Off-road shoes - gripped!

15 messages
01/03/2006 at 14:29

I'm looking for advice on some off-road running shoes.

I plan to do some running on muddy/slippy canal tow paths and forest trails. I also need to negotiate some tarmac to get there (although no more than a kilometre or so).

I'm torn between 'trail running shoes' and 'fell/cross-country running shoes' e.g. Walsh PB's.

In fact I'm not 100% even sure of the difference between the two. I guess that the fell shoes offer more grip in the mud but would be worse on the tarmac.

Any advice on a compromise would be appreciated e.g. are the Walsh's just too slippy on tarmac?

I read good views of the NB871's. Would they handle the slippy mud and the limited tarmac?


01/03/2006 at 15:55
trail shoes would probably be fine for you......

fell/XC shoes tend to have much more aggressive soles for grip but are also less padded as they are primarily for softer surfaces.....

trail shoes are much more like normal road runners but with sole between road and fell........i.e. more typical padding

at the end of the day it really depends on what suits you best so try a few before you buy......

I use Inov8 Mudrocs offroad as they have fantastic grip but they are not so good on loads of tarmac as they are barely padded....
01/03/2006 at 15:57
Trail shoes tend to be road shoes with an aggressive tread on the outsole.

Fell running shoes tend to be an aggressive tread with just enough of the other stuff to keep it on the bottom of your foot. Usually less cushioning due to usual surfaces they're used on (doin't need it), but on said surface they're gorgeous.

I've been using inov-8 flyrocs, they're great for offroad, fell and hardpack trail, but I wouldn't do more than about a mile on tarmac in them.

The terrocs are inov-8s trail type shoes - though they're more like fell shoes converted to road use rather than road shoes converted to trail use.
01/03/2006 at 16:03
If it's no more than a km or so on the tarmac, I think I'd go for the sure footed feel of something like the Mudroc - the grip is phenomenal & very reassuring.

01/03/2006 at 16:51
And they look totally bitching too.
01/03/2006 at 17:42
Thanks folks.

I'll see if I can find somewhere local that sells the Inov8 Mudrocs so that I can try some on.

Any suggestions for the Leicestershire area?
01/03/2006 at 19:29
I run on similar terrain to what you describe - you might find the Mudrocs a bit extreme. Additionally they have an odd curved heel which feels most peculiar (and not particularly stable) on anything other than soft stuff. They also have a very low heel counter that they describe as a "feature", although my feet disagree!

If you're going to an Inov-8 dealer, check out the Terroc and the Flyroc too. They might be a bit more suitable. I see from the Inov-8 website that they are releasing a whole raft of new shoes come the spring that look like they might bridge the fell/road divide.

As the resident NB 871 fan, I would highly recommend them, but they're not so good in the gloopy stuff.
01/03/2006 at 19:48
Are these kinds of shoes a real nightmare on tarmac then? I've got three different pairs turning up tomorrow and then I'm going to try and pick one. Main use will be for some muddy hills that I can't train on in normal shoes, but have also got an XC race coming up which has about 2 miles on the road.
01/03/2006 at 22:33

Unless you're a born again, head banging death or glory, no brakes fell runner, trail shoes will cover most terrain encountered by us lesser mortals

Apart from the Innov8s which I think are a bit too spartan, I recommend NB 871 for the real serious stuff and 781s for looking good (keep them clean and wear them in the pub). Trail shoes have some of the road cushioning stripped out as "they" say you don't need it and are only good for a few miles on roads (5k max).

NBs are not easy to get so try

I did a 14k fell race in the Lakes in the 871s, they were fantastic; didn't even fall over :>}

The only real question is do you want goretex (or something similar)?. Problem is once water gets in (and it will) it can't get out, ever p@ssed in your wellies?. Serious off roaders don't bother because the foot action pumps out the water out naturally.
Dustboy    pirate
01/03/2006 at 23:37
I have the NB with the tractor tyre tread. Ook will know which they are, they took on the Guildford G3 in foul conditions with aplomb. Extremely comfy too.
02/03/2006 at 07:14
Probably the 781(?)
02/03/2006 at 07:30
I think for the type of running you're talking about fell shoes would be far too extreme. As the name suggests they are for running up and down fells. They have no cushioning in them so you need to keep the hard stuff down to a minimum.

I use Innov8 mudclaw's (never did like the mudroc) for fell running and they are fantastic. Stick like sh%t to a blanket.

For Canal towpaths / forest trails I would go for trail shoes. My personal favourites are Salomon XA pro 3d. If you shop around you can get some good offers on them.
02/03/2006 at 21:04
Sorry, got my numbers mixed up - meant the NB 781. It has a medial post which the 871 doesn't have.

FC, interested in your comment about Mudroc v Mudclaw. Haven't really got on with the Mudroc - the low heel just seems to give me problems and the lack of a heel raise is a real problem on longer flatter runs. How is the Mudclaw different? From the photos it looks like it has the same low heel counter which would be bad news for me. I'm thinking of going back to Walsh (or maybe NB) for my next pair of fell shoes.
03/03/2006 at 10:05
Flyrocs, flyrocs, flyrocs...
03/03/2006 at 13:39
Too minimalist for me - I like my creature comforts

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