If you’ve decided to start taking your runs off-road and hit the trail, you might be thinking it’s time to swap out the road runners for some more durable trail running shoes. If you’re not sure whether to commit to trail running shoes, here are a few questions to think about:

If you find yourself agreeing with these answers, then it's probably time for you to shop around for some trail running shoes.

How trail running shoes are different to road shoes

The biggest difference between trail running shoes and regular running shoes is durability.

Trail running shoes have thicker, more aggressive, treads and soles which are built to protect the foot and withstand tougher terrain. The uppers are also built to withstand the dirt and grit that comes with running off road.

Picture this: when you’re running on the road, the surface is usually pretty smooth. Road shoes are designed to be more lightweight because the surface isn’t so rough. That means the tread is designed for smoother, flatter surfaces.

But on off-road trails, the terrain is much more varied. You can encounter dirt tracks, rocks, tree roots, and steep inclines. Not to mention mud and water. That means you’re going to need a more rugged shoe. That isn’t to say you need a heavy hiking boot. Trail shoes are designed to be tough, but also light enough to help you fly through the trail.

Trail shoes also offer better traction, preventing falls and injury. Most trails will have steep and varied inclines and declines. That can put a lot of pressure on your joints, especially your knees. A good trail shoe is designed to give you the right grip to tackle the ups and downs, while having a supportive midsole to make the landing softer.  

3 things to look for in a trail shoe

Okay, so you’ve decided to invest in some good quality trail running shoes. Nowadays there are so many features and new technologies, it can all become a bit overwhelming. But don’t worry, we’ve broken down the key things you should be looking for when buying trail running shoes.

1. A rugged outsole

This is the main thing that separates trail shoes from road shoes. For off-road running, you need a rugged outsole to grip the dirt and rocky surfaces you’re stepping on. When shopping around, pay attention to the outsole material. It should have a thick, but also lightweight rubber layer that provides durable protection between your feet and the trail.  

2. Mud and water protection

Us Kiwi’s are lucky enough to have stunning and diverse trails right on our doorsteps. These trails don’t just take you through dirt tracks. They can take you through streams, rocky rivers and muddy surfaces. This means you need a trail running shoe that will keep your feet dry. Keeping your feet dry isn’t just for comfort, it will prevent blisters. The best trail running shoes will be designed with durable material and protective and breathable coating technology like Gortex.

A good trail running shoe should also be able to grip on wet and muddy surfaces. Find a shoe that has wet-grip technology like GeckoTrac so you can stay on track, no matter the conditions.  

3. Cushioning and support

When you’re running on rough trails, you need to protect your joints and muscles. No doubt you’ll be stepping on rocks and hard tree roots throughout your run. This means it is imperative that your shoes mould to the terrain whilst protecting your feet at the same time.

The Gecko XT brings a new experience to your trail runs

Designed and tested by the Institute of Sports Science at the ASICS HQ in Japan, the Gecko XT trail shoe combines high-performance technology with comfort and practicality.

The newly designed sole is made for exceptional grip on rougher terrain, wet or dry. It is the first trail shoe in the range to feature the super lightweight midsole material. The GECKO XT is ideal for mid-distance seasoned runners and beginners alike, as the combination of performance along with comfort and practicality will give you the confidence to take on any trail that lies ahead.

HEAR WHAT ULTRAMARATHON RUNNER, BRADEN CURRIE HAS TO SAY ABOUT GECKO XT