Choosing the Best Trail Running Shoes

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best trail running shoes

So What Makes the Best Trail Running Shoes?

Now that the snow has melted, trail running is a great way to stay in shape while spending time in the beautiful outdoors. Different than running shoes, trail running shoes have more protection, like stiffer soles to protect the feet from roots and rocks, and better traction to boost a runner’s stability on uneven terrain. Their recommended use is for off-road running, walking and light hiking. There are quite a few variables to consider before making a final decision on a trail running shoe. Keep reading to learn how to find the perfect trail running shoe…

When and Where Will I Use Trail Running Shoes?
If you’re planning to run up some serious inclines with more difficult terrain and obstacles, a shoe with more support, structure and protection is ideal. Such shoes offer tough, protective toe counters to help avoid stubbing a toe on a root or rock. They tend to be a bit heavier, however, so super long runs might not be as comfortable. For early spring runs in wet, muddy conditions, seek out a shoe with widely spaced lugs that won’t trap mud, thereby increasing a sure foot hold. If you’re racing or keep a very fast pace, a lighter shoe might be your best bet, but protection and support may suffer.

Do I Need a Waterproof/Breathable Liner?
This is a personal question with variable answers depending on where you live, when you plan to wear your shoes and whether or not your feet tend to get sweaty. A shoe with Gore-Tex™ or eVent™ will certainly keep the wet elements outside of your shoe, but they won’t breath as well as an unlined shoe. For humid, dry conditions, a waterproof/breathable liner likely won’t be necessary. On the other hand, many people wear trail running shoes as their year-round everyday sneaker. In such cases, definitely opt for a shoe with Gore-Tex™ or eVent™ to keep your feet warm and dry!

How Do I Determine the Best Fit?
Fit is the most important factor to consider when buying any type of footwear. Generally speaking if a particular brand fits you well, their other models will also fit like a glove. This is because every company uses a “last”, which is a wood or plastic form of what they feel represents the typical human foot. Now you know why the same size in different brands can feel drastically different! Trying on several different brands and models is the best way to fit a trail running shoe properly.

What’s the Difference Between Hiking Shoes and Trail Running Shoes?
Hiking shoes and boots have more support and are generally made of leather, which lasts longer than synthetic materials. They tend to be heavier and have bulkier soles. Trail running shoes look more like beefed up running shoes, but can also be worn for light hikes and backpacking trips with loads under 20 pounds. They’re much lighter weight and feel more like a sneaker. The House has a deep selection of the latest hiking and trail running shoes!


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