The Montrail Rogue FKT is a solid all-around performer that can handle a variety of surfaces. Although the shoe does not necessarily have any stand-out features, it is also relatively free of shortcomings.
The Montrail Rogue FKT is a solid all-around shoe with an excellent balance of features. While there is no single aspect of the Rogue FKT that stands out as remarkable, the overall combination of its characteristics make for a reliable performer over a range of distances and surfaces. The shoe is comfortable and cushioned while still maintaining some degree of responsiveness, and the shoe has the traction and protection necessary for rugged terrain.
The major limitation of the Rogue FKT is its agility and handling. The foot sits fairly high due to the larger than average heel height (27mm), which reduces stability and creates a somewhat clunky feel. Given that the Rogue FKT is better suited for the slower speeds of long runs and ultramarathons, this may not initially be an issue. However it can be problematic for fatigued runners on technical terrain. A secondary concern is the imprecise fit, although this will be runner specific to a certain degree.
The Rogue FKT is the type of shoe that would make a solid mileage workhorse for most runners. Mid-pack and recreational athletes would do well with the Rogue as their primary training and racing shoe. Performance oriented runners are likely to find the shoe a bit underwhelming, except perhaps for very long distances.
Comfort The Rogue FKT is overall a quite comfortable shoe. The midsole cushioning is ample and supportive, but in no way harsh or inflexible. Both the upper material and the padded heel cup also have a soft and compliant feel. The one caveat is that the thickness of the upper material caused the shoe to run a bit hot and drain poorly.
Speed The 10mm heel-to-toe drop, while large by current standards, provides the Rogue FKT with better than average turnover for a shoe in this weight class. The benefits of this become particularly noticeable when running on tired legs and form has started to degrade.
Security of Fit The overall fit of the Rogue FKT was a touch sloppy, despite the somewhat narrow profile of the shoe. The fit did become a bit more secure after break-in, but never reached the point of being rock solid. Excessive lace pressure did not seem to mitigate the problem.
Agility Agility and handling are probably the areas in which the Rogue FKT struggles the most. The challenges here arise from two issues. The first is the overall height of the heel, which causes the shoe to feel clunky and imprecise. The second is the narrow ground contact area, which reduces stability during hard cornering. These issues are less noticeable at casual speeds on fresh legs, but this is probably not a shoe in which to bomb technical downhill.
Responsiveness The responsiveness of the Rogue FKT is about average, and does not stand out as either particularly good or bad. The feel of the shoe is consistent on both climbs and descents. The Rogue FKT also has enough energy return on the flats to maintain efficiency, which again is beneficial when fatigued.
Protection The Rogue FKT is more protective than most shoes in the 9-10oz weight class. The thick midsole and full length outsole provide excellent push through resistance, and the padded upper helps to keep rocks and other trail hazards at bay. Other than a smallish toe bumper, the Rogue FKT is clearly capable of handling rugged terrain.
A competitive road cyclist in his younger years and lifelong outdoor enthusiast, Jacob discovered his love for long distance trail running as an adult. He lives in the foothills of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains in Santa Fe. Follow him at Google+.