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What You Need to Know About Your First Pair of Running Trail Shoes

Wanna come on a running adventure with me?

Like….how can you say "no"?

Have you ever made the leap and committed to a pair of running trail shoes?

To be honest, I'm brand new to this whole trail shoe thing. Maybe you're a pro! Or maybe, you're just like me and "oh hey, we're new here!"

And that's ok. We all start here at least once. Whether it's new to trail running, new to ultras, or just new to running in general…it's ok to be the new kid on the block and NOT know everything!

That being said, after 10+ years of "normal" running, I've pick up a trick or two. I know what I need from a running shoe in general. And I bet you do too when you think about. There are certain characteristics you absolutely *must have* and then there's others that a dead no.

But, when it's a brand new experience, anything can happen. So I thought I'd share the new-ness that with you in a *new* and different way this week.

*enter the VLOG!*

It's nothing long; a quick chat. It's like we're just sitting down to compare notes about what running shoes we're looking forward to coming out…because if you're here, you're probably a running nerd, too. ;)

So here are a quick list of 3 things that might be helpful for you too if you're thinking about joining me on this running trail adventure:

So I realized, as we were chatting, that collectively, we have MORE questions. And those questions will heavily influence our mutual running trail shoe adventures. So we should probably get some answers.

Here are some of my questions:

Can I run on some pavement with trail shoes?

From what I've gathered from the shoe pro's in the stores and online, you technically can.

However, the shoe isn't made for that.

It's going to feel heavier, clunkier, some of the lugs that would naturally bite into the ground might end up biting your foot instead because it has nowhere to go in the pavement. Also, it's not going to quite propel you forward the same way a road shoe. Think of it this way: anything can turn into a hammer if you try hard enough but just because you can, doesn't mean you should.

Do you need new trail shoes every 300-500mi?

Short Answer: typically yes, but it depends on how it's wearing for you.

Long Answer: a running shoe is running shoe.

Regardless of what type.

And after so many miles, the materials in any shoe will start to wear out. That being said, a trail shoe has much more rubber typically and therefore, tends to absorb the load of running a bit better than your typically road shoe.

However, the life span of the trail shoe can still depend on the weight of the running, the technicality of the trail, and the mileage (duh.)

One thing I found interesting, and something to keep in mind for runners like myself that live surrounded by concrete, running pavement will wear out your shoe faster. And this makes sense: your trail shoe was built to be durable, but on softer surfaces compared to the constant shearing force it experiences when running on pavement. Just another reason to get off the black top and back onto the trails!

Do trail shoes actually fit more snug compared to regular road shoes?
Hello, this is future-Marie talking to you from after the shopping experience!

The answer to this: it depends!

It greatly depends on what YOU like! As you'll see in next week's vlog, I tried on a variety of shoes and depending on the brand, some fit more snuggly than other.

So I don't ruin next week's running adventure, just think about this for now: do you like a shoe that fits like a spike (aka: racing shoe, racing flat, etc)? There are trail shoes out there that fit that snugly. There are others with a more natural toe box that give your toes room to breathe while holding the rest of your foot securely in place. It comes down to personal preference and your foot shape!

Ok, future-Marie out!

One more thing…Do you need to slowly break in your trail shoe?


It's still a new shoe and this time…it has an entirely different purpose. (ok, not entirely different…but it's not a road shoe and it's NOT going to feel like one!)

So it is NOT suggested that you go out and do your next long run in your brand new trail shoes if you've never run in trail shoes before.

Shorter runs that are a 1/3 or even 1/2 of your longer distances could be a good starting point for you when it comes to gently getting your feet accustomed to new terrain and new gear. And the transition easy. Keep the pace chill. Adapt your stride to your surroundings. And the shoe do the work.

So those are just my questions....but what are YOURS? What do you *need to know* before jumping head first into the world of trail running?

Or maybe you're already there just waiting for me to join! What do you wish you knew when you first started trail running?

Leave ALL of those goodies in the comments below-I can't wait to read them!

Till next week, run strong and dare to train differently,

Dr. Marie Whitt //

P.S. Speaking of trail shoes and taking that first run easy, would you be interested in a fast and furious 5 min warm up that will help you crush your next trail run? (it's made for winter + winter trails…but listen here, I also designed it with trails in mind). Want in? Click HERE!

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