What’s the difference between road and trail running shoes?

What’s the difference between road and trail running shoes?

“What’s the difference between road and trail running shoes?” we hear you ask… Take a look at our blog to find out why you should use trail running shoes for going off road.

Running can be fun! – Yeah we said it! Especially if you stop pounding the pavements and head for the trails.

As well as the physical benefits of trail running there are some proven benefits to your mental health too.

If you’re transitioning to trail running, making sure that you have the right tools for the job, can make all the difference.

You wouldn’t take a road bike off road, or down a mountain track, so why would you take your normal trainers trail running?

If you are wondering if you should get trail running shoes or not, we have outlined the key differences below.

What’s the difference between road and trail running shoes?


The key difference between roads and trails is the surface you are running on. While roads tend to be smooth, hard and even, trails are generally variable with some soft and uneven surfaces.

This difference in running surface requires a different sole on your shoe. Trail running shoes have tackier outsoles and lugs to provide additional grip.

This added grip will keep you going even on the trickiest of terrain and reduce those embarrassing slips and falls!

What’s the difference between road and trail running shoes?


This is the SCARPA approach: an R&D department to study, analyse and develop the very best soles. Here we create unique products with great performance, destined to face a multitude of challenges, from daily use in urban environments to the complexities of unexplored peaks.


As well as more grip, trail running shoes also provide more protection. With dust, debris and rock to deal with this added protection keeps your feet safe and clean.

The uppers of trial shoes are made from a tighter mesh to stop any dust or dirt getting through, whilst still being breathable.

Trail running shoes also feature added protection, such as toe caps and extended soles to protect your toes. Unseen rocks or tree roots can cause pain and injury if accidently kicked. Toe caps will protect your feet, from any unseen hazards!

What’s the difference between road and trail running shoes?

Water resistance

While trail running your feet might end up in muddy puddles, boggy ground and even small streams! So having some water resistance is important in keeping your feet clean and dry.

While your normal trainers will dry eventually, there is nothing worse than running in soggy or muddy shoes.

This is also why you probably wont find many white pairs of trail shoes as they won’t stay white for long – Trail shoes look better covered in mud!

A good pair of shoes, can take your trail running to the next level. If this has inspired you to say goodbye to the streets and hello to nature, make sure you have the right tools for the job.

Meet the Scarpa Trail Running Family

We have men’s trail running shoes and women’s trail running shoes in our range and shoes for whatever distance you run!

All our Trail Running shoes are designed with help from some of the best trail runners in the world. The athletes of the SCARPA Trail Running team test our shoes, train and win wearing our products.

Check out the range below and see why our athletes love running in them:

“SPIN 2.0 is the shoe that’s with me in all short races and fast training. Precise, lightweight and with great rebound. A winning choice”.

Daniel Antonioli (ITA) winner of Matterhorn Ultraks 2019 –

SPIN INFINITY is the shoe I use for my everyday training in the mountains. It’s the ideal footwear for long challenges, for example a 100-mile Ultra Trail. Lightness and cushioning are its main features, along with secure and reliable grip.”

Aurelién Dunand Pallaz

Heading out for a run in nature? Make sure you share your photos with us on social media. Tag @Scarpa_UK on Instagram and #noplacetoofar & #SCARPAUK.