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Columbia Facet 15 OutDry Trainer review: form and function for the trails

A running shoe–influenced, waterproof trail shoe, the Columbia Facet 15 OutDry Trainer is a statement about form and fucntion

Columbia Facet 15 OutDry Trainer
(Image: © Columbia)

Our Verdict

An undeniably interesting-looking shoe, the Facet 15 attempts – with some success – to supply both form and function. While the design is not for everyone, it’s extremely comfortable, grips and breathes well, and is reliably waterproof up to the tongue.

For

  • Stylish design
  • Blocky mid sole
  • Super lightweight cushioning
  • Stitch-free welded design
  • Great traction with advanced traction
  • HGS heel stabilizing system for optimal performance on the trail

Against

  • Feels like more of a fashion statement than a serious outdoor shoe
  • Lacing feels more suited to a trainer than an approach shoe
  • Some foot movement
  • Tongue allows water ingress

Columbia Facet 15 OutDry Trainer: first impressions

The Columbia Facet 15 OutDry Trainer is a bit of a statement. Since the US brand Columbia was founded over 80 years ago by Gert Boyle, with her ‘Tough Mother’ persona, her legendary perfectionism (“It's perfect. Now make it better”) is a standard that’s visible across all Columbia products. 

Columbia has brought a new vision, design ethos and construction approach to running and hiking footwear markets. And true to form, the new Facet15 OutDry Trainer pushes all sorts of boundaries when it comes to the best trail running shoes.

This visually arresting trainer (which might remind one of a futuristic bouldering wall) is constructed from a high percentage of recycled materials, and it is made in a manner that pushes the edges of trainer technology, using a ballistic textile upper with welded overlays and a HGS heel stabilizing system for optimal performance on the trail. 

Offered in a dazzle of bold colors, and in bot men’s and women’s versions (see some of the best women’s trail running shoes) the Facet OutDry isn’t only interested in making a pure fashion statement, however. Whether you use it as an approach shoe or a walking shoe, it boasts of supplying heightened trail performance, with foot-cradling cushioning, a stabilizing heel, and grippy outsole for maximum comfort and security. A padded liner and an elasticated, reinforced tongue should keep the wearer comfortable, without the tongue moving about during activities.

The Facet 15 is also waterproof, using a one-piece breathable waterproof membrane and patented OutDry technology to help keep moisture from muddy puddles and damp grass out. 

The durable Omni-grip sole features a traction pattern that provides a secure, stable platform for hiking on uneven terrain. The trainer’s soft, high collar and padded liner keep you comfortable when you spend a long day out, whether it’s on the trail or off-piste on claggy mud. 

Will you keep them clean and mud free? Well that depends on the adventures you take them on, but let’s face it, if you’re using them as intended, there’s zero chance of these boots staying super pristine for very long. 

Specifications

RRP: $162 (US) / £115 (UK)
Weight: Men’s 390g / 13.5oz Women’s 290g / 10.5oz
Materials: Ballistic textile upper with welded overlays; OutDry breathable waterproof membrane; Techlite midsole; Omni-Grip non-marking traction rubber outsole
Colors: Men Black & Bright Red / Black & Ti Grey Steel Women Deep Purple & Dolphin / Dark Grey & Dolphin
Compatibility: Hiking and urban adventures

Columbia Facet 15 OutDry Trainer: on the trails

Ballistic, brave, bold – these are just a few words that could be used to describe the fairly ‘out there’ design of the Columbia Women’s Facet 15 OutDry Trainer – but would it perform as a decent approach or trail walking shoe? We took it to the Peak District to find out.

Breathability

Thanks to the OutDry membrane, the Facet 15 was super breathable and largely waterproof, thanks to its stitch-free, welded technology. It performed well in less optimal conditions, and in warm, muggy conditions it did allow my feet to breath slightly, but didn’t feel as comfortable due to its restrictive lacing system. 

Size

Unfortunately, for me the Facet 15 felt slightly too broad. There were various spaces in the toe bed which resulted in my foot moving uncomfortably around. The lacing was only across the top of the arch of the shoes, meaning it was hard to reduce the space at the top of the foot and prevent hot spots from developing on the soles. Overall, the Facet 15 felt like it was too big a design to suit an average foot, perhaps lending itself better to those with a broader foot shape.

Columbia Facet 15 OutDry Trainer

(Image credit: jessie Leong)

Waterproofing

Walking out along the rolling hills and gravel-strewn slopes along the outskirts of the peak District, it’s not uncommon to encounter a lot of wet bracken, heather and bilberry bushes. Testing the Facet 15s out after a fresh dollop of wet weather, the shoes showed they were able to cope with copious amounts of water thanks to the OutDry Membrane, without getting saturated, although a design weakness was around the padded tongue where water could start to penetrate and seep in from the ankle.

Performance

The lined, padded tongue and the superlight Techlite midsole of this shoe provides superior comfort and responsive padding to prevent negative shock impact walking over rough terrain. 

The novel look of the Facet 15’s midsole causes some debate, though, when it comes to how to choose trail running shoes – is it a stylish innovation, a fancy feature or a simply bit of a gimmick? On test, it did seem to help spread load across my foot without weighing down the shoe, while a fabric toggle helps position the tongue in place. Flat purple laces speckled with blue held the shoe in place, whilst a tab on the heel also meant the shoes could be clipped onto a harness (handy for those using them as an approach shoe).