1. Know your foot
What type of foot do you have? Neutral? Pronator? Supinator? To figure this out, check out a pair of shoes that you wear often.
- If your shoe shows even wear, you have a neutral arch and are a normal pronator.
- If the inner soles of your shoes are worn down, you are an overpronator and probably have a low arch.
- If there’s wear on the outer soles, you are a supinator and probably have a high arch.
2. Try on Several Pairs
You’ll be spending many miles in your runners, be sure they fit your feet! Your running buddy might swear by Salomon’s while you are an Inov-8’er from the soles up. Only by trying them on will you know.
Try on shoes that are made for your foot type. Make sure your heels don’t slip and your toes don’t touch the ends of the shoes. If you wear orthotics or any type of insole, be sure to try shoes on with them. Shoes that are too tight will cause swelling. Shoes that are too loose will cause blisters.
3. Trail or Road Runners
Sorry but there is no shoe that will do both trail and road well.
Trail running outsoles have longer lugs and softer material to have better traction. If you run many miles on pavement, your soles will shred like cheese. Road running shoes have a more durable outsole to last longer on pavement but they don’t have lugs so there is little traction when running trails.
The midsole for trail running is designed to protect your feet from roots and hard rocks. You rely on the soft soil for cushioning. Using trail shoes on pavement will feel stiff. Road running shoes have a softer midsole for cushioning to dampen the impact of running on pavement.
Trail runners have a more durable upper layer to protect your feet from the elements. They tend to get hot when running on pavement. Plus, these durable materials are a bit heavier. Road shoes have softer more breathable uppers and are lighter… but having lighter, more breathable uppers means they are not as durable. It’s a trade-off!
You will want more cushioning for the Road Relay since you will be running a long distance on pavement. Also, heavier-set runners or those who have joint pain find that cushioning reduces impact.
5. Waterproof or not waterproof?
In Yukon we recommend that, for summer use, you don’t buy waterproof. Our climate, although changing, is dry overall. Waterproof shoes, although breathable, never breathe as well as non-waterproof shoes. However, in early Spring, Fall and even winter, a waterproof membrane will protect your foot (along with a good wool sock) and keep it warmer. Some years the Relay has had gorgeous sunny weather and some years it snows. You will have to plan accordingly!
6. Condition your Feet
Buy your new shoes early in the season so that you have a break-in period. Increase your distance gradually to condition your feet and be sure to train in the same footwear that you will use for the race.
7. Don’t forget Socks and Spray!
If your feet have ever sweated through cheap cotton socks—and developed painful blisters and chafing as a result—you know what a huge difference socks can make. We recommend a merino blend. Merino wool is not itchy like regular wool. It is temperature regulating so your feet stay comfortable in a wide range of temperatures. Plus, wool can absorb up to 30% of its weight in water, which helps feet remain dry in most conditions. Make sure your investment in good runners is not diluted by bad socks!
In Yukon we live with bears. If you're on trails, bring a friend and chat as you train for the Race. Bring your dog to help make noise. Please carry bear spray and be noisy as you go. We have belt holsters so that your spray won’t bump around as you run and so that, in the event you need it, it is easy to grab. For a bear refresher, give our Bear Blog a read.