Friday, March 2, 2012

Rogue Fly Review- The newest trail racer by Montrail

This past summer I entered a race which was billed as the National Championships of Ultra Running; The UROC 100K. The race involved a mix of road and trail, and a ton of elevation gain. I knew immediately my shoe of choice would be the Montrail Rogue Racer, as it performs equally well on pavement as it does on trails. The conditions that day proved to be epic during this clash-of-the-titans-race with most of the biggest names in the sport destroying eachother over the 64 or so miles of rain and mud and rock and road. The Rogue series of shoes wouldn't be your best pick from your footwear arsenal or quiver if the trails you are tackling are ankle sucking mud holes, or the rockiest rootiest technical beasts out there, but if you need a shoe for well maintained singletrack, doubletrack, fireroads, etcetera, the Rogue series is an awesome pick.

Upon hearing of the release of Montrail's lightest new racer, the Rogue Fly, I was excited to test out a pair. Luckily, Quest Outdoors awesome Montrail rep, Nick got me a pair STAT! These pups just came out and are available to all for a little over $100. The Rogue Fly is billed as a stripped down version of what used to be Montrail's lightest trail racer, the aforementioned Rogue Racer. They say the Fly is the exact same shoe as the Racer without the overlays present on the upper its predecessor, however it feels like a much different shoe. This accomplishment leaves us with a gem of a shoe in the Fly all positive changes, no drawbacks. As far as I'm concerned, the Rogue Fly can take the place completely of the Rogue Racer.

The upper on the Fly doesn't feel anything like I was expecting. It is a stretchier mesh than is present on the Racer and in turn, it hugs the foot, providing a glove like fit in a lightweight package. In my opinion, this new shoe, the Fly is just as stable and capable as the Racer because the Midsole and Sole are the exact same. Whether you are checking out the burliest hiking boot or the lightest trailrunner, a shoe's stability comes from its sole and midsole combo, not its upper. Many people i have fitted for hiking boots are always concerned about ankle support, and its hard to explain to these folks that if the sole is stable enough to keep you upright on gnarly terrain, it is doing the work, not the upper. Like I said, this is more apparent in hiking boots where you would maybe think the opposite at first, but it is every bit as relevant in trailrunning shoes. 

The Fly's sole grips well on many types of terrain, but it wouldn't be my go-to shoe if conditions were terribly muddy. The micro three point lugs do well with occasional mud, but would clump and gather weight on a day which mud was more frequent than dry trails. On the upswing, during dry conditions this shoe provides a much faster more free flowing platform than a shoe which handles  shedding mud better. At the risk of sounding like a broken record, trailrunning shoes are like cars, you wouldn't drive a hummer in the Indianapolis 500, and you wouldn't go offroading in a Formula One race car. There is a car for every purpose, and a shoe for every purpose. The Rogue Fly knows what it is aspiring for, and it is one of the best at what it aims to be, actually, it is the best, because it offers a stable platform, with cushioning and protection, in a very lightweight package which is hard to do.

The Midsole is Montrail's proprietary Fluidpost design which is a breakthrough in midsole technology. It doesn't contains inserts or plastic moldings. It uses different durometers of foam through the midsole, so its denser where you need it to be and less where it needs to be. This aims to provide a more efficient stride, and over time, your legs, joints, etc will basically feel fresher.  

I plan on wearing the Rogue Fly at the Land Between the Lakes 50 miler, which is a high quality course on mountain bike grade singletrack, where the Fly was built to excel. I also plan on wearing it in the Umstead 100 miler this month which is also on superb quality terrain- a running path made of cruched granite. The low heel cut provides free flowing movement, and the lightweight shoe won't drag me down over time, and the support that the Fluidpost offers will work for me personally over the 100 mile distance on this course which is not technical. (On more technical courses I would prefer the Montrail Masochist which is a phenomenal shoe for technical terrain and long distances. Montrail plans on updating the Masochist this year with their Fluidpost technology midsole which should be an interesting result, as many people view the current Masochist of one of the best trailrunning shoes ever!) I'll also be wearing the Rogue again in the UROC 100K this year, in the form of the Rogue Fly and I'm very excited about that as it contains all the parts I liked about the Racer last year in a more lightweight package which still provides all the support I need on trails with the multi-functionality of handling pavment well enough too.

Heel- Narrow and Low Cut
Midfoot- Medium and Low Volume
Forefoot- Medium and Medium Volume

Cushioning- This shoe is labeled as Neutral, but can accomodate pronation with its Fluidpost midsole.

If you usually run inbetween two sizes, order 1/2 size up. I usually wear a 9.5 or a 10, and in these a 10 fits perfectly. For comparison sake, I wear a 9.5 in Montrail's own, Masochist.

Product Features
  •  Weight: 7.6 oz / 215 g
  •  A “Micro“ 3-point lug design for extreme lightweight multi-directional traction, combined with full-length Gryptonite™
  •  Horizontal and vertical flex grooves provide forefoot flexibility
  • Ride Height: 18 mm heel, 8 mm forefoot
  • Simple, all mesh upper construction creates a minimal, lightweight fit and feel with uparalleled breathability and "seamless" nature
  • Low profile midsole for flexibility and a fast responsive feel on the trail
  • Combined external TPU shank and Trail Shield™ for support and traction

Pictured Above- The Rogue Racer

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