General Discussion Triathlon Talk » Shoe question for the off-road runners Rss Feed  
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2013-10-03 8:10 AM

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Austin, Texas
Subject: Shoe question for the off-road runners

My fall has been a minor disaster, and I'd like to prevent a repeat, so...

Was very happily running trails/woods Tuesday (awesome day for it) as a tweaked hamstring finally felt really solid, and then I turned my ankle in the middle of the woods (not so awesome/solid).  Hobbled home - same ankle I broke in '07 and seem to turn every ~1.5 years, so right on skedj.  I was in Newton Motions.

Question: what shoes do you use on trails?

The stack height on my Hoka's makes them seem like platform shoes - bad on trails?  Newtons are low, but I've proven I can fall off those, too (but didn't sprain as badly as my previous turns off Asics, which have a bit more stack at the heel, I believe).  I know there are trail specific shoes (YES, love me an excuse to buy more gear!), so what do you use?



2013-10-03 9:43 AM
in reply to: mcmanusclan5

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Tacoma, Washington
Subject: RE: Shoe question for the off-road runners

The Hoka's (as I've been told -- I can't stand them myself) soft thick midsole tends to mold around objects in the trail so they don't cause issues. I get that, in theory, but I'm not sure I can make the complete logical leap to the real world.

Low and somewhat thin seems to work best for me... I've had the best luck with the Merrell Trail Glove (for softer dirt trails), the New Balance Minimus Road, and the Skechers Go Bionic Trail (Skechers is looking at some incremental improvements to this shoe that are fantastic!).

But I doubt it's the shoes. Here's what I'm thinking -- you're committing your full weight onto your foot before you know if it's a solid landing. Proprioreception is all about feeling what's happening with your feet before it happens. Landing lightly, shorter strides, keeping your feet under you, maintaining ankle flexibility, and "pulling your punches"* will go a long way towards keeping you from turning your ankles.

* "Pulling your punches" is just a description I use for when you feel something amiss with a landing and pull back, getting the other foot out there and taking your weight, so that you don't commit your full weight to the bad landing and injure yourself. Shorter, quicker strides are key here.

Hope that helps.

2013-10-03 9:55 AM
in reply to: mcmanusclan5

Subject: RE: Shoe question for the off-road runners
I have both Altra Instinct 1.5 and Inov-8 Trailroc 235 for trail running. The Altras are a little beefier in the outsole and midsole which makes them feel a little more clunky than the Inov-8s, but they are pretty comfortable over long distances. The Inov-8s are definitely better feeling to me. They are pretty minimal in terms of outsole and midsole and have no rock plate, so you really have to be careful if you are running on sharp rocks, because you WILL feel all of them. Inov-8 makes the Trailroc 245 which I believe has a rock plate, but then you also start increasing the heel-toe drop (only to 2mm I think, so probably not going to be noticeable).

Neither of these shoes provide any ankle support at all, so if you step wrong you will probably still twist your ankle. I don't know how fast you are running trails, but perhaps you are just running too fast to make good decisions on foot placement. That's not to say that is what's happening, it could definitely be that the Newton's have so much midsole that you just can't feel the ground. If that is what is happening I would recommend a minimal shoe so you get more ground feel. Just be aware that with more ground feel comes more rock feel, which can really suck if it is a big pointy one.
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