choosing a trail shoe

edited May 2014 in General
I am interested in doing some trail running. Nothing too ambitious...just a couple of miles at a time on trails here in Missouri. Some rock but also a lot of packed dirt, etc. Would like to try a 5K trail race this summer. I have worn MT 101's in the past and have been wearing and doing some running in a pair of Bare Access 2's the last year or so.

Any thoughts on which would be better...the Pearl Izumi Trail N2 or the Saloman Sense Pro? Would kind of like to wait around till the MT 101v2 comes out but don't want to wait that long before trying a new shoe.

I would appreciate any thoughts or comparison's between these two shoes.




  • I am also in the same boat here. Right now Running Warehouse still has a few trails shoes on liquidation. Since the majority of my runs aren't  on trails its hard to justify buying a full price pair when some of these models are almost half off...

    Does anyone have any thoughts on the Saucony Peregrine 3, or Innov-8 303s?

    Jim, my only thoughts on the Pearl Izumi N2s is that they are probably going to be a lot more shoe than you are expecting. I have the N1 and N2 Roads and the difference to me at least, is substantial. I really prefer the N1s for anything, and keep the N2s around for recovery or anything over a half. I realize the Trail version will be different, just my two cents.


  • Jk- I am not sure about Saloman, but I think the N2 might be more cushion than what you have been running in. Inov8 is pretty comparable to what you have been running in.

    I have tried on and ran a little in Inov8 terrafly 303, Saucony Peregrine 3 & 4, Pearl Izumi Trail N1, Hoka Stinson Tarmac, and Newton BoCo AT. I have close to a 3E foot, and all the shoes fit my foot alright. Hoka is obviously the most cushioned model, and I would say Inov8 the least. I would say if you wanted more ground feel, go toward Inov8. If you plan on running Ultras, go toward Hoka. The Peregrine 4 fit my foot better than the 3.

    For me, it was a decision between PI trail N1s and Newton BoCo. At the time I planned on running a trail marathon, so I took the Newtons. The Newtons fit my foot perfectly, and handled a mud run without any problems.

    Don't know if this helps. . .
  • Thanks for the comments. 
  • You really should check out the La Sportiva Helios trail shoes. To me, they feel like Merrell MixMaster 2's with more a little more cushion. These were on Pete's friend Nate's list of top trail shoes for 2013. They're lightweight, have a comfortable fit, give you ground feel, and don't beat your feet up over long distances and hard terrain.
  • edited May 2014
    Skechers GoBionic Trail is a nice lightweight, low drop trail shoe with a wide toebox. It doesn't have aggressive tread and no rock plate, but I was able to run a 50 miler in them on some rocky fire roads. You can also get them for about $60 on amazon and other places around the internet.

    I have the PI Trail N1 and they are a bit more stiff and aggressive. They also have a narrower toebox that rubs my foot the wrong way. I haven't been able to do more than 10 miles in them. 

  •  I have the Inov8 245 and like them but narrow toe box.  I also have the Skecher GoBionic Trail and love those.  I have Merrell MixMaster2 that is a great shoe and just got the Altra Superior 1.5 love it at well.
  • I have the Merrell Mixmaster2 and loved them for an entry trail shoe. They have minimal cushion and a flexible sole. The only downside I found with them was I felt they wore out quickly -about 8 months. That said, I did train/run a road marathon in them so I may have unrealistic expectations. I am currently debating getting another pair or trying out the Helios or Salomon Sense Pros. I have heard great reviews on both.
  • I still like my MT110s best. Light, springy and good toe space.
  • I say run in what you normally run in. Unless its really technical. I run almost all my runs in my Skora Forms. They aren't trail shoes per se, but they work great for me. If it is super rocky then you might look for more protection, but it is what you are comfy with. 
  • My favourite trail shoe is the F-Lite 232, zero drop, firm ride, super flexible, light, decent last even for my wide feet, very breathable, good on and road and trails and very comfortable to wear.  

    Also in my regular shoe rotation is a pair Nike Kiger that are very different from the F-Lite's with stacks of cushioning, last that surprisingly OK with my wide freet.  They don't breath or shed water as well as the F-Lite's and just don't feel as nibble of fast, but they are very comfortable, almost as comfortable a the F-Lite's.  They also work extremely well if you want to run sockless, given they aren't so breathable being able to discard the socks is pretty essential.

    I also have New Balance MT1010v2's but they neither have the cushioning of the Kiger, nor the nibble feel of the F-lIte, are less breathable than both, and have worse ability to shed water than even the Kigers.  The worst thing is that just aren't comfortable on the feet like the F--Lite and Kiger, any time I put them on and plan to head out I stand up and walk around and then nip back for F-Lite or Kiger's.  They aren't a bad shoe, just nothing like as good as the F-Lite or Kiger's.
  • Coming from the Bare Access the Salomon Sense Pro will feel narrow. I love the shoe, but took me a bit to break them in to a point where they were comfortable. I'd second the Mix Master rec if you like the Bare Access, but my trail shoe experience is not as extensive as my road shoe experience.
  • Thanks for the recommendations. I am having a hard time finding any of these shoes locally to try on. I did try on a non trail shoe...the Nike 4 Flyknit. I really like the way they felt/fit. They actually might work for the kind of trail running I have done so far and am most likely to do in the near future:)

    Thanks again for the suggestions.
  • Flyknit 4.0 is awesome! If you like that, check out the Nike Terra Kiger or Wildhorse. Similar fit in a trail shoe I think.
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