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need trail runners for very rocky/talus/scree conditions
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Peter Bakwin
(pbakwin) - F
Vertical K on 05/08/2013 18:13:06 MDT Print View

Sportiva Vertical K is another option for your desert stuff Brenden. Buzz wore them for our Maze / Happy / SMBC loop and found that sand stayed out of them very well. They won't be as durable as some. But at 200g it's hard to find a lighter shoe. Same Sportiva sticky rubber.

I do some product testing for Sportiva. But, NFI.

Mike M
(mtwarden) - MLife

Locale: Montana
update on 05/10/2013 13:21:06 MDT Print View

short update- tried several shoes thus far- tried Cascadias in 9.5 and size 10, the 9.5 were too cramped in the toes, the 10's had decent toe room, but even tied as Art suggested the heel was slipping; tried Exodus's in 9.5 and 10- exact same thing, 10's felt good, but too loose in the heel- they did feel better than the Cascadias w/ the lower drop however- the outsole is very aggressive and beefy (made by Vibrahm)- they had me try on some Peregrines- these definitely don't work for me- the toe box is very tapered

tried Pearl Izumi N1's they felt very good, toe box room was great, felt snug in the heel/mid-foot- low stack height felt good- very similar to the PureGrits, very breathable- outsoles not very aggressive, but maybe aggressive enough- low drop as well

they had the new Lone Peaks (1.5)- these felt very good as well- the shape of the toe box is exactly what my toes looks like- a box :)

I'm hoping to find some La Sportivas to try this afternoon, no one carries Inov-8 in MIssoula, but there is a place in Bozeman on the way back that I might get to try a pair there

edit- no one had either the Helios or Anakonda- REI had the Wildcat, which fit well in a size 10, looked plenty beefy w/ an aggressive outsole- the drop is 12mm which I'd prefer to keep lower if possible

Edited by mtwarden on 05/10/2013 19:13:26 MDT.

Mike M
(mtwarden) - MLife

Locale: Montana
Helios on 05/17/2013 08:04:45 MDT Print View

REI is having a sale, so I ordered a pair of Sportiva Helios's- figured if they didn't work I can send them back at any time and then try another pair, probably the N1's if the Helios's don't work out

Rod Lawlor
(Rod_Lawlor) - MLife

Locale: Australia
255s for me on 05/17/2013 08:31:48 MDT Print View

I love mine, and have just ordered a replacement pair. I have about 4-500miles on them, including a 50k and a 100k. The 100 included a fair bit of granite stones and rocks underfoot. My only blisters either run were the ends of my 2nd toes (Mortons) I always thought my Salomon XAs were good, but the 255 is a whole other shoe.

Lots of toe box room. No real heel counter. Good, low profile cushioning with a rock plate. No problems with the grip at all, wet or dry, although I have almost worn down the tread under the ball of the foot. FWIW I'm a significant over pronator, 63kg, 175cm. Mid to heel striker.

The downside for me is that the mesh isn't good for keeping out fine sand, and I find that they take a while to drain/dry.

Cheers, Rod

Jim W.
(jimqpublic) - MLife

Locale: So-Cal
Any thoughts on Montrail Mountain Masochists or Innov-8 Flyroc 310? on 05/17/2013 09:48:05 MDT Print View

I want shoes for hiking with midweight pack for a family trip this summer. (me at 185 + pack at 30 pounds) We will be hiking a popular 211 mile trail, which is well maintained but often quite rocky. The last time I did the same trail I had Montrail Continental Divides and wanted more rock protection under my forefoot. I switched to Montrail Hardrocks and they protect a lot better, but they are hotter and the sole is very thick and clunky at the back. I've gone through three pair of the Hardrocks over the last couple years.

My goal is a shoe that has similar forefoot protection to the Hardrock, but with a lower heel-toe drop and cooler upper. Checking the selection at my favorite discount retailer I narrowed it down to the Montrail Mountain Masochists or Innov-8 Flyroc 310. I ordered both but can't decide which to keep. The Flyroc 310 has much less drop and is lighter, but I'm not sure it will provide the forefoot rock protection. Masochist seems a lot like the Montrail Continental Divide, but does have a hard plastic plate under the forefoot. I have regular width but high volume feet and both seem to fit well, though the Innov-8 is definitely narrower.

Any folks out there who have used either of these shoes and have comments?

Mike M
(mtwarden) - MLife

Locale: Montana
Masochist on 05/17/2013 13:18:07 MDT Print View

the Masochists are a very popular shoe w/ the mountain ultra runners- good protection, good wear, good grip and not too bad on the weight- if they would have fit I probably wouldn't be looking at all these different shoes :) they aren't "narrow", but the toe box is slightly sloped vs "boxy"- unfortunately I need the "boxy"

^^ I never got try on a pair of 255's- not a pair in the entire state :( if I don't find a suitable shoe, it's still on my list- encouraging they are working out for you

Art ...
(asandh) - F
Re: Any thoughts on Montrail Mountain Masochists or Innov-8 Flyroc 310? on 05/17/2013 13:30:21 MDT Print View

the old Montrail Hardrocks were the stiffest shoes I ever owned, didn't care for them.

the old Montrail Continental Divides were Excellent shoes, but verrry heavy by modern standards.

the Salomon XT Wings offer similar protection as the Continental Divides, but a bit more support in the mid foot, which you may or may not like. they are a modern mid to heavy shoe.

I'm still voting for the Cascadias for anyone who needs a lot of protection under foot. Similar weight to the XT Wings but a more neutral shoe.

Andrew F
(andrew.f) - F

Locale: San Francisco Bay Area
Re: Flyroc 310 on 05/17/2013 13:32:41 MDT Print View

Jim, I haven't worn the Flyroc 310's but my understanding is they are almost the same shoe as the Roclite 295 which I've worn extensively. Personally I would have no problem hiking that popular 211 mile trail in them. Inov8's meta-shank thing works pretty well for underfoot protection as long as you are at least a little bit careful where you step.

Mike M
(mtwarden) - MLife

Locale: Montana
Helios's are out :( on 05/20/2013 19:29:55 MDT Print View

well the Helios's aren't going to work :( they feel great in the heel and mid-foot, but even though I have a good thumbs width from the top of my toe, they are too tight laterally in the toe box

it's too bad, they feel very good besides that

not sure if the photo shows it well, but I can see side by side that the PureGrits have more toe room

a pair of N1's on the way

 photo nexttohelios_zpscd809061.jpg

Danton Rice
(drice) - M

Locale: Bozeman
Re: Helios are out :( on 05/21/2013 08:12:25 MDT Print View

Mike, +1 on the Ultra Raptors. I'm in the same area and have spent time dealing with the same conditions. I have "duck feet" (narrow heels, wide forefoot) and have spent way too much time and $ trying to find good trail runners that don't squish my toes. I measure 11.5 and generally wear 12's in most trail runners but went to a 46.5 (12.5+). They seem to have a more rounded toe box that avoids the problem with the Helios.They have plenty of cushioning and a good rock plate. Might be worth checking out.

Art ...
(asandh) - F
Re: need trail runners for very rocky/talus/scree conditions on 05/21/2013 08:32:59 MDT Print View

Mike - you seem to be as crazy for shoes as me ...

just reread your original post, and what you mean by roomy seems to simply be longer. not wider, since you have long toes.
can't you simply size up by a half size in whatever shoe you really like ?

also, you say you're looking for a beefy shoe yet you are searching in the minimal and near minimal categories. you aren't gonna find a beefy shoe that weighs 300g or less. a bit of a disconnect between your claimed needs and your search.

lighter weight is not better if it doesn't protect what you need protecting.
although for shorter races (50K or less) you can suffer thru with a light shoe as long as it fits well.

what is the heaviest shoe you are willing to consider ?

Edited by asandh on 05/21/2013 08:50:24 MDT.

Mike M
(mtwarden) - MLife

Locale: Montana
shoes on 05/21/2013 09:12:50 MDT Print View

Art- not crazy about shoes- just need to find the right ones :)

my toes aren't just longer than average- they are all the same length (except my little toe)- so there isn't the classic taper from big toe to little toe, because of this they take up a lot of volume laterally- the Helios were long enough, but cramped my toes from the side, going a half size larger I'm 99% sure wouldn't help in this regard

I should also note that the PureGrits are a 9.5 (all Montrails were 9.5 as well) the Helios a 10, so I did size up a 1/2

the N1's coming are also a 10, I tried both a 9.5 and 10 in this shoe- the 10 was the better fit

I'd like to go light, w/o going too light :) I also am enjoying the lower stack height and drop of the PureGrits, so would prefer a shoe that has those traits, but they aren't deal breakers if I find something that will work in rock AND fit

fit is definitely where I'm running into problems- I think the Cascadia and Xodus would be fine shoes for running in rocky conditions, but when I size up to get adequate toe room, the heel and mid-foot is too loose (even using your trick w/ the lacing, btw the knowledgeable gal at the shoe store knew this trick as well :))- the Helios felt wonderful in the heel, mid-foot, but too constrictive in the toe box

the Lone Peaks did have very ample toe room, I worry a little about the 0 drop- maybe needlessly????? they seemed a little light for rocky conditions, but thats just a perception- they may be more than up to the task????

once I do find a suitable shoe, I'm very likely to stock up on them :)


Mike M
(mtwarden) - MLife

Locale: Montana
N1's on 05/26/2013 10:46:35 MDT Print View

the N1's arrived on Friday,tried them on while they felt a little "funny"- no fit issues I could point to Saturday was a long run, so didn't want that to be their maiden voyage, had an easy 6 miles this morning that I ran w/ the N1's- they felt pretty good, no cramping in the toes

I'll get 3 or 4 shorter runs w/ the N1's and if all is still going well, give them a go on a long run

they are actually pretty similar to the PureGrits- fairly lightweight, low stack height, kind of a rockered profile when viewed from the side- they are definitely beefier and firmer than the Grits in the mid and outsole though

view from the top, you can see the seamless design of the N1 and the relatively rounded toe box- both contribute to room in the toe box

 photo nexttoN1s_zpsd56d521d.jpg

Mike M
(mtwarden) - MLife

Locale: Montana
short update on 06/02/2013 07:52:44 MDT Print View

appears the N1's are going to work, at least in the fit department- I've got ~ 35 miles on them (nothing over 8 miles however) and they feel pretty good- they have a firmer feel that the grits, firmer/denser mid-sole is my guess???

I've got a 13 mile trail race next weekend, but the country isn't overly rugged so I'll probably go w/ the Grits, I do plan on bagging Stuart Peak two days later which is a 19 mile day hike w/ some scrambling- I'll give the N1's a shot at that

Art ...
(asandh) - F
Re: short update on 06/02/2013 08:35:56 MDT Print View

Mike - did you ever try the N2's as a comparison to the N1's ?
yes I know more drop which you apparently don't like, but also a bit more protection and cushion.

Mike M
(mtwarden) - MLife

Locale: Montana
Re: Re: short update on 06/02/2013 08:52:51 MDT Print View

Art- to be honest I didn't know they offered a N2, 4mm drop isn't a problem for me as that is what the Grits are. I wonder if fitment is the same between two? I'll have a some time to experiment w/ the N1's, if they prove to be too little for the rock/scree- I'll definitely look into the N2's

and here I thought I had researched everything so carefully-doh!!! :)


Eugene Smith
(Eugeneius) - MLife

Locale: Nuevo Mexico
"need trail runners for very rocky/talus/scree conditions" on 06/02/2013 09:17:01 MDT Print View


The Pearl Izumi N1's have been my staple shoe the last several weeks since picking them up. In a nutshell- I freaking love them. Ran the nasty rocky bits coming down the length of Guaje Ridge on the Jemez race course last weekend and never felt like I lacked any protection. However, I definitely wouldn't want to run anything longer than a 50K in these if I had a choice, but that's only because I favor cushion and protection for the longer runs these days. I feel pretty confident going up to about that distance comfortably without my feet feeling trashed. My longest run in the N1's was a 23 mile run a 3 weeks ago in the Franklin mountains on rocky trails and that was about the threshold.

They're a little stiffer than the Pure Grits that I had been using for well over a year, but offer similar amounts of cushion and a nice wide outsole platform. The lower stack height on the N1's is definitely felt over really "jagged" rock sections and I find I have to be fairly conservative in my running to not have any sharp foot strikes. I think the N2 is going to be a better shoe overall with the added midsole cushion.

I'm ordering the N2's this week as my long run/trainer and will throw in the N1's into the fold for shorter duration runs. I'll let you know my comparison.

Check out the Pearl Izumi EM Trail M2 as well. The M2 still has a neutral shoe platform and basically the same design as the N2, but has mild stability in the midfoot.

*fwiw. I've experienced cramping in the toes in the past and from what I remember it has always been attributed to a sloppy fit. If heel fit was sloppy and allowed any foot slip in the shoe my toes would compensate by curling and "flexing" in to keep my foot from slipping further in the shoe. I'm of the camp that likes a secure/snug fit vs. a voluminous fit in the forefoot. I tried sizing up a 1/2 size in the Pure Grits but experienced toe cramping on long runs over rough trail due to a heel fit that wasn't as secure as it could have been with my feet, so I dropped back down to my regular size 12.

Edited by Eugeneius on 06/02/2013 09:25:57 MDT.

Art ...
(asandh) - F
Pearl Izumi on 06/02/2013 09:17:09 MDT Print View

Pearl Izumi's new line offers the N1, N2, and M2

Pearl Izumi

Edited by asandh on 06/02/2013 09:21:20 MDT.

Mike M
(mtwarden) - MLife

Locale: Montana
Re: Pearl Izumi on 06/02/2013 10:40:33 MDT Print View

Eugene- very encouraging on the N1's- thanks That would be outstanding if you could give me a report on the N2's :) my Grits are a 1/2 size smaller (9.5 vs 10) than the N1- that was the runningwarehouse fitter recommendation and it appears to be pretty spot on.

went to Art's link and the fitter shows the N2 and M2 being the same size (9.5) as the Grits- so they must be sized slightly different than the N1

they all have seamless uppers which might be what is helping my longish toe situation???

funny different places show different drops for the PI's, might because they have a fairly good rocker shape and would depend on where you measure???


Mike M
(mtwarden) - MLife

Locale: Montana
N1's on 06/12/2013 13:25:50 MDT Print View

a little more feedback on the N1's now that I'm creeping up on a 100 miles- I like them :) they fit well- roomy toe box, but the heel and mid-foot are secure, cushioning is adequate at least on moderate rock conditions (nothing hardcore yet)

they don't have much traction in the snow though :)

 photo mikeandsnow_zps5c8a1974.jpg