As part of an ongoing trail running video series in partnership with MEC, we head to the North York store to get equipped with essential gear and apparel.

RELATED: MEC trail video series: An introduction to trail running

There’s no better time than summer to get off the roads and onto the trails. Trail running is a great way to get fit, have fun and see some incredible places just off the beaten path. Being properly equipped and prepared is always important but takes on extra significance in the case of trail running.

Having a good pair of trail-specific shoes is absolutely essential and can make a big difference to your success and enjoyment out on the trails. Trail running shoes are different from road shoes including that the outsole is generally much harder (and stiffer) to hold up against rough and rocky terrain. It also contains more pronounced lugs to provide traction and stability on uneven ground. Most trail shoes have a toe guard to protect the front of the foot from rocks, roots and fallen branches. Some shoes will have Gortex or a similar water resistant material to help keep your feet dry while others use materials that simply dry out quickly after they (inevitably) get wet. Needless to say, there’s a trail shoe for you.

Although there isn’t really any trail specific apparel, some options are better than others. You’ll likely want shorts–or long pants for when it’s cool–with pockets in case you need to carry fuel, keys, etc. Wearing light but long-sleeved clothing can help protect you from bug bites and scrapes and scratches from contact with trees, brush and bushes. A hat is important for keeping the sun off your head and out of your eyes and finding good socks is also an essential but underrated consideration.

Staying properly fuelled and hydrated on longer trail runs and all-day excursions likely require hydration packs and bottles and fortunately, there are plenty of lightweight and comfortable options to suit your needs and preferences. Finding additional handheld hydration equipment, filtration systems, safety tools and nutrition products may also be necessary and if that’s the case, MEC stores are the places to find all you could possibly need.

Now that you’re ready to run trails, stay tuned for our next episode in which we take you through some useful tips and advice on how to master good trail running technique.


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