Terrain Guide

There is no bad surface in which to run on, only the wrong shoes. Yes, I know we've ripped off the saying about bad weather... but it's true!

The beauty of running is that it doesn't need fancy gear or expensive equipment. It is inclusive; we love it because we can do anywhere and anytime. Runners have the whole world as their training ground. We can run on stretches of grass, road, sand, trails, hilly uplands, or even the gym treadmill. The possibilities are infinite.

Clearly, where we live and spend our day determines the types of terrain and running surface we are able to regularly run on. Common sense says that running on grass is far kinder to your legs and jjoints than simply pounding mile after mile on roads and pavements. In fact, anecdotally, many top runners have said that running on grass and trails had helped to prolong their running careers.

However, we are not here to preach on the virtues of some running terrains over others. At the end of the day we want you to be properly equipped to run on any terrain you choose to run on.

Quick tips

  • Choose running shoes that are designed to perform well on the surfaces you like to regularly run on. The Running Home Shoe Selector will help match a running shoe to the type of runner you are and also the terrain you'd like the shoe to perform well on.
  • Varying the terrain and surfaces you run on will help to minimise injury. For instance, running on grass is going to be a lot kinder for your legs than simply pounding mile after mile on roads and pavements. Mix it up!
  • Varying your terrain and running routes will also stave off the potential for staleness. Routine is helpful but do try and mix things up a bit - it will keep you fresh and invigorated.
  • If you like to use a Heart Rate Monitor or a Pace/Distance watch on your runs then perhaps learn to listen more to what your body is telling you (how you feel) rather than what you are reading from the watch. The watch is a great tool but don't be a slave to it. This is especially relevant for when really getting off road - where there maybe stiles to climb over, hills to run up and over, beaches and dunes to run through, and so on.

Every running shoe listed on this website has been categorised as either a training shoe or a racing shoe. In turn each shoe will give an indication of what types of terrain it is great to run on. We have identified a number of terrain types/running surfaces - listed below - which form one of the selection points within our unique Shoe Selector facility.

Training Terrain >

Training shoe designed for use on firm road surfaces, giving both protection and performance.
Training shoe that will perform well on grassy surfaces, such as fields, parkland, and playing fields.
Footpaths & Trails
Training shoe that will give you the grip and traction for running on footpaths, trails, towpaths, coast paths, etc.
Training shoe designed to stand up to the rigours and demands of tough hilly, mountain, often rubble and unstable terrain.
Training shoe that will give you all the help you need for comfortable running on coastal sand and dune systems.
Mud & Plough
Training shoe designed to give you maximum grip and support when running on heavy, slippery, and uneven surfaces - typically, muddy plough fields and paths.
Athletics track
Training shoe that can be used for running on an athletics track. For fast-paced training we recommend a lightweight race/trainer with not too much cushioning.
Training shoe that will be great for running on a gym treadmill.

Competition Terrain >

A performance shoe designed to be used for racing competitively on the roads. Lightweight, fast and responsive.
Cross country
Typically, lightweight cross country spikes for racing - giving the best possible grip and performance. Alternatively, if you don't fancy wearing spikes then a lightweight grippy shoe won't let you down.
Athletics track
Lightweight spike designed for racing hard on the track.
A performance shoe designed for the rigours of racing and running fast over multiple terrains.
A performance shoe designed for the unique demands of mountain and fell racing. Typically the shoe is light with a grippy sole, is tight fitting with a low profile to prevent ankle twisting.

Want to try out our Shoe Selector for yourself? Click here.

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Ron Hill
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