Columbia Master of Faster Review
Using a trail running shoe for hiking can be beneficial in a number of ways. First, they are typically much lighter than heavier and bulkier hiking shoes. Second, they are typically a lot more comfortable. Third, it’s easy to have one shoe that can do it all. And while trail running shoes are excellent for hiking shoe, don’t think that Columbia hasn’t been paying attention to what people are wearing on the trails when they were developing the Master of Faster and how they can get a solid foot into the market, no pun intended!
I’ve been testing out the Columbia Master than Faster Tech Lite’s for a few months now and while I was a little skeptical at first, I have grown to really like them. When you first try these shoes on, they are pretty snug and a little stiff. Something that I am not a huge fan of in the first few miles my first hike out, but after that, it’s all gravy! For traction, Columbia uses its traction system called Omni Grip which is a 3-pronged lug that gives you traction in all directions, not just forward and backward. I found the Omni Grip sole of the Master of Faster to provide ample amount of traction on all my hikes. I hiked rocky dry and wet Colorado trails and I also tested these shoes out in Northern CA, Oregon, and Washington where the ground is a little moister, wet, and there are a lot more roots in the trail.
To keep your feet dry, the Master of Faster Omni-Tech comes with Columbia’s Omni-Tech membrane which is their form of waterproofing on a shoe or garment. While the Colorado trails generally weren’t all that wet, the trails in the Northwest were wet and there were plenty of water crossings. The end result of hiking in all these varying climates, my feet stayed dry no matter what the environment was. While the Omni-Tech keeps you dry, keep in mind these are low top shoes and water will come over and into the shoe if you step in a river. The durability of the Master of Faster is exceptional to this point. I’ve put many miles on these shoes and there is no said stitching or piece of fabric that is coming undone. For those of you that accidently stub your toes on rocks or roots, there is a nice protective toe guard to help you from bruising your toes or losing a toe nail.
For stability, Columbia has added a TPU shank to the midsole of the shoe that gives this shoe some rigidity. I took the Master of Faster on an overnight backpacking trip with a 35-40lb pack and I felt I had plenty of support. The shank runs about 2/3 of the way up the foot in the midsole. While backpacking, I also was able to use the Master of Faster as my trail running shoe as well. I didn’t want to take a separate pair of trail running shoes with me, and it turned out they worked just fine on my 6 mile trail run. I wouldn’t buy these shoes for the sole purpose of trail running, but a run here or there, they will do just fine.
In the end, I really enjoyed the Columbia Master of Faster hiking/multisport shoe and feel they are a great shoe for day hikes, occasional trail runs, and weekend backpacking trips. For more information, please visit Columbia.com