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Columbia Trail Meister

rated 2.5 of 5 stars

The Trail Meister has been discontinued. If you're looking for something new, check out the best trail shoes for 2023.

photo: Columbia Trail Meister trail shoe

As an avid day hiker and mountain biker, I was a diehard fan of the Columbia Sawtooth for as long as they made it. I went through three pairs and would have bought a fourth, but Columbia discontinued the shoe. I tried the Tigertooth, which was touted as sporty upgrade of the Sawtooth, but it felt thin and narrow compared to the older model. I decided to give the Trail Meister a try.

They felt okay in the store, but after several short hikes things are not looking good for the Trail Meister. Getting the laces right is very difficult. Tie them just a little too loose and the shoe feels floppy, tie them just a wee bit too tight and you get an uncomfortable pressure point at the top of the foot, right over the arch. I'm thinking of trying a flat lace instead of those pesky round ones that always come loose.

I will be heading back to the store soon, but this time I won't be buying Columbia. Their decision to drop the Sawtooth has lost them a loyal customer, and the quality seems to have gone out of the rest of their line-up. I would like to see Columbia bring back the Sawtooth a "classic", but I'm not holding my breath.

Materials: Synthetic & leather
Use: day hikes
Break-in Period: 3 weeks
Weight: 10 lb.
Price Paid: CDN $79

I bought this boot because I was looking for a waterproof hiker. Although this is a very comfortable hiking boot with good durability, it is not waterproof.

The first time in snow, slush build up on top of boot laces and water poured through the tongue and my feet were completely wet within 1/2 an hour. Not a great experience for cold weather. Disappointed to say the least.


  • Comfort
  • Durable


  • Not waterproof as stated

Good fit.

Comfortable from new.

Good support.

Not waterproof.

Good traction on multiple surfaces.

Warm if feet are dry.


Source: bought it new
Price Paid: 100 usd

I'm quite happy with mine. I have had them several years and wear them everyday. I have had them so long that the tops are falling apart so now I use them as outdoor work shoes.

The soles still show no signs of wear. The only problem I had with them was when they were new. The soles had a tendency to slip on any wet surface. They caused me to fall and break a bone in my knee. Once the shoes were worn awhile this problem disappeared.

If I were to buy another new pair I would rough up the soles a little bit with sandpaper. I do not think it would take much roughing up to solve the problem. This is the only reason that I did not give these shoes a five star rating.

Materials: gore-tex I think
Use: any outdoor activity
Break-in Period: No break in period on the fit. 3 momnths on soles
Weight: 435
Price Paid: $99

As an avid outdoorsman and adventurer I go through shoes rather quickly. In keeping this review short, let's just say that I found myself having to purchase the Columbia Trail Meister over my preferred brand, Merrell.

I was pleasantly surprised with the Trail Meister’s performance. The combination of the Omni-Grip composition and aggressive tread pattern enabled me to nimbly navigate any terrain of my choosing while the gusseted tongue kept out dirt and other little nasties to keep my feet comfortable and blister-free.

Keep in mind this shoe is not well suited for cold weather but aptly serves as a lightweight warm-weather hiker. Waterproofing may also help if you anticipate light precipitation. I don’t usually use shoes for more than two trips so I have no knowledge of the durability of these shoes.

Bought these for an excellent reason...only size 13 hikers in the PX at Camp Doha Kuwait...

I wore an earlier Columbia low cut hiker in Kuwait and Iraq for months in 2003 (issued desert boots gave me blisters). The earlier model had metal lacing grommets that this variant lacks. This is the major drawback, making a good lacing job either time-consuming or problematic. Overall the shoe provides a good fit for wide foot with a need for a large toe box. However, limited use on serious trails has not provided very good performance (mostly due to lacing system). The later sawtooth is a better way to go.

Materials: nubuck and nylon mesh
Use: dayhikes on level ground
Break-in Period: minimal
Weight: light
Price Paid: $70


  • Price


  • Narrow
  • General build quality (poor)

Not a comfortable shoe overall. It's narrow and build quality is lacking. I thought I was getting a quality pair (for its name). I was wrong.

Source: bought it new
Price Paid: $27

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Reviewers Paid: $27.00-$100.00
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