Trail-running is an appealing proposition for most people, especially runners who have to dodge hordes of people on polluted city streets.
It’s a chance to get away from it all, forget about your split times and enjoy the nature around you. Taking to the trails really opens up a different side to running compared to pounding city pavements.
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However, to really enjoy these runs, you need the right kind of footwear. All the fun of trail-running goes out the window when you’re slipping on mud or turn your ankle several miles from your car.
Here are six fine options to fit every kind of trail-runner.
Best For The Mud: Salomon Speedcross 4 GTX
If you’re honest with yourself, you’ll no doubt realise that most trail-running in the UK isn’t going to be on hard mountain trails bathed in sunshine, it’s going to be ploughing along muddy tracks through fields and woodlands – which will be incredibly fun if you have the right shoes on. The Salomon Speedcross line is famed for its ability to tackle the mud, with deep lugs on the sole to keep you upright in all conditions. £125, buy on salomon.com
Best For Hard Trails: Nike Air Zoom Terra Kiger 3
These lightweight shoes are a decent bet on most trails, but excel on harder, dry tracks. So if you do happen to have some of those near you (or are planning a running trip somewhere sunnier than the UK) they are an excellent choice. The mesh upper allows for a light and comfortable ride, while the rugged sole provides shock absorption for rocky runs. £115, buy on store.nike.com
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Best For Water: Merrell All Out Crush Shield
Trail-running generally involves more water than road running and when the weather is particularly inclement you’re going to want shoes that offer extra protection against the elements. The All Out Crush Shield has a water repellent upper and plenty of traction to ensure you can battle through your runs in all weathers. £90 (£63 at time of writing), buy on merrell.com
Best Trail All-Rounder: Saucony Peregrine 7
If you hit every kind of trail on a regular basis, you cannot go wrong with Saucony’s Peregrine line. The PWRTRAC outsole provides grip and support on all terrains, and even holds up well on roads. The Peregrine 7 also boasts a full-length Everun (Saucony’s energy-returning tech) midsole, which is designed to ensure you keep a spring in your step no matter where you take them. £105 (£94.50 at time of writing), buy on prodirectrunning.com
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Best For Road To Trail: New Balance Fresh Foam Gobi
Unless you are lucky enough to live right on a trail, you have to get there, perhaps by running along roads. Unfortunately, most trail shoes aren’t especially comfortable when running on roads, which will also wear them out faster.
The Fresh Foam Gobi shoot for the best of both worlds: cushioned and supportive for road running while packing plenty of grip for the trail. They might not stand up to the toughest trails, but they’re an excellent option for those who hit the road in the week and go off-roading for the weekends. £75 (£37 at time of writing), buy on newbalance.co.uk
Best For Support: Brooks Cascadia 11
If you tend to use stability shoes when road running, or happen to be a bit bulkier than the stereotypical stick-thin trail runner, the Brooks Cascadia might well be your best bet. Brooks describe this model as an “SUV for your feet”, which doesn’t mean much, but sounds fun. In more practical terms, these heavy duty shoes offer a boatload of support and cushioning to keep you protected over long runs on tough terrains. £70-£110, buy on brooksrunning.com
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