Inov-8 X-Talon 212 trail shoes
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Best off-road run shoes 2014

Six of this year's best off-road run shoes tested, rated and reviewed

We recommend the best trail running shoes now the wet weather's here...

The road or pavement may rule the triathlon amphitheatre throughout the summer months, but when autumn arrives there's a wealth of opportunities to slip into a pair of trail shoes for both racing and training.

Whether you're racing Xterra, Helvellyn, an off-road duaathlon or clocking training miles on the trails, off-road running will stimulate an abundance of benefits for multisporters.

Firstly, that slightly softer terrain sends lower rebound forces through your limbs compared to tarmac. It's one of the reasons East Africans dominate endurance run events – their path to success is grounded in trails and subsequent injury-free blocks of consistent training.

The undulating, rugged nature of running cross-terrain also requires a larger range of muscles than the more linear motion of road running. Go for a proper off-road run, consuming trails, fields, rocks and marshes, and you'll be surprised just how much your obliques ache the next day. It's a cerebral enema, too, the rich backdrop providing a natural antidote to the oppressive concrete landscapes of inner cities.

Off-road running shouldn't only be a staple of your training programme, but also your winter run programme. There are many fantastic off-road run events that'll not only improve your run strength, but satiate your competitive urges.

Of course, you can run in your road shoes, but there are subtle (and not so subtle) feature differences – grip, toe bumpers, water protection – that make off-road running in off-road run shoes a more enjoyable and productive experience.

Peal Izumi EM Trail N1

Our rating (review here): 87%
Price: £84.99 from www.madison.co.uk

Peal Izumi EM Trail N1

Modest looks with an understated black, yellow and green colour scheme, these perform admirably thanks to their comfortable design, small but firm toe bumper and impressive price.

Merrell Bare Access Trail 3

Our rating (review here): 81%
Price: £85 from www.merrell.com

Merrell Bare Access Trail 3

Quality construction and plenty of cushioning offsets the 0mm drop, this shoe offers durability and good levels of flex.

Inov-8 X-Talon 212

Our rating (review here): 92%
Price: £95 from www.inov-8.com

Inov-8 X-Talon 212

Simply put, a brilliant pair of run shoes for all distance and speeds – and strong credentials, having just been worn by Simon Bailey to smash the British fell-running champs.

Asics Gel-FujiElite

Our rating (review here): 84%
Price: £110 from www.asics.co.uk

Asics Gel-FujiElite

A comfortable ride which strikes a fine balance between feel and stability, these offer a solid stride over various speeds and distances.

Salomon XA Pro 3D Ultra 2 GTX

Our rating (review here): 82%
Price: £115 from www.salomon.com

Salomon XA Pro 3D Ultra 2 GTX

Featuring a myriad of technologies including Gore-Tex's 'Extended Comfort Footwear' and dual-density EVA midsoles for greater comfort, these are perfect for some serious off-road clambering.

Scott T2 Kinabalu HS

Our rating (review here): 80%
Price: £110 from www.scott-sports.com

Scott T2 Kinabalu HS

No tri-specific features despite the T2 moniker, but these consume off-road terrain with little fuss and deliver a quality ride that flows from toe-off to bumper with consummate ease.

Are you planning to hit the trails this autumn? Let us know in the comments below!


 
 

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