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Best shoe specifically for gravel?


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I have been very happy with my Salomon Speedcross. Our range has a good bit of loose gravel and they work well. 

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I have the speedcross as well. They work well enough. Light witH large cleats. They're an outdoor only shoe for sure, walking indoors is p awkward with them.

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Posted (edited)

I prefer Brooks and Hoka One One.  Gravel surfaces have soft and hard spots, so you need a compromise.  8mm cleats like on the Inov8 are too large IMO.  The go squishy on hard surfaces.  4 or 5 mm cleats are better if you prefer lugs.  When you push off in soft gravel, large cleats do you no good.  Your foot will dig in and you will push against a packed divot no matter what your soles look like.  So why hamper yourself on hard surfaces with tall cleats.

 

My best recommendation is to go to a good running shoe store.  I don't mean a big box seller like REI.  If they sell anything other than shoes, socks and running apparel, you are in the wrong store.  Ask to try ATRs.  That stands for All Terrain Running shoes.  Trust me, after trying many different options a tread designed for running on ALL surfaces is the best.  So is a mid-sole that has a little stiffness to it.  Get those two things in a Brand and model that fits you and you are good to go.

 

The Inov8 and Hoka Speadgoats are designed for trail running.  Their soles are soft so you foot can conform to irregularities in the trail.  I wore out the Speedgoats in five months on gravel and hard surfaces.  The were designed for dirt.  On the other end of the spectrum of ATRs in the Hoka Stimson.  It had trads that are rated ATR and are, but they are not as effective as slightly deeper and more defined treads.  I currently use two different shoes for USPSA, depending on which club I'm shooting at.

 

Brooks Adreline 20 have IMO the best all around tread and support for running at the clubs that are mostly gravel.  I'm sure other brands have a similar tread. The Hoka Torrents are perfect for the club that is all soft dirt and grass.  The small widely spaced cleats and supportive mid-sole are perfect.  They also work at one club with hard pack dirt with some gravel.  However, the brooks work better there.  The Adrenalins work at the grass club, but there is often dew on the grass in the morning, and that makes it slick.  So I prefer the cleats on the Torrents there.  They allow you to start and stop on a dime.

 

Solomans are built on a different last than my foot shape requires.  It hurts to wear them.  The Hokas and Brooks fit my foot shape.  So please take my examples as recommendations for and against tread types only.  You shouldn't care about brand.  The shoe(s) you chose must fit you perfectly. You are going to be doing more than running in a straight line.  Sudden starts, stops and changes of direction require more support than a straight up running shoe.  They have to fit more precisely so you are not jamming your toes when you come to a sudden stop.  Chances are you will make some mistakes, as I did.  I found it better to retire the mistakes rather than continue to use uncomfortable shoes.  That's another reason I recommend going to a running store.  They will evaluate your gate and recommend lines of shoes that suit your gait.  That is how I found out I pronated.  Proper shoes to correct that were recommended, and I chose one.  Comfort and stability at last.  Same with the four sets I now have.

Edited by zzt
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I have the Solomon Speedcross and have done well for me. I switched over from Merrels.


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I'm gonna be the oddball here. I wear Nike Alpha Huarache Elite 2 Turf Baseball Cleats. They're not hard cleats but pliable nubs. I've found them to work well on all surfaces so far. Very comfortable too. And they run under 50 bucks!

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Lightweight multi-day hiking shoes that are waterproof!!

 

Aka anything with a Vibram sole. I think they strike a good balance between longevity on the gravel and weight (i.e. not too heavy)

 

I use the Teva's, they fit my size 13 feet like a glove and I can wear em all day

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No more nike anything for me after they pulled the american flag shoe for Colin Kaepernick

Likewise. Although I really would like to try the Nikes, as a veteran, I don’t want to risk the look and image that comes along with giving them a try. My Solomons will do just fine for me...even if I have to pay twice the price for them, my reputation and image will remain intact.


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If one prefers a wider toe-box, and a lower heel-toe drop, I'm about to order a second pair of Merrell Agility Synthesis Flex's and like them a lot and would recommend trying a pair on. I've had both the Speedcross and the Boombah's, but I found those both kind of have narrower toe-boxes and feel like high-heels to me as compared to the interval training Crossfit-type shoes I'm used to, and I feel like for me, being able to splay my toes out leads to better comfort. Plus, the Merrell's are a little lighter. I've never really been a Merrell fan, but their trail-running type shoes are pretty nice. Most of them are a lot like the Solomon's, but normal laces, and not as overbuilt, more options on heel-toe drop. Worth a try. YMMV.

Edited by ck1
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20 hours ago, ck1 said:

If one prefers a wider toe-box, and a lower heel-toe drop, I'm about to order a second pair of Merrell Agility Synthesis Flex's and like them a lot and would recommend trying a pair on.

I think I'm going to need to try those.  How well does the tread hold up? I found the salomons to be less rugged, though of course thats a trade off for that level of aggressiveness.  

 

A wider toe box would certainly be a nice thing!

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42 minutes ago, OnVacation said:

A wider toe box would certainly be a nice thing!

 

The Hoka One One Stimson has the widest toe box I've found in D width.  It also has a normal or slightly narrower heel.  The tread holds up very, very well.  It is considered an All Terrain Running shoe, but the tread is not, IMO, aggressive enough for wet grass.  It works fine on hard pack or gravel.  It is very plush.  When you first try them on you feel like you are walking on clouds.  It is super comfortable when running, walking and the like, but is a little squishy when abruptly changing direction.  Outside of that it is very stable and neutral.

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2 hours ago, OnVacation said:

I think I'm going to need to try those.  How well does the tread hold up? I found the salomons to be less rugged, though of course thats a trade off for that level of aggressiveness.  

 

A wider toe box would certainly be a nice thing!

 

So far so good... but I haven't worn them a whole lot besides outdoor range practice sessions and match days, so I don't know how long they'd last walking around on pavement a bunch, it's not one of their VIbram rubber models.  But, I was looking on Merrell's site, and it looks like their "Momentous" model is Vibram and looks a little more aggressive on the tread and more rugged, so I might give those a try too.

Edited by ck1
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I ended up getting Boombahs. They are absolutely ideal. I wanted something that has more durable lugs than the speedcross and more lateral support than the inov8s. This seems to have both. Only thing I was concerned about was them being uncomfortable and the rubber maybe being too hard to grip well. To me they are extremely comfortable, and they had no issue gripping well on my wood floors even if I got them wet. Amazing value for $50 shipped from their site.

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Cool. The Boombah's are great if they fit you, and for the money you can't go wrong. Kind of makes you wonder why all the others' out there are $100+...

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On 5/9/2020 at 11:49 AM, usmc1977 said:


Likewise. Although I really would like to try the Nikes, as a veteran, I don’t want to risk the look and image that comes along with giving them a try. My Solomons will do just fine for me...even if I have to pay twice the price for them, my reputation and image will remain intact.


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If you like the Solomon's, try the Boombah's . I got a pair. They have just as much grip, and they are more comfortable.

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  • 2 weeks later...
  • 5 weeks later...

speedcross 5 for the win! i've never owned  a more comfortable pair of shoes.soles are plenty aggressive for grass and loose surfaces but are still reasonably comfortable walking on flat surfaces (parking lot, etc.)

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  • 2 weeks later...

Take a look at saucony also if you don’t want to spend a ton of money on shoes. I got some cheaper but great trail running shoes of amazon after trying them on at REI. They are worn but I can get a second season out of them with no problem. 

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