I would say that 90% of my running is now done off road and has been for a few years now, so it was about time that I made the switch to the fast growing world of trail trainers. It would appear my love affair with my Nike Lunarglide's (which I've had 3 pairs of) would be put on hold. I've been so impressed with the Nike's and they have handled the non technical trails well but essentially Nike are in the business for road running shoes. I did have a look at what they had to offer in the trail market but decided on sticking with the brands that have been in the trail game longer.
As this was my first time dipping my toes in this market (forgive the pun!) I did not want to spend a fortune on my first pair so decided to go with the Adidas Kanadia TR4 a popular entry grade trail trainer. The trails I cover are not super technical (mud,sand,towpaths,woodland) so these should fit the bill nicely.I was slightly worried about the less support trail trainers seem to other, but remembered someone telling me that the trails are a lot more forgiving than tarmac so support is not required to the same extent as a road trainer.
Although not as cushioned as I'm used to, the TR4 feels and fits really nice around the foot, they look good, but one should not judge a book by it's cover. At 340g they feel pretty lightweight to which is a plus.
|The lugs covering the underside of the TR4's front to back|
I got myself down onto the North Downs Way to put the trainers through their paces over the undulating trail which offers Tarmac, Mud, Sand, Grass and woodland paths, so a good mixture of terrain.
The trainers seemed to come through with flying colours on all the terrains including a stretch of tarmac. The TR4's are not that flexible and I could feel the lugs underfoot on the tarmac, although not as big a problem as I thought it would be on the tarmac it was a bit like driving an off road vehicle on the road when its used to tougher terrain.
The TR4's were particularly good in the soft mud and sand, gripping and preventing sliding around. They also were happy with the harder uneven woodland trails although I did sometimes feel the foot rolling with no medial support to prevent this.
|Sandy trails and obstacles|
I know when its time to change my trainers, the 500 mile rule works pretty well but my Achilles start playing up too as the trainers lose their support. This was the reason in getting new trainers again this time round, but after today's run I've no reaction from my Achilles. This is the area that the TR4 offers best protection and cushioning so hopefully all will be good.
To sum up, the TR4 is fantastic value for money (£40 Sports Direct) looks and fits well and handles less technical trails really well. The only con's I can spot at the moment is it's lack of flexibility and both laces came undone once on an hours run, but so far so good.
|Don't worry I'm only running half that speed!|
A further test for the new trainers this morning, 13 miles along the flooded canal path so plenty of mud and water. There is certainly no miracle waterproofing properties to TR4's, by mile 3 my socks and feet were saturated. Admitley I ran through every puddle and to be fair even the specific waterproof trail trainer would have done well to keep the water out today. Although the trainer did remain light throughout the run and did not hold the water so a plus there. Once again the TR4's played to their strengths making mud and soft ground a breeze to run through with no sliding whatsoever, and I went through alot of mud.
Today's run confirmed all the positives of the TR4's, and the laces stayed done up all the way on this run!