Trying on and testing trail running shoes is an EXPERIENCE!
As an avid runner, you know a road shoe is a road shoe.
You also know, each of them still feels VERY different from the next.
Trail shoes (I found out) are the same way.
All trails shoes are designed to do the same thing (provide you that traction, stability, and protection over rough and changing terrain/trails).
But all of them are still...VERY different.
With that intro, get ready for a roller coaster ride in this week's vlog.
Last week I spilled the tea on 3 things you might need to look for when shopping for a trail shoe AND answered some of the most common beginner trail-runner questions.
This week, I *think* I've found "the one", the one trail shoe to rule them all.
Because I forgot one very, very important thing in the Shire.
And it's a a MUST whenever I shop for running shoes.
I didn't have it.
So by now, you know.
I chose 3 ENTIRELY different trail shoes as my final contestants. And in all honesty, I had footage of how my gait completely changed depending on which shoe I was running in…but the store's ipad wasn't having it with my andriod phone and the file size was too big, etc. (I leave this issue up to the tech gods. So go blame them.)
So while I don't have footage of that, I can spill the tea on why I liked 3 ENTIRELY different shoes even though they all had different profiles. Don't worry, I do tell you which one I finally selected!
(NOTE: for context, I have very flat, but flexible feet that do not do well with a lot of arch support. You will have a completely different experience compared to mine if you have different feet!)
This one fit the bill when it came to Gor-Tex coating and a natural toe box which was very roomy in the best way possible. You could literally feel the contact of the ground with your entire forefoot in the most stable, solid way. The grip of the shoe with lateral (sideways) movement, push off, or jumping was incredible. But I almost felt like I had too much room, like the front of my foot was slipping slightly, and the heel was a bit more lose than I liked.
The reason I didn't go down a size: my big toe was sitting where it needed to. If I had gone down a size, I would have been guaranteed black toe nails. I also felt very heavy in this shoe and it took a lot of effort to not land loudly and heavily on the heels.
Pros: I felt like a mountain goat who could tackle any terrain or boulder over anything.
Cons: wasn't quite the right fit for my foot
I loved this shoe. I was so sad I forgot my orthotics so I couldn't test it as well as I would have liked. The lugs on the bottom were massive but comfortable and didn't dig into your toes or foot. The construction of the shoe gently pushed you and encouraged you to stay on your forefoot from stride to stride so you were light, nimble, quick, and agile because you spent little time on your heels (it did a great job correcting the heavy strike I felt in the Altra). I loved the snug fit because it was reminiscent of a cross country spike, but with lugs on steroids instead of screws. No heel slippage here.
Pros: I felt unstoppable, quick, and grippy
Cons: no weather Gor-Tex . If in the Michigan snow, my feet are getting soaked and frozen.
This was the happy middle ground. While the Saucony Peregrine didn't have the intuitive feel of the Nike, it also didn't have the heavy thudding of the Altra. With a little bit of effort and awareness, I found a comfortable stride with a normal amount of heel strike that easily and lightly flowed into the forefoot. Each stride was comfortable and no lugs were out of place gouging into my foot. The traction on the bottom of the Saucony made it so I'd be comfortable on all trail terrain with added benefit of the Gor-tex; no soaked socks here!
The best part, I was confident my orthotics would be accommodated because of the slightly more traditional styled foot bed. So although the Saucony Peregrine doesn't sport the wide toe bed of the Altra, I'd still argue that Sauconys are a little roomier than other traditional road shoe brands. This shoe was the goldilocks shoe where I knew had the support I needed to go hours on the trail which I feared the Nike might lack. I picked the reliable one.
Pros: grippy, light-medium weight, good support that will leave you feeling energized at the end of your trail run without tired, beaten down feet
Cons: the only color was black.
There you have it running fit fam-the winning trail shoe! However, the real adventure is only just getting started. Now it's time to hit the snowy paths and see how my new Sauconys hold up to the wintry elements. I'll be sure to keep you in the loop and let you know all the details.
I can tell you one thing already. Running on top of snow is an entirely different experience from running on pavement or even hard packed trails.
And who knows…, maybe when the world thaws, I'll go back for those Nikes one day. What do you think? Should I do it? Leave it in the comments below!
As always running fit fam, run strong and dare to train differently.
Dr. Marie Whitt // @dr.whitt.fit
P.S. Looking for Part 1? Get caught up on the very beginning of my trail shoe running adventure. Click HERE!