Favorite Discontinued Running Shoes?

For those of us that like running in shoes, there are certainly many a fine shoe these days whether you’re hitting the roads or tearing up the trails. Still, finding that one shoe that’s absolutely perfect for your gait and training needs is a rare thing. That’s why I was sad to recently inform a reader that it was quite unlikely that a company would reintroduce his favorite shoe (New Balance 790), which the company discontinued. That’s just not something that shoe companies do with any frequency. What’s worse, the reader’s question made me sentimental for long lost shoe models stretching back as far as 16 years ago! Yup, I miss my Adidas Equipment Support and Cushion circa 1994.

Anyway, we’d love to hear what trail or road shoes you’d love companies to go all Jurassic Park on and why. Do you have two more boxes of original Montrail Hardrocks sitting in your closet? Would you pay $300 for a pair of mid-90s Adidas Trail RS with the wrap around tongue? What about those La Sportiva Raceblades under your bed with 1,200 miles on them? Heck, if you lobby hard enough for a trail shoe (get your running friends to join in), we might even put up a poll of the most-missed trail shoe of all-time.

Adidas Equipment Support

The Adidas Equipment Support are still near the top of my shoe pile!

There are 63 comments

  1. Sophie Speidel

    Before I became an inov-8 devotee, I was a Montrail girl. Specifically, a Montrail Leona Divide girl. I was a tester for the Blue Ridge Outdoors magazine gear guide in 2002 and was given the Leonas to test…and the rest, as they say, is history. I loved them on the first try. However, Montrail decided that they had too much of a good thing on their hands so they messed with the Leonas to create the Continental Divides. Not too bad a trade off, but the damage as done as Montrail lost a lot of their loyal customers because they messed with a good thing. Why the heck do shoe companies mess with their #1 selling shoe? Geez!

    I have grown up and graduated to inov-8s and specifically the inov-8 Flyrock 284. I absolutely love them, and wouldn't go back to the bulky, heavy Leonas if you paid me…but, like your first 100, you never forget your first pair of trail shoes!

  2. EricG

    TNF discontinued the Rucky Chucky a few months back. They replaced it with the Single Track. Not sure how they call it a replacement, the shoes are not nearly the same. I like the ST, its lighter and breathes more and in fact I used it at Umstead 100 this year. But I am much more comfortable in the RC on more technical terrain (toe cage, wider sole). I will be breaking out my old RC's for the upcoming 50 miler at Bear Mountain in 2 weeks. Peace

  3. Heidi

    I'm probably the minority here, but I don't really care that much about running shoe brands. I've got Mizunos, Asics, and New Balance shoes in my closet right now, and they all work fine.

  4. Tuck

    "For those of us that like running in shoes…" Funny that it's come to that.

    An old pair of Montrails the name of which I can't remember. It was an African name, and they were basically a trial running flat. I looked for a replacement for those shoes for years, and finally found it in Vibrams.

    1. Bryon Powell

      Tuck, I even removed the snarky footnote that followed that phrase. ;-) Needless to say, I'll be happy when the barefoot religion passes away and it merely becomes a set of useful lessons and training tools.

      As for the shoes, I've yet to throw away my last pair of Montrail Masai. I wish they'd simply enhanced the parts of the upper where the shoe blew out rather than ditch an excellent shoe.

  5. Mike V.

    Funny you mention the Montrail Masai, Goat, as that is what instantly came to mind. I loved that shoe and would have bought multiple pairs if I had only known.

  6. Kim

    Now that I've "lightened" up with Montrail Masochist, LaSportiva Crosslite and VFF barefooting, I CANNOT go back to the more structured Montrail Continental Divides I used to wear. I'm glad to see more brands coming out with less structured models.

  7. olga

    Funny that you mentioned Masai, yes, it was my first Montrail shoe (or "real" trail running shoe) that got me in touch with Montrail team and all. Loved it. Odyssey wasn't neraly as good, and it got worse from there for me (I know we all have different tastes and preferences). One of my best friends/running partner is mourning old Hardrocks, and another has a stash of 4 boxes of LD's.

  8. TrailClown, Arlingto

    I think this is the one area of my life in which I am (relatively) psychologically healthy…I don't mourn the loss of any prior shoes because I'm always looking forward to the next innovation (can't wait to try the new Hoka One-One Moon trail shoes). So I don't hoard and I always move on. Plus, with size 13.5 feet with high arches, nothing much feels good on my feet anyway, so I guess I've never truly been in love…sigh.

    1. Bryon Powell

      Clown, you truly re a Hoka One-One. For sure.

      While you've never found true love in running shoe, I DO know you've had some memorable flings… you'll always have that weekend along the Occoquan with your VFF? ;-)

  9. jeremy

    I too favored the Leona Divides but my first shoe purchased solely for running was the Nike Air Tupu. They have a permanent ride in the back seat of my truck.

  10. Clown's Retort

    Ya, that was not the brightest move with the VFF's over 50 miles, but I am not the brightest bulb in the package. My first marathon in 1997, I wore basketball high tops, and it's been a downward spiral ever since. However… Just ran the inaugural Blue Ridge Marathon this past weekend in the Vasque Transistors, no problems! Maybe I will hoard some shoes after all! Of course, at mile 20 some barefoot dude ran by holding his VFF's in his hands, so I'm not the only crazy one out there. This is no passing fad….

  11. derrick

    La Sportiva Slingshots.

    Though I do most of my mileage in Crosslites and Skylites which I love, I still pull out an old pair of Slingshots for the occasional trail scamper.

    As for vintage shoes, I'm thinking back more so to the road shoes of the early 1980's when I started running…there were no trail shoes then. I loved the original Asics Epirus (pre Gel) and the Asics Explorer.

    There was also a New Balance Cross Country racing flat back then that was pretty sweet too called the NB XC200 (I think). It was a real ugly brown with red lettering.

    Ah…so many great old classics.

  12. Steve P

    Bryon, I'm going to go back a bit because I go back a bit….I loved the old Asics Gel Moros and the Gel Rocs after that. I ran a sub 20 at Vermont in those great shoes….but today I wouldn't trade my LaSportiva Crosslites for anything, these shoes become one with my feet.

  13. JimB

    My favorite trail shoe was not a trail shoe at all but the old Nike Analog [2nd version I think]. Just the right fit and amount of motion control. I remember having some great runs on some really technical trails. Of course I was a little younger then. In true Nike fashion, they were gone after one season.

  14. Ben

    I loved the Mizuno Wave 3, but when they wore out I picked up the Wave 4 and I was not impressed with the new model. The Wave 3 was low profile and fit my feet perfectly. I put easily 500-600 miles on them before I retired them (and my dog decided they smelled good enough to chew on). The Wave 4 just had too much structure and was not as comfortable. I now run on the La Sportiva Crosslites and backpack with the Fireblade. Love both shoes.

  15. Steve

    Another vote for the Leona Divide. How they called the Continental a replacement is beyond me. More like fraternal Hard Rock twin. That seemed like a great example of a company paying absolutely no attention to its customers.

  16. ScottD

    I'm a big fan of the Nike Lunar Racer, which was discontinued last year. I bought all I could off of eBay to make sure I had ample supply for future short road races.

  17. Gwilym Williams

    Nostalgic feelings for Ron Hill's famous dirt-cheap off-road running shoes of 20-odd years ago, made "without bells, bangles and baubles". It was like running in carpet slippers and they always fitted like gloves. Never a blister.

    As an aside, Ron also invented the running trackster, the runners' string vests, and may have even have mixed the first marathon runner's orange juice and salt drink in the days when the rest of us only drank water.

  18. Jeff Montgomery

    I loved my first pair of "real" running shoes, the New Balance 828 circa roughly 1997. They were light and form-fitting like a sturdy marathon racing flat; a great neutral shoe. I think they were pale yellow.

    Subsequent replacements had too much heel/motion control, which I dislike. I won't buy a shoe that tries to tell my foot how to land!

    Current fave is the Cascadia, which may seem like overkill, but I run almost exclusively on technical trails with plenty of rocks. Nice tread, and I like the way it lets me land however I want.

  19. Grae

    Leona Divide was my favorite shoe at the time. Now I use it for my mud runs. I have four brand new pairs stashed away. Bummer for the readers that were Masai fans. I donated 6 new pairs to a local charity last Winter!

    P.S. The Rucky Chucky was replaced by the Devil's Thumb. The only change is the uppers.

  20. Anonymous

    Bryon, or anyone else,

    There are a pair of size 11.5 masai nib for 50 bucks on ebay as I write this. Just thought you, or someone else might like to know that.


  21. Bob Holzhauer

    Can someone find me a place where I can buy multiple sets of 07 Vasque Blurs? I'm desperate – taking a shot at a 200 solo run (Tom's Run) in two weeks and need to get them and break them in!!! I've only got two sets left!

    Bob Holzhauer – Fairfax, VA

  22. herbie helmeset

    Nike LDV. circa 1978. Big, wide, loved 'em. But meybe my memory of them is not too accurate. As far as big goes, I'm looking into the Hoka shoes. Anyone with experience?

  23. runbei

    ASICS Gel Moro circa 1992-97(?). Amazing shoe – I routinely got 1500-1700 mi out of them, and they were still comfy. Finished 50-milers with barely a reddening of skin. Sad, sad, sad.

  24. runbei

    p.s. Oh, well, if we're going back to the seventies – let's hear it for the "Lydiards." Yes, designed by Arthur himself. They were imported and sold through the mail by Runner's World. We staffers paid $25. Straight last, moderate heel, stable without bossing feet around, brushed leather with red trim. Wonderful.

  25. Dan Metcalf

    Though we hardly knew 'em, I'm still getting over the loss of END — the review of the WOW (walk on water) on this site turned me on to them, and the simplistic, low design, reasonable price tag, relative sense of mission, light weight and designs of those, the various stumptowns and YMMV were all really cool. Thankfully, I bought up a ton in my size when I heard they were done for, but I don't look forward to trying to find such mellow, clever designs in the future.

    1. Bryon Powell

      Dan, I loved my WOWs… and did many of my easy runs leading up to the 2009 Marathon des Sables in them. I felt that the shoes really helped my strengthen my feet and the lightweight made them fun to boot.

      While not "discontinued" because they were never released, the Endvelope was a SWEET road shoe that was stable enough that I could fearlessly pound out a 5k race on technical single track.

      I liked END's shoes enough that I've joked about… and actually considered trying to resurrect the brand or its shoes.

      1. dan metcalf

        You need to do that; I just today received a back-up pair of WOWs, after being super stoked with how they performed at the Eagleman 70.3,) and the very slick looking 10 oz stumptowns (up to now I'd only run down the 12oz and 8 oz varieties,) and am super stoked to have in my inventory:

        1 pair otgs

        1 pair ymmvs

        1 pair stumptown 8ozers

        1 pair stumptown 12oz that are really getting past it

        2 pair WOWs

        and now the pair of 10 ozers

        Did you ever review or reveal any specs on the "endvelope?" just the name makes me think of the Green Silence, and its foldover design. Curious…

  26. Dan

    FYI…the La Sportiva Slingshot is still available on their European website, so you can probably purchase it in Europe. ;) I refuse to throw mine away. They really were ahead of their time, and a blast to the past when there were simpler shoes, all at the same time.

  27. Gwilym

    Due to an injury I find I'm unable to run at the moment, and so some I bought some Walking Sticks. I have to say how glad I am that I kept hold of my old NB 1221's. With their Rollbar/Roteur feature they now have a new lease of life – as my favourite Nordic Walking shoes!

  28. holly

    As a person with syndactyly (webbed toes) I will always have to wear shoes to run in, unless I go totally barefoot.

    I really really miss the Mizuno Waverider 12's. They just went out and I have now run through all three pairs I bought only to find out Mizuno did something weird to the 13's. They are still runnable but not as cushy or nice.

    I watched my Dad as a kid run though all sorts of Nikes….most turned out to be pretty bad ideas for his flat pronating feet….BUt I do so miss my Old Mizunos. even if they aren't that old…

    It irks me when they change the shoe so much that it feels like a distant cousin of the shoe I want.

  29. Jmac

    New Balance 790 hands down the best shoe of all time for me. Still running in a pair that is over 2 yrs. old and they're not close to done yet…thankfully!

  30. Bill McGovern

    I bought my first ASIC Stratus a few years a go. They were a light weight cushioned shoe. Just what I love on my feet when on the roads. Then they were discontiuned. A year or so later ASIC came out with the Stratus 2.1. Not much of a differnece. I can't remember how many pairs of these two models I bought.

    The 2.1 was discontinued. I keep an eye out hoping to see a Stratus 3.1 hit the market. Nothing to report as yet….

  31. Todd

    I just noticed this discussion, but I can't believe nobody mentioned the Montrail Vitesse! To me that was the quintessential trail running shoe (even if it was stiff and heavy).

  32. Chris

    Best no-frill ordinary running shoes you never wore: vitruvian harmony's. Unfortunately, entire company just (12/31/10) discontinued business. Vitruvian http://vitruvianrunning.com/home.html was a one-man show run by the shoe-designer/shipper/floor-sweeper, Chuck. They only had three unisex models, all for $60/pair. You could email Chuck and he'd reply promptly with model/size recommendations. I tried the harmony (neutral model) last year while hobbled with a sore achilles and sore back and it was a great shoe that kept me running while I healed. 9mm drop, good feel for the ground, great fit, and most comfortable shoe I ever wore. Designed for the road but were a really good trail shoe for most conditions, and I'm in Juneau, Alaska. The shoes had a great, simple tread pattern that was unobtrusive on pavement and gripped on variable conditions from dirt, mud, rock, etc–and every surface here is usually wet. They were also durable as hell. They weighed almost exactly what my brooks cascadia's did on a postal scale when both models had been worn enough to get wet and dirty (my apologies to USPS). I'd have stocked up but started running in lighter shoes. If he (Chuck) decided to modify his existing models to drop heel and shave weight he'd have a totally viable cheap good trail shoe that would appeal to folks looking for something light and simple that still provided some foot protection. –Chris

  33. Hank

    I loved, LOVED the first edition of the Nike Streak XC! Just a really durable all around flat that worked for everything and was the best shoe I ever ran in, especially on technical singletrack. I haven't run in anything that compares, not even the streak 2-although its a good flat it isn't nearly as durable in either the outsole or the upper compared to the originals. I was stupid not to stock up on these. However, I am enjoying the Brooks Green Silence very much along with the Streak 2's. Although the price is pretty ridicoulos for a pair of flats these days. I also have high hopes for the New Balance road minimus-I'll stock up this time!

  34. Andrea

    Ha! Steve nails it. The Gel Moros were awesome in the pre-Hardrock days. But now I love my 790s and Inov-8 285s for the truly hinky stuff.

    For road? Definitely my first marathon shoe – Fila Corsa Otto. Sooooo smooth, like butter.

  35. David

    Mizuno Wave ________? Arn't there like several Wave something models. I like the Wave Universe 3 but the Wave Universe 4 is too bright for my style. Orange, Green, Red vs MWU3 is just white.

  36. David

    I really like the Saucony Fastwitch 4 but the Fastwitch 5 got a new super stiff sole that I really didn't like. I think they change the good ones so we can buy the same model the next year and then end up with a closet full of bad ones, then buy more and create more revenue. That's why I won't buy unless I can send them back if unsatisfied.

  37. Eli

    I love my rucky chuckys. But a year and a half later and the UTMB and theyre through. any suggestions for an equivalent replacement? Or even better, may I might find some RCs?

  38. Bill

    IMHO, Nike didn’t make a bunch of top-shelf running shoes, however the Nike Zoom Vomero 3 was a very good shoe. Wish I had bought a couple pair to hoard.

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