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As the trail and fell running season is well on it’s way, it seems like a good time to look into the sport of running in a bit more detail to help cover the differences between trail, adventure and fell running.

What is Trail Running?

Trail running is a general term typically meaning that runners follow off-road trails in or around the countryside.  The gradient can be flat or steep and can consist of varying distances.  People of all abilities can enjoy trail running as it accommodates easy to hard terrains.

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What is Fell Running?

Fell running is typical in more rugged, boggy, upland hills, whereby runners contend with the odd stream, poorly marked paths and the obvious rise and fall of hillsides, or fells.  This may also be classed as hill running or mountain running.  This sport is particularly popular in the UK during Autumn/Winter time when there are many race dates.

What is Adventure Running?

Adventure running is the sport where all terrain surfaces are faced; these might include dirt, road, mountain, sand, snow and can take place anywhere in the world.  As with each of the above there are professionally sponsored adventure runners that compete in all conditions all over the world.  Adventure Running has a large endurance element to it as they cover long distances.  Adventure running also crosses over to ultramarathons or multi-day runs where distances of 100m are not unheard of.

Which one’s for you?

If you’re think about getting into running in a way that you can enjoy the countryside, any of these kinds of running will suit you just fine.  Although there are some other considerations you might want to take into account to:

  • Do you have local places that are suited to your ability and other to test your whilst you train?
  • Are you willing to travel for good training spots?
  • Your locality to hot spots for racing?
  • Available running clubs, teams and training partners?
  • How much time do you wish to dedicate to training?
  • Do you want to do multi-terrain running or focus on developing techniques in one area of running?
  • All year runner / summer runner / winter runner?

What do you need to start running?

  • Specialist Running Shoes for the terrain
  • Running Shorts / Leggings
  • T-shirt / Vest
  • Appropriate running socks
  • Platypus & Lightweight Rucksack / Camelbak hydration pack

Running Shoes

Of all the running gear that we sell, the most technically advanced is the range of running shoes.  These are from brands such as The North Face, Salomon and Berghaus – brands that take outdoor sports very seriously.  Essentially, each of these brands build running shoes to withstand the rigorous testing of a variety of different terrains, tests and specifically runners needs.

Inov8 Cross Country Running

From the Inov8 website

We are a specialist off-road running brand made up of experts with proven track records in the footwear fields of Mountaineering, Marine and Outdoor Product design, development and marketing. This linked with a strong bio-mechanics input, coupled with a test team of elite athletes in the Mountain Sports environment and a passion for functional products gives Inov8 the creative culture for next generation products.

Inov8 Mudclaw 270 Running Shoes

Inov8 Mudclaw 270 Running Shoes

Our whole design development process centres on optimizing the end user’s performance. The uppers are extremely functional with mesh in the forepart and tongues for maximum breathability. This creates a foot climate that helps you run at your best. When you run through water and the shoe gets soaked, it creates a pumping action that expels the water from the shoe allowing it to dry quickly. The lace webbing is positioned allowing a secure foothold without altering the natural alignment of the metatarsals. The back of our shoes are cleanly cut which allows your achilles tendon to experience high levels of comfort and minimum restriction – particularly when running down hill.

The North Face Cross Country Running

Like Inov8, The North Face sponsors a large team of trail and advenure runners, highlighting their dedication to the sport.  The runners spend their years running in the most challenges races all around the world – tackling mountainous peaks, deserts, ice, snow, and other feets of human endurance. Our current favourite running shoes from The North Face are the lightweight Hayasa.

The North Face Hedgehog Mid GTX Trail Running Shoes

The North Face Hedgehog Mid GTX Trail Running Shoes

Salomon Cross Country Running

From Salomon’s website:

Trail running has deep roots at Salomon where innovations such as the Agile Chassis System on the new XT Wings shoe or Seamless technology on trail running apparel continue to take athletes further, faster. The collaboration of mountain product experts and mountain athletes, as well as Salomon’s commitment and heritage in adventure racing, has resulted in a complete trail running package from high tech and super stylish footwear and apparel to lightweight backpacks, addressing the needs and desires of every trail runner.

Salomon Trail Running Shoes

Salomon Trail Running Shoes


We it comes to running gear and shoes, Salomon are constantly innovating. Through their S-Lab programme, professional runners help design and test the products. You can be sure that Salomon running gear is fit for purpose. We currently recommend the Fellraiser and Speedcross 3 trail running shoes.

Berghaus Running

From Berghaus’ website:

After a revolution in its outdoor performance footwear in the Summer of 2007, Berghaus has continued to excel  and has developed a number of exciting new styles.

The new designs complement the comprehensive range that first appeared for summer, and continue to advance the way in comfort, grip, protection and construction. New for the winter are a lightweight mid-cut boot and low-cut trail shoe, and the addition of a GORE-TEX® XCR® variation of the Pro Rush Low style.

Berghaus have developed their brand over years of working and playing in the outdoors. They work closely with outdoor athletes to develop these ranges and now have a great range of running shoes available, including the ever popular Gore-Tex XCR Pro Rush Mid, as seen below. From our Berghaus range we currently rate the Vapour Claw trail running shoes.

Berghaus Running Shoes Construction

Berghaus Running Shoes Construction

Specialist Running Footwear

Each of these outdoor brands are putting their name at the top of this field, by building what many regard to be the best running footwear for cross-country running (xcr) available.  It’s important to realise the importance of how each item of footwear differs from the other, and of course this depends on how the trainer is used.

Fortunately CheapTents are specialists in lightweight outdoor sports and even have members of our team that regularly take part in adventure running and fell running.  If you’re looking for any more gear advice, by all means give us a call on 01925 411 385.

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