Sunday, December 23, 2012

The quest for Pre-2007 Montrail Hardrocks

I started running in August of 2002. Ran my first trail race in February 2003, bought my first pair of trail shoes before my first Ultra in September 2003, and bought my first pair of Montrail Hurricane Ridge Trail Shoes before my first Athens/Big Fork in January 2004. After that, Montrail came out with the HardRock, named after the toughest 100 miler in the states.
I fell head over heels in love with this shoe. I have owned 10-12 pairs since then and they are like tanks on my feet, giving me the confidence to conquer any trail. But in 2007, Columbia bought them out. The 2007 shoe was essentially the same, but it seems the toe bumper came unglued immediately, and large chunks of the tread would come loose. In 2008, the shoe was totally redesigned and it was a mediocre trail shoe that performed nothing like the original.

What makes this shoe so awesome (in my opinion?) It is so stable. The heel cup is substantial, keeping my supported and upright. Adding to the amazing solid feel is the EIGHT EYELETS, whereas most other trail shoes have only six. Notice the blue striped stabilization straps that tie into the eyelets. These anchor to the base platform, and the shoe becomes "at one" with your foot. When I put these shoes on before a run, or change into them at the halfway point of a 100 miler, I feel like a vacuum just sucks my foot into the shoe, and the shoe closes around my foot like a precision hatch. I feel like Superman, able to run over jagged rocks and jump over high stumps in a single bound.

I have well over 100 miles on these shoes. I have three pair left, and all are in pretty sad looking shape, but feel like old friends willing to take me into any battle I choose to take on. One of my other pair has big chunks of tread missing, and my oldest pair has hex screws installed for icy days.

In all pairs, I have added Sole Dean Karnazez Insoles, which when pre-heated in the oven and quickly inserted in the shoe, will conform both to the shoe bed and my foot shape. (Not exactly the minimalist approach, I know.)

I occasionally search eBay for a pair that someone is trying to pedal, and I have picked up a few that way. The last pair I got--a 2007 pair--has quite a bit of tread missing now. I paid $50.00 for them, and was thrilled. I'd pay three times that for another addition of these.

Finding another shoe to replace these has been a challenge. I have wore several great trail running shoes from RunnersWorld, including Cascadias, Trabucos, Xodus, and these are all very good shoes that do the job. I like and use run in them often, but they are not my beloved. I've gone minimalist, wearing Minimus, MT-110s, Trail Gloves, Altra Lone Peaks, and I like them too, but they do not give me the confidence to run endlessly over anything the trail can throw my way. So what is the point of all this? It's just a lament--and a plea: If anyone should happen to know where I could find a pair of pre-2007 Montrail HardRocks in a size 10.5 or 11, I WOULD LIKE TO TALK TO YOU!

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