Experienced hiker Mark Bailey tests this athlete-minded mid-top which fuses running-shoe aesthetics with sound waterproofing for a light all-action performer.

The Facet 75 Mid from American giant Columbia is a light, flexible shoe built for rugged hikes in non-technical terrain. Columbia is a seriously innovative brand: when aerospace specialist Intelligent Machines sent its Odysseus lander to the Moon in February 2024, it was dressed in an insulated fabric designed by the maker of this shoe. The Facet 75 packs plenty of tech too, but it priorities down-to-earth hiker needs, like all-day comfort and traction you can trust. It’s up there with the best hiking boots for men.

Men’s Fitness verdict

A light, relaxed and versatile mid-top which blends running shoe comfort with the waterproofing of a decent hiking boot.
  • Running shoe comfort
  • Strong and chunky
  • Mesh upper may suffer scrapes
  • Wide toe box causes some internal foot slide

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The Columbia Facet 75 Mid Outdry comes in a number of colours, including silver/grey

Columbia Facet 75 Mid Outdry design and build

Unboxing the shoe, I was struck by its running shoe aesthetics, with its mesh upper, rocker sole and comfy lace-up fit. My shoe was Nori green (dark seaweed), but these also come in graphite, jet black, kettle (a light sand shade), mercury blue and silver-grey. It’s also available in a low-cut and a high-top ‘Alpha’ model, but I opted for the Mid-top. It’s just 14g heavier than the low-cut, but offers extra ankle support, while the Alpha’s high-top is more about warmth and protection from debris than stability or waterproofing, making the Mid a smart compromise.  

On closer inspection, the Facet 75’s rugged credentials are fairly easy to see, with that chunky outsole promising good elevation against wet ground conditions. My UK size 7.5 was 9cm wide at the outer heel and 11cm wide at the outer forefoot, giving a seriously elephantine tread. The shoe comes up quite large, so consider a half-size down.

Columbia Facet 75 Mid Outdry performance

My hunch was that the Facet 75 would be a comfy athlete-focused shoe ideal for less extreme terrains – and that’s about right. On long Lincolnshire trails, a forest hike in Spain and an accessible hike in the Peak District, the shoe was comfy and its wide sole felt sure-footed. But for technical terrain, I’d want extra grip. The wide toe box meant I got some foot slide inside the shoe on downhills, but it allowed my toes to splay on uneven terrain. Incidentally, the chunky sole ensured the upper remained surprisingly dirt-free, even on muddy treks.

Comfort is definitely the Facet 75’s standout quality. The shoe has a soft mesh upper, a springy sole and a high-quality Adapt Trax outsole, whose blend of stubby and wide 5mm-deep lugs are flexible enough to meld over rocks but hard enough to grip mud and sand. The neat horizontal lines of the lugs did spark some lateral slide on slippery rocks, but these are not built for technical trails.

Mixed 5mm lugs give good grip on all but the most technical terrain

Despite the extra protection in strategic locations, I feared that the mesh upper could get torn on a rock or thorn. Columbia builds quality shoes – I have a pair of Columbia Bugaboot snow boots still going strong after five years – but I’d want a more robust upper in hostile terrain. But at an advertised 430g per shoe (my size 7.5 weighed 390g), these offer a pleasantly light and lithe hiking sensation.

Columbia Facet 75 Mid Outdry features

Over a rainy UK winter, these shoes kept me nicely dry. That’s down to the bonded construction of the Outdry upper, which leaves no space between the waterproof membrane and the outer shell. Columbia rates this shoe at Waterproof Downpour Level 3, which means premium, fully-sealed protection.

Also, the springy Techlite Plush midsole offers a smooth gait transition from heel to toe, which adds to the highly responsive athlete-focused walking experience.

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