Don’t buy a shoe just because your friend thinks it’s awesome
In some ways choosing a trail shoe is no different to choosing a road running shoe. Comfort is key. Taking you back to your childhood (those of you as old as I am) to quote Different Strokes, what might be right for you may not be right for some. We all have different opinions on what makes a shoe comfortable so first tip is don’t buy a certain trail shoe just because your friend thinks it’s awesome.
What sort of sole do you have?
A trail running shoe will have a more rugged outsole than its road running cousin and is typically more durable. Depending on where you run will impact on what sort of sole you choose.
A hybrid trail shoe is perfect if you want a shoe that is as happy on the road as it is on a non-technical trail. These shoes tend to have a lower profile outsole and are often a trail version of shoe companies’ popular road shoe. The Brooks Adrenaline ASR is a good example of a hybrid shoe.
A sticky rubber outsole is great for trail running that includes boulders and rocks (Magnetic Island) and the Mizuno Daichi with its Michellin Mountain Bike inspired outsole rocks it on the boulders!
Aggressive, deep lugs on the outsole are ideal for loose gravel and muddy conditions. The Salomon Speedcross has an extremely aggressive “toothy” outsole with 6mm lugs that are perfect when the trails get super technical and sketchy.
How’s your fit?
The fit of your trail shoe is super important. You want it snug enough around the heel and arch to avoid slippage. This will prevent blistering and give stability when on uneven surfaces. You also want a thumb width between the end of your toes and the end of the shoe – this will help stop those blood blister / bruised toenails that can be caused when hammering down a gnarly trail
Less chance of injuries
Not so much a tip, more a fact. A trail shoe will offer more stability and protection on off road tracks than road shoe. There is also some good evidence to suggest that alternating between two pairs of shoe (in this case a trail and road shoes) reduces your risk of a running related injury. One of the major causes of repetitive overuse injury in runners is running on the same surface ie footpath, in the same shoe, every single run. As the researchers put it, ‘the concomitant use of different pairs of running shoes will provide alternation in the running pattern and vary external and active forces on the lower legs during running activity.’ They found that those runners who use two pairs of shoes were 61% less likely to have a running related injury than those runners who used the same she for every run.
The Salmon Speedcross, Brooks Adrenaline ASR and Mizuno Daichi are all available at The Athletes Foot