Montrail Bajada II - Women's Review
Cons: Lacks sensitivity, bulky, stiff.
Our Analysis and Test Results
The Bajada II isn't anything special. It stands out for its protective midsole and traditional ride, best for narrow feet and moderately technical trails at best.
The Bajada II is the workhorse of the Montrail trail line, featuring fantastic foot protection all around. This traditional trail runner is loaded with fluid foam in the heel and throughout the midsole, providing a protection from all trail hazards. The mesh does a great job at keeping any kind of particulate matter out of the shoe while the hard toe cap prevents against stubs. Even though this shoe scored high in this category, it wasn't as protective as beefy maximalist options like the HOKA ONE ONE Speedgoat and HOKA ONE ONE Challenger ATR 3 - Women's. In addition, this shoe doesn't integrate a rock plate, which we didn't think it really needed anyway.
Featuring a Gryptonite outsole with a variety of square lugs, this show performed middle of the road performance for traction. Since the lugs aren't particularly deep or well spaced, it isn't the best option for super steep or slippery terrain. When testing on snow, we found it did not grip well at all. However, we found it did perfectly well on less steep terrain where the terrain was moderately technical.
With a heel-toe drop of 10 mm, this shoe feels traditional. The heel is the most cushioned of any trail runner tested which takes away from the lateral stability of the shoe on technical, loose, and rocky terrain. Again, this shoe is truly best for neatly groomed surfaces.
Comfort & Fit
The Bajada II provides decent comfort with its fluid form midsole. The shoe isn't soft or plush, but feels rigid and lacks flexibility throughout the midsole. It also does not become more flexible upon break-in.
If you're looking for a more flexible shoe with a similar design, check out the ASICS GEL-Kahana 8 - Women's instead. It also provides quality breathability, however the uppers are a little thicker than most. Save this shoe for cooler days, and strap on a more breathable option, like the Saucony Peregrine 7 - Women's, on hotter days. This shoe features a traditional ride with ample heel cushion, and is a perfect option for narrow-footed heel strikers.
Trading in foot protection for weight, this shoe sits at the heavier end of the spectrum. It weighs 10.8 oz per size nine shoe, making it one of the heaviest shoes tested. When performing the dunk test, we found it didn't hold as much water as others (just 3.2 oz), which is surprising considering the thickness of the upper material. In addition we found this shoe dried quickly after being soaked.
In exchange for foot protection, this shoe sacrifices sensitivity. The thicker cushioning and rigid sole inhibits an intimate trail experience which some ladies love, but others don't. If you're looking for a similar ride with a little more sensitivity, check out the ASICS Kahana instead.
This shoe truly excels as a cross-over option. Long runs on groomed single track and dirt roads are a perfect use for this burly workhorse.
At just $110, this is one of the most affordable shoes tested. However, our past Best Buy winner, the ASICS Kahana 8, provides a little better performance for just $85.
This traditional trail runner is perfect for narrow footed ladies looking for a protective and more traditional ride.
— Amber King