Today I am going to talk about one of my favorite things to do, and that is trail running. There is nothing better than a nice spring or fall run through the woods when the flowers are blooming or the leaves are turning, a true thing of beauty.
As always I will share the best shoes for all budget sizes as well as be pointing out my favorite trail running shoe.
First, I want to talk to you a little bit about trail running and what you need to take into consideration before purchasing your next pair of women’s trail running shoes!
If you are all too familiar with your city or suburb’s landscape then hitting the usual pavement may begin to get old at some point of time which means a change of scenery is what you require and what better way to do that than to hit the nature trails!
Regardless of what your reasons are, you must have a good pair of trail running shoes on your feet if you are going to go pace the outdoors as it is a lot more demanding than a run down the block.
Difference Between Trail Running Shoes and Road Running Shoes
Yes, there actually is such a difference, running shoes either come exclusively for trail running or road running and it is very important that you buy separate pairs for each activity.
Road running shoes are usually lighter with sufficient padding and support; they are designed for running on regular surfaces such as pavements or roads, although you just might get away with a few runs in the wilderness with them, I would not recommend it.
Trail running shoes on the other hand are a lot more rugged and have far better support than your typical road running shoes.
They are specifically engineered for the trails.
They have well built outsoles which provide exceptional grip to negotiate slippery terrains.
Trail running shoes are also almost always water proof as moisture is to be expected in the environment they are designed for, on the other hand, road running shoes may or may not be waterproofed.
Know thy Foot Type
Before you go about selecting a trail running shoe for yourself, you should know what kind of a foot you have as these are designed for different running styles which result from the different feet type.
Depending on your foot you may require either neutral, supportive or control shoes; you can find out which one is yours by getting a gait analysis done at a specialty running store.
Most trail runners like to opt for minimally constructed shoes in order to save up on weight; however this may not be the right course of action if the runner requires a lot of support.
You will also have a style of walking/running which is called – “gait”. When you run your heel will instinctively rolls inward in order to cushion the impact and provide the spring like tension needed to propel the next step.
In order to find the most comfortable trail running shoes for your feet, you will want to be aware of your gait.
Three types of gaits are possible:
Pronation: Is the natural inwards movement of the heel after it has struck the ground. This movement ensures that your ankles and knees do not experience too much stress during a run while keeping your momentum up.
Natural pronation is ideal and neutral shoes are the ones you should go for if this is your style.
Overpronation: happens if you bend your feet a little too much inwards as you are running. While neutral pronation can help prevent injury, overpronation on the other hand can lead to them.
If your running is over-pronated then you should be looking for support shoes these add more cushioning in order to make up for the lack of natural support.
Overpronation is also known as having flat feet.
Supination: is the opposite of pronation where the runner rolls his or her feet outwards rather than inwards.
Feet which supinate require control shoes which have the greatest amount of support amongst all the running styles.
Now, knowing your gait is highly recommended even if you run a couple times a week around the block, however it is absolutely important if you plan on trail running frequently.
Because trail running is a much more demanding activity, having the wrong shoe on can leave you feeling tired quicker and if you are not careful, it may even result in a twisted/torn tendon or sprained ankle.
You can learn more about gait here at wikipedia.
Let’s take a look at some of the best trail running shoes that the market has to offer right now:
The Top 3 Best Trail Running Shoes for Women:
Inov-8 F-Lite 230: (Small Budget)
For those of you wondering what the name of the company means, Inov-8 is essentially “Innovate” in a catchy format!
The F-Lite 230 is one of the newer offerings from the manufacturer and comes with a synthetic mesh that is very breathable.
Its TPU lacing can secure the mid-foot fairly well and does not permit movement or slippage of the heel.
At 8.1 Oz the shoe is also very light weight compared to some of the other trail running shoes out there and has a flat, low profile.
Its sticky rubber outsole will provide good grip in most slippery terrains such as rocks, mud, lose gravel, sand or wet grass.
The upper of the shoe is constructed from 100% breathable mesh which both prevents moisture from entering the shoe (unless water pours in from the top most opening) and allows sweat or water to escape as well should it deposit within the shoe.
This women’s trail running shoe is fairly priced, and given the number of features that it offers, this is one of the best trail running shoes out there!
The reviews speak for themselves …
Salomon XR Mission W: (Medium Budget)
The Salomon XR Mission W is my personal favorite trail running shoe.
I have loved these trail shoes since the day I put them on my feet and hit the trails.
Do you love hitting the trails?
Does the thought of running in the great outdoors entice you?
If yes then the XR Mission W from Salomon deserves your attention.
Salomon may be relatively unheard of compared to big wigs like Asics, Brooks or New Balance, but rest assured the company has many shoes that have created quite a ripple in the market.
This new shoe is intended to replace the Crossmax series that Salomon had released earlier.
Salomon has started a new gender specific models that are light, agile and flexible.
Plus, Salomon has also made this shoe a lot plusher than its other variants, so you can be rest assured that you will be getting a very comfortable ride.
So, what can you expect from this shoe? Here it is in a nutshell:
The Mission’s upper is constructed from the same ripstop nylon that is used in most other Salomon shoes.
This, in my opinion is a good choice as I have found this to be very lightweight and durable.
A gusseted mesh trampoline just above the tongue also enhances the overall comfort once you put it on.
The shoe’s midsole are constructed from a single piece molded EVA which provides good cushioning and is rugged enough to take on most runs.
I think that a reinforced EVA is a good idea for trails however, if used for pavement or road running, you might feel that it is a little stiff.
Here are some other features that the Mission W boasts of:
Asymmetrical Sensifit Technology: Designed to ensure that your feet remain firmly fixed into the shoe and also allow you to more your feet more naturally.
QUICKLACE System: Allows you to fit your feet more securely in place.
ContraGrip Outsole: A non marking grip that is designed to offer the best possible grip over a variety of different terrains.
There are a lot of different trail running shoes out there, many of them with a lot of technical sounding features, however Salomon’s features are actually quite impressive and it’s quite a good contender.
Priced fairly, the shoe offers everything you will need in order to complete your trails in both comfort and style.
Patagonia Drifter: (Larger Budget)
The Drifter is a highly functional trail running shoe which has plenty of features and feels instantly comfortable as soon as you put it on.
The shoe has a stiff and large sole that allows you to tackle steep accents with utter ease.
Here are some of the key features of this trail running shoe:
Removable 20% EVA footbed: An anatomical footbed that delivers a very comfortable and supportive cushioning system.
Patagonia Air Cushion Plus: A great feature that provides a great deal of shock absorption while you’re on the trails.
Bi-fit Waterproof Insole: Made from 80% recycled pulyurethane, this insole board provides excellent support, underfoot stability, as well as waterproof to keep your feet dry on those wet days.
The Patagonia Drifter is an Outside Magazine award winning trail shoe, and there is no denying why.
The shoe is a little beefier than its counter parts due to its bigger sole, however this is also the reason why it has the best traction ever!
The Drifter is a superior pair of trail running shoes for women that are serious about their trails!