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Trail Running Shoes

Trail Running Shoes

Trail Running Shoes

Types Of Trail Running Shoes & How To Choose?

Trail running is a specialized sport that requires specific types of shoes, built for off-road terrain. These shoes offer the stability, grip, and support needed to run on uneven surfaces. However, the exact one you need for better performance can vary depending on the type of terrain you are running on. Let’s take a quick look. 

Choosing trail running shoes based on terrain

When choosing to go off-road running, you will come across different terrain types. Each requires a specific type of shoe that will improve your performance and reduce injury. 

1. Rocky, hard terrain

Rocky, hard terrain calls for trails with gravel and a lot of support to the feet. As such, the trail running shoes must have the following: 

  • Low profile
  • Minimised toe box protection
  • A foot cradle that’s flexible
  • Breathable upper
  • Smaller lugs for better grip on rock and compressed soil

2. All-terrain

This type of terrain consists of rocks, mountain paths, and muddy trails. The type of trail running shoes needed for all-terrain must include: 

  • Flexible foot cradle
  • Midsole support
  • Breathable upper
  • Protection for the toe box
  • Medium-sized lugs with multi-directional support

3. Muddy and soft terrain

Lastly, the muddy and soft terrain has mountain paths and muddy trails. Such a terrain requires trail running shoes with the following key features: 

  • Midsole protection from rocks and roots
  • Strong foot cradle
  • Taller lugs that can dig deeper into the mud
  • Wider spacing between lugs to easily remove mud and other debris
  • Weatherproof or GORE-TEX-lined upper

Considering heel drop

A heel drop is a difference between heel and forefoot. Lower heel drop allows you to be more flexible when you run, as you tend to land on your forefoot or midsole. Based on the heel drop, trail running shoes are divided into two: 

  • Beginner shoes (8-11 mm)

Most everyday shoes have some sort of heel drop. When starting out with trail running, you cannot go for shows with a reduced heel drop. A heel drop of 8-11 mm is great for beginners and those with injuries or issues with their heel and Achilles.

  • Advanced shoes (4-8 mm)

4-8 mm heel drop trail running shoes are great for runners who regularly run the trails. These are also perfect for those who run at a fast pace and need impressive performance on short runs. Those with past toe injuries and issues will also find these shoes helpful. 

Trail Running Shoes Explained with runner Seth James DeMoor
Courtesy of Seth James DeMoor

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