Summer is flying by and we’re just a month out from the Rut Mountain Runs. We couldn’t be more excited! The rugged courses at the Rut are notorious for how hard they are on shoes. The RE staff rounded up some of our favorites that we think will be a good fit for the rocky, steep terrain at the Rut (and your other mountain adventures). If you haven’t found the perfect Rut shoe, now’s the time!

What makes a great Rut shoe?

A runner descending loose rock at the Rut. Photo: Votography Images

If you’re signed up for the Rut, you probably already know that the course features very steep climbs and descents on rough terrain. What entails “rough terrain”? Loose rocks, talus, tree roots, boulders, and narrow mountain singletrack. Sounds like fun to us! Even more fun if you have the right shoe for the job. Here are a few things we look for in a good Rut shoe:

  • Rock plate
    • What is a rock plate? Rock plates are thin sheets of plastic laminated into a trail shoe. They are typically between the rubber tread and foam midsole material. What do they do? When you step on sharp, pointy rocks they help to deflect that impact. Yes, you still feel rocks. But instead of feeling a sharp stab on the bottom of your foot, it’s more of a dull stab. In a race like the Rut, or other mountain runs, having that added protection can make all the difference over the course of many miles.
  • Aggressive outsole
  • Durable upper
  • Enough cushion (but not too much)
  • Secure fit
  • At the end of the day, a shoe you feel comfortable and confident in on challenging terrain

    A line of runners working their way up Lone Peak. Photo: Votography Images

Some of our favorites

We have many trail shoes in stock that could be a good fit for you. Any of our team members are happy to help you find the perfect shoe for training or race day! Here are a few of out favorites:

The North Face Vectiv Enduris

The new colors of the Vectiv line are awesome!

We’ll defer to The North Face Athlete and Rut Race Director Mike Foote for a review on the Enduris: “The Vectiv Enduris would be my shoe of choice for the demands of the Rut Mountain Runs.  The outsole is grippy, but not overly aggressive.  The upper is comfortable and holds your foot snug for the technical sections.  And when it’s time to turn the legs over a bit faster, the shoe responds well to speed. Overall, the shoe offers good protection and comfort without sacrificing performance.” Sounds good to us!

Saucony Peregrine 11

The Peregrine has always been a favorite Rut shoe. It has one of the most aggressive outsoles on a trail shoe we carry. There’s lots of rubber under your foot with a rock plate and moderate amount of cushioning. With a 4mm drop, it offers a close to the ground feel, but plenty of protection.

Altra Lone Peak 5

The Altra Lone Peak 5

The Lone Peak is Altra’s classic trail shoe. While it’s named after the Lone Peak in Utah’s Wasatch Range, it will be right at home on the trails on Big Sky’s Lone Peak. It offers a close to the ground feel thanks to it’s “zero-drop,” foot-shaped midsole. It has not too much, not too little cushioning and a rock plate to protect you from the plethora of rocks you will step on at the Rut.

Brooks Cascadia 16

The grippy bottom and deep lugs of the Brooks Cascadia 16.

The Cascadia is a fan-favorite trail shoe. It just got a fresh update, and it’s phenomenal! According to Brooks, this new version is “a smoother, lighter version of our iconic trail shoe.” We agree! And for a race like the Rut, we’re excited about the bigger lugs on the outsole and the forefoot rock plate (or as Brooks calls it, their “Ballistic Rock Shield.” Now THAT sounds rugged!).