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Alpine FTG Trail Shoe by Columbia Montrail
Weight: 10.5 oz (M’s 9), 7.75 oz (W’s 7)
Stack height: 16MM (heel) – 10MM (toe)
Lug depth: 4MM
Best Features: Tacky outsole, springy midsole, breathable upper, old-school style.
Room for Improvement: Not suited for a narrow foot.
The new Alpine FTG by Columbia Montrail (women’s version here) is a blend between a classic sneaker and a racing flat. The upper is made of breathable TPU yarn and heat-molded mesh to add structure. The upper fits and looks like a casual trail shoe, with standard laces (that hold in place well) and a classic woven yarn pattern over the toe box. The gusseted tongue fits nicely and the toe bumper is a welcome addition to this shoe because without it, your foot might feel vulnerable due to the relatively short stack height.
What makes this shoe special is the stack height and outsole design. Tacky rubber with widely-spaced chevron lugs mean it’s especially suited for mud and technical terrain. However, you may not want to get too technical. The point of the Alpine FTG is to feel the ground (FTG). The squishy midsole and thin-yet-protective outsole translate the trail through the shoe into your stride successfully. This does mean that if you’re running on very sharp rocks, you’ll feel them.
During testing, the Alpine FTG felt good on road, gravel, buffed-out singletrack and moderately-technical trails.
The Alpine FTG can be worn as a comfortable shoe around town, a daily trainer or a middle-distance racer. Around the Trail Runner office, it’s a great fit: comfortable at the desk, rocks and old-school style and is ready for a run at a moment’s notice.
—Megan Janssen is the Associate Editor of Trail Runner magazine.