When it comes to trail running, I often get asked about what shoes are best. I’m going to let you in on a little secret: I’ve been training and racing on trails for over 20 years, and have only owned ONE pair of “trail” shoes. One pair. (Just recently bought a pair of Hoka Speedgoats. They’re pretty awesome!) Unless you’re doing ultra-type distance on the trails, any pair of running shoes will do! If you want to know if you’re a trail runner, as yourself this question: Do you run on trails? If the answer is “yes,” then you’re a trail runner. If you’re on the fence as a runner about hitting the trails, don’t let footwear hold you back.
As I mentioned above, I am no expert when it comes to trail shoes. However, I know others that ARE! I reached out to my friend Ryan (THANKS RYAN!!!) for recommendations on trail shoes, and he gave me the following information. Enjoy!
I wore this shoe for 2 years when I trained for and ran Hyner. The Good – trail feel, cushioning, and stability. The Bad – Rock Plate in the sole made the forefoot a little stiff. 8mm drop
Salomon Speedcross (version 3 and 4)
Wore Speedcross for 5 years. The Good – awesome traction, trail feel, responsive. The Bad – very narrow fit and the midsole to the heel is very narrow (prone to instability on technical trails…ankle rolls common). 12mm drop
Speedgoat – LOVE ‘EM!!! So far nothing that I don’t like. Neutral shoe but the most stable on technical trails. Did I say I love them??!! 5 mm drop
Other shoes I heard/read that people like:
Salomon Sense Ride or Sense Ultra (Ultra has more cushioning)
Saucony (Dan at Flying Feet has run/raced in Saucony trail shoes)
Altra – zero drop, wide toe box…very popular with ultra runners
Hoka Challenger ATR
Brooks Pure Grit – my sister in law ran a 50k in these…she likes minimalist shoes
For what it’s worth…the top 3 brands represented at Western States and Hardrock 100…Hoka, Salomon, Altra (in that order).