Marathon Monday #1: Wear the Right Shoes

Welcome to Marathon Monday, where we give you tips, insight and expert know-how — so you can prepare properly to finish your trail 26.2. All of these tidbits come directly from highly experienced ultrarunners who have seen and felt the consequences of being under-prepared.

With that out of the way, let’s dive into Week 1!

Shoes are shoes, right? Wrong.

A regular road-running shoe will not suffice on trails. It wasn’t built for the job. Just like you wouldn’t take a Toyota Camry on rutted-out 4×4 trails, you shouldn’t expose your feet to the rigors of off-road running without proper attire.

Trail shoes differ from road shoes in several ways:

  • A tread pattern that is far more aggressive, with lugs to dig into the trail
  • Softer rubber compounds on the outsole, for grip on uneven surfaces
  • Higher ankles for stability and protection
  • A “rock plate” that helps protect the bottom of your foot from sharp stones

All of these features help to protect your feet when you’re out on the trail. They can help prevent or lessen stubbed toes, twisted ankles and bloody palms (from where you slipped and stuck your arms out to save yourself).

Be sure to try before you buy. Different shoes — even from the same brands — can fit very differently. You don’t want them too loose (you’ll blister) or too tight (bye bye, toenails!). Although, many runners choose a half-size larger than normal to allow for your feet to swell during 26+ miles of rock-hopping, stump-jumping fun.

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