Neutral running shoes, or sometimes referred as cushioned shoes, are designed for runners with a normal gait. Generally, these shoes have the right amount of cushioning for underfoot protection and comfort. Neutral shoes can be categorized as road or trail running shoe.
- Road Running Shoes – Typically, these shoes are light and flexible. They have less aggressive outsole since they are designed for even surfaces and hard pavements with slight irregularities. Most of the road shoes are versatile that they can be used for speed training and daily runs.
- Trail Running Shoes – Trail shoes have more sturdy construction and aggressive lug patterns. These shoes also provide more protection compared to road running shoes.
Features of a reliable neutral trail running shoe
Not all trail running shoes are created equal. Some are designed for neutral runners while others are for overpronators. Trail shoes are also classified according to different terrains - light, rugged, and off-trail. In finding a reliable neutral trail running shoe, here are some of the features one must consider:
- Cushioning – Neutral trail running shoes should provide firm yet responsive cushioning. The amount of cushioning should be enough to provide the necessary underfoot protection without affect ground feel.
- Foot Protection – Neutral trail running shoes have the necessary protective technology to keep the foot well-protected while running on varied terrains. Some of them are equipped with protective rock-plate and toe cap.
- Durability – Trail running means rough running environment. Trail running shoes should be made from durable materials to prevent early wear and tear.
- Traction – Running on light or rugged terrains requires durable traction. The shoe should have a sturdy sole unit and aggressive lug configuration. With the maximum grip, runners should be able to take the uphill and downhill runs confidently.
- Waterproof feature – Trail running may involve running on muddy or wet surfaces. It is a huge plus if your trail running shoe has a reliable waterproof feature. It should be enough to keep your foot dry while keeping the coverage breathable.
Neutral trail running shoes vs. Neutral road running shoes
Compared to road running shoes, most of the neutral trail shoes are slightly expensive because of the more advanced technologies incorporated into the shoe for better protection and performance. Most of these shoes are also heavier especially those with waterproof coverage. On the other hand, road running shoes are more breathable and flexible.
Either a road or trail running shoe, neutral runners should find the best pair of running shoe that fits well with their preferences. The right shoe should provide unmatched comfort, reliable cushioning, and maximum protection for a more satisfying running experience.
15 best neutral trail running shoes
- Altra Escalante Racer
- Xero Shoes Prio
- The North Face Endurus TR
- Hoka One One Torrent
- Topo Athletic MT-2
- Altra Lone Peak 4.0
- Merrell Trail Glove 4
- Merrell All Out Crush Tough Mudder 2
- Merrell All Out Crush Light
- Saucony Excursion TR 12
- Adidas Pure Boost All Terrain
- Adidas Questar Trail
- Xero Shoes TerraFlex
- Brooks Caldera
- Adidas Terrex Agravic Speed
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