Trail Running Shoes

Shortly after testing the Under Armour shoe I registered for a trail run.  I think the Under Armour Fat Tire shoe would be a good trail running shoe for all the same reasons that it is a good winter shoe.  It has good traction on rough terrain and provides lots of cushioning to keep your foot strike even over rough terrain.  Ideally my purchase would be useful on both trails and icy roads.

A lot of runners have at least one Hoka shoe in their rotation.  This is a super cushioned shoe that has an epic reputation.  People swear that after giving up running due to joint pain or lingering injuries they are now able to run pain-free in Hokas.  While some people say it is like running on a cloud others feel like they are running with 2 lumpy pillows strapped to their feet.  The reviews were too inconsistent for me to take a chance on them.

After going through Runner’s World shoe reviews purchased the Altra Olympus 1.5 trail running shoe.  The big draws for me were the quick drying exterior, the zero drop platform (which I’ve grown to love since adding the Brooks Dyad to my rotation) and the sticky rubber sole to keep from slipping on rough terrain.  It didn’t hurt that the price was great since it wasn’t a new model.

Out of the box the shoe looks very blocky and heavy but is surprisingly light.  It has a strange attachment on the bottom of the shoe that they call a gaiter trap.  While this attachment is permanent it looks a little flimsy and I wonder if it will eventually tear away from the shoe.  This trap makes it like you have a snow shoe attached to your foot.  No rocks, dirt or other debris can build up in the bottom of the shoe because of this flat attachment.

The shoe advertises a foot shaped toe box.  This should prevent bunching of the toes in the front of the shoe and minimize blisters.  For me, the toe box felt extremely roomy.  I fixed this by adding a basic orthotic to the shoe on top of the shoes existing orthotic.  This is a great solution for shoes that run a little large.  This also increased the support in the arch area which is a little lacking in this shoe. The shoes felt much better with the additional layer of support.  The orthotic plus using the extra loop on the laces provided a tighter and more secure fit.

Much like the Brooks Dyad, these shoes took some getting used but the zero drop shoes correct a running problem I didn’t even know I had.  I have to think about spreading out my toes when I run in these shoe.  I have become accustomed to shoes with a narrower fit so I naturally run with my toes close together.  This shoe will not allow you to do that.  You will get blisters from your foot sliding around in the shoe until you figure this out.

My posture is much better when wearing these shoes.  You cannot slouch in these shoes without feeling it in your feet.  I would recommend these shoes to anyone that runs on trails or needs a winter running shoe.  If I had a normal arch I think this shoe would be perfect.  I have to put orthotics in all my shoes because I have flat feet so adding an orthotic isn’t a negative for me.  I would recommend buying the shoe half a size smaller than your normal running shoe size.  I typically buy running shoes half a size larger than my regular shoe size but in these that would feel too large.

The zero drop provides great support when running over rough terrain.  With the cushioning you can’t feel any rocks that you run over.  I love the gaiter trap on the bottom.  I hate picking stones and mud out of the crevices of my shoes.  The smooth bottom did prove to be a little slick when running over mud and rocks at river crossings.  No shoe is going to completely eliminate slip in wet conditions but I have definitely worn shoes that provided better traction than this one.

The cushioning in these shoes is great.  We all have weeks when we’re running through pain.  For me, ankle pain and knee pain are pretty common due to past injuries.  When I’m feeling achy I run exclusively in the Altra shoe and feel no pain after getting warmed up.  Being able to reduce my pain without KT Tape, knee straps or ankle braces is great.    The more I run in these shoes, the more I like them.




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