Sunday, February 07, 2016

Montrail Caldorado or Montrail Trans Alps? Which to Choose?

Article by Jeff Valliere

Montrail Caldorado Left, Montrail Trans Alps Right
When presented with the opportunity to test some of the newest offerings from Montrail, the Caldorado or the Trans Alps, I initially had trouble deciding which one would be most appropriate for me.  I’ll admit that I had a bit of difficulty deciphering based on the photos and as of yet limited information being released aside from their respective advertised weights.  Ultimately, I was fortunate enough to not have to pick one or the other, as Montrail was kind enough to offer both models for me to test.

Montrail Caldorado review here with comparison to Brooks Cascadia 11
Montrail TransAlps review here

As illustrated in the full reviews linked above, they are both great shoes and are evidence that Montrail is well on it’s way to regaining their reputation as a top tier trail shoe manufacturer.

But which of the two is most appropriate?  It completely depends on your usage and preferences.  

Though I very much appreciate both models, being a trail runner who often enjoys pushing the pace on technical trails (I have 5 year old twins at home, so I am almost always in a hurry), I have found that I more often gravitate toward the Caldorado.  The Caldorado is lighter (11 oz. vs. 12.5 for the Trans Alps) and is a much more nimble, stable, responsive and agile shoe.  It feels lighter than the 11oz. weight would imply and has enough protection and cushion to be appropriate for any distance on just about any trail, training or racing.  Though very protective with the TrailShield rock plate integrated with Montail’s proprietary Fluidfoam/Fluidflex system (features shared in both the Caldorado and Trans Alps), ground feel is better, as is heel toe flexibility and lateral/torsional flexibility. The Caldorado is a very versatile and competent shoe .
Montrail Caldorado Top, Montrail Trans Alps Bottom
On the other hand, if I know I will be out for a longer, rough day in the mountains and will be encountering just about any sort of terrain and surfaces, not really out for speed, I’ll for sure pick the Trans Alps.  For instances where added protection and traction will be paramount, the added weight of the Trans Alps is completely worth it.  The lugs are deeper and more aggressive in their shape and configuration, so traction on steep dirt, snow, off trail environments is far superior and the added cushion, though not plush, will keep your feet comfortable and well supported even on the rockiest trails and talus.  Though not as naturally quick, stable, responsive and agile as the Caldorado, the Trans Alps can hold it’s own when need be.

Montrail Caldorado Left, Montrail Trans Alps Right
Fit is very similar in both shoes.  Both fit very precise with great security and control, excellent heel hold, comfortable upper with no pressure points or discomfort and both fit true to size.  Room in the toe box is not particularly generous in either shoe, but I have enough room for foot swell in both.  The Trans Alps feel a touch more narrow in the toe box, as it is ever so slightly more tapered on the lateral side, but not a problem.  As I suggest with any shoe, I would advise trying them on first, especially if you have higher volume feet and/or prefer extra room in the toe box.


Reviewer Bio

Jeff Valliere is a former pro cyclist who now runs and climbs the mountains of Colorado. He has been top 5 Masters, top 25 overall, at the Pike's Peak Marathon several times, finishing 3d Masters this year. Jeff loves vertical accumulating more than 500,000 vertical feet per year, has climbed all the 14's and 200 of the 13's and has held FKT on several.  He often runs and climbs at night. Passionate about the sport but also the gear he has reviewed hundred of shoes for various magazines and sites and participated in product testing for many brands.  Formerly a bike mechanic he now works in Satellite Imagery. He has twin 5 year old daughters who keep him ever busier yet.


Running Warehouse has the Montrail Caldorado and Trans Alps

Use Coupon Code RTR10 for 10% off
Montrail Caldorado  Men's
Montrail Trans Alps Men's Women's

Free 2 Day Shipping and "No Sweat" Easy Returns!

The Caldorado and Trans Alps are also available from the Road Trail Run partner sites below.


Bruce said...

hi jeff--great review! how would you compare the caldorado to the akasha, both for running and for hiking?

also, do you think the mudclaw 300 might work as a hiking shoe? i've read that it runs surprisingly well on harder, flatter trails in addition to mountain running.

might you know anything about the adidas terrex swift hiking shoe, or do you avoid actual hiking shoes for hiking?


Jeff Valliere said...

Hey Bruce, both are great shoes, but if I had to choose one, whether running or hiking, I would for sure go with the Akasha over the Caldorado. The Akasha has better cushioning, is more responsive, has better all day comfort, better traction and a more comfortable fit in my opinion. I am not familiar with the mudclaw or the swift.