ASK THE TRAIL STAR
I’m buying my first pair of trailrunning shoes. Any advice? – ADRIAN, KNYSNA
A comfortable fit is vital. Attend a demo- run event, where you can test various models.
Personally, I look for flexibility – shoes that move and adjust their shape as my feet move over technical terrain. With all the lightweight materials on the market these days, it’s easy to find a nimble pair.
Another thing to consider is the ‘ drop’, which is the difference in height between the heel and toe. If you’ve been training injury- free in your road- running shoes, then it makes sense to find a pair of trail- running shoes with a similar drop. A 7mm or 8mm drop works best for me.
The midsole needs to be responsive, in order for you to receive feedback from the trail. So the shoe should be neither too hard nor too soft and spongy; but the upper and outer sole of the shoe should be hardwearing enough to handle tough, technical terrain.
Your forefoot should have room to spread out in the toe box, but not so much so that the shoe feels clumsy – on technical trails, you want your footing to be confident and precise. Lastly, buy shoes with good grip, so that you don’t slip on muddy, wet and rocky trails.
Ryan Sandes, a. k. a. ‘ Hedgie’, is the 2017 Western States 100- Miler champion.