Thursday, November 01, 2007

Gear Review - Montrail Hardrocks

Product Features and Impressions:
The Hardrocks are probably the first real full off-trail shoe I have ever tried. I say off-trail as that's what they really excel at. While there are barely any shoes that I would really call 'off-trail', these shoes definitely fit the bill. These shoes are stiff, have great lateral support, have tough uppers, and have protection plates in the midsole. While all of these features come with the cost of increased weight, it is well worth it when travelling off the beaten path. These are absoutely bomber shoes. Sharp rocks? Don't even think twice about powering through them in these babies.
While I really like these shoes, I find the fit is a little off for me. I have a long, standard width foot with a pronounced heel. So, I do find there is some heal slip even when I have the shoe tighened up well. This review is for the 2006 grey and red model. Unfortunately, I bought the black and red model (shown above) and this shoe did not work for me. The fit was suddenly way too tight for the same shoe size and I got blisters from the heel plate in the back of the shoe. I have recently switched to the Montrail Continental Divides which I'm absolutely loving. I'll review these once I've logged some good miles on them.

Overall, I would have to say none for the intended use other than the fit of the shoe which is very personal. The downside of the shoes durability is you'll want to continue to wear these shoes even after their worn-out as the uppers and soles will still look decent.

Overall Impression:
This is an awesome shoe for anything from off-road ultras, to good hikes through rough terrain. When going to adventure races, rogaines or regular orienteering meets, you'll see a lot of people with these shoes. If you talk to most of them, you'll probably get the same answer; these shoes are the best! These are not for everyone though. Weight weenies no need to apply.
Try not to get the black and red version shown above though. I guess there has been fit problems with this 2007 model. Other 2007 colours seem to be fine though. Go figure.

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