My impossible hunt for new trail shoes

That’s it, I give up, I have ordered and returned 5 pairs of shoes now and I’m calling it quits.

My stupid feet are not the easiest to please.

Sure they look like normal feet, but they are wide and they swell when I run so I need proper wide fit. However after my final purchase of Speedgoat 4 Wide I’m now worried that shoes can be TOO WIDE as my toes were rubbing on the edges but there was space on the inside on my shoes…?! Gaaaaah.

It’s literally (overexhageration) impossible.

2 years ago when I started running I walked in to Running Bear in Alderley Edge, tried on a bunch of trail shoes and came out with a pair of Saucony Peregrine 8s. Despite not really liking the colour I couldn’t ignore how wonderful they felt.

And they continued to be wonderful for my first year of running.

Then, when it was time to replace them, I went for the same again but half a size bigger.

Over 250 miles have gone by since and they are starting to feel worn out. The cushioning is going and small holes are appearing, as the Sauconys are unfortunately prone to doing.

But, you can no longer get Saucony Peregrine 8s!

About 6 months ago I bought a pair of Altras for their wide toe box, but despite them being “okay” I just don’t like them. I don’t think I get on with the zero drop and they’re just a bit meh. The cushioning isn’t great, my toes hit the end when I run downhill and I’ve slipped a few times in places I’d feel mega confident in my Sauconys.

I’ve also bought and ran in a pair of Brooks Cascadia 13s, and while the cushioning is lovely and width seems okay they feel a bit tight around my ankles and running in mud over winter was like a slip and slide.

So I decided it was time to get another pair of shoes.

First I ordered the new Saucony Peregrine 10s, an upgrade of the 8s. They feel much more snug and locked in than the 8s and the cushioning is great, but they just felt TOO snug around my toes.

I’ve learnt the hard way now that if something doesn’t feel quite right then it’s just not going to work.

Next up I received a pair of Scott Supertrac 2.0. Now these felt great, really nice cushioning, nice wide toe box but secure fit without feeling squished. However where the material changes for the hard edge piece I could feel it rubbing on the tops of my toes, plus depsite the toe box being good my little toes were sitting on the edge of the fabric. Back they went.

Then arrived Saucony Xodus 10. Now these are heavy shoes! But they felt good on, nice cushioning, grip looked good, but my toes were closer to the end than normal and yet again they also felt too snug. I jumped around in them for 10mins of a boxercise class in my living room and my mind was made up.

At the same time I’d also ordered a pair of Inov-8 X-Talon Ultra 260. After watching an interview with Inov-8 on youtube I’d learnt that these were the best option if you were looking for wide fit, cushioning and mega grip. I’d also emailed Inov-8 and had some wonderful advice and these were suggested.

Surprisingly the Inov-8s were a bit big on me, with slightly more length than ideal. They sat very loose around my toes and side of feet so they have great width, but they felt a bit too loose. The cushioning was okay but not like the others, however the grip looked mega! Proper big aggressive lugs. But they felt like they were rubbing on my heel and they were bending a little across my toes, so yet again, they just weren’t right.

I was just about to give up but I decided to give it one last go and ordered some Hoka OneOne Speedgoat 4 Wide (2E). Everyone raves about these shoes, mention you want cushioning and this is all that will be suggested.

The shoes feel bizare, they remind me of those early Sketchers that were curved and supposedly made you get fit while walking. Its almost like you roll along, but they felt good weird.

However… yet again… My little toes were touching the edges even though there was space on the inside of the shoe, which made me wonder if they were too wide and therefore my foot was moving around.

They potentially would be okay after a few miles, but I just can’t risk £100+ on a pair of shoes that may not be right.

Not right… The theme of my shoe trying on experience ey!

Shoes are so important, especially when I’m going to spend about 7 hours on my feet, yet here I am 7 pairs later and I’ve not found the right pair.

I’ve asked so many people, read countless reviews and even contacted a few companies, but my search still goes on.

I potentially have a couple more options to try, but I’m sick of the faff or returning parcels now and am conscious of the travel this it is creating, although my justification is that I’m potentially helping to keep someone in a job (maybe?!).

I also think I need the benefit of being in a shop and trying one pair after another and having that instant comparison.

I tried to sell my Brooks 2nd hand, but as I’ve had no success and it’s dryer now I think I’ll start wearing them again, just to get some use out of them, but I don’t think they’re the shoe to take me round a trail marathon.


If you also feel my pain with finding shoes please let me know! And please send me any recommendations for wide, cushioned trail shoes with good grip. I’ll happily add more to my list to try when I have the will.

Also I challenge any company to find me the right shoe! You reckon you’ve got something for me… Please bring it on! I need all the help I can get.

I also feel like I could be the best (or perhaps worst) product tester, as it would take something special to please my feet.

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