shoes for dirt road half marathon

edited April 2014 in General
I'm running the Yellowstone Half Marathon in June and the course is dirt road and trail, with one major hill. From the course map, it looks like the 'trail' portion would be about 4 miles (and that is where the 400-foot climb is) with the remainder on dirt road. I don't have a sense of how smooth vs rocky either the dirt road or trail are.  Where I live, there aren't really any dirt roads so my runs are either on pavement or on technical singletrack trails. What kind of shoes are good for running on dirt roads?  Any recommendations?

My 'long run' shoes right now are Brooks Pure Flows and they would be fine on smooth dirt roads but they don't have a lot of traction on some surfaces.  My trail running shoes are New Balance WT101 and are falling apart, so I need to get a new pair of trail shoes, but I'm not sure that the shoes I would want for my rocky local trails would be the same as I would want for this half.  Not that I'm opposed to buying more shoes than strictly necessary! 


  • Take a look at some of the Salomon City Trail line; specifically the Sense Mantra (1 & 2) and Sense Pro.

    Pete is trying out the Sense Pros and The Ginger Runner has a great review of both shoes on youtube: 

    Happy Trails!
  • If I were lacing up my shoes for this type of run I'd be using my F-Lite 232's, great if you like zero drop and a firm and nibble ride.

    If you like the NewBalance last and shoes then perhaps the WT1010 might be good replacement for the WT101's.
  • I've chosen my Mt110 trail shoes for road 1/2Marathons even though I have several road shoes that I could have worn. By this point the knobs are 1/2 worn off though, so I don't feel any lost energy.
    They fit my foot very well, are light and are springy.
  • Loving the Sense Pros, racing in them tomorrow.
  • I know I love my Skoras. They are great on road and trail. Zero drop, low stack, maybe something like the Fit would be a bit closer to the Pure Flows (still lower stack). Although I believe the flows still have some drop to them right? The will give even more flexibility than the Flows have and will retain that very fast responsive feel. Sounds like your race may not be too terrible as far as technical terrain. I would think a good shoe you like work cover the trail side just fine. 

  • I tried the Salomon Mantra on (couldn't find it) and didn't love it.  It felt very stiff and with a pronounced arch that didn't seem to match with my foot very well.  I ended up getting the Merrell Rush and am really liking them so far.  Not sure if that's what I'll wear for the Yellowstone half or if I'll wear road shoes.
  • I love the NB MT110 for what you describe.  Since you are a fir for the WT 101 it should work.  Give them a look.  They are available at a great price now.


  • I have had very good success with the Mizuno Wave Sayonara on trails. I have used it on rough (rocky) trails as well as more moderate trails. I used it at a pretty difficult trial half marathon I ran last year, and it performed excellently. Additionally, since 2/3 of your race is on roads; I would really lean towards a shoe that is VERY smooth on the roads - which the Sayonara is.  
  • Depending on the level or dirt road you may want a shoe with a rock plate.  I had a trail 1/2 marathon with a forest road section with big rocks.  I was very happy I picked the shoe with a rock plate in it for just that section.
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