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Montrail Tamarack

rated 4 of 5 stars

The Tamarack has been discontinued. If you're looking for something new, check out the best approach shoes for 2024.

photo: Montrail Tamarack approach shoe

This is kind of a follow up of my previous review. This review is to focus on the durability and long term comfort of the shoes.

my Tamarack is still going strong. I like the shoes much more than during my first review. It has become my daily gear - whether I am going for a day hike, weekend backpacking trip, or walk around the park.

I have fine tuned the shoes to my preference by replacing the original insole (footbed) with a shock doctor ultra insole. And got a different set of laces for tighter lacing. I like my shoes a bit snug and want to feel the trail response along the foot torso.

The deep heel cup and strategic padding of the insole made a huge positive difference. So I would recommend it.

This is how the different parts are functioning or have been functioning....

Upper: the upper is soft and confirms to the feet very nicely. Even when I tighten the laces hard I don't feel any pressure point or hot spot in my feet. They have resisted abrasion very well. The toe and heel rands are very effective on rugged trails.

The only problem is that the nubuck leather soaks water in moderate to heavy rain. So, waterproofing treatment is a must and should be done pretty frequently (once a month) during rainy seasons.

Midsole: one of the best features of the shoe. They are a soft PU, so they provide exceptional comfort and support. Also, they are very durable. Midsole of my shoes looks exactly like when it was new. Not a sign of fatigue or wrinkles. I had my Asolo and Vasque shoe midsoles wrinked up in a month or so. I like the construction of Tamaracks' midsole.

Outsole: very grippy and protective. The lug pattern allowes me to move fast and maintain superb control and stability on variable terrains (except from the most challenging ones). With moderate loads up to 30lbs, I dont really feel anything underfoot. Thick midsole and substential outsole (along with the protective plate) soakes it all up and provides long term comfort.

Because the outsole is grippy it gets eaten up by pavements, roads, and any type of urban useage fairly quickly. Or on dry rock for that matter. Because I use it mostly on the trails, they are holding up pretty well.

Bottom line: Tamarack hits a sweet spot just in the middle of the spectrum between heavy-duty high cut hiking/backpacking boots and flimsy trail runners that can cause serious damage to your feet. On top of everything, it can also be used in a wide range of weather spring, summer, and fall...provided you apply waterproofing treatment...

You can tell I am happy with my tamarack...sorry for bragging...

Materials: nubuck leather
Use: day hikes, overnight backpacking with small pack
Break-in Period: none
Weight: 2lbs

Great trail and approach shoe. Comfortable and supportive.

- fits great. the upper nubak leather is soft and confirms to the feet to give a great snug fit necessary for these kind of shoes.
- PU midsole provides great cushion and does not compress like EVA midsoles. I carried my 25lb son in a Kelty backpack (total weight 30lbs) for several 2-3 hour hikes in moderately rugged trails -- no discomfort, fatigue, or blister
- wicks moisture quickly
- breathes well
- great looks
- tow and heel rands handle the bumps and extend the life of the shoes
- light weight
- true multi purpose shoes

- no ankle support, but it's a low cut so I did not expect it
- little too flexy
- no shank in the sole

Overall a great shoe for doing it all. And it's really comfortable. I used a Vasque Catalyst and an Asolo Fuego before this shoe for the same purpose. But, the Tamarack provided me much better protection, support and comfort than any of those shoes.

You cannot go wrong with it if you use it for the right purpose.


Materials: nubak upper
Use: short hike, day hike, approach
Break-in Period: NONE
Weight: 2lbs
Price Paid: USD 50


-EXCELLENT grip, even on hardpack with sand.
-Great cushioning.
-The best fit possible due to supple nubuck.
-Available in 12.5.
-Like all things from Montrail, superb build quality.
-The old gray color was very stylish.


-Too flexible for any substantial hiking.
-Not ventilated enough.
-Soles wear out fast, but this is to be expected with grippy soles.

I love these shoes.

Use: short dayhikes, around town wear.
Price Paid: $40 on closeout

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