The Columbia Facet 60 Low Outdry hiking shoe is immediately eye-catching in design, and offers an interesting take on a lightweight hiking shoe. Columbia pitches the shoe as being suitable for ‘walking and running on diverse terrains’, thus making it a ‘versatile hiking shoe’. The Columbia Facet 60 Shoe is available in tan, blue and black, at an RRP of £115.
This brand has form when it comes to creating footwear that can – theoretically –take on a range of tasks (see our Columbia Facet 45 OutDry review for another example). So has it been successful here? Does the Facet 60 manage to be fast, light and stylish, yet still practical on trickier terrain – or should you opt for one of the more traditional designs in our T3's best men's walking shoe (or best women's walking shoe) guides? Read on for my full Columbia Facet 60 Low Outdry hiking shoe review.
Columbia Facet 60 Low Outdry review: design
The overall look of the Columbia Facet 60 Shoe is dominated by the funky sole unit, a look that’s accentuated by the TPU panels on the mesh upper. Although the look might be the big story, there is plenty of tech hiding in here, the Columbia-own-brand Outdry waterproof membrane and Techlite+ midsole being two headliners. The latter is designed to offer ‘responsive cushioning and stability’ while an Omni-Grip non-marking traction rubber outsole is responsible for grip.
The outsole lugs are arranged in a three-pointed array, creating a linear surface from heel to toe, rather than the more aggressive lugged heel and forefoot arrangement you might expect on a traditional walking boot or shoe.
The lacing system is relatively traditional, robust rounded laces link into custom metal hardware that looks the part, as well as being fairly durable. The downside of durability is usually weight, and that is certainly the case here, a size 8 UK Columbia Facet 60 Shoe weighing in at a substantial 371 grams. The lacing system forms a key part of what Columbia is calling a ‘Navic Fit’, which tightens over your mid foot navicular bone to improve stability, according to the company. Out at the rear, a hardened ‘heel guidance stabiliser’ adds stiffness to the heel unit as well as some protection to the heel, adding to the TPU-laminated sections around the sides of the foot and toe area.
Columbia Facet 60 Low Outdry review: comfort and performance
The Columbia Facet 60 Shoe is certainly a comfortable fit, feeling very much like a street shoe in many respects. The lacing system does lock the foot in place neatly, although we’re not entirely sure that the ‘Navic Fit’ is much different to other shoes that lace across the foot. That said, it’s a perfectly good system.
This feeling of a street shoe is enormously enhanced by the outsole lugs, which all sit at the same height, giving the feel of a skate-style shoe, rather than the more sculpted fit of an outdoor shoe. This setup also dictates the grip on offer, which is pretty good on urban surfaces, reasonable on grass and structured paths, and in increasing trouble in deeper mud or scree. To be fair, there’s more than a little in the look of these shoes that indicates they might not be designed for hillwalking, and it turns out that would be a sensible choice.
The angular panels on the midsole may draw the eye, but the midsole does deliver on the promise of cushioning, and doesn’t feel too wallowy in the process, making the Columbia Facet 60 Shoe surprisingly dexterous in spite of the marmite looks. It’s also strangely quite good on rock (as pictured in the Columbia marketing materials), partly due to that Omni-Grip outsole, the small but consistent lugs giving predictable grip and allowing a certain amount of confidence in smearing and the like.
Further good news comes from the midsole too, which is stiff enough for most outdoor scenarios, offering support and enough rigidity to protect, without sacrificing flexibility too much. Columbia describe this as ‘fluidframe multidensity underfoot support’, but whatever you want to call it, it does actually work.
It’s fortunate in many ways that the midsole is so chunky, as this takes some of the pressure off the protective elements of the shoe, which are in short supply. The laminated panels do offer some protection, but not much, around the sides of the foot, and the toe area feels particularly running-shoe-derived, with very little in the way of toecap to fend off rocks. The Outdry membrane does its job in terms of keeping water out, and does breathe reasonably well, although things do get warm eventually.
Columbia Facet 60 Low Outdry review: verdict
I was initially sceptical about the Columbia Facet 60 Low Outdry hiking shoe, due to the funky design and relatively straightforward build. However, it’s actually grown on us in use, and makes a pretty good walking shoe – within quite strict parameters. For urban explorers and footpath-trekkers, this is a surprisingly usable tool, albeit one that has limitations. The relatively shallow lugs are good for traction on short grass and other relatively well-groomed surfaces, but they start to struggle in less maintained situations, where a pair of hiking boots should really be the order of the day. The comfort on offer is decent, and the styling, well, unique. If you’re on the hunt for something a little different, these might well be the very thing…