Go Wild! Get More Traction and Stability using Trail Running Shoes.

"Stadiums are for spectators. We runners have nature and that is much better." - Juha Vaatainen

I use my trail running shoes when I blaze a path through the state forest park which is only five miles from my house. Are you lucky like me, and have trails to run nearby? If you do, get out there and explore. Make sure you have shoes for the trails. There are several different types of trail shoes though now. Here are a few of the types. 1. Vibram Five Fingers. 2. "Barefoot" Running Shoes. 3. Minimalist (4mm drop) Trail Running Shoes. 4. Trail Running Trainers.

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1. Vibram Five Fingers. These are shoes where there is a slot for each one of your toes. I only recommend these if you have great running form, and are comfortable running barefoot.

2. "Barefoot" Running Shoes are similar to Vibrams except they don't have the slot for each one of your toes. I actually prefer these types of shoes, as I wear Merrill Barefoot Trail Running Shoes. Once again, because there is no cushioning on the forefoot or heel, you need to have good running form. Heel striking in shoes like this will cause an injury eventually.

3. Minimalist running shoes have some cushioning, but they have less than a traditional running shoe. The forefoot has just a little less than the heel area of the shoe. Make sure if you want shoes like this for the trails that they have good traction.

3. Trainer trail running shoes are probably the easiest to find. These are the more "traditional" running shoe where the heel has more cushioning. Once again, check for good traction because that is what distinguishes a regular running shoe from a trail running shoe.

Do you really need this type of shoe? I do. If the trails you run have any steep hills, or rugged terrain, you should get some too. There are a lot of great options out there. I can't recommend one pair over another. The best running shoe for you is always about the fit.

Where can I find these specific shoes? You can compare prices right here for Men's and Women's Trail Running Shoes. Another option is to run in Vibram Fivefingers. These shoes are basically a slip cover for your feet. Hikers and runners love them because it is like running with barefeet, but you are protected against woodchips and gravel. You can learn more about barefoot running here.

Running on grass, dirt, or wood chips is a great way to take some stress off of your legs if you run smart. First off, make sure the trails you find are for running. Some trails are called "hiking" or "climbing" trails. These will have steep hills usually that aren't the best for going up or down when you run. You don't really want to go down real steep grades when you run because of the risk injury.

Some non-hiking trails still have short steep hills which are tough on your legs going down. Shorten up your stride and don't go too fast. You don't want to put too much stress on your joints, and you don't want to fall. Try leaning your chest back a little, stay quick with your strides, and don't land on your heels too much. If you can land more on the front of your foot it takes a lot of stress off your joints.

I hope you can find some great paths to run on. Remember, be smart and be safe! Have a good time blazing your own trail!

- Written by David Tiefenthaler

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