The Best Trail Running Shoes for Fall 2012

The best new running shoes to conquer varied terrain

November 5, 2012
David Clugston
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Falling leaves make the perfect backdrop for any autumn run. To fully appreciate it, though, you need to go off-road. In most cases, that means changing from road to trail shoes so you can deal with uneven terrain. While your daily trainers might suffice on crushed-gravel paths, trail shoes offer protection and traction to navigate tricky singletrack.

On the following pages you'll find nine shoes we tested off-road and in the RW Shoe Lab, grouped according to the terrain they're best suited for. No matter what trails you run, one of these shoes is sure to provide the ride you seek.

The Best Shoes for Any Surface

How We Test Trail Shoes
We recruited 200 wear-testers in Reading, Pennsylvania, and East Lansing, Michigan, to run in the latest trail shoes for a month and give us feedback. We also mechanically tested each model at the RW Shoe Lab, an independent facility in Portland, Oregon, to measure cushioning (how soft/firm the midsole is; too soft and it may lack durability, too firm and it may not provide enough protection) and flexibility (how much effort it takes to flex a shoe at toe-off; generally, lighter runners need more flexibility than heavier ones).

Learn Your Foot Type!

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