Trail running is a terrific option if you’re looking to mix up your usual workout from pavement to something softer. It’s also a great way to explore the outdoors. But before you take to the trails, it’s important to keep in mind that you’ll get the best workout and help prevent injuries by investing in a proper pair of trail running shoes.
What Makes Trail Running Shoes Different?
Trail running shoes differ from running shoes designed for pavement and other hard surfaces in several different ways:
Traction – Trail runners often feature lugged or channelised soles that are designed to grip on dirt, mud, rocks and uneven surfaces.
Protection – Trail running shoes often have toe caps and other design elements to help protect your toes from rocks and other obstacles. Many trail runners also offer enhanced protection from the elements compared to street running shoes.
Stiffness – Trail runners are designed to be stiffer than traditional running shoes in order to protect your ankles. Since your stride is less consistent on uneven trails, you won’t find the typical divide between neutral and stability shoes among trail running shoes.
Choosing the Right Trail Running Shoes
Heel to Toe Drop
The difference in height between the heel of your running shoe and its toe, known as the heel to toe drop, can have a big impact on how your foot strikes the ground. Shoes with less than six mm or so of drop encourage your foot to strike around the midfoot or forefoot, which is optimal from a biomechanical standpoint.
However, if you’re not used to a low drop shoe, it’s a good idea to transition slowly several pairs of shoes. Otherwise, you can easily injure your foot. If you’re getting your first pair of trail running shoes, a good place to start is to match the heel to toe drop of your current street running shoes. If you don’t have running shoes to check, you’ll probably want to opt for a mid-drop or high drop trail running shoe to start out.
Trail running shoes differ widely in the thickness of the foam cushioning underneath your foot. Minimalist shoes may have only a few millimetres of cushion, which some trail runners like because it allows them to “feel” the trail with their feet. But, if you haven’t used minimalist running shoes before, the lack of cushioning can quickly lead to pain during moderate to long runs. Highly cushioned shoes are a newer addition to the market, and they offer a feeling of float as well as decreased wear and tear on your joints.
Nevertheless, all that cushion can reduce your running efficiency, and it can feel unwieldy if you’re not used to these shoes. In the middle are moderate shoes. These are what the vast majority of trail runners will want to use.
The type of trail running shoe you’ll need will differ depending on what types of trails you’ll be running. If you’re sticking with gravel and packed dirt trails, relatively thin and lightweight trail runners will do. On the other hand, if you plan to run on rocky or uneven trails, or even off-trail, you’ll need heavier-duty running shoes that offer more protection for your foot.
Trail Running Shoes at addnature.co.uk
The best way to find your perfect pair of trail running shoes is to shop our wide selection at addnature.co.uk. We carry hundreds of trail runners for men, women, and children. Plus, our simple filters make it easy to find the right shoe for your running style.