Trail running can be tough, but it can add so much to your running life. Injecting a little nature into your training can give you not only a solid challenge, as the terrain itself will force you to engage your muscles in a variety of ways, but also it can allow you to re-energize yourself mentally. Yet, despite nature's simple abundance and virtues, being ready for what she offers is an entirely different story.
One way to make sure that you are completely prepared for a good trail running experience is to select a pair of shoes that make sense for the terrain you will encounter. Failing to do so can and probably will cause you anything from needless blisters to serious injury.
So, to avoid racking up preventable problems, consider the following when buying shoes before you hit the trails.
If you are running on a relatively smooth or groomed trail, look for shoes that have solid traction, appropriate stability for your style foot, and adequate cushioning. The shoe should not be loaded in any specific way, but it should have some moisture-wicking capability to best manage sweat build up.
Highly rocky trails that are technical and choppy require shoes that own toe-rands, excellent forefoot protection, sturdy treads, and dual-density midsoles. Unlike traversing flat trails, running on the rocks means you have to take greater care of your feet.
Sloppy, wet trails should encourage you to find water-resistant, breathable shoes that favor stability over cushioning. Find products that have Gore-Tex or Lycra, and look for uppers that can wick moisture and mud.
Trying to run on trails in the same shoes you use to jog along the streets is a large mistake, one that you will unquestionably regret. It is best to buy another pair that is appropriate for the challenge ahead. It'll be money well spent.