If you suffer from plantar fasciitis, running on trails can be very challenging. The impact shocks encountered on the trails tend to worsen the pain on your heels thus making you uncomfortable. But proper running shoes can help protect the plantar fascia from the stress caused by impact shocks. So which are the best trail running shoes for plantar fasciitis?
Below is a review of the best plantar fasciitis running shoes based on their suitability for trail running.
Related: Beginner’s Guide to Trail Running
Reviews: 7 Best Trail Running Shoes for Plantar Fasciitis 2020 Reviewed
You can’t talk about trail running shoes without mentioning the speedcross series of running shoes from Salomon. Their legacy in trail running is attributed to their protective configuration, sturdiness and their superb traction on both rugged and even terrain.
And with speedcross 4, you’ll get nothing less than a quality trail running shoe. Speedcross 4 provides excellent underfoot comfort and protection to keep your feet free from injuries, thanks to the molded EVA placed in its midsole. It works with the LT compound to cushion your landing and give you energy during toe-off.
Extra cushioning and underfoot support is provided by the sockliner which is also responsible for moisture-wicking.
The Contagrip rubber on the outsole is what makes speedcross 4 one of the best trail running shoes. It’s equipped with multi-directional lugs to achieve effective grip on even and rugged terrain including wet surfaces. This rubber also offers adequate resistance to wear and tear thus prolonging the life of the shoe.
The mesh covering the upper part of the shoe is specially designed to survive the debris and rocks on trails. This fabric offers notable resistance to wetness in case you’re running on wet trails or in the rain. But of course this does not compromise on flexibility and breathability of the shoe.
The popular Salomon’s SensiFit overlays play the role of securing your feet in the shoe without affecting natural foot flexibility.
Lycan GTX is a new entry into the trail running shoes. It’s designed to protect your feet from impact shocks and prevent sliding on the rough terrain.
Its midsole provides a very effective underfoot cushioning and shock absorption, thanks to the IMEVA rubber compound. It gives you sufficient energy for forward propulsion and helps keep your feet free from injuries caused by impact shocks.
Secure landing is made possible by the Frixion Blue rubber material placed on its outsole. It’s meant to offer substantive grip on most of the common running surfaces you might encounter.
The lugging system on this outsole is perhaps the best selling point for this trail running shoe. Dubbed as IBS, this technology employs multi-directional and angled lugs to heighten the gripping ability and mitigate impacts. Plus there’s Rock Guard coating to minimise abrasion on the outsole.
On its upper part you’ll find a breathable mesh reinforced with abrasion-resistant microfiber material. The interior of the shoe is lined with Gore-Tex which provides in-shoe comfort and prevents moisture build-up.
What’s more, your toes are effectively shielded from debris and rocks by the toe cap which is made of Thermoplastic Utherane.
If you’re 100% vegan, you might love this trail running shoe from Merrel’s collection of vegan-friendly products. No animal products are utilized in the manufacture of this running shoes. However, it maintains the robustness and quality of a perfect trail running shoe.
It’s especially designed for runners who are suffering from plantar fasciitis. At its midsole, you’ll find a dense EVA foam for cushioning your underfoot against the uneven terrain and debris on the trails. The bounce-back provided by this configuration also provides the energy required for a responsive and effortless transition.
The TrailProtect layer heightens your foot safety especially when running on rocky trails. On the other hand, the flex grooves allow for flexibility when you’re running on uneven trails.
M-Select Grip is the rubber compound utilized on the outsole. It’s a durable material with proven resistance against abrasion. In addition, it is responsible for surface traction to prevent slippage.
The outsole also entails traction lugs which further heighten the ability of the shoe to hold firmly on surfaces.
Covering the upper unit is a breathable mesh which also offers a snug fit to your feet. There’s a heel counter for retaining the heel into the shoe and a toe cap for protecting your toes.
Caldera 3 was specially built to endure the tough terrain on trails and keep runners from injuries. DNA gel covers the entire midsole to provide a means for cushioning for a comfortable running experience.
It’s also responsible for shock attenuation which protects your feet from injuries resulting from impacts. There’s also a removable insole which further enhances your comfort.
Brooks makes use of TrailTack rubber to provide a secure and reliable grip on surfaces. The lugs on this outsole help in maintaining grip whether you’re running downhill or uphill. The hexagonal outlines on this outsole also add some amount responsiveness to enhance forward propulsion.
Ariaprene mesh is perhaps the most notable feature in Caldera 3. Not only does it allow for breathability but it also provides excellent resistance to wear and tear. It’s also flexible enough to prevent foot restriction.
The collar and tongue are generously padded to provide in-shoe comfort and prevent wobbling.
Since its inception, the speedgoat series has been competing effectively with other high-end trail running shoes. As the third iteration, spedgoat 3 promises nothing less than excellent performance on trails.
It’s easily recognized by its generously cushioned midsole and wide platform. Not only does this offer a soft landing but it also contributes to your stability during running. The platform features EVA foam for cushioning and CMEVA foam for added shock attenuation during landing. Thus your heels are protected from impacts associated with trail running.
The Megagrip rubber featured on the outsole is designed for durability and traction on different types of trails. It’s completed with lugs which further enhance its traction especially on jagged surfaces.
The mesh covering the upper unit is specially engineered to withstand the wear and tear encountered in trail running. Its durability does not however make the shoe heavy or unbreathable.
In addition numerous overlays are placed at specific areas to reinforce the upper mesh and enhance its durability. A toe cap covers the toe area because it is highly susceptible to the beating caused by rocks, roots and debris.
What’s more, in-shoe comfort is further enhanced by the padded collar and tongue.
Protection, steady ride and durability is what you get in Summit KOM GTX. It’s an upgrade from the Summit KOM which does not have the waterproofing membrane known as Gore-Tex.
At its midsole is the popular EVA foaming technology which delivers a comfortable and responsive ride for runners. Although this is a lightweight material, it does not compromise on the durability of the midsole.
Below the midsole is a responsive plate known as Rock Stop which reduces landing impacts especially when you step on rocks or debris. It’s also responsible for maintaining stability during landing.
To offer sufficient traction and ensure durability, New Balance uses MegaGrip rubber on the outsole of this trail running shoe. The lugs on this outsole aim at providing multi-directional traction and enhancing flexibility.
Summit KOM GTX comes with a breathable mesh on its upper unit which is reinforced with synthetic overlays to maintain its structure. It’s further lined with GTX membrane which acts as the waterproofing component.
In addition, there’s a toecap to shield your toes for debris, rocks, roots etc.
Your off-road running endeavours aren’t supposed to always cause pain on your heels. All you need is a running shoe with supportive cushioning especially at the heel. Alpine pro from Dynafit is one such running shoe that will keep plantar fasciitis at bay.
You can count on the full length EVA foam cushioning for midsole cushioning. The EVA platform cushions your heel during landing thus preventing plantar fasciitis. The ballistic bumper comes in handy to protect your heels and toes from impact shocks encountered on trails.
The rocker configuration of its midsole promotes smooth rolling which in turn allows smooth transition.
The trail-oriented Mega grip technology from Vibram makes the outsole of Alpine pro. It’s is designed to withstand abrasion and offer secure grip on trails. Plus it’s equipped with multidirectional lugs to enhance grip whether you’re moving uphill or downhill.
The upper unit features a breathable mesh and fabric which blend agreeably to give an eye-catching design. Not only does it provide cover for your feet but it’s also flexible enough to encourage natural foot mechanics.
The rubber strap surrounding the back of the shoe helps in holding the heel intact thus preventing wobbling. You may also like the quick lace-up system which is configured in such a way that you can tack the laces under the tongue.
How to Choose the Best Trail Running Shoes for Plantar Fasciitis
Your ultimate running comfort is usually determined by the amount of cushioning and support delivered by your running shoes. The cushioning should be responsive enough to ease the impact of shocks when your heel strikes the ground.
Proper arch support is also inevitable in maintaining running comfort. It helps prevent pain resulting from collapsed foot arches. Your running shoes also need to be flexible enough to promote natural foot movement.
The plantar fascia tends to flex as your feet try to gain stability. Repeated flexing eventually leads to inflammation which is felt as a stabbing pain in the heel. Therefore, your running shoes ought to have midsole stability to ease the pressure on the heels.
You are more likely to slide on trail running surfaces because of the loose debris and rocks. Therefore, your running shoes should have excellent grip on these surfaces to keep you from sliding.
Other than rubber outsole, trail running shoes make use of gripping lugs to achieve efficient grip especially on rugged terrain. The depth of the lugs depends on the type of trials you are running on.
The lugs for hard-packed trails should be shorter than those meant for rocky trails.
Running on trails involves a lot of wear and tear in your running shoes. However, rubber outsoles will prolong your shoe’s life because they exhibit high resistance to abrasion. The material covering the upper part of the shoe also needs to be durable enough to withstand the beating from rocks, debris, roots etc.
A toecap also protects your toes and the shoe from the debris thus contributing to the overall durability of the shoe.
As with any other running shoe, trail running shoes should have a breathable mesh to promote in-shoe comfort. Absence of breathability leads to moisture build-up and heat accumulation which in turn leads to discomfort.
If you’re hitting the trails during winter, you should look for shoes with waterproof details. Most of the best waterproof running shoes use Gore-Tex technology where the upper mesh is lined with a waterproof membrane.
If left unattended, plantar fasciitis can make you uncomfortable or side-line you from your running. Luckily, plantar fasciitis isn’t much of a problem when you wear the correct running shoes. Your running shoes require sufficient cushioning, support and responsiveness to protect your heels from impact shocks.
For trail running, go for shoes with rubber outsoles that are equipped with deep gripping lugs. Plus they should have a durable configuration to withstand the rough conditions encountered on trails.