We all know Columbia for its vented fishing shirts, shell jackets, and more. With this launch, the brand is hoping to fill a footwear void.
Columbia Sportswear is one of the largest active outdoor lifestyle apparel, footwear, and equipment brands worldwide. In addition to its hiking and angling apparel, it’s now making a foray into more performance-minded trail running shoes. But this is not the Montrail brand for diehard elites.
Columbia’s Facet Footwear Collection, launched online this week, targets those who want a trail and running shoe aesthetic (and fit) that also lives up to its good looks.
We took a look at the new Facet Collection to see what the shoes are all about.
In short: The Facet 15 offers nice stability, enough traction for more technical terrain, and the buttery-smooth slip-on feel of a running shoe.
Columbia Facet 15: First Look
Columbia describes the Facet 15 as a lightweight, breathable, and durable shoe designed for multiple on-trail activities, with a road running fit. In the brand’s words, the 15 is “a high-performance, technical trail shoe” — on the first test, we found that to be true.
I took the Facet 15 for multiple trail runs and hikes in both subalpine and alpine terrain. (Think gorgeous alpine lake loops in Rocky Mountain National Park.) Running and hiking above 10,000 feet, I definitely got to test more of the technical aspects and feel of this shoe. I ran and hiked through alpine tundras and got to test the grip of the sole over several rock scrambles.
However, I didn’t push the “performance limits” — I’m not running an ultra like the Grand Traverse or the Leadville 100 in these shoes, but I am keeping a good uphill pace.
Overall, I really enjoyed the fit and feel of this shoe. My feet are on the narrower side. So straight out of the box, I was a little worried about the fit. They have a slightly wider toebox than other trail running shoes I wear. However, the cushioning of the midsole and the wrap of the upper proved to be comfortable, with just enough room for stretch upon foot strike.
I also like that the laces aren’t too elastic — they cinched up nice and tight in testing and stayed in place for hours.
My initial feedback is that these trail runners felt lighter than expected, are very comfortable (if I had to guess, I’d say these run true to size or slightly small), and work for multiple activities on trail. I wore the Facets scrambling up boulders, running up steep, rocky terrain, hiking above treeline, and setting up camp.
The Facet 15 has a medium stack, lower drop height, and enough support in the midsole that on my first outing, I felt at ease going fast on the downhills. There’s definitely a firmer feel and less cushion (and less clunkiness) than other similar hikers.
After 20-ish miles in these shoes, I found they hit Columbia’s goal: to function as a solid, versatile trail shoe. The durable “ballistic” upper was as breathable as my trusty go-to trail runners (a pair of Bushidos, which have a mesh and TPU fabric upper).
Columbia Facet 15 Shoes
- Materials: Nonstick rubber, Techlite and eTPU foam midsole, ballistic textile upper
- Weight: 1 lb. 1.8 oz.
- Drop: 8 mm
- Lugs: 5 mm
- Price: $110
Facet Footwear Collection
The collection includes the Facet 15 low trail shoe, the Facet 30 trail shoe, and the Facet 45 mid. The Facet 30 and Facet 45 definitely have more features, like the knit collar on the 45 and the speed-lacing system on the 30. (For serious trail runners, it’d be nice if Columbia offered the quick laces on the Facet 15 as well.)
Both the Facet 30 and 45 have Columbia’s in-house OutDry waterproof-breathable membrane. The Facet 15, meanwhile, has a water-repellent upper. The three styles use a ballistic textile upper and a nonsticking rubber outsole with 5mm lugs.