Last week I posted results of the Runblogger reader survey of top road running shoes of 2013. Today we move on to results for top trail shoes.
A total of 233 individuals submitted a total of 452 votes (each person could submit up to 3 shoes). As with the road shoe survey, I have pooled shoes by model, and if you’d like to see the raw data with breakdown by model versions you can access an Excel spreadsheet here.
We’ll start with the breakdown of the share of votes by brand:
Unlike in the road shoe survey, there was no overwhelming winner here. Merrell came out on top, followed closely by New Balance, Inov-8, and Altra. That these four brands came out on top may be a reflection of the more minimal bias of this blog.
Now for individual shoe results. Below are the top 21 trail shoe models with number of votes (the full list can be viewed here). You can click on the shoe images in the table to view a review of that shoe (where we haven’t reviewed the current version of a particular shoe yet, I’ve linked to the most recent model review).
A few observations on these results:
1. I expected Hoka would come out higher than they did given their current popularity, but again that may be a reflection of the sample being primarily readers of this blog who prefer lower profile shoes. However, a couple of very positive Hoka reviews were posted here last year, Nate (my main trail shoe reviewer) is a big fan, and I wrote about how Hokas allowed my wife to return to running. Given this all of this, I’m a bit surprised they didn’t come out higher. To be honest, if I’d guessed at the top 3 before looking at the results, I would have picked one of the Hokas to be there. If we do this again for 2014 I suspect Hoka will dominate, we’ll see.
2. These results were a bit more predictable to me than the road shoe results. There aren’t a lot of missing shoes that I would have expected to appear in the top 20, and this partly might be due to the fact that trail right now seems to be dominated by either Hoka-style maximally cushioned shoes (particularly for the Ultra crowd) or lower drop, lighter shoes like many on this list. There also aren’t as many trail shoe models on the market, so the pool to choose from is smaller.
3. The Altra Lone Peak surprised me at #1, I probably would have guessed the NB MT110 (even though my pair caused me a lot of trouble and I never reviewed it myself). That being said, I have had a lot of people rave to me about the Lone Peak, and it’s one of Nate’s favorite shoes. I’ve never even seen it in person!
4. I’ve never run in 12 of the shoes on this list, so my own bias may play less of a role here than for the road shoe results. Nate has reviewed many of these for me so the results may be more a reflection of his preferences, which seem to be in line with what is popular in the Ultra trail world.
If you have any additional thoughts, feel free to hare in the comments!