Trail or Road (shoe that is)

Trail or Road (shoe that is)

judymchi judymchi

i am a newbie (again) and i need a new pair of trainers, but which do i buy? whilst following my plan i will mostly be on pavement but once i can run miles the majority of runs will more likely be on trials through my local forests, so will a road shoe suffice or might i just as well get a trail shoe, advice from you experienced runners, ultra madmen and women and just plain crazy people ( i've read quite a few of your blogs) will be much appreciated

respectthestupidity respectthestupidity


Hi judymchi,

That's a good question, and one that is often asked. My personal opinion would be to go for the trail shoe. These are perfectly fine on the road, and better than a road shoe on trails - especially now we're moving into cooler, wetter weather.

Road shoes cope reasonably well with easy trails, but struggle for grip when things get a bit slippery.

Another consideration would be whether you require support for overpronation, as this isn't a feature in trail shoes - as every footfall is considered different due to the uneven terrain. So if you are a big overpronator and you plan to run on roads a lot, then supporting road shoes would be better. If you don't know whether you overpronate or not a good salesperson at your local running shop should be able to tell you.

My opinion would be to get to run off road in the forests as much as you can. It's far far beter than pounding featureless pavements. Body and mind would thank you for it.

Good luck.

slabhappy slabhappy

Posted in reply to respectthestupidity

I differ a little from RTS above. I have run roads in trail shoes and the lack of shock absorbtion has caused me problems. I run trails quite a lot but often my trail runs go from tarmac to gravel and back quite a lot and for those I just use road. If I am going out on "pure" trail or I know the conditions are slippy I will wear trail.

I think what I'm saying is, if you don't want to buy both, assess what type of trails (ie surface) you want to run on, weigh up how much mileage you will do on each of the surfaces and make the decision from there.

RTS is right though. Running trails is NICER!!

judymchi judymchi

Posted in reply to slabhappy

many thanks, there is a good running shop in Notts which i intend to visit soon, it has the facility to measure gait etc and providing i have no pronation issues i'll probably plump for trail, but if i spot a bargain i may get a pair of each allowing one to have a breather whilst wearing the other

bootneck bootneck

Posted in reply to judymchi

new balance 749 and adidas supernova riot assist with over pronation.

I wear New balance 749's and find them fantastic. I wore a new pair ( only 40 mile break in) in last years Ultrrace cardiff 50, which turned out to be mostly hard trail and tar mac and didn't have any problems at all. Bets of all they cost around £55......

enigmauk enigmauk

Posted in reply to bootneck

I would go for both to be honest if your broke then sell something on ebay!

I was always told trail shoes go better on the road then road shoes on the trail but I think its the other way around. I ran roads the other day (wet evening) and felt very insecure in trails - they have nice grips for trails but give you overall less contact with the ground than a road shoe with its less extreme tread  pattern.

respectthestupidity respectthestupidity

Posted in reply to enigmauk

There is no perfect solution. At the Worksop half marathon on Sunday the roads started slightly wet due to light drizzle. My road shoes were slipping most of the time - as were most other peoples. You could hear loads of squeaking as everyones shoes slipped slightly. I found I was looking for the roughest part of the road to run on as there was more grip there. I noticed a few people running in trail shoes and they seemed better.

I have road shoes, trail shoes and fell shoes, but I still wear the wrong pair every now and then.

slabhappy slabhappy

Posted in reply to respectthestupidity

I ran the South Side 6 in Glasgow at the weekend (26K between and through 6 parks on Glasgows South side). Before the race the website was saying that some of the trail sections were slippy and asking runners to consider trail shoes.

I opted for my Saucony Kinvara (very light road shoe) as there seemed to be as much or more pavement as trail. A lot of people turned up with trail shoes though.

I reckon my choice was good for me. Only at one short stretch was the trail very slippy (did some mud skiing on the downhill) but the majority was either tarmac or packed gravel.

This is a new race and very well organised and good fun. Worth looking at for next year if anyone likes "interesting" courses. The effort level is probably like 18 - 20 miles of road. But much more varied and different to any races I've done before.

gavtris gavtris

Posted in reply to slabhappy

If money were no objct, I would say get both. Ordinary trainers may be ruined by too much train running - repeated cycles of wet and drying and the torsional strain of the twisting and wierd angles you're going to plant your feet at.

Equally, trail shoes can often be useless on tarmac - I have a pair of Adidas Swoop 2 which are great when the going gets wet and muddy but are useless on tarmac and especially so on wet tarmac. But that's ok - it's not what they are designed for!

Have you thought about going straight to trail running and taking it gently? It's more interesting than pounding the pavements...

Running Bear Running Bear

Posted in reply to gavtris

I have recently found the perfect solution UK Gear PT-1000 shoes they are designed to work on road and off-road and they do. You might think I am biased because I sell them, but I sell them because I like them. Oh and they last a lot longer than most other shoes.

Bilko Bilko

Posted in reply to Running Bear

I have just bought my first pair of trails, i have run in neutral road trainers fo over 2 decades and would definitely recommend them when the trails surface is loose or slippery.

I would recommend a video gait analysis from a reputable sports shop and shop around for what is recomended.

I had a VGA through work then went to "find a running shoe for"

They recommend the correct type of support for you, including trail shoes!

Again i would recommend shopping around as i found a pair of road and a pair of trail shoes with a combined price for less than asics sell either pair on thier own.

Hope this helps.

judymchi judymchi

Posted in reply to Bilko

news shoes purchased, nike pegasus, i chose these for the moment as i'm still a novice plodding the pavements and i don't have the nerve to don a head torch and hit the trails during these winter months, also they were as comfy as my old faithful etonics but the trails will come, after all you can't live next door to sherwood forest and not enter, it would be rude not to

Bilko Bilko

Posted in reply to judymchi

I'd love to have the time to get up to the forest and run some trails but, alas, work does not permit!