Hitting the Trails – How to choose the right trail shoe

trail shoes

Running on trails is a fun and very exciting way to run, a great compliment if you generally run on roads or simply a brilliant way to get fit. To get the best out of it though, it’s essential to get a pair of trail shoes and avoid destroying your road shoes.

Most of us will hit trails at some point either by choice to try something different or many of the popular Parkrun courses involve some form of trail from grass to a rough path and so it’s wise to look at a pair of shoes that will do the job for you. Running shoes can be fine but it’s unlikely they’ll perform as well as you need them to do on different surfaces.

Buying a pair of trail shoes is similar in many ways to road shoes but there are different things you need to consider to get the right ones for you.

1. What kind of surface are you going to be running on? Trail shoes are generally designed to suit a changing terrain but some are designed more specifically for hard-packed paths like farm tracks, others for muddy fields and so on. If you’re planning on doing a hill run or Tough Mudder then the shoe choice will be different because the level of grip will be different.

2. Experience of trail running. If you’re new to trail running then your choice of shoe will more than likely differ than an experienced runner. The fit of the shoe is predominantly different from road shoes in that it doesn’t matter whether you over-pronate or need more stability etc. Your foot will move in a different way and so cushioning/support will more be a consideration depending on whether you’re used to running trails or not. If you’re new to trail running then a pair of minimalist shoes is probably not a good idea.

3. Prone to injury. If you’ve had a few injuries (particularly a recurring one) then this might affect which shoes are going to be best for you. Something with more cushioning perhaps but that would be best discussed with a professional.

When researching shoes, you will become more aware of the variety available from models from your favourite brand to brands who specialise more in this market to all the colours available. Many of the terms may lead to the same level of confusion as if buying road shoes and so it’s important to get the right ones.

Pop into any Run4It store and they will help identify the right shoes for you so you can run many happy muddy miles in them.

Shop all our trail running shoes here.

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Steve Bonthrone

Steve Bonthrone

I qualified as a Personal Trainer in 2000 and have been working for myself since 2006 and opened my own private studio in 2012. I specialise in helping people lose weight, change body shape and also become better runners. I have set up my own Running Groups – Zero to 5k, to help beginners get into running and Go Faster, to help those already running to be able to run quicker and more efficiently.

Outside of work, I am a keen runner. I love running! I have run a number of marathons and half marathons since the late 90’s and most recently, I did the ‘Hairy’ (5km, 10km, Half Marathon and Marathon) at the Edinburgh Marathon Festival in 2014, helping raise £10,000 for Macmillan and I’m about to do it again in 2015. My proudest moment was being awarded the Running Inspiration award in the Charity Runners category by Run 4 It in 2014.

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