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Montrail Bajada Shoe Review


 
First off, what does Bajada mean?
 
Merriem-Webster says:
1 : Southwest : a steep curved descending road or trail
2 : a broad alluvial slope extending from the base of a mountain range out into a basin and formed by coalescence of separate alluvial fans
 
It seems like both of these definitions would make a sweet name for a running shoe…so I like it!
 

After running through about 10 Asics DS Trainers in a row I was beginning to be unsatisfied with the longevity of the shoe as well as its performance on trails. I’ve determined that it is my perfect ROAD shoe but just doesn’t hack it on the trails. But I can’t talk too much smack because that shoe has kept me injury free for over a year now.
 
Recently Rod Bien decided to bring in the Bajadas where I work, Fleet Feet Sports. I was able to check out this shoe, wear it around the shop, and take it for a couple short runs. It had a lot of what I was looking for but you just never know until you take it out for some real running and totally break it in.
 

 
I decided to pull the trigger and have been VERY VERY happy with this shoe. It is now my full-time trainer and I will be doing my ultra races in it this year. At 10.3 oz. it is plenty light for me. It is considered a neutral trail runner and some call it the Montrail Rogue Racers “bigger brother.” My body and feet like a slightly “beefier” ride, something that I feel like I can really thrash down hills in. I will sacrifice a few ounces for peace of mind any day.
 
I have a medium to narrow heel and forefoot and have found the Bajada to fit just fine. It may be a pinch roomy in the forefoot but nothing that really bothers me all that much. I’ve found the lugging on the outsole to be very grippy and handles well on all surfaces. The shoe also contains a trail shield under the forefoot to block sharp rocks from bruising my feet; this is important if you run steep trails. I’d say the shoe runs pretty true to size in length and definitely feels like a regular D width.
 

Nice Lugs.

 
I have had zero issues with the upper, no hot spots, no blisters, nothing. I thought that maybe the heel counter road a little high on my ankle but that sensation went away after one run. And oh! The cushioning of the midsole is definitely a little more firm out of the box. Especially for someone like me who was used to the gel of an Asics, this took a bit of getting used to…but I now love the firmness of it. It makes me feel stable and secure. I’m not saying that there is no cushioning; just that it is a little firmer than what you may be used to. And the cushioning does soften up a bit after a couple runs so keep that in mind.
 

Gray Piece = Trail Shield


 
I’m super stoked to have finally found a trail shoe I like! I’ve put about 250 miles on the shoe so far and feel like I have at least that more life in it to come. I was having to swap out my DS Trainers every 300 miles which was definitely taking its toll on the wallet.
 

Standard shoe on heating vent shot.


 
I really feel like this is a perfect match for me…it’s sort of like a lighter snappier Cascadia…and it’s even lighter than my DS Trainer but not a minimalist shoe by any means with its 10mm heel to forefoot drop ratio.
 
If you found my review helpful and would like to support my site, check out pricing and other reviews here: Montrail Bajada Trail Running Shoe
 
Update: I was about to post this review yesterday but I’m actually glad I didn’t as I have some more info for you guys. It will be my only real critique of this shoe. I did a 24 miler yesterday out at a place called Smith Rock National Park in Central Oregon which is known for its steep challenging trails. I noticed that on the really steep descents my toes were smashing up against the front of the shoes and the toe lip is not very soft or forgiving. I actually had to tie my laces really tight to keep myself from sliding forward in the shoe and crunching my toes. On all the other grades I’ve run on I hadn’t felt this…I guess it just takes a real steep one but it’s worth noting that you may want to go up a half size to be sure you don’t run into this problem. But if you don’t run on anything really steep then you most likely can get away with your regular shoe fit size.
 
Again, check out other reviews and pricing here.
 
Let me know if you have any questions or comments or if you end up buying a pair!

4 comments

1 Phuc { 03.24.12 at 6:57 pm }

Hi Chase,
Enjoyed your post since I stumbled on it when looking for a review for Mizuno WE 6. Anyway, since talking about trail running shoes, I’m wondering if you had run (or will) in INOV8 shoes. I heard good things about them, but still doing more research. Thanks.
Phuc

2 Sam { 05.26.12 at 10:01 am }

Hi,
I have just bought a pair of these. First short run felt great so going to crank up the kms tomorrow. I am a die-hard Inov-8 fan but after a winter of road running I felt I needed just a little more cushioning this summer while training for some ultras. Inov-8 Rocklites appear to have a better toe box protection than the Montrail Bajadas and are very grippy. But I am still very excited about my new Bajadas! Apart from the colour.

3 Jason { 09.22.12 at 1:33 pm }

The reason your toes are hitting the end is probably because your foot is sliding forward during decents. That means it’s probably a bit high volume for your foot. Buying a half-size larger would make this worse. You’d be better off tying them tighter, or adding a thicker insole to take up more room. Since these are neutral shoes, they don’t have much arch support – adding an insole with arch support might also help secure your foot better too.

4 Chase { 01.13.13 at 8:31 am }

What’s your fave inno-8?

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