The idea of tackling any terrain, whether in the woods or at high altitudes, can even be defined as a philosophical choice or a way of life or even just a desire for freedom.
In running the shoe is undoubtedly important; trail running, which is part of the world of running to all intents and purposes, requires a choice that delivers certain features.
Today we can safely say that the market offers a wide range of options and models, from the super light competition shoe, to one that is comfortable and stable, but what are the main features of a trail running shoe?
The first aspect is that they ensure stability; the terrain that we encounter varies in terms of the level of support it offers, so our feet are constantly and unevenly under strain.
The stability of the shoes is provided by inserts positioned in the heel, forefoot area or laterally. There are also schools of thought that are against inserts but this is another issue.
In addition to anti-pronation systems that may consist of thick compound inserts on the inner sides of the midsole or actual rigid frames, it is useful to consider the lacing systems.
We must ensure that the foot and the shoe fit as one, whether using a traditional lacing system or a more technologically advanced ones, in order to prevent rubbing and blisters.
When buying a trail shoe, it is worth bearing in mind that, after hours of running on demanding terrain, tiredness can cause runners to move centre of gravity, becoming “mechanically different”.
It is therefore advisable to consider this aspect when choosing your shoe.
The following are also not to be underestimated, in order of importance:
the level of protection for impacts with the ground;
cushioning in relation to factors such as the athlete’s weight, materials and upper;
the type of sole;
These are aspects of great importance because of the uneven terrain.
The soles must not be hard but must facilitate freedom of movement of the foot to allow for natural torsion during the running phase.
The “grip” created by the lugs and their arrangement is the most personal aspect in the choice of shoe, ensuring the grip when going downhill and offering traction when going uphill.
A good trail shoe requires a mixture of elements that is not easy to achieve but thanks to the experience that comes from practising the discipline, a trail runner will increasingly refine their ability to know how to choose “their shoe”.