New Ultra Brand Mount To Coast Launches Two road Shoes Built for (Very) Extreme Distances

Veterans of Nike, Brooks and New Balance have teamed up to launch a boutique shoe brand focused on extreme distance running. But will these shoes go the (ultra) distance?


Mount to Coast is a curious new player in the premium boutique footwear space. The company is specifically going after a very small segment of the running market: ultrarunners. And with its first two flagship models, Mount to Coast is focusing on a tiny subdivision of that group: those who run on the roads for a really long time. But maybe, like Hoka before it, Mount to Coast is on to something by starting with a niche it can own.

The brand formally launches today (April 25) with two shoe models. The R1 is its “race-specific” shoe, which is actually constructed to withstand what a normal daily trainer could handle over the course of a season, but in one shot. And there’s the S1, a “daily trainer,” that should be able to endure the sort of training someone will put into it when prepping for a 100-miler (or more).

The R1 and S1 are curious shoes. Both have been battle tested in extremely long distance events, with impressive results. And both are specifically designed for road running, and not the trails. They are also decidedly nice looking shoes, leaning more towards the minimal, clean design aesthetic of Lululemon or On Running, instead of, say, the maximalist approach taken by Hoka when it first entered the market.

Here’s everything you need to know about the new ultrarunner-specific brand.

New Ultra Brand Mount To Coast Launches Two road Shoes Built for (Very) Extreme Distances 1
Photo Credit: Mount to Coast

The Story Behind the Mount to Coast Shoe Brand

According to the company’s founders, who came from Nike, Brooks and New Balance, Mount to Coast began with a simple yet profound realization: ultrarunners were being let down by the very shoes meant to support them over hundreds of miles during training and racing. For years, the ultrarunning community has been underserved by the mainstream running industry, forced to compromise on comfort, support, and durability, Mount to Coast claims. 

Conversations with members of the ultrarunning community revealed a common frustration – the lack of shoes that could withstand the rigours of long-distance running without succumbing to midsole degradation or sacrificing fit. Basically, the “Goldilocks” shoe for an ultrarunner needed to take an absolute pounding, and yet still somehow continue to provide support while not disintegrating under the runner’s foot.

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Photo Credit: Mount to Coast

These initial discussions highlighted a prevalent issue for ultrarunners: they frequently found themselves needing multiple pairs of shoes to replace worn-out ones during events, primarily due to midsole degradation.

Additionally, as runners feet swelled with every mile, many of the runners who were consulted by the fledgling brand resorted to compromising on fit by selecting larger shoe sizes or even resorting to motifying the shoe’s upper, increasing the risk of injury.

Drawing upon decades of combined experience in the footwear industry, the team behind Mount to Coast assembled a diverse group of experts with previous experience working for and with some of the most forward-thinking road shoe brands in the world, but with a goal in mind to port over those learnings for use within an ultra context.

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Photo Credit: Mount to Coast

The Mount to Coast R1 and S1

Each of Mount to Coast’s two inaugural shoes feature many of the same innovative technologies that have been recently incorporated into both super shoes and “super trainers.” Mount to Coast began by leveraging the extremely responsive and lightweight characteristics of Pebax, a midsole polymer that has allowed Nike and others to build chunky yet feather-light racing shoes, but tuned it with 100+ mile racing on the roads in mind.

Their engineering team also cooked up something they are calling ZeroSag, which is an anti-degradation cushioning material inspired by the suspension systems of race cars, which Mount to Coast says ensures a higher level of support and cushioning over hundreds of miles of running. Another intriguing feature that stands out with their first two modesl is what they are calling the TUNEDFIT Dual Lacing System. It rather cleverly allows the wearer to customize the fit of the shoe around the forefoot and midfoot separately, minimizing the risk of injury and discomfort for an ultra, particularly later in the race when feet start to swell like balloons.

Mount to Coast say the development phase for these two shoes was exhaustive. It included seeding pairs to more than 300 serious ultrarunners throughout the prototyping phase. The company says this group of wear testers ended up logging over than 90,000 miles in its shoes during the development phase, which led to locking in one a training model and dedicated racer (although the latter is the sort a runner can race several hundred miles in in one shot, so not your typical super shoe).

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Photo Credit: Mount to Coast

The true test of Mount to Coast’s innovation came in March, during the MTC JOGLE, a 854-mile course covering the entirity of Britain. Many consider it to be one of the most grueling ultra challenges in the world, with few finishers and an astonishingly long FKT.

Mount to Coast tapped ultrarunner Justin Montague to take on the MTC JOGLE with a brutal ask: try to complete it in record time, but stick to only a single pair of Mount to Coast R1s.

The company also worked with legendary Asian ultrarunner Lucong Geng on the same course, but in a single pair of its S1 model. Montague demolished the course record, covering the entire distance in 17 days, more than 40 hours faster than anyone before him. Lucong Geng managed more than 600 miles of the course in a single pair of the training model S1.

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Photo Credit: Mount to Coast

We’ll be wear testing and providing in-depth and honest reviews of both shoes in the coming weeks, both on our site and our YouTube channel.

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Jessy has been active her whole life, competing in cross-country, track running, and soccer throughout her undergrad. She pivoted to road cycling after completing her Bachelor of Kinesiology with Nutrition from Acadia University. Jessy is currently a professional road cyclist living and training in Spain.

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