REPOST: Owner Review - Montrail Stratos XCR - Drew Davis
I have addressed all of your edits and edit suggestions. I added a
paragraph on durability (in lieu of your suggestion)and on
breathability at the end. You will probably want to check those out.
As far as I can tell, I think I fixed everything. Let me know if I
need to do anything else.
I also wanted to thank you for taking the time to edit this for me.
I know I got ahead of myself earlier in the week and I hope you or
anybody else took it personal. I am certainly grateful for the time
you have volunteered to this organization and to my reviews in
Montrail Stratos XCR
Name: Drew Davis
Height: 6 Feet (1.83 Meters)
Weight: 175 lbs (79 kg)
Email address: drewnc2005@...
City, State, Country: Pittsboro, NC, USA
Backpacking Background: I started backpacking at roughly five years
old. I started with an old external framed pack, a heavy synthetic
sleeping bag, and a military style pup tent. While my enthusiasm for
backpacking has never changed, the old and heavy gear I took as a
kid has. I now consider myself a lightweight backpacker. My base
pack weight (tent/tarp, sleeping bag, and pack) is now 6 lb 1 oz
(2.7 kg) while not ultralight, I keep my 5 day pack weight under
25 lb (11.3 kg) including food and 100 oz (3 L) of water.
Year of purchase: 2005
Listed weight: 17 oz (482 g) per shoe
Weight upon arrival: 18 oz (510 g) per shoe
MSRP: USD $140
Size: US 10.5
A relatively lightweight trail shoe offering mid-ankle protection in
a waterproof/breathable package. The shoes have a Gore-Tex XCR liner
that serves as a barrier to heavy moisture and water yet is supposed
to let one's foot breathe at the same time. There are welded rubber
panels on each side of the shoe which aid in keeping one's foot
locked in place while traversing on unstable ground. Couple this
with a narrow heel cup and one has a tight yet comfortable fit in
order to reduce slippage and blister causing friction.
I have used these shoes on numerous weekend excursions over the past
nine months or so. I will highlight my experiences with these shoes
on three such trips during this span in order to show their
performance in several different environments.
Trip 1: A two-day/one night backpacking trip in the Craggy Gardens
area of the Black Mountains in North Carolina.
Trip 2: A two-day/one night backpacking trip in the Uwharrie
National Forest in central North Carolina.
Trip 3: A two-day/one night backpacking trip in the Grayson
Highlands of Southwest Virginia
Trip 1: Craggy Gardens
Craggy Gardens is an area near Mt. Mitchell (the highest peak East
of the Mississippi) in western North Carolina. The maximum elevation
during this backpacking trip was 5892 ft (1796 m) and the low point
was around 4200 ft (1280 m). On this particular trip, we had a light
mist and heavy fog to start the hike. To further clarify the
situation, I was carrying around 22 lbs (9.9 kg) and the first 1.5-2
miles (2.4-3.2 km) was a steady and rocky descent towards a
waterfall. I highlight these details in order to accurately depict
the activity in which the shoes were being tested.
Over the first leg of the hike, a steady downhill, I found the shoes
to be surprisingly sticky with respect to grip. I was surprised
because a light rain/mist had been falling and accumulating on the
rocks for about an hour before we began our descent leaving the
rocks very wet and slippery. I was moving at a 3.5 mi/hour (5.6
km/hour) pace down these rocks and only had one instance where I
relied on my trekking poles to catch me from slipping and falling.
Initially, I was very happy with the performance of the shoes given
the semi-treacherous conditions.
Since we got a late start, we only hiked about 2 hours on the first
afternoon. Towards the end of this two hour hike, I did notice the
shoes to begin to feel restrictive. In other words, they began to
feel tight around the center "band" of my foot - the top portion of
my foot extending from the arch and the arch itself. Speaking to the
shoes' ability to keep out water, they were great. When I got inside
my tarp and took my shoes off, my feet were completely dry
regardless of the wet conditions. The XCR liner definitely did its
The next day, everything had dried out and it was a very nice day. I
was particularly interested to see how the boots would perform on
this day given that I would be doing a steady uphill section - the
type of hike that would typically give me blisters on the back of my
heel. The first section was uphill and I had no issues at all
regarding movement or slippage in the heel area. For me, this was a
borderline miracle. I have been through several pairs of boots and
shoes and have never been able to avoid a heel blister altogether.
Nevertheless, I refrained from jumping for joy because the hike was
by no means finished and I didn't want to get my hopes up.
The hike went on over a relatively flat terrain with only minor
uphill and downhill sections. By day's end, I had hiked around 12 mi
(19.3 km) and was blister free. Needless to say, I was pleased with
the Stratos' overall performance on this hike.
Trip 2: Uwharrie National Forest
This area is much lower in elevation and therefore had fewer ups and
downs than the previous trip. The elevation at the trailhead was 553
ft (172.4 m) with only an approximate 2,500 ft (779.3 m) change in
elevation over roughly a 20 mi (32.2 km) loop. I encountered no rain
or moisture at all on this trip making for an ideal hike.
Arriving late at the trailhead (again) meant only a 2.5 hour hike in
on the first day. I covered roughly 7.5-8.5 mi (12-13.7 km) during
that time. During the hike, I did loosen the laces through the
middle "band" of my foot so that I would not encounter the same sort
of pressure I felt from the previous trip(s). By now, I knew how to
deal with the issue and it was no longer a real problem for me at
all. While the shoes are narrow through this area, I feel that it
helps in reducing slippage of my foot inside the shoe while hiking
and thereby reducing blisters as well. It is important to mention
that the shoes really only feel narrow through this region and leave
me, for the most part, ample room in the toe box - an area I'll
On the second day, we finished up the remaining part of the 20 mi
(32.2 km) loop. Again, I felt no discomfort while climbing and
rubbed no blisters on my usually troublesome heels. I did, however,
encounter a problem in the toebox. I seemed to rub a blister on the
outside part of my fifth metatarsals (pinky toes) on both feet. By
no means were the blisters horrible, but I did feel them and there
was a marginal amount of discomfort involved. I'm not exactly sure
what the problem was since I neither had that problem prior to that
point nor have had it afterwards. My only guess is that perhaps I
was lacing the shoes too tight towards the toes compensating for the
slack I was giving the center of my foot. Honestly, I don't know.
With respect to shedding water, the shoes held up great. I sloshed
through various creek crossings and had no problem shedding the
Trip 3: Grayson Highlands
This trip consisted of taking a loop that connected the Appalachian
Trail to another blue-blazed trail called the Pine Mountain Trail.
The loop was roughly 21 mi (33.8 km) and varied in elevation from
low points of about 3500 ft (1067 m) to a high point of 5728 ft
(1746 m). There were quite a few very rocky ups and downs which
certainly gave me a chance to evaluate the issue of stability. Also,
I came face to face with a severe thunderstorm that brought with it
approximately 50 mi/hour (81 km/hour) wind gusts and small hail.
This definitely put the XCR liner to the test.
The first day of the trip consisted of about a 1200 ft (366 m) climb
over about 2.5 mi (4 km) and then a short descent before I called it
a day. I had no issues with slippage during the climb, no hotspots,
and certainly no discomfort. The next day, I hiked the remainder of
the loop. The weather was excellent most of the morning until around
lunch. I was on a ridgeline when the "bottom fell out." The wind was
howling and the rain was pouring. After several minutes, it began to
hail and I was miserable. Rain was pouring in through the tops of my
boots as I had no gaiters or rain pants on. I only had about 1.5 mi
(2.4 km) to the next shelter and decided to push on instead of
setting up a tarp to wait it out. To make a long story short,
everything I owned was completely saturated. I finally reached the
shelter and waited the storm out for about an hour and a half.
Needless to say, my shoes did not dry and were sopping wet when I
decided to continue hiking. In fact, "not dry" is probably an
understatement - they were absolutely soaked. Fortunately, all of
the water inside my shoes and socks did not cause a blister the
remaining 5-6 mi (8-9.6 km) of the hike. I cannot say exactly how
long my shoes took to dry as I had another pair of shoes once I got
back to the car.
So far, I have not noticed any structural failure in the boots.
Specifically, I have seen no problems with respect to stitching, toe
rand/sole delamination, eyelet failure, or tread. In terms of
durability, the boots have exceeded my expectations. After eight
months use, I would have expected to see more wear than I see at
present. Frankly, the only wear worth mentioning is that they are
Breathability is one of those issues that I think is very important
in my shoes yet pay little attention to once I'm actually hiking.
However, I have noticed on several trips how my feet do get quite
hot by the end of the day. I know this simply because I feel so much
relief when I finally take my shoes off. In other shoes I've worn,
particularly non-waterproof shoes, I do not encounter the same
problem of heat release when I take my shoes off. Fortunately,
though these shoes do seem to be warmer than others I've worn, they
have yet to cause any major blister problems which was a main reason
why I valued breathability to begin with. So even though they are
not extremely breathable, I have not seemed to suffer as a result.
In fact, the trade-off to have the XCR liner has been worth the lack
of breathability thus far.
After 8 months of fairly heavy use, I am pleased with the Montrail
Stratos XCRs. As I mentioned before, I have had a terrible time
trying to find a pair of trail shoes or boots that would not rub me
wrong and give me terrible blisters. I was looking for something
that would not only be comfortable and lightweight, but also provide
sufficient protection from water and moisture. So far, these fit the
- Drew -
Great job on the editsI don't see anything to correct in your repost,
and am approving it for upload.
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- PS - and sorry for the cut and paste typo on your name (I deleted that
message but it may have come through anyway).
Great job on the review - looking forward to seeing more.