Prescription for the Trails? A Shoe Cocktail!

This is iRunFar’s first round up post in quite awhile. It’s got some news that we didn’t squeeze into our […]

By on August 13, 2009 | Comments

This is iRunFar’s first round up post in quite awhile. It’s got some news that we didn’t squeeze into our White River 50 race report, the end of END Footwear, and an article over at Competitor Running that might interest you. Update: We’ll also throw in the tidbit that Montrail is discontinuing its iconic Hardrock… with the catch that there’s a shoe that might just fill it place.

While it’s been awhile, we thought you’d be interested to learn that both of the top two runners at the White River 50 mile USATF championships wore minimalist shoes.

Nike Free 5.0It’s no shock to anyone that eventual winner Tony toed the line with next to nothing on his feet. He was wearing a pair of stock New Balance MR 790s with the heels shaved down. (Pick up the New Balance MR790 from Tony’s post re his journey to wearing minimalist shoes is a must read! What’s really interesting is that Michael Wardian ran in Nike Free 5.0s (pictured right) nearly straight out the box. He’d never even trained Nike Frees and he had no problem.

Speaking of minimalist shoes, END Footwear is being shut down. Yup, after only a year on the market and only three months after being bought by LaCrosse, LaCrosse is shutting down END Footwear as a separate brand. We’ve been fans since before the first shoe came off the line (END profile: part 1 and part 2), have marveled at each new iteration of practical simplicity END put out (Stumptown 12 oz trail shoe review and WOW water shoe review), and this past week have been having a blast running and racing single track in what were to the forthcoming Endvelope road shoes.

Some good news or END lovers. The entire END Footwear lineup appears to still (as of 8/13/09) be available on from at least 20% off with some shoes up to 40% off. Search for END Footwear at to find the full selection. Get your ENDs while you still can and, if you like, use the two provided Backcountry links to help support our website!

On a happier note, Competitor Running recently published my article, “Do I Really Need a Trail Shoe?” The article discusses the advantages of trail shoes: stability, traction, and protect. It also outlines a number of trail shoe options.

Last month we learned that Montrail would be discontinuing the Hardrock, the flagship shoe that arguably made the company THE trail shoe company in the early part of the decade. If you’re a Hardrock fan, you can still find the original, ’08, & ’09 Hardrocks on For those looking for a new start, Montrail will be releasing the Sabino Trail in Spring 2010.

More Trail Running Shoe Options

To find more options for trail running shoes, check out our Best Trail Running Shoes article.

Bryon Powell

Bryon Powell is the Founding Editor of iRunFar. He’s been writing about trail running, ultrarunning, and running gear for more than 15 years. Aside from iRunFar, he’s authored the books Relentless Forward Progress: A Guide to Running Ultramarathons and Where the Road Ends: A Guide to Trail Running, been a contributing editor at Trail Runner magazine, written for publications including Outside, Sierra, and Running Times, and coached ultrarunners of all abilities. Based in Silverton, Colorado, Bryon is an avid trail runner and ultrarunner who competes in events from the Hardrock 100 Mile just out his front door to races long and short around the world, that is, when he’s not fly fishing or tending to his garden.