top of page

"Trail Shoes on the Road: Are They Suitable for Urban Running and can they cause injuries?"

Trail running injuries

Running on roads in trail shoes doesn't inherently cause injuries, but it can increase the risk if the shoes aren't well-suited for road running. Here's a detailed look at the potential issues and considerations:

1. Differences in Shoe Design

  • Tread Pattern: Trail shoes have aggressive treads designed for traction on uneven, muddy, or rocky surfaces. This tread can feel uncomfortable and be inefficient on smooth road surfaces, potentially affecting your gait.

  • Cushioning: Trail shoes often have less cushioning compared to road shoes, as they are designed for softer, uneven terrain. Running on hard pavement with less cushioning can increase the impact on your joints.

  • Flexibility: Trail shoes are usually stiffer to protect against rocks and roots. This stiffness can interfere with the natural flex of your foot on the road, leading to discomfort or injury.

2. Potential Injuries

  • Joint Stress: The reduced cushioning can lead to increased impact on the knees, hips, and ankles, potentially causing joint pain or injury over time.

  • Foot Fatigue: The extra weight and stiffness of trail shoes can lead to quicker foot fatigue, especially on longer runs.

  • Blisters and Hot Spots: The different fit and structure of trail shoes might cause blisters or hot spots if worn for long periods on hard surfaces.

3. Adjusting Your Running Technique

  • Gait Changes: The different tread and stiffness can alter your running gait, potentially leading to muscle imbalances or strain.

  • Surface Adaptation: If you switch between trails and roads frequently, your body needs time to adapt to the different surfaces and shoe types, which can reduce the risk of injury.

4. Situations Where Trail Shoes are Okay

  • Short Distances: Running short distances on roads in trail shoes occasionally is usually fine.

  • Mixed Terrain: If your route includes both trails and roads, trail shoes might be a practical choice despite some drawbacks on the road sections.

  • Personal Comfort: Some runners may find trail shoes comfortable on roads due to their fit and support structure.

5. Best Practices

  • Alternate Shoes: If you run both trails and roads regularly, consider having separate pairs of shoes for each type of terrain.

  • Gradual Transition: If you must run on roads with trail shoes, transition gradually to allow your body to adapt to the differences.

  • Listen to Your Body: Pay attention to any discomfort or signs of injury and adjust your footwear or running habits accordingly.


bottom of page