Moving fast on the feet is required in sprint and day-long races. For me, on races up to 24 hours, minimalist fell-running shoes are my footwear of choice. These flat, lightweight shoes promote a natural running gait. Aggressive tread grips mud and rocks in the woods. My favorite fell runners come from Inov-8 Ltd. (the Roclite 285 model) and La Sportiva (X Country). Caveat: While nimble and fast, ankle and toe protection is limited with these minimal shoes—look to a beefier trail-running shoe if you prefer to upgrade on the protection front.
Price: Inov-8 Roclite ($110); Sportiva X Country ($90)