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Trail running or Road running shoes

I am getting into running and am looking for a running shoe with the best support for knee troubles. Do you have any recommendations? 

Can you tell me the real difference between Trail and road running shoes? What if i plan on running on both road and trail?

For someone with a sore knee, do you recommend standard soles or soles with more support?

2 Replies

Hey @Jeffdotson24, what great questions! 

Trail-running shoes are designed for off-road routes with rocks, mud, roots or other obstacles. They are enhanced with aggressive tread for solid traction and offer stability, support and underfoot protection.

Road-running shoes are designed for pavement and occasional forays onto packed surfaces with slight irregularities. Light and flexible, they're made to cushion or stabilize feet during repetitive strides on hard, even surfaces.

I have owned both trail running and road running shoes at different times. When I first got my trail shoes I found myself running on pavement more than I did trails, but I would also wear them on day hikes which they were great for! After those wore off, I got road running shoes and have found those to be a lot easier on the knees. I still run in my road shoes on trails, but I'm not running any crazy technical trails. If you will be running on soft easy trails like me, road running shoes will be just fine! 

For sore knees I would probably get shoes with moderate to maximum support and cushion. Definitely go into a store to try different shoes on if you can because it's hard to say what your feet will like online! I've heard many good things about Hoka One One, Altra, Brooks and Salomon for both road and trail running shoes. Hope you find the perfect shoes soon!

 Happy Running!


At REI, we believe a life outdoors is a life well-lived.


I just found this specific Expert Advice article on this topic: Road running vs. Trail running shoes

Hope that helps!


At REI, we believe a life outdoors is a life well-lived.