Trail running shoes
I’m getting into this (well, “xc” races and have a big ultra lined up) and feel it’s worth getting some good shoes (I have a cheap fell running set only).
I’ve found 4mm drop with some cushion seem to work for me on the road (after zero drop experimenting and injury) and am wondering if getting analysys/chat/fit in a shop may be worth the £££ over buying online, any thoughts?
Am I right in thinking fell shoes are just mud-biased and trail shoes a bit more all round? Are the ones with massive cushioning (like Hoka) needed for anything but distances?Posted 9 months ago
Nike Pegasus trail are good, feel like normal road shoes but with more grip. I like them.Posted 9 months ago
Currently I am finding that only fell shoes will keep me upright on mud in local area!! I have some Nike Trail shoes which are great in dry/damp but don’t cope with mud in the least.Posted 9 months ago
Fell shoes tend to be closer fitting, lower / zero drop with minimal cushioning. They are great on soft surfaces but unless you get something with tacky rubber they can be sketchy on damp rock or slabs that frequent the moors around here (west yorks).
Trail shoes tend to be more like off road versions of road shoes. More rugged, more aggressive tread but still with some cushioning and some level of drop. Grip can still be hit and miss on wet rock, but I’ve tended to fare better with them locally.
Personally I reckon if you are going to be running some distance, getting something with a bit of cushioning is worthwhile, and making sure it fits well is crucial. I’d be tempted to visit a decent shop to get their advice, although I’ve found that it’s usually outdoor shops rather than running shops that have a better selection of off road shoes.Posted 9 months ago
A pair of Inov-8 Roclite G 290/275 would cover about as many bases as you are likely to come across.Posted 9 months ago
Nike Pegasus (as recommended above) cover most bases. impossible to have a shoe that does everything but they would be the best bet IMO.Posted 9 months ago
I run in Hoka’s cos I have arthritis in my large toe joint and they help.
I’d have different shoes for an ultra vs XC races.Posted 9 months ago
Most of the XC around here is on grass or muddy fields, so want good grip. I’m using Inov8 Mudclaws.
Whereas ultras are usually on fairly solid paths etc. Most important thing is they are comfortable for hours, so I like a bit of cushioning. I have Asics Fuji Attack for most off-road ultras. The grip is not bad, ok in a wee bit of mud. I have tried Inov8, but got blisters on my heels on long runs.
I’ve got Innov8 mud claws for proper muddy conditions, I do find that if there is any harder ground involved I do feel the lack of cushioning. I’ve always got on with Saucony so for trail shoes I use the trail equivalent of the Kinvara. Plenty of cushioning and a 4mm drop. Prefer these over the mudclaws where conditions allowPosted 9 months ago
Am I right in thinking fell shoes are just mud-biased and trail shoes a bit more all round? Are the ones with massive cushioning (like Hoka) needed for anything but distances?
On the fell shoe front, yeah, sort of. They’re designed to work off piste so tend to have minimal cushioning and really aggressive lugs. As Rik above says, they tend to be less good on rock, partly because there’s less rubber on the ground, but also depending on compounds.
Trail running tends to be more path orientated, but my take would be that US and Alpine trail running assumes a firm, well-maintained, rocky sort of surface, whereas a lot of UK footpaths/trails can be a load softer. I use La Sportiva Mutants a lot because they have 1. Enough cushioning to take the edge off harder trails, like slabbed paths etc, without being tall and unstable. 2. There’s near fell shoe grip on softer surfaces 3. The rubber compound works really well on wet rock. 4. They fit my feet. 5. They have a slightly higher ankle cuff which helps keep gravel and small stones out.
Salomon Speedcross do a similar sort of gig, but my personal experience is that the rubber compound is horrible on wet rock. To be fair, my mate ran the Spine Race in a pair before I pointed that out, so they can’t be that bad. The Inov-8 Roclite mentioned above are Inov-8’s sort of equivalent, but they’re not as good on soft surfaces ime and the rubber wears fast. Oh, fwiw, the Inov-8 Ultra shoe with the Graphene rubber is, for some reason, incredibly harsh on hard surfaces, though fine on softer stuff. Ultra shoes generally tend to have a roomier forefoot to allow for your grotesquely swollen feet 😉 really.
Hoka One One is a bit of a Marmite thing, at least in their full thickness incarnation. For off road running I find them really remote feeling, which is horrible on any sort of fast, technical descent where you want to know how much grip you have. They also, to me, feel unstable in an odd way – they sort of self right because the EVA cushioning foam is relatively soft so tends to distort rather than tip, but it’s an odd feeling. On smooth, hard surfaces they’re brilliantly cushioned and a lot of ultra runners use them for that reason.
As with all active footwear, fit is vital. If your foot doesn’t fit inov-8’s last or Salomon’s or whatever, then it doesn’t matter how good the shoe is, it won’t work for you. I’d find a good running shop with staff who run and go try some stuff on based on their recommendations.Posted 9 months ago
If I was going to use one shoe for XC and Ultras.
I’d probably go with Inov8 X Talon Ultra 260s, drop is 8mm and they’re quite wide on the forefoot which might not suit you.Posted 9 months ago
Highly depends on the courses for both….
I’m in a similar quandary for an ultra later in the year.
I’m leaning towards hoka speedgoat 4s in a wider fitting knowing that alot of my running and the ultra is on hardpack trails…but my local shop has hoka , on , inov8 and altra . I’m planning to make use of this to get my fit right. My feet swole on the lairig ghru and lead to a few of issues by the end and recurring issues.Posted 9 months ago
I’ve done quite a few ultras, in a range of shoes… la Sportiva Ultra Raptors and Akashas, New Balance Hierro something or other, Altra Lone Peaks, and the latest pair which have just about died are Innov8 315 Roclite. (And probably some others, too). The main thing is of course fit, although it’s worth considering where you’re running. Trail running in Spain varies massively, from the rocky/sandy/loose terrain round here where I live, to the mudfest of the north, or the slippery chalk of the Med coast. If you’re targeting a particular race you’ll want shoes that are going to help – in 2018 I was aiming for a 100 miler in the Basque country, so got the Innov8s as they had a decent amount of tread to handle the mud. The Altras I had before them were fine on the scree and rock round here, but would have been a nightmare in mud.
And BTW “trail” doesn’t mean a well-maintained path you could push a wheelchair along, or at least it doesn’t round here 🙂Posted 9 months ago
I use altra mtking for xc and lone peaks for other stuff, although I have got some Olympus to try as my feet were beat with the lone peaks on the 3 peaks as they have a lot more padding but we’ll seePosted 9 months ago
I’ve just got some topo road shoes to try for Christmas but I’m injured ar the moment so yet to try them 🙁
And BTW “trail” doesn’t mean a well-maintained path you could push a wheelchair along, or at least it doesn’t round here 🙂
Comfort and fit are number 1 consideration for me, and only you can find that out really.
I’m fortunate enough that I seem to get on with everything asics, so have 3 or 4 different pairs at any one time.
Fujitrabuco 7s have seen me through 4 ultras in 2019, Rocky, bogs, water, baw deep in mud, the works, fantastic.
Only 1 toenail lost. 😊
Not quite aggressive enough for a full on wet grass hill race, so I’m looking for something to fill this space too. 😁
Tempted to try a mudclaw for this year’s hill racing.Posted 9 months ago
I’d recommend going to a shop, what fits well for one is crippling for another. Once you find a fit or brand which works for you then go online; I keep getting new Mudclaws online now I know they work for me.
Which ultra are you doing OP? I personally prefer one shoe for local races and training and a separate shoe for ultras if it’s a summer race on harder trails.Posted 9 months ago
Cheers all, great food for thought.
(Devil of the Highlands).Posted 9 months ago
I’d offer up ON, but I think I’m the only one on here that likes them. So thats not really a recommendation is it.
I came from Sal’s SX3’s like many, but the heal was a bit high for me, but the grip really good. Now I use Cloudventure Peaks and they’re great for me, but they ain’t the best for slippy roots or South Downs wet flint.. which is where I run. They’ve just brought out an updated sole that mimics the SX’3 which I’ll buy once I’ve worn out my current pair (which might be sometime yet)
But I love em’, and it’s taken a while to find something that I enjoy running in.
Each to their own…Posted 9 months ago
Are the ones with massive cushioning (like Hoka) needed for anything but distances?
Some people don’t need the cushioning for any distances, some people like Hoka’s for 5k. It’s all down to you, your feet, your running style.
I’ve run the Devil o’the Highlands twice in Salomon SLab Sense.
You don’t need much grip as the trail is all well maintained (except for a few bits just out of Tyndrum before you cross under the railway).
I wouldn’t worry too much about drop in a trail shoe. The trail underfoot is changing constantly, so you won’t notice the drop itself.
Fit, feel, etc are much more important.
My current trail shoes of choice are La Spotiva Bushido, or VJ Sports Maxx – the VJ’s are awesome.Posted 9 months ago
I’m not sure a gait analysis brings anything extra, to be honest. If you’re doing a lot of trail running then you need a sole that protects your foot from sharp rocks, and a reinforced toe-box (you only have to kick a rock 10 miles into a long run to appreciate this). The stiffer sole also helps on prolonged and steeper climbs.
Obviously everyone is different but if I had to choose between a shoe that felt comfortable in the shop, and one that didn’t feel great but apparently “suited” my gait, I’d go for the comfortable one every time. Definitely jump on a treadmill to test them out in the shop though if possible.Posted 9 months ago
I wouldn’t worry too much about drop in a trail shoe. The trail underfoot is changing constantly, so you won’t notice the drop itself.
Only caveat I’d add to this (I basically agree!) is that higher drop does generally mean a bit more protection for your heals, which is nice for proper long races when you’re knackered and your form starts to go on the downhills.Posted 9 months ago
I bought a cheap pair of Asics trail shoes from Decathlon years ago and they’re the best trail shoes I’ve had. Fit well, good cushioning, right level of grip (not too aggro). Reluctantly binned them recently after they refused to die and have replaced with the closest Asics pair I could find. Tried over-aggro Salomon’s and Innov8s in the mean time but I wasn’t running through thick mud or up steep slippy hills regularly enough to get the benefit.Posted 9 months ago
I’ve always run in inov8s but my current pair of roclites (new graphite 290) are hurting my feet on long runs. Great on anything up to a couple of hours.
I’ve just signed up for two Ultras this year, so also looking for something more cushioned. I tried hokas but didn’t like the vague sole, might get some for road miles.
Salomon sense pro 2 will be tested tomorrow, also going to order Salomon sense ride. I seem to suit the fit of Salomon even though I prefer the sole / grip of inov8s.
Agree with all the above, get into a good shop and try some on. Pete bland in Kendal is ace.Posted 9 months ago
Cheers again. I do have a pair of £60 NB trail shoes which I’d assumed were no good due to cheapness and significant drop (12mm iirc) but actually have been ok the few times I’ve used them and fit well so I’ll use them for now and see how I go.
See you up the Pentlands!Posted 9 months ago
Adidas for me
The Continental rubber on the sole of some “model/types” is fantastic. Pretty much non slip on wet hard surfaces.
But like all adidas running shoes they size on the small side…. get at least a half, if not full size bigger than you’d normally take.
Good LuckPosted 8 months ago
Currently adidas for me too – Supernova Trail for relatively good trails (their Terrex range looks a lot more beefy and I’m not really planning on full offroad mountain running)
But most adidas shoes seem to be 10mm drop.
I’ve had New Balance trail shoes, Hierro V2s. I really, really liked the Vibram rubber, but not the 6mm drop and overly squishy foam sole.Posted 8 months ago
I’ve got some Adidas which I got in the closing-down sale of a local shop – and I wish I’d never bought them. Hateful things, felt fine in the shop (don’t they always?) but rub terribly on my little toe on both feet. I force myself to wear them for a quick 10km loop near home, but as soon as they hit 500km they’re going in the local clothes recycling bin.
Or maybe 400km.Posted 8 months ago
I’ve got some Adidas terrex shoes I bought in a similar situation to mogrim.
First shoe I’ve ever had that gave to blisters on my ankle bone. The cup of the top of the shoe felt like it was cut too high and it would rub on my foot constantly.
Gave them away.
Nothing to do with adidas just making the point again that everyone’s foot is different shaped.Posted 8 months ago
Tried Salomon speedcross today, bloody hell they’re narrow! Felt like walking on ice skates in the shop. 🤣Posted 8 months ago
Yeah, and I’ve got a high instep…
Imagine how I feel…
But, they have been good to me so I’m not going to diss em’ I still use them in gloop down my way.Posted 8 months ago
Late update – inspired by the thread I finally replaced my aging Innov8’s yesterday with some Saucony Xodus ISO 3’s, and they’re great. Albeit massive, like Hoka massive. Still, should be good for ultra distances where a nice bit of padding is a definite win… We did 24km this morning with a nice big mountain in the middle and they were ideal.
And they’re basically what the OP was asking for – chunky with a 4mm drop.Posted 8 months ago
Well since I bought a pair of speedgoat 3 evos today ….because they fit better round the ankle.
I thought I’d measure the sole thickness as I was curious.
Turns out that the sole thickness is 1/2 inch less than my previous kiprun trails 1/4 inch lower than my raidlights and on par with my brooks glycerin and my kilenji road shoes.
They are much softer in cushioning though and much tougher to bend front to back.
The hokas footbed actually sits quite a bit below what looks like *padding* on the exterior.
It is very different feel to run in though. Will report back from the trail tomorrow.Posted 8 months ago
You say XC? Do you actually mean XC races which are on muddy fields or more trail/fell?
Proper XC you need Inov8 mudclaw type things as you don’t need cushioning but lots of grip
Fell or trail look at whatever is appropriate in the Inov8 range for your local mix of mud/rock.
I’ve tried Saucony Peregrine recently. Comfy shoes, reasonable grip. But not worth the money they are asking for them, and don’t shed water very well and feel sloppy compared to Inov8
For distance training HOka are good.
Sportshoes.com is good for Inov8 deals.
Brant said a while back he was going to bring some off road shoes out, not seen them yet though ?Posted 8 months ago
Proper XC you need Inov8 mudclaw
Most of our local xc racers wear spikes, Only really occasional punters like me that would wear sometging like mudclaws.Posted 8 months ago
What’s all this ‘drop’ malarkey??Posted 8 months ago
Height of the heel basically.Posted 8 months ago
Height of the heel compared to height of the forefoot.Posted 8 months ago
Most of our local xc racers wear spikes, Only really occasional punters like me that would wear sometging like mudclaws.
You would be very daft to train in spikes though.Posted 8 months ago
True datPosted 8 months ago
What’s all this ‘drop’ malarkey??
Height of the heel basically.
Absolutely not. You can have a highly cushioned zero drop shoe. They’re different.
Drop is the difference between cushioning in the front and back of the shoe (ie effectively how much your toes point down)Posted 8 months ago
So, effective heel height.Posted 8 months ago
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