low-to-ground perspective looking up at traill running shoes in action over a rocky landscape

Why trail running shoes? Which trail running shoes?

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It’s a change of scenery, an escape from the world, some rugged exploration, some dirty fun.

Trail running t strengthens ancillary muscles in legs for stabilization, helps you be present in the moment, and makes you focus more on handling terrain than what pace you’re making. Impact absorbing dirt is softer than pavement, plus your feet land at different angles rather than repeatedly in the same position.

Whatever your motivation or inspiration, trail running can be thoroughly enjoyable and greatly beneficial for your health – especially if you have the right shoes for it.
Why trail running shoes?

Trail running shoes differ from road running shoes in that, in order to accommodate the different needs of your feet over different terrain, they offer features such as the following:

  • Knobby outsoles for grip
  • More rigidity for better support on uneven terrain
  • Stiffer midsole to protect feet from punctures from sharp rocks, often made of nylon, EVA (ethylene vinyl acetate), or TPU (thermoplastic urethane)
  • Low to the ground design for better stability
  • Less cushioning because dirt is softer than pavement
  • Reinforced toe bumper to protect toes


Which trail running shoes are right for me?

To pick the trail running shoe that is right for you, consider fit and purpose.

Proper fit for trail running shoes

You want a little room to wiggle your toes. A finger width amount of space between end of your longest toe and the front of the shoe allow for swelling, and prevent your toes from bashing against the front while running downhill.

But this works together with a snug but not tight fit in forefoot. This fit should comfortably hold your foot in place such that it can’t slide forward.

You want no slipping in the heel because heel slipping is annoying, and unstable, and causes blisters.

If your feet are not the same size as each other, buy shoes based on the bigger foot.

Consider where and how you’ll be running

For running on both pavement and dirt, multi-purpose road trail shoes generally have the fit and feel of road shoe, with road running grade cushioning, and with added durability for rough trails.

For runners who are just starting out on the trails, trail run only every so often, run extra harsh terrain, or are somewhat unconfident about their foot placement, the typical trail running shoe is rugged with lots of support – abrasion resistant, with a protection plate, and maybe toe bumper – heavier and stiffer to provide lots of protection and stability.

For experienced trail runners looking to pick up the pace and maybe even race, minimalist race shoes are light and flexible for those who feel comfortable with less support and want lightweight performance.

Find the right men’s or women’s trail running shoe for you at jans.com.

– Kendall Fischer, Content Writer