For years, my philosophy regarding running shoes was to prefer more minimal shoes as compared to thick soled clunky supposed motion control shoes.
Minimal shoes force you to run with a light quick stride.
Thick soled, high heeled, motion control shoes allow you to get by with running like a heel pounding foot slapping clod. Over time, thick soled shoes lead to developing bad habits and overuse injuries.
The Ridge Run has some very steep technical descents where the footing is just a jumble of loose sharp rocks. A minimal shoe on these sections forces you to run carefully with the outmost concentration. I’m concerned that the minimal trail shoe I’ve been using this year, New Balance MT101, may not offer enough protection to run these steep descents at a quick pace.
Although I have never tried them, a particular model of super thick soled shoe has caught my eye and I am considering giving them a try.
Hoka One One
The first time I saw these shoes was last year while training on the M trail. I saw Nikki Kimball running with reckless abandon down from Baldy toward the M trail head. She said the Hoka One One shoes felt light, were extremely cushy and stable – allowing fast downhill running on rugged terrain. Sounds like a fit for the Ridge Run. My one concern was the super thick sole would act like a platform shoe and lead to catastrophic ankle sprains. Nikki said they felt stable, but if you were to roll an ankle you would probably not just sprain it but break it.
I’d be curious if anyone reading this blog has had any experience with these shoes? Hoka One One shoes are so expensive ($180) that I’m a bit reluctant to dish out the bucks for a specialized shoe that I may not like or use. They may feel light, but are on the heavy side at 13 ounces for a size 10. That’s 3 ounces more than the Nike Zoom Trail and 6 ounces more than New Balance MT101.
Tried and true Nike Zoom Trail
If all else fails, I always have my favorite Ridge Run shoes, Nike Zoom Trails, to fall back on. They have worked well for me. Unfortunately, they are no longer a current available model in production. You can still find them on eBay, but in limited size selections.
I’d be interesting in hearing other people’s ideas regarding shoes for the Ridge Run. Please leave your comments.