The RW to go: Montrail’s traditional strength, protection and versatile wet and dry traction provide a much more agile and bouncy ride and a somewhat polarizing upper.
- Pebax midsole plate provides responsiveness and rock protection
- Outsole works best on moderately technical trails in both dry and wet conditions
- Asymmetrical lacing reduces arch pressure and locks in midfoot fit
Lester: 10.1 ounces (M), 8.7 ounces (W)
Drop: 8 millimeters
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Many longtime trail runners will remember the beefy Montrail tanks built in the 2000s. Ultramarathoners may even remember the now defunct Montrail Ultra Cup, a series of ultramarathon races that resulted in a guaranteed ticket ( for the top three ranked) for the Western States 100. Columbia Sportswear acquired Montrail in 2006, and the parent brand had been fairly quiet in the running shoe scene until last year, when it released the Columbia Escape Ascent, a model best suited for tame to moderate trails. Does the Trinity AG, now with the Montrail name on its stem, revive the rugged heritage?
New midsole is faster
Unlike early Montrail models, the Trinity AG is not a breakfast bowl of nails. But it rides lighter and more nimble than last year’s Escape Ascent. An all-new construction underfoot also makes it faster, with a full-length piece of Pebax sandwiched between two layers of EVA-based foam. The slightly softer foam top layer, combined with less aggressive 4mm lugs, gave testers just enough cushioning to comfortably carry the shoe from road to trail. “The midsole offers a good mix of ground feel and protection; it’s mushy enough to soak up most rocks and bumps on the way down,” said an Escape Ascent and Trinity AG tester, who much preferred the latter.
Columbia still refers to the outsole material as the AdaptTrax which you’ll find on many of the brand’s trail running models. Our testers described it as “sticky like a frog’s tongue”, but found it wore out faster than they’d like. The Trinity AG addresses the durability issue with a new lug shape and a move to a sturdier rubber-based iteration of AdaptTrax. It loses some of that soft, sticky grip, but lets you push the mileage closer to 400 miles, depending on what terrain you face most often, before losing much of its bite. “I liked the Trinity AG for trail runs with loose gravel, wet roots and leaves, and moderately rough terrain,” added another tester. “Although for deep snow and mud I would definitely look for a shoe with more aggressive tread underfoot.”
Protective upper allows you to BYO gaiters
Testers found this shoe to be a perfect fit for them, and neither had any issues with hot spots or chafing – only one noted the toe box was a bit narrow. However, those with a high instep said the midfoot was more comfortable than most trail shoes they’ve worn. This is likely due to what Columbia calls its NavicFit lacing, named after the shoe’s tight wrap around the navicular bone on the top of the foot, which locks in the fit and helps stabilize you on the midsole. . Floating eyelets work with this design to prevent laces from getting added. too pressure on the top of the foot; testers with flat to mid-rise arches found it comfortably secure and unrestricted. “The fit of the shoe did the most work for stability and support and the flat, bungee-like laces held up surprisingly well,” said a neutral-footed tester, who clocks 40 miles a week. on the trails. “There is a seam that goes across the top of the forefoot. Although it’s not constant, I often found myself feeling it throughout my runs,” he added.
Wear tester feedback
Jonathan D | Tester since 2014
Arch: High | Gait: underpronator | Kick: Heel
“The grip of the shoe allowed me to stay in control on gravel, roots, groomed trails and even wet rocks. With the heel having an oversized curve, it feels like there is a wide area for it to dig into the ground and bite down well. However, since the lug pattern wasn’t exactly aggressive, I found myself having to slow down when descending on grassy, wet or dry trails. The rod is quite nice! There’s a good mix between protective overlays and premium mesh skin that can take some abuse before it’s torn. Compared to the Merrell Skyfire MTL, which has little durability in the mesh, and the oversized upper of the New Balance Hierro 3, this hits a happy medium.
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