A lot of innovation has been happening in the trail running shoe sector over the past year. Trail shoes are echoing their road counterparts in that they are getting lighter, lower and more nimble.
Not long ago, trail shoes were characterized by stiff midsoles, aggressive outsoles, and uppers with plenty of overlays. The keyword was “protection” from trail debris. But in recent seasons, trail and ultra runners have been demanding speed and better connection with the ground along with adequate protection. We think it makes sense that runners who prefer natural terrain are also attracted to the idea of a more natural running experience.
As every runner knows, lighter weight is an essential component of a faster shoe. Manufacturers are introducing more trail models that are stripped down but still offer the core features your feet need to stay safe on the trail.
Of course, there are several minimal models for the trail runner as well, including the Merrell Trail Glove, Vivobarefoot Neo Trail, and the upcoming New Balance MT/WT00. We think the latest crop of elemental trail shoes strikes a healthy balance, offering grip, rock protection and a little cushioning along with a nimble feel for the ground.
What will be your shoe of choice for the trails in 2012?