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need trail runners for very rocky/talus/scree conditions
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Mike M
(mtwarden) - MLife

Locale: Montana
N1 update on 06/23/2013 08:04:20 MDT Print View

Finished a 55k w/ the N1's, had one surprise- early in the race I got a bad blister on top of my left big toe, of course I let it go too long (waiting for the next aid station) and it bled through the shoe a little. I put a little Benzoin and some Luekotape and it never gave me any further trouble. I'm still not even sure what caused this blister????????

The course was not technical, but very rocky (w/ several stretches of loose gravelly rock) so I was pleasantly surprised that my feet were in good shape at the end (I wish I could say that was the case w/ the rest of my body! :) )

I did order a pair of N2's, but haven't ran in them yet. They are beefier than the N1's, but surprisingly not much heavier. Looks like the fit is going to be very similar, if so they should be up to the task for more rugged conditions.

Mike M
(mtwarden) - MLife

Locale: Montana
more updates on 08/02/2013 19:56:03 MDT Print View

well I had to send my N1's back as they developed a hole near the top of big toe on the left foot- kind of a weird spot??? about 250-ish miles on them, got a new pair back (was within 60 days of road runner purchase) yesterday

I've been running a little in my N2's since my N1's were sent away, only have a bout 50 miles on them, but they feel good- have had them in some really technical, rocky stretches and they performed very well, might be pushing things a bit w/ them, but will use them tomorrow for the Elkhorn 50k- a course that has a lot of rock

Sara Marchetti
(smarchet) - MLife
Re: need trail runners for very rocky/talus/scree conditions on 08/03/2013 10:04:04 MDT Print View

Hands down you are looking for the Hoka Mafate. For running long distances on rocks this shoe is a blessing and a very popular ultrarunning shoe for rocky conditions. Where I live (Utah), if you go to a big race like the Wastach 100, Wasatch Speedgoat, Squaw Peak 50, Bear 100, you will see a large % of runners using these shoes. The main reason is that trails in Utah are VERY rocky. Karl Meltzer, the guy that has won more 100 milers than anyone swears by these shoes (okay, they are a sponsor of his). He ran the entire length of the Pony Express Trail in multiple pair of Hokas. That is 2000 miles.

I personally own a pair and love them for trails with a lot of rocky downhills. If you can get past the silly clown shoe look, these might be the shoe you can consider. Good luck.

Edited by smarchet on 08/03/2013 10:05:46 MDT.

Chris Kannen
(cmkannen) - MLife

Locale: K-T Boundary
N1 stuff on 08/03/2013 20:40:27 MDT Print View

Mike - funny, I developed a blister in the exact same spot wearing the N1's. It didn't bother me on the hike/run, just noticed it later when I took my shoe off. (Then again, I didn't go 50K.) Otherwise the shoe is really great. Curious to hear how you like the N2 after putting some time in them.

Mike M
(mtwarden) - MLife

Locale: Montana
rocky stuff on 08/04/2013 09:25:56 MDT Print View

Sara- I saw a couple of folks w/ Hoka's yesterday, they definitely look cushy. We have a couple of running stores here, not sure if they carry Hoka or not- if they don't have a large toe box then it's non-starter

Chris- yeah, it's a cray spot for a blister- must be the toe flexing??? The N2's performed great yesterday, lot's (and lot's) of rock and my feet were great the entire 50k, lots of water too- my feet were wet probably half the race and not even a hot spot. I do need to shop for a new stomach though, hurling halfway into 50k is not overly fun :)

Ryan Bressler
(ryanbressler) - F
Re: rocky stuff on 08/04/2013 10:52:55 MDT Print View

I don't log as many miles as you but I've had good luck with Patagonia's line of trail running shoes. I wore through one a pair of their 9 trails and have the tsali 2.0's now. Both of those shoes are lightish implementations of the classic-drop running shoe that have enough protection and traction without being overtly techie.

The EVERmore looks like it is designed to be just what you want...a minimal drop shoe for above tree line terrain:

We are in Hamilton and feel your shoe trying on pain...we even stopped at mountain gear's retail store in spokane on a trip west and were disappointed by their in store selection.

Art ...
(asandh) - F
Re: Re: rocky stuff on 08/04/2013 10:59:59 MDT Print View

Brooks Cascadias work really well on rocky rugged terraine. a bit clunky if you're a front of the pack guy, but less clunky than Hokas in my opinion.
I use them for all my 20 & 30 mile training runs and feet feel great after.
don't really need them for something as short as a 50K race.
but if you ever decide to do long mileage :-)

Edited by asandh on 08/04/2013 11:15:46 MDT.

Greg Mihalik
(greg23) - M

Locale: Colorado
Re: Re: Re: rocky stuff on 08/04/2013 11:32:18 MDT Print View


Mike M
(mtwarden) - MLife

Locale: Montana
rocky stuff on 08/04/2013 12:30:34 MDT Print View

I own a lot of Patagonia stuff, but have never tried any of their shoes- a couple of reviewers mention wide toe box which is definitely a necessity w/ my alien like long toes :)

Art- I tried a pair of Cascadias on and they were a little tight in the toe box for me, they did look beefy- after yesterday's 50k, I've put 50 miles completely out of my mind :)

^ the N2's out of the box look like the cartoon, but after 30+ miles of slugging through creeks, mud, dirt, rocks- they lost all the neon pizzaz :)

Sara Marchetti
(smarchet) - MLife
Toe bo on 08/05/2013 08:26:35 MDT Print View

My Hoka's have a huge toe box (almost too big). I read about a lot of ultrarunners who say this. The key is a good lacing system that keeps your foot snug in the shoe yet allows your foot to move around inside the toe box. Nothing worse than the unrelenting bashing of your toenails against the front of your shoe. I know I'm preaching to the choir here.

I also wear Brooks Cascadia. I've owned the last three seasons except this year (I heard there is a recurring issue with the lacing system that plagues this year's model.) I absolutely love this shoe for trail running, fastpacking, backpacking. Too bad they don't work for you.

You should also take a look at anything by New Balance. If I remember correctly, they have wide with shoes you can order. I definitely don't recommend the MT110s or Minimus as they only have the most rudimentary rock plate. I'm sure they have beefier models.

Have you shopped online at Zappos? These guys are great because you can return shoes at any time if something doesn't work out for you.

Good Luck!

Edited by smarchet on 08/05/2013 08:28:13 MDT.

Mike M
(mtwarden) - MLife

Locale: Montana
rocky stuff on 08/05/2013 17:43:36 MDT Print View

Sara- good to hear on the Hoka's- all the shoes that haven't worked for me were because of lack of room in the toe box

I've tried a few wide size shoes and often the toe box issue is resolved, but the rest of my feet evidently aren't that wide and they've been too wide in the mid-foot and heel-although that's definitely a lesser "evil"


Sean Smith
pg II on 08/06/2013 11:26:27 MDT Print View

Glad I ran across this thread. I'm following it carefully!

I have the Brooks Pure Grit II and while I like them I think there's something better out there for me. Sounds like our ideas of a fit are similar. i have morton's toe, and they are long...some say like a monkey as I'm able to easily pick things up with them.

I need more durability but otherwise would like to keep similar to the pure grit II.

I'm intrigued by the Hoka's and may give them a shot but really have a hard time accepting the very thick sole and the high $$$.

I wore the Pure Grit II for the first time this past Sunday on a long day hike, the great range traverse in the Adirondacks, which I hiked very fast throughout.

Anyways, after 7.5 hours of hiking I already have 3 holes, two on the tips of the toe where there is supposedly stronger material, and the other on the side above the arch, and the foam is shredded all around the edges.

Two days before this hike I tested out a pair of Altra Lone Peaks running up algonquin peak, not the current 1.5 version, and loved them. I think they fit a bit better than the Brooks due to the huge space for my toes. The padding is not as thick and It lets pointy rocks pop through more than the pure grit II. but i think it's totally reasonable. Traction is about the same, in my opinion.

Edited by Spookykinkajou on 08/06/2013 11:29:22 MDT.

Sara Marchetti
(smarchet) - MLife
Hoka detail on 08/06/2013 17:17:11 MDT Print View

One thing I also forgot to mention and this will really be an issue if you aren't buying your shoes from a store where the staff are seasoned trail runners is that you want to buy trail shoes larger than your normal sneakers. Most trail runners you want 1 size larger. Having toes and other parts of your feet crammed into your shoes only leads to bruised (or lost) toe nails and blisters galore. This is where a good lacing system comes in handy. Unless I didn't mention it previously, I Vaseline my feet before a long trail run to prevent blisters because I want to reduce friction between my foot and my sock in a less restrictive shoe. Works like a charm. For some reason (and I'm not sure about the newer Hoka models), I've heard you should get your Hokas 1.5 size larger. This naturally will lead to a larger toe box.

Edited by smarchet on 08/06/2013 17:18:28 MDT.

Sara Marchetti
(smarchet) - MLife
Re: pg II on 08/06/2013 17:27:32 MDT Print View

Sean, regarding the big foam bottoms of the Hokas. When I first tried them on in the store the saleswoman grabbed a bunch of metal pieces of the shelf (big ball bearings, a metal coat hook, some big bolts) and dropped them on the hard floor. She said, "Step on them." The foam soaked them up like they weren't even there! Now, what does this mean on the trail? It means that all those little nagging sharp rocks you normally avoid on the trail are non issues. Just run right over them! Normally, when I encounter skree or rubble on a trail, I walk over it, because I don't want to wear out my feet. With Hoka's I just keep on going. Where Hoka's really shine is the downhills as you get a spared a lot of the pain.

I have two small problems with Hoka trail shoes. One, is that they feel a little sloppy in the uppers and until you get used to them, you feel like you are going to roll on the edge between the upper and the sole. Over time, this goes away. Second, you are a little higher than other trail shoes. For some reason this changes your stride slightly forcing you to engage muscles differently, particularly on uphills. As you adapt, over time, this feeling goes away.

Edited by smarchet on 08/06/2013 17:29:08 MDT.

Mike M
(mtwarden) - MLife

Locale: Montana
Hoka on 08/06/2013 18:18:50 MDT Print View

as luck would have it, our local running store is having a Hoka rep tomorrow evening and is bringing 50 pairs of shoes to run in, so if they have my size, I plan on giving them a go (wife is too)

one thing someone pointed out to me on the Hoka's is that they are quite as thick as they appear, as your foot actually sits down in some of that padded area- so the tall looking stack height is not quite what it appears

Doug I.
(idester) - MLife

Locale: PNW
Re: Hoka on 08/06/2013 19:57:26 MDT Print View


Not sure if someone has already mentioned this or not, or perhaps you're familiar with it already, but check out Running Warehouse. Choose a shoe you're interested in (they have four different Hoka shoes). Once on that shoe's page, click on "Show me how it fits!" You choose a shoe that you already wear that fits you well in the correct size, and they'll recommend the appropriate size shoe of the one you're considering, and even show you how it compares in both 3D and with footbed overlays. I've found it to be pretty spot on, and it'll give you a real good idea on how a new shoe will fit based on a shoe you already wear.


Stuart .
(lotuseater) - F

Locale: Colorado
shoefitr app on RW on 08/06/2013 20:32:57 MDT Print View

The shoefitr app on runningwarehouse is excellent in helping with sizing. Just be careful with brand new models. Their data may not be as accurate as with older models. Last fall I ordered a pair of inov-8 Trailroc 255s in the same size as the Trailroc 245s I'd been wearing for 6 months or so. shoefitr confirmed the sizing should be identical. Yet the heel felt too tight, and I returned the 255s. Earlier today I was on RW looking at the Altra Lone Peak 1.5, and I happened to check the Trailroc 255. shoefitr now states that I should go a full size larger in the 255 than I wear in the 245. That explains a lot.

Mike M
(mtwarden) - MLife

Locale: Montana
Re: shoefitr app on RW on 08/06/2013 20:57:43 MDT Print View

Doug- yeah that sizing application is really nifty! ^ usually when I look up a brand new model on there, they show it hasn't been scanned yet (seems like it takes several months to get a scan), it's definitely not perfect though- I've had a few shoes it said would fit the same and they didn't, but for the most part a pretty nifty app :)


Mike M
(mtwarden) - MLife

Locale: Montana
Hoka on 08/07/2013 20:51:23 MDT Print View

well I went out w/ the local running shoe crew this evening (at the peak of the heat-90 degrees!) after strapping on a pair of Hoka Bondi's- they didn't have any of the trail lineup to demo, but the rep said the overall feel would be very close. they picked a very rocky technical trail, 6-ish miles. I did have to size up a 1/2 size to give my toes the room they needed. I have to admit they soaked up the rocks like no other shoe I've run in. a little less nimble than my PI's or Grits, but not terribly so. when my PI's give up the ghost I just might try a pair, probably their Stinson trail shoe- they were very comfy

Desert Dweller

Locale: Wild Wild West
Hoka one one on 08/07/2013 21:27:14 MDT Print View

Hoka one one were responsible for my recovery from several very painful years of plantar faciatis. Just enough cushioning from the painful ever present rocks all over down here...I was able to get out enough to strengthen my feet and wore thru three pairs and now can wear my regular Keen shoes again. They take a bit getting used to but not much. I thought they would be terribly clunky but the benefits outweighed the look.