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Montrail Bajada II - Women's Review

A traditional trail runner best for those in search of great foot protection and a narrow fit.
Montrail Bajada II
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Price:  $110 List
Pros:  Protective, durable, quick to dry.
Cons:  Lacks sensitivity, bulky, stiff.
Manufacturer:   Montrail
By Amber King ⋅ Senior Review Editor  ⋅  Oct 2, 2016
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67
OVERALL
SCORE
  • Foot Protection - 20% 8
  • Traction - 20% 6
  • Stability - 20% 7
  • Comfort - 20% 6
  • Weight - 10% 7
  • Sensitivity - 10% 6

The Skinny

This Version of the Montrail Bajada is Discontinued as of May 2017
The Montrail Bajada II is a workhorse, perfect for long distances and moderately technical trails. Most similar to traditional trail runners like the Asics Kahana 8 and the Brooks Cascadia 11 - Women's, this shoe hosts a rigid midsole and protective cushioning throughout the shoe. In exchange for this protection, it sacrifices weight and comfort. Its traction is decent, but is limited to moderately technical trails and doesn't do so well on snow. Its narrow toe box is also confining for some, and best matched with a narrow foot. That said, we liked its great breathability and affinity to dry quickly. If you're a lady in the market for an ultra-protective, traditional trail runner who is willing to compromise a little on weight, this may be your perfect match.

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.

Performance Comparison


The Montrail Bajada II is a great traditional trail runner.
The Montrail Bajada II is a great traditional trail runner.

Foot Protection


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.

The toe cap and cushion in this shoe provides decent protection from the trail.
The toe cap and cushion in this shoe provides decent protection from the trail.

Traction


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.

The lugs on this tread design are cuboidal. Though it sticks well to well groomed surfaces  we learned it didn't do the greatest on loose terrain.
The lugs on this tread design are cuboidal. Though it sticks well to well groomed surfaces, we learned it didn't do the greatest on loose terrain.

Take it with you on nicely groomed trails and dirt roads. But leave it at home when planning a mountain summit or technical descent.

Stability


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.

The uppers are comfortable and fairly breathable.
The uppers are comfortable and fairly breathable.

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.

The fit of the shoe is best for narrow feet. The toe box is narrow and confined, allowing little to no toe splay. Many of our narrow-footed testers loved this fit, while other wide-footed tested earned hot spots on edge of pinky toes.

Weight


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.

Weighing in at 11.05 oz  this shoe sits a little on the heavy side.
Weighing in at 11.05 oz, this shoe sits a little on the heavy side.

Sensitivity


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.

Best Application


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.

The Montrail Bajada is a great after work trail runner. Best suited for moderate to mellow terrain.
The Montrail Bajada is a great after work trail runner. Best suited for moderate to mellow terrain.

Value


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.

Conclusion


This traditional trail runner is perfect for narrow footed ladies looking for a protective and more traditional ride.


Amber King