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!).


Bitterroot Runoff  Recap 2021

We had a beautiful morning at the Bitterroot Runoff Trail Runs this Saturday! Runners got to experience private singletrack outside of Lolo, followed by pancakes, Big Dipper Ice Cream, and Big Sky Beer after the race. 


Typically, the Bitterroot Runoff is our first race of the year in mid April. This year, due to COVID concerns, we chose to push it to July.  

Compared to last time we raced at this venue during the Hootenanny, the weather was the polar opposite.  Instead of 33 degrees Fahrenheit and rain all day, the trails were dry and there wasn’t a cloud in the sky.  Fortunately on race day, the temperature stayed relatively cool early in the day and it wasn’t too smokey.  


On the men’s side, we saw a father-son-duo Michael Curtis and Ian Curtis take the titles for the 5-mile and 10-mile, respectively.  Ian, a former Hellgate High School cross country runner who now runs collegiately in Minnesota, had a battle on his hands with Mike Adams out of Ronan.  On the climbs, Ian would build a gap from Adams, but on the descents, Adams would blow past Ian.  This game continued until the final mile of the race, where Ian pulled away and came away with the win.  


The women’s race saw Nicole Murray win the 10-mile for the second consecutive year.  Nicole will be attempting the Bitterroot Runoff/Treadmill Challenge double this year, with only 2 days of separation between the two races.  In the 5-mile, Leilani Contos came away with the title.  Leilani has been cleaning up at our races, most recently winning the 10k at Mountain to Meadow.  



You can find the photos from the race HERE. Thank you to our lovely photographer, Anastacia Wilde, for being out there crushing it on race morning. 

Thank you to the volunteers to showed up and helped make this event possible.  We had great volunteers helping out at packet pick up, manning the aid station, and handing out breakfast and ice cream after the race. 

Huge thank you to all of our great sponsors for supporting this event. We had gels and electrolyte drinks from Hammer Nutrition keeping everyone fueled during the race, Joe from Big Sky Brewery handing out post-race refreshments, Evie from Sapphire Physical Therapy giving out post race massages, Big Dipper Ice Cream cooling everyone down afterwards, and Saucony supporting this event!

Treadmill Challenge

Despite the rain and snow, it was all smiles at the Hootenanny! Photo: Seth Orme

Alex Levan celebrating his 50k finish. Photo: Seth Orme

Patty Creek Junction keeping the base area lively! Photo: Seth Orme

It seems like once a year, Missoula gets a day where it rains ALL day. This past Sunday was that day. Not to be deterred, Hootenanny 50k and Relay participants came out in force to run through rain, snow and mud. The sun may have been hiding behind dense clouds, but the smiles and laughs from hundreds of runners warmed up the chilly day. Volunteers brought energy to both aid stations and kept fires going to take the edge off the cold. Not to mention they pumped all the runners full of tasty food! At the base area, volunteers, spectators, and runners were treated to live music from Patty Creek Junction to keep the excitement high. Thanks to all who came out and persevered through some tough weather! Congrats everyone and thank you volunteers!

50k Race

The 50k consisted of three approximately 10-mile loops, with the first loop having an additional mini-loop to get the total distance to a full 31 miles. The course was slightly different from the 2020 course, but times were expected to be very similar. The 50k started at 7am under cloudy, but not yet rainy, skies. Many runners got through most of one lap without getting too too wet. Laps two and three were wet for everyone. Rain poured down in the base area, while big fat snowflakes flew up high. Trail runners are tough cookies though, and smiled their way through the chilly slip n slide of a course. Congrats to all!


Erin Clark coming in for a first place finish in the women’s 50k. Photo: Seth Orme

Even with a muddy course on a chilly day, the women’s race went out hot. After the first lap, it was clear that multiple women had the potential to better Evie Tate’s 2020 course record of 4:49:26. Coming off her win at the Sentinel Hill Climb, Erin Clark powered through to a new course record at the Hootenanny 50k. Clark ran an incredibly speedy 4:12:06, besting Tate’s 2020 record by a whopping 37 minutes. Keep an eye out for Clark at next month’s Western States 100 Mile Endurance Run! Also under course record were Imogen Ainsworth (2nd place, 4:30:21), Christi Richards (3rd place, 4:46:05), and Reagan Colyer (4th place, 4:46:50). Master’s winner was Renate Bush (8th place overall, 6:04:18). The women’s race saw 34 starters with 28 finishers.


Jeff Mogavero headed towards a win in the 50k. Photo: Seth Orme

The men’s race shared a similar success to the women’s race, with fast times clocked by many. The top three men came through lap one with less than one minute separating them. Jeff Mogavero pulled ahead on lap two and held on for lap three, establishing a new course record in 3:56:04. He was not the only dip under Jesse Potter’s 2020 course record of 4:42:40. Loren Davis (2nd place, 4:08:55) and Hunter MacHus (3rd place, 4:17:00) both came in under the record, as did the next three finishers (including Potter, who bettered his time by 6 minutes). Master’s winner was Ethan Richards (4th place overall, 4:25:05). The men’s race saw 52 starters with 41 finishers.

Women’s relay winners Local Bacon Toasted Hazelnuts Mozzarella Maple Chipotle Driz with big smiles at the finish. Photo: Seth Orme


The relay took place on the same course as the 50k, with three runners each running one loop of the course. The race started at 8am, just in time for everyone lucky enough to run the first (and longest loop) to get caught in the meat of the snow/rain storm. The trails were freshly muddied by the 50k runners on their first lap and the relayers rejoiced in the sloppy mudfest. Runners stormed the course with tons of energy, excitement, and awesome team names. It was a tight race between the women’s champs and the co-ed champs. Despite covering over 30 miles, co-ed team winner Go Biga or Go Home ran 4:14:56 to narrowly edge out women’s winners Local Bacon Toasted Hazelnuts Mozzarella Maple Chipotle Driz in 4:15:49. That’s one minute!! The Sweaty Singlets placed first for men, covering the 50k course in 3:35:35. Perhaps next year there should be a winner for best team name?!

Relayers partying their way to the finish! Photo: Seth Orme

Full results available from Competitive Timing here.

Photos from Seth Orme available for FREE download on Facebook and from Seth’s website.

Thanks to our sponsors!

Sapphire Physical Therapy
Big Sky Brewing
Hammer Nutrition
New Balance