There’s more clutter in the trail running market than in your OCD uncle’s shoelace, whiffle ball, and newspaper “museum.” This will help with the former.
By Olivia Dwyer | Photographs by Dave Cox
Our reconfigured test categories help you find your next off-road shoe. The new buyer’s guide works for heel strikers, midfoot strikers, or those who run on the balls of their feet. There’s a shoe for minimalist fans, mid-stability supporters, or max cushion addicts. We broke the options into three user-friendly groupings: Town to Trail shoes for asphalt, bike paths, and light trail; Hike/Run shoes, which excel at the hiking part, but also work for running short distances when the mood or terrain allows; and Mountain Running—our full off-road trail shoes for gaining and losing big vertical on moderate to rough trail.
A dozen testers—men and women aged 24 to 50-plus—ran in upwards of 10 pairs of shoes each over the course of three months. Every run included plenty of ascending and descending on dirt and rock, but also quick sprints through town on concrete paths, and slow scrambles on pure hiking terrain. Where do you run?
Town to Trail
Lightweight, functional shoes for runs out the back door and up the pavement to the dirt.
The Winner: Pearl Izumi E:Motion Trail M2
Speed through the alpine with shoes purpose-built for vertical relief, burly obstacles, and ultra-long routes.
The Winner: La Sportiva Bushido
Look here for durable, versatile shoes that split the difference between thoroughbred trail runners and traditional hiking boots.
The Winner: Scarpa Ignite
From the Early Summer 2014 issue.