Trail Shoe Reviews
11 Trail Shoes Ready for the Trek
Image: Mitch Mandel
Trail running takes many forms, and for that reason, there are a bewildering array of shoes to pick from. The type of trails you choose and how you run them should be the determining factor for your footwear; but much of the decision comes down to how comfortable and experienced you are on the terrain under your feet. "People want to feel safe and secure, and for most part that means running in a shoe that is going to offer some stability," says Henry Guzman, manager and shoe buyer for Boulder Running Company in Boulder, Colorado. "Generally speaking, the more experienced you are, the less stability you need. Shoes that are balanced are the keys to successful running."
Trail running shoes generally fall into three categories: multipurpose road/trail hybrids, rugged mountain runners, and minimalist race shoes. If you're relatively new to trail running, Guzman says, you'll probably want a hybrid shoe that has the fit and feel of a road runner, with ample cushioning, a stable platform, and added durability for running smooth to moderately challenging trails. Mountain running shoes are designed for rugged trails and typically feature trail-specific protection—such as a reinforced toe bumper, an abrasion-resistant upper, and a thin protection plate built into the forefoot of the shoe—but there's a trade-off: They're typically heavier and stiffer. At the other end of the spectrum, minimalist shoes are light and flexible but offer less protection and stability; they're best for more agile runners.
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