First Impressions

The Master of Faster is one of Columbia’s top of the line light hikers. And as you’d expect, it packs a bunch of the company’s proprietary technology into a cool looking package. I received a silver grey/green pair (castlerock, lime green to be exact) for this review and was impressed by Columbia’s unique take on the classic light-hiker form.


Talk about an assault of shoe-making technology. Out of the box, Columbia’s Master of Faster makes no secret of the fact that Columbia builds a range of proprietary features into their products. Large logos proclaim that the Master of Faster uses the company’s Omni-Tech waterproofing and Techlite cushioning among other innovations. Both features worked well on these shoes.

The Omni-Tech upper uses a fairly dense mesh for the side panels with a more ventilated and gusseted tongue. I found that this provided sufficient waterproofing while still allowing good breathability.

The Techlite cushioning does a nice job of isolating your foot from the terrain while not being too overbuilt. The soles wraps up around the sides of the Master of Faster for increased stability. The triangular tread design has smaller, more dense lugging in high wear areas at the inner side and outer heel. The Omni-Grip rubber compound is harder than Stealth rubber. It provides decent traction but not as much stickiness.

Upper: Omni-Tech waterproof, breathable nylon mesh
Sole: Omni-Grip rubber
Weight: 24.5 oz per pair

Rounding out the Master of Faster is some nice padding around the ankle and tongue and a composite toe cap to guard your forefoot.


The Master of Faster feels stiff right out of the box but break in with only moderate use. The laces go almost to the toe – approach-shoe-like – allowing for a very custom fit. Overall, they run true to size so choose whatever size you normally do for hiking/athletic shoes. They come in at just under 25 oz and were the lightest of our test.

Final Verdict

Nice shoe. Takes a touch of breaking in, but once that’s done, you’re good to go. I did not experience any hotspots or rubbing, and breathability was good. Definitely a solid choice in a light hiker.

First Impressions:
[Rating:4/5] Features:
[Rating:4/5] Fit:
[Rating:4/5] Final Verdict:

Thanks for reading another outdoor gear review from GearGuide. And thanks to Columbia for providing product for this review. Written by Matt K.