Trail Running Shoe Reviews
Spring 2012 Trail Shoe Guide
Image: Christopher Gorman
With the changing of the seasons, you may also be seeking a change of scenery. Consider trading your regular route for something more out there—a trail run marked with ruddy terrain, slippery slopes, and loads of fun. Just make sure you take off in shoes built for the ground you'll cover.
On the following pages you'll find nine shoes we tested off-road and in the RW Shoe Lab. The shoes are grouped according to the terrain they're best suited for: hybrid (ideal for both road and trail), racing (perfect for training), and all-mountain (made for really rough runs). It's hard to predict what you'll find on the trails, but one of these shoes will provide the ride you want.
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How We Test Trail Shoes
Wear-testers in Reading, Pennsylvania, and East Lansing, Michigan, ran in the latest trail shoes for a month and gave us feedback. We also mechanically tested each model at the RW Shoe Lab, an independent facility in Portland, Oregon, to measure cushioning (how soft/firm the midsole is; too soft and it may lack durability, too firm and it may not provide enough protection) and flexibility (how much energy it takes to flex a shoe at toe-off; generally, lighter runners need more flexibility than heavier ones). For more reviews, see runnersworld.com/shoefinder.