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

tobias champion
tobias champion
30/06/2024
I would highly recommend Escape Trails Ultramarathon Coaching. I started working with Neil as I was training for my first 100k. The training plans provided were detailed and easy to follow. Neil was flexible to my feedback and provided support at every step of the way. I look forward to working with Neil again in the future.
Steven Newson
Steven Newson
18/06/2024
I have know the owner of Escape Trails a few years now, been on their Guided Ultra, some mixed distance trails. So I felt I had no need to look any further for peace of mind & security, knowing I’d be obtaining the very best support & advice for an impending Ultra I’d booked. I’m a coach myself within another sport so I’ve high expectations of anyone coaching me & I knew Neil would possibly feel this pressure being a good friend. My training started first week of January for the Rat Race The Wall event 15th June. All I can say is due to Escape Trails informative approach to my tailored plan & care, I felt strong to the very end and completed the challenging Ultra 6hrs within the total cutoff time given. This was my first 70 miler and through the kindness, help and well guided and informative support all the way through my plan, it won’t be my last. I wont lie the training was hard and difficult at times, when after a day at work you dig deep to get the miles done, but Neil is understanding of this and tailors plans that key in to real world needs. Can’t thank Escape Trails & the team enough.
Paul Gerber
Paul Gerber
03/06/2024
Me and my wife meet up with Neil and 8 other keen trail runners at High Lodge Thetford for a 16 km trail run lead by Neil. Neil gave us all a good safety brief before we headed off on our run. The run was at a conversational pace with a few points were we stopped off for a history lesson from Neil. This was a lovely run with a great group of people. Neil was fantastic and a great running leader. I would definitely recommend Escape trails as you will enjoy it like we did. We will also be booking more trail running with Neil and his team. 5 stars.
Ravecore666
Ravecore666
03/06/2024
Was a fun day lovely people
Noah Pugh
Noah Pugh
31/05/2024
Neil coached me for ~7 months for my first ultra (100km). He put together a plan that worked around my schedule and adapted it as the training went on. The workouts were always varied and he listened if I wanted more or less of a certain workout. It got rid of any stress I would have had if I had made my own training plan. I could just focus on the running! The training plan was a slow build over many months and worked really well, so I would definitely recommend Neil’s coaching to new or aspiring ultra-runners. Neil also gave me advice on nutrition during runs and gave me useful advice for the race itself. I finished the 100k with a time I’m very proud of, and I couldn’t have done it without Neil’s awesome coaching! Thank you very much!
Anna Collins
Anna Collins
12/01/2024
Awesome morning out with Escape trails running 16k through gorgeous Thetford Forest. Well planned route, lots of fun facts given by Neil along the way. Well paced, everyone stuck together. Very friendly group of participants. Lots of chat and laughter made the 16k going by in a blink of an eye. I had been drawn to the event because it was not a race but a social run promising not to leave anyone behind. It delivered on this promise.
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