With the comfort, cushioning and responsiveness of a trainer, these superlight and flexible mid hikers are great for pushing the pace on groomed trails.
Great out-of-the-box comfort
Not robust enough for technical use
Limited stability and traction for steeper descents
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Columbia Trailstorm Mid: first impressions
What’s in a name? With Columbia Trailstorm Mid hiking boots the crucial element is the brand name. The economies of scale that come with being a global mega-brand means that the biggest outdoor manufacturers are often good names to look out for if you’re looking for the best budget hiking boots (or the best cheap hiking boots for women). And brands don’t come much bigger than US behemoth Columbia Sportswear. Their Trailstorm Mid is a very attractive casual hiker with funky fresh, eye-catching styling.
Described as a ‘multi-sport shoe’ for roaming from ‘town to forest’, the emphasis is squarely on day hikes rather than technical terrain. As such, we’d expect a lightweight trainer-like feel with instant comfort and responsive cushioning. They deliver in all these respects, but unlike most trainers, you also get Columbia’s own Omni-Tech waterproof-breathable liner and a seam-sealed bootie construction to guarantee your feet stay dry in the great outdoors.
• RRP: $110 (US) / £90 (UK)
• Weight (per boot): 347g / 12.25oz
• Materials: Mesh uppers with Omni-Tech waterproof liner, Techlite+ EVA foam rubber midsole, Adapt Trax outsole
• Colors: Black & Dark Grey / Graphite & Creek
• Compatibility: A lightweight trail hiker for day walks, fast-paced trails and town to country escapes
Columbia Trailstorm Mid: on the trails
The Columbia marketing blurb boasts about the capabilities of the Adapt Trax outsole, supposedly designed with ‘angular front and rear orientation lugs to provide the optimal balance between traction and durability on multi-directional terrain’. We weren’t quite so impressed. While it outgrips most trainers, the 4mm lugs aren’t that deep, which limits traction on slippery ground, and while the rocker sole delivers decent contact grip, the lack of a heel breast is a disadvantage on steeper descents. Admittedly, we maybe pushed these boots a little beyond their intended limits, and for quick hiking on groomed trails they are brilliant.
That’s largely because they are super-light, with fabric uppers that are as immediately comfortable as your favorite trainers (so no need to worry about knowing how to break in hiking boots). Obviously, this may impact long-term durability, though a laminated TPU film toe cap does add a little protection from scuffs and scrapes. You also get plenty of running shoe-style cushioning from the EVA Techlite+ midsole. Essentially, if you’re accustomed to hiking in trail shoes but want a little more waterproof protection and ankle support, without too much added weight, these mid boots are a great pick.
An outdoors writer and editor, Matt Jones has been testing kit in the field for nearly a decade. Having worked for both the Ramblers and the Scouts, he knows one or two things about walking and camping, and loves all things adventure, particularly long-distance backpacking, wild camping and climbing mountains – especially in Wales. He’s based in Snowdonia and last year thru-hiked the Cambrian Way, which runs for 298 miles from Cardiff to Conwy, with a total ascent of 73,700 feet – that’s nearly 2½ times the height of Everest. Follow Matt on Instagram and Twitter.