Trail running shoes keep you glued to the track and offer underfoot protection.
Most often made from super light synthetic materials and featuring mesh panels or a breathable lining so feet don’t get too hot.
A reinforced toe box will protect toes from bumps.
This cushions the foot on landing and often includes a plate that protects feet from stones and other trail debris.
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.
Heel to toe drop
This is the height difference between the heel and toe and can be anywhere from 15mm-0mm. 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.
Now you know what to look for, it’s time to choose a shoe…
|Inov-8 TrailTalon 290 $219.99
Use Multi-terrain Upper Breathable mesh Construction Rubber toe cap, gusseted tongue, gaiter hook, PowerFlow midsole, 8mm drop Outsole Tri-C Sticky Weight 580g (m/w). www.inov-8.co.nz
|Salewa Ultra Train 2 $299.00
Use Trail running Upper Breathable mesh, coated fabric Construction Mesh lining, 3F heel hold system, motion guidance midsole technology, debris gaiter, adaptive eyelets, quick lacing closure Outsole Sticky Michelin rubber Weight 626g (m); 536g (w). www.bobo.co.nz
|Inov-8 X-Talon 260 Ultra $239.99
Use Long distance Upper Ballistic nylon Construction Gusseted tongue, gaiter hooks, rand, PowerFlow midsole, Meta Flex groove for forefoot flex, 8mm drop Outsole Dual-C Sticky Grip Weight 520g (m/w). www.inov-8.co.nz
|Hoka One One Torrent $239.95
Use Trail running Upper Open-engineered mesh Construction Oversize ProFly midsole, high-abrasion rubber zones, protective overlays surround forefoot and toe, EVA midsole, 5mm heel-to-toe drop Outsole High-traction rubber Weight 510g (m); 418g (w). www.hokaoneone.co.nz
|Inov-8 Roclite 305 $239.99
Use Multi-terrain Upper Breathable mesh and synthetic Construction X-Lock system holds heel, rubber toe cap, gusseted tongue, Meta-Shank stabiliser, PowerFlow midsole, 8mm drop Outsole TRI-C Sticky Weight 610g (m/w). www.inov-8.co.nz