I was wondering what you would recommend for trail and back country shoes / boots for orienteering and adventure races?
I'm a barefoot trail and road runner and I would like know your recommendations for a zero drop shoe (vertical drop between the heel and toe box). Which shoes or boots are lightweight and hold up to these types of races?
I look forward to your comments.
I've been more or less exclusively wearing Salomon 3D Ultra's for AR and Orienteering, although I am currently wearing a pair of Salomon Speed Cross CS3's. Both are 10mm drop non-minimalist shoes.
That said I think New Balance is your best option for low drop trail shoes.
Altra is currently a favorite among some racers.
Altra Lone Peak 2.0. Zero drop. Great updates in this 3rd gen shoe.
2nd on the Altra LPs. Not as durable upper as Salomon for bushwhacking, but they are continually updating and will eventually have a WP/snow option. Another brand to consider is Innov8.
thanks for the comments, so far, they are greatly appreciated!
I wish the Innov8 and Altras were sold at a store closer to me. Looks like the closest dealer is about 1.5 hour drive from my house.
What makes a good trail / bushwhacking shoe? Durability of the upper is one thing that I should be looking at?
I've raced in some pretty minimalist shoes before - one pair with only soft foam on the bottom without the bottom layer of harder rubber. I loved that they felt light and kept me from getting blisters. However, my bottoms of my feet would sometimes feel beat up/bruised after a long race (24+) and I ditched the soft foam bottoms after they got speared all the way through with a stick. One shoe that I liked was the Inov8 Trailroc 236. However, I definitely blew through the pinky toe area of the upper on both feet and decided I needed a more substantial shoe for better protection. I could still feel a lot of the bumps, rocks, and sticks underfoot with this. I raced a whole season in this shoe, so if you want something minimal, it's a good option.
Summary: Durability of the upper is helpful, but so is having some underfoot protection when going off trail.
durability, grip (consider off-trail contouring on steep loose, wet terrain) but most of all, Fit: you don't want your foot sliding around in the shoe causing blisters.
One important shoe attribute is fast-draining-ness, b/c your feet will be submerged repeatedly in most races (in/out of boats and water crossing). I like to see meshy sides I can (almost) see daylight through, while still having a protective, robust structure (i.e., not minimalist). It can be a compromise.
Thanks for all the input. So a good fit, breathability, and stability/durability of the sole is bit more important than a good durable upper?
What MHtrailvet says is how I go about picking a shoe "fast-draining-ness". It depends on the terrain and weather on which shoes to race with. If its a winter race in the snow I will be using thicker shoes (obviously) with no mesh on it for better insulation. If its a hot race in the mountains/rock of Kentucky I will be using light but durable shoes with good tread on the bottom. If I am racing in the sand in Michigan, I will use breathable shoes with lots of areas for sand to be able to seep out so I don't have to take them off and shake them (so mesh on top and sides of shoe). If its a race in Ontario I take the more treaded, durable and meshy shoes. It all depends on the terrain and weather of where the race takes place. Universally the Salmon 3D Ultras are a nice shoe overall. I currently have asics, salomons, new balance, and altras in my shoe collection. Asics have served me very well over the years more so then any other brand. I can get a lot of miles out of them more so then others, so I have noticed.
Different types of off-road shoes have features that make them better for different purposes. I used to own one pair of off-road shoes - just like I used to own one bike and one pair of cross-country skis. Now... I'd rather not confess how many pairs are in my closet. But if I could only have one pair for AR and orienteering, for me it would be the Salomon XA Pro 3D Ultra. They are a hike/run shoe so the disadvantage is that they aren't designed primarily for running. So if I could have *two* pairs, I'd add the Salomon Speedcross for trail running. Three pairs: I'd add the Fellcross for orienteering. Four pairs: the Snowcross for winter running... OK, I'd better stop because I'm a bad influence! :)
Yep, what Bash says. lol. Next thing you know.... you have a small swamp-smelly black hole in your closet where all your shoes are.
Yes I will soon have a swamp smelling black hole! But, I do enjoy the traditional barefoot trail running, so I will not need as many shoes ;-) I'm hoping to run the Toad, a 25 km trail run in Ontario, next year, barefoot.
Thanks for all the comments!
I saw someone running the mountainous Canadian Death Race barefoot so Run for the Toad should definitely work for you!
Bash - I was going to buy and try the Salomon_____ but all their shoes are too narrow for my wide feet :-(
Ended up going with a pair of KEEN's - width of shoe was right. (plus the price was nice - Last years model + on sale at the opening day of the new SAIL in Cambridge, Ontario = good discount). We will see how, I like then over the next few trail runs (I think they are more of a hiking shoe than a trail running shoe)
I saw someone at Western States in FiveFingers.... But he was walking and frowning, I was running by and smiling (in Hokas)...
(But that was pretty far into the race, so Run for the Toad should be more reasonable for barefoot)
Looks like I may need to miss the Toad for another year. It might be on the same weekend as the Wilderness Traverse.
Most likely the same weekend for 2015 WT and Toad. Should know for sure in a couple of weeks when early registration opens.
This discussion thread is closed.