Columbia Montrail Trinity MX Trail Running Shoe review in a nutshell: if you're looking for a handsome, max-cushion trail running shoe with a secure upper and a lovely, plush midsole, look no further than the Montrail Trinity MX.
For some reason, Columbia is one of those brands I use continuously, yet I hardly ever get around to writing about it. For example, I've been using the Facet 75, the hiking boots that turn you into a goat, for months with great pleasure, but I keep putting off writing about it because there are always new deadlines and other products to write about.
I ended up in a similar situation with Columbia Montrail Trinity MX Trail Running Shoes. I was sent a sample months ago, and I used the shoes extensively, climbing the Sugar Loaf in Wales and going on bikepacking tours, but until now, I simply couldn't find the time to share my experience. I'm here to rectify this and tell you: these are some of the best trail running shoes out there for cushioning as well as looks. Why? Read my review to find out!
Columbia Montrail Trinity MX Trail Running Shoe review: price and availability
Launched in April 2023, the Columbia Montrail Trinity MX Trail Running Shoes are available to buy now directly from Columbia UK, Columbia US for a recommended retail price of £145/ $160—AU price and availability TBC. The shoes are currently available in two colourways, Ocean Blue/ Collegiate Navy and Black/ White. I tested the latter, although, from a running dynamics point of view, all colourways are the same (obviously).
Columbia Montrail Trinity MX Trail Running Shoe review: specifications
- Stack height: 36mm heel/ 28mm forefoot
- Drop/offset: 8 mm
- Lug depth: 5 mm
- Weight: 12.2 oz/ 346.9g (Per Shoe, US Size 9)
- Midsole: Techlite PLUSH
- Insole: OrthoLite Eco
- Outsole: Adapt Trax
- Best for: cushioning
Columbia Montrail Trinity MX Trail Running Shoe review: technology
The Columbia Montrail Trinity MX Trail Running Shoes are all about stability and secure fit over uneven terrain. They feature a seamless mesh upper with asymmetrical lacing and Columbia's own Navic Fit System that uses a lace-webbing setup that wraps the navicular bone in your midfoot and keeps your heel in place for long-term comfort.
Underfoot, the Techlite PLUSH provides plenty of cushioning – just look at that foam! – and delivers a smooth transition from heel to toe, thanks to the rocker design. Columbia claims the foam provides greater durability than any foam they've ever created. At the rear, you'll find a TPU heel clip for added stability.
The outsole, admittedly an important part of any footwear designed for off-road use, features the Adapt Trax outsole. It has 5 mm lugs and can provide traction even in wet conditions. Finally, the OrthoLite Eco insole comprises 17% of 'eco' content and delivers 'enhanced' breathability and lightweight long-term cushioning.
Columbia Montrail Trinity MX Trail Running Shoe review: ergonomics and performance
I sit on the fence regarding tall/max-cushioned trail running shoes. The North Face Summit Vectiv 2.0 Pro is an excellent example of shoes with a tall stack height designed for technical trails, but I know that they are used as road-to-trail shoes by many. The tall, soft foam is tricky to make work on uneven terrain where stability is king.
Straight out of the box, I knew the Columbia Montrail Trinity MX Trail Running Shoes would be different. Despite the chunky midsole, the shoes feel more stable than 'super shoes', and thanks to the wide midsole platform, the Montrail Trinty MX performs better even on more technical trails.
I was initially concerned about the weight of the shoes and the upper's breathability, but after running in them a couple of times, I noticed that although the shoes are definitely big, they don't feel heavy on the foot. I went half a size up because that seems to be the perfect Columbia hiking boots size, but I should have gone true to size, as the shoes are more than spacious enough.
Midfoot lockdown is also excellent. I never felt restricted or needed to tie the laces too hard to keep the shoes in place. My heels felt securely cupped, and I couldn't notice any rubbing or slipping in the shoes.
What I did notice was that the Montrail Trinity MX is geared towards cushioning as opposed to energy return. This was expected, especially considering the amount of foam present underfoot. Running in the shoes is a comfortable experience, albeit not the fastest. Recommended for longer runs off-road when leg preservation and ankle stability is your primary concern.
Columbia Montrail Trinity MX Trail Running Shoe review: verdict
Well-cushioned and pretty, the Columbia Montrail Trinity MX Trail Running Shoes are sure to turn some heads on the trail. In fact, when I wore them recently on a trip, people commented on how cool the shoes looked, so if you like it when other runners (and hikers) comment on your footwear, the Montrail Trinity MX is a solid choice.
It's also an excellent max-cushioned trail option when leg preservation is your primary goal. The Techlite PLUSH midsole and rocker geometry help you move forward efficiently, and the 5 mm lugs provide enough traction on dry and wet surfaces to keep your footing stable. You could probably find trail running shoes with a similar running dynamic for cheaper, but they won't look as cool as Columbia Montrail Trinity MX.
Columbia Montrail Trinity MX Trail Running Shoe review: also consider
More functional than stylish, the inov-8 Trailfly G270 v2 retains all the excellence of the first-gen trail tamer, including its speed and agility, balanced protection, excellent grip, and robust durability. On top of that, it adds a little extra upper comfort—another winning trail shoe from inov-8. Read Kieran's excellent Inov-8 Trailfly G270 V2 review.
Another chunky option, the Hoka Speedgoat 5 is a fantastic, slightly lighter upgrade to the Speedgoat 4 with a new, sock-like mesh upper made from recycled materials, excellent midsole rebound, outstanding traction and grip from the Vibram Megagrip sole with Traction Lugs and a secure, snug fit for multi-terrain use and more muddy and technical (rocky, uneven) trails. Read Claire's full Hoka Speedgoat 5 review.