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 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.

There are 9 comments

  1. Anonymous

    Not to mention that the 2008 Hardrock was won in a pair of NB 790's as well. And this year's Western States was won in a pair of 7oz Adidas Adizero Ace. It seems like the top guys are all onto something.

  2. Bryon Powell

    There's a reason I've considered racing part of Leadville 100 in END road shoes that likely weigh in under 8 ounces. They might be a bit shy on the rock protection for where I am now. Plus, I'd like to train a bit more in minimalist shoes before tackling a big part of a 100 miles in them. If I had a pair of the forthcoming New Balance 100s in hand today, I think there's a decent chance I'd give them a shot.Going forward, I can see switching between minimalist shoes and standard trail shoes (no, I won't be ditching these) during most of my trail training. On the roads, I'll keep moving toward less is more in hopes of strengthening my feet and support muscles.

  3. Sara

    Hey Bryon! Good article in Competitor! I liked the line "…trail shoes have a few more tricks for the trail."By the way, any trails you'd suggest for us in Banff? We're going for a week in October.

  4. Bryon Powell

    Sara,What kind of adventure are you looking for? Flattish? A loop? Do point-to-points work? I loved both a two-day, where we stayed at the Naiset cabins at Mount Assiniboine and a single-day full run of the Rockwall. Both are point-to-point runs.

  5. Sara

    I'll look into those cabins, that sounds like an interesting option. Just collecting ideas at this point, a lot will depend on weather/snow (late Oct).

    1. Bryon Powell

      Jerry, I'm not sure why Danner (LaCrosse) bought END. They killed the brand 90 days after they bought it. According to the company… they're going to incorporate END's technology into their boots. It's a crying shame. END shoes and particularly the road shoes were some of my alltime favorites

      1. Jerry

        Sad… I found their website, and eMailed them regarding their intentions. I haven't tried the road shoes, but I've bought almost every pair of Stumptowns I can find…

        1. Bryon Powell

          I would pay MSRP or more for a pair of END's never released Endvelopes. I'm working away right now in an END light hiker that never saw the light of day. The cruel death of END still pisses me off!

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