Trail Running Shoes: How to Choose?

Most people wear shoes because they find them flashy. Rarely do people consider their functionality. This is especially true for runners. Some runners purchase running shoes without taking into account certain factors. If you wear the wrong running shoes, you will either be fatigued or get an injury. So, if you are planning to get trail running shoes, here are some tips to help you choose correctly.

Trail Running Shoes, How to Choose, Trail Running Shoes, Trail Running, Running, Fitness
Trail Running Shoes: How to Choose?
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Shoe types 

There are three main categories of trail running shoes based on the trails you want to run on. The shoe types include rugged trail, light trail and off trail. 

Rugged trail shoes are specially designed for hiking trails. They are equipped with underfoot protection and this makes them versatile for various terrains. These shoes have toe guards and hidden plates to prevent injury from hitting rocks and tree stumps. Another reason these shoes are unique is the lug patterns that allow a runner to stop at any angle. 

Light trail shoes are ideal for uniform surfaces such as rolling hills and gravel paths. These shoes are lightweight, so it enables a runner run at a faster pace. They are also equipped with moderate stiff builds which provide stability for your feet. Some light trail shoes are equipped with midsole cushioning which lets you feel in touch with the terrain. 

Off trail shoes have thicker outsoles that offer the most protection from rocks of the three. These are the shoes you can use for whichever terrain without any fear. 


Everyone knows a good pair of shoes are the ones that fit you without pinching your feet. People mostly focus on a shoe's length and width, but your foot's build such as arch shape and foot volume is important. Therefore, when purchasing shoes; have your feet in mind. Feet change their form as you age, so do not assume that your shoe size will be the same as when you were younger. If you are struggling to pick the correct trail running shoes, a footwear specialist can guide you accordingly.


Cushioning is also known as stack height. Shoes with less cushioning, allow you to feel the trail you are running on. On the other hand, shoes with more cushioning do not allow the runner to feel the trail they are running on. It is up to the runner to decide whether or not, they want to feel the trail. There are four types of cushioning shoes in ascending order namely: barefoot, minimal, moderate and maximum. To find these types of shoes, you can opt for the Brooks trail shoes. 

Heel-to-toe drop 

Like its name would suggest, this is the vertical measurement of your heel to where your toe touches the ground. For instance, high heels have a higher heel-to-toe drop than flip flops. Trail running shoes likewise have shoes with varying heel-to-toe drops. The categories of the trail running shoes include barefoot (0mm drop), minimalist shoes (0-4mm drop), moderate and maximalist shoes with at least a 4mm drop. 

Once more, you have to consider the trail. Maximalist shoes would be bad for hiking on a hill due to their high heel-to-toe drops. They are best for flat surfaces. 

Low drop shoes are suitable for runners who land on their toes while running, while high drop shoes are suitable for runners who land on their heels. A runner thus needs to assess their running style before settling for any of the four types of shoes. Low drop and minimalist shoes are used by runners with good form since landing on your toes is difficult. If you are a new runner, then it is best to start with moderate or maximalist shoes. 

Buying the right trailing shoes is as important as shopping for groceries at the market. For instance, at the market, you would want to ensure that the tomato is fresh because buying a stale one is bad for your health. The same principle applies when buying these shoes. If you buy the wrong shoes for the wrong trail, you may frequently complain of injuries, discomfort or fatigue. These tips should guide you as a runner.

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