More Thoughts on Trail Running Shoes

The reason I have more thoughts on trail running shoes is that I think WAY too much about trail running shoes. And the thing is, I really want to avoid telling you what shoes you should run in. I don’t know. Your feet are not my feet. Yours are probably much nicer.

But I have more thoughts.

First, diversify your portfolio. In both running and cycling, the preponderance of injuries are over-use injuries, and so one way to mitigate that is by having several pairs of shoes with different characteristics that fit your feet well. I like to have a neutral, well-cushioned pair, another pair that’s both light and fast, and then a third wild card, maybe a minimalist pair or even some road shoes you don’t mind taking on the trail. They’ll all stress your feet and legs in different ways, and that’s a good thing.

Second, think about foot protection. If the trails you run are really smooth and consistent, you can ignore this, but here in New England, and anywhere that glaciers once churned the Earth, you need to think about shoes with a rock plate or some other accommodation for striding over sharp, irregular surfaces. This is less about the one-time impact and more about how it stresses the muscles in your feet.

Finally (probably not), it’s a good idea, going back to diversifying your shoe selection, to get some hybrid shoes for linking roads and trails. Where I live there are a ton of small patches of wood sprinkled through towns and neighborhoods, so a lot of my runs involve dirt and pavement. If you only shop in one category, trail running, you’ll miss a lot of shoes that will do double duty. For example, I ran a lot of trail in a pair of Hoka Cliftons, and I was really grateful when I found myself on pavement.

OK., that’s it. That’s probably it. That might be it. There will probably be more.