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.

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

Bryon Powell: is the founder and Editor-in-Chief of iRunFar.com. Having spent nearly 20 years as an ultrarunner and three decades as a trail runner, he's also written Relentless Forward Progress: A Guide to Running Ultramarathons and co-wrote Where the Road Ends: A Guide to Trail Running. He calls Silverton, Colorado and Moab, Utah home.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked*

View Comments (59)

  • I loved the Asics Speedstar 2. I hate when companies update the new model to a higher weight. Lame.

    Cancel reply

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked*

  • 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!

    Cancel reply

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked*

  • 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

    Cancel reply

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked*

  • +1 for the NB 790. I still mourn the loss of this shoe and hoard the 3 pairs I have.

    Cancel reply

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked*

  • 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.

    Cancel reply

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked*

  • "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.

    Cancel reply

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked*

    • 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.

      Cancel reply

      Leave a Reply

      Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked*

  • 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.

    Cancel reply

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked*

  • 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.

    Cancel reply

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked*

  • 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.

    Cancel reply

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked*

    • Drats, Olga. You've got no one I can pawn my old Highlanders off on! ;-)

      Cancel reply

      Leave a Reply

      Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked*

    • BTW, what size shoe are you... I recently saw women's Masai for sale!

      Cancel reply

      Leave a Reply

      Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked*

  • Nike ACG Air Zoom Cascade.

    Cancel reply

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked*

  • 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.

    Cancel reply

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked*

    • 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? ;-)

      Cancel reply

      Leave a Reply

      Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked*

  • 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.

    Cancel reply

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked*

  • 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....

    Cancel reply

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked*

  • Okay, it's not running shoes, but I still have a 20-year old pair of Reebok Pump Basketball shoes in my closet. Just can't throw them out.

    Cancel reply

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked*

  • 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.

    Cancel reply

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked*

  • 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.

    Cancel reply

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked*

  • 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.

    Cancel reply

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked*

  • 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.

    Cancel reply

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked*

  • 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.

    Cancel reply

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked*

  • 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.

    Cancel reply

    Leave a Reply

    Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked*

    • Darn, I never got to try the Lunar Racer. I guess I should try something else in the series before it goes away!

      Cancel reply

      Leave a Reply

      Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked*