the pressure to go with less drop in their minimalist shoe.
The Uppers: Montrail got the uppers right! The all mesh upper with only a seam at the toe and heel is EXTREMELY comfortable, even more so than the Rogue Racer. There is almost no slop or movement in the upper for me. And, they are cool and shed water well. They are more durable than the Rogue Racers uppers which blow out for me at about 300 miles at the hinge point, particularly when they are wet. Here’s what has me so stoked about the uppers on the Fly – they are more comfortable, more durable, better looking, AND lighter than the Rogue Racers! Which – begs the question as to whether there is even a role/purpose for the Rogue Racers in Montrail’s current line???
Durability: The Flys are not Hardrocks that will last a 1000+ miles. That said, I have been able to get between 400-600 miles out of a pair before the lugs are worn to nothing and the midsoles collapse. Unlike the Rogue Racers where the uppers wear out first, the uppers are the most durable part of the Rogue Flys. While I certainly would like the shoes to last longer, I completely get that one of the tradeoffs for a superlight shoe is durability.
|A Mighty Fine Looking Shoe|
Place & Purpose: So what’s the role of the Rogue Fly in my current quiver? It’s my go to shoe for racing. I’ve raced two 100 milers this year in them with good results and happy feet. They are also my preferred shoe for speed work and shorter runs. For longer runs on more technical terrain I’m trying to wear out several pairs of Masochists, Badrocks and Rogue Racers. If I didn’t feel a compulsiveness to wear these shoes out, I would probably pretty much run exclusively in the Flys, keeping a couple of pair of Hokas in the quiver for technical terrain and runs with lots of vertical. I think I have found my new “happy shoes” in the Rogue Fly.
Jay is an amazing diverse athlete, having once held the World Record for riding a bike around the Earth (not a typo). Now a days he focuses on blazing 100 mile races and has won four of them in the last year. He is literally the fastest 50 year old you will ever meet, having set the World Record for the 100 mile distance at the Desert Solstice last year. To read more from Jay, visit his team’s website MRC, where he is a frequent contributor.