Columbia Facet 75 Outdry Waterproof Hiking Shoes review: a family of adventure-ready footwear

Lightweight but hardy hooves for hitting the hills and tackling trails virtually year round

Columbia Facet 75 Outdry Waterproof Hiking Shoes review
(Image credit: Manon Guenot)
T3 Verdict

The Facet 75 Outdry Waterproof Hiking Shoes from Columbia are versatile, protective, and super-supportive hooves for trekking, long-distance day walking, and backpacking in conditions that don’t require heavy hiking boots. Lightweight but with a responsive and well-cushioned midsole, a grippy outsole and a chassis that cradles your foot and supplies stability, they enable you to move fast on technical trails with complete confidence.

Reasons to buy
  • +

    Reliably waterproof

  • +

    Excellent foot support

  • +

    Very secure fit

  • +

    Perfect for fastpacking

Reasons to avoid
  • -

    No recycled materials used

  • -

    Runs warm on hot days

  • -

    Low ankle support (not suitable for carrying heavy packs)

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People have a tendency to reach for their boots every time they go for a stroll in the countryside, but while decent hiking boots can be essential for tackling very technical terrain (especially in adverse conditions and/or when you’re carrying considerable weight in a hiking backpack and need advanced ankle support) very often a good walking shoe can supply all the performance and protection you need to keep your feet safe and dry during an outdoor escapade – even a multiday one.

Far lighter than hiking boots but much more protective than most trail running shoes, the Columbia Facet 75 Outdry is exactly this kind of highly capable hiking shoe, as I recently found out during a series of adventures in the mountains of France and the moors of southern England.

Columbia Facet 75 Outdry Waterproof Hiking Shoes review

Columbia Facet 75 Outdry Waterproof Hiking Shoes review: price and availbility

The Facet 75 Outdry Waterproof Hiking Shoe from Columbia is available for men and women now, with a recommended retail price of £125 in the United Kingdom, $130 in the United States, and in $269 in Australia for the low-cut shoe version. The mid-height version is also available for £135 (UK), $140 (US) and AU$289 (Australia), and the Facet 75 Alpha Outdry (with a higher bootie) retails for £155 (UK) and $160 (US), this last version isn’t ranged in Australia.

Columbia Facet 75 Outdry Waterproof Hiking Shoes review: specifications

  • Upper: Durable mesh with no-sew overlays and TPU Midfoot support and Navic Fit system
  • Waterproofing: Outdry
  • Midsole and insole: Techlite Plush with an OrthoLite Eco insole
  • Sole: Adapt Trax with 5mm lugs
  • Weight (one shoe, size 8): 416.5g / 14.7oz
  • Colours: Men’s: Mercury & Raw Honey / Kettle & Black / Black & Fiery Red / Nori & Black; Women’s: Light Sand & Frosted Purple / Beetroot & Sundance / Sedona Sage & Sundance / Black & Wild Geranium

Columbia Facet 75 Outdry Waterproof Hiking Shoes review: design and features

Columbia Facet 75 Outdry

(Image credit: Pat Kinsella)

Columbia offers three iterations of the Facet 75 Outdry Waterproof Hiking Shoe: the low, the mid and the ‘Alpha’. I have primarily been testing the low version – which is very much a hiking shoe with a low-cut collar running beneath the ankle – but I have given the Alpha a blast, too.

The mid has a very slightly taller collar, offering a tad more ankle support, while the Alpha features a soft-feel knit collar that goes right up over your ankle – this isn’t rigid enough to supply any additional support, but it does offer a bit more protection from the cold and also helps stop trail grit, water and snow from getting into the shoe.

On all three versions of the shoe, the upper is constructed from a synthetic mesh reinforced with TPU overlays to make it more robust, and a TPU Heel Clip to increase stability. The defining feature of the Facet 75 family of shoes is the ‘Navic Fit System’, which incorporates a tough strap on either side of the midfoot that’s integrally connected to the lacing system and is designed to enable you to achieve a really good, firm fit.

Columbia’s own-brand Outdry waterproof membrane (see above) makes the shoe weatherproof while still allowing your feet to breathe. There’s a large pull loop to assist you in pulling the shoe on and a reasonably protective rand and toecap to help avoid stubbing injuries.

The Facet 75 Outdrys feature a fairly high stack, with Columbia’s cushion-like Techlite Plush EVA-based midsole providing the suspension. Inside the chassis, there’s an OrthoLite Eco insole for additional comfort.

All models of the Facet 75 Outdrys have a rocker-shaped sole, and on the bottom of the shoe, the Adapt Trax outsole is armed with 5mm lugs.

Columbia Facet 75 Outdry Waterproof Hiking Shoes review: performance

Columbia Facet 75 Outdry

(Image credit: Julia Clarke)

I took my test pair of the Facet 75 Outdry Waterproof Hiking Shoes on their maiden voyage during a multiday hut-to-hut adventure in the French Alps, trekking along a mixture of well-formed footpaths and technical trails wending around the flanks of Mont Blanc while wearing a fully loaded daypack in early autumn.

In these conditions, they were close to perfect, with the Adapt Trax outsole (which isn’t especially aggressive despite the depth of its 5mm lugs) supplying good grip on the gravelly, rocky routes we were exploring. Because I wasn’t carrying too much weight while out and about, the lack of ankle support was fine, and I found the shoe lightweight and nimble for moving at pace when I wanted to, and perfect for hopping around rocks on the summits and passes.

I was especially impressed with the Navic Fit System, which really did help me get the shoes secured on my feet in a reassuringly tight – but still comfortable – way. This, combined with the heel clip, meant my foot didn’t move around at all inside the shoe, which made me confident when I was scrambling on rocks and descending on loose scree, and it vastly reduced the chances of developing any blisters or hotspots. 

It was a dry, sunny autumn, and the trails were hard-baked, which could have become uncomfortable on long hiking days, but the Techlite Plush midsole on these shoes supplies plenty of bounce and effectively cushions the jarring effect of repeated footfall on unforgiving terrain.

Columbia Facet 75 Outdry

(Image credit: Pat Kinsella)

The alpine treks did involve the occasional stream crossing, which enabled me to trial the waterproofing credentials of these shoes, and they passed with flying colours.

Since returning to the UK, I have been able to put them through a much more authentic testing process in this regard, during long winter day hikes across Dartmoor, Exmoor and along the South West Coast Path in truly wet and wild weather – but again, the Facet 75 Outdry shoes have performed very well, keeping the rain and trail juice on the outside, where it’s supposed to be.

In wetter, muckier conditions, however, I did find that the tread pattern on the outsole collected quite a bit of mud.

Columbia Facet 75 Outdry Alpha

The Columbia Facet 75 Outdry Alpha have an integrated knit sock 

(Image credit: Pat Kinsella)

I’ve had the opportunity to test both the low-cut and the Alpha versions of this shoe, and there are pluses and minuses to both. While the knit sock on the Alpha reliably prevents water, snow, sludge and grit from getting into the shoe when you’re battling through really bad weather and boggy terrain and helps keep your lower leg and feet much warmer, it doesn’t offer any real ankle support, looks a bit odd and runs too hot for me on most days – I would reach for some more traditional hiking boots with better support when tackling the kind of terrain these are designed for, even if that means wearing slightly heavier footwear.

While the low-cut Facet 75 Outdry shoes can only keep your feet dry during shallow stream crossings and less apocalyptic conditions, they are – in my opinion – a much better choice for most people because they offer excellent versatility and can be used all year round on the sort of terrain that we spend the majority of our time exploring. They still run a little warm on hot days, but the breathability of the mesh and the Outdry membrane is decent.

The front box is pretty generous on these shoes, allowing your toes to spread nicely during long days on the trail. It’s worth noting that all versions of the Facet 75 Outdry walking shoes tend to be a little large, though, which is fine if you intend to wear big chunky hiking socks, but if not, you might want to try a half-size smaller than you usually take, to avoid having any gaps that might impact on performance and cause niggles.

Columbia Facet 75 Outdry Waterproof Hiking Shoes review: verdict

Columbia Facet 75 Outdry

(Image credit: Pat Kinsella)

A very versatile shoe with a reliable and breathable waterproof membrane, excellent foot support and a toothy outsole, the Facet 75 Outdry Waterproof Hiking Shoes from Columbia are ideal for all kinds of outdoor scenarios, including day hikes, low alpine treks, hut-to-hut high jinx, backpacking escapades when you’re not hauling too much weight and fastpacking adventures. It’s just a shame there’s no recycled material used in their construction.

Columbia Facet 75 Outdry Waterproof Hiking Shoes review: also consider

As impressive as the Facet 75 Outdry Waterproof Hiking Shoe is, disappointingly, no recycled or alternative eco-conscious materials have been used in its construction – if you prefer a hiking shoe that leaves a lighter footprint on the planet, check out the excellent Timberland Greenstride Motion 6 Hiker.

Alternatively, if you’re more interested in staying light and moving fast along trails than keeping your feet dry, check out the Keen WK400s.

Or, if you do a lot of scrambling and hiking on rocky, technical peaks, and you’re looking for a walking hoof that has the rigidity and level of protection offered by an approach shoe, run your eyes over the Scarpa Mescalito.

Pat Kinsella
Freelance outdoor writer

Author of Caving, Canyoning, Coasteering…, a recently released book about all kinds of outdoor adventures around Britain, Pat Kinsella has been writing about outdoor pursuits and adventure sports for two decades. In pursuit of stories he’s canoed Canada’s Yukon River, climbed Mont Blanc and Kilimanjaro, skied and mountain biked across the Norwegian Alps, run ultras across the roof of Mauritius and through the hills of the Himalayas, and set short-lived speed records for trail-running Australia’s highest peaks and New Zealand’s nine Great Walks. A former editor of several Australian magazines he’s a longtime contributor to publications including Sidetracked, Outdoor, National Geographic Traveller, Trail Running, The Great Outdoors, Outdoor Fitness and Adventure Travel, and a regular writer for Lonely Planet (for whom he compiled, edited and co-wrote the Atlas of Adventure, a guide to outdoor pursuits around the globe). He’s authored guides to exploring the coastline and countryside of Devon and Dorset, and recently wrote a book about pub walks. Follow Pat's adventures on Strava and instagram.