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Montrail Hurricane Ridge XCR Shoe SPOTLITE REVIEW

An old favorite gets a makeover, making it better than ever, but also a little heavier.

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Overall Rating: Recommended

The new Hurricane Ridge XCR is a makeover of a favorite shoe from Montrail. The majority of the numerous changes serve to make this shoe an even better performer than its predecessor. Its support and stability in rough terrain are extraordinary. However, the fit has changed a bit, and the new shoe is significantly heavier.

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by Will Rietveld and Janet Reichl |

Overview

The Montrail Hurricane Ridge XCR is a wide-based trail shoe that has become somewhat of a classic with ultralight enthusiasts because of its weather protection and stability on rugged ground. The upgraded model, introduced in fall 2006, retains key elements that made the original so successful, and adds some newer technologies and features. How does the new shoe compare with the old one?

Montrail Hurricane Ridge XCR Shoe SPOTLITE REVIEW - 1
The upgraded Montrail Hurricane Ridge XCR.

Montrail seems to know not to mess with success. The new Hurricane Ridge shoe has the same sawtooth tread, all-weather upper, stretch fit tongue, broad toe box, and medial post for pronation control. It still has its flared, stable base and low-to-the-ground ride. However, there are a lot of changes, so we will take a closer look.

Montrail Hurricane Ridge XCR Shoe SPOTLITE REVIEW - 2
The new Hurricane Ridge’s outsole has a sawtooth tread very similar to the old model, and now uses Gryptonite GT sticky rubber to add extra traction.

Advancements in the new Hurricane Ridge include improved forefoot flexibility, a modified tongue to improve ease of entry, more mesh in the upper, a full-length protection plate, a stiffer heel cup, molded strap to provide more ankle stability, and a four-density EVA midsole, extra cushioning under the heel (called TerraHex), and new Gryptonite GT sticky rubber in the outsole. We won’t attempt to explain all of this, but suffice it to say that the new Hurricane Ridge embodies the newest technologies from Montrail.

These upgrades come with a weight penalty. Our measured weight of the new shoe for men’s size 12 is 3.6 ounces more than the old model.

When we compared the upgraded model to the previous model, we noted numerous changes throughout the shoe. It’s basically a makeover without sacrificing any of the key attributes of the old shoe. We did notice that the tread is a little narrower, mainly because the rand does not extend out past the edge of the upper. The broad toe box is unchanged, but the shape of the toe box has changed - the widest part of the toe box on the new model is further forward (see photo below). The modified tongue still makes entry a bit tight, but it seals well around the ankle to keep snow and debris out. We did not notice any change in forefoot flexibility over the old model. If anything, it seems slighter stiffer. And the new model has more exposed mesh in the upper for better breathability.

Montrail Hurricane Ridge XCR Shoe SPOTLITE REVIEW - 3
The new Hurricane Ridge XCR shoe (left) is a little taller than its predecessor (right), and has a little more rocker (toe area upturned more).

The fit of the new model is not identical to the old model. For Will, the old model fit his wide feet better than the new model, because the widest part of his foot (the metatarsal head) is further back from the toe end and better matches the toe box of the older model. The toe box of the newer model is also wide, but the widest part is further forward. Thus the toe box on the newer model felt tighter for Will. Janet, who has more normal feet, had no fit issues. The point we are making here is - don’t assume that the fit of the new model is identical to the old one.

Montrail Hurricane Ridge XCR Shoe SPOTLITE REVIEW - 4
Looking down (left), the numerous changes in the upper are apparent (new model on the left, old one on the right). The toe box (left and right photos) is just as wide as the previous model, but the shape is different. The insoles (right) show the shape difference quite well; the widest part of the toe box is further forward on the new model.

We used the old and new Hurricane Ridge as our WP/B trail runner of choice in our Lightweight Footwear Systems for Snow Travel project (to be published soon) and loved it. The outside fabrics on this shoe don’t absorb water, so we didn’t have any problem with the uppers soaking down to the membrane, which adds weight and chills the feet.

For snowshoeing, hiking in snow, or hiking/backpacking in wet conditions and warmer temperatures (above about 25 °F), these shoes are hard to beat. Their broad base with its grippy sawtooth tread gets superb traction, they are very stable and supportive in rough terrain, they’re very durable, and they’re reliably waterproof (most of the time). Worn with a tight-fitting gaiter over the top, these shoes stayed dry inside (except for some sweat accumulation) the majority of the time. Only in the most challenging situations, like hiking for hours in really wet snow, did the shoes wet through enough to dampen socks (we wore a vapor barrier sock next to our feet, so we know it wasn’t sweat accumulation).

At higher exertion levels, the Gore-Tex membrane does not transfer moisture to the outside as fast as its generated, so there was some moisture accumulation in our socks and the lining of the shoes. In cold temperatures, our feet stayed warm as long as we kept moving, but tended to chill if we stopped very long. We found the best solution for chilly toes was to change socks when our feet felt damp.

Will especially liked the room the wide toe box provides for his wide feet (especially the older model) and the snug seal around the ankle that keeps snow and debris out. We both found these shoes especially supportive and stable in rough terrain and an excellent choice for ultralight backpacking when wet conditions are expected.

Montrail Hurricane Ridge XCR Shoe SPOTLITE REVIEW - 5
The Hurricane Ridge XCR (old model shown) is a great all-around shoe for cool weather and wet conditions, and grips exceptionally well on a variety of surfaces. Here Will is climbing some ancient moki steps in southern Utah.

The only downside is the tread tends to fill up with mud and it takes a long time for it to clean out by itself.

Features and Specifications

  • Manufacturer: Montrail (www. Montrail.com)
  • Sizes: Men’s 7-15, Women’s 5-11
  • Features: Gore-Tex XCR lining, IntegralFit (snug heel, wide toe box), TerraHex heel cushioning, four-density EVA midsole, medial posting for pronation control, full length protection plate, Gryptonite GT sticky rubber in the outsole, slipper-type tongue opening
  • Weight: Measured weight men’s size 12 is 35.6 oz/pair (1009 g); manufacturer specification 28 oz/pair, men’s size 9 (794 g)
  • MSRP: $125 US

Citation

"Montrail Hurricane Ridge XCR Shoe SPOTLITE REVIEW," by Will Rietveld and Janet Reichl. BackpackingLight.com (ISSN 1537-0364).
http://backpackinglight.com/cgi-bin/backpackinglight/montrail_hurricane_ridge_xcr_shoe_spotlite_review.html, 2007-03-02 03:00:00-07.

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