Half trail, half road - which shoes are best?

My legs are suffering from a little too much road running and I want to do more trails.  However, where I live there will always be some road running to get to and from the trail.

If an 8 mile run is, say, half trail and half road, are trail shoes or road shoes best?  Are there certain off-road conditions that would alter this?

All comment greatly received! 


  • I think that some road shoes make decent trail shoes, but pretty much all trail shoes are lousy road shoes. 

  • WilkieWilkie ✭✭✭

    As I understand it, trail shoes are only of benefit when the ground is very wet and muddy.

    If the off-road section is hard underfoot, then trail shoes are not much benefit, and as they tend to be less cushioned than road shoes, are less comfortable on hard surfaces.

  • Hi rob, I do some of my running in new balance 110. They are labelled a trail shoe but I find they do the job (most of the time) for both road and trail.

    However, what I would say is that they are hopeless in deep mud. Loose, rocky, rooty, damp and uneven terrain they are great, but in sloppy mud they have no traction whatsoever.
  • Mr PuffyMr Puffy ✭✭✭

    I notice the extra grip on my Asics Gel Attack  trail shoes even on short grass in summer, and I have done a road marathon in them quite happily, so I would use the trail shoes.  If you're talking out and out mudclaws or walshes, forget the road, but a less aggressive trail shoe would be fine I think.


  • Nose NowtNose Nowt ✭✭✭

    I did just this yeserday... 15 miles - half trail, but with around 7 miles on roads, in Adidas Kanadias.  For the first time in a very long time, I'm nursing a nasty little blister!

    There were a few places where the mud was bad enough to have cause me real slippery problems in my road shoes... but I'd have managed... and I won't make that mistake again!


    EDIT... anyone with examples of road shoes that are good in mud, it would be interesting.

  • Brooks do Adrenaline and Ghost with on/off-road soles and Goretex liners.  The orad ones are great, so can only assume that these are too.

  • I've been doing mixed terrain runs for 10 years now and having gone through a range of Salomon "door to trail" shoes, Inov8s and others I have now settled on Asics Trail Attack as being by far the best hybrid option, especially for runs of 25km +. Saucony Peregrines also good especially for shorter runs.

  • I've been using my cheapo kanadias a fair bit lately. Grip on smooth pavement isn't great - but its been fine for 22 mile marathon training runs. They're really grippy in mud and wash up nicely.

    What are the trails like ? Do you need grip ? In which case I'd go trail.

    If not - use road shoes.
  • Mizuno wavw ascends are a reasonable compromise. Some cushioning for roads and enough grip to cope with most dry trails. Hopeless in mud though...

  • cougie wrote (see)
    What are the trails like ? Do you need grip ? In which case I'd go trail.
    If not - use road shoes.


    Agree 100% ... take a good look at your local trails Rob, are they well maintained or quite rough and bumpy, flat or hilly...  etc,etc...   


  • Pete S wrote (see)

    Mizuno wavw ascends are a reasonable compromise. Some cushioning for roads and enough grip to cope with most dry trails. Hopeless in mud though...

    I'll echo Pete, I bought some Mizuno Wave Ascend 5 shoes after finding my Mizuno road shoes weren't much good off road unless totally dry. I find the Ascends fine when on the roadhardpack sections and great off road, I really noticed the difference between these and the road shoes when wet; if really muddy they get overwhelmed, but then usually so am I by that stage image

  • I've used Walsh trail shoes off road in the lakes fells and on a 40 mile charity road event. The red and black ones. Also innov8's roclites. I've used that type of shoe a lot on mixed terrain challenge events over 24-50 mile events. I found if you've got strong feet it is OK. Not for everyone though.

    New balance trail shoes seem popular on LDWA challenge "walkers" on mix of road, trail, path and open fell routes. They're the most popular make that I've seen, even more than innov8's.
  • Hi guys - many thanks for all the comments.  My local trails are usually fairly easy, so I am tempted to stay with the road shoes.  However, if it keeps raining, sleeting and snowing for the rest of Spring (and Summer???) I can see myself using the trail shoes more and more!


  • Trail shoes with a reasonable amount of cushioning are fine to run in on-road in terms of how your feet and legs cope with them, but the softer rubber soles and aggressive tread pattern will normally wear out really fast. I found Kanadias fine on tarmac but the soles wore down stupidly quickly. I also have Mizuno Wave Harriers which are much less cushioned and I'm not even going to try them on tarmac cause I'm sure it would hurt!

    I know of many people who wear road shoes year after year on 100 mile offroad races and they seem to get on just fine. Personally I've found that road shoes are okay offroad in bone dry conditions but in the wet that can all change. Slipping and sliding around in mud in a smooth soled road shoe can be fairly miserable - I've pulled muscles in my thighs and butt that way...

  • Hey all, just seen this thread whilst researching my next shoes.

    I'm still using my 'first' shoes a Salamon XCR that I really like but feel I'm ready for something 'faster' now. The majority of my running is off road but mainly on man made tracks so not sure if this really classes as a trail.....although some of it is definately a trail. I'll be running the Chester Marathon in Oct so want something suitable for that too.

    I've been looking at the wave ascend suggested above (http://www.amazon.co.uk/Mizuno-Ascend-Trail-Running-Shoes/dp/B00AAYHL08/ref=pd_sim_sbs_sg_3). 

    Can anyone advise whether I'm looking at a suitable pair for my needs and also, advise on sizing - although I appreciate the sizing can be personal.

    Thanks for any responses.


  • Salomon XR's just change the insole and away you go image

  • booktrunkbooktrunk ✭✭✭

    I currently just use my asics 2170s and slog through anything.  I'm half and half.  I used them in the snow and ice, and i run through muddy fields most of the year, they do me fine. I don't do extreme trails often, but i've never felt my normal trainers were an issue when off road. Unless it's very muddy then i guess it makes a difference.

  • Hey Vic, I'm new to this running lark so no idea why I'd want to change the insole....any reasons would be good.

    BT, was thinking of looking at some Asics - will look at the 2170s

    Cheers for the responses.

  • Well from reading other reports on the Salomon XR's and having worn them quite a bit they come with what they call an 'Ortholite' Insole. It gave me the biggest blood blister I have ever had. So I went to Clark's and got some decent but quite cheap insoles and they have done the trick. Will be wearing them for marathon this Saturday. So yeah they are exceptionally good shoes but some people do not get on with the insoles. Plus if you look in the right place you can pick them up for 50quid

  • Thanks.

    I don't have any issue with the insole fortunately and managed a half marathon on a beach with no problems.

    I'm thinking I may want a more 'roady' pair of shoes though as doing a marathon on the road and the trials I go on are mainly hard - not muddy tracks.

  • My regular run is 1 mile footpaths to a 5 mile trail route of mixed surfaces, then the mile of footpaths back home.

    I agree with others that in dry conditions, some road shoes are suitable.

    I probably do this wrong, but I wear my Inov8 Trailroc 255's for my complete run. I have never had sore feet or injury - unlike wearing road shoes with more cushioning. 


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