At Alpine Running Guides we cover a variety of terrain. Underfoot we experience gentle dirt trail, gravel, roots and muds, wet beargrass, and even some talus and scree.

So how do we decide what shoes to wear for our trail running adventures? Here are a few things we consider.

First, we believe there is not one perfect shoe for every person, but there are plenty of wrong shoes. The biggest factor when deciding on a trail running shoe is comfort. If you’re not 100% comfortable in the shoe in the store, you will definitely not be comfortable on the trail!

Second, we recommend a trail running shoe that has a nice mix of cushioning and traction. Cushion and tread go together like trails and running; you can have one without the other, but together they make for a great day in the mountains. The amount of cushioning in your shoe is up to you, but we like to consider the balance between feeling the ground and feeling the poky things. Be sure you have enough cushion to protect you from the poky things, then ask yourself how connected do you still want to be to the ground? More cushion = less connection.

When considering the amount of traction in your trail running shoe you may want to consider what type of surfaces you will most likely be on. Hard packed surfaces tend to not need as deep of lugs where softer surfaces can handle a more aggressive shoe. The combination of cushioning and traction affect the stiffness of the shoe and general ride. Keep that in mind!

Last, we recommend taking all this into consideration at your local specialty running store where you’ll have a knowledgeable staff to answer questions and the ability to try on shoes before you buy. And you can always reach out to us when deciding what shoes to wear on your Alpine Running Guides adventure.

What’s been your favorite trail running shoe?

Happy Trails,


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