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#122987 - 10/27/09 06:42 PM Women's Trail Runners?
OregonMouse Offline

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6562
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
I just returned a pair of women's 2009 Montrail Hardrocks. I can't believe how flimsy and non-supportive these shoes are! My 07 Hardrocks are, for me, the perfect hiking shoe--plenty of pronation control and arch support, nice clinging heel cup, room for my hammer toes and bunions in the forefoot, plenty of cushioning on the bottom to protect from jutting rocks. In comparison, the 09's feel like bedroom slippers--no pronation control, no arch support, no real cup to the heel, too wide in the heel, no extra holes at the top so I can lace them tighter. They look really flimsy, too! I just wish I'd bought a half dozen pairs of the '07 while they were still available! The pair I have is still good but, I'm sure, won't last another backpacking season.

In the meantime, I'm looking for women's trail runners that have excellent pronation and stability control, high arch support, narrow heel, wide and high toebox. No Goretex and no boots, please. If anyone has any suggestions, please let me know. Just remember, guys, that men's and women's models of the same shoe are often completely different.

Edited by OregonMouse (10/27/09 06:44 PM)
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey

#122999 - 10/27/09 09:53 PM Anything works for me now . . . [Re: OregonMouse]
Keith Offline

Registered: 01/04/02
Posts: 1667
Loc: Michigan's Upper Peninsula
Well, of course, that's an overstatement. But I recommend a different approach that seems to have worked for me.

Like you, I have had difficulty getting shoes of any sort-- much less hiking shoes -- that really seem to be right. I also have regrets about failing to stockpile certain shoes that happened to work . . .

I changed the equation. The logic is simple: keep the fit next to your foot and change the outside housing as needed. I started doing this with SuperFeet footbeds which happened to work very well for me. I started wearing them in as many of my shoes as I could and experienced constant fit over varying shoes. Then I invested in FeatherSprings. It is a one-piece stainless steel foot support perfectly matched to my foot which provides perfect support from shoe to shoe to shoe. I only have one pair and move them to whatever shoe I'm using for the day.

Initially, I didn't like the absence of a heel cup which the SuperFeet had provided so well. I sent them back and they put in what they call a bone spur releif -- which is, in fact, a heel cup. After that mod (no charge, BTW) I have a system that works better than anything else I have ever tried. It is superior because it flexes -- like helper springs for your feet -- rather than simply acting as a form-fitting block which doesn't really move or a mere cushion/pad without any real support.

Now, I still am picky about shoes -- particularly hiking shoes -- but it is so much easier. When I go to the store, I just remove the FeatherSpring from the shoe I arrived in and transfer it to whatever one I'm trying on. It's almost as if I were trying on perfectly fitting, broken in shoes -- at least as far as the footbed is concerned. That allows me to pay more attention to other aspects of fit like sloppiness of the heel or pinching on the sides of my feet -- which is now my major challenge.

They are a bit spendy at over $250, or whatever they are charging now, but they are a lifetime item and at close to 30 bucks each for multiple pairs of SuperFeet for each of my shoes every 6 months, I've long ago paid for the Feathersprings and will find that I only need to purchase the consumable accessories every 3 years or so (YMMV).

If you have more questions, feel free to ask away -- either here for everyone's benefit or by PM.
Human Resources Memo: Floggings will continue until morale improves.

#123057 - 10/29/09 12:25 AM Re: Anything works for me now . . . [Re: Keith]
OregonMouse Offline

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6562
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
I'll go the insole route if nothing better offers. I just hate it that the perfect shoes deteriorated into unusable junk in the space of 2 years. I found no '07's available and the women's '08's are available only in sizes 5 and 6--I take a 10.

I did just get this interesting email from Columbia Sportswear's customer service dept., to whom I sent a similar communication to my original post:
Thanks for your interest in Montrail and your inquiry regarding the Hardrock.

Next spring Montrail will introduce a new style called the AT Plus which will be similar to the older Hardrock style.

Thanks for your interest in Montrail.
Best Regards,
Joe Web
Customer Service

Montrail, INC.
1414 Harbour Way South, Suite 1005
Richmond, CA 94804

Please consider the environment before printing this email

So there might be hope for the future for us Hardrock fans!

Edited by OregonMouse (10/29/09 12:26 AM)
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey

#123071 - 10/29/09 10:33 AM Re: Anything works for me now . . . [Re: OregonMouse]
phat Offline

Registered: 06/24/07
Posts: 4107
Loc: Alberta, Canada
The funny thing is, I have the mens 07, and I have the mens 09. I bought the 09's figuring they would be awful, and I actually like them *better* than the 07 - Had to eat my words on that one - and even bought a second pair of 09's when they went on sale at the end of the year.
Any fool can be uncomfortable...
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Winter list.
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#123109 - 10/29/09 05:33 PM Re: Anything works for me now . . . [Re: phat]
OregonMouse Offline

Registered: 02/03/06
Posts: 6562
Loc: Gateway to Columbia Gorge
Phat, I remember your saying that, and that's why I tried the '09's. And that's why I said in my original post that the men's and women's models often differ. They always use completely different lasts. As I mentioned, the women's '09 Hardrocks have about as much support for us pronators as a pair of bedroom slippers. They are comfy to wear around the house, but not elsewhere.

I guess I'll wait for the new Montrail model. If that doesn't work, I'll be making the rounds of the running shoe stores in Portland and Seattle, and probably looking for insoles as well. Insoles, though, can compensate only so much for the deficiencies of the shoe.
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey


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