A very comfy, cushioned shoe for both roads and trails in all conditions, if only the laces were easier to do up quickly.
Top end of budget pricing
Hard to lace quickly
No eco-friendly materials mentioned
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Columbia Escape Pursuit: first impressions
The Columbia Escape Pursuit were reviewed as part of our buying guide to the best cheap running shoes currently available, and although they sit at the top end of the price range we used for this category, they have a lot of excellent qualities that make this higher cost worthwhile.
• List price: $110 (US) / £90 (UK)
• Weight (pair UK 6.5): 522g / 18.4oz
• Colors: Men’s Black; Women’s Light Blue / Blue
• Drop: 5-8mm
• Compatibility: All distances, all terrain
First of all the fit is true to size, the weight is average, the toe box is regular and the feel is very comfortable straight from the box. The laces are a little tricky to lock down securely as the middle two holes have been replaced by a ribbon that they have to pass through – a system that takes a little getting used to. But the resulting fit (which Columbia call their Navic Fit System as it fits securely over your mid-foot navicular bone) is very comfortable when you finally work out how to get them in place.
With the bouncy Techlite+ midsole there’s a nice balance of padding and flexibility – you can feel the ground beneath your feet so they can respond quickly but you’re also protected from impact and uneven terrain. The AdaptTrax grip is good in any weather – rain and dry – with 4mm chevron-shaped lugs for impressive grip on all surfaces apart from super deep, claggy mud (you’ll need the best mud running shoes for that). There’s also a helpful finger/thumb loop and lengthened heel at the rear so you can get the shoe on and off easily.
Columbia Escape Pursuit: on the roads and trails
We really enjoyed running in this very comfortable shoe, which gives the best road to trail running shoes a run for their money. From roads and park runs to fields and paths, the Columbia Escape Pursuit does it all easily and we loved the good balance this shoe strikes between feeling the ground underfoot but still being padded enough for longer distances. (but if you do plan to specialize in one or the other here are the differences between trail running shoes vs road running shoes).
The only real downside is that the middle two laces run through two ribbons rather than traditional holes so when you’re pulling the laces snug you have to hold them with one finger to stop them slithering loose; not a huge thing but it makes things a little trickier and more of a faff than usual. So although the resulting fit is very comfortable, we would prefer the usual holes here for ease of lacing especially with cold malfunctioning digits on morning runs.
Other than that, once you’ve got the hang of the laces, this is a good shoe for those who don’t need a super-wide toe box and want a responsive ride for all types of terrain.
The co-founder and former editor of Trail Running magazine, Claire now runs the YouTube channel Wild Ginger Running, creating films packed with trail- and ultra-running content. An award-winning journalist, writing for outdoor and adventure sports magazines and websites, her first book The Ultimate Guide to Trail Running 5k to 50k is out in January 2021. Claire also speaks and presents at events and races.