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Can You Use Trail Running Shoes On The Road

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Can I Use Trail Running Shoes On The Road

How to choose your running shoes | Salomon How to

So can you use trail running shoes on the road? The short answer is, you can but its not a good idea.

Trail running shoes have been optimized for running outside on soft and uneven ground. Roads that are hard and hot can damage the outsoles of trail running shoes. The lugs in particular will wear down from use on roads. This means that the trail running shoe will lose its traction over time as the outsole is physically worn down. This will occur much quicker than the outsole of a road running shoe.

Road running shoes are designed to offer support against the hard impact of running on pavement. Every time you land, theres a force of approximately four times your body weight. Thats a lot of impact on your foot! To reduce this impact, road running shoes have shock absorption and cushioning that can help reduce fatigue and lessen the likelihood of injury. Trail running shoes, in contrast, feature lugs that are less effective in shock absorption and better suited for sinking into the ground.

Even the lightest trail running shoes will be a little less comfortable for road running, especially over long distances. The very features that make trail running shoes comfortable off-road render them uncomfortable on man-made surfaces. They get hot quicker because the upper is thicker, they are less flexible and there isnt as much cushioning.

For Men: Brooks Ghost 14 Running Shoe

On the top of our list, we have a Ghost 14 mens running shoe designed by the well-known brand Brooks. As the shoe comes with a simplified midsole construction, it can create more seamless transitions and wont distract from the fun of the run. To know what this Ghost 14 offers, lets have a look at the specifications.

What If I Still Dont Know Which One Is Best For Me

If you are still iffy on whether you should buy hiking boots, trail running shoes or maybe even both, it is worth it to do the following:

  • Do you prefer difficult hikes or more moderate inclines? depending on where you usually hike and the degree of difficulty, you can choose between hiking boots or trail runners
  • Make a list of hikes youd like to do if you know youd like to start doing more intense hikes, you may need to look into getting hiking boots
  • Try out a few pairs go to a store and try on some trail runners and hiking boots. See how they feel for you! It can be tricky to know what you need without trying anything out. Try different pairs at a store and read reviews online.

Some people may even end up getting a pair of really solid hiking boots for more intense hikes, and lighter, more flexible trail runners for their easier hikes. It all depends on what you are doing, as well as your preferences.

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Do I Really Need Trail Running Shoes

Next, lets determine if you actually need a pair of trail running shoes. Some questions to ask yourself:


How often will you be running on trails? If its a one-shot deal, then perhaps springing to buy another pair of shoes isnt really worth the investment. If you will be hitting the trails on a regular basis, then buying a pair of shoes specifically for the trail is a good idea. Not only will you be more comfortable on the terrain, but you will preserve the integrity of your road shoes.

Actual cheesy photo of what frequent trail running will do to you.

Trail Type/Conditions

What sort of trail will you be running on? If its a wildly technical trail, youll really wish you were running in a pair of trail running shoes, even if you only head to the trail sporadically. Not sure what you will face? Ask local runners who do frequent the trail what they recommend. If they do suggest trail shoes, they will also be able to give suggestions on what type of trail shoe you may need


Do you have weak ankles? Prone to twisting them on curbs, rocks, and roots? Do you stub your toes often? Its OK if you answered yes, you arent alone. The good news is that over time, trail running will help build strength in your ankles and lower body, as well as increase proprioception . If this is you, I would suggest a trail shoe regardless of terrain, as it will provide the extra support to help protect your feet and lower legs as you gain agility and trail skills.

Happy Trails!

Why You Should Use Trail Running Shoes

Using Road Racing Shoes for Trail Running

While your road running shoes might be able to handle some easy, hard-packed trails, trail running shoes should be used when the going gets wilderthey are especially helpful on steep inclines, technical terrain, or when trails are wet, muddy or covered in snow.

Trail shoes protect your feet in ways that road running shoes don’t, and they allow you to run smoothly over varied surfaces. Plus, they stand up to the abuses youll put them through during hard trail runs.

The more challenging and uneven the trail, the more aggressive of a trail running shoe you need. A simple, easy-to-follow guide: If youre on singletrack or you have to look down at the trail to find solid footing, you should probably be running in trail running shoes.

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Hybrid Trail Running Shoes

Just as there are hybrid bicycles that bridge the gap between the mountain and the road, so too is there a hybrid shoe that seamlessly switches between pavement and trail. The challenge is to build a shoe with enough cushion to protect the runner from high-impact pavements, without taking away too much of the feel and responsiveness that is necessary when negotiating trickier sections of trail.

The challenge is to find a balance between smooth outsoles for comfortable running on the flat, while still providing enough traction on those slippery trails. Here are three of our favorite hybrid trail running shoes on the market:

Wide Beefy Outsoles: Increase Traction On Slippery Rough Terrain

Trail runners have wide chunky outsoles with bigger/softer aggressively lugged treads. This provides better traction on slippery uneven terrain, but theyll quickly wear away on the road.

Road running shoes have a narrow outsole and toe box, with flatter, smoother and more durable soles for running on pavement. The narrow outsole reduces weight and improves running performance.

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Whats Most Important To You In A Trail Running Shoe

COMFORT AND FIT Fit is very personal, so what works for some people may not be the best option for others. In general the most comfortable shoes give your toes some room to spread, have cushioning that supports your foot shape, and have some flex in the upper so it moves with your foot.

PRICE – We tend to be willing to spend a bit more for quality footwear because we truly believe the success of our adventures depends on having happy, healthy feet. Comfort and fit usually trump cost in our books, but we recommend quality options at a variety of price points in our top picks below.

Comparing the lightweight Merrell Trail Glove 6 to the heavy-duty Salomon XA Pro 3D V8

DURABILITY & MATERIALS Most trail runners are designed with lightweight materials that sacrifice a little bit of durability in favor of weight savings and comfort. The most durable trail runners are those with reinforced mesh in the upper and firmer lugs on the sole.

The HOKA ONE ONE Speedgoat 4 have thick, cushy soles to absorb impact and keep you comfy all day

The Altra Lone Peaks are our top pick overall for thier excellent balance of traction, weight, and comfort

Best Running Shoes For Road And Trail In 2022

Altra Shoes – Why I May Never Buy Another Pair of Altra Trail Runners

Running on the road is a much different experience than running on trail. Road terrain is smooth and hard asphalt or concrete. Its an unforgiving surface. But when it comes to trail running, youll encounter anything from a flat and dusty path to a steep and rocky climb.

Running on road vs. trail provides two unique experiences. Road running tends to be fast and convenient. Roads are everywhere so its easy to get a run in pretty much anywhere.

To find trails, most of us have to seek them out. Trail heads are often far from urban and suburban areas. Once you are there, many find trail running to be a more peaceful experience. You are surrounded by nature with no cars in sight. Trail running tends to be slower paced, often with hiking interspersed on steep climbs.

To accommodate for these differences, road and trail shoes are uniquely constructed. Road shoes focus on providing excellent cushioning and support to protect your feet from the road. Trail shoes emphasize traction on the outer sole for added grip in dirt, mud, and rock. Many trail shoes also offer extra protection in the midsole to shield against rocks, roots, sticks, and other sharp objects found on the trail.Many runners run on both road and trail.

In the second section, we review the best trail shoes that work well on road. These trail shoes are perfect if you spend most of your time on trails, but venture on road a couple times a week.

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Trail Running Shoes Vs Running Shoes: Answers To Common Questions

You get ready to lace up your shoes and head out the door for todays run. Where to go? Theres that beautiful paved path around the river. Its nice and flat, and the smooth asphalt means you can get lost in your playlist or other thoughts and cruise through the miles as a gentle breeze comes in off the water.

Then again, theres that patch of woods on the other side of the park, with that wonderful trail that winds through the big boulders, along the creek and past the waterfall. Sure, the singletrack trail has roots and rocks you need to watch out for, but the scenery is wonderful and you like the solitude of the trail. Which running route should you choose? Well, which pair of shoes did you reach for?

Ensuring a great run can start with buying the right pair of shoes. However, a quick think about the differences between that smooth, even stretch of blacktop and that bumpy, lumpy up-and-down trail will key you into an obvious truth: road shoes versus trail shoes makes all the difference in how your run will feel.

Unfamiliar with the big differences between running shoes for the on-road set and the off-road set? Lets discuss.

New Balance Fuelcell Impulse

No matter your speed, you should have a shoe that makes you feel fast. The FuelCell Impulse is that shoe. Its light8.1 ounces for men and 6.7 ounces for womenbut still has 23 millimeters of EVA foam under the heel and 17 millimeters under the forefoot.

The cushioning felt notably responsive toward the front of the shoethere are two nitrogen-infused pods hereand provided a smooth and quick toe-off. But the beauty here is that this shoeisnt a racing flat. Itll work as a daily speed-oriented trainer for runners who like more cushioning day-to-day, making this a very appealing option for road races and workouts, as well as for everyday training. Its moderate six-millimeter drop should also appeal to a wide range of runners.

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Best Overall Trail Running Shoe

Weight: 1 lb. 4.5 oz.Cushioning: ModerateWhat we like: A winning combination of comfort, versatility, and price.What we dont: Not a top performer in any one category.

For a trail runner that can do it all, we love the Salomon Sense Ride 4. This shoe is equally at home on quick door-to-trail runs as it is during ultra-distance pursuits, and can even handle technical cross-country terrain with ease. The all-around performance isnt surprising given the Salomons versatile design, which features a moderate amount of cushioning , generously sized toe box that accommodates our wide feet, fairly standard 8-millimeter drop, and full Contragrip rubber outsole. Weve put over 700 miles on various iterations of the Sense Ride, and the 4 has proven to be a consistently comfortable and high performance shoe for a wide variety of terrain.

Weight: 1 lb. 5.6 oz.Cushioning: MaximumWhat we like: Standout comfort and traction in a lightweight package.What we dont: Thick midsole minimizes trail feel in technical sections.

Weight: 1 lb. 6.6 oz.Cushioning: Moderate/maximumWhat we like: Truly excellent traction in soft ground.What we dont: Not versatile for easy trails or most mountain running.

Weight: 1 lb. 5 oz.Cushioning: LightWhat we like: A superb technical shoe with awesome traction.What we dont: Too much grip and not enough cushion for trail miles.

Save Yourself From Blisters

Salomon Speedcross 3 Trail Running Shoe

Boots often come with hard soles. Although these are very sturdy, they are simply quite rigid.

There is no way that the soles will flex and help your feet breathe.

So, your tootsies may only end up soaking wet and crammed inside. Blisters may soon form, which is the bane of many hikers wearing the wrong pair of shoes.

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Hiking Boots Vs Trail Running Shoes

If you are into hiking, you will need a good pair of hiking boots that will support your feet and ankles.

If you are more into trail running, or even just walking on moderate trails, you should look into a good pair of trail running shoes. These are different than the average running shoe and are generally a bit lighter and less heavy duty than a hiking boot.

How We Pick The Best Running Shoes

Our reviewers have earned their chops in this field. Lisa Jhung has been a runner for roughly 30 years and has reviewed shoes off and on for Outside and other magazines for roughly 15 years. She has also worked at running magazines and has written a book about trail running. Cory Smith has been testing running shoes for our Buyers Guide since 2014. He was a nationally ranked runner at Villanova University and now lives in Santa Barbara, California, where he owns an online running-coaching business called Run Your Personal Best.

For this test, we researched new shoes across four categorieslightweight road, cushioned road, lightweight trail, and cushioned/protective trailand had testers focus on one category for the best comparative results. We had close to 50 shoes across 18 brands, spread out among 38 testers who live and run everywhere from Montana to Alberta and Kentucky to California. All of the womens shoes were tested by women. Each tester ran at least three times in each shoe over the course of several months, at various speeds, in different conditions, and, for trail shoes, on a range of terrain from steep and rocky to mellow and buffed.

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How To Pick The Right Trail Running Shoe For You: From Short Light Trail Runs To Long

When picking the right trail running shoe for your next adventure its important to establish three key elements: Terrain, purpose and weather.


Where will you be trail running? Will the ground mostly be wet, dusty, muddy, grass, have small rocks or sharp rocks? Where you run affects more than anything else the lifespan of the shoe, so choosing the wrong trail running shoe for the terrain youll be using it on can greatly reduce its lifespan.

Training vs race trail running type

Is this shoe to be used for training or racing? Generally, racing shoes have lower heel-to-toe drops and less cushioning as they are made for speed over everything else. Though a training shoe can, of course, also be used in a race, when hunting down a personal best, often a trail racing shoe is the push you need to get you there.

Wet weather

Though it also falls under terrain, wet weather is one of the things that can most effect a shoe. If you will constantly be running in the rain, through puddles or over wet rock, make sure you choose a waterproof trail shoe.

Trail Running Shoes Guide

Difference Between Trail and Road Running Shoes?

Trail running is an activity that combines running, hiking, and navigating various trails on unpaved surfaces. If youre new to trail running, then youre likely starting to look for a good pair of trail running shoes. Much like road running, the type of trail running shoes you use can be a huge deal for assisting your performance.

Since trail running includes so many different surfaces, its a really good idea to spend a little time researching which trail running shoes are best for your needs. Its also a good idea to equip yourself with basic trail running shoe knowledge to better understand this type of footwear and the intent behind using them.

In this trail running shoe guide, Im going to discuss a variety of key topics that you should know when looking into trail running shoes.

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Can I Use Hiking Shoes For Running

Hiking and running are two of the best ways to get outdoors and stay fit, all with relatively little equipment.

Compared to many other outdoor sports, you can hike with just a pair of good boots or shoes, and maybe a backpack to store some extra gear.

However, not all hiking boots are made equal, and you will not be able to use your hiking boots for all outdoor activities, including running. You will need to get some special running shoes if you are going to be doing trail running, or just running on the road.

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