How to Choose Trail Running Shoes Size

Are you ready to hit the trails and take your running to the next level? One essential factor that can greatly impact your trail running experience is choosing the right shoe size. In this guide on “how to choose trail running shoes size,” we’ll explore the key considerations and expert tips to help you find the perfect fit for your adventures. Whether you’re eyeing popular brands like Salomon, La Sportiva, Adidas, or Saucony, or seeking the best trail running shoes for mountain running, we’ve got you covered. So, lace up your athletic shoes, join me on this journey, and let’s ensure your feet are equipped for the trails ahead.

How to Choose Trail Running Shoes Size

When choosing the right trail running shoe size, accurate foot measurements lay the foundation for a comfortable and supportive fit. Let’s dive into the world of foot sizing, where precision meets performance.

You don’t need to rely solely on a Brannock device (that metal contraption you may have seen in shoe stores). The tracing method is another effective way to gauge your foot size. Simply place your foot on a piece of paper, trace its outline, and measure the distance from the heel to the longest toe, as well as the width at the widest part of the foot. These measurements can be compared to size charts provided by shoe manufacturers, giving you a clear indication of the size that suits you best.

To determine the size of your new trail running shoes using the measurement method you described, follow these steps:



Place the paper on a flat surface, ensuring that one side is flush against a wall.


Place one foot on top of the paper with your heel against the wall. Make sure your foot is flat and your weight is evenly distributed.


Using a pen or pencil, draw a mark at the end of your longest toe (it may not necessarily be the big toe).


Use a ruler or measuring tape to measure the distance from the mark to the edge of the paper. This measurement represents the length of your foot.

Depending on your running style and the type of trails you typically run on, add either 1 or 1.5 centimeters to the measured length. If you frequently run ultra trails or your feet tend to swell after long distances, it’s advisable to add 1.5 centimeters for extra room and comfort.


Once armed with your foot measurements, the next step is to convert them into the appropriate shoe size. Remember, shoe sizing varies among brands, so relying solely on your previous shoe size might lead you astray.

Consult the brand’s specific sizing chart, which often includes foot length and width measurements correlated with corresponding shoe sizes. Some manufacturers even provide half sizes or wide/narrow options to accommodate various foot shapes. By aligning your foot measurements with the brand’s sizing guide, you can ensure a precise and comfortable fit.

For instance, if your foot measures 25 cm in length and falls within the “medium” width range, according to the brand’s chart, you may find that a size 8 fits you like Cinderella’s glass slipper.

Evaluating the Fit of Trail Running Shoes

Now that you have a clear understanding of the key considerations for trail running shoes, it’s time to focus on evaluating the fit of your potential footwear companions. Remember, finding the right fit is like finding the perfect running partner—it should feel comfortable, supportive, and ready to conquer any trail.

While online shopping offers convenience, when it comes to trail running shoes, trying them on in person is crucial. Your feet are as unique as your running style, and what works for others may not work for you. So, head to your local running store and get ready for some shoe fitting fun!

During the fitting process, pay attention to the following factors to ensure a proper shoe fit:

Toe Box:

Your toes need room to wiggle and splay naturally. A cramped toe box can lead to discomfort and even toenail issues. Aim for about a thumbnail’s width of space between your longest toe and the front of the shoe.

Arch Support:

The arches of your feet require adequate support to maintain a healthy and stable stride. The shoe’s arch should align with your foot’s natural arch, providing the right amount of support without feeling overly restrictive.

Heel Fit:

A snug and secure heel fit prevents slippage and ensures stability. Your heel should feel comfortably locked in place without any excessive movement or rubbing.

Tips for Assessing the Fit:

Here are some practical tips to evaluate the fit of trail running shoes:

  1. Many specialty running stores have indoor tracks or allow you to jog around the store to get a feel for the shoes. This can provide valuable insights into their comfort, support, and performance.
  2. Remember to bring along the socks you typically wear for running. Different sock thicknesses can impact the fit, so test the shoes with the socks you intend to use while hitting the trails.
  3. Keep in mind that your feet may swell during long runs. It’s advisable to choose shoes with a bit of extra room to accommodate this swelling and prevent discomfort on extended adventures.

Brand-Specific Considerations

Choosing the right brand can greatly influence your trail running experience. Different brands offer unique features, technologies, and fits that cater to specific preferences and foot shapes. Let’s explore some brand-specific considerations to help you make an informed decision.

Salomon Trail Running Shoes:

Salomon is renowned for its high-performance trail running shoes. Their shoes are known for their exceptional grip, stability, and durability. If you’re an avid trail runner tackling technical terrains, Salomon shoes, such as the popular Salomon Speedcross series, could be a great fit for you.


  • Contagrip Outsole: Salomon shoes often feature a Contagrip outsole, providing excellent traction on different surfaces, including wet and slippery trails.
  • Quicklace System: Many Salomon models come with a quick lace system for easy and secure fit adjustments on the go.
  • SensiFit Technology: Salomon incorporates SensiFit technology, which wraps the foot snugly and securely for a precise and comfortable fit.
  • Protective Toe Cap: To shield your toes from rocks and debris, Salomon shoes often have a protective toe cap.
  • Lightweight Construction: Salomon is known for its lightweight designs, offering a balance between durability and agility.

Sizing Tips:

  • Salomon trail running shoes generally run true to size. It’s recommended to follow the brand’s specific sizing chart for accurate measurements.
  • Consider the type of socks you’ll be wearing during your runs and factor in any potential foot swelling when choosing the shoe size.
  • Pay attention to the width options available for Salomon shoes, as some models offer a wider fit to accommodate those with broader feet.
  • If you’re unsure between two sizes, it’s advisable to opt for the larger size to ensure a comfortable fit, especially during longer runs.

La Sportiva Trail Running Shoes:

La Sportiva trail running shoes are favored by mountain runners and those who encounter rugged and steep trails. They offer excellent traction and protection, making them ideal for challenging terrains. The La Sportiva Mutant and Bushido models are highly regarded for their performance on mountainous trails.


  • FriXion Outsole: La Sportiva incorporates their FriXion outsole technology, offering excellent grip and traction on various surfaces.
  • Impact Brake System: Many La Sportiva models feature an Impact Brake System, which helps reduce impact forces and improves braking on downhill sections.
  • Gore-Tex Option: Some La Sportiva shoes come with Gore-Tex technology, providing waterproof and breathable protection for running in wet conditions.
  • Rock Guard Protection: La Sportiva incorporates rock guards in their shoes to shield your feet from sharp rocks and debris on the trails.
  • Precise Fit: La Sportiva shoes are known for their precise fit, providing stability and responsiveness on technical terrains.

Sizing Tips

  • La Sportiva shoes tend to have a snug and performance-oriented fit. It’s recommended to consult the brand’s specific sizing chart and consider trying them on in person, if possible.
  • Take into account the specific foot shape and width when selecting La Sportiva shoes, as they may cater to narrower feet.
  • Allow a little extra room in the toe box to accommodate downhill running and any potential foot swelling during longer runs.
  • If you’re transitioning from other brands, be mindful that La Sportiva shoes may fit differently, so it’s important to take accurate measurements and consider the specific sizing recommendations for the model you’re interested in.

Adidas Trail Running Shoes:

Adidas, a well-established athletic brand, also offers a range of trail running shoes. Known for their comfort and versatility, Adidas trail running shoes provide a balance between cushioning and responsiveness. The Adidas Terrex line is worth exploring for its reliable performance on various terrains.


  • Continental Rubber Outsole: Adidas utilizes Continental rubber outsoles in some models, delivering exceptional grip and traction on both dry and wet surfaces.
  • Boost Technology: Many Adidas trail running shoes feature Boost technology, providing responsive and cushioned midsole for a comfortable and energy-returning ride.
  • Breathable Upper: Adidas incorporates breathable mesh or knit uppers in their shoes, promoting airflow and keeping your feet cool during runs.
  • Supportive Midfoot: Adidas designs their shoes with a focus on midfoot support, offering stability and security on challenging terrains.
  • Durable Construction: Adidas trail running shoes are built to withstand the demands of the trails, featuring durable materials and reinforced toe caps.

Sizing Tips:

  • Adidas trail running shoes generally have a true-to-size fit, but it’s advisable to consult the brand’s specific sizing chart for accurate measurements.
  • Consider the type of socks you’ll be wearing during your runs and take into account any potential foot swelling when selecting the shoe size.
  • If you have wider feet, look for Adidas models that offer wider width options or consider going up a half size for a more comfortable fit.
  • Read customer reviews and consider trying on the shoes in person if possible, as individual preferences for fit may vary.

Saucony Trail Running Shoes:

Saucony is a trusted brand in the running community, and they offer trail running shoes that combine comfort and durability. With their reliable traction and cushioning, Saucony shoes like the Peregrine series are popular choices for trail enthusiasts seeking a balance between protection and agility.


  • PWRTRAC Outsole: Saucony incorporates their PWRTRAC outsole technology, providing reliable traction on different terrains, including muddy and rocky trails.
  • Cushioned Midsole: Many Saucony trail running shoes feature responsive and cushioned midsoles, offering a comfortable and supportive ride.
  • Durable Upper: Saucony designs their shoes with durable uppers that withstand the rigors of the trails while offering breathability and protection.
  • Heel Support: Saucony incorporates heel support features, such as external support frames or heel counters, to provide stability and prevent excessive pronation.
  • Drainage Ports: Some Saucony models include drainage ports to allow water to escape, making them suitable for wet and muddy conditions.

Sizing Tips:

  • Saucony trail running shoes typically have a true-to-size fit, but it’s recommended to consult the brand’s specific sizing chart for accurate measurements.
  • Consider the type of terrain and running conditions you’ll be encountering. If you plan to run on technical and steep trails, a more secure and snug fit may be preferable.
  • Take into account any specific foot shape or width considerations, and consult customer reviews or try on the shoes in person to ensure the right fit for your feet.
  • If you’re unsure between two sizes, it’s generally advisable to opt for the larger size to avoid discomfort or potential issues caused by shoes that are too small.

To make an informed decision, research and compare different models within each brand. Consider factors such as weight, cushioning level, drop (the difference in height between the heel and forefoot), and specific features that align with your trail running goals. Reading reviews and seeking recommendations from fellow trail runners can also provide valuable insights.

Additional Factors to Consider

Choosing the right trail running shoes goes beyond size, fit, and brand. There are a few more important factors to consider to ensure your ultimate satisfaction and performance on the trails. Let’s delve into these additional considerations.

Terrain and Running Style:

Consider the type of terrain you’ll be running on. Are you tackling technical, rocky trails, or are you venturing onto smoother, well-groomed paths? Different shoes are designed to excel in specific terrains. Choose a shoe with appropriate traction, stability, and protection to match your running style and the conditions you’ll encounter.

Cushioning Level:

The level of cushioning in trail running shoes can greatly impact your comfort and foot protection. Shoes with ample cushioning provide a plush and comfortable ride, ideal for longer runs and reducing impact on joints. However, some runners prefer a more minimalistic and responsive feel. Determine your preference and choose a shoe with the appropriate level of cushioning for your needs.

Breathability and Water Resistance:

Consider the breathability and water resistance of the shoes. Breathable materials promote airflow and help keep your feet cool and dry during hot and sweaty runs. On the other hand, if you frequently run in wet or rainy conditions, opt for shoes with water-resistant or waterproof features to keep your feet dry and comfortable.


The weight of the shoes can influence your agility and speed on the trails. Lighter shoes are typically favored by runners seeking faster times and a more responsive feel. However, keep in mind that lighter shoes may sacrifice some cushioning and protection. Heavier shoes, on the other hand, provide more stability and durability, making them suitable for longer distances and challenging terrains.

Personal Preferences:

Ultimately, your personal preferences should guide your decision. Pay attention to the small details that matter to you, such as the aesthetics of the shoes, the closure system (laces, BOA, or Velcro), or even the color options available. When you feel good about your shoes, it can boost your confidence and motivation on the trails.


How do I determine the right size of trail running shoes?

To find the right size, measure your feet using a ruler or measuring tape, and refer to the sizing chart provided by the shoe manufacturer. It’s also recommended to try on shoes in person and consider the specific sizing recommendations for each brand.

Should trail running shoes fit differently than regular running shoes?

Yes, trail running shoes may have a slightly different fit than regular running shoes. They often have a roomier toe box to allow for toe splay and a more secure fit around the heel to provide stability on uneven terrain.

Can I use my regular running shoes for trail running?

While you can use regular running shoes for light trail running, they may not offer the necessary traction, stability, and protection required for rugged off-road trails. It’s recommended to invest in trail running shoes specifically designed for the challenges of the trail.

How often should I replace my trail running shoes?

Trail running shoes typically last between 300 and 500 miles, depending on factors such as terrain, running style, and shoe construction. It’s important to monitor the wear and tear of the outsole, midsole, and upper, and replace your shoes when they show signs of significant wear or loss of cushioning.

Can I wear trail running shoes for other outdoor activities?

Yes, trail running shoes can be versatile and suitable for various outdoor activities such as hiking, walking, and cross-training. However, it’s important to consider the specific demands of each activity and ensure that the shoes provide the necessary support and protection required for those activities.

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Ras Vaughan
When possible Ras and Kathy will post trail dispatches to their personal Facebook pages, their Team UltraPedestrian Facebook page, and their Instagram account. Also, video dispatches will be posted to YouTube channels. Follow them on : Youtube, Instargram
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