Trail Running Shoes – How to Pick the Perfect Pair

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    Alrighty, folks – let’s talk about trail running shoes. Trail running requires a bit of a different shoe – if you’re curious, you can see the Best Trail Running Shoes for Over-Pronators or read: best trail running shoes for bad knees – or let’s continue and talk about finding a great pair of shoes for trail running.

    Trail running is a wonderful way to get into shape and experience nature. Not much is needed to get started in this soul nourishing sport but a decent pair of shoes. Trail running shoes specifically.

    Trail running shoes tend to be about 75% road running shoe and 25% hiking boot. The different manufactures have different ratios but in order to keep things simple for this article I’m going to New Balance trail running shoes. These are the shoes that I run in and find them to be the perfect balance of running shoe an trail worthiness. This info can still be used for just about any trail running shoe.

    ASICS Men’s GEL-Venture 4 Running Shoe,Charcoal/Carbon/Blue,14 M USSalomon Men’s Speedcross 3 Trail Running Shoe,Black/Black/Silver Metallic-X,13 M USASICS Women’s GEL-Venture 4 Running Shoe,Charcoal/Frost/Green,7.5 M USSalomon Women’s XR Mission Trail Running Shoe,Light Onix/Black/Anemone Purple,9 M US

    First off – What is a trail running shoe?

    Trail running shoes follow the same key design concepts as road tuning shoes but for a few key differences.

    A combination of water proof and breathable materials to keep you feet dry
    A tougher heavy duty sole that can take the beatings that the trails dish out.
    Lower center of gravity – many trail shoes keep you feet lower to the ground and that helps you keep you balance when the trail get trick
    Deeper and more aggressive treads and lugs and sticker soles. This gives you better traction over rough terrain such as soft dirt and rocks

    So how do I pick a trail running shoe?

    All types of running shoes, be they trail or road, come in three types to fit the three basic types of feet. What I mean about three types of feet? Well it all has to do with this thing called pronation. Pronation is the way your foot rolls when your feet strike the ground. Most people have a slight pronation which means the foot rolls slightly inward when the foot strikes. Many people have what is called over-pronation. This is when the heel strikes first and then rolls overly inward to toe-off. The last foot type is the high arch type. High arches tend to cause the foot to roll outward which is called under pronation or supination.

    What types of shoes match these foot types?

    Neutral or Cushioning – These shoes are best for the neutral foot type and also feet that have under-pronation. These shoe have extra midsole cushioning and do not have any form of motion control.

    Stability – These shoes are perfect for mild to moderate over-pronators. These show offer an added amount of stability but also offer a decent amount of midsole cushioning. Most runners fit this shoe type.

    Motion Control – These shoes are designed for moderate to severe over-pronators. They have extra support devices on the inside of the foot to help with the pronation. These feet usually have low arches to flat feet.

    Find out your foot type.

    To find out your foot type you can try the following test. It’s called the wet foot test.

    Wet Foot Test

    For this test you will need a shallow pan of water such as a cookie sheet and two blank pieces of paper or paper bags. First place one of your feet into the pan of water. Then step with that foot onto a piece of paper. This will leave a wet footprint on the paper. Now repeat the previous steps with the other foot. You now have two wet foot prints. Compare them to the following pictures to find out you foot type.

    Neutral Arch – A stability or neutral/cushioning trail running shoe will serve you best. This is the type of foot that I have. For most of my life I ran on a neutral shoe. When I started to run over 13 miles, I started to notice tenderness on the inside of my knee. This was cause by slight over-pronation. When I switched to a stability shoe my pain went away. If you plan on running longer distances, I would go with a stability shoe.

    Low Arch or flat foot – This type of foot tend to over-pronate heavily and does best in a motion control shoe.

    read: best running shoes for flat feet

    High Arch – This type of foot is best served by a neutral of cushioning shoe.

    What else should I look for in a trail running shoe?

    Shoe such as New Balance trail running shoes come in many different models. The main reason for this is that trail running shoes come across many different conditions. Here are some questions to ask yourself before buying a pair of shoes.

    What type of terrain will you be predominately running on? For well groomed trail you might want to save some weight and go with a lighter trail shoe such as the MR790. This is a lightweight trainer that can handle the trails.

    If you are running on rocky trails you would want a shoe that features Rock Stop 2 tm like the MT909 which protects your feet from the sharp rocks

    If you are expecting to come across wet conditions then you want your shoe to have a water resistant liner such as the 875 with a Lightning Dry liner.

    Lastly if you want to be prepared for anything than extreme terrain shoe like the MT840 New Balance trail running shoe should fit the bill.

    No matter what trail running shoe you choose, trail running is a fantastic way to spend some quality time with nature and increasing your fitness. Happy trails!

    Bill Dimmler is an avid trail runner who has been running for over 25 years. Besides trail running hes is also interested in triathlons, cycling, scuba diving and skiing. During the days he manages an IT department and is a self confessed computer geek.

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    See some great deals on trail running shoes here.

    New Balance Men’s MT610V3 Trail Running Shoe,Black/Blue,10 D USNew Balance Women’s WT610 Trail Running Shoe,Black/Pink,11 B USNew Balance Men’s MT610v2 Trail Running Shoe,Black/Red,8.5 D USNew Balance Women’s WT810 Trail Running Shoe,Black/Pink,8 B US

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