A simplified guide to help you buy the best trail running shoes

We have witnessed time and again that the top athletic brands have always been eager to employ the innovative technology and use the latest skills and tools to create premium footwear. These footwear are particularly designed to hone your talent, polish your appearance, empower your fitness levels and give an edge to your appearance. The combo of alluring styles, functionality and versatility is employed to deliver a par excellent performance. The brands exclusively design shoes so that they are in equilibrium with the specific nature of the sport.

Trail running is an intense sport where the runners are faced with daunting challenges of nature. It involves running through uneven, unpredictable terrains that are rough and rocky, steep and daring. Numerous brands have fashioned exceptional trail running shoes which can help the runners run with swiftness. These are also equipped with salient features which can ease the struggles of running on trails. But the collection of trail running shoes is so vast that you can get confounded as to which ones to select to improve your gait and power up your performance.

Fortunately, there is a shoe for every runner and for all sorts of trails. How to choose the best trail running shoe is a question that often pops up in the mind of many athletes. And this is the reason why I have prepared this simplified guide to help you stumble upon the best trail running shoes so that you are able to tackle any type of rough or tough terrain with an easy velocity.


What is the importance of wearing specific trail running shoes?


Trail running is different from road running. The set of challenges laid out on a scenic trail are absent in road terrains and tracks. It is one of the best forms of cardio workouts which involves all the core muscles of the body. Many trails involve running up and down on hills and splashing through muddy puddles and ravines. Many people enjoy trail running as it involves connecting spiritually with nature and the result is very soothing and embalming for the body. But since uneven and rough surfaces, jagged pavements and paths and wet trails are part and parcel of trail running you need to buy shoes which are compatible to the nature of trail running. Appropriate footwear will render you the confidence you need to run more efficaciously and with high velocity.


There are three types of trail running shoes which are:


  1. Light trail shoes:

These are manufactured to be harmonious with uniform surfaces. Their construction allows you to run smoothly and with agility on well-groomed trails. Some of the primary features displayed by light trail shoes are:

  • They offer reasonable enough protection from jagged rocks and scattered roots.
  • Their lightweight framework enables you to maintain a swift momentum.
  • The soles are lined with shallow lugs that supply excellent traction on crammed soil.
  • Some of the light trail running shoes feature plenty cushioning in the midsole which guarantee that you can log in more miles at a comfortable and swift pace.
  • Some running shoes have minimal padding in the midsole. This characteristic allows you to have a complacent association with nature.

Light trail shoes This image is taken from rei.com


  1. Rugged trail running shoes:

These types of shoes are designed to cater to a wide number of terrains. Their compatibility to a broad spectrum of pavements and paths is due to the characteristics they are equipped with. Some of these essential characteristics are listed below:

Toe guards are inserted at the front and plates are lined underfoot. These ensure shielding from rocks and roots.

The shoes are constructed from sturdy materials and feature overlays. These provide shielding from thorns and bushes.

The midsole cushioning is very sturdy and is able to sop footfalls when you are going down a steep terrain or make sharp and severe landings on the rocky slabs.

Rugged trail running shoes This image is taken from rei.com


Some shoes feature internal shanks. These provide reinforcement to the midsole.

The lug patterns on the outsole ensure a firm grip and exceptional traction. Some shoes have a more gripy rubber which offer a non-slip grip on wet surfaces. While some are equipped with a less gripy rubber which has increased amount of durability.


  1. Off trail running shoes:

These shoes are designed to take you smoothly across deadliest and most challenging of trails and are highly compatible with very rocky and variable types of terrains. These are equipped with all the features that are incorporated in rugged trail running shoe but have additional enhancements which are listed below:

  • The construction will feature more resilient and sturdy materials for example instead of EVA midsoles, polyurethane foam midsoles are used.
  • The framework is chunkier and offers enhanced comfort, support and reinforcement.
  • Many shoe types in this category are waterproof.

Off trail running shoes This image is taken from gearjunkie.com


Compare the cushioning level:

You can decide upon the level of cushioning you require according to the type of trails you are going to tackle. There are four types of cushioning levels to choose from. These are:

  • Barefoot running shoes:

These have no padding and allow you to have a close association with Mother Nature.

  • Minimal padding:

Like the name suggests these shoes have minimal amount of padding. These silhouettes are perfect for runners who want to connect with nature while not foregoing the cushioning.

  • Moderate cushioning:

These type of shoes have moderate padding which is enough to sop up the forces of impacts. They allow the runners to run comfortably on rocky and uneven terrains.

  • Maximum cushioning:

These shoes have tons of cushioning in their midsole. This feature helps to reduce the stress exerted on the joints and can mitigate the amount of fatigue felt.



Fitting is one of the most imperative characteristics to look out for. An ill-fitting shoe can have a very negative impact on the performance level. It’s wise to get your feet measured before you try the shoes for fitting. Opt for shoes which provide a roomy space in the toe area.

Now that you know what types of shoes are available and different categories of cushioning that can enhance your performance, choose wisely. A high priced shoe doesn’t always mean that it is a premium pair. Assess all the attributes of the silhouette that you want to buy very carefully so that you know what you are investing in.