Best Trail Running Shoes Buying Advice – What to Consider
Theoretically speaking, trail running should be one of the simplest sports today; you just have to lace up the right trail running sneakers, find the ideal stretch, and go. Unfortunately, things are not always this easy, especially when it comes to choosing the right running shoes for trail running. So, what makes a pair of sneakers right for trail running? Basically, the right trail running shoes should be a compromise between walking boots and tough thickness, disregarding the rigidity and weight associated with the two.
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This is why most of the trail running shoes available today feature a lower frame design. Additionally, trail running shoes will have less bulky cushioning, as compared to conventional road running shoes. With the right trail running shoes, you can go ahead and enjoy the peaceful calm and steady rhythm sensation associated with trail running. If you are shopping for the best trail running shoes, you should put the following aspects into consideration:
The Type of Trail Running Shoes
What type of trail running shoes should you buy? The various trail running shoes may be categorized into several groups that have overlapping characteristics and ill-defined, if I may say. While the following are not the standard industry definitions of these shoes, they will help you understand the type of running shoe you should get.
- Low-Profile trail Running Shoes
The main distinguishing aspects of the low-profile running shoes include lightweight and a sleek design. Additionally, these types of running shoes for the trail feature a relatively low heel-to-toe drop, often between 0 and 6 mm. The fact that these shoes have a lower stack height means that they have less material between your foot and the ground.
This being the case, low-profile trail running shoes are considered to be more sensitive and to offer less protection for the underfoot. If this is your preferred type of running shoes, it is advisable to apply a running style that resembles the physiology of a natural stride. In other words, you should try to land the forefoot whilst avoiding heel striking.
- Minimalist/Barefoot Trail Running Shoes
Some runners prefer taking on their trail runs on bare feet or in sandals. The minimalist running shoes are specifically designed for such athletes. In this regard, the barefoot running shoes try to mimic the natural way humans move on earth on two feet, while still protecting the soles of the runner’s feet. As a result, most barefoot running shoes for trails have a 0 mm heel-to-toe drop. Additionally, these shoes do not have any form of protective features or cushioning.
- Maximalist Trail Running Shoes
Rather than putting emphasis on the heel-to-toe drop, maximalist running shoes focus on offering your feet the best cushioning possible. As a result, they have a comparatively high stack height because of the foam used in between the ground and your feet. This type of running shoes is ideal for long ultra races and for older athletes.
- Traditional/Standard Trail Running Shoes
Most of the trail running shoes available today fall into this category. This type of shoes has a comparatively long heel-to-toe drop, mostly between 6 mm and 14 mm. Most of the traditional trail running shoes are designed to offer more protection for the underfoot. As a result, most athletes find these shoes more comfortable to run in, especially when taking on long trails. These shoes are also considered to be more comfortable on rough terrains.
- Motion Control Running Shoes
Most of the shoes that fall into the above discussed categories are natural. This is to say that they do not have additional features to regulate the motion of your feet while you are running. If you can afford it, you should consider buying trail running shoes that have motion control features as well. Such shoes will try to support your feet differently, especially if you happen to be an excessive pronator. When buying running shoes with motion control features, you should emphasise on the comfort of your feet, rather than the mechanism they use.
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The Type of Feet You Have
Regardless of the type of trail running shoes you opt for, you need to ensure that it offers optimal comfort for your feet. As such, the type of feet you have will also influence your choice of trail running shoes. To help you understand your foot anatomy, here are the 3 main feet types and the type of running shoes that work for them:
If you are an under pronator, your heel hits the ground at an increased angle and with minimal pronation. As a result, you experience a considerable amount of shock on the lower leg and more pressure on the smaller toes, on the outer sides of your feet. Under pronation is commonly associated with such running injuries as heel pain, ankle strain and shin splints. If you have this type of feet, you should consider buying running shoes with additional cushioning to prevent such injuries.
Do you feet land on the outer side of the heels and then rollercoaster in slightly after coming into contact with the ground? Then you have neutral feet and should experience an even distribution of pressure, starting from the front of your feet, while running. Runners with neutral feet can use almost any type of running shoes. However, your emphasis should be on the comfort of your feet while shopping for the best trail running shoes.
Over pronation runners’ feet land on the out sides of the heels, but then roll excessively inwards soon afterwards. This kind of landing transfers a considerable amount of pressure to the inner edge of the foot ball. Some of the running injuries, commonly associated with over pronation, include bunions, shin splits and hell spurs. If you have this type of feet, you should get running shoes that offer your feet enough support and structure to prevent this inward roll.