Trail Running Shoes – How I Really Use Them

There are a lot of sub classes of running shoes, daily trainers, racing flats, light-weight daily trainers, motion control, minimal, maximal, cross country spikes, etc.

Then there are trail running shoes.

Over the years I have owned many different brands, models and makes of trail running shoes, but there is one big thing about that…

I really don’t run that many trails.

Once in a while I might get over to Bond Brook, some the local hiking trails in Waterville, Oakland or out in Belgrade, but I don’t really get on trails that are technical or run far enough on them to actually warrant going out and buying a pair of trail running shoes. Most of the time at least one pair of my current road shoe rotation are more than enough to tackle the trails I run on.

Why then do I think that I need a pair of trail running shoes?Is it all the marketing hype and hoopla that is out there about having to have a pair of trail running shoes to protect my little feetsies, while running on trails?

Not really.

Why then?

The biggest reason for me to have trail running shoes are winters in Maine.

I don’t like big pac boots and I have figured out that for 95% of my winter wear trail running shoes work quite nicely. Most of them have pretty decent tread/grip, are usually water resistant, built a little more sturdily than other shoes and when I wear the right ones very comfortable. When you add on a pair of gaiters, well the need for big pac boots is further eliminated.

Then again, every so often I do decide to run outside during the winter’s fun conditions, the trail shoes do well on most of winter’s “fun” conditions. Pair them up with a good pair of merino wools socks and until the temps get down around zero *F, my feet stay pretty warm. You can wear them with snow shoes or add on a pair of YakTraks or other ice grippy spikes and be able to stay mostly upright in all but the worst conditions.

What I have worn my trail shoes for this winter:

  • Snow blowing the driveway
  • Roof raking or getting on the garage to clear snow
  • Walking Bennie in all kinds of conditions
  • Walking on snowmobile trails
  • Running outside in snow, slush and just plain old winter nasty weather
  • Running errands in town

In other words about 98% of what I have done this winter has been done in trail running shoes and the other 2% could have been if I had wanted to.

During the rest of the year, my “winter” trail running shoes become my day hiking shoes for those short hikes that I go on with Mary – usually under 5.0 miles.

And yes, I might even use them to run on trails, every once in a while, just because I like running cross-country, even though I do most of my running on the roads.

While many of you might save your trail shoes for trails, during the winter up heah in Maine, my trail shoes are more for daily wear than trail running and you know something that is just fine by me.

What do you use your trail running shoes for? Do you even have a pair of running shoes that are considered “trail” running shoes?

One thought on “Trail Running Shoes – How I Really Use Them

  1. Totally agree – I love my Merrill ‘Allout Rush’ trail shoes, 4mm drop, rock plate, awesome tread. And like you, I barely ever see real trails, mostly my ‘trails’ are very nicely groomed. The Merrill’s are awesome for all-around winter stuff, which is fine for me since it also means I get the same basic shoe-feel in my running and utility shoes.

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