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Trail running shoes (for Yellow and other trail runners out there)

Grog2010-05-01 12:13:11 +0000 #1
Is it worth it to get a pair of trail-specific running shoes?

I run on trails a fair bit (maybe 50% of my miles) but I never had trail-specific shoes before. Now with all the ice and snow I am wondering if it would help. I don't expect new snowfall any time soon, but there will be slippery areas for a long time in the woods.

One of my reasons for not getting trail runners before, besides the cost, is that I don't know if I want to have my feet in water-resistant material. I fear over-heating.

Any insight?

Thank you!
emily_in_nc2010-05-01 12:22:07 +0000 #2
I am not much of an expert as I run less than most of the other gals on here, but I did buy trail-running shoes last year (Vasque Blur) and love them. The trails I run are very rooty, so I was looking for a bit more stability than a super lightweight road-running shoe. I don't notice them being hot, but I did not get ones with a Gore-tex liner. I must admit that one of my motivations for getting them was keeping my road-running shoes nice and clean, since the trail I run on can get pretty muddy, so my trail shoes don't stay pristine.
yellow2010-05-01 12:49:44 +0000 #3
If you were only running 10% of your miles or time on trail, then I'd say you wouldn't need a pair of trail shoes. Lots of folks use road shoes on the trail. It becomes more of a consideration if you run long distances on trail, run frequently on trail, and what kind of trail you run on.

If you are running on a buffed, decomposed granite surfaced trail, then you probably would be fine just staying with your road shoes even if 50% of your running were on the trail. The real benefits from trail shoes are when it's technical or wet/muddy (in which case you have more lateral movement).

I personally do not own a pair of trail shoes that are waterproof. My feet get way too hot in them, even running in the snow. I wear wool socks when it's snowy and/or wet, and my feet do fine. They certainly get wet, but I've never had a huge issue with them getting cold. I also wear short gaiters when I'm running in fresh snow. That does keep some of it off the tops of your feet (and thus keeps them a little drier).

Most trail shoes are not waterproof. I think if I were out running for 10 hours in the snow then I might want waterproof. Alternatively I could just bring a change of socks. I doubt I'll ever invest in a pair of waterproof trail shoes.

All that said...I wholeheartedly endorse "all terrain" shoes, especially for people who are just venturing into trail running or for people who consider themselves to be primarily road runners. These are shoes that you can wear on pavement but are a little more rigid so you get the extra support you need on the trail. Since you move your body in a very different way when trail running on technical stuff, the lateral stability can be really important, especially if you have a history of knee or IT problems.

I'm a New Balance fan, so I started with the NB "all terrain" shoes. When I was running in the 809 and they went on Sierra Trading Post, I bought most of their inventory in my size. NB is at the 811 : now. I love this shoe. It's equally comfortable on the pavement (which is not usually the case with many full-on trail shoes). Asics : makes an all terrain shoe (that they call "water resistant") as does Brooks : . I'm sure the other major manufacturers do as well.

I ran a trail 50k in a pair of all terrain shoes. I pretty much just use trail shoes now because I've found a few kinds that I like for the different conditions that I run in.

So, in summary (and not knowing how technical your trails are), I think it IS worth your $$ to get a pair of trail shoes. If you want something a little more versatile, consider an all terrain shoe. Otherwise, just look for the "trail" version of your favorite road shoe. Most manufacturers are on the ball with that. Regarding the whole waterproof issue, I'm biased, but that's because I'm a temperature princess.



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