How to choose the right trail shoes
For the casual runner, road running shoes suffice for almost all purposes. However, once you start to deviate off the beaten track and discover trails, then a decent set of trail running shoes will be an excellent investment. Toe bumpers, ankle support, resilient uppers, rock protection in the outsole - trail running shoes have it all.
These days, it’s tricky to find one shoe that is suitable for every type of trail, so we’ve tried to suggest the types of running shoes most suitable for muddy obstacle races, dry trails, mountain running, ultra marathons and road-to-trail. Check out the different trail running shoes from Merrell to help you Out. Perform. over any terrain.
Muddy Obstacle Course Races
“Mud, mud, glorious mud
Nothing quite like it for cooling the blood
So follow me follow, down to the hollow
And there let me wallow in glorious mud”
As a child I’d sing the Hippopotamus Song with glee as I splashed about in the mud. And since obstacle course racing has appeared on the scene, I’ve once again been enjoying the earthy pleasures of glorious mud. But with many of them attracting thousands of entrants, the course quickly becomes a muddy quagmire.
If you’ve ever tried running through mud with road running shoes, then you’ll know it’s akin to dancing on ice. When running on muddy paths, it’s important that you feel confident under your feet. The last thing you want to do is slip and slide all over the place. Not only does it slow you down, but it saps up your energy.
Best Muddy Trail Running Shoes – All Out Fuse + Ascend Glove/Ascend Glove Gore-Tex
If it’s a well maintained trail, then you won’t need the same deep tread that muddy paths require. On these sorts of trail, you want the toe protection (against the odd rocks) and sufficient grip to allow you to ascend and descend with confidence.
Best Dry Trail Running Shoes – Mix Master + All Out Fuse + Trail Glove
Mountain (technical) running
From my experience of running technical mountain running events, from the Ultra Trail du Mont Blanc to the Transalpine Run, I’ve wanted shoes with a low-ish heel to toe drop - about 6mm. A shoe like the AllOut Rush is almost perfect for that sort of terrain. Not only do you get the cushioning, bus you also get the reinforced toe guards to prevent stubbing your digits on the rocks.
Best Speed-Hiking/Mountain Trail Running Shoe – All Out Rush
In the past, I’ve spent hours agonizing over the right shoe for an ultra marathon. I need sufficient tread if it gets muddy, but not too much if I have to run on roads. I want enough cushioning for the hours I’ll spend on my feet, but not too much that I loose the sensation of the trail or I roll an ankle when descending on technical terrain. There is no perfect shoe - but the one you find most comfortable for your regular long runs. You have to go with what you know and trust.
Best Distance Running Shoes - All Out Rush + Fuse
Road to Trail training
With 90% of the world’s population living in an urban city, there’s a good chance that you’ll have to run along roads before you reach your favorite trail. Which is why road to trail shoes, such as the All Out Fuse or Mix Master Move provide that perfect compromise - cushioning for the road combined with enough tread to cope with the trail.