Men and Women, find your new favorite trail running shoes (great for hiking, too)
If you’re looking for a lightweight, responsive, trail-gripping shoe for your next adventure, check out the new TerraFlex.
What’s the best trail running shoe?
The most important features for a trail running shoe are:
- Grip – you want a sole that gives you great traction
- Weight – you don’t want heavy bricks on your feet
- Low-to-the-ground for balance and agility
- Comfort – real comfort comes from these features
- Wide toe box so your toes can spread and splay
- Non-elevated zero-drop heel for proper posture
- LESS padding — paradoxically, more padding makes you put MORE force on the ground, as your brain tries to get feedback from your feet
- Flexible sole so your feet can move through their full range of motion
- Breathable upper to keep your feet cool
Depending on your needs, you may want a waterproof upper, but keep in mind that this will come with a much higher cost. It may be better to simply have an upper that can dry out fast and, maybe, keep a pair of super lightweight sandals with you for water crossings.
Not surprisingly, we think the trail hiking and running shoe that gives you what you need is the Xero Shoes TerraFlex.
You can see the trail gripping sole, the low-to-the-ground design, the breathable upper, the wide toe box, and the adjustable ankle and mid-foot straps for security.
What you can’t see is the 3mm layer of BareFoam™ “hiding” in the sole for just the right amount of protection, while still letting you FEEL The World® below you.
Where can you get a good trail shoe (for running or hiking)?
Thanks to the Internet, practically anywhere.
We have runners and hikers in the TerraFlex all over the world — from the Philippines to South Africa to Australia to Germany, and everywhere in between.
If you order trail shoes online, keep in mind that no two shoes will necessarily fit the same. In fact, if you took 3 people with identical feet and put them in the same shoe, their reaction to fit and sizing would be like Goldilocks — one would say “Too small,” one would say “Too big,” and one would say “Just right.”
Make sure you can try the shoe on to see what’s right for you. Xero Shoes, to help with sizing, has a free domestic exchange policy. Plus we have stores that carry the TerraFlex listed here.
Don’t I need ankle support for trail running and hiking?
In short… NO.
But let me clarify.
If you’re wearing a shoe with a stiff sole, YES. If you’re wearing a shoe whose sole lets your foot bend and flex naturally, then, no.
Imagine wearing a stiff-soled shoe, and stepping on a rock on the outside edge. Because the sole is stiff, the rock will act like a fulcrum and make your whole foot twist inward… and that’s WHY you needed ankle support: to accommodate the stiff sole.
But with a sole that FLEXES, your foot can flex as well, and it won’t get twisted and, therefore, you don’t need the support.
Besides anything that keeps your joints from moving naturally is, ultimately, making them weaker.
Similarly, by having a sole that lets you FEEL the ground, your brain gets the feedback it needs to help you move your body efficiently. When you have a stiff (or, just thick) sole, you’ve dampened and reduced the information that your body needs to effective functioning.
That’s why we made the TerraFlex (and all our shoes and sandals) with flexible soles that provide a combination of protection and “ground feel.”