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September 2017 Issue
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2017’s best trail running shoes

Salewa Ultra Train ($299).
Grip and foot protection are important, but the most crucial factor to consider when buying is comfort. By Mead Norton

Most often made from super light synthetic materials and featuring mesh panels or a breathable lining so feet don’t get too hot.

Toe box
Trail shoes require a sturdy toe box to protect against rocks and roots.

This cushions the foot on landing.

Heel to toe drop
This is the height difference between the heel and toe. Heel drop can be anywhere from 15mm-0mm. Generally, the less heel drop, the more minimalist the shoe will be and those unused to them will need time to adapt.

Look for comfort straight out of the box. Some shoes will stretch and soften once they are broken in, but a shoe that is too small, too big, or is uncomfortable to start with will stay that way and could cause blisters or injury. A good fit is also vital to help keep your foot stable over uneven terrain.

Wide-spaced, dirt-shedding lugs are common. But don’t just look for shoes with the most lugs – manufacturers use a variety of rubber compounds to provide traction while also offering a long-wearing tread.

Which pair?
Don’t just buy what your coach or friend recommends. Their foot shape might be completely different to yours. A good rule of thumb is to get a trail shoe half a size larger than your regular shoes and if you plan on doing ultra distances, think about getting at least one pair that is a full size larger – feet can swell up to two sizes over longer distances.

Now you know what to look for, it’s time to choose a shoe…

Hoka One One Speedgoat 2 $299
Use Trail running Upper Mesh, synthetic panels Construction Reinforced toe box, wide last, oversize EVA midsole, speed lacing, 4.5mm drop Outsole Vibram MegaGrip Weight 556g (m); 464g (w).


Salewa Ultra Train $299
Use Trail running Upper Breathable mesh, coated fabric Construction Mesh lining, 3F heel hold system, motion guidance midsole technology, adaptive eyelets, quick lacing closure Outsole Michelin Ultra Train Weight 570g (m); 460g (w).

Salomon Sense Ride $299
Use Long distance trail running Upper 3D Stretch Air Mesh Construction Endofit sock lining, quicklace system, lace pocket, EnergyCell high-rebound midsole, 8mm drop. Outsole Premium Wet Traction Contagrip Weight 550g (m); 500g (w).


The North Face Endurus TR $270
Use Long distance trail running Upper Seamless welded suede Construction TPU film toe cap laid over a synthetic backer, FlashDry collar lining, OrthoLite footbed, forefoot EVA, soft-density XtraFoam midsole, firmer EVA compound around perimeter, 6mm drop Outsole Vibram XS Trek Weight 634g (m); 546g (w).

The North Face Ultra Endurance $270
Use Trail running Upper Welded TPU and suede Construction Moulded TPU toe cap, gusseted tongue, Ultra Protect heel cradle, single-density, Ortholite footbed, compression-moulded EVA midsole, FlashDry collar lining, ESS Snake Plate forefoot protection, 8mm drop Outsole Vibram Megagrip Weight 642g (m); 568g (w).


Merrell Agility Peak Flex $259
Use Trail running Upper Fabric, mesh, TPU Construction Reflective details, Omni-Fit lacing system, Hyperlock moulded TPU heel counter, antimicrobial treatment, EVA removable footbed, EVA midsole Outsole M Select GRIP+ with skeleton-inspired lugs Weight 630g (m); 600g (w).

Inov-8 Roclite 290 $229.99
Use Multi-terrain Upper Mesh and synthetic Construction Mesh lining, foot cradle, heel lock system, Powerflow shock-absorbing midsole, Second-Generation Meta-Shank, 4mm drop Outsole Tri-C sticky rubber Weight 580g.


Merrell Trail Glove 4 $219
Use Trail running, barefoot Upper Mesh and TPU Construction Breathable mesh lining, TrailProtect pad, 0mm drop Outsole Vibram TC5+ Weight 460g (m); 340g (w).