Every runner should be able to get a nice pair of trail running shoes that has a good grip and support them while taking a run. Whether running along the towpath, down the mountain, or through the fields, you should have proper footwear that gives you the confidence you need in every step you take.
Trail running shoes are well-designed to help runners as they are built differently from road running shoes. They have a thread pattern that gives you a better grip on all terrains, boosting your performance and offering great stability.
Things to consider when choosing trail shoes
A well-fitting shoe should be considered before all other factors when getting running shoes. Getting a good-fitting shoe is more than just the width and length.
Feet are biomechanically complex and a good fit is vital for factors like arch, shape, arch length, foot volume, and more. Please do not assume you know your foot size as it changes with age, so always measure and get the correct size that fits perfectly.
Every brand shoe company builds shoes differently around foot form known as’ last.’ Always choose a shoe brand that has a last that’s similar to your foot. You will also need a shoe with adequate length and width in the toe box.
Cushioning level also called ‘stacked height,’ remained unchanged until padded shoes entered the industry. Maximum cushioning is often good and more comfortable for runners with higher arches. The arch of your foot means the area between your heel and the area of your foot.
The cushioning and insoles should also support people with flat feet to prevent a lot of pressure which can result in significant discomfort. The feel vs. float cushioning spectrum offers you a wide range of options: Barefoot shoes have no padding and allow you to feel the trail and your biomechanics.
They are a better option for those who want a better trail feel while running but are uncomfortable with the forgoing midsole padding.
This cushioning can be categorized as a traditional trail runners’ shoe as they have more padding, which is comfortable and allows you to run on the rocky trail comfortably.
There are three various trail runner’s shoe categories which include:
This type is for uniform surfaces such as gravel roads and rolling hills. They are lightweight and offer modest protection needed from rocks and roots. They have shallow lugs and are well-built to offer stable foot placements for runners.
Some shoes have ample midsole cushioning, allowing you to run comfortably in a long-distance race.
Off-trail shoes have a more enhanced structure designed from a resilient material compared to other trail shoes, which offer support and protection of the foot.
They are waterproof and give you the support needed, especially if you are running through a stream or when exposed to severe weather.
The rugged trail is well-designed for running in a hiking trail environment. Rugged trail have toe guards front and plates underfoot for excellent protection from roots and rocks on the trail. The rugged trail has a resilient midsole cushioning, which offers excellent support in hard landing on rocks and rough surfaces.
Some shoes have soft, grippy rubber that resists slipping on wet rocks or other surfaces. Also, some shoes have harder and less grippy rubber, which offers durability.
Heel-to-toe-drop is the measurement related to shoe cushioning of any running shoes, which is the difference between the height of the heel and the forefoot, which ranges from 0mm to more than 12mm.
Once in a while shoe brand might alter the shoe drop when updating the shoe design. Barefoot shoes have a 0mm drop, while minimal shoes typically have a drop of 0 to 4mm.
If you constantly wear flip-flops and wish to have trail shoes, then consider going for low-drop shoes.
Apart from having one of the best trail shoes, one should always look at running shoe weight. The best and most comfortable is having as light shoes as possible. Lightweight shoes will allow you to run efficiently without having to strain so much on your foot but with more stability.
Features to look for
Drop is the difference between the heel’s height and the shoe’s forefront midsole cushioning. The shoe’s drop mainly affects how your feet touch the ground surface while running. Always ensure you choose a pair that goes in hand with your foot drop as possible and you are comfortable running in.
The closure of the shoe varies from one brand to the other. Some shoe brands have traditional lacing systems, while others have quick pull laces that would not distract you on your run. Some shoe brand goes further to have pockets on their shoe so you can tuck in the laces, so they don’t interfere with your run.