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Columbia Master of Faster Low

rated 4.5 of 5 stars
photo: Columbia Master of Faster Low trail shoe

I was shocked to find such a good pair of Columbia shoes for so cheap at Sierra Trading Post (with coupon). I just love Columbia footwear. They don't have the "what's in" product markup, but work as a top end trail shoe. Although, I don't trail run...I love low cut hiking shoes and these shoes just hold up. I haven't had them long enough to give them a 5 stars, but I plan to followup after a few months.


  • Price and name brand company
  • True to size with a nice arch support
  • Omni-grip outsole provides great traction wet or dry


  • I didn't purchase the waterproof version
  • Why such the long shoes laces?
  • Columbia can downsize your logo a bit...go back to older version


True to size. I wear an 11 and it fits the size it says. I think the arch support in the shoe is a good fit for me.  If you have high arches you might need an insert. Some reviewers complain that the sole is designed for a narrow footprint.  I don't have any trouble at the moment...and I feel I have average size feet. 

Only complaint at the moment:  Why did Columbia put hiking boot laces in a trail shoe? I think I'll be replacing the shoe laces with something smaller. 


I love Columbia shoes...they are just built for comfort. Although, with this version the tongue tends to dig in around my toes after use.  I hope this is just the newness of the shoe and will start to conform to my foot.  I'll give it time and update my review. At the moment I just don't lace them up as tight as I normally would.


I am not going to say much now. The shoe still has its "factory stiffness", but this weekend I tested it out on a small hiking trail.  The shoe seems lighter than the previous versions I have worn and the "Omni-Grip" out-sole provides great traction wet or dry.  It has been raining off and on so the trails are a little slick. 

Water Resistance:

Well what can I say...I should have spent that extra $20 bucks and gone with the waterproof version.  My summer Smartwool socks were wet when I pulled of the shoes. 

FYI:  I have the leather version of the shoe.  The leather is handling the water just fine.  Again, time will tell how they hold up with multiple wet trail trips.


In my opinion Columbia does well with good traction shoes. The tread pattern is a little unorthodox, but I was able to walk over damp logs without slipping and the shoes seem to grip in sandy and muddy trail conditions well.  I haven't tried on "rocks and roots" yet...

Temp Control:

Time will tell. In spring conditions (50-60°F) with a light pair of hiking socks my feet where just fine.  I am not sure about summer conditions...will my feet be too hot? I'll update my review.

Construction & Durability:

Great so far. Again, let's see how the leather holds up...

Just to show you that I have used other brands in the past: I have hiked in The North Face Hedgehogs and various Merrell, Nike, and Asolo shoes. I tried off-brands for price and high end waterproof versions thinking they must be better. 

Overall, I found out that price doesn't make for a good shoe. It is the fit, the traction and the longevity. I also like the mobility and flexibility of a low hiking shoe, and this shoe has been a great replacement for the $120+ shoe. The pattern on the sole promotes great traction, the overall design keeps my feet protected, and prevented a lot of slipping.  If I keep my feet from getting too wet these things kept my feet warm.

Finally, many sites advertise these shoes as "trail runners".  I am not a runner, but for general hiking they work great.  Overall a great shoe. Keep on hiking!


UPDATE (6/13/13): 

As promised I will update this review after several months of using the shoe.  I have to admit these are great shoes. They handle everything I throw at them.  After replacing the shoe strings with a more practical, shorter version I think I have found the perfect shoe. 

The shoe seems to do very well in wet conditions.  The shoe has gotten wet several times and the leather  seems to be handing it just fine.  The temps are now ranging in the 80-90's and my feet seem to be breathing just fine.

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $45.95 w/coupon

The Master of Faster is one of Columbia’s top of the line light hikers. And as you’d expect, it packs a bunch of the company’s proprietary technology into a cool looking package. I received a silver grey/green pair (castlerock, lime green to be exact) for this review and was impressed by Columbia’s unique take on the classic light-hiker form.

Out of the box, Columbia’s Master of Faster makes no secret of the fact that Columbia builds a range of proprietary features into their products. Large logos proclaim that the Master of Faster uses the company’s Omni-Tech waterproofing and Techlite cushioning among other innovations. Both features worked well on these shoes.

The Master of Faster feels stiff right out of the box but break in with only moderate use. The laces go almost to the toe — approach-shoe-like — allowing for a very custom fit. Overall, they run true to size so choose whatever size you normally do for hiking/athletic shoes.

For a more complete review and some photos, visit GearGuide.

Source: tested or reviewed it for the manufacturer
Price Paid: sample provided for review

The author of this review received a sample of the product from the brand or its representative in exchange for a review.

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