serious running: trail running, races, shoe reviews

Trail Running Shoes Versus Road Running Shoes

posted by Chris Barber

What’s the difference?  They’re both running shoes.  My brother wears trail running shoes both on the trails and on the road.  That doesn’t make it right though.  There are some types of running shoes that are in between the characteristics of a trail running and a road running shoe; they can run both ways.  There’s nothing wrong with that.  These type of shoes are so enlightened.


If you run 20 miles a week or more, then you need to wear the correct shoe for the terrain you will be running on.   Trail Running shoes are built to be more rugged, like your chiseled facial features.  For instance, the soles are more rugged to not give way when you step on the roots or rocks.  Stepping on a root directly in the middle of your foot can cause serious injury, I’m not a podiatrist but I do use my feet a lot.  The toes in trail running shoes are reinforced to give extra protection from hard objects that may stub your toes.  Rocks are always getting in the way.  This extra protection lends trail running shoes to be generally heavier.  However, just like road running shoes you can buy trail running shoes that are built for performance, thus lighter, or you can go for a heavier shoe to control your pronation and give you extra protection.  Or you can buy some trail running shoes that are like me:  built for speed, but made for comfort.  You know it!

Trail Running shoes are also have different traction than road running shoes.  There are many different types of terrain and conditions you may encounter on a trail and you will need more traction.  Also, the treads on the bottom are built to prevent rocks from getting caught and to whisk mud away so it doesn’t stick to your shoes.  Stop giving mud a free ride.

Trail Running shoes are also typically more breathable and water proof.  When trail running most of the time you want to run straight through puddles and sometimes have to cross major streams.  You don’t want to run in soggy shoe for the rest of the trail so trail running shoes are built to dry quicker than road running shoes.  It feels really good to dry out.

Those are some of the major difference between trail running and road running shoes.  You can wear road running shoes on the trail, just like you can wear jean shorts to a wedding, but I wouldn’t recommend it; unless it is a wedding for University of Georgia graduate.  Then you may be a little overdressed.


  1. Jody says:

    So what did the doctor say about your knee?

  2. Chris Barber says:

    Thanks for continuing to read my blog Jody.

    I am going to a specialist doctor on Monday. Hopefully I’ll learn more then. I REALLY want to run right now but am going to wait until after I hear the prognosis on Monday.

    The doctor did say I have some condition in which my shin bones (not the term he used) are more prominent than usual. He said this is a condition developed in adolescence from increased stress on that are, which makes sense since I began running track in the 6th grade and was a runner ever since. He said it becomes a problem when you get older. However, where my pain is does not coincide with this theory. So I’ll just have to wait and see…