Fell Running Shoes for Wide Feet | Altra | Inov-8 | Scott
Wide Shoes for Fell Running
Nearly all fell shoes are narrow.. good start, I know! This is because when you are contouring round a hill or running on very broken ground you don’t want the shoe to move around on your foot. This theory is fine if you have narrow feet but, if you have broad feet then it is a struggle to find fell shoes that are wide enough.
Your shoes should never be tight. Whether they are your running shoes or your everyday shoes (the possible exception is your rock climbing shoes!). You need to allow enough room for your feet to expand as they get warm. This still happens on the fells, although it is to a lesser extent than when you run on a hard surface where you are giving your feet more of a pounding. You should be able to wiggle your toes so they can spread out on impact to give you shock absorption, stability and propulsion.
So, which shoes have enough traction to use on the fells and are also wide enough to accommodate the wider footed fell runner?
Altra Zero Drop King MT
Altra shoes are all trademarked Zero Drop, among other things to promote a more mid-foot landing. This makes you lighter on your feet and helps you run with a better posture. The King MT has less cushioning than other Altra models which makes it more stable for use on the fells. It also has well pronounced lugs on the outsole that are 6mm long and made of a sticky rubber to give very good traction. Altra shoes’ toe boxes are also what they call Foot Shaped. This is a broad, rounded toe box. This gives them a very different appearance to the narrow and pointy toe boxes that have become the norm. More crucially this makes Altra shoes a nice roomy fit for those who want space for their toes to spread or a broader toe box to accommodate the width of their feet.
Inov-8 X-Talon 260 Ultra
Inov-8’s X-Talon 260 Ultra is designed for long days out on the fells. As your feet will expand if you are out all day, these shoes are constructed on Inov-8’s ‘Standard’ wider fit last, despite the misleading name! So this shoe also suitable for fell runners with broader feet. The X-Talon 260 Ultra is 8mm from heel to forefoot so it is more of a heel strikers shoe, although it isn’t too stiff or the heel to high to prevent a midfoot striking runner enjoying running in them. The midsole is made from quality Power Flow cushioning, that Inov-8 use in their Roadclaw and TrailTalon to give a more protective ride. So, the X-Talon 260 Ultra has a very comfortable ride. The outsole is covered in 8mm long lugs that are made from a sticky rubber to give good grip even on wet slippy rock. The lugs are also well spaced to discourage the mud from sticking to the outsole.
Inov-8 X-Talon 200
Inov-8’s X-Talon 200 is again constructed on Inov-8’s Standard wide fitting last. It is a much more minimal shoe than the X-Talon 260 Ultra. The heel to forefoot drop is 3mm making the X-Talon 200 a mid foot strikers shoe. The midsole is also thinner giving the runner more of a feel for the terrain they are running on. The 8mm lugs are again made from a sticky rubber to give good adhesion to wet rock. The Lugs are also well spread out and the shoes are very flexible to discourage the mud from sticking to the outsole.
Walsh fell shoes where the original fell shoes. Still pretty much unchanged since the 1970’s and still used by the winners of fell races nearly 50 years later. One think that has changed is the introduction of a wider shoe. Walsh followed the theory that fell shoes should be narrow and moulded to your feet. However, in recent years that have realised that some fell runners have broad feet too. So, they developed their Ultra range of shoes. These are just broader versions of classic fell shoes. They have the same great grip and the upper moulds to the foot like only a Walsh shoe can. They are also still made in Bolton.
Scott Supertrac RC Ultra
Although the Scott Supertrac RC Ultra isn’t strictly a fell shoe, as it is a little stiff to give a responsive ride over broken open ground, it is a very grippy off road shoe and it does have a broader than average fit. If you have any doubts which shoe is best, give us a call on 0191 2614 322. A lot of runners want one shoe to do a variety of jobs and the Supertrac RC Ultra will do that. The mid sole is well cushioned so it would cope with firmer tracks but, the lugs are nice and grippy so the shoes will be equally at home on softer ground. The rubber is also a sticky compound so it grips well on wet surfaces like rocks and mud. The heel to forefoot differential is 8mm which should make the shoe more of a heel strikers shoe. However, Scott shoes have a curved base to keep the foot constantly moving. This improves posture by increasing cadence. It also means that the shoes are good for forefoot, midfoot or heel strikers a like.