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    Tuesday, November 18, 2008

    Montrail Hardrock Trail Running Shoe

    The 2008 Hardrock is an excellent shoe for long distance and technical courses. Long a trail running favorite Montrail delivers yet again with this year’s edition.
    Ample cushioning where it is needed most ensures a comfortable ride. The well padded heel and forefoot mitigate much of the shock of hard surface running, especially when pounding down steep singletrack. The stiffened toebox gives good protection to the little piggies as well – always nice when running a very rocky trail.

    The aggressive “Griptonite” sole supplies purchase under almost all conditions. The high-density medial post in the shoe lends reinforces the arch and the overall stability of the shoe. The uppers breathe adequately and even though I am prone to excessive foot heating during long runs the Hardrock performed well.

    The lacing provides a tight fit that goes long down the foot and allows a tight fit to the running platform. The shoe’s sizing runs a little small – I usually wear a 10 to 10.5 but fit an 11.5 Hardrock. The medium volume gives room for foot expansion without leaving too much wiggle room for shorter jaunts.

    I have put about three months of satisfied running into my new Hardrocks. On a recent half-marathon they performed well overall , including on one paved section. For longer training runs the cushion and support is appreciated, shorter events in the 10k range probably do not need this much shoe unless on very technical terrain. The shoe's real test for me will be in February 2009's ICY 8 Hour Trail Run.

    Bottom Line: I would buy this shoe again and would recommend it to friends. It is an excellent performer for long runs and on technical terrain. It’s beef cushion, solid footbed, and tight lacing allows you to plant each stride firmly without breaking stride – even on steep downhills.

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