Is 2020 going to be the year you get off the roads and enter the world of trail running? Whether you’re quite new to running of any kind, or been a hardened road runner for a while, going off-road comes with its own challenges. While most of your running kit can stay the same to start off with, you will need to get some suitable footwear. Trail running shoes are a different beast to road running shoes.
Why buy trail shoes?
Not sure you need another pair of trainers? Here are our top reasons to buy trail running shoes:
- Grip: Trail shoes have been designed to give you better traction on uneven ground. They have lugs on the bottom that help you run over rocks, mud, sand and gravel with ease. Road shoes don’t offer the same grip and increase the risk of slipping over.
- Weatherproof: Most trail running shoes are made from materials that are designed to keep your feet dry when going through mud and puddles, or at least drier!
- Foot support: Trail running shoes are designed to support your feet when running on uneven ground, and prevent too much slipping around. Your feet need to be able to turn to adapt to the underfoot conditions, but they also need to be stable.
- Added protection: Most trail shoes will have extra features to prevent your feet getting too bashed, such as more more robust toe protection. They are help to protect your sole from the impact of hard terrain and rocks.
Unfortunately, all this technology doesn’t come cheap. Expect brand-new trail shoes to be £100 upwards. But you get what you pay for in terms of durability, longevity, comfort and support. You can usually pick up last season’s models for much cheaper when new colourways and models are released. Check out: Runners Need Trail Shoe Sale
We’ve put together a guide to some of the best trail running shoes on the market right now to give you an idea of what’s available for newcomers to the trails.
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New Balance Hierro v5
If you’re looking for something that will be comfortable on even the roughest of trails, then New Balance is here with its Fresh Foam technology to help you out. They also offer a rubber toe protector (which is great if you’re prone to kicking rocks!), and the tongue has been designed to keep out dirt and debris.
Saucony Peregrine 10
These are the trail shoe of choice for our editor, Julie, who’s been wearing them for years. These are both grippy and protective, with just enough cushioning. The lugs are fairly deep, so they can pick up the mud on wet courses, but they are great for rocky, technical trails.
Inov-8 Roclite 275
Inov-8 is one of the best-known names in trail running, though for those new to trails you might not have heard of then… yet! These shoes are award winners and have been improved even more with a ‘G-Grip’ to aid traction and increase durability. These are great for all kinds of different terrains, but are still comfortable thanks to increased underfoot protection.
Brooks Cascadia 14
Now this is running shoe brand you probably have heard of! Brooks are popular in the road running world, so it’s no surprise that its trail running shoes are popular too. Cascadia is a neutral trail running shoe with a Pivot Post system to keep your foot level through your gait. They are also quite light for trail shoes and are designed to keep mud and debris out.
HOKA Speedgoat 4
If you like a lot of cushioning on the trails, then HOKA is here to meet your needs. With a lightweight foam midsole and Vibram MegaGrip rubber outsole, you won’t even feel the toughest of terrains. These are also good if you need a lot of room in the toe area.