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January 2022 Issue
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2022 trail running shoes

Lightweight trail running shoes offer support and stability to help wearers cover long distances, fast. 

Fit

A good fit is vital for foot stability over uneven terrain. It is also essential for comfort. Some models may stretch and soften once broken in – and even while you are using them, as they adjust to swelling feet – but, a shoe that is uncomfortable from the start, will remain uncomfortable.

Midsole

Technical midsoles are made from various shock-absorbing materials that also help rebound and propel the user through their stride. Midsoles often include a plate to protect the underfoot from stones and other trail debris.

Toe box and heel

A reinforced toe box with synthetic overlays will protect toes from bumps. It should be wide enough to allow toes to spread out during runs. The heel needs to be cupped securely to prevent movement and blistering.

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.

Outsole

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-lasting tread.

Sizing

A good rule of thumb is to buy a shoe half a size larger than your regular size 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.

Upper

Usually made from quick-drying and super light synthetic materials. Expect plenty of mesh panels and a breathable lining to help keep feet cool.

The North Face Vectiv Enduris $270

Ultra-distance running shoe with Vectiv forward propulsion, dual-density Pebax footplate, midsole rocker geometry, air-mesh upper, padded tongue, TPU overlays in the toe and heel, internal heel counter, Surface Control rubber outsole. 632g (m), 556g (w). www.thenorthface.co.nz

 

Hoka One One Torrent 2 $249.95

Made from recycled UNIFI Repreve yarn derived from post-consumer waste plastic and featuring an engineered mesh upper, PROFLY dual-density midsole, sticky rubber outsole with multi-directional lugs, 5mm drop. 528g (m), 430g (w). www.hoka.co.nz

 

Merrell Nova 2 Kids $119

Breathable textile upper and secure hook and loop closure designed especially for kids, reinforced toe, non-marking outsole with M Select Grip, recycled linings. www.merrell.co.nz

 

The North Face Vectiv Infinite $300

A responsive trail shoe for long-distance running in technical terrain. Featuring a dual-density footplate, midsole rocker geometry, abrasion-resistant Kevlar and polyamide upper, perforated microfiber tongue, heel counter, Surface Control rubber outsole. 614g (m), 546g (w). www.thenorthface.co.nz

 

Hoka One One Challenger ATR 6 $269.95

An all-terrain shoe with textured TPU toe, compression-moulded EVA foam midsole, early-stage Meta-Rocker, dual-layer mesh upper, recycled yarn, internal heel counter minimises heel-lift, podular EVA outsole with rubber overlays, 5mm drop. 558g (m), 458g (w). www.hoka.co.nz

 

Hoka One One Zinal $279.99

Designed for running shorter distances. Made from recycled yarn and featuring a mesh upper, gusseted tongue, PROFLY dual-density midsole, Vibram Litebase outsole, 4mm drop. 484g (m), 398g (w). www.hoka.co.nz

 

Merrell Agility Peak 4 $279

A cushioned, grippy shoe with Jacquard upper, integrated lacing system, padded collar, gaiter D-ring, protective toe cap, heel lock system, mesh lining, removable EVA insole, rock plate, FloatPro Foam midsole, Vibram Megagrip outsole. 6mm drop. 580g (m/w). www.merrell.co.nz