The MX 841s
The MX 841s (courtesy, New Balance)

What’s the best warm-weather trail running shoes?

I run on trails in the Virgin Islands because it's the only safe place to run, but I don't have trail running shoes. I have been tearing through shoes because they can't handle the rough terrain. What is the best warm-weather trail running shoes? Imagine a rocky gravel trail that gets muddy due to frequent tropical downpours. —Greg

The MX 841s

Well, you're probably battling more than just rough trails. Warm, muddy conditions will literally cause shoots to fall apart if they aren't given a chance to thoroughly dry between uses.

So you might consider getting TWO pairs of shoes. Not real expensive ones—there isn't all that much difference between mid-range and high-end shoes. But you can let one pair rest and dry out for a day while the other is on the trail. You might actually get more wear out of them this way than if you bought a pair, wore it out, then bought another pair.

For instance, you could get two pairs of Merrell Excel Grid trail runners ($90). These have air cushioning in the heel, grippy outsoles for good traction, water-resistant uppers, and a design that's best for runners with a “neutral” gait. That actually can help the shoe adapt to rough terrain more easily. The New Balance MX 841s ($80) are another reasonably priced trail runner. They're good for wet trails, and have New Balance's proven C-Cap midsole cushion. And, they come in widths, which can be useful. Lastly, Asics' Gel-Kahana 4 ($75) utilizes Asics' proven gel cushioning—long my favorite—in a tough, stable shoe.

Whatever you do, be sure to keep the shoes clean. Every few runs, hose them off and scrub with a light brush if needed. Take out the insole so everything can dry. That should remove the mud that harbors mildew, and rinses out corrosive sweat. Good luck!

Lead Photo: courtesy, New Balance