new to trail shoes (Read 960 times)

    This past Wed to shake things up a bit I hit the Appalachian Trail, which I’m very fortunate to have running basically behind my backyard. Climbing over and under trees, scrambling up rocks, jumping creeks, legs bloodied by thorns – it was really fun, and something I want to add more of.  I know I probably don’t “need” trail shoes, but my Kinvaras just about got sucked off by mud, and I don’t want to trash good road shoes in the woods…and Santa asked what I wanted, so I would like to add some trail shoes.


    I did search, and notice there hasn’t been a trail shoe thread in a while, so…is there anything special I should look for, or just go for whichever basic NB, Asics or Saucony neutral trail shoe is most comfortable? Or do the trail shoe companies (Inov8, Soloman, etc.) add something new?


    This section of AT is relatively difficult (steep, rocky, wet, switchbacky, fun).

    Come all you no-hopers, you jokers and rogues
    We're on the road to nowhere, let's find out where it goes

      More experienced trail runners will chime in I'm sure, but I think most trail shoes have the standard features (toe protection; some sort of plate to save you from pokey rocks; softer, grippier rubber), so for the most part it probably comes down to weight and fit.  I personally dig Inov8 (RocLite 295).

      "Because in the end, you won't remember the time you spent working in the office or mowing your lawn.  Climb that goddamn mountain."

      Jack Kerouac


      coach nate

        Welcome to trail running! It is really hard for me to do long runs on the road after falling in love with trail running.  I worked as a fit expert for road runner sports in Denver, Co for 2.5 years and as far as trail shoes go, the biggest differences are color and how aggressive the tread is.  Some have water resistant features (I would stay away from water proof...water will get in, where will it go?) and some type of rock protection.  I wouldn't get too caught up in those features.  It is all about fit.  I love the kinvara so my feedback will probably work for your foot as well.  My picks for you would be the


        Brooks Cascadia (listed as a stability shoe but it is neutral, i assure you, I run in it myself, there is no medial post.) 

        Saucony Ride trail

        Nike pegasus trail (non gore tex)


        I can't say enough about the cascadia, I love love love that shoe, it is so versatile, flexible enough to be comfortable but has the structure to hang in there for the miles.  I did a 50k in mine that had over 8000 ft of elevation gain and there were 4 water crossings in the first 3 miles.  Good dry max socks and great shoes, no blisters in soaked shoes for 27 miles! 


        Hope that helps. 

        The Pocket Running Coach Podcast

        "A ship in a harbor is safe, but that is NOT what ships are built for"-William Shedd

        Bacon Party!

          Consider the type of terrain you're mostly like to be running and find something to match.

          Check out the Inov-8 line for a really full range of options - even if you don't like them or they don't fit, you'll probably learn something about trail shoes that can help you find something suitable from another manufacturer.


          Inov-8 don't fit me, but I sure wish they did! Right now, I'm loving the Merrell Pace (Trail) Gloves and the New Balance WT20/MT20 - but they're fairly minimal.


          If you like your Kinvaras, you might consider the Saucony Peregrine as a good all-around trail shoe - not too purpose-specific.


          pace sera, sera

            Thanks all for the feedback.

            Come all you no-hopers, you jokers and rogues
            We're on the road to nowhere, let's find out where it goes

            Will Crew for Beer

              I don't have a whole lot of experience with trail running, but I really like my New Balance MT101s.

              Rule number one of a gunfight, bring a gun. Rule number two of a gunfight, bring friends with guns.



                  Santa brought the Brooks Cascadia. Tried them out today. Awesome. Well, the run was awesome, and I assume the shoes had at least something to do with that.

                  Come all you no-hopers, you jokers and rogues
                  We're on the road to nowhere, let's find out where it goes

                  Demon of Bad Decisions

                     Some have water resistant features (I would stay away from water proof...water will get in, where will it go?)




                    I have to chime in because it took me years of trying different shoes and different brands to discover one that I liked.  I am in love with LaSportivas.  I run in the Raptor, but most people I know have the Crosslite.  They use the same material in the bottom of their shoes that they use on their rock climbing shoes.  It is sticky like glue.  You could cling to the side of a building with this stuff.  It is great for rocky trails because you don't slide once planting your foot.


                    I have discovered that a lot of the big companies that make road shoes make some pretty meh trail shoes.  They are just heavy, grey running shoes.  The Brooks Cascadia is supposed to be great, though.  I haven't tried it yet, but I hear nothing but good things about it.


                    Enjoy the trails.

                    I want to do it because I want to do it.  -Amelia Earhart


                      I ran several years in Cascadias, but the current version doesn't work for me.  Not a matter of suckiness.... they just don't fit.  And trail shoes really REALLY need to fit right.  (same reason why I publicly burned my Montrail shoes... people rave over them, so I bought some despite the fact that the fit felt weird.  100ish miles, three toenails, and one broken toe later... burnt. Montrail can kiss my ass)


                      I'm running in Mizuno Cabrakans now. Kind of chunky, but they actually FIT.