Run outside through the winter with the right trail running shoes. Here's what to look for.
Winter's coming. But that doesn't mean you need to scuttle to the gym to do your running when the cold sets in. Training outside is more interesting, better for you (think of all that vitamin D) and burns more calories per footfall.
Do make sure you kit up with the correct running footwear, however. With the correct footwear you will be more comfortable on longer runs, meaning one less excuse not to brave the rain.
Follow these six simple steps to track down the right pair of trail running shoes for you.
Advice from Brett Bannister, MD of footwear specialist Sportshoes.com
1. Shoe size
Remember, your feet will expand if you run more than a couple of miles. So although your shoe should feel snug, make sure you've got a spare half a thumb-width gap at the front of your shoe for expansion; this means you'll probably need to go up half a size when choosing your trail running shoe.
2. Foot width
Most shoes are built on a standard D-width fitting, but some brands cater for different widths too. Broad footed runners should try Brooks shoes. Got narrow feet? Look at the Adidas range. Some other brands, including New Balance, offer running shoes in different width sizes. Your running shoes need to feel snug, so choose a model with a webbed, lace design which will cradle your foot. To stop debris from getting in your shoe go for a training shoe that has 'full surround tongue stitching' (also known as a gusseted tongue).
When you run, you are exerting two or three times your body weight on to your running shoes, so look for built in cushioning to reduce pressure and stress on your feet. Heavier runners will need more cushioning; lighter runners can opt for a more responsive running shoe.
4. Foot Position
When choosing your running shoe, consider your foot position in relation to the ground. Choose a low sole when running on uneven terrain to achieve a natural running position and better stability. But make sure the sole is not too thin, as you need protection from sharp and pointed objected like twigs, rocks and thistles that you'll encounter when running a trail. A superlight weight trainer on the market at the moment is the Inov8 X-TalonTM 190.
When running in the autumn and winter it is really important that you have a good grip trainer, as this could make all the difference between you sliding down a muddy mound or tackling it like a pro. By opting for a shoe with a deeply grooved sole or protruding, rugged nodes, you can ensure that you return from a lung-pumping muddy trail unscathed. If you're looking for a shoe to wear for a combination of road and trail running, you'll need one that offers some cushioning, and less grip with a harder compound rubber, so you get the right support either way.
Although it is important to keep warm when running during the winter months, don't choose a trainer that compromises grip in favour of warmth. Both are important. Wear technical socks to wick moisture away from your feet, ensuring they remain warm and dry throughout your run.
For more running shoe tips and advice visit www.sportsshoes.com.
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