|Trail Running Shoe Recommendations: The following information is provided to assist adventure racers and trail runners in selecting the appropriate shoe for optimal performance in both trail running training and racing. Trail running shoes have a lower profile and wider base for greater stability. General trail running shoe characteristics to think about:|
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Running shoe manufacturers recognize the market potential of trail running shoes and there are now countless styles from both traditional running shoe product companies and climbing shoe manufacturers as well as traditional hiking boot product companies which leads to confusion for the first time running trail shoe buyer. Trail running shoes run the gamut from light hikers to racing flats with very sticky outer sole and little lateral support.
After considering the trail running shoe characteristics listed above, match the trail running shoe to the most likely set of conditions. If your primary trail running use consists of "rails-to-trails" terrain with reasonably smooth and even surface then you might consider a lighter weight trail running model or even a traditional road racing shoe. Having just completed the Deadwood Trail Marathon, most runners did not have traditional trail running shoes, but opted for road running footwear. Given the current vast number of shoes on the market, I recommend at least two different shoes: A light model for the summer and a more weather resistant model for the winter months. Consider Gore Tex shoes if you are using the trail running shoes for snowshoe racing also. Even in the coldest conditions the warmth of your feet melt some of the accumulated snow and over several hours will lead to wet feet. Also, seriously consider using low cut gaiter in snow with or without the snowshoes.
Winter trail running tip : Use short hex shaped head machine screws to provide traction on ice and packed snow. Screw the hex screws into the sole of the running shoe (the hex head provides the traction not the point) being careful not to damage air bladders. More on this technique from Matt Carpenter's Sky Runner's site. I used 1/4 inch screws last year and had absolutely excellent traction on ice and packed snow. This technique does not provide a great deal of traction in deep powder because there is nothing for the head of the screw to bite into.
Bottom Line: Select a trail running shoe to fit the type of terrain (water crossings?), race distance, and weather conditions. I have used a couple different Salomon shoes for adventure racing including the XA series. I have used the La Sportiva Slingshot for shorter trail races and interval training sessions and the Axis Eagle V and Trail Sensor for the Leadville 100 Trail Races.
Other resources for trail running:
|All American Trail Running Association: General trail running resources.|
|Pikes Peak Pace Calculator: Determine your pacing for the the Pike's Peak Ascent/ marathon.|
|Endurance Zone: Endurance Zone is a resource for high-performance nutritional supplements that serves trail runners and endurance athletes exclusively|