Rocks, stumps, tree roots and logs all contribute to the landscape of trail running. And we love it. The uneven slopes, steep hills, forested single track, and nature’s cobbled paths bring different rewards than the prizes of pounding pavement. Trail runners also have different demands on their bodies, and different demands of their shoes. The right trail shoe can be transcendent as we quietly putter along in solitude, whereas ill-fitting trail shoes can wreak havoc on our feet, and reduce the most stalwart mountain man into a hobbled mess in a matter of minutes. Hot spots, blisters, and lost toenails are but a few issues that are the result of ill-fitting trail shoes.
Not to worry. The single most important aspect to ensure comfort and performance fit of trail shoes is that they fit in the instep. Holding the foot’s position in place across the metatarsals and forefoot keep the foot in optimum position for negotiating the myriad forms of uneven terrain.
On technical trails, placement is everything. By minimizing lateral play of the forefoot, not only does it mitigate potential hot spots and blisters, it raises performance and longevity. Pinpoint accuracy and quick rebound can be the difference between a seemingly deft foot placement and a potentially hazardous washout. Shoes built with total mesh uppers can shave a lot of a shoe’s overall weight, but the cost is oftentimes less stability, which allows the foot to slosh around, especially on longer runs when sweat, creek water and wet socks become a part of the equation.
While SCARPA has a few different trail models, one consistent structural mainstay is that every shoe design contains a semblance of metatarsal control framework that cradles the forefoot for the expectation of arduous, uneven terrain. At the technical end, the award-winning Spark has a long lacing system with a spider web of bracing that works in concert to stabilize the forefoot to the shoe’s chassis, minimizing lateral play and all the while maintaining high performance and long term comfort. The Blitz and Pursuit GTX, two of SCARPA’s more all around heel posted options, which have a shallower lacing system, rely on a design that comfortably cradles the forefoot as well, creating its own balance of performance and comfort.
Whatever style of trail running suits you, SCARPA aspires to provide the highest quality tools that fit your function.