Trail Runners for a Trail Runner

Trail runners are becoming de rigueur among many in the hiking/backpacking set, and that’s fine with me. As a trail runner in more civilized environments, hitting the AT in that style of kicks would be my preference anyway.

But hiking-level trail runners are a different breed from the Asics I typically mud up. They have beefier toes, rock plates, sticky Vibram soles, gusseted tongues, etc. Which, given the more technical nature of the trails I’ll be hiking (versus the ones I usually run) is, once again, fine by me.

So I would hike in trail runners. All I had to do was choose one.

As it turns out, the decision on which shoe to buy was made easy for me. A year ago I bought a pair of Merrell Yokotas as a daily wear shoe, and I still like them so much that I decided to play it safe and go Merrell trail runners for my first hiking shoe, even though I was toss-and-turn-at-night tempted by the La Sportiva Ultra Raptors.

My new shoes arrived Monday and, after slipping them on, I could tell two things: First, that they feel substantially different on the foot than my Asics trail runners; and second, that I’m going to like them. Just wearing them around the house for an hour gave me a very positive first impression. Granted, I’ve been fooled (and blistered) by shoes before when taking them from the soft carpet of the living room out into the real world, but given my history with the Yokotas, I feel pretty confident in these.


MerrellsMerrell All Out Peak trail runners. And, in keeping with the theme that has permeated most of my gear purchases, I got them on sale for a great price.


I’ll find out for sure at the end of next week when they hit the Appalachian Trail for the first time with me in them. Hopefully the hateful hordes of black flies will let me test them in peace. If not, they will unintentionally be used for running…


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