How To Choose the Right Trail Running Shoes Like a Pro—Plus, Our 8 Favorite Pairs – Well+Good

How To Choose the Right Trail Running Shoes Like a Pro—Plus, Our 8 Favorite Pairs  Well+Good

Sneaker Trends

June 20, 2022

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Photo: Courtesy Adidas

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There’s a childlike joy to trail running. You’re coursing through the woods, jumping over logs, getting dirty to your heart’s delight. The mental benefits of being out in nature can land you a next-level runner’s high.

But for those more used to running on concrete than dirt, all it takes is a few bad slips and slides in your regular sneakers to realize you might need to upgrade to a solid pair of trail running shoes.

What should you look for in a good pair?

“Traction seems like it should be most important,” says Phil Kochik, owner of Seattle’s Seven Hills Running Shop, which specializes in trail shoes. But actually, he says, it only comes up third on his checklist when he’s helping customers buy their first pair. “If you have a shoe that is uncomfortable, then doesn’t matter if you have great traction—that won’t save the experience.” And, he adds, any trail shoe with even a little bit of grip is going to instantly feel like a win when you’re first transitioning from road shoes.

Instead, Kochik suggests primarily focusing on fit and cushioning, then thinking of traction as the cherry on top.