As Autumn descends, we find there is a steady increase in runners (and walkers) who start to look to the trail for training.  Trail running has exploded these past couple of years in particular.  Once it was really just those doing OXFAM trailwalker that looked for trail options, now we have the Salomon Trail Running series, Roller Coaster, Surfcoast walk, Wonderland, Puffing Billy, Surfcoast Century, Buffalo Stampede…the list goes on.  Beyond those looking for the racing or fun runs, many of us like to hit the trails to give the body a break, mix up the input signals, reduce impact stresses, and reduce our injury risk – very good thinking in my opinion!

So which are the best shoes I hear you ask?  We are all so different and our requirements vary considerably.  The best bet is do discuss your individual background with me here at East Bentleigh, trailrun_landscape5-1280x725we can pop into our biomechanical room and I can figure it out for you with a comprehensive assessment.  In order to help you more broadly, here are some great updates on shoes for 2016 that I have picked out – see if they capture what you think you are looking for – features, terrain, price and dare I say it….looks?

Mizuno Kazan – (though will get a name change mid year), it is an all terrain trail shoe that to be honest, probably captures most of you who walk or run on the mild to moderate trails close to Melbourne, and the bulk of the trail ‘fun runs’.  Enough tacky grip and a well cushioned midsole, with a 12mm ‘drop’ means immediate step in comfort for the masses.  RRP $220.

Brooks Cascadia– trade this shoe off against the Kazan for first feel.  It is a little stiffer, but has a nice rock shield to protect, and ample cushion for running on all terrain, including the road if you need it to for a time.  The upper has improved overlays with less material and the toe box is a little roomier and more protective.  RRP $240, 10mm ‘drop’ heel to toe.  Available at almost all running stores, and like the Kazan– is built for the masses who wish to step off the concrete for walking all the way up to heavier duty running.

Asics Fuji Lyte 2– easily one of the best of the asics trail shoes – primarily for runners (or lighter built walkers), it is simple, not overbuilt with features that don’t add functionality (such as the heavier Trabuco), well cushioned and perfect on all but the softest of terrain.  Fits narrow, 4mm ‘drop’ and a nice feature with perforated sock liner and water drainage system.  RRP $160.

La Sportiva Helios 2- A very good update – lightweight but brilliant balance of comfort with a new EVA forefoot rockplate, quick pull lacing system, and enough ‘shoe’ for moderate distance running.  4mm heel-toe ‘drop’ $189.

Salomon Wings Pro 2 – Rugged trail shoe built to withstand aggressive terrain.  Suits walkers and runners alike, extremely durable, and the heaviest of the shoes written up here.  Not the broadest shoe in the world, but unbreakable, and one to take travelling with you for hikes and running alike.  RRP $220.

Saucony Peregrine 6 – walkers, runners, weekend warriors – this shoe works brilliantly in the mush, wet grass, beach, with nice grip.  New everun midsole gives a nice blend of cushion without being to vague from a feel perspective from the ground.  A heel – toe ‘drop’ of 4mm assists that feeling of stability on all surfaces. 266g mens/241g womens means nice and lean too.  $220 RRP, available at The Running Company (Clifton Hill), Footpro (Malvern).

As I say, there is no such thing as a poor shoe, just a poor application for it.  Given the $ cost of running shoes, and even more, hiking shoes, take the time to get the right fit, with features relevant for you.  My heavy background in running, walking and hiking footwear means it is easy for you to get the right parameters around your shoe selection, and importantly the right salesperson to talk to when you go into the retail environment.

Podiatry and the biomechanical room is available at the East Bentleigh practice, and is rebatable under private health insurance.

Next issue I will talk travel and light hike shoes.

Enjoy getting off the concrete J

Rick Osler