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Road Runners vs. Trail Blazers

Running shoes differ significantly based on their intended uses. Road shoes use lightweight, breathable materials with plenty of cushioning and rebound so you can run without feeling beat up by the hardness of concrete or pavement. Trail shoes are also lightweight and often cushioned, but they offer additional protection, support, and traction so you can tackle loose, uneven trails and rocky dirt roads with confidence.

Above Photo By: Austin Holt

Road Shoes – Traditionalroad running shoes

A traditional road shoe is designed to stabilize the foot and provide cushioning for running on hard surfaces like pavement or concrete. This shoe strikes an ideal balance between cushioning and support without feeling heavy or sluggish. Runners of all types can benefit from a traditional road running shoe.

  • Uppers crafted lightweight material with ample ventilation
  • Midsoles utilize foam or air cushioning to reduce impact on feet and joints
  • High stack height due to increased cushioning at heel and midsole
  • Outsoles feature flat or low lug pattern for improved speed
  • High drop (heel-forefoot offset)

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Road Shoes – Minimalist

Minimalist Road Shoes

A minimalist road shoe is designed to feel as lightweight and flexible as possible. It positions your foot low to the ground so your foot can move and flex naturally and your toes can spread out. This shoe offers limited cushioning and support and sometimes only a thin outsole, which makes it ideal for experienced runners with excellent form and foot-positioning habits.

  • Uppers crafted of lightweight material with maximum ventilation
  • Limited midsole cushioning, protection, and support
  • Outsoles feature flat or low lug pattern for improved speed
  • Low drop (heel-forefoot offset)

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Trail Shoes – TraditionalTrail Running Shoes

A traditional trail running shoe provides the most protection, stability, and support for running on trails and across dirt, rocks, and other off-road surfaces. These shoes feature highly durable materials, soft cushioning, support structures that align your ankle and foot, and maximum traction for ascending and descending in unpredictable terrain. Off-road runners of all types can benefit from a traditional trail running shoe.

  • Uppers crafted of highly durable materials, supportive overlays, and ample ventilation
  • Uppers may also utilize a waterproof membrane or water-resistant coating
  • Ankle and tongue may include additional padding
  • Midsoles designed primarily for impact protection and cushioning
  • High stack height due to increased cushioning at heel, midsole, and forefoot
  • Outsoles feature aggressive lug pattern for traction on dirt, rocks, and sand
  • May also include an internal structure to help you leverage your forefoot during toe-off or stabilize the heel during foot strike and stride.

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Trail Shoes – MinimalistMinimalist Trail Running Shoes

A minimalist trail shoe is designed to feel as lightweight and flexible as possible without sacrificing the protection and traction needed for running off road. This style of trail shoe positions your foot low to the ground and allows your toes and metatarsal joints to spread naturally. With limited cushioning and maximum feedback from the trail, this shoe is ideal for experienced trail runners with excellent form and strength.

  • Uppers crafted of lightweight, breathable materials and a supportive overlay
  • Uppers may also feature a waterproof membrane or water-resistant coating
  • Limited midsole cushioning, protection, and support
  • Forefoot often features a rigid midsole plate for added protection from sharp rocks and debris
  • Outsole offers aggressive lug pattern for traction on dirt, rocks, and sand
  • Low drop (heel-forefoot offset)

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