Columbia Yama Mid OutDry ReviewMarch 15, 2013
- Nice snug fit, particularly in heel cup and midfoot
- Athletic-shoe-like comfort
- Noticeably breathable waterproof liner (OutDry)
- Not supportive enough for any off-trail hikes
- Lack of shank or plate lead to foot fatigue
- Collar caused some discomfort at first
- I could feel rocks underfoot
The Yama Mid is a true multi-sport shoe—it has the comfort of an athletic shoe but had a difficult time competing with true light hikers on more varied terrain. This shoe is best on short, on-trail day hikes with light or no pack weight. The breathability of the OutDry waterproof membrane was a standout feature on these boots.
Support & Stability
Although short, flat day hikes are a breeze for this shoe, it had a rough time on steep, rocky, aggressive terrain. There are a few reasons for this: first, the upper is constructed mostly of mesh with narrow leather overlays. This means less support, especially around the ankle. Second, the lack of a shank or plate means my foot had to work much harder to transition from heel to toe (leading to fatigue), and resulted in a lack of lateral stability on uneven terrain.
This shoe feels perfectly comfortable on short excursions. I am a huge fan of women’s specific construction, so I really appreciated the attention to female proportions in the heel cup. A more snug fit in the heel really reduces the chances of blistering and gives you more foot control on uneven terrain. However, my feet were aching quite a bit after just 15 minutes or so on a loose, rocky trail. This could be due to a number of things—lean midsole, a soft outsole, or low-profile lugs—I’m not sure which, but I could definitely feel the rocks underfoot. I also felt a bit of discomfort where my heel rubbed against the seam of the articulated collar.
Usually, it is incredibly difficult to judge whether one waterproof membrane is more or less breathable than another. That’s why I’m super impressed by the OutDry membrane: this was the only boot that left my foot dry at the end of the test hike. Its breathability was noticeable.
That may have something to do with the actual moisture transfer-rate of the material itself, or maybe with the distance between the liner and your foot. Most waterproof liners are pressed directly against your sock, with a paper thin layer of fabric in between. But OutDry is affixed to the inside of the outer itself, so all the padding in between it and your foot may help reduce the muggy feeling you can get with other waterproof boots.
Quality and Construction
The Yama Mid is constructed primarily of a mesh upper with narrow full grain leather overlays. The leather wraps around both the heel and toe, which makes for a durable defense against sharp rocks. I was wishing for more leather coverage, though, especially when a rogue cactus painfully penetrated the mesh.
Note on Durability Rating
Because we rarely have enough time in a field test to actually wear out a boot, durability is determined by the materials used (ex: full-grain leather lasts longer than mesh); features such as rubber toe and heel caps; and whether or not the upper is constructed out of one piece of leather, or multiple pieces and materials sewn together. Our ratings are based on general wisdom and we cannot guarantee that a boot with a higher durability rating will actually outlast those with lower ratings.
At $135, the Yama Mid was just below the average price point. Although this is a fair price for a light hiker, when compared to high scorers (with lower prices) such as the Helly Hansen Rapide the price tag starts to look a bit steep.