How Should Trail Running Shoes Fit? Factors and Buying Guide

Buying a good pair of trail running shoes should not only play around the design, color, and price. There are more important factors to consider, such as the comfort, your running style, and foot structure. It should perfectly fit, we know that. But how should trail running shoes fit?

A deeper understanding of shoe technology and how feet should function has significantly improved running routines and shoe quality. Over the last 30 years, thousands of running shoes were manufactured, but all had a tight fit with the belief that they provide a better feel of the ground.

How Should Trail Running Shoes Fit?

Today, more running shoes that vary in colors, sizes, and styles are being marketed. The best ones are backed by science and technology. As the runner, you too should know how to choose your own trail running shoes.

Trail running shoes should fit snuggly enough that your feet should not move around inside. It should keep in contact with the insides of the shoes while you run on broken pavement or on a camber. When you run on a firmer trail, your running shoes should have a thicker midsole to protect you against the extended rocks.

While it should fit snuggly in your midfoot and heel area, there should still be enough room for your toes. This is to allow your toes to wiggle and spread out so that your feet will have the stability, propulsion, and cushioning needs.

When fitting trail running shoes, you should also take into consideration the thickness of your socks. The socks will affect the fit, so make sure you wear them when you try the shoes on. Keep in mind that thicker socks will take quite some room for your toes to wiggle.

Regular Road Running vs. Trail Running Shoes

When it comes to regular road running shoes, your feet should still have a little wiggle space in order to perform properly. There must be space, about one full thumb width, between the tip of your longest toe and the end of the shoe.

On the other hand, when it comes to off-road running shoes used on soft pavements, this space should only be half of the thumb size. This is because your feet don’t get as much tension on the softer ground. Hence, they expand less too.

When road running, and in order to allow you to feel the ground, the midsoles of your road running shoes should be thinner and more flexible. However, it is different when it comes to trail running. As mentioned above, midsoles should be thicker when running on firmer trails. This is to protect your feet.

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Choosing Trail Running Shoes

Running shoes should be lightweight and protect your feet from external factors. Any running shoes that weigh over 12 ounces for men’s size 9 is too heavy. For the best experience, you would want to choose the lightest shoes possible.

Here are the other factors to consider when choosing trail running shoes:

1. Drop

Drop refers to the footwear where the heel has similar height as the ball of the foot. It gives the same feeling when you naturally stand on a flat surface in bare feet.

It is recommended that when choosing trail running shoes, the drop should be flat—that is anywhere between 0mm to 12mm and more. This depends on your running form and preference.

2. Fit

If possible, wear the shoes for a while before you buy it. If you feel small pain or annoying discomfort while wearing it, then you can be sure that it will be maximized as you use the shoes for more extended periods.

What’s worse is that it will negatively affect your performance and even cause pain and injury. Make sure that the shoes have at least a half-thumb space at the top of your toe and a snug fit on the midfoot and heel areas.

3. Outsole

If you intend to run on muddy pavement and soft soil, the big lugs are ideal. On the other hand, choose outsoles with small lugs for rocky grounds and hard ground.

4. Price

Expensive shoes usually have the most durable, comfortable quality, but this is not the case all the time. As long as you do your own research and know your running style and foot structure well, you will be able to buy the best shoes without breaking the bank.

5. Water-resistance

This feature is only applicable for runners who are into the so-called crazy trail running, which is done on wet conditions. If you are one of those runners who love to run in the rain or moist areas, then you should definitely consider buying water-resistant, breathable trail running shoes to protect and preserve your feet.

6. Hybrid Style

These are types of running shoes that work best on both asphalt pavements and rocky, muddy grounds. Hybrid running shoes have higher quality in terms of durability and comfort, although they are more expensive than other types of shoes too.

They are good investments, though, as they don’t wear out quickly.

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Pitfalls in Buying Running Shoes

Many shoe buyers commit similar mistakes when buying running shoes. In order to prevent the sa