The Columbia Redmond Mid is a women’s mid-height waterproof trail shoe that’s great for hiking and casual walks in the outdoors. The waterproof feature keeps feet very dry and the outsole grips like a champ.
The Redmond’s exceptional outsole is made for solid grip. This feature takes center-stage on this shoe, and for good reason. Columbia’s Omni-Grip sole is aptly named for the wide range of surfaces it can grip. It extends about an inch up the front center of the toe box and about an inch and a half upwards at the heel. These high-impact areas often suffer the most damage on a shoe and this extra protection can likely prolong the overall life of the shoe.
Columbia’s designers blended a variety of materials and treads that are optimal for traction on the trail, in snow, on wet surfaces, and on hikes where loose stones and pebbles can make for a tricky climb. The tread pattern is roughly divided between a central passage and a roughly inch-wide perimeter made mostly of parallelograms. Each rubber wedge and segment has a fine ribbed or crosshatch finish for extra good grip.
For a hiking shoe, the Redmond’s outsole is tough but very flexible, and it bends both laterally and proximally. This makes for a more natural and comfortable feel when you’re hiking. What I liked about the tread is that it is simultaneously complex, but shallow and widely spaced enough to avoid trapping pebbles. For me, few things are a bigger nuisance than constantly having to pick unwanted trail souvenirs out of my shoe’s outsole.
Before we move on to the midsole, it seems worth noting how optically flattering the outsole actually is. I find it to be a pretty perfect size; it doesn’t produce that overtaking mammoth look that is often the case of hiking shoes. Instead, slimmer and more slender, it is easy to see why this shoe is so versatile.
This shoe boasts Columbia’s Techlite lightweight cushioning that forms a more gentle rubber layer just above the rigid sole. It absorbs impact and yields energy return through a midsole that compacts when your foot hits the ground and expands when you lift.
The Redmond comes with a general sockliner. The sockliner and shoe itself don’t have any particular arch support that is a certain benefit for those hikers who don’t like integrated arch support in a shoe. Removing the sockliner does free up quite a bit of room. More on fit and size below, but this is a good reason for choosing the shoe size that feels most comfortable even with the sockliner in place.
What I loved about the shoe is the minimal seams on the inside. This meant that I had no irritations anywhere on my foot. The pronounced seams are those of the upper along the midsole and the seams around the tongue of the shoe.
The big selling point for the Columbia Redmond Mid is the waterproof Omni-Tech upper and it comes with Columbia’s waterproof guarantee. Because of this feature, the lining forms one watertight encasing around the foot. It is sewn not directly to the strobel board of the midsole, but rather covers it and is sewn along a straight path down the center. While the waterproofing works very well, I would love to see the shoe have a little more breathability. At times my feet got almost too warm, but it wouldn’t be a reason for me not to actively wear the shoe.
Along the shoe’s collar and around the heel, the lining contains some substantial cushioning. Near the front of the shoe, where this is less important, the cushioning drops off. The next layer over the lining is a breathable mesh that acts as the base of the upper. Lain over this is an elaborate webbing of suede leather. It forms a perimeter around the toe box and around the tongue. The leather webbing also extends from each lace loop to the outsole and therefore helps to comfortably tie the laces along the length of the foot. To augment the over breathability of the shoe, these leather filaments are prodded with little holes.
The tongue is sewn directly to the lining, but still feels very comfortable when the shoe is tied tightly. As mentioned above, fabric lace loops line the tongue, and the last loop at the collar is made with a hard plastic.
Finally, some additional features at the front and back ends of the Columbia Redmond should be highlighted. The generous size of the rubber toe cap provides some structure and support at the front and also acts as an additional protective layer for the toes. The heel counter of the Redmond is also very rigid and provides strict support for the heel cup. It extends to just above the heel bone. Beyond that, cushioning in the upper makes for a comfortable fit around the Achilles. A fabric loop at the heel helps pull the shoe onto your foot when you’re getting in.
The Redmond Mid carries a reputation as a small width shoe. In fact, some hikers with narrow feet prefer Columbia for a good fit. Despite having somewhat wide feet, this shoe was snug but fit just fine and did not feel too tight even with the sockliner in. I also felt like I had enough space in the toe box. That being said, the fit was substantially more comfortable with thin socks than with thicker ones. Overall taking the sockliner out gave me more space and the shoe was actually more comfortable to walk in this way.
Tightening the shoe was sometimes a bit of a challenge as the laces tended to open on their own. However, double knotting the laces solved this problem and the laces can always be replaced by another set.
Unfortunately, the advertised European and US sizing was incongruent and the Redmond fit more true to the European size. In other words, if you’re toying around with purchasing the shoe online from the US, go with one size larger than you typically would (e.g. 11 instead of a 10).
Just as Columbia advertises, the Redmond Mid has an outsole that knows how to grip. I felt secure on all types of terrain I use the shoe on, including snow and ice. Even going downhill on surfaces like gravel, wet mud, and stones seemed to pose no problem for the Redmond. This meets – and even exceeds – the top priority of a hiking shoe. Despite being a heavier shoe (a women’s size 7.5 weighs 12 ounces), it’s very comfortable and also easy to wear for long periods right out of the box.
The women’s Redmond retails for $95 (though we’ve found it for about $60 at the links below!), a very fair price tag for a shoe that’s delivers on the trail. At the right size, this Columbia shoe is an addition I would definitely recommend to a hiker’s collection of footwear.