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Hands-on Gear Review
Columbia Redmond Review
Cons: Lead to sore feet, poor support and durability, low traction
Bottom line: Inexpensive and light, this show is best for light use and yard chores.
The Columbia Redmond is the lowest-priced shoe reviewed. The manufacturer kept costs down by utilizing proprietary products for the insole, waterproof lining, and mid and outsole. This shoe is the second-most lightweight model of all contenders, and the membrane inside the upper keeps water out and breathes well. In comparison to the other models, though, this shoe scored the lowest due to being out-performed in several key aspects like comfort, support, and traction. The best applications for this model are short walks on groomed trails and doing chores like gardening in the yard.
If you were drawn to the Redmond by its low price, but want more all-around performance, the Vasque Juxt is an excellent alternative. It is often on sale at a price even below that of the Columbia pair. The Merrell Moab 2 has a similar design of mesh overlayed by leather, yet is more robust and comfortable than this shoe.
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Our Analysis and Hands-on Test Results
The Columbia Redmond is an inexpensive, lightweight hiking shoe that is best suited for short, easy trails and yard work. Its list price is $90. The upper is a combination of suede leather, mesh, and webbing with an Omni-Tech waterproof breathable membrane. There is no shank between the Techlite lightweight midsole and the Omni-Grip non-marking traction rubber outsole.
Our immediate impression of the Redmond was that the footbed is squishy and bouncy, and our heel didn't seem to sink into the heel box. While hiking, we felt rocks and uneven surfaces underneath. After two miles on a trail of moderate difficulty and carrying a light daypack, our heels were getting sore. After 4.5 miles, our lead tester had sore heels and forefeet, and general tiredness in his feet overall. No other model lead to this amount of discomfort after such a short distance. For anything more than a flat, groomed trail, we recommend any other model in this review.
The lacing system wasn't our favorite, which doesn't extend far down into the forefoot. It was more difficult to get a precise fit with these shoes, and our heels never felt fully secure. The padding of the tongue wasn't enough to keep the laces from digging into our feet when attempting to improve the fit.
As far as comfort is concerned, this Columbia model does have a sunny side. It was one of the most breathable models reviewed. The manufacturer got their proprietary waterproof and breathable membrane right, which achieved both goals and helped keep costs down. We dig that! However, if you desire a shoe that is comfortable across more varied terrain, and still won't break the bank, check out our Best Buy Award winner, the Vasque Juxt.
On the scale is where the Redmond stands ahead of most of the pack. Weighing 1 lb. 14.1 oz, it's just half an ounce heavier than the lightest model, the Adidas Terrex Swift R GTX. This model feels light, leaving our feet feeling unencumbered. Its lightweight is achieved by not having a shank between the midsole and outsole, which almost every other model includes in its construction. For under two ounces more for the pair, snag The North Face Ultra 109 GTX, which offers much higher performance in every other metric.
This shoe provides the most limited foot support of all models tested. The Redmond is one of two shoes that doesn't have an internal shank, and we were able to twist it easily when testing the lateral torsion. The forefoot width and ankle collar height are narrow and short in comparison to the others. Columbia gave this shoe one of the better insoles, though. It's not double layered, but there is extra foam in the midfoot to give a boost in arch support.
The rounded heel shape of this shoe created a less stable foundation. Other shoes in this review have more of an edge around the perimeter of this shoe, which resisted rolling better. On uneven terrain, the rounded heel felt wobbly. Any other model in this review provides more support and stability, especially the Keen Targhee II.
The proprietary Omni-Grip outsole of the Redmond provided the poorest purchase overall in our traction tests. We didn't slide around on easy, obstacle-free trails, but when the terrain became more steep, wet, or snowy, we wished for other shoes. If hiking takes you beyond well-groomed, flat trails, seek shoes with better traction. The Merrell Moab 2 has a similar mesh and leather look as this Columbia shoe, but its rubber is much more reliable in rough terrain.
The Redmond is the least versatile model we reviewed. It is sufficient for short day hikes on flat, obstacle-free trails. On long, rocky, or rough terrain, however, discomfort grows by the mile. It also lacks stability and support for backpacking trips and doesn't take to running. They aren't bulky, which helps their around-town appeal. This model is great for gardening, yard chores, or even coaching outdoor sports, but we prefer other models for rugged trail use, such as the Editors' Choice The North Face Ultra 109 GTX.
Columbia's proprietary Omni-tech waterproof membrane stood its ground, refusing to leak no matter how much we flexed the forefoot while submerged. Its water resistance is much better than that of the Merrell and Keen models, which leaked after a few minutes under water. The 4.25-inch flood height is just above average among the models tested. It is indeed waterproof, and we like that!
The Redmond did not win us over with its apparent durability. After the testing period, the mesh gusset of the tongue was already ripping away from the rest of the upper. This shoe lacks proper protection in front of the toe box. The minimal amount of rubber extending from the outsole doesn't cover the toes. In our experience, this type of design leads to delamination faster than models with a more extensive rubber toe protection, such as the Asolo Agent GV or Keen Targhee II.
This shoe is best used in small trail doses on easy, flat terrain. It's also a great, inexpensive option for heading to the local park or cultivating a garden.
The value of the Redmond is low if you are seeking an all-around hiking shoe. At $90, however, its value increases if you want a waterproof shoe for the yard or park.
The Columbia Redmond is designed for more casual use than the other shoes in this review. It hikes easy trails but isn't meant for rugged ones. Taking this model into difficult terrain leads to sore feet even after a few miles. We appreciate this inexpensive option, however, for its three-season use on park days, community rec projects, or yard chores.
— Ross Robinson
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