Trail shoe recommendation?

I'm looking for a neutral trail shoe with as much cushioning as possible that are NOT Hoka's. I won't bore you with my Hoka story. For the road I'm running in the Brooks Glycerin 12's and they are the best road shoe that I've ever owned. They aren't so great on the trail. Not for why you might think. Most of the trails I run on aren't particularly technical so they are fine in terms of footing. What drives me nuts is that the mesh used in the upper is so porous that tons of sand/silt come into the shoe. My feet were soaked and and half way through my 20 mile training run I took off my shoe and and Injini sock off of my right foot and saw silt packed around my toes and all over my socks. I didn't have another pair so I tried my best to get rid of the sand and put them back on. I realize that all shoes let some dirt in. You can't seal them or your foot would overheat. I get that. But surely there are degrees of suckiness when it comes to not letting in dirt/sand/silt.

I do have gaitors, but they only really help keeping debris out of the collar area of your shoe. They don't extend over the upper. So, any recommendations for a nicely cushioned neutral trail shoe that I can try? I'm thinking of the Altra Olympus. It's an obvious choice since the brand has such a cult-like following. So I will probably try them. They are neutral and cushioned. The zero drop would be new, but I've handled 4mm drop in the past with no issues. But I was wondering if there were other choices out there. Thanks!
«1

Replies

  • sarahc001
    sarahc001 Posts: 477 Member
    The Altras are probably your best bet, though they also have a mesh upper. Brooks makes a transcend, which I know nothing about. Same with the Vasque shapeshifter. As for the hokas, which model did you try? I really dislike both the bondi and the mafate, but love my Stinsons (both tarmac and trail) to death. You may want to become a member of roadrunner sports. They give you a 90 day money back guarantee if you are a "VIP" member. Cost for this is $1.99 online (but it auto renews at a higher rate so watch for that!) I tried out the mafates this way, and after a few runs, took them back. But as I said, I want to be buried in my Stinsons.
  • DonPendergraft
    DonPendergraft Posts: 520 Member
    Sarah,
    Thanks for replying. I may try the Altra. I've not 100% sworn off Hoka. I just cast a gimlet eye at them because of past experience. It's funny you single out those two models as they are the two that I tried. I put 300 miles on the Mafate's before kicking them to the curb. I loved the cushioning. But for the first time in my life, I was having to deal with blisters, black toenails, and feet that hurt. The toebox seemed a bit restrictive. They were professionally fitted, so sizing wasn't the issue. But the "fit" was just somehow wrong. I switched to the Bondi 3 and ran a single 3 mile (!) run and got a big blister. Ugh. That's when I bought the Glyerine's. Love them. If I bought Hoka again, it would need to be a place like Running Warehouse or RoadRunner where I could exchange if they don't work out.
  • sarahc001
    sarahc001 Posts: 477 Member
    One thing about the Altra Olympus (and possibly other models, though I'm not sure) is they run short, so buy at least 1/2 size larger than you are used to. The other thing that may happen with them is that your foot may slide forward, causing your toes to hit the end of the shoe (even if the length is correct.) If this happens I would try tongue pads. I tried a pair of Altras and had this problem; I have purchased a pair of tongue pads but haven't had a chance to use them. One nice thing about them is the roomy toe box- so if you have a wide toe box, you may be very happy in these shoes. Good luck, and let me know how it goes!
  • DonPendergraft
    DonPendergraft Posts: 520 Member
    Tongue pads? What do they do? Do they keep your foot from sliding forward? They would seem to be good for filling up a shoe if you have a low volume foot.
  • LoneWolfRunner
    LoneWolfRunner Posts: 1,160 Member
    On my long trail runs, I really like the Montrail Fluid-Flex.... it's a 4mm drop... it's the only non-zero drop shoe I have, but I don't notice it. I like Merrells Trail Glove, but once you get past 20 miles or so your feet start getting punished....
  • _Waffle_
    _Waffle_ Posts: 13,049 Member
    I have the Altra Superior. It has a great deal of cushioning. I like to use it for longer trail runs or if I'm doing a hybrid trail/concrete run. Great shoe.

    http://www.altrarunning.com/fitness/en/Altra/mens-shoes/superior-men
  • pobalita
    pobalita Posts: 741 Member
    I run in the Brooks Adrenaline ASRs and I love them. They get dirt on the inside too, though. Maybe the GTX with the gortex would solve the problem?

    The adrenaline is a stability shoe, so not sure that's what you need. I used to get black toenails all the time until I switched to Adrenalines and they solve the problem. I use them road and trail.
  • DonPendergraft
    DonPendergraft Posts: 520 Member
    OK, on the advice of my coach I've ordered a pair of Pearl Izumi EM Trail N2 shoes. Not sure how missed this shoe, it has some great reviews. Nick Clark did the Grand Slam in them. Not sure how much dirt they will let in, but they are worth a try!
  • sarahc001
    sarahc001 Posts: 477 Member
    Yeah, the tongue pads keep your feet from sliding forward. I don't recommend a my goretex shoe if you do any stream crossing...those puppies just fill with water and you have to take your shoe off to drain them...
  • sarahc001
    sarahc001 Posts: 477 Member
    Let me know how you like the pearl izumis!
  • Daisy471
    Daisy471 Posts: 409 Member
    I see that you already ordered shoes, but one you may want to consider in the future is the Brooks Cascadia. I usually run in Glycerins, but have a pair of Cascadias too. They are a neutral shoe and let in less dirt than the Glycerins.
  • DonPendergraft
    DonPendergraft Posts: 520 Member
    I see that you already ordered shoes, but one you may want to consider in the future is the Brooks Cascadia. I usually run in Glycerins, but have a pair of Cascadias too. They are a neutral shoe and let in less dirt than the Glycerins.

    Daisy, I'm pretty sure that Cascadia is a stability shoe. But the worst part is that is the shoe I was wearing for my last 50K when my knees exploded all over the trail. At least that's what it felt like. I finished the race, but realized that I needed to lose some weight and to try a more cushioned shoe before my next ultra. It knocked me out of running for quite a while. My knees seem good to go now, but I want to be careful. :)
  • sammyneb
    sammyneb Posts: 257
    I just recently got a pair of saucony peregrine 4. I am in love with Saucony and all my road shoes have been Saucony..so it made sense to go that way with trail shoes. The are a very light shoe with a 4 mm drop. I have ran twice in them. Once to try them out, ran about 5 miles and then really took them out this weekend and ran 18 in them. My feet were wet at the end (it rained pretty good the night before) but no mud or dirt in my shoe. So far so good :)
  • DonPendergraft
    DonPendergraft Posts: 520 Member
    I've heard good things about the Saucony Peregrine. Good luck with that! I may try them if these don't work out. I may end up loving the PI's, but the upper is mesh so I'm very skeptical of their ability to improve on the silt/sand situation. But I wanted a new pair of shoes just for the trail anyway. Better footing, rock plate, bumper to help when I kick every root and rock on the trail, etc.
  • saskie78
    saskie78 Posts: 237 Member
    OK, on the advice of my coach I've ordered a pair of Pearl Izumi EM Trail N2 shoes. Not sure how missed this shoe, it has some great reviews. Nick Clark did the Grand Slam in them. Not sure how much dirt they will let in, but they are worth a try!

    I have run all of my ultras in these shoes. I have also suffered at the hands of Hokas :) Good luck Don!
  • NorthCountryDreamer
    NorthCountryDreamer Posts: 115 Member
    I have mentioned this before but the Peregrines are a great fit but less cushion than the Altra Olympus. I think the new Altra Olympus would be very promising for you. Peregrines are my go-to shoe.
  • TheBrolympus
    TheBrolympus Posts: 586 Member
    I have noticed the Brooks Transcend and the Brooks Cascadia mentioned in this post and I own both of these shoes.

    I have never put a Hoka on my feet so I don't know how the Brooks Transcend compares. I Transcend didn't feel like it had any more cushion than the Glycerin, it just had more surface area to the sole (which was really weird at first). I got them thinking they would make my knees feel better, nope. But it did feel really nice on my ankles (which I have had some issues with). However, after about almost 300 miles in these shoes they have started to eat my left little toe.
    For the price ($160) of this shoe I would expect a lot more than $300 miles. Doubt I will purchase this shoe again or if I would recommend them to anyone else.

    My Brooks Cascadia have only done 3-4 trail runs on them because my knee started to give me issues not long after I got them (Not related to the Brooks Cascadia). They feel good but are not what I would call a cushioned shoe either. They have a very hard sole which is awesome since I was running in places with roots and smaller rocks, protected my feet well. Good grip but didn't feel good on my feel beyond 6-7 miles of trail running. Again, I have very few miles on these shoes.

    Just thought I would throw my 2 cents in.
  • aldousmom
    aldousmom Posts: 382 Member
    ha ha ha, so funny you ended up with PI. I have the Pearl Izumi EM Trail N1. they're pretty good and I like them a lot. I had no idea Olga was a PI fan...she has no idea what shoe I wear! :D
  • DonPendergraft
    DonPendergraft Posts: 520 Member
    ha ha ha, so funny you ended up with PI. I have the Pearl Izumi EM Trail N1. they're pretty good and I like them a lot. I had no idea Olga was a PI fan...she has no idea what shoe I wear! :D

    LOL. That's the shoe she said I should try, but I actually got the N2. The only difference is the N2 is slightly more cushioned. I still have not run in them. Scheduled for 25 on Saturday so they will get a good test!
  • RenewedRunner
    RenewedRunner Posts: 423 Member
    I LOVE LOVE LOVE my Merrell Trail Gloves. Like they are my favoritest shoe EVER. :love: :love:

    My husband swears Merrells are the best shoes ever. I dont like them for road running but they are the best I have ever bought for trail running.