The best trail running shoes and the best road running shoes are rarely the same. In fact, the worst mistake beginning runners make is to assume that all running shoes are alike.
Some women will buy a cute pair of shoes sitting in the running section of their local store, and they head out on a variety of surfaces without realizing the danger to which they are exposing their feet. Eventually, they suffer an injury that could have been avoided with a little more research and a more thoughtful shoe selection.
Trail running shoes have a tough job because they need to remain lightweight and flexible so your feet can move naturally and comfortable navigate tough trail terrain. Yet, they still need to protect your feet from bruising and other injuries that often result from pounding hard on rocks, tree roots and other hard ground. Of course, you need stability and excellent control of your feet as well, since your feet will strike down on uneven surfaces at odd angles routinely.
If you plan to run through moist or wet conditions, you will need a trail running shoe that is waterproof. If you want to feel like you are running barefoot without the interference from a bulky shoe, there are some minimalist trail runners on the market to consider. There are also some with more substantial cushioning and support if you want to prevent injuries or are just starting out on the trails.
For all of the best trail running shoes, the design on the bottom sole is critical. These designs are not there just to be fancy or look great. They are there to ensure your feet grip the ground and have appropriate traction to make it through off-road trails without slips and falls. Shoes designed for wet terrains may have different designs on the soles than those designed for dry conditions.
There is no single trail running shoe that is best for all runners. Just like purchasing any other running shoe, you need to determine whether you have wide or narrow feet and whether you tend to overpronate or have neutral pronation. Pronation comes down to the amount of arch in your feet, with overpronaters having flatter feet and underpronaters having higher arches. You may also fall in the middle with neutral pronation, and that will give you maximum shoe selection options.
Size selection is equally important once you identify the needs of your feet. You don’t want your running shoes to fit too tightly because that will lead to rubbing which causes blisters. Your shoes will also break down faster if they are too tight. If your shoes are too big, you risk injury on the trails because you won’t have the foot control that is so critical to trail running.
If you are purchasing your first pair of trail running shoes, it is worth the visit to an athletic shoe store to have your feet properly measured and analyzed. Professionals will help you determine what type of pronator you are while identifying any problems with your feet that may make one shoe more suitable for you than another. You can shop online for better prices once you have a better understanding of what shoes your feet need.
You will find excellent shoes from all leading brands in the running shoe market, but some are better than others. For instance, if you want a minimalist shoe that will give you the feel of running barefoot, look at New Balance Minimus trail running shoes. If your trails will contain flat surfaces as well as some off-road terrain, a hybrid like the Salomon XR Crossmax running shoe may be a better pick. There are many other options out there depending on the design of your feet and your running needs.