Do you run on the trails a little, a lot, passionately, maybe even in winter? And you want to equip yourself with the best trail running shoes to better protect your feet? Paméla Boucher, kinesiologist and running expert, is there to guide you in your choice.
Article written in collaboration with Paméla Boucher kinesiologist
In this article, you’ll learn everything you need to know to choose the best trail running shoes, including:
- The Best Lightweight Trail Running Shoe
- The right shoe for running on rough trails
- The right shoe for off-trail running
- The Best Winter Trail Running Shoes
- The right socks for trail running
- Expert advice
The Best Lightweight Trail Running Shoe
Light trail running is running on relatively flat and even ground, made up of compacted earth or gravel, such as in parks or along country roads.
For this type of race, which generally does not present any obstacle or significant drop, Paméla Boucher suggests that the best trail running shoes be both flexible and light in order to maximize the comfort of the feet during the stride.
The upper, that is to say the upper part of the foot, must be very breathable (made of lightweight nylon mesh type fabric) or waterproof-breathable if you plan to go running in wet weather on occasion. Gore-Tex is therefore a safe bet to ensure the impermeability of your feet.
The outsole may be rubber with low-profile lugs.
Finally, the thickness of the midsole and its degree of cushioning will depend on your personal preference. Some runners are minimalist, others prefer superior shock absorption.
The features of the best lightweight trail running shoes at a glance:
- Flexibility and lightness
- Low profile lug outsole
- Breathable waterproof membrane
The right shoe for running on rough trails
Rugged trail running is running on uneven terrain made up of compacted earth, dirt or coarse gravel, such as on mountain hiking trails.
According to Paméla Boucher, the best trail running shoes are those that will adequately support your feet while providing them with excellent grip, especially for this type of running which often presents multiple obstacles (roots, rocks) and significant elevation changes.
You can choose a stiffer upper for good ankle support as well as a well-cushioned midsole with an extra layer of foam that absorbs impact. Also opt for very pronounced crampons in order to cross roots or rocks, even when wet, without incident.
It is also important to find trail running shoes with good protection for the front of the foot to avoid possible shocks against the toes.
Finally, for even more comfort, it may be a good idea to choose a speed lacing system with a storage pocket on top of the tongue to prevent buckles and laces from snagging on obstacles on the trail.
The characteristics of the best trail running shoes for rough courses:
- Support and adhesion
- Pronounced lugs and forefoot protection
- Speed lacing system
The right shoe for off-trail running
Off-trail running (off-trail in English) corresponds to running on wild and very uneven terrain, most often rocky or mixed, with unevenness, stream crossings or even tree trunks and steep sections to climb .
For this type of running, Paméla Boucher recommends shoes that have the same characteristics as those for running on rough trails, but with several additional features to increase rigidity and foot protection.
Opt for a midsole that has an integrated plate to limit injuries under the foot. The shoe must also have a good thickness of foam for extreme damping in the face of repeated shocks.
Favor a rubber outsole to avoid slipping on wet obstacles and look for very pronounced lugs.
You can also think of a Gore-Tex upper to keep your feet dry while guaranteeing breathability.
For this type of all-terrain race, Paméla Boucher particularly appreciates the Salomon brand models.
The characteristics of an off-trail running shoe at a glance:
- Rigidity and protection
- Solid midsole
- Waterproof upper
The Best Winter Trail Running Shoes
Winter trail running is running on snowy or icy terrain, with or without elevation. Of course, you have to favor good weather conditions and wait until the snow is hard enough to go running during the cold season.
For this type of race, the best winter trail running shoe offers maximum insulation and grip to face irregular and slippery conditions, according to Paméla Boucher.
She recommends avoiding uppers with mesh ventilation panels, which let in moisture and cold. She favors models of shoes with a height reaching the mid-calves, very fashionable among winter runners, equipped with a well-insulated shoe and a flexible and rising membrane in Gore-Tex which protects the ankle and the bottom. of the calf from the snow while remaining breathable.
It is also very important to find a shoe with good support in order to optimize a safe stride on often uneven ground, as well as excellent grip. To do this, opt for soles with very pronounced lugs that bite into the snow and remain stable on the ice.
For this type of winter race, Paméla Boucher particularly appreciates the Saucony brand models which give her the impression of running in the comfort of slippers.
The features of the best winter trail running shoes at a glance:
- Insulation and adhesion
- Waterproof and breathable member
- Pronounced lugs for snowy and icy conditions
Les bonnes chaussettes pour la course en sentier
La question des chaussettes pour la course en sentier est très personnelle. Certaines personnes aiment les matières extrêmement fines et légères, comme les modèles seconde peau. D’autres, au contraire, préfèrent les chaussettes matelassées aux talons renforcés. D’autres encore choisissent les bas de compression, surtout appréciés par les coureurs de très longues distances afin de favoriser la circulation sanguine et la récupération.
Selon vos préférences, il est toujours intéressant de privilégier la respirabilité et la rapidité de séchage grâce à des matières comme la laine de mérinos ou les mailles en filet en polyester sur le dessus du pied. Certains modèles présentent également une languette au talon qui empêche la chaussette de glisser dans la chaussure. Ingénieux!
- Après l’achat du meilleur soulier de course en sentier selon vos besoins, il est important de le porter le plus souvent possible pendant quelques jours – y compris en dehors de vos entraînements de course, donc à la maison, en promenade, à l’épicerie, etc. – afin que chacune des chaussures se moule correctement à vos pieds.
- Pensez à choisir vos souliers de course en sentier hivernale avec une demi-pointure plus grande que d’habitude. L’isolation de type Gore-Tex a tendance à être plus épaisse que les autres.
- Pour les chaussettes, évitez à tout prix le coton, car cette matière a tendance à absorber et à retenir la transpiration, ce qui peut causer des ampoules.