Off the Beaten Path – Transition to Trail with the Right Shoe

A Spectacular Trail Run in Redwood Regional Park, Oakland, CA

As serious runners, we know that there are no shortcuts. So why do we skimp with our running shoes? You don’t cheat yourself with your training schedule, so don’t try it with your footwear.

If you’re beginning a trail running regimen, get the shoes you need. Consider the following when selecting your trail runner to hit the rocky terrain:

Weather and Wetness
If you’re running in hot, dry conditions, choose a trail runner with lighweight nylon and mesh uppers. These fabrics are light and breathable.

For prolonged running in wet conditions, look for shoes with deep lugs to enhance your grip of the earth. Many trail runners have lugs specifically designed to self-clean to prevent your being weighed down by mud-covered peds.

Traction
If you’re a trail runner planning a steep, rocky descent, consider a running shoe with an external rubber toe bumper or an internal toe counter at the instep. These additions help protect against stubbing and tripping.

Terrain
For rocky, sharp and uneven surfaces, look for a well-cushioned midsole that absorbs shock and a stiff shoe to offer protection from impact.

Fit
Trail running shoes are generally larger through the toe area. Extra area allows for foot swelling and space for toes during long, downhill runs. Ensure that the heal of your trail running shoe fits snugly to hold the foot in place and provide stability on uneven terrain.

March 9, 2006. Trail Shoes.