Here at Fleet Feet Sports Minneapolis, we offer a selection of trail running shoes. Here are the models we carry and our take on them. We highly recommend coming in store and trying these for yourself. We are happy to walk you through a fit process of these selections and above all want to provide the most comfort on any path you choose to run or walk on.
So, the biggest question you might have is, "what is the difference between my current road shoes and a trail shoe?" While there are some differences between the two, the biggest is making sure what ever shoe you choose is comfortable. Some of the key differences in trail shoes from road are tread and rock plates. Trail shoes provide better grip on a variety of surfaces, so they offer more aggressive tread. Most trail shoes, since they have such aggressive tread/lugs, will also choose to add a rock plate. A rock plate is found in some shoes on the forefoot/ ball of the foot where most people will tend to step on roots or rocks. This provides a layer of protection to help aid against fatigue.
Here are the shoes we carry in store and key features about each one.
This trail shoe from Brooks offers their BIOMOGO cushioning system that cushions to your individual needs and forms to the foot. The traction/outsole os quite aggressive, and grips well on a variety of surfaces (especially when wet as well!). The mesh upper dries quickly, keeping feet dry and cool on the trails. The Cascadia also offers a 'Ballistic Rock Shield' that helps protect on more hazardous surfaces and to help reduce underfoot fatigue.
Altra Lone Peak
Known for their Zero Drop and Foot Shape, this model from Altra is a versatile shoe. Zero Drop is a term used to describe the offset (in millimeters) between the heel and forefoot. In most of our shoes, it will range anywhere from 8-12 mm. Altra makes all their shoes this way to promote the natural motion of the foot, and to utilize all muscle groups otherwise put on the wayside in traditional running shoes. They also use a Foot Shape toe box to allow the toes to splay and push off freely without any constraints. This trail model provides an aggressive outsole in addition to a soft, sticky rubber that allows grip on slick surfaces as well as a soft rubber to play on any terrain. With that being said, this shoe is a customer and staff favorite to wear as an everyday shoe. The mesh is quick drying and breathable, as well as durable. GaitersTraps are also patented with Altra, to allow gaiters to stay in place and to keep you exploring longer. What are gaiters? Gaiters are an additional accessory worn by most trail runners to keep rocks, sand, mud, dirt, etc. that straps to the shoe in some fashion and is worn above the ankle.
Salomon Sense Pro
The Salomon Sense Pro is the ideal balance of lightweight, cushioning, and protection. Salomon shoes offer quick laces, which give you a customized mid foot wrap without loosening or becoming untied at any point, and tuck away in a pouch called the 'garage' located on the outside of the tongue, which in trail conditions can otherwise be untied by unruly nature! The Sense Pro also provides a toe bumper, which can become the saving grace in trail running. No matter how careful and alert we can be on the trails, there will always be that one pesky root or rock that catches our toes, and the toe bumper comes to save our toes from getting beat up. In addition this model offers a rock plate and quick drying, breathable mesh. The toe box is also a comfortable fit between 'not too snug' and not 'too roomy' allowing the toes to splay without feeling too big.
The Saucony Peregrine does a phenomenal job with combining an aggressive outsole with an exceptionally light and soft midsole and upper. The cushioning system Saucony uses, EverRun, is a lively, soft, and responsive run on any surface. Rock plate in the forefoot as well as a RUNDRY collar lining wicks moisture away to prevent moisture on contact. The upper is very soft and flexible with a generous toe box to allow you to play freely on the trails. This is a great lightweight yet rugged contender out on the trails.
While we have stocked the Nike Terra Kiger, we have found that the other option from Nike is the way to go. More cushioned and offering the same outsole, the Wildhorse fits and feels like a comfortable road shoe, with the added protection underfoot. The Flywires (the wires around the striped area of the shoe) provide a secure and comfortable mid foot wrap. Also equipped with a rock plate and a roomy toe box, this shoe is a great addition to a plush, comfortable trail shoe. Much like a lot of the trail shoes we offer, a lot of these shoes (including the Wildhorse) are great all terrain shoes as well. Comparable to the Lone Peak or Cascadia, these shoes are highly cushioned.
One of the most popular trail selections from Salomon, this shoe packs a punch out on the trails. While the outsole brags its aggressive directional lugs, it is made with a soft rubber outsole, so no underfoot fatigue will happen. This trail model also has a performance fit, meaning it will grip the mid foot and keep everything snug and in place. It has crossover qualities of the Sense Pro, with difference in offset and cushioning. While the mesh is a lot more durable, it is nonetheless breathable and quick drying. This shoe performs very well in wet, muddy, and wintery conditions.
Overall, these trail models all provide exceptional grip, cushioning, protection, and durability. What is most important is making sure it is comfortable on your feet! Come try out our trail selection in store!