If you've ran on a trail before, you know that it's not the same as running on pavement. The ground is uneven and choppy, creating a real challenge. This is understandable, mind you, as the woods are filled with all sorts of boulders and logs. You also probably noticed that your normal running shoes didn't really perform that well on this tougher bit of earth. As trail running becomes more and more popular, so is the trail running shoe.

One company that really offers a lot in the way of all terrain running shoes is New Balance. This Boston based corporation is known throughout the world for their high quality running and walking shoes. Naturally, they're starting to make a name for themselves among off road running enthusiasts as well. One shoe that they're particularly proud of is the New Balance 801 All Terrain Shoes. In the following text, you'll find an overview of this shoe's features, benefits pros and cons.

First of all, the NB 801 is very durable. This is probably one of the most important features that a good trail runner has. You see, shoes don't take a heck of a lot of abuse when they're used on the street. Roads are well groomed, smooth surfaces and most shoes can last for a very long time if they're only used on pavement. Try using a pair of these runners in the back country, though, and they're bound to break down pretty quick. Knowing that durability was key when it came to trail shoes, New Balance put a lot of thought into what types of material should go into the 801's. What they decided on was a long lasting, solid rubber out sole. These kicks are now one of the toughest runners on the market.

Tread is another thing that has to be looked at on trail runners. The tread is the bottom of the shoe, for those that aren't well versed in shoe terminology. On a street running shoe, this isn't a big deal. As I said above, pavement is smooth. On a trail though, it's very important that a runner's shoes grip the earth with authority. On the New Balance 801 women's and men's runners, for example, the tread resembles something that you'd see on a football cleat! This is a good thing.

Other features that are standard on the NB 801's include New Balance's ABZORB shock absorbing system and the C-CAP mid sole cushion. Both these features help to provide a bit of a barrier between the runner and the rough ground below his or her feet. These shoes are also water resistant and extremely light. The negative thing about these shoes is probably the look. Many reviewers have described them as "Goofy" and I tend to agree... There have also been some reports saying that the cushion inside the shoe tends to fail a bit sooner than the shoe itself.

While they're not perfect, I still think that the New Balance 801's are the best trail running shoe on market.

Trail running not your thing? Check out these other reviews of the New Balance 620 and the New Balance 1221. Thanks!