How to Choose Trail-Running Shoes
Trail-running shoes are constructed differently from road-running shoes. They’re designed to address 2 needs vital to off-road runners:
- Grip rugged terrain: Trail-running shoes offer outsoles with deeper lugs and more aggressive tread patterns to boost a runner’s stability.
- Protect your feet: Trail runners feature a stiffer sole to shield feet from bruising that might occur due to impact on rocks and roots. Many also include a thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) plate or insert sandwiched between the midsole and the outsole for added protection. Most trail-running shoes include stiff, protective toe counters on the front to prevent toe injuries.
What Type of Trail Runner Are You?
Finding a shoe that fits you well is the key to shopping for trail runners. To improve your odds of doing so, first ask yourself these questions:
Q: How will I most often use these trail-running shoes?
- For up-tempo runs and racing? If so, light weight becomes most important. The trade-off is you’ll get less structure, protection and support.
- For occasional off-road runs to add variety to a road-running regimen? Look for trail-running shoes that are beefed-up versions of their road running counterparts—deep lugs and stiffer soles may not be as