Finding the right trail shoes

Shoes are the trail runner's prime ally. They accompany runners on all types of paths, through the mountains and along trails. Trail runners must have confidence in their shoes and everyone must find the ones that suit them.

Guillaume Le Normand, a member of the Quechua trail team was actively involved in designing Quechua trail shoes. Today he puts you on the right track so you know yourself better and you can direct yourself to the shoes you need!

These days, and particularly in trail running, value for money is essential and I think that the Quechua product engineers are working in that direction to suit most people.

First of all, for trail running, I advise you to choose a shoe one size larger than your normal shoe size. This will limit how much the toes hurt when you go downhill. Your feet must be totally enveloped inside the shoes with as little free space or movement as possible in the shoe which could cause overheating or make them uncomfortable when you step.

Choosing the right socks is also essential to prevent your feet hurting. I would even say that they are an integral part of wearing the shoes. Watch out for the different hard points which are caused by the lacing or certain seams. It is also good to try to adjust the width so they are not constricting or painful.

With regards to choosing the type of shoes it is difficult to give guidelines since it depends on several criteria that should be analysed before buying your shoes.

On what type of terrain you run the most: rocky, sandy, muddy, undergrowth, slippery surfaces etc. ? How much do you weigh? How far do you usually run? What are your steps and strides like?

If your sole wears out on the inside you have over-pronation, if your sole wears out on the outside you have supination and if it wears out in the middle you have a neutral or universal stride. You can also consult a chiropodist who can provide you with suitable soles for your stride to wear in your shoes.

In addition, everyone has different priorities. For me the essential thing is comfortable feet and support in so I can trust my shoes. I also think it is important to get your feet used to wearing different shoes as much as possible. I use the same shoes for long or medium distance trails. But I advocate changing shoes and socks during a long run.

You can also have a pair of training shoes and a pair of race shoes (which obviously must be tried out several times before a race). For my training sessions and short trails, I usually use the MT 300 from Quechua but throughout the whole season I generally run most with the MT 500. I have to admit that I am lucky to have feet that adapt to several shoes.

But once again, it is a matter of personal taste and up to each individual to find what suits them best. It is also important to be aware of the impact of shoes on your health and the general state of your joints. Do not go beyond your limits and listen to your pain! We all have different bodies and prepare differently to withstand what we make them go through!

We often talk about grip with regards to shoes. Today all the good trail shoes have the right grip for all terrains. But in my opinion this is a subjective criterion since two different people in the same shoes will not necessarily grip in the same way. It depends more on technique, how you place your steps and eye and brain coordination. The aim is to be able to see in advance where to place your foot and adapt your stride and your step to the terrain.

Finally my advice is to try different types of shoes and see what is the most important criterion for you: weight, support, grip etc. Above all choosing the right shoes means knowing yourself well and knowing what you want to do with them! Your feet and your shoes have to be like one! Feeling like you're wearing slippers is a great step towards making the right choice!

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