Columbia Peakfreak Low OutDry ReviewNovember 24, 2012
- Very lightweight.
- Fits like a running shoe, but the flex is firmer.
- OutDry waterproof laminate technology is reasonably breathable.
- Good arch support.
- High volume fit isn’t likely to work well for people with narrow feet.
- Could use a better footbed for off-trail hiking.
- Good cushioning but at a cost to feel for rough ground.
- Not a good choice for heavier pack loads.
If you want to move very fast and light over moderate terrain and you have medium or wider feet, Columbia’s Peakfreak would be worth considering. It worked well as a light hiker, and can do double-duty as a trail runner. It had better lateral support than many trail runners, but not quite enough stability for tough, off-trail use.
Support and Stability
The Peakfreak, dedicated to fast and light travel, had excellent support for a trail running shoe—though for a light-hiking shoe, it was middling. There’s a lot of cushioning in the midsole that reduced the shoes stability and security somewhat on uneven rocky ground. The arch support was good.
Protection & Comfort
There are “rock guards” in the forefoot that, combined with lots of cushioning in the heel, protected well against sharp stones. A sturdy rubber bumper kept my toes from harm, and there’s some light padding on the ankle and the gusseted tongue but the thin upper material didn’t protect my feet much. The fit is high-volume, which will make it comfortable for people with wide and/or high feet, but people with narrow feet will probably slide around some inside the shoes.
Construction and Design
The Peakfreak design comes from running shoes, and they look and fit a lot like runners. The upper is nylon mesh and the midsole is a multi-density foam that cushions well against hard strikes on the trail. The lugged outsole is low profile with cutouts to save weight.
Columbia’s OutDry waterproof/breathable laminate technology worked well – no leaking in the rain or when standing in water and decent breathability.
On the trail, the Peakfreak was very comfortable, and the cushioning and light weight were great for fast travel and long days over trails, but when I went off-trail into scree or talus the cushioning and moderate lateral support made them somewhat less than rock solid.