Trail Running Shoes!


I’ve been considering purchasing my first pair of trail running shoes!

I may be running in a trail race, and I think it would be idiotic to not have the proper gear and sprain an ankle.

Also, I don’t think these would look as hot if they were covered in mud. 😉

I’m thinking trail running shoes will go to good use back on the West Coast – not a one race type of deal – so, being the good, little consumer that I am, I have done a bit of research to make sure I make the right decision and get a good fit.

{On top of all this, I got the Runner’s World Trail Running Special Edition in the mail yesterday. It’s a sign!}

Okay, so here’s what I’ve found…


The Shoe

The first thing you want to do is decide if you want a shoe designed only for trails, or a hybrid for a mix of road and trail running.  That’s going to make your shopping a bit easier.  Look for these three categories: Road/Trail Hybrids, Rugged Mountain Runners, and Minimalist/Barefoot Race Shoes.

Road/Trail Hybrid



Mountain/Rugged Terrain






The tread you choose in a shoe depends on the type of trails you will typically be running.

  • Look for shoes with an aggressive tread to grip and provide stability on rough terrain.
  • Running on muddier trails?  Look for shoes with wider lugs.
  • For steep, difficult terrain focus on more structure and support.

Some shoes may have a stiffer sole and toebox to protect feet from rocks and roots.  Hello, safe tootsies!

Other shoes may be super light and flexible, but have much less protection.  Choose shoes like this if you are an agile runner and comfortable with trail running.

Another feature to look in to is breatheable liners.  Choose waterproof if you predict you’ll be encountering lots of moisture like puddles or sweat.

And like all running shoes, replacing them every 300 miles or so will help ward off aches and pains!


The Fit

Fit is most important aspect for preventing blisters and black toe nails.  When you decide to take the trip to the shoe store, go in the afternoon, and bring along your typical socks and orthotics.

Determine your foot shape: wide, narrow, flat, high arch, curved.  You can do this by the wet foot print test, or simply have your foot/gait analyzed by a running shoe expert at the store.  They will know if you need extra motion control.

Your new shoes should feel comfortable right out of the box.  A good test is to walk down an incline.  Your toes should touch the tip of the shoe, but fit snug.  If you are unsure about a shoe, it’s probably not the right fit for you!

If you feel like you need a little extra support, insoles like Superfeet (which I wear in all of my road running shoes) are a good choice.



I’m kind of on the fence with a more minimalist shoe {as you remember, I did want to get a pair earlier this spring} and a hybrid shoe.  Eeek! This is exciting!

Even though I have done a little preliminary homework, I know I am definitely not an expert.  Leave me a comment if you have any tips/tricks/advice when it comes to purchasing trail shoes!  I will certainly be conferring with my friendly salesman at my favorite running store to make sure I have made the right choice! And you should too!

Happy Shoe Hunting!



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