10 tips for finding the perfect trail running shoe

Happy Labor Day from Shoes Of The Day.  There isn’t a better time to get out and trail run – the leaves are changing, the air is perfectly crisp, and soon there will be snow.  This September we are going to exclusively review trail running shoes, and we wanted to share 10 tips for finding the perfect trail running shoe for you and your feet.

1. Breatheability.  Let’s be honest, your feet are already pretty cool – that’s why you’re here.  No need for your feet to heat up on your trail runs.  Look for a lightweight mesh or some other breathable material in an upper.  Not only will your shoes be cooler for you when you run, but when you step in water, they will dry out much quicker.  Get breatheability.  If you can’t stay out of the water, abandon this bullet-point altogether and get something that’s stuffy and waterproof.

2. Integrated tongue. If you like dirt, rocks and other debris snuggled up with your feet, stick your tongue out.  For those who don’t, make sure your next trail running shoe has an integrated tongue.  Extra padding in the tongue will make the top of your foot happy.

3. Toe protection.  No steel toe is required, just some nice tough rubber, urethane or other material to protect your toes.  When trail running, chances are you will kick some rocks or tree stumps.  To reduce the risk of angry toes, keep them happy and protected with extra on the front of the toebox.

4. Cushion.  Nothing more, nothing less.  Find the right amount of cushion for you depending on the terrain that you run on.

5. Traction.  Bowling shoes are meant to slide.  Your trail shoes shouldn’t.   Remember pavement is flat, the trail isn’t.  Look for an outsole with climbing and descending traction. You need something that has some “meat on the bone” and offers durability in the high wear areas – look for meaty lugs!  Also, consider the variety of surfaces that you will encounter – rocks, mud, grass and dirt.  You never know what mother nature will toss your way – make sure your shoes are ready with adequate traction.

6. Light-weight.  You’re carrying enough, that might be why you’re running.  The last thing you want is clunky heavy shoes to add weight to your ascent or descent.  Lighten up, and you can start with your shoes.  Most good light-weight trail running shoes are between 11-15 ounces.

7.  Notice the laces.  Think seatbelt.  Right, I didn’t wear one in the 70’s either.  But think how nice it would have been to stay in one place when that vinyl seat heated up in the Chevelle and you started to slip.  The same goes for your feet; you don’t want your feet moving around without your permission.  Look for integrated lacing for your foot’s safety and security.  Buckle up, it’s also the law.

8. Leave some room for the toes.  Think first-class in an airplane – make them comfortable and they’ll become frequent fliers.  Remember, when you run, your feet will swell and when it heats up in the toebox, its like flying coach…you didn’t claim the armrests and it’s a 4-hour flight.  Typically you want a trail shoe that is 1/2 size larger than you normally wear.

9.  Gotta have the look.  Pick the right color, even if you have to pay a little more.  Guys, those hot pink shoes are probably on sale for a reason.  You need to like to look at them on the shelf and especially when you’re running.

10. Above all, gotta love the way they fit and feel.  Try a pair on.  Get the right fit.  Buy Shoes at Zappos.com and take advantage of Free Overnight Shipping – you like ’em, keep ’em – you don’t, send them back.

Now go put them to use and Happy Trails.

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