The first thing that shines about the Fluid Enduro is how light it is. Compared to even the lightest traditional hiking boots, it feels featherweight. The next immediate thing to note is the fit. Out of the box, the sizing is true to length, but depending on foot size the toe box may feel a little roomy. From skiing, I know I have a 98mm last to my forefoot. After my first run with these, however, I realized that my heel and instep were perfectly snug and the extra width was necessary for the extra impact and flexion you get when running on a trail compared to hiking—which is a new practice to me, admittedly.
My first day in these I also wore cotton socks, and got a bit of a blister on my small toe. Clueing in to the fact that these shoes are technical apparel, I switched to synthetic sport socks, and my feet have been singing since. To boot, the shoe is built with breathable Outdry material to help evacuate moisture, so you want a sock that allows that.
Compared to a running shoe, the Fluid Enduro has a slightly more rigid sole with a more aggressive tread, which Montrail calls “Gryptonite.” It has a good amount of natural rocker, and the rest of the shoe—which is a mesh-leather hybrid—is nice and supple while reasonably sturdy. The result is you get a downscaled hiker that’s more breathable and waterproof than a running shoe, but just as comfortable and light.
These have lived in my car all summer and have more or less taken over for my hikers. You wouldn’t want to use them for any major scrambles, as there’s no ankle support, but by the same token they’re low to the ground without a butted heel, which makes me, at least, a little less prone to rolling my ankle to begin with. The arch support is also quite good and I haven’t yet had to put in a foot bed, whereas I need them in every other piece of footwear I have. Durability, over about 30 days of use, seems to be quite solid. There’s no stitching coming undone, though they’re perhaps slightly less water resistant and a little more supple now—as the pores of the shoe have taken on a little mud. I also still don’t get why any company uses round laces as they just will not stay done up unless you double knot them. But that’s the same with every shoe in this category, so too bad for me—but listen up for next time, shoe industry!
Although it is available in high-top for those who want a more dedicated hiker, as a do-everything alternative to both runners and hiking boots, the Enduro Fluid hits pretty close to bull’s eye, and is reasonably priced to boot. Similar shoes from competing brands can go for up to $100 more. Now go get some trail, eh!