Do I Need Trail Shoes?

Do I Need Trail Shoes?

A question we get asked a lot is ‘do I need trail shoes?’, and while generally you will be fine running the trails in Norfolk in road shoes, there are some points to consider why you may be better off in trail shoes.

  • Grip – A bit of an obvious one, but the grip on trail shoes is a lot better for off road terrain. During the summer months this is less of a problem, but certainly during winter when the trails are thick mud, you will find it a lot easier to stay upright in trail shoes. You don’t need to have a full on face plant fall to cause an injury, even just a slight slip can put you out of action for a while, and having decent grip will massively reduce this risk.
  • Support – The stresses on you feet and especially ankles are a lot less during road running, and road shoes are designed to reflect this. Once you step out on the trails for the first time though you will generally notice that your ankles will ache a bit until you are used it, and trail shoes are designed to support you around the ankle to limit this. Good supportive shoes become even more important if you are attempting to run up or down hills.
  • Rock plate – A lot of trail shoes have something called a rock plate. This is a thin piece of either plastic or carbon fibre that is fitted between the outsole and midsole. This is designed to protect your foot when you step on sharp rocks or other obstacles on the trail. You can just about make out the grey rock plate in the picture below of an old pair of Invo8 Trail Ultras that I hacked up for demonstration purposes.
  • Wear and tear – Lets be honest, we all want our shoes to last as long as possible. Due to the increased chance of your expensive shoes meeting sharps object, trail shoes are made of sturdier materials and feature overlays to protect them. You will also notice more protection around the toes, which leads me to my final point

While you can get away with wearing road shoes on trails, you are putting yourself at greater risk of injury. Earlier this month I was at a trail running festival for the weekend, and whilst out on a group run, we had a runner wearing road shoes. Everything was going fine until this runner stubbed their toe on a rock, and possibly broke their toes. They then had a 2 mile walk to get off the trails, and perhaps even worse, they then spent the rest of the weekend hobbling around rather than running.

If you are looking to buy a pair of trail shoes I would always recommend trying them on first, and locally we are lucky to have Sportlink who will be able to advise and help you find the perfect shoe for you.

reviews

Lisa Mason
Lisa Mason
01/12/2023
I did the Intro to Trail Running workshop with Escape trails. It was a really enjoyable day, with a relaxed, friendly atmosphere. It was informative and fun and finished with a wonderful run through the forest putting what we'd learnt into practice.
Stuart Smith
Stuart Smith
01/11/2023
This was a great experience. My first 10Km in a very very long time. Everyone made me extremely welcome and calmed my nerves. I will be back on a regular basis to run in great surroundings with this guided group who didn’t leave me behind, thank you.
Vivienne Taylor
Vivienne Taylor
01/11/2023
29th October 10k run with Neil and Lin in Thetford Forest was brilliant. Well organised, relaxed with no time pressure a group of us ran in the autumn sunshine enjoying a varied trail of paths through the forest. A very friendly group with some first time 10k runners along with more experienced trail runners. I’ll be back for another run and will challenge myself to do the 16k next time. A great way to spend a Sunday morning. Thanks Escape Trails.
James Nightingale
James Nightingale
04/09/2023
Saffron H
Saffron H
16/07/2023
Myself and a friend ran the wroxham/Hoveton route. It was our first ever trail run and Neil and the other runners were so supportive and accommodating. We've already decided to book another in the near future.
Chelsea Forwood
Chelsea Forwood
03/04/2023
Really enjoyed taking part in a guided run, was taken on a lovely route with some interesting information given on stops along the route. Run was relaxed and inclusive of pace. Friendly run leaders. Definitely will go again.
Rob Blowers
Rob Blowers
08/01/2023
If you are thinking of booking and not sure it’s simple - just go for it! Neil and his team run excellent events and I’ve never left a single one without a big smile on my face. A great way to clear your mind from the real world, enjoy great company and learn from experienced coaches.
James Wright
James Wright
01/01/2023
Have done a few runs with ESCAPE trails now, the most recent being a fantastic headtorch run through the Norfolk countryside. Events are always fun, inclusive and great value.
Ros Blackmore
Ros Blackmore
29/12/2022
We did a 10k guided run in Thetford Forest on Christmas Eve, lovely friendly and well organised run, nice easy pace, no one got left behind. Loved it, and highly recommend 👌
Jenny Davies
Jenny Davies
28/11/2022
I really enjoyed the run. Nice gentle pace, very friendly and informative.