March 7, 2014 at 6:55
Posted by Rachael Woolston
Trail running is so much more rewarding than pavement pounding in our book but which trail shoe will help ensure you enjoy the experience?
Best for a mud bath – Salomon Speedcross 3, £95
Nothing and we mean nothing that we have tested, comes close to this stick-to-the-trail-like-superglue Salomon Speedcross 3.
No matter where you are running or in what conditions, you can run surefootedly. Fitbitch founder, Rachael has tested it running up mountains in 3 inches of snow, on the South and North Downs in the kind of sticky mud that you’re more likely to see in races like Tough Mudder, as well rocky stream trails in the Lake District.
Not only does it perform well but it’s extremely comfortable, hugging the foot through the arch to keep it stable on rocky terrain, with an easy lace system. It also has a little pocket on the tongue where you can tuck your laces away, so they don’t drag through the mud.
The only downside is that the grip is so good, running across any flat, hard terrain is uncomfortable. This is for the true trail runners.
Star rating: *****
Best all rounder – Brooks Cascadia 8, £100
Want a trail shoe that can also handle a bit of road action? Brooks Cascadia is great. It looks chunkier than it feels, being light with a good, solid grip in most conditions except very muddy conditions.
If you are racing and want 100% confidence in your traction, the Speedcross is a better option. But for training and races which go from trail to tarmac and back, this is a good, reliable shoe. And while we at Fitibitch are not normally ones to support the ‘pinkisation’ of women’s sports clothing, we quite like these.
Star rating: ****
Best for bare foot trailer runners – Merrell Barefoot Trail Shoe, Ascend Glove with Gore-Tex, £125
They may contain Gore-Tex to keep your feet dry but because they are shoes designed for a minimalist, barefoot feel, they ride low. Which makes the Gore-Tex slightly irrelevant in the winter when the puddles and mud are often fairly deep.
These are specifically designed for a runner with good biomechanics rather than a beginner. They have a natural, in touch with the trail feel. But they are not grippy enough for winter or muddy running. Stick to spring or summer dust trails or firetrails. That season is not that far off!
Star rating: **
Best for stability runners – Adrenaline ASR 10 GTX, £125
NOT a light footed runner? Then this stability trail shoe might just be the thing.
If you usually wear a road shoe to help control excess ‘wobble caused by overpronation due to weak glutes, this will help with a smooth ride (although here at Fitbitch we believe the true answer is strength training for stability, but that’s a whole other blog post).
Adapted from the Brooks widely popular GTS road shoe, this provides enough traction for usual trail conditions but would not do the job in truly adverse conditions by which we mean rain of biblical proportions. Er, which brings to mind a certain type of weather of late.
Not sure if you wear shoes with stability? Look at the inside arch and heel. If there’s a big wedge, and usually it is coloured differently, you’ve got a stability shoe.
Star rating: ***