So, if you’ve been reading my recent rambles, you know that I’ve decided to run more trails in 2018 and I even have 2 trail 50ks planned.
If you’re new, welcome! And yes, I think I may have lost my mind. haha
Anyway, running less on the road and more on the trails means I need trail running shoes. Yay! Shoe shopping!
Except, there’s actually a little more to it than just shopping for basic running shoes. Okay, there can really be a lot more.
1. Not all running shoe stores sell trail shoes
And, sometimes, when you ask the staff (in person) at said running shoe store about trail running shoes, you get an upturned nose and a disdainful “we don’t carry trail running shoes.”
IMHO, running is running whether you’re on a road, a treadmill, or a trail and a running shoe store should carry shoes for running on all surfaces. But, I guess not.
My advice is to call first before you drive 30 minutes or however long to your local running store. If you do that, you’re less likely to want to punch said person in the face for having a snooty attitude.
Which he would certainly have deserved. He’s lucky I was in a patient mood that day.
2. You’ve got to have options
If you have your heart set on a specific brand of shoe, make sure the store that you’re going to actually carries that brand in store. (see number 1 for advice on what to do to find out.) Sometimes, a store only carries a brand online.
I personally don’t want to purchase a shoe – a running shoe – without ever trying it on because my feet are
stupid picky and not every shoe works for me. I want to feel how the shoe fits and moves before I plunk down upwards of $150. #justsayin
Plus, not all online shoe retailers offer 100% refund if you return a shoe. And, you have to wait. Waiting sucks. If you’re like me, you want your new shoes like yesterday.
So, if that store doesn’t physically carry that brand, go to the brand’s Web site and see if you can find other local stores that might carry it. And then, see #1 to make sure that store carries trail shoes because some brands make both. (hint: not all running shoe store staff will specify road vs trail when you call if you only ask about brand. trust me.)
3. Do your research
I am a complete and total research nerd when it comes to stuff like this. I’ll look up the menu at a new restaurant before we go so I can see what they have that way I’m not overwhelmed when we get there. When we’re going somewhere out of town, I’ll Google maps the hotel/campground/B&B and then zoom out so I can see what’s around it. Etc.
Trail running shoes are an important piece of equipment and an important part of a trail runner’s life. Do a google search for “top trail running shoes” or something similar and start reading. Read the reviews, read the specs, watch the videos, etc. Be prepared for when you go into the store. That also will allow you to carry on a relevant conversation with the salesperson (who hopefully is also a trail runner) and it may help you learn more about the shoe, etc. Shoe salespeople are not going to overwhelm you with technical terms and will pretty much give you basic information regarding the shoe.
Because they don’t know you did your research.
Once you begin to ask questions, you’ll start getting more information.
4. Take your running socks with you
This applies to road running shoe shopping, too. Okay, basically any shoe shopping. But, especially running or athletic shoes. How can you know how a shoe fits or feels if you’re not wearing the socks you are going to wear while running in them? (hint: trust me)
5. Try on a more than one pair/brand/size!
Once you’ve talked with the salesperson and explained what you’re looking for, be prepared to try on more than one pair. In fact, I’d suggest at least 3 pairs so you can get a good comparison.
Not all shoes are the same (that would be boring) or offer the same things. Trail running shoes have different specifics and some have rock guards and some have heavier lugs and some are just plain heavy. You need to feel how all of those different things feel.
Just like you would when you’re buying running shoes, bounce around in them, jog around the store, pretend to jump over a fallen tree. Try not to crash into the wall.
Okay, I know I said 5 things but this one is important and … it’s my blog and I’ll add a number 6 if I want to… 🙂
6. THERE’S NO SUCH THING AS A STUPID QUESTION!
Sorry. I’m not shouting at you. It’s just really important. If you know the kinds of trails you are going to be running on, tell the salesperson that. It will help him or her point you in the right direction. If you have no clue, tell him that too. And if you don’t understand what he’s talking about, ASK.
I do a lot of road running. In fact, most of my training is going to be on the road. That said, there is a trail that I can run to in my town. It’s a mile away. I actually run there pretty regularly. It’s really nice and I love it in there.
I asked if the shoes I was interested in were “trail only.” And, no, it wasn’t a dumb question.
Some shoes are billed as “cross-overs” which means they can easily go from road to trail. Those shoes are not going to have the same traction or heavy duty material as a trail only shoe. If you run on the road too much in trail shoes, they wear out faster. You don’t want to waste your money by wearing your shoes on the wrong surface. And no, I cannot run to my local trail in my new trail shoes. And that’s fine. I’m glad I asked. 🙂Shopping for trail running shoes? Check out these tips before you head out the door! #running #runchat #sweatpink #trailrunner #fitfluential Click To Tweet
Hopefully, these tips will make your trail running shoe (or any athletic shoe, actually) shopping trip much less stressful and much more successful! I’m so glad I went prepared with knowledge about shoes …. I just wish I had called ahead in some cases. :/ Would totally have saved me some time and gas. Lesson learned. You’re welcome. 🙂