One of the greatest sports I can think of is cross country running. A popular sport in high school and college athletics, and also a popular activity among outdoor enthusiast and runners in general, cross country running offers the opportunity to get out into nature and experience it in a very personal and intense way. If you enjoy running, either for the health benefits or the runners high, you should try getting out to one of your favorite spots in nature, find a good trail, lace up a decent pair of trail running shoes and go running through the forest.
I remember when I first went to purchase a pair of cross country running sneakers as a high school freshman. The sales person told me about durability and ruggedness and other things he had no knowledge about and sold me a pair of low quality tennis shoes. Well, needless to say I paid for that mistake with injuries and terrible times, but I learned a valuable lesson. It is important to be informed before going to shop for an important item like a trail running shoe. Your health and well being may depend on it, and you cant always rely on the sales clerk to know what he is talking about.
If you are going to be running cross country, you will inevitably find yourself running on every kind of terrain imaginable, from pavement to track to grass to trails through the woods. You will often find yourself jumping over roots and rocks, making sudden inclines or declines and crossing drastically from one type of surface to the next. However, ultimately you are still running, and a running shoe is what you are looking for.
trail running footwear is a running shoe that is generally a little sturdier and focuses on delivering a lot of cushioning and lateral support. The often treacherous and unpredictable paths a cross country runner takes requires a shoe that can withstand a lot of abuse. Trail running shoes are often made to be a little more weather and element resistant, as you will often find yourself trekking through mud, wet grass and perhaps even snow.
One sacrifice trail runners will sometimes make is in weight, as the added protection and durability come at the cost of more material and therefore more overall weight in the mens or womens running shoe. However, as you go up in quality, the trail running footwear will get lighter and lighter, until you find a range of durable, supportive, quality running shoes with the appropriate tread on the bottom and support to survive the rugged sport of cross country running.
Fitting a trail running shoe is exactly like fitting any other athletic footwear. Trail running shoes come in all the varieties that other running shoes do, so choose an appropriate style of shoe for your particular needs. When you try the running shoes on, put on both pair and walk around the store a little bit. Crouch down and bend the toe to see how flexible and comfortable they are, and whether or not they rub around your ankles. Try them on with a pair of socks that are like to the ones you run in, as many cross country runners will have special socks that they wear. Move side to side, jump a little bit and run a short distance.
The shoe should fit snug but not pinch your foot. This is especially important in trail running shoes, because the terrain you will be moving across is so varied and uneven. If a shoe pinches your toes, the result can be anything from twisted ankles to bunions to stress fractures. The runners stride depends on a certain range of motion to operate properly during a step, and the trail running shoes you choose should enhance and support that range of motion, not inhibit it.