Trail Running Gear – Shoes

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 13,714
    Running Expert Ron Bowman discusses proper trail running shoes.

    Ron Bowman: Hi! I am Ron Bowman and today we're talking about tips for beginning trail runners. Now we're going to talk a little bit about the gear which you might need to start your trail running.

    The first thing is the shoes of course. There is a misconception out there that you have to have special trail shoes in order to do trail running. That's not really the case. Most of your trail running can be done with regular road shoes.

    Trail shoes come into play when it's a very technical course. By technical trail running shoes we mean very rocky, a lot of limbs and branches and things like that, that can be trip hazards. Also, muddy trails can be technical where you're going to want a special kind of shoe with a little bit of extra support in the ankles and a little bit of waffle shoe, so for better track shoe. Here's an example.

    This is a normal road shoe. You can see the kind of the outline of the sole here. It's designed for wicking the water away. So as you got some good traction, the traction while you're on hard surfaces.

    You can see the heels are built up but they are a little bit soft, and that's when you talk about motion control shoes. So they're not as stiff. Now compared with that, with a trail shoe, that has more of a waffled look.

    You will see that, that trail shoe sole looks a lot more like you might see on a road bike tire or ATV tire and it's for the exact same purpose. It gives you more traction. They are a little bit deeper, so they grab a little bit more like cleats might do, and the designs are that when you run in the mud, the mud is pushed away and not forming as a slick surface for you.

    The other thing about the trail shoes are that they tend to be a little bit higher around the ankle back here and a little stiffer because in trail running, obviously the tendency for lateral motion is a lot more than running on a flat surface which is one of the good things about trail running.

    It builds up, it's great for building up your ankle muscles and your supporting muscles in your legs. But, this gives you a little bit more support in your ankles. So if you do roll an ankle a little bit, you're going to get a little bit more support from the shoe itself.

    The insole tends to be a little bit more rigid, so that you can feel the ground a little bit better. But now-a-days the trail shoes are becoming a lot lighter, a lot more like the road shoes. In years past, trail shoes tend to be very heavy because they have this thicker piece of sole along it and they were often very difficult to run in because they were so heavy. But now you can get trail shoes that are just about as light as road shoes but still have that stiffness for avoiding rocks and limbs.

    The other thing that trail shoes will always have is a little bit higher roll on the toe that come up around this area. So that when you do eventually kick a rock or kick a branch, you're not going to get as sharp, an impact as you with, with a road shoe which is going to be a little bit softer up here, and that's really just for saving weight in the road shoe.

    The laces are pretty much the same throughout. The one thing that I do recommend, in doing triathlons, a lot of us wear the lace locks just because they are easier to get on, and are easy to adjust. I don't recommend wearing lace locks with trail shoes because regardless of how good the lace lock is, that lateral forward and backward motion in trail running is going to loosen up those lace locks or they are not going to allow your foot to swell a little bit as you run a little bit more.

    That's a little bit about the types of shoes that you might think about for trail running and now we are going to talk a little bit about the hydration gear that you might look at.